Ordinary, Januarys commence with extraordinary promise, but this past one early on was beyond extraordinary. We gained all the relief of purging a dismal civic year, LA 2011, even by the end of the first week. The weather remained joyous, sometimes even summery.
But things got tricky, trickier...and bad times swelled. Some grizzly murders again begged to open questions regarding the competence of the LAPD's homicide unit. The Redistricting Commission weighed in and mostly surrendered entrenched communities to districts dominated by anonymity. The new Council President took to his job by throwing his weight around in the most petty, least responsible way possible, marginalizing enemies and stroking anyone who would stroke him. Then there was this horrific story out of LAUSD at the end of the month, capsizing absolutely everything. By last night, again, it was obvious we were living in the same old awful city with the same old problems and the same awful, awful people in charge.
One thing that our civic leaders have persistently demonstrated throughout this squandering of early-year promise is that they really don't give a damn what people want. They are mostly interested in manipulating civic opinion rather than serving it, and when they are not manipulating opinion as best they can, they are interested in their in the next office, the next office, the next office.
The media? Oh, dear. They report mostly the perfectly banal: how much money a candidate raised, and typically give the more powerful side of a conflict the greatest ear. They now print advertorials all over their papers, not only on their opinion pages.
There is something enormously, endemically flawed about Antonio Villaraigosa's Los Angeles, where so few can, and so few are encouraged, to rise above the fray and do the right thing. I'm not sure anyone of our current players has the courage to fix any part of it. It is increasingly difficult merely to write about it.