Many of you think of Los Angeles, and think liberals, Britney, and sunshine. That's what I thought, too. I am looking into buying a Prius, avoiding any place where Britney may be flashing people, and responding ot the incessant sunshine by, well, wearing the exact same clothes I wear in winter. That's the New Yorker in me.
But over the last few days, a new opinion of Los Angeles has taken shape.
Angelenos have had a moment akin to when the American people saw George Bush flying over New Orleans in his helicopter, completely out of touch with reality.
At that moment, New Orleans natives realized that our Administration wasn't going to save them, and Americans realized that their government was incompetent.
This weekend, we had a blackout, which ended up leaving us with no power for more than two days, during a heat wave.
The people who live in our community were indignant - who was helping us through this time? When we called the Department of Water and Power, they had no timetable to fix the problem, but they were quick to say they thought they were handling the situation really well. As if anyone asked. If they could have said, "Heck of a job, Brownie," they would have. Honestly, my phone calls with the DWP (all of which were recorded on their end) were capable of filling an Idiot's Guide to Incompetence. The supervisors could not stop saying stupid things, and here is my top three:
* This was an unexpected disaster and we've handled it really well! (What, you may ask, was the disaster? A heat wave not as bad as the one we had last year? This wasn't exactly an earthquake, or even that unusual)
* We have enough people on the job! (How can that be, you ask, since power wasn't restored for three days in many places? When I asked this question, the supervisor responded, "If you want more people, you have to raise taxes. Are you going to do that?)
* We can't put in a work order unless your power has been out for 24-48 hours (when informed that their records show my power was out for 48 hours, they said, "Oh, that's terrible.)
The Los Angeles Times hasn't written an editorial that holds anyone accountable. They've written a bit about the problems that the City is facing, but today, as an example, their editorials are about Iran, the Port, and the State Legislature.
You might think our Councilman would be marching the streets of our neighborhoods, to tell people he's on top of the situation. But we found out that our Councilman, Tom LaBonge, wasn't storming the gates of the DWP because he was in Germany.
Our City is in bad shape. In many communities in Los Angeles, parents cannot send their kids to public schools. Gangs are the main reason for their fear. The Department of Water is unreliable, and they have let us know that our power may go out at any time. The traffic situation is a nightmare, and it's not getting any better. People often site it as the main reason they can't live in L.A.
And yet, we all pay our taxes. We pay for schools, power, and good roads. But the return on our investment is poor.
It would be helpful if we saw political figures that seemed to be on top of the situation, that had a plan to make it better.
It would be enlightening to see the major media publication in our area hold the irresponsible responsible.
What is the plan to fix Los Angeles? What is the plan to make this City livable?
The big fear in Los Angeles is that an earthquake -- the dreaded Big One -- will make the City unlivable. But the bigger fear of Angelenos today is that our City is dying because of a thousand little cuts.