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.