64 Worst: There Can Be Only One!!!

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While they were all close, gang violence, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and slow 911 response times weren’t chosen by Metblogs readers to be the absolutely worst thing about L.A.

Nope, you decided it Metblogs readers: that honor goes to The High Cost of Owning a Home.

Perhaps the lack of home ownership is the root of many of Los Angeles’ problems. Having a city of renters means a large rotation of citizens, moving in and around the city, and often out, but rarely sticking around in any one place long enough to plant roots and express concern for the long term viability of any one neighborhood. The balance of politician’s attention is spent focusing a minority of home owners as they’re the ones paying property taxes (although the homeowners complain that their tax dollars are being spent on city services for renters that they’ll never use). And the wedge the real estate bubble further into the class divide has made L.A. even more a city of the haves and have nots.

A couple quotes from previous rounds where you can see The High Cost of Owning a Home slugging away for the title:

“When LA County’s median income is half of what is needed to buy a median priced home, there is something terribly, terribly wrong. Thankfully the idiots that ruined the market for the rest of us are getting their comeuppance.” –Kent Nichols
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“Is it any wonder that most Angelenos can’t afford to make the American Dream of home ownership a reality? In fact, many of L.A.’s poorest residents end up living with several families all under one roof, packed like sardines in a crushed tin box.” –Mike Winder

So there you have it. Its settled. If you ever hear anyone ever say, “The worst thing about LA is/are ‘fake people,’ ‘the smog,’ ‘fake boobs,’ ‘the traffic,’ ‘the lack of Dunkin’ Donuts,'” or whatever else they bitch them about, tell them, “No. The worst thing about Los Angeles is the high cost of owning a home. I read it on the L.A. Metblogs.”

64 Worst Championship Round: LAUSD vs. Cost of Owning a Home

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It’s the big dance, baby! The round that will decide what is the absolute worst thing about Los Angeles.

Is it the high cost of owning a home, which arguably has put the so called “American Dream” out of reach of the vast majority of Los Angeles residents and created an even steeper class divide?

Or the Los Angeles Unified School District, the notorious bureaucracy that has wasted millions on broken payroll systems, unusable schools, irrelevant architecture, and unnecessary internal staffing while classrooms remain overcrowded, unsafe, and plagued with inexcusable dropout rates. (by the way, LAUSD very narrowly beat out Gang Violence in the last round by 2 votes, 51% to 49%.)

So, Los Angeles, what is the absolutely worst thing about this city:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

hit counter…poll closes next Tuesday evening…

64 Worst Bloodmatch: Cost of Owning a Home vs. Slow 911 Response Time

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The “winner” of this brawl will go up against the “winner” of yesterday’s bloodmatch to determine the absolutely worst thing about Los Angeles- still time to vote on both.

There’s nothing worse than calling 911 and being put on hold or disconnected, except, of course, being told help is on the way and then it never showing up. Whether its due to a poorly relayed address, overwhelmed emergency services, or sheer imcompetency, somehow I think we’d be safer if we were told flat out “help won’t be coming for you” so we could spend time handling the emergency ourselves.

I’m surprised the Cost of Owning a Home has come this far in the 64 Worst polling, considering that a) home prices dropped an outstanding 9.6% between February and March of this year, b) home prices dropped a stunning 25.6% between March 2007 and March 2008, and c) the reason the numbers remain so impossibly high is due to the arrogance of the public who kept buying inflated prices based on ill conceived notions that there could possibly be no real estate bubble. Seriously, people, did you learn nothing from the dot com bust? Or are you too busy still buying stake in Google to be paying attention? [data: California Association of Realtors]

 Which is worse about Los Angeles:
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Thursday evening…

64 Worst Bloodmatch: Gang Violence vs. LAUSD

Deathmatch Finals logo

Today and tomorrow’s “winners” will bring us to the final matchup deciding the absolutely worst thing about L.A., so vote wisely!

Yep. This one is gonna be bloody!

Gang culture is responsible for thousands of deaths and a lower quality of life for countless denizens who live under the fear of violence from thugs who believe that might makes right, and that color and geography determine which side you’re on.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is an institution that for years has forgotten to put students ahead of bureaucracy, effectively making overcrowding classrooms into gangbanger incubators.

Which is worse:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Wednesday night…

64 Worst Quarterfinals: Cost of Buying a House vs. Parking Tards

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Back when times were simpler, Will Rogers recommended, “Buy land. They ain’t making any more of the stuff.”

