Crime sells — that’s the verdict of a new analysis of local TV newscasts that lead their broadcasts one-third of the time with hyped-up reports of rape, murder and mayhem of one sort or another.
News about local government tops the news 2.5 percent of the time, according to USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s Norman Lear Center
Actually, it’s not crime they are selling but fear. Crime goes up and crime goes down, but fear of crime stays nearly constant.
It’s why a guy like Antonio Villaraigosa can triple the trash fee with the promise the money will go in a lockbox to hire more cops and then use two-thirds of the money for other things.
It’s why a street cop like LAPD Chief Charlie Beck can dismantle Bill Bratton’s crime-stopping strategy to pull hundreds of cops out of specialized details like Metropolitan Division.Gang and Narcotics Division and Crime Reduction and Enforcement of Warrants Task Force and put them on routine patrol duty. .
It’s why a guy like Paul Koretz in all seriousness in these times of dire financial troubles can put a priority on calling for Starbucks to ban customers from carrying guns even when allowed by local laws.
“Allowing handguns to be carried into places where guns are not now found has potentially deadly implications,” Koretz told Rick Orlov. “Nothing has happened in Los Angeles yet, but I’m concerned about what could happen. “It is a frightening thought in terms of public safety of having people walking around armed.”
It’s all about fear and our belief we can somehow live in a world without risk.
It’s why we spend trillions on wars and missile defense systems that achieve nothing. It’s why we put public safety as the one and only priority and let our schools, parks and libraries go to hell.
What are we afraid of? Do we really think we can live forever, that we can put a prophylactic armed force around us and be immune from all intrusion?
Healthy societies don’t spawn terrorists or gangs that take control of whole neighborhoods or violent drug wars or so much criminality that the prisons are overflowing to the point that dangerous felons are thrown onto the streets without parole supervision.
We are at the point of no return in LA where we have to decide what kind of society we are, what kind we will be years from now.
Where the leadership of our city is taking us with there decisions in this crisis is to a city of rich and poor, a “Blade Runner City” where police have no choice but to suppress and oppress the poor while the rich live in guarded enclaves
That’s a vision that ought to cause a shudder of fear in everyone. A city without a healthy middle class and real opportunities to reach the middle class is a city like Detroit and Cleveland, empty shells of urban life with luxury entertainment zones surrounded by poverty.
Savage DWP rate hikes on homeowners combined with a wide array of other “tax” increases and sharp cuts in public services, the slashing of school budgets, expanding policies of buying jobs and developments with massive subsidies and cuts in taxes at DWP rates — all assault the middle class and inevitably will speed up the long-term flight of people that can afford to leave town.
There is another way as I have repeatedly argued. But it will take an uprising of the community and an awakening of the labor and business communities to where the long-term self-interest lies.
What the mayor and City Council are doing will created conflict and controversy continuously in the weeks and months and even years ahead.
It is clear they are incapable of change. So we must change them, replacing them people who represent the interests of their communities and the city as a whole — and not just the special interests who finance their campaigns.
Seven seats in the even-numbered districts are up for election a year from now and credible candidates who can raise enough money to mount serious challenges. In 2013, eight seats are up with seven Council members termed out.
Think about: Soaring charges to residents, shrinking services, failure of leadership, growing grassroots organization –sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better.
So don’t let the media or the politicians play to your fears. The tide of history, the story of LA, is driving real change. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.