Los Angeles

Los Angeles Is Killing Itself

The romantic, popular conception of the city bears increasingly little resemblance to Los Angeles today.

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citron_smurf/Flickr

Los Angeles hit peak swagger in the mid-1980s. After a decade of dwindling population, Los Angeles County was again gaining, about 120,000 people per year. Hollywood had near-perfected the summer blockbuster. The city's downtown subway system was finally completed. And a Soviet-bloc boycott had left the L.A.-hosted 1984 summer Olympics to serve as an ostentatious demonstration of American exceptionalism.

But the romantic, popular conception of the city that solidified in those years bears increasingly little resemblance to Los Angeles today.

The definitive rundown of L.A.'s problems comes courtesy of the Los Angeles 2020 Commission, an independent 13-member body lead by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor. The commission released a pair of reports earlier this year which provide a precise—and surprisingly strident—diagnosis. L.A. suffers from a deluxe-size version of the vicious urban feedback loop that's already swallowed up several smaller cities in California: a shrinking job market, rapidly escalating public pension costs, and widespread deterioration in general infrastructure.

Los Angeles is the only large metropolitan area in the country to register a net jobs decline over the past two decades. While national employment has jumped by 20 percent since 1990, L.A.'s has dropped by 10 percent.

L.A.'s middle class is shrinking, with citywide median income falling steadily since 2007. And L.A. now has the highest poverty rate among any major American city.

These trends are partially attributable to the lingering effects of the financial crisis and broader transformative forces affecting the entire national economy. But, as the Commission report makes abundantly clear, these have been massively exacerbated by City Hall.

Just consider these two facts about the L.A. fire department: 

  1. Its personnel recently secured a 26 percent uptick in their total average compensation. This package now sits at well over $200,000 a year, including $106,000 in salary and $65,000 in retirement contributions and otherwise unspecified "human resource benefits."
  2. L.A. firefighters still regularly use paper maps. A couple years ago, the department got called to an address in the community of Woodland Hills that was established after the map they were using had been printed. The engine lost its way, the fire raged unabated, and several people died. The victims' families successfully sued the city for millions… Then, a year later, the same thing happened again.

That same endemic bureaucratic incompetence has left Los Angeles' public school system as one of the most dysfunctional in the country. Fewer than half of its high-school students are even proficient in English. Less than 60 percent graduate. And only about a third complete the course requirements needed to qualify for admission into the state university system.

These failures are not a function of scarce resources. (When are they ever?) Municipal school authorities run with an annual operating budget of $6.47 billion; with 640,000 K-12 students in the system, that's over $10,000 per head. The big problem is that the L.A. Unified School District is institutionally allergic to experimentation. High performing charters like KIPP Academy have a tough time scaling up. Low-income schools aren't encouraged or allowed to incorporate targeted innovations—like longer class days and truncated summer breaks—that have shown promise in closing the achievement gap. Incompetent administrators are almost never held accountable.

The general city budget certainly isn't suffering from scarcity either. In 2011, municipal revenues were only down about 4 percent from their 2008 peak. But those dollars that aren't lost into the bureaucratic abyss are largely gobbled up by exploding public employee pension expenses. Back in 2002, pension costs accounted for about 3 percent of the city's budget. Since then, they've grown 25 percent per year. Now, they constitute 18 percent, totaling $1.3 billion annually.

Meanwhile, city officials are neglecting basic public infrastructure investments that even the most ardent libertarian could love, such as road improvements. Deteriorating street conditions and perpetually delayed highway expansions have exacerbated already horrific traffic congestion and driven up commute times. The average LA worker now spends about an hour a day getting to and from work. About 12 percent spend two hours or more—fully four percentage points above the national average.

Long commutes don't just suck up otherwise economically productive hours of the day, they also kill human happiness. Research has linked commuting with decreased life satisfaction and heightened anxiety. (Long commutes also have the unfortunate effect of propping up the mind pestilence that is political talk radio.)

City leadership has not exactly demonstrated bold leadership in face of all these profound challenges. 

