It was 105 degrees yesterday on our street, and the power had been out since the day prior. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power had not even been out to look at the problem. They had other issues to deal with -- other power outages around the City. So, in the stifling heat, the people who are supposed to take care of it are out taking care of other problems.
When I called the DWP, they first told me that someone would be out to look at the problem by 8 pm that night (it was 3 pm when I was calling). I asked if it was possible that they wouldn't come, because I'm a cynic, and the DWP told me that, of course, anything is possible. As if it was crazy for me to suggest that they wouldn't show when they said they would.
Naturally, they didn't show. Then, when I called back, they told me that crews would be there within the next 10 hours -- by 5 am the next morning, for sure. Naturally, by 5 am, no one showed.
As a taxpaying resident, who is there to help me, and my family? To let us know what is happening, when the problem will be fixed, and what we can do in the meantime?
There is no one to help.
No Councilman walking the street to tell you it's all going to be okay. If you check on the DWP Web site about the power outages, you tell me where I'd find the information I need.
If you call the DWP, they'll put you on hold for a half hour without ever picking up the phone.
If you call the 311 City system, they give you information that is simply irrelevant to the problem.
It's 105 degrees. I have a pregnant wife, and a cat that's throwing up because of the heat. And we have no idea when it will end.
It's as if you called 911 and were told the police would come see you in two days.
I should tell you, I'm no fan of Rudy Giuliani for president, but I do recall, as Mayor, that whenever there was a problem, Rudy was there. On site. Taking command.
So I called my Councilman. My Councilman's office told me that the DWP has 47 crews in the field, in 163 separate neighborhoods. They told me our power may not be back until tonight or tomorrow.
They didn't mention that we hadn't seen our Councilman. They didn't mention that we hadn't seen our Mayor. Why weren't they out on our streets?
The Councilman's office mentioned that the power grid needed to be replaced 20 years ago, but we didn't have the money, because of Prop 13, which won't allow the government to raise taxes.
I should have asked if the Councilman drove one of those taxpayer-paid for cars. Perhaps if we had less of those, we'd have more money to fix the grids and we wouldn't need to raise taxes.
What are we paying our elected officals for in Los Angeles? We pay them to show us they are working to fix the problem. Show us leadership and competence. Show us that we are on top of things.
But there is no one to help us.
When my neighbor goes to his car, I ask him if he's heard anything. Nope, not a thing. He, his wife and daughter go out all day to escape the heat -- they go to the mall, to the movies, anywhere they can find air conditioning.
Across the street, I heard the screams of a baby, tortured by the oppressive heat. I never even knew that they had a baby, but now, all of their windows are open, and I hear their child's pain.
The DWP, which we pay every month, has failed us. Our elected officials are absent. We get no information in the sweltering heat, and tonight, we will go to a hotel, on our own dime, despite the high payments we already make to the DWP.
Giuliani knew that the Mayor had to show that he was solving problems because he had seen John Lindsay, a once-popular Mayor, fall from grace when he didn't appear to be on top of a crisis.
John Lindsay didn't get the snowplows out to remove the foot and a half of snow in Queens until days of snow banks had been left untouched, and the residents were up in arms. By the time the plows made it to Queens, Lindsay's time had passed.
I hope the absent L.A. political figures are not surprised when the same fate befalls them.