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LA Love It or Leave It — Are There Other Choices?

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.


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6 Responses to LA Love It or Leave It — Are There Other Choices?

  1. Concerned Resident says:

    Addressing one manner in which Randi Levin’s ITA could help reduce the City’s budget mess.
    During 2002-03, ITA argued to the City Council that ITA needed an additional Temporary Telecommunications Regulatory Officer (TRO) position to help ITA complete cable television franchise renewal negotiations.
    ITA then proceeded to hire two TROs who had no cable television regulatory work experience. The Temporary TRO hire, William Imperial, was noteworthy for having resigned from the California Bar after having been repeatedly disciplined by the California Bar. See:
    http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member_detail.aspx?x=98400
    Not surprisingly, ITA failed to complete cable television franchise renewal negotiations, thus wasting thousands of hours of City employee time and hundreds of thousands of City dollars, if not more.
    One of the above two TRO hires (Richard Benbow) resigned from City employment and now works for Time Warner Cable.
    Mr. Imperial, the “temporary” hire is still at the City, collecting over $120,000 a year in salary plus City benefits.
    Does ITA have a justifiable reason for continuing to employ Mr. Imperial?
    Not once, during his tenure at the City, has the City ever imposed monetary penalties against a cable television company for a violation of the City’s video/cable customer service standards.
    Cable television franchise fee reviews are farmed out to private CPAs. The City doesn’t need to pay someone $120,000 to renew these contracts with outside CPAs.
    Mr. Imperial has done virtually nothing to put meaningful Public, Education, and Governmental Access programming on Time Warner’s Cable System. There is a bulletin board on one channel in the 90s and another potential channel lies fallow. Imperial is not significantly responsible for the programming on Channels 35 and 36.
    Why does the City continue wasting money on William Imperial?

  2. Anonymous says:

    L.A`s financial rating downgraded by Standard & Poor`s! What a disgrace for our City leaders. They have destroyed the future of our children.

  3. steve says:

    How about, “if you love it, leave it” ?
    Tell City Hall that if they don’t change their ways, you’re packin’ the U-Hauls and splittin’ for cities that have futures – rather than city in cities stuck in the mud of poverty and indifference.
    You’d shake up the power structure there in LA if they thought the middle class will flee in mass and leave them with just the ultra-wealthy and the poor. A town without a middle class will collapse.
    Maybe then Tom LaBonge will stop playing Farmville at the Council meetings and pay attention.
    If you love it- leave it.

  4. El Quixotian says:

    “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.”
    Gotta love alliteration, and P’s in particular have extra pop. 14 of ‘em in one powerful paragraph!
    It’s a such pleasure to read Ron when he’s on a roll….

  5. Chris Rowe says:

    “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.”
    Dear Ron, I am not unhappy. I am glad that since I spent all afternoon at City Hall, and all night in another meeting, that you can summarize the City for me in one blog. LOL

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know who Imperial is, but Benbow is the GM of the department, CDD, that they want to push DONE off on. (who doesn’t want DONE any more than DONE wants to go there)
    There is only one answer, BANKRUPTCY! The time has come! Renegotiate the contracts and start from scratch. This isn’t even the fault of the mayor. It’s simply a necessary sign of the times.

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