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Season of Lists: LA’s 7 Worst Moments of 2007

December 21st, 2007 by Celeste Fremon

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Before we get to some of the high points from 2007,
let’s look at seven of the bad, sad things done in this city by those who really ought to know better.

Below you’ll find my seven first-bounce nominations for worst Los Angeles moments
.

You likely have your own.
(You may think, for example, that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s tabloid-worthy romance and subsequent divorce was among the worst. And the studio’s unwillingness to settle in the WGA strike certainly qualifies—and that bad behavior is still on-going.)

Some of my choices below were selected because they were symbolic
of larger problems. Others were egregious all on their own.

And by the way, each of these were posted with the understanding
that, for the families of those killed in the 380 homicides that have occurred in LA thus far this year, the worst moments of 2007 were very personal ones.

7. ROCK DELGADILLO sticks the taxpayers with the $1,222 repair bill for his city-owned GMC Yukon that his wife smashed when she was driving it on a suspended license. (And she wasn’t supposed to be driving a city vehicle anyway.) Obviously this wasn’t a transgression to being down the empire, but it sucked symbolically and, if you’re the city attorney, it ain’t done dude.

6. RATHER THAN FIX THE TEACHER PAYROLL DEBACLE or do something substantive about the district’s below 50-percent graduation rate, LA School Supt. David Brewer Supt. Brewer decides to try a little smoke and mirrors by handing out consulting contracts worth more than $350,000 a year to a bunch of PR guys tasked with tarting up the district’s image.(Note to the Admiral. You know that image-fluffing ploy? It isn’t working.)


5. HOLLYWOOD PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL IS
ACCUSED OF DUMPING a homeless paraplegic man on Skidrow, without his wheelchair or walker. The man then procedes to crawl down the trash-littered street in his hospital gown trailing a broken colostomy bag behind him. Ah, yes, City of Angels.


4. IN ORDER TO CUT COSTS, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
combines the Sunday Opinion with the Book Review and slashes the paper’s weekly Sunday magazine, West, and replaces it with a quarterly mag that covers….lifestyle.

3. THE LA SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT PROVES (AGAIN) THAT JAIL IS NOT A SAFE PLACE by putting convicted killer Kurt Karcher into a cell with another man awaiting trial, then failing to give Karcher the meds needed to control his violent episodes. The un-medicated Karcher then proceeded to strangle his cell mate to death. As it happens, Karcher was in the jail system (rather than prison) because he was awaiting trial for yet another murder—of another cell mate. Oh, yeah, The LASD also managed to wrongly deport a mentally disabled U.S. citizen to Mexico where he became lost for three months.

2. A BUNCH OF LAPD METRO COPS clobber reporters with batons and shoot immigrant mothers with rubber bullets (or more properly non-lethal ordinance) at an immigration rally held on May Day in MacArthur Park—all while the cameras are rolling.

AND THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER OF WORST LA MOMENTS OF THE YEAR GOES TO……


1. EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE WHOLE MLK-HARBOR HOSPITAL HORRORSHOW
. After years of scandal and much supposed reorganization and retraining, the emergency room personnel at Martin Luther King hospital nearly kill one patient by allowing him to languish untreated in the ER for four days, then two months later they actually let a woman to die on th ER waiting room floor within full sight of staff. After that, instead of shaping up, despite an expenditure of $18 million in taxpayer funds on consultants, and dozens of broken promises, they proceed to flunk every “must-pass” exam that comes their way, and Los Angeles loses a desperately-needed hospital.

Okay, now over to you.

Posted in City Government, Season of Lists | 24 Comments »

24 Responses

  1. Woody Says:

    What about the outrageous taxes that people pay for these schools and government in L.A.? I’d make that #1.

  2. richard locicero Says:

    “Taxes are the Price we pay for Civilization”
    -Louis D. Brandeis

    See also Bill Gates Sr. and Warren Buffet

  3. Woody Says:

    Well, rlc, I guess that you don’t have a problem with buying shoddy, broken, useless merchandise from stores and then overpaying for it.

    I don’t mind taxes. But, I expect value for my money. Also, I wouldn’t like it if everyone in the store voted for how much I should pay when half of them don’t pay themselves.

    Is L.A. giving its taxpayers corresponding value for their government, schools, and public hospital? Besides being concerned with results, also consider the costs.

    I don’t care what others say. I care about what’s right.

  4. richard locicero Says:

    Yeah that’s right Woodster. I mean what do the head of the largest philantropic foundation and the world’s most succesful investor know about anything.

    And Brandeis? Just another uppity Jew, right?

  5. Woody Says:

    Bill Gates also gave us Vista.

  6. "reg" Says:

    Vista is worse than previous Windows ? Good Lord !

    If you had a clue you’d buy one of those “hippy” computers from Steve Jobs. (The mini-Mac is even pretty cheap.)