L.A. just got off eight years of the uniformly disastrous mayorship of Antonio Villaraigosa, whose only evident talent is self-promotion. This a man who should have risen to no higher station than moderately successful late-night infomercial pitchman. Yet the L.A. voting public freely elected him to office. Twice.

An investigation from LA Weekly at the end of his first term found he spent just about 11 percent of his working days on direct city business. The rest was occupied with banquets, ceremonies, photo-ops, ribbon cuttings, and other meaningless masturbatory activities of mayoral politics. Villaraigosa's bloated staff included 931 deputy mayors. He racked up a $100 million budget deficit. And, you might be shocked to learn, he abused his station for personal gain. Villaraigosa was eventually forced to shell out $42,000 in fines for illegally securing free concert and sports tickets.

Villaraigosa was term-limited out of office last year and replaced by Eric Garcetti, a man embodying the cool, non-threatening technocratic enthusiasm befitting a Rhodes Scholar. He's the natural counterbalance to his predecessor's vacuous flash. It's fair to say Garcetti is not instantly repulsive.

But whatever his merits, the new mayor seems highly unlikely to affect substantial change. Yes, Garcetti may well be able to broker some targeted fiscal reforms and slightly ratchet back the pension problem. But he's operating under clear political incentives to avoid serious structural shakeups. And mayoral power is, by design, tightly circumscribed.

The primary drivers of Los Angeles' fate are unsexy city departments, council staff, and administrators. As the Milken Institute's Kevin Klowden, who contributed to the L.A. 2020 report, told me: "It boils down to if you can change how the bureaucracy works." It's improbable the city can pull that off. Perhaps that's a pessimistic take, but does the recent history of Los Angeles justify anything else?

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222 responses to “Los Angeles Is Killing Itself

  1. I would like to see data on the commute times of LA over time from at least 1980 onward. Did it get worse or was it always bad? Lack of infra investment or too much sprawl?

    1. The main cause of traffic nightmare in LA is that people don’t work where they live or vice versa.

      LA is one of the few places where most of the jobs aren’t concentrated in the central down town area, and it’s pretty feasible to live close to work no matter where the office is.

    2. I just know that driving there in 1998 at 3:00 in the morning was like metro Detroit at rush hour, and rush hour was like nothing I’ve ever seen, before or since. Including Chicago and Toronto.

      Fucking horrible. I don’t know why anyone would own a car or drive in LA. It’s soul crushing.

      1. That’s a bit dramatic. My commute is 20 minutes door to door for 6 miles through residential neighborhoods. 35 minutes if I bicycle. I’ve taken an Express bus to get downtown when I know there’s going to be traffic, and tell people to fuck off if they invite me to something where I’ll be stuck in traffic for very long.

        Most annoyed when I try to get out of town, which involves transiting the urban core, at a non-rush-hour time and there’s traffic.

        1. I used to date a girl from LA. She lived in Santa Monica but the rest of her family lived in Pasadena. That drive was terrible.

        2. I was driving more like 30 miles – perhaps I should have specified.

          No, not at all dramatic. IT ACTUALLY WAS THAT BAD! I was stunned.

          Subsequent trips/driving in Ontario, Anaheim and environs reinforced how bad it is.

          If your particular drive is better, I’m glad. The driving I’ve done out there was fucking less enjoyable than lunch with Tulip and Shriek. LITERALLY…

      2. I drive once a week generally. The rest of the time I walk to work, walk to the grocery store, and crawl home from the bar.

        Of course, tomorrow morning I get to drive. I have to be at Doheny and Beverly at 10:00 AM. And thanks to Obama, I will be facing absurd traffic from his fundraiser. Per the Daily News traffic warning tomorrow:

        “– The area around Beverly Boulevard and Doheny Drive between 4 a.m. and 5 p.m.;”

      3. I don’t know why anyone would own a car or drive in LA.

        Because nobody walks in LA.

