They’re protesting at the school board, they’re storming the City Council, they’re mad at the mayor, the teachers hate the charters, the charters hate the bureaucrats, the unions and the people hate everyone in government, the whole world of LA is festering with unhappiness.
With liberties from the Kingston Trio’s “They’re rioting in Africa,” it seems to me just about everyone who is even half aware in LA is mad as hell at someone.
It’s about time.
There is no mystery. It’s been building a long time through successions of mayors and City Council members and school boards and school superintendents, endless attempts at changing the forms of governance, studies, task forces, restructurings.
It’s still the same old, same old. Nothing really changes. We approved bond issues for schools, colleges, libraries, parks, police stations and things only get worse until now the bills have come due. There is not enough money for any of it. Such are the inexorable laws of karma.
When the interests of the few prevail over the interests of the many, it is a certainty that sooner or later things are going to fall apart.
Sweetheart deals and giveaways to developers, contractors and unions; policies that pander to poverty and punish the middle class; leaders that pay lip service to public policy and serve only themselves and the circle of lobbyists, consultants, operatives and PR manipulators who channel cash into their campaign chests — for too long that has been the nature of LA’s political system.
And yet, with the community in an uproar over plans to slash services, fire thousands of city workers, pad the payrolls of the proprietary departments, sell off the city’s assets and mortgage the future with massive borrowings, the mayor and City Council still admit to no failure and engage in a charade to protect themselves no matter how many get hurt.
People should be mad, a lot angrier than they are.
They pay the bills. They do the work. They care about each other.
The unions have sat at the table and bargained for the deals they got and suggested hundreds of ways of fixing what is broken.
Community leaders have come forward with reasoned and moderate solutions only to find what passes for a dialogue with officials is nothing but a sham.
What officials have set in motion has blown up in their faces for the last six months and it will keep blowing up because what they are doing only makes matters worse.
More and more people will wake up to this reality when they find parks and libraries closed, when there’s no one to respond to neighborhood eyesores or problems because city agencies are in chaos from loss of staff without any coherent strategy.
It’s already happening in little ways like the closure of Mulholland Drive because the city can’t afford to make the road safe even as they keep on spending on things that flatter their overblown egos.
The future is as clear as day and it’s not a pretty sight.
The only question is when — not whether — the anger that the school board and Board of Neighborhood Commissioners faces this afternoon and the Council faces in the days ahead boils over.
Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later because the damage they are doing gets worse every day.