    That said, I’ll leave commentary on the hazards of living in LA to experts…like the accountant from Georgia.

  7. Woody Says:

    Our household has both Mac and PC. The PC is better for business applications and compatibility with clients, and the Mac is better for graphics and video/audio applications.

    I have learned a lot about the problems of L.A. by using that neat invention called the internet. (Thanks, Al.) I suspect that I know more than a large number of people actually living in L.A., because most of them don’t get involved in problem areas or don’t care, and most don’t read Celeste’s site. I also know a lot about So. Cal and UCLA even though I’ve never set foot on those campuses. (Hint. The faculty is swarmed by liberals.)

  8. Woody Says:

    Since everything is about Iraq, can we “leave commentary on the hazards of” defending freedom in Iraq “to the experts…like the” work challenged in Oakland?

  9. "reg" Says:

    Nice thread you’ve got going for yourself here Woody. Obviously people find you stimulating…

    When I figure out what “work-challenged” is supposed to mean in reference to me, or am able to recall a single thing you’ve ever stated about Iraq that wasn’t a right-wing talking point for the woefully credulous and tragically, arrogantly ill-informed, I’ll get back to you.

    Meanwhile, get used to the fact that you and yours have been effectively marginalized politically by your own endless streams of crank bullshit.

  10. richard locicero Says:

    I’m enjoying the monolog. But Woody why are UCLA and USC among the top 50 research universities and why do the Trojans have the most foreign students? Guess Athens GA is only good for some great rock bands.

    See Ya at the Love Shack!

  11. Woody Says:

    Oh yeah, reg. Like you have any room to talk, given your serial comments which often run six, seven, or eight times consecutively.

    rlc, don’t be stupid. Almost any major college can point out where they are in the top whatever if it chooses the right rating service and its best field of endeavor. Uh, does USC have the most foreign students because it accepts all of those illegal aliens? UCLA was beaten tonight in its bowl game by BYU. I’m not a Georgia fan, but Love Shack is pretty cool song.

  12. Randy Paul Says:

    Uh, does USC have the most foreign students because it accepts all of those illegal aliens?

    They must be rich illegal aliens.

  13. Woody Says:

    USC ad: “Free tuition in exchange for landscaping!”

  14. David Horowitz's shadow Says:

    Woody, I’m even going to ignore you if you keep dumping on UCLA. (Check out their men’s’ and women’s water polo teams, too: best in the country, lots of athletes compete and win in the Olympics and other national & int’l championships.)

    USC, ric and Celeste can and do defend. It used to be dissed as a party school for snobby rich kids too dumb to get into good schools, now it’s about half foreign, the most in the country. Guess the school really needs the foreign currency — it’ll help rebuild the Coliseum, which in turn will bring in more than enough revenue to make a profit.

    Anyway, rating a school just based on sports is pretty limiting: for that reason, the Ivy League only plays others in the League and Army and Navy. But trust me, when it’s ancient rivalries between Harvard-Yale or Cornell- Yale or Columbia, the enthusiasm rivals the Pac 10 or the Big Leagues. But athletes don’t trump everything else.

  15. Randy Paul Says:

    Anyway, rating a school just based on sports is pretty limiting: for that reason, the Ivy League only plays others in the League and Army and Navy.

    Although I agree with your sentiment, this is not true. The Ivy League consists of only 8 schools. As you can see here, the schedule includes teams outside of the Ivy League.

    What the Ivy League does not do is give athletic scholarships, making the term student athlete probably more honest than anywhere else.

  16. David Horowitz's shadow Says:

    I’ll have to look into the details after Xmas, and admit that when I was there, I do recall our playing other teams, even Canadians for ice hockey, so that was a simplistic remark: but when it came to the games that mattered to anyone, if was frankly only those in the Ivy “League,” which includes Army and Navy, so that was ten; and there were certain prohibitions against vyng for the other “Big Ten/Pac Ten” types of leagues. Frankly, I’ve lived in Calif. so long the details are vague, but I’m sure some of my Alum. Assn. sports aficianados can help me out on details — after Xmas.

  17. David Horowitz's shadow Says:

    Had to do a quick scan of Ivy sports out of curiosity: All 8 are NCAA Division I teams, and in the top 20 for number of sports offered. Goal is max. no. of athletes participating, while also achieving dominance in (the same sports their Oxbridge counterparts would include): fencing, lacross, soccer, rowing, etc. Also strong in polo, ice hockey. Chose not to participate in certain Div I football tournaments, due to a strict limit of 10 games per year. Fund athletic programs equally regardless of win-loss records, no athletic scholarships per se but they do strongly consider excellence in one of their sports as a factor for admission and offer financial aid. Officially the athletes are on the same academic par with everyone else, though in fact, we all could see they tend to cluster in certain easier programs, especially for football — still overall the best balance of sports and academic excellence.