        1. And nobody puts Baby in the corner!

          *dramatic look*

        2. Thanks for reminding me that I’m a nobody, BP.

          1. Dale Bozzio wouldn’t lie to me, would she?

            1. Probably.

              http://www.truecrimereport.com…..ugshot.jpg

              1. Yikes!

        3. By golly, you’re right – nobody walks in L.A.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_UpLtGEWoY

      4. You MUST own a car in LA. Why you would live there is the real question.

    3. It’s gotten worse.
      They haven’t ‘truly’ added to the freeway system since about 1970. The funds were diverted and the master plan from the 1950’s was never completed.

      The population has grown, capacity of the roads has not and far outpaced their capabilities.

      Some try and state that ‘mass transit’ is the way to go however, LA is so spread out which makes it near impossible.
      And the transit that has come, is limited due mostly to political interest and ideology and serves only sections which make it near impossible to use it as a true commute.

      As of this April, California pays 18.4 cents in Federal gas tax, while the ‘state’ charges 52.9 cents. That’s 71.3 cents of tax ‘per gallon’.

      So California is paying 71.3cents in tax for Every gallon of gas purchased. (Even higher for diesel)Which is ‘supposed’ to go toward building and fixing the freeways. However years ago, they put that in the ‘general fund’ and use it elsewhere.

      Politics, terrible planning, ideology and failed leadership is to blame for the frustration, excessive gas use due gridlock and the quality of life drop, especially for southern Californians.

      Lastly, the overflow went to the streets that surround the freeways and for years now, the congestion there is as bad and at times even worse.

  2. All this is sad but true, though of course the elephant in the room (and which Cytotoxic will hate me mentioning) is the mass immigration of the last three decades. LA is poorer, more bureaucratic, more corrupt, and has less of a middle class, just like all those countries south of the border. What a coincidence.

    1. Well, it makes sense whether anyone hates you for saying it or not.

      The problem is, is that if people have the mindset that government should/is going to, solve all of our problems, then we’re only going to get a lot more problems, that government also cannot solve.

      I honestly don’t know why a majority of people from Latin American think government is the answer to anything, but a lot of them do. But it makes no sense, especially with the suffering a lot of them have went through already at the hands of their ultra corrupt governments. I think it has something to do with the reverence they hold for ‘familia’. Mabye they still hold to the concept of ‘government is us’, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

      1. If you move the population of Mexico City to LA, it will turn into Mexico City.

        1. Shhhhh, you are not suppose to notice that.

          1. I can’t wait for that cinema!

        2. Did New York City become Dublin in the 1890’s?

          1. DUUUUUHHH!!!

            1. DUUUUUHHHblin!!!

              fixed

          2. Did New York City become Dublin in the 1890’s?

            To some degree, yes, it did. But today we have a welfare state, official multiculturalism, less patriotism/nationalism, immigrant groups less loyal to the US, language issues, and a small but distinct revanchist movement among Mexicans.

            Plus, of course, the fact that most people would prefer the culture and economy of Ireland over Mexico.

            1. The economy of Ireland now or in the 1890s?

                1. With its .18% property tax rate and an immigration policy that allows people to become permanent residents simply by going down to the post office and filling out a form saying ‘I live here?”

                  1. It’s easy to have liberal immigration policies when you are a small island that’s hard to get to.

                2. We are seriously considering buying some property in Ireland made cheap by the financial collapse to avoid scorching LA summers. .18% property tax sounds dreamy. Yes that’s right 1/5th of a percent.

            2. Ahhh, but the beaches!

          3. Did New York City become Dublin in the 1890’s?

            Well before the 1890s.

          4. My understanding is that to a large extent, yes, it did.

            Of course the Irish immigrants assimilated much better than contemporary Hispanic immigrants. And I think it goes without saying that Dublin in the 1890s was preferable to Mexico City today.

          5. To a degree, yes. The immigrant Irish were accustomed to a system remarkably like Tamanny Hall, and so the tended to vote for same.

        3. John thinks liberty and safety are only for people with a smooth ivory skin who are Protestant and speak English. Please leave Hit & Run and go join the KKK where you belong.

