Being Mayor of Los Angeles

Being mayor of Los Angeles is all about public service. There are no rewards.

Mayor Eric Garcetti

Mayor Eric Garcetti cannot run again in 2022 due to being termed out. Thank goodness for term limits.

Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León  is the latest local household name jumping into the fight to become the city’s next mayor, joining an already crowded field.

De León is joining an already long list of candidates.

Fellow City Councilman Joe Buscaino has been campaigning for months. So has L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer.

Jessica Lall, of the L.A.-based Central City Association, recently announced her candidacy. As has San Fernando Valley real-estate broker Mel Wilson.

Congresswoman Karen Bass is said to be considering a run at the mayor’s office. Billionaire developer Rick Caruso is reportedly also considering a run. Austin Beutner, the former superintendent of the L.A. Unified School District, is also being mentioned as another candidate for mayor.

While being mayor of the second largest city in the country in the most populous county in the country (10 million people) might seem like a powerful position, the mayor has limited authority.  The city council holds the power.

The issues are homelessness, lack of affordable housing, poor maintenance of streets, high crime, high unemployment (9.7%). Why anyone would want this job is a mystery to me.  It has not been a stepping stone to a more significant position.   

So why pursue the job? Very good salary ($308,214) and prestige.

America’s Billonaires

According to Forbes magazine the United States has more billionaires than any other country in the world, 724. The number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest exploded to an unprecedented 2,755–660 more than a year ago.

The world’s richest person is Jeff Bezos with a net worth of $113 Billion.

There is something wrong with a society that has hundreds if super wealthy citizens while thousands of citizens are struggling to pay for housing, food, and health care. What do you do with $100 million dollars? How many parties do you go to? How many cruises do you take?

I don’t expect our government to do anything about the issue. Congress can’t even agree to pay the bills for programs that have already been approved.

A Donald Trump Test

Police vastly outnumbered protesters around the U.S. Capitol during a sparsely attended rally by supporters of the people who breached the building on Jan. 6, trying to overturn former President Donald Trump’s election defeat.

About 100 to 200 protesters showed up, some carrying the flags of the right-wing group Three Percenters over their shoulders. It was far fewer than the 700 people organizers had expected and the thousands who brought mayhem to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Donald Trump was not in Washington D.C. for the protests. The NYT reported that Trump thought the demonstration was “a setup.” Organized by Matt Braynard, a former data official for the Trump campaign, was held in support of those who have been jailed or have faced other punishments in relation to the Capitol riot of January 6.

Earlier this week, Braynard said attendees would not be allowed to wear clothing in support of Trump or Biden, adding that the event was not about the election or the candidates.

This can’t be happening to me

This does not signal the end of the Trumplicans. As the 2022 elections are approaching Donald Trump will likely endorse candidates. That will be the test for Trump mania. If his endorsed candidates win he will be running for president. If that doesn’t happen it is unlikely he will be a candidate in 2024.

California’s Government is a Failure

Larry Elder was a gift to Governor Gavin Newsom. Follows are his views.

Elder opposes the minimum wage and gun control. He’s said he doesn’t believe that a gender wage gap exists, and has called the climate crisis a “crock”. He has suggested that fatherless families drive up crime rates in Black communities. During the coronavirus crisis, he has given a platform to Covid-19 conspiracy theorists, including a self-identified physician who promoted the false claim that coronavirus vaccines were being pushed in minority communities as “population control”. Elder has said he has been vaccinated but has vowed to repeal California’s mask and vaccine requirements if he wins the governorship.

The Elder platform is the reason Newsom was not recalled.

Forget the social issues that divide Democrats and Republicans. California’s state government has failed.

The list of things that our California government has failed to address is long.  Neither Jerry Brown nor Gavin Newsom and the Democratic Party controlled legislature has addressed any of these issues in a meaningful way.

In the long term climate change is an issue but there are many other issues that demand immediate attention.

-The income gap.  California has more millionaires than any other state but also has one of the highest poverty rates.

-Low minimum wage law.  The low rate of pay perpetuates poverty.

-Homelessness. It’s not just the drug addicted and mentally challenged.  The poorly paid cannot afford an apartment.  Many are living in motorhomes.

-Lack of affordable housing.  Low cost housing units are in short supply and the building codes and zoning laws prevent construction due to regulations and high construction costs.

-Poorly managed state agencies.  Examples are the delays in payment of unemployment benefits, long lines at DMV facilities.  

 -High cost of college education. $46 per unit at two year community colleges.  State university’s fee is $396 per semester unit and $264 per quarterly unit.

-Water shortage.  Yes it is a natural disaster but where is the plan to ensure both agriculture and urban areas have adequate supplies?

-Death penalty.  A ballot measure retaining that law was passed by the public but Gavin Newsom has suspended its use.

-Bullet train. In their voter guides, Californians were informed of an estimate from the California High-Speed Rail Authority estimating that, “the total cost to develop and construct the entire high-speed train system would be about $45 billion.” Current estimates place the possible cost as high as around $100 billion.  Newsom has scaled back the project to 171 miles from Merced to Bakersfield.

-Taxes. California has the highest income tax rate in the nation.

