The words are explosive.
"We are in a full-blown emergency with the worst downturn to our city's revenues since the Great Depression," Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti tells the Los Angeles Times, referring to the fact that we have now experienced four quarters in a row with double digit dips in revenue.
"Mood tense," screams the headline, informing us that Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is in talks with his managers to figure out what to do with the city's nearly $200 million budget gap, which is growing even as I write this.
But as I write this, I keeping getting these annoying alerts from half a dozen news organizations telling me that Apple's Steven Jobs has finally, officially, for sure, introduced his company's new computer, a so-called "tablet computer," which goes by the name iPad! (You know if any other company introduced a product called iPad, it would be laughed off the stock exchange. But this is Apple, and its weirdly-named products [iPod, iPhone, iPad] tend to quickly become part of the lexicon.)
Anyway, as I am watching demonstrations unfold before me on how the iPad works (sort of like an iPhone that somehow got bombarded with radiation and emerged a super-sized version of itself) I keep thinking -- why can't Steven Jobs invent a way for Los Angeles to get out of its fiscal mess?
I mean, the dude's brilliant, right?!
And, if there is, in fact, "an app for that" -- as Apple ads keep reminding us -- doesn't it make sense for Apple to invent something to save L.A. from itself?
No money to pay teachers? Don't worry. There's an app for that! Can't afford to hire more LAPD cops? No prob. There's an app for that, too!
Therefore, I propose to Mr. Jobs that the next creation his company ought to champion is something I like to call iLA.
Every politician in the city would be given their very own iLA unit (battery life would have to be very long, though, considering how long-winded most politicians are) with special access to an iLA store where specially designed applications to deal with the city's problems could simply be downloaded and put into action.
Of course, the iLA unit would be able to do all the standard iPhone/iPad stuff so that our beloved politicos could do social networking till their tweets run out.
But the important thing is, they would always have access to an app to deal with whatever emergency the city happens to find itself in at the time.
Because of term limits, there would be no long term contracts for iLA units -- and Democratic politicians can have ones rigged to block calls and even suggestions from Republican politicians... and, of course, the other way around!
The iPhone changed the world of smart phones. The iPad may be the salvation of the publishing world.
So, why can't Apple -- and my suggested iLA unit -- fix what is wrong with the city of Los Angeles?
If you have a better suggestion, there should be an app for that, too!
Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has covered police and politics in Los Angeles since 1995 and is a regular contributor of investigative reporting to KNX 1070 Newsradio. He has an iPhone but probably won't get an iPad.