CORRUPTION WATCH-On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Americans elected Donald Trump President on the basis of the Politics of Rage. Millions of Americans, albeit less than 50%, were out for revenge. Although the Democrats’ hubris coupled with an inability to count votes in the Electoral College tipped the scales in favor of Trump, without the passion for revenge throughout much of the nation, Trump would not have won.
On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Angelenos re-elected Eric Garcetti Mayor of Los Angeles on the basis of the Politics of Ignorance.
Garcetti was already the longest serving politico at LA City Hall. The voters first elected him as councilmember for Council District 13 in 2001. In 2006, he became City Council President which in LA is an extremely powerful position anyway, but even more so then because Mayor Villaraigosa was seldom in town and when he was, Tony V was primarily concerned with chasing skirt. Thus now, more than anyone else in LA, Garcetti can take credit for the city’s current condition.
During Garcetti’s tenure, Los Angeles has declined from being a Destination City to which people aspire to an Exodus City from which people are fleeing. Every day in every way, life is LA is becoming worse. Yet, Angelenos are ignorant of the connection between city government and the deterioration in the quality of their lives.
- The infrastructure is decaying with about three water mains bursting a week and creating sink holes into which cars disappear.
- Traffic congestion has gone for bad to terrible to second worst in the nation to worst in the country to worst in the U.S. and Europe to having the worst traffic gridlock in the entire world. (Inrix 2017 Traffic Scorecard.)
- There is an outward migration of the middle class that has to aggravate to split between the very poor and very wealthy since the middle has picked up stakes and moved away. The lack of a vibrant middle class also kills the opportunity ladder and the middle class is to step out of poverty.
- The City’s Dependency Ratio is progressively worst each year. The Dependency Ratio is important to gauge a city’s future since it measures the percent of people working versus the percent of dependents. Generally, that is the number of young people between 0 and 18 added to the number of over age 65 versus everyone in the middle. Since the young and the elderly do not generate income, they are a drag on the tax base. The smaller the middle class, the greater the tax burden on the middle class.
- The City’s homeless problem is escalating due to Garcetti’s Manhattanization of Los Angeles which has destroyed over 22,000 rent-controlled units since 2001. When veterans, the disabled and the poor are evicted, they often cannot afford market-rate housing and thus they end up on the street. An increasing number live in SUVs and cars. The services for the homeless are very expensive for the LA, but Garcetti does not provide extra funds to make up for the loss of police and paramedics because of the need for them to tend to the increasing problems of homelessness.
- Garcetti promoted Measure HHH to allegedly build affordable housing, but via Measure JJJ, that money can subsidize luxury apartments -- of which the city has a glut, over a 12% vacancy rate. (As the UN reported on March 1, 2017, it is worldwide trend to construct dense housing units for money launderers and oligarchs to hide and cleanse their money. Thus, LA provides money to construct “investments” for wealthy Russians. I guess in some respects, Garcetti is not all that different from Trump.)
- Housing prices in LA are beyond out of control due to the developers’ practice of “being nice to” councilmembers to get whatever Up Zoning they desire. Once a friendly councilmember places any Up Zoned project on the city council agenda, it automatically passes unanimously – even if no councilmember votes for it. The City Council vote tabulating machine is programmed to Vote Yes for everything all the time.
- In the 15 years of Garcetti’s tenure, LA has gone from a world class destination City to a failing city which is again insolvent -- and yet a whopping 81% re-elected Garcetti for Mayor.
- The City is insolvent – again —with a $250 million deficit.
- The crime rate is ratcheting upwards.
- LA is the most park poor large city in the country.
- The density in DTLA and Hollywood and the Westside has only just begun to escalate. Once it is under way, it will make traffic even worse and housing prices continue to rise. As traffic worsens, it seems that more people use cars because mass transit is very slow; in addition, it goes very few places while cars go everywhere and it is increasingly dangerous with unreliable timetables. Thus, the mere prospect of an arduous commute results n people seeking the comfort and relative safety of their own vehicles.
The Difference between Trump and Garcetti
Unlike Trump, who is a mentally disturbed, twitter-addicted braggart held aloft on the wing of resentment and rage, Eric Garcetti speaks softly and carries a big war chest. He is a low-keyed political genius who skims along on a cloud of misinformation and misdirection. Also, he is backed by the LA Times which has been the master of Alt-News since its inception in the 1800s. The LA Times’ secret motto is “All the News the Elite Wants You to See.” Thus, Angelenos swim in a vast sea of ignorance. They know things are worse every day but they are clueless as to the cause.
The results of the Politics of Rage and the Politics of Ignorance are essentially the same – deterioration.
(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.