  18. Randy Paul Says:

    They never included Army & Navy, just 8 private schools:

    From North to South: University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, Yale, Brown, Cornell, Harvard and Dartmouth

  19. David Horowitz's shadow Says:

    I know Navy/ Annapolis and Army aren’t Ivies, but we did/ do play them anyway. It’s some of historical tradition, since they’re not NCAA but are good. Trust me you don’t need to tell any Ivy grad to list them — most of us checked out all of them before we applied and have established rivalries w/ diff’t schools in different sports. Most any east coast high school kid can list them — along w/ the 7 Sisters etc. (Of which Barnard/Columbia is one, overlapping.)

  20. David Horowitz's shadow Says:

    I’ve no intention of spending the rest of Xmas arguing this, but most recently (Nov.) Army/ West Point played (and lost to) Cornell in the Ivy League (as noted the Ivies play non-Ivies too in Ivy League or they’d have very little variety), and Army played Cornell, Penn and Harvard in football. There are Patriot and Collegiate League games they all participate in. Since I wasn’t an athlete (you can tell) from a school spirit POV only Army and Navy elicited the passions from historical rivalry that the other Ivies do. Maybe because when you’re up again a Big East or Pac 10 team, you know their emphasis on sport as a business gives them an advantage and takes it out of the “gentlemen’s/ gentlewoman’s” game. Though there are exceptions when it comes to sports a school wants to “own,” e.g., Cornell plays UConn and other large “agricultural” schools which field good teams seriously, whereas urban Columbia and Penn don’t field as strong teams. Go put some extra rum in that eggnog or have it straight, forget about this now, I know I will. (Except I’m going to try to watch more Ivy games — kind of hard to do out here in California.)

  21. David Horowitz's shadow Says:

    RE: Cornell vs. UConn etc., neglected to mention that the sport in question is polo. Ditto with ice hockey which has a limited number of schools participating at that level. Okay, back to my hot toddy. (Speaking of which, since it’s so cold at a lot of these schools for winter sports like hockey, when we were asked to show “team spirit” everyone raised a flask. No wonder some of the details went by in a blur…Not really.)

  22. Woody Says:

    Only on a liberal’s blog would discussions of the Ivy League take precedence over the Southeastern Conference.

  23. Randy Paul Says:

    Actually, I don’t give the proverbial rat’s ass about gridiron football. Any sport which requires more than three hours to take place, in which the aggregate time during which the sport is actually played is about fifteen minutes doesn’t interest me.

  24. David Horowitz's shadow Says:

    Woody, you have to be a liberal to care more about the Ivy League than Miami State? This is an L A blog, remember, and if anyone here cares about big Conference play, it’s Pac 10. USC and UCLA, remember? But it’s typical for a southerner to dismiss the Ivy League as for a bunch of liberals only — yes, it tends to be that, but less so than what USC seems to be, since academic excellence and tradition trump politics. And when you go to Oxford or Cambridge (yes, those profs are the most liberal of all, for better or worse) they know the profs at the Ivies and v.v., and maybe the politics are liberal, but these are the places where the whole university stops to enjoy high tea or a pint midafternoon, and other genuinely “Anglo” traditions so lacking elsewhere.

    I guess some people prefer sawing wood with power saws and fiddling with old cars in their driveways, to each his own.

    Back to your first point on this blog: we do pay way too much in L A for the schools and services we get, otherwise I’d agree with ric that “taxes are the price you pay for civilizaiton.” If only we had any. But I don’t blame the pols or cops for this — when you have a population that’s 45% Hispanic and 12% black, vs. 10% Hispanic just in 1980, and 3/4 the students in public schools are eligible for food stamps for being below the poverty line, that is a city in a population crisis (thanks to lack of federal policy). The LAUSD has been a disaster, but the cops especially under Bratton anything but.

    (Good Op Ed in the Times, Celeste — even if you’re getting blamed by some of today’s Letters for “overlooking” Rampart back in 94 — but that was Bitter Bernie’s legacy. Woody, did you know Celeste gets criticized for being too pro-cop?)

    But when you keep dumping on all of California for this and that and complaining that Georgia is subsidizing us (right, look at our respective state economies and taxes to D. C.), keep in mind that other towns that have the expensive homes we do in some areas have terrific schools (because they don’t have to carry this whole low income population): look up nearby Rancho Palos Verdes, Manhattan Beach, San Marino (largely Asian), further south Corona del Mar/Del Mar. We have unique problems not understood by someone in rural Georgia. (It would be like us just dumping on Georgian rednecks for believing in creationism. Now, that is something we shouldn’t be subsidizing as a nation. What chance do those kids have of performing in the mainstream scientific world or contributing back to society?)

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