Friday, January 22, 2010

City actions and "How does this help US?" questions

First, I want to lay off the mayor today- and I don't mean "employment-wise" even though, now that I think of it, it doesn't sound like a bad idea. No, I mean I won't put in my criticism of his activities in today's posting- and there's been a few in the last couple of days that I will leave that for others to present, and that crowd is an ever growing one. Instead, I will point out a few of the actions in city council by our CMs that might cause you wonder, "Why the big push over such things?"

First, CM Tony Cardenas was into creating "Lactation Rooms" in city buildings- and I supposed either rented OR owned- where there are at least 250 occupants. I still don't know if this is about breast feeding babies by city employees at work, which I doubt. Or, is this for the public's benefit? And the idea seems to be to promote pumping of breast milk for later use for infants.

I mentioned this here in this blog when it came up in November and it was a bad itdea then when the city wasn't so heaving into treading water for financial survival. It's now a worse idea.

On the agenda:

"ITEM NO. (18) - Motion Required - Two Reports on One File

CONTINUED CONSIDERATION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS and ARTS, PARKS, HEALTH AND AGING COMMITTEES’ REPORTS relative to the feasibility of creating lactation rooms for mothers with newborns in City facilities with 250 or more occupants."

There's more in print but this is the core of it.

No matter what, THIS is a bad time to even study it, which is what City Council approved during Wednesday's meeting. "Study the feasiblity of creation of lactation rooms" What is this? It can't happen without money and Cardenas voiced his idea that maybe a corporate sponsor would come forward for this. That's doubtful as well, since they would look as out of place with putting their money on this accessorizing the Titanic as it's going down. No, looking for contributions for flotation gear would be more appropriate if we are going anywhere with the metaphors.

You know there's less city employees by way of the Early Retirement Incentive Program. 2400 have chosen that as their manner of exiting city service. So the work remaining for all areas has to be covered by what or whoever is left. I need to ask, is this assignment of a study REALLY necessary? Does anyone think it ranks above, say, keeping library functions open, or police on the job? Why intentionally divert city "man-hours"- or as a gender-neutral observation, city "person hours"- to this task? What is the study going to tell us that would be really ABSOLUTELY USABLE NOW and worth whatever charges will be created for the task?

I say, CM Cardena, stop trying to gear up for the next Mayor's race with such thkngs when you see the city ready to be sold off, piece by piece to cover management mistakes.


The council on Wednesday banned smoking in the outdoor areas where it was the last place smokers could go publicly to puff on the tobacco goods. Does the city have to spend time on this kind of thing? A CM mentioned that this was the kind of law adopted by an adjacent city and that it was then predicted to cause a loss of business for restaurants, and it did.

You have now the city controlling pot, and none too well from the history as proof, and you have Jan Perry's ban on more fast food franchises in South L.A. (formerly "South-Central L.A." but what's in a name anyway) because those residents are not mature or educated enough to make proper decision on food to affect their health. So Jan Perry steps in to fix it. No new franchises opening? A business-friendly city, indeed, Mr. Council President Eric Garcetti. Garcetti last month chastised a critic - "Don't lecture me about being business friendly" and then cited what he deemed cleared him. And why do this when the people will just travel to whatever place has their desired fast food, making this kind of regulation very ineffective in the end and penalizing businesses that already have to deal with a bad economy, too? Does that kind of consideration ever cross paths with the thought processes of the Council Members? It surely seems not to happen all too regularly, much to the detriment of the quality of life in L.A.

"L.A. council extends smoking ban to outdoor cafes - Starting next year, restaurant patrons will be barred from lighting up within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas and within 40 feet of mobile food trucks. Violators faces fines of up to $250." By Maeve Reston, January 21, 2010,0,6071802.story

All this is an excursion in to Nanny Statehood where the public is too stupid to live life by their own choices so that the City is the new Nanny to take care of the care-needy folks. Tell us what to eat, and tell us now about running restaurants and smoking. If a restaurant is annoyingly smokey to patrons, they will not be eager to eat there, business dwindles and changes in the market place will occur. But now, regardless of the DEGREE of intrusion if any into passersby or patrons, the city says, "Can't smoke there anymore- bad for us passing by." CM Greig Smith from what I heard of the meeting was a real complainer and I really wonder how much scientific basis for any of his claims exists. OF COURSE, you know if smoke is annoying, but will you just fall over and die if you walk past any of these areas or do you have to stay for a certain time to be irrevocably harmed? Too many unchallenged assumptions with this, as with every item of city motions to affect free choice.

And if the FIXED areas were enough of an intrusion, THE TACO TRUCKS aka "MOBILE FOOD KITCHENS" will have a buffer zone of smoking-prohibited for a 40-foot radius. So if you are out in the street and light up, look around to see if there's a mobile food truck that's pulled up to withing 40 feet of you. If so, you are in violation. All city council continues to do is put the real problems on the back burner. There are some books that have as the theme, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" that talks about what's important to worry about and what's not so important. Such lack of prioritizing has been the curse of City Council for years and continues to be the ongoing practice. (Incidentally, the author of those books died a few years ago but I imagine he did not create his own demons out of nothing while he lived and maybe helped some people to live a better life by seeing a bigger picture).

Nanny State- or Nanny City- as the case may be. We don't need it. It's representative of a government that disregards the choices of its populace and their right to make their own mistakes or successes. As for businesses, all the rules are burying business. Yesterday's L.A. Times had a story about auto repair shops in Glassell Park and Cypress Park and the desire of some to cull the herd of some of them to spruce up the area. Whether this is a move toward gentrification, I don't know, but it does seem that uses that were there for a long time and that provide a livelihood are being rejected more easily in these days where you want to at least not eliminate jobs since the city is very bad at creating jobs in the private sector. The city IS GOOD however with public jobs, creating a lot that they now have to cut due to "no money."

Any way you look at it, the Council is out of touch with things and what is important to a coucil member is what gets the attention, regardless of the real utility, cost or need. Business as usual.

Replacements will be needed when the next elections come around. Think about changing the status quo. And one thing to consider, a lot of this candidates for any office are just the aides and staff chiefs who move up to "take over the family business" so to speak. It's constantly the product for L.A. that you can see by tracing the paths in most council districts. We need DIFFERENT people, not "family members."