Realizing that San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle have undertaken them in the race to the bottom, Los Angeles comes storming down from the middle to retake the rear. Citing rat infestations at city hall and the police station, FBI investigations into corruption scandals, along with garbage piled all through the streets and a Typhus epidemic, LA is once again staking their claim to being the biggest s***hole city in the US.
Advertisement - story continues below
Then there was the news that the LAPD station on skid row was cited by the state for a rodent infestation and other unsanitary conditions, and that one employee there was infected with the strain of bacteria that causes typhoid fever.
We’ve got thousands of people huddled on the streets, many of them withering away with physical and mental disease. Sidewalks have disappeared, hidden by tents and the kinds of makeshift shanties you see in Third World places. Typhoid and typhus are in the news, and an army of rodents is on the move.
On Thursday I saw a county health inspector on rat patrol between 7th and 8th streets on skid row. He was carrying a clipboard and said he had found droppings and other evidence of rodents, and I asked where:
“Everywhere,” he said.
Advertisement - story continues below
Well, it’s nice to know somebody is doing something, but you don’t need a clipboard. I’ve seen so many rats the last two weeks in downtown Los Angeles, I have to suspect they’re plotting a takeover of City Hall, which vermin infiltrated last year.
The city of Los Angeles has become a giant trash receptacle. It used to be that illegal dumpers were a little more discreet, tossing their refuse in fields and gullies and remote outposts.
Now city streets are treated like dumpsters, or even toilets — on Thursday, the 1600 block of Santee Street was cordoned off after someone dumped a fat load of poop in the street. I’m not sure when any of this became the norm, but it must have something to do with the knowledge that you can get away with it. Every time sanitation crews knock down one mess, another dumpsite springs up nearby.
The north side of 10th Street looked like a landfill. Trash was scattered in the street and on the sidewalk, and there was a little bit of everything. Splintered lumber, metal poles, soiled blankets and clothing, a sofa, buckets, boxes.
“Trucks come by and run over the trash,” said Ron Riego, 60, who lives under a tarp on the corner and pointed out where some of the debris has been flattened by traffic.
Riego said he was just back from the hospital, where he was treated for congestive heart failure and water on the lungs. On returning to his tarp, he discovered that someone had set fire to some of his belongings. Now he was sorting through his things to see what was salvageable, and planning to move a few feet to the west.
“Rats chased me out,” he said, so he was surrendering his lean-to to the rodents.
I saw a few encampments nearby and standing, murky green water in the gutters. Were the drains clogged with trash? Is a water or sewer line leaking? You just never know, and you almost don’t want to think about it. I go through a lot of antibacterial wipes after a day here, and I take my shoes off before I enter my house. It’s horrifying to think about how many people live in the middle of all that muck.
I went back to 16th and Compton the next day to find a city crew cleaning up the mess, and I spoke to James Campbell, who runs the uniform rental company on that corner.
“I call the city and they usually come within a week, but then it’s always piled right back up again,” said Campbell.
“I don’t even like stepping out here because of the needles,” said Campbell, who told me he cringes when customers come to his office and witness what’s at his doorstep.
“It’s embarrassing,” he said.
When I called Councilman Jose Huizar’s office about the trash piled on Ceres Avenue, a staffer told me issues like that are complaint-driven, and if no one has called, the office might not know the problem exists.
What, they don’t have eyes?
But council districts have as many as two dozen employees and in times of crisis they ought to have more than a few of them in the field, spotting and solving problems, and cracking down on illegal dumpers. Not just with citations, but with handcuffs, perp walks and mandatory trash pickup duty.
The city has thousands of workers on the streets every day writing tickets, fixing potholes, driving trash trucks. Every one of them ought to be reporting issues they see on their rounds.
“If you’re writing a parking ticket and someone dumps a toilet in the street, you should call sanitation,” said Estela Lopez of the Downtown Industrial Business Improvement District, or BID.
The crews that clean the streets of that BID are homeless or formerly so, and they’re employed by the nonprofit Chrysalis, which tries to get them all housed and self-supporting. James Blackwell, for instance, supervises Lopez’s crew and told me he just moved into his own place.
It’s a terrific program — clean the streets and get people off the streets at the same time. Chrysalis staffs 16 BIDs in L.A. and 10 Caltrans crews, and would like to do more. But an expansion proposal has gotten bottled up at City Hall. Stay tuned for more on that in the near future.
NBC4 adds this video report:
Yet the far left Hollywood celebrities who live just a few miles away would rather focus on mocking Trump than fixing their own neighborhoods and streets.
They voted for it, they’re getting it, but let it be an example to the rest of the world of what happens when liberal wackjobs are given control of once-beautiful cities.