Plenty of Money For Guns, None to Fix the Ravaged Streets
For months we here in and around El Pueblo de Los Angeles have been regaled by Antonio Vinaigrette, el alcalde, with his song of woe regarding the city's financial shortfall--never once blaming himself for his dozens of wasteful and useless programs. Listen to any local news broadcast and you'll hear of proposals to cut programs--never the useless ones which give millions to people whose main characteristic is that they don't feel like working for a living, but rather to lay off teachers and police officers.
Laying off a few of the useless layers of management and administration is never suggested, but just those who do the work--however poorly.
Drive the length of Wilshire Boulevard , if you dare. Everywhere along its length--from downtown to the Miracle Mile financial district to wealthy Westwood and on into wealthier Brentwood, and you'll find yourself bouncing and banging about like a medieval farmer in an oxcart over a cobble road, fighting to miss the bigger and deeper potholes and rough, poorly done patch jobs.
There are a couple of exceptions: As one drives to the west, he'll eventually find himself entering the city of Beverly Hills. It's easy to tell you're entering Beverly Hills. Suddenly Wilshire Boulevard is a smooth, asphalted throughway, virtually devoid of irregularities. Keep driving. Soon, as Rod Serling used to say, There will be a signpost. It says: "Welcome to Los Angeles." The sign isn't necessary, as the street immediately becomes bumpy and full of cracks and potholes again. Like flipping a switch.
To one who lives in el pueblo, it's embarrassing. It's entirely the fault of el alcalde, who likes to lavish city taxpayer money 'pon the gang thugs with whose parents he once lazed on the sidewalks of East LA. Sidewalks which were in much better repair then, than now.
Alcalde Vinaigrette has, acording to this story broadcast on KCAL-TV, recently announced a new wasteful plan to throw away city funds: another gun buyback campaign. KCAL, affiliated with CBS News, appears to approve of this scam, and reports it in glowing terms.
A number of pickup points have been established at which one can take his $600 Glock, turn it in for a certificate worth $100 worth of groceries. What a deal! Your really mean-looking $1500 rifle or carbine is worth $200 in groceries.
El pueblo, ever looking for new ways to throw away money, isn't even going to resell these little treasures to honest citizens to turn a profit, but they're going to destroy them. So they say.
The Invisible Man could undoubtedly sneak into the dens of any of several of el alcalde's pal's and find the best of the weapons that will be scammed from the more stupid gunowners who will go for the groceries.
Better yet, it's all "no questions asked!" Any criminal can steal a gun, kill a member of a rival gang, then have his girlfriend turn the gun in for some groceries. The murder will never be solved.
There are actually people (not many) who will give up a perfectly good gun for $100--el pueblo has no shortage of really dumb people--though most of the guns they get will be useless old chunks of metal that no prudent individual would dream of trying to fire.
But Wilshire Boulevard will remain bumpy and full of potholes. As will Santa Monica Boulevard, Imperial Highway, Ventura Boulevard, La Brea Boulevard and countless others. El Pueblo de Los Angeles will remain in dire financial straits as this alcalde and the next continue to waste money on all manner of scams and boondoggles, filling their own bank accounts as part of the deal.
Remember: VOTE FOR NO INCUMBENTS!
This past Friday night, the Street Department actually repaved a few blocks of Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood. They did an excellent job, which shows that they can. Oddly, or not so oddly, all the local news shows made a super big deal about it, including interviews with local denizens, a couple of workers and (predictably) even a couple of City officials. What this tells me, is that this is rarely done, and is cause for special notice whenever it happens.
In a city like Los Angeles, a crew should be working on one street or another full time, year after year. We have no shortage of streets that desperately need repaving. Programs like the gun buyback simply waste money that could help pay for things like this.