          1. yawn

          2. One can believe that everyone deserves liberty and safety without believing that everyone should be able to move to the US.

          3. John thinks…

            Psychic, you are not.

      2. A lot of Latinos don’t care about politics much. Less than half of eligible Hispanic voters vote, and that figure is obviously not even affected by the large number of non-citizen immigrants who can’t vote. Turnout for local elections here in LA is low.

        To the extent that political Hispanics lean left-wing, it has to do with their history where the right-wing has often been associated with traditional colonial oppression, corruption involving control of the government by the elite, military dictatorships, death squads, etc. In some cases these regimes were supported by the US or European powers. Of course, left-wing groups haven’t been any better on any of those measures when given the chance to rule. This post is a major oversimplification of a broad and complex history of a large diverse region. These general factors are why, for example, the term capitalism has relatively low popularity among Latinos. It doesn’t mean the same thing to them that it does to libertarians.

        1. Good points, I’ll add that another reason some Latinos are attracted to big government political groups is that many small government political groups, or at least ones with such rhetoric, alienate them. ‘Come join us and help save our country from people like you’ is hardly going to attract a lot of them.

          1. Definitely. I know quite a few people who might otherwise have been conservative republicans, but at least may have been apolitical or independent if not for that.

            1. *might not

              Sorry for the typo

            2. Utter nonsense, and hilariously condescending. There are plenty of minorities in the conservative and anti-amnesty movements. They don’t ask for special treatment and don’t receive it.

              People who run around demanding special invitations to things based on their skin color aren’t looking to be self-sufficient.

              1. Plenty relative to what? Who said anything about special handouts (and on that note, I hate to break it to you, but the Republican Party is not libertarian or anti-handout)? I’m talking about how a significant number of republicans are anti-immigration (not just anti-amnesty or anti-illegal immigration) and a minority, but significant nonetheless, is downright racist and/or xenophobic. This turns off a lot of people of all races. You can blame democrats and the media all you want but at the end of the day republicans need to take some responsibility for their public image.

          2. The Stupid party being stupid, aside, a lot of Latins, although they could be considered conservative in their personal views, lean hard left politically. I still don’t understand it, but it’s a fact.

            1. Yes, a lot of them seem “populist”/anti-libertarian: socially conservative, economically liberal. Hence one reason I think it’s suicidal for libertarians to support open borders.

            2. Blacks block voted for George Wallace (even after he died…voted for his wife as well) AFTER he stood in that door at the University of Alabama refusing to let them in. Figure that one out.

          3. “You may stay and help, but just as long as you’re useful, then you have to learn to look like us.”

        2. “corruption involving control of the government by the elite, military dictatorships, death squads, etc.”

          Yeah, no left-wing Latin American dictator was ever associated with any of this.

      3. Because they don’t think that the American Government (at least at the state level) is as corrupt or cronytastic as their previous government?

        1. Dude, let me tell you about this. A lot of folks in Latin American countries really believe that there is ZERO corruption in American government, and that all Americans are mega fucking wealthy. It’s the funniest thing ever, only it’s not funny.

          1. After spending three years in LatAm I would largely agree. Many think the US is much less corrupt, and they are, to some degree, right.

      4. That’s actually an old notion getting some new life lately — the idea that Anglospheric/Nordic nuclear-centric families are something of an outlier culturally may explain why they’re so much wealthier, in theory because the lack of wider tribal identity lead to much less incidence of and tolerance for corruption.

        1. I think there’s something to that. Fewer blood feuds and less inbreeding, too. Cousin marriage is a huge problem in the Middle East.

    2. Really? How much illegal immigration has LA experienced over the past 30 years? My impression was that the overall flow of population was away from LA.

      Either way I agree with you that barriers to entry should be lowered so illegal immigrants have an easier time coming in and finding productive work where they’re not exploited by unscrupulous employers.

      1. If they can’t find productive work, why are they coming. Whatever the problems associated with illegal immigration, their inability to find productive work once here, is not one of them.

