This documentary was about the tragedy of the riots in LA. I think they played mostly off our emotions. And I do think they played off them more than simply appealing to them. They showed us the tragic riot describing the damage and number of deaths and wounded, and they cut to scenes of poor (mexican?) workers and describe how they are struggling to survive. Anyhow, they paint this sad and depressing picture and get you to feel sympathy and then show how happy the garden makes the citizens, "who are in desperate need of hope right now." After illustrating this point they quick flip and say that the garden will not be made how sad and unfortunate that is. I think this surpasses regular emotional appeals and they are becoming too manipulative. This approach could have been very affective, but they didn't disguise their intentions well enough.
Also, I wasn't sure exactly where they were going with the rest of the film, but I feel like this was not a proper way to set the stage for the rest of their argument. You need to finesse in emotional appeals if you are not dealing with a widespread issue. While poverty is widespread, it is more difficult to gain sympathy and arouse the feelings of American citizens when they subtitled the whole thing. Some subtitles would have been very effective, but they should have found more people who spoke english to interview. This seems like a trivial and shallow point, but the way you present your argument is HUGE. It is just like how people are better convinced by an eloquent speaker than a speaker who stutters. The rest of the movie may have pulled it off, but I was unfulfilled emotionally by this portion of it, and thus I was unconvinced. That's the downside of relying strictly on emotional appeals. I was moved at the time of viewing, but looking back I am not left with a lasting impression.