These days we’re inching closer to making a frickin’ black hole, but we haven’t made a single dent in the creation of more land.

With the median price of a house in Los Angeles County currently at $440,000.00 and the average married couple bringing home $58,000.00 a year, is it any wonder that most Angelenos can’t afford to make the American Dream of home ownership a reality? In fact, many of L.A.’s poorest residents end up living with several families all under one roof, packed like sardines in a crushed tin box.

Yes, you heard it here first. The cost of housing in Los Angeles sucks.

But so do parking tards.

You know parking tards, right? They’re those palookas that for reasons unknown—perhaps a deep-seated anger towards the housing market?—feel it’s their God-given right to plant their vehicle on the street any way they damn well please.

Spotting parking tards is a favorite pastime here at L.A. Metblogs. Eagle-eyed authors have discovered that P-tards sometimes travel in three; sometimes they’re idiot savants; and sometimes their unscrupulous behavior can make even the most refined among us utter the single most offensive word ever devised by man.

Which is worse:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Saturday evening…

Photo of Silver Lake’s Occidental Apartments, courtesy of you-are-here.com.

*** Bonus: Archival photography of history’s most famous parking tard.

64 Worst Quarterfinals: Self Important Jackholes vs. Slow 911 Response Time

Hey! You there! Get out of my way. Can’t you see I have somewhere to be? No I don’t have a reservation, don’t you know who I am? What do you mean, you were here first? Don’t you know who I am? Oh I know you won’t hit my car, it cost more than your house. I said, DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?

And on the flip side… nothing. Your call is put on hold indefinitely. Officers arrive after the crime has been committed, if they arrive at all. Everyone thinks your problem is someone else’s problem. There is no one to help you.

Which is worse:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

…poll closes Friday evening…

64 Worst Quarterfinals: Gang Violence vs. No Respect for Local History

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As part of the ongoing effort to find the very worst of our fair city, today we examine two more elements of Los Angeles, gang violence and the lack of respect for local history, to determine which is worse. At first glance this one might seem like a slam dunk for gang violence, at least that is what I thought when I decided to post this but the more I thought it over the less it seemed like a sure thing.

On one hand we have gang violence: According to LAPD figures, during the last five years, there were over 23,000 verified violent gang crimes in the City of Los Angeles. But wait, there’s more; that number includes over 750 homicides and 12,000 felony assaults. That’s a lot of violent crime and violent crime is never a good thing.

On the other hand there is the lack of respect for local history: Many people in Los Angeles don’t know local history and this is in large part due to the huge numbers of transplants here in LA. If you don’t have roots in a city it takes some work to learn what existed before you arrived. Over time I’ve gained a good sense of local history but often times when I bring local history up in conversation it turns into a discussion about what eatery used to be where and how all the good video stores are gone. When many of us talk about local history we often talk about places that personally mean something to us, these are interesting facts but ultimately this history is just trivia.

One of the problem with regards to history is that citizens, politicians and policy makers often don’t respect or don’t pay attention to the real history of the city including the multitudes of real estate deals and developments that built up certain parts of the city and left others to languish. Many also don’t know about the history of official and unofficial segregation of housing in our city or the questionable, borderline criminal policies when it came to policing lower income areas*. The historically unaddressed divide between the haves and the have-nots leads to disenfranchisement, resentment and anger towards the prevailing social and economic power in the city. Now I can’t speak for you but if you told me that the city I lived in would ignore a history that left me feeling alienated, I’d look for a way to build a community that could exert some authority and protect me in a way that the city had historically been unable to do; one way to do this is by joining or forming a gang.

So what’s worse, gang violence or the lack of respect for history which has indirectly led to gang violence? It’s your call, please vote below.

Which is worse:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

…poll closes Thursday evening…

*To be fair steps have been taken in recent years to improve these but the negative effects of past policies remain.

64 Worst Quarterfinals: LAUSD vs. People Who Don’t Pick Up Their Dog Poop

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By now, you’ve discovered a little inconsistency in the matchups of our little L.A.’s 64 Worst Things shootout.

We put up some huge contenders against each other in the early rounds (LAPD vs. L.A. Times?) that resulted in great but slightly-lesser evils being eliminated prematurely.

dog pooSo now we’re left to decide head-scratchers like this: What’s worse – inconsiderate dog owners? Or the entire bloated, lazy, horrible, costly and tragically ineffectual LAUSD bureaucracy?