        And if they are not being exploited. No one makes them come here and take the jobs. The problem if there is one is that the illegals, since they work outside the law, have an unfair advantage over native workers.

        1. You’re first argument is 100% true in a free market economy without a social safety net. But if you don’t have to work to make a living…

        2. How so? Native workers have the option to either work outside of or within the law, whereas undocumented workers only have the option to work outside of it.

          1. The penalties for you or me working outside the law are hefty fines and possible jail time. The penalty for an illegal immigrant working outside the law is deportation, which is the exact same penalty if he gets caught doing anything, legal or not.

            1. Wouldn’t working put them at greater risk for detection and subsequent deportation?

            2. The penalty for an illegal immigrant working outside the law is deportation

              That’s hilarious. Maybe in theory, but not in practice in California. Here you can get arrested for violent crimes and not deported.

              1. Reason has stories all the time about innocent undocumented aliens that get deported for no real crime.

                1. Well, it can happen, but it’s more the exception that the rule. In my part of the country, local law enforcement is instructed to not turn over illegals to the feds, hence we have periodic outrage when spectacular crimes are committed by illegals who have been previously caught and released.

                2. being undocumented is a real crime

            3. “The penalty for an illegal immigrant working outside the law is deportation, which is the exact same penalty if he gets caught doing anything, legal or not.”

              haha

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctuary_city

        3. It’s hard to get a regular job without a social security number and other documents, which are kind of unreasonably hard to get for people who weren’t born in the US.

          And they are being exploited. Because the barriers to entry are so high, traveling to and from the US is difficult, expensive and dangerous. So employers (not to mention criminals, coyotes, and cops) can mistreat immigrants because they don’t enjoy the same legal protections as citizens and getting away from that mistreatment is much more difficult.

          1. If they are being exploited they shouldn’t come. To say they are means that they somehow don’t know their own best interests.

            And yes, you can abuse them. That is what makes them attractive hires.

            1. Being exploited in the US may be a risk worth taking if they think they can make money here. Especially if the alternative is poverty and being murdered in the streets by the cartels.

              That doesn’t make it alright that the US government is complicit in their being abused.

            2. If they are being exploited they shouldn’t come.

              Or the USG should get out of the way.

          2. It’s hard to get a regular job without a social security number and other documents, which are kind of unreasonably hard to get for people who weren’t born in the US

            Not that hard if you have $10,000. I will decline to specify how I know this, for obvious reasons. Suffice to say, she was from Brazil, she was gorgeous, and she was crazy. Good times.

          3. “It’s hard to get a regular job without a social security number and other documents, which are kind of unreasonably hard to get for people who weren’t born in the US.”

            False. Getting a social security number isn’t terribly difficult for an illegal alien. I used to work for an illegal alien. The only federal agency that gave a f*ck about him was the IRS (not that they gave him any special consideration; they treated him like the treat every business owner) and to keep those goons at bay, he obviously needed to pay his taxes. In order to do that, he needed a social security number. Which he had.

          4. SSN’s can be stolen, or falsified and plenty of cash work exists. I don’t know enough about employers mistreating immigrants to comment, but in my area, there are entire networks to get immigrants situated and productive. Many of these networks seemingly work on commission and can call up workers for various jobs at will. Buyer beware on the competence.
            I don’t see where they are being exploited.

            Should it be easier to get in? Sure. but the system as it is, at least where I live, is not failing the immigrant. Legal or otherwise.

      2. That’s not the current issue anyway. The problem is that a lot of those coming now are children, who cannot support themselves. And who the government wants to lavish benefits on when we are already broke.

      3. How much illegal immigration has LA experienced over the past 30 years? My impression was that the overall flow of population was away from LA.

        You realize that a large inflow of illegals can be offset by an even larger outflow of residents, yes?

        1. Sure, but if the overall population trend is away then the immigrants aren’t taking anyone’s jerbs or contributing to overcrowding or traffic problems.

          1. EYYYY TUK RRR JERRRRRRRRBZZ!!!1

      4. barriers to entry should be lowered so illegal immigrants have an easier time coming in and finding productive work

        Because the unemployment rate is dangerously low, and there’s such vast demand for unskilled workers that wages are getting too high?

        1. No moron because more workers = more investment = more jobs

          1. Yea, because when my taxes go up to support the unemployed and a hundred social welfare programs, I have more money to invest, right? You’re a fucking idiot.

          2. Cytotoxic, it’s basic supply and demand. What’s the situation for low-end labor in the US? Lots more supply than demand. Adding more supply does not magically increase investment and jobs.

            1. But, but,…STIMULUTZ, MULTI-PLYERZ, Invest and they will come!!!

              1. MULTI-PLYERZ — kinda like a Leatherman., I think.

            2. it’s basic supply and demand.

              Only if the labor force is homogenous, which it isn’t.

              Where is Canada’s higher unemployment rate? We have double the immigration rate as you. Where is Singapore’s?

              1. Canada has much more restrictions on immigration than the US.

        2. Labor market protectionism? I think you took a wrong right turn on your way to DailyKos.

          1. It’s just common sense when you have a welfare state, lots of unemployment, and a surplus of low-end labor.

      5. Away from LA? No. Just that the rest of illegals go other places. And, yes, please send us more illegals. Because that is no doubt the answer to LA’s problems.

    3. Is LA the only city that has seen significant immigration from Latin America in the last 30 years

      1. How significant? How many immigrants have there been? How does that compare to the number of people who have left LA, or to the number of immigrants to LA from other parts of the globe?

        1. Hugh, I think we are in agreement. I was questioning papaya’s narrative that immigration must be the root cause of LA’s problems, when so many other cities have also had lots of immigration.

          1. I didn’t say “must be the root cause.” I acknowledged all the causes in the article, and pointed to it as the elephant in the room, meaning something people didn’t want to talk about.

            1. Because your assertion is speculative, and not something rooted in plain fact, like shitty roads or increasing pension costs?

              1. That same endemic bureaucratic incompetence has left Los Angeles’ public school system as one of the most dysfunctional in the country. Fewer than half of its high-school students are even proficient in English. Less than 60 percent graduate. And only about a third complete the course requirements needed to qualify for admission into the state university system.

                Is it a plain fact that “bureaucratic incompetence” caused half of high school students to no habla?

                1. It’s not clear what exactly proficient in English means. My guess would be that they’re talking about low scored in the academic subject of English, and it’s not just Latinos who are scoring low. I live in south LA and the vast majority of Latino high school students I encounter speak English, even among themselves. I’m not buying that that statistic means 60% don’t speak fluent English

                  1. *scores

                    1. It doesn’t really matter what the number means since it’s not compared to anything.

                      Let me rephrase the question: Is it a plain fact that LAUSD’s decline can be primarily attributed to bureaucratic imcompetence rather than different demographics?

                      Does Arcadia USD employ superstar bureaucrats?

                    2. I have no doubt that they’re better than the ones in LAUSD. LAUSD is bad even compared to similar cities

                  2. Oh come on, Calidissident. Sure, it’s “not just Latinos” that score low in English, but Latinos and other immigrants are obviously a huge part of that problem.

                    1. Damn those latinos! They can be blamed for everything!

                    2. Obvious to you maybe. But knowing a bunch of people that work for LAUSD, the problem kids and parents are almost universally poor citizens. The poor illegal immigrant children have parents that want their kids to work hard and get an education.

                2. No, you’re right. Close to 50% no habla. At the same time, though, LA’s unions and higher-ups have had the system in a chokehold for deecades.

        2. How does that compare to the number of people who have left LA

          I’ll assume you’re familiar with the term white flight. Did it occur to you that the mass outflow of native Angelenos is not merely related to but a direct consequence of the massive inflow of immigrants?

          1. That oversimplifies things. Plenty of northern cities have seen the same thing happen without much immigration, while cities elsewhere have prospered recently with high levels of immigration.

          2. A decent chunk of the outflow was black flight.

          3. There is no reason to believe this.

            1. Other than history, you mean? That sort of thing has happened in neighborhoods all over the country. I can point to specific ones in my area, though I suppose that’ll be called “anecdotal.”

              Interestingly, when blacks are displaced by immigrants, the crime rate tends to go down, but when whites are displaced, it tends to go up.

              1. Care to issue an actually citation with proof of cause-and-effect?

                1. William Frey at the Brookings Institute (also see U of Michigan) published a lot of census/demographic studies discussing those points. In general, immigrants displaced lower income whites, who typically moved out of state across the west, and blacks, who typically moved to the IE and high desert.

          4. I would suggest that much of the “flight” is away from the taxes and housing costs of the city toward the ‘burbs. Getting more house for the money, lower taxes and better schools is the main reason I hear from folk moving out from city centers.

    4. Did immigrants also give you athlete’s foot? Why not blame Hispanics for Pearl Harbor while you’re at it?

      1. Being rational on this topic as ever, I see.

      2. And come to think of it, the people who attacked Pearl Harbor were in the country illegally. 😉

  3. Doesn’t a big fault line run right through the middle of it?

    But more importantly, I think we can answer that question by first asking the following question:

    Are they going to keep electing Democrats?

    1. Detroit does

      1. Solid!

        *raises Joe Louis-like fist*

  4. ” Fewer than half of its high-school students are even proficient in English. Less than 60 percent graduate”

    Does anyone else see a problem with this sentence?

    1. Are you referring to the unnecessary hyphenation of high school or the lack of punctuation indicating that the second statement would constitute a sentence?

      1. Those two are pretty glaring, but I’m slightly more surprised that about 10% more students graduate than can read…

        1. Didn’t say they can’t read. Said they’re not “proficient in English”. Maybe they’re reading in Swahili? German? French? Some other language? Dunno.

          1. I bet it’s French!

            1. That would be all the native Angelenos that are surrendering this city to the reconquista, verdad?

            2. C’est it ain’t so!

      2. the unnecessary hyphenation of high school

        I disagree. Multiple-word adjectives are supposed to be hyphenated.

    2. Well obviously, they should make Spanish the official language. Or else, they’re racists.

      1. So I should have said “problemo?”

        1. No problema.

          1. This. Problem is feminina in the Latin linguas.

            I’m going to speculate that this is because women have always caused most of the problems throughout history.

              1. Too deep for us non-linguists here, HM. I was only referring to those perverse Romance Languages anyway. Who speaks real Latin, outside of the Vatican?

                1. The Vatican doesn’t speak “real” Latin but that abomination known as Ecclesiastical Latin.

            1. It is el problemo, not la problema. The reason it has the odd the odd distinction of ending in an “a” in spite of being a masculine noun is because of the greek root.

              1. It is el problemo, not la problema. The reason it has the odd the odd distinction of ending in an “a” in spite of being a masculine noun is because of the greek root.

                Refresh. How does it work?

                1. I did not find your echo of my thoughts very refreshing

            2. I may be wrong, but I always thought in general Spanish words that ended -ema and-ama were masculine because of their Greek origins. El programa, el problema, etc. Is this not correct?

              1. Almost always, but not always, words that end with A are feminine and words that end with O are masculine, at least that’s true in Portuguese. I can’t imagine it would be different in Spanish.

                But it’s not always so.

                In fact, I get this confused all of the time, as my wife told me that problema is masculine. But without being told, I assume anything ending in A is feminine.

                1. Words ending in -ma are usually masculine in Spanish (and apparently Portuguese too) for the reasons already described

      2. Well, the city isn’t called “The Angels”.

        1. I live in Cincinnati, and virtually no one here speaks Latin!

          1. Racists!

            I lived in Cincy for quite a few years. I had a couple of Asian friends there, but don’t remember too many Hispanics at all. That was a long time ago, though.

            1. It’s a lot nicer now!

              1. Can you guys tell us how to fix Balmer, then?

          2. In Cincinnatiensis, non audis