In a move designed to surprise nobody, the Mayor announced today that he plans to stop pretending to have any progressive agenda for our city and will instead pull his ideas out of the tired old politician hat, preparing the various city departments for layoffs while promising to keep up the hiring of more police. In an informal poll taken by me, and verified to be completely accurate by nobody, it turns out that the excitement some had for this latest Mayor has quickly turned into resounding disappointment. (Somewhere in San Pedro, a former Mayor is giggling into his late night snack of Cheerios and Nilla wafers.) The fact that he’s turned into a typical political being is not surprising; cheating on the wife, boosting for other typical political beings, propping himself up for jobs to come, all of it is to be expected. But his succumbing to the typical law-and-order line at the expense of other city services is an unexpected low. And boringly, regrettably predictable.
I know that many think the answer to crime and gangs is to add more cops to the payroll. But as someone that grew up in fear of both the gangs and the cops, I have to disagree. If anything, he should be cutting the police payroll to fund programs that might have a meaningful effect on the communities that deal with gangs on a daily basis. The heavy hand of anti-crime efforts are basically lost funds, leading to overcrowded prisons and repeat offenders. I’d rather my money went to some prevention. Maybe Laura Chick should also do an audit on the effectiveness of funding LAPD anti-gang efforts, that always seem to be strangely overlooked.
Another oversight is the way normal working class people get lumped into the same social category of the gangsters that live in the neighborhood, as if all of us were individually responsible for the social conditions that create some of the worst anti-social behavior. I hate to break it to all you “middle class” people out there but unless you are willing to take responsibility for the actions of that crazy neighbor down the street, the one you suspect is on anti-depressants and complains about your dogs, then you really shouldn’t be lumping all the people that live in working class neighborhoods with the faults of a few residents. Take for example this appropriate report tonight from the fine journalists at Fox 11. Calling Ramona Gardens “a hotbed for emotions, for violence” right before they mention that according to eyewitnesses, a kid on a bike was tackled by LAPD, got away, then got shot three times and is in critical condition (the LAPD is claiming it was an “armed suspect”, no surprise there) it’s no wonder the neighborhood came out to protest the excessive violence against kids. Even though the gangs are a problem, at the very least they are a known entity that can be worked around, while the LAPD seems to act as a random package of excessive violence, one you can’t predict. And for all their faults, the gangsters amongst us are people as well, flawed but human. Too many dismiss them as nothings, but that’s not so easy to do when you actually know them as neighbors.
Being a product of the Eastside, you’d expect the Mayor to understand certain things. But he’s chosen to turn his back on any sort of vision and is instead flying the menso flag high and proud. Pobre de ti, Antonio.
PS. The pic above is a few years old and unrelated, though it is of some cops parking wherever they want, even though a space was available. They get to do whatever they want. After taking this pic they came out to “look me over.” Jerks.