First there is the issue of jobs that pay enough to live comfortably without the need for food stamps and rent subsidies.

The big employers have either closed or moved

  • Toyota: 3,000 jobs moved to Texas
  • Walt Disney: 2,000 jobs moved to Florida
  • Lockheed Martin: 5,000 jobs moved to Georgia
  • Rocketedyne
  • General Motors
  • Price Pfister
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise

When all of those companies left California the state government was silent in the press.

California needs new leadership.

Boston is About to Elect a Non-White Mayor

This is what scares White supremacists more than anything else.  White people are a shrinking part of America’s population.

Leading candidates for mayor of Boston

As reported in the Washington Post all the leading candidates are women of color.  The leading candidate for mayor of NYC, Eric Adam, is Black.  The leading Republican candidate, Larry Elder, in California’s recall election is Black.

Many states are passing voting restrictions to limit minorities ability to vote.  Those states are either in the South or are primarily rural agricultural with relatively small populations.

The next political battle is likely to be the congressional redistricting based on the 2020 census.  Look for many court battles.

What is worse is the divide that between White supremacists and the rest of us.  Those Whites actually fear their lives are in danger.

Hate is hard to combat!

Twentieth Anniversary of 9-11

Ten years ago on the anniversary of 9-11 I wrote:

Television, news magazines, and newspapers have beaten us over the head with non-stop discussions, ceremonies and interviews.  It has been ad nauseam repetition.  It’s as if no one is aware of what had happened and the media needs to keep retelling the same thing over and over.    

Unfortunately the cost to all Americans is great.  We have spent lives and money chasing an enemy that will not be easily stopped.  Our government has done a mediocre job of preventing another attack.  Travel to NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles or any other city and you will see that ports are unprotected, bridges poorly guarded, and large entertainment media facilities unprepared for another attack.  Just the other day, I read in the Los Angeles Times that fire and police agencies still do not communicate on the same air frequencies.

Overseas, rather than chasing al-Qaeda we have focused on nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Arab terrorists must be happy to watch us waste our resources in battles we cannot win.

There seems to be a light in the tunnel as conservative Republicans have questioned our purpose in other nations.  It appears we are starting to learn we cannot steer world affairs.  There is hope!

What changed in the past ten years? Nothing.

President Biden finally ended a war that the past two presidents tried to end but politics got in the way.  Sadly our military and embassy led our government to believe Afghanistan was being built into a western style democracy that could survive and stand on its own.

Have we learned anything? I doubt it!

Last Known Jew Leaves Afghanistan

Most of us know there is a large Jewish population in the United States, Canada, and France but did you know that there is a Jewish community in 99 countries. The last known member of Afghanistan’s Jewish community has just left the country.

Historical evidence suggests Afghanistan was once home to a sizable Jewish community. It reached 40,000 in the mid-19th century and began declining around 1870 with the passage of anti-Jewish measures, according to the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, a nonprofit group. Most of the remaining members of the country’s Jewish community left following Israel’s creation in 1948 and then in 1979 after the Soviet invasion, the group said. The last Jew just left that country on the first day of Rosh Hashana, September 6. He was the caretaker of the synagogue in Kabul.

Zebulon Simentov, the last known Jewish person living in Afghanistan, closes the window to the synagogue he cares for in his Kabul home on August, 29, 2009.

I knew two Jewish people who were born in China.  Their families had left Europe in the 1930s as Hitler started his campaign against Jews.  I know a lady whose family was ejected from Egypt by their dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The Berman Jewish DataBank at Stanford University list all the countries with Jewish residents.  Twenty of those 99 countries have only about 100 Jews.

Why am I obsessed with this subject you may ask.  My father moved our family into a community where anti-Semetism was prominent.  I promised myself I would only live in a community where there is a prominent Jewish population.  The article about the last Jew in Afghanistan on CNN web site prompted me to post this.    

Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashana starts tonight at sundown.

Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning “head [of] the year”, is the Jewish New Year. The biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah, literally “day of shouting or blasting.” It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days specified by Leviticus 23:23–32 that occur in the early autumn of the Northern Hemisphere.

It is Hebrew Year 5782.

Climate Change – United States is Not Prepared

Hurricane Sandy, which was also called “Superstorm Sandy” hit NYC October 29,2012. The New York Stock Exchange was closed, all airports in and around NYC were closed, 7.9 million businesses and households in 15 states were without electric power.

Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, New York after Hurricane Ida

Within two weeks, two storms — Henri and Ida — broke rainfall records in the Northeast. Flash flood emergencies from the remnants of Hurricane Ida stretched for 190 miles from Philadelphia to New York City. Central Park recorded its wettest hour on record.

Meanwhile in the western United States the long-term drought continues to take a toll on the Colorado River, the federal government, in mid August, for the first time, declared a water shortage at Lake Mead, one of the river’s main reservoirs. CNN says there is a looming battle over the available water.

reservoir at 30% of capacity

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in 41 of California’s 58 counties on May 10. In that same month, many farmers were warned that they would receive little or nothing from two large allocation systems, the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.

FEMA is only there to help after a weather event.  There doesn’t appear to be a federal agency working to minimize the impact of a weather condition.