On the one hand, you have a relatively small number of selfish, short-sighted dolts who are fouling our streets with the products of their indifference, leaving an unsightly, unsafe, unsavory mess and degrading the quality of life for every man, woman and, especially, child in Los Angeles.

On the other hand, you have some dog owners who can’t be bothered to pick up their shit.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Continue reading “64 Worst Quarterfinals: LAUSD vs. People Who Don’t Pick Up Their Dog Poop”

64 Worst’s Sweet 16: Lack of Left Turn Signals vs. Slow 911 Response Time

I have to admit surrender to challenging left turns, even though I like to tell myself that I’ve outwitted them. Instead of getting in the back of a line preparing to turn left at an intersection that lacks a dedicated left turn signal, I opt for going through the intersection, and making the next three available right turns, so I can head down the road the singular left turn would have allowed me. I haven’t spent the time to find out which saves me the most time, although I’m sure I’m less at risk of being plowed into by oncoming traffic as I make a left.

I don’t know about fellow readers, but if there’s one thing I’d be willing to pay more in taxes or fees for, it would be an overhaul of the 911 system. Stories of callers being put on hold, calls dropped, or emergency resources dispatched to the wrong locations are all too frequent. But don’t blame your local fire fighter or police officer – the problem is an antiquated system:

If you call 911 from a cellular phone in the L.A. area, the call will be routed through the California Highway Patrol. The caller’s location will not be identified automatically. It is extremely important to give clear and accurate instructions to the location of the emergency. Freeway interchanges are especially difficult for emergency responders who haven’t been given accurate locations. A good example is the I-5 and I-14 interchange in North Los Angeles. There are 23 separate routes of travel. If a wrong location is given, 10 – 20 minutes may be required to travel to the next off ramp and respond back to the emergency along the correct route. [LAFD]

Which is worse about LA:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Saturday evening…

64 Worst’s Sweet 16: Smog vs. Self Important Jackholes

Since L.A.’s infamous smog has made it into the sweet 16, I’d like to take the opportunity to let everyone know that National Air Quality Week begins next Monday, April 18th. Keep an eye out for coupons to get your car’s emissions tested, and if needed, consider rigging your car to ensure passing. But take pride in knowing that Los Angeles is ranked #1 as the United States’ Most Polluted City, according to the American Lung Association. Whoo-hoo! (cough, cough.)

I haven’t seen a study, but I’m pretty sure sociologists would also rank L.A. as having the highest density of self important jackholes who think they’re entitled to cutting in line at restaurants and clubs, deserve better customer service, and feel little need to extend common courtesy because of who they think they are or are associated with. Do these people wake up in the morning, and stare into a mirror all Travis Bickle like, rehearsing the line, “Don’t you who I am?”

What is worse about L.A.:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Saturday evening…

64 Worst’s Sweet 16: Scientology vs. Cost of Buying a House

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On the bright side, the cost of purchasing a home in Los Angeles seems to be dropping according to The California Association of Realtors [via LA Times LaLaLand]:

“The median sales price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during February 2008 was $409,240, a 26.2 percent decrease from the revised $554,280 median for February 2007.”

That’s right, a four hundred and nine thousand dollars. Chump change, especially when compared to the type of “clarity,” “cleansing” and “knowledge” that just $500,000 could bring you and a signifigant other of you spent that on classes in the Church of Scientology.

Approximately a quarter million will allegedly bring each individual to the level of “OT VIII” (Operating Thetan level eight) where you’ll learn not only how to astrally project, resist all forms of disease, and rid yourself of homosexual urges, but also be told of “knowledge so dangerous… any Scientologist learning this material before he is ready could die.” [“Inside Scientology,” Rolling Stone, Feb. 23, 2006] And yes, it involves Xenu, and explains that the story of Christ and other world religions are mere propaganda meant to keep mere mortals down.

UPDATE 10:57am, 4/24/08:

POOL CLOSED due to “enterbulations” coming from “SPs” lookin for “lulz.”

Results up until 12:01am today: Cost of Buying a House (103 votes) – Scientology (80 votes)
Results from registered voters only: Cost of Buying a House (19 votes) – Scientology (16 votes)

Based on the preceding, Cost of Buying a House is declared the “winner.” Scientology is “cleared” from progressing further as the “Worst Thing About L.A.” – although, according to previous polls, it’s in the top 16.

