Sometimes a great notion comes from unexpected places like the answer to rampant pay-to-play dealing in City Hall comes from inside City Hall itself.
In an effort to prevent Metrolink train engineers from text messaging on their cell phones when they should be watching the signals and the track, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s point man to clean up the mess wants to have video cameras installed in the locomotive cabs so we can keep an eye on what’s going on.
“We’re talking about the ability to look into a [locomotive] cab in
real time and see what’s happening,” said Metrolink board member
Richard Katz, who Villaraigosa put on the
panel after the deadly Sept. 12 crash in Chatsworth.
I’m all for saving lives and for saving the city, too.
Think of how much better off we’d all be if video cameras were installed in the back rooms at City Hall where all the deals are cooked, where the City Council members get their marching orders on how to best serve the people who matter: Lobbyists, consultants, contractors, public employee unions.
Why before long, we’d be seeing the ambitious if listless Jack Weiss turning straight to the camera and saying, “No, I won’t do you favors no matter how much cash you contribute to my campaign for City Attorney.”
Or we might see the mayor himself declaring: “Sorry, it sounds like a fabulous party with fine wines, great food and beautiful women but I’m busy reading Jane Usher’s 14-point program for planning a great city for the people who live and work here. Policy is more important than politics partying.”
And just to make sure they don’t stray off camera we could try what worked in Illinois to catch the governor selling Barack Obama’s Senate seat and wiretap and bug their offices.
Saving the lives of Metrolink passengers is important but so is saving the quality of life in the city.