Think about this: The city has $8 billion to spend every year but it somehow can’t provide even basic services.
That’s more money than City Hall has had in history, yet there is a $400 million deficit that has been papered over and there aren’t enough cops, housing inspectors, planners, traffic engineers or — now we learn — cleanup crews.
The Times today exposes the travesty of neighborhoods waiting up to two months for Public Works crews to clean up unhealthy filth left by illegal dumpers, ignoring visible evidence that might lead to those responsible and blaming the lack of staff for its failure.
“We can only run so fast, and right now we’re running as fast as we can,” said
Bruce Howell, the Public Works bureaucrat who oversees alley-cleaning. He’s paid $107,824.32, according to the Daily News city salary database, presumably to make excuses and avoid accountability.
Of course, when the mayor and Councilwoman Janice Hahn were about the hold a self-promoting publicity event in Watts a few months ago, trash littering three alleys nearby suddenly got cleaned up — three weeks after being reported.
The rats must have loved the delay.
What really ought to concern people who want a great city instead of what we got is that the mayor, the Board of Public Works and the council are so out of touch with their responsibilities as the nation’s highest paid municipal officials that they didn’t know about this breakdown in basic services.
With the Times asking questions, the mayor’s office went into high gear. Emergency meetings were held at the highest levels, urgent reports were being prepared and threats of crackdowns were being made.
“The department’s response time for this cleanup work is totally unacceptable by
any measure,” said Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo. “The mayor is not
interested in explanations or excuses . . . [and] believes that the bureau is in
need of structural change. And he will hold his managers accountable for
implementing this change.”
Take him at his word. Heads will roll and private firms will be hired in place of city workers to clean up litter faster and cheaper. The revolution at City Hall is under way.
Oh no, that will only happen when the community — neighborhood councils, resident groups, service clubs, Chambers of Commerce — join together and take back L.A. and go to work to create the kind of city that’s good for people and good for business, a city where the politicians and bureaucrats know it’s the people who are the bosses — not the fatcats, union bosses, developers, contractors and lobbyist machine.
So come all ye faithful to City Hall at noon on Bastille Day July 14 and let City Hall know that a coalition of concerned citizens is forming and the revolution to save L.A. has begun.