…poll closes Friday evening…

64 Worst’s Sweet 16: Parking Tards vs. the Starbuckification of LA

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It’s ironic that Parking Tards are even on Metblog’s list of the 64 Worst Things About L.A., considering how much we love to find, photo, and write about them. If you’re like me, spotting a parking tard is sort of seeing a washed up celebrity in LA – not all that rare, but you still need to tell everyone you know. Besides, posting these photos makes up for the fact that we often forget to have parking a-hole infraction notices printed and ready from [email protected].

And then there’s the ever sprouting weeds known as chain stores that seem to make every LA neighborhood look like the other, and LA look like every other city in the US. Heck, check out this map of downtown LA – there are eight Starbucks in an eight block radius! Granted, gentrification is a nationwide epidemic, and many franchises launch on the West Coast before spreading like the plague, but at the current rate we’ll need to begin designated historic status on strip malls if we want to retain a unique sense of identity.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Friday evening…

64 Worst’s Sweet 16: No Respect for Local History vs. Curb Sneakers

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Three things you probably didn’t know about L.A.’s history:

  • During the 1940s, the site Travel Town now occupies “was used as a Photo Experimentation Laboratory, a military film location, a Camouflage Experimental Laboratory and Yard, (and) a Prisoner of War Enclosure.” [from Beneath L.A.]
  • Wyatt Earp died in Los Angeles on January 13, 1929 after living in the city since at least 1920. His residences included 4021 Pasadena Ave., and 4004 W 17th Street, where he expired at the age of 80. [Wikipedia]
  • Terminal Island was known as Rattlesnake Island prior to the Los Angeles Terminal Railway’s extension there in 1911. [from Beneath L.A.]

All you really need to know about Curb Sneakers:

They are “scum of the earth” who speed into the right turn lane at red lights, then pull back into traffic when the light turns green cutting off the rest of us suckers.

Which is worse about L.A.:

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Thursday evening…

64 Worst’s Sweet 16: Gang Violence vs. People Talking On Cell Phones While Driving

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From the LAPD’s website:

During the last five years, there were over 23,000 verified violent gang crimes in the City of Los Angeles. These include 784 homicides, nearly 12,000 felony assaults, approximately 10,000 robberies and just under 500 rapes.

Statistics are less available for the damaging effects of “people who talk on their cell phones while driving,” with or without a handsfree device. But based on personal experience (including my own driving habits), drivers drive carelessly, drift into other lanes, forget to use blinkers, are slow to act upon changing traffic signals, and ignore common courtesy for other drivers when they’re talking on a phone… or, sometimes worse, they just drive slower to compensate for safety. I’m of the opinion that without the invention of the cell phone, we’d see a dramatic decrease in traffic jams, accidents, and other gridlock.

Of course, gang violence is a horrible problem. But bad driving due to cell phone yapping is something that effects many of us directly on a daily basis.

So, which is worse about Los Angeles?

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Thursday evening… 

64 Worst’s Sweet 16: LAUSD vs. No Metro Service to Dodger Stadium

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Whether you blame it on the Dodger owners or the City of Los Angeles, the incredibly poor effort at providing reasonable mass transportation options up the the stadium is a black eye on the city. Last year the stadium boasted a new “transportation hub” using local radio to direct drivers on how to best arrive at 16,000+ available parking spots, which, according to assorted eyewitness accounts, did little to help accomodate baseball fans who still find themselves in “that peculiar L.A. tradition of arriving in the third inning and leaving in the seventh inning to avoid the jam.” But how about express lanes for buses and shuttles, and other incentives to make public transportation a viable option to get to the stadium? If people are in the bleachers earlier, and stay longer, they’ll buy more hot dogs and beer. If you build it, they will come.

The waste of money on beaureaucratic red tape makes even the most left of liberals consider a school voucher program a more viable option, and our disgustingly high drop out rate makes one wonder why homeschooling isn’t mandatory instead of merely controversial. The Los Angeles Unified School District is such a mangled mess that it’s a constant surprise the public hasn’t cried for its immediate dissolution and a new school system started from scratch. Teachers, aka the heroes that are the heart and blood of schools, are not only underpaid, but due to LAUSD’s poor management of payroll systems, often go unpaid due to “computer errors.” I wonder how many of the LAUSD’s highest paid execs have accidently gone without a paycheck?

Which is worse about L.A.: 

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
…poll closes Wednesday night…