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We Survived!

MY THOUGHTS - You don’t know how happy I am that these are my reflections about 2022.  It could have been so much worse.  I’m sure U.S. Psychiatrists were overly booked as we swung from paranoia to schizophrenia and everything in-between.  We’ve had so many ups and downs that perhaps a calm boring 2023 is what we should ask for. 

I’m not going to dwell on all of the negatives we lived through.  Unfortunately, they will remain in our memories and our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be reading about 2022 in their history books. 

I do want to end this year’s column on a high note.  The most important, positive event were the mid- term elections.   I remember going to bed November 6, with that ominous pit at the bottom of my stomach, stealing myself for a disaster. I wasn’t worried about California!   We maybe a bit strange to the outside world, but we are still the leaders in embracing diversity, trying new things, developing new products and entertaining the world.  

Yes, there are a few exceptions. There are small pockets of those who want to go back to the 1950’s where women knew their “place”, white bread was nutritious and local politics was run by those white men who knew what was best for the rest of us.     Kind of what Kevin McCarthy has in mind, if he becomes Speaker of the House.  Fortunately, he will have to contend with a relatively intelligent Senate. 

For years we “liberated” women have been shouting … if women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, machismo would disappear, we would lead with compassion etc., etc. etc.   Well, Nury Martinez (Ex-President of the LA City Council) along with Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lauren Boebert, might have set us back a few years and put a huge dent in that premise.  Fortunately, we have Nancy Pelosi and Lyn Cheney, among many others to counteract their posturing and finally…LA has a Lady Mayor and she is carrying a huge weight on her shoulders. 

 In a prior column, I confessed when I was seventeen, I wanted to be the first Lady Mayor of the City of Los Angeles.  Since I never ran for Mayor, I can’t feel disappointed.  Many decades later, we have a female Mayor, Karen Bass and for those who expect her to walk on water… it’s not going to happen! 

We were fortunate in this mid-term election because we had two strong candidates who weren’t that far apart in their philosophy.  Both are talented with different strengths.  Mayor Bass would be well advised to utilize Rick Caruso.  That is if he really wants to help LA and is willing not to be top dog.  He would bring practical experience to the Homeless problem, certainly knows where to cut all of the red tape and it would allow her more time to focus on other of our problems.  I know this has been suggested by more than one person. 

We also have six women on the City Council.  A First!  They can show: 1) Having differing opinions doesn’t mean you have to be disagreeable.  2) Even though different constituencies have different ideas, compromise is NOT a four- letter word! 3) Show that having more women on the Council does provide a more focused and compassionate point of view.  And please DO NOT behave as prior council members who used their position to enrich themselves.  We’ve had enough City Council scandals. 

In another column this year, I took to task both United Healthcare and UCLA medical for soliciting patients for the Medicare Advantage Program without having sufficient staff to care for patients in a timely manner.  I was told I needed to see a doctor right away but the first available appointment, within 50 miles, was in six months. I use myself to voice an “old” person’s gripe because I am not the only one singled out.  For 2023 they have made some big changes in addressing what I found to be a very common and scary problem.   I can’t take credit for the change, since obviously it has been in the works for a long time. But that column just had great timing.  Amazingly enough, a cancellation at the office where I personally was trying to get an appointment, occurred a week after publication.  

 United Healthcare is the insurer and UCLA is one of its contractors and provides the services.  A new patient service by the insurer is called Duos.  Qualifying members get paired with a personal assistant or a “duo” who can help coordinate services and provide appointments and more. Hopefully, this will alleviate the problem of needing to see a doctor when it’s not an emergency but is life impacting. 

 Another highlight for our country is the way the January 6 Committee did such a superb job in discovering information and presenting it in such an interesting and forthright way at the eleven public meetings.  Please don’t write and tell me it was only a partisan democratic committee.   McCarthy wanted to put two Republicans on the Committee who were knee deep in the January 6 activities. When Speaker Pelosi asked him to choose other Republicans because they couldn’t be objective- he took all his marbles and went home. 

 Even some of his caucus has admitted this was a colossal error.  I may be naïve( as one of my readers accused) but I don’t understand the House of Representatives priorities.  They are promising to have “hearings” on the members of the January 6 Committee.  Practically all the witnesses were Republicans and /or worked for the former President.    How can one rebut transcripts, videos of speeches, copies of texts?   How do you counter that kind of evidence? 

For almost thirty years I wrote a monthly column called “Odds’n Ends.  The December issue always included a “look back” similar to this.  We were an industrial trade magazine for the apparel industry.  Our readers in the English editions were apparel manufacturers in the U.S. and a different publication in Spanish for Mexico and Latin America.  I remember interviewing ex-Mayor Garcetti’s Grandfather Harry, and Great Grandfather Louis Roth who was the California equivalent of Tom Ford - Very high-class men’s suiting.   This interview was all about manufacturing not fashion.  

I would sum up the year and we would bind the 12 magazines into a book.  Thirty years of Apparel industry and my history is sitting in a cupboard in my garage.  We also included life events of people in the industry.  Someone once said “I don’t know if appearing in Odd’s n Ends is publicity or notoriety. 

A little sentiment…At this age we lose more friends than we make.  I can still hear publisher Ken Draper’s voice in my head asking in impatient tones, “Where is your damn column?” We lost three good neighbors between November and now.  At this age we lose more friends than we make.  I am so grateful to all of you even when you criticize.  You keep me feeling relevant. 

I wish you and all your loved ones good health and much happiness.  To have a great City we need to have great citizens.  Mayor Bass needs our help.  If each of us makes it a habit to do one good thing for the City, can you imagine where we will be this time next year?  

Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, and a joyous Kwanzaa! 

(Denyse Selesnick is a CityWatch columnist and a former publisher/journalist/international event organizer. Denyse can be reached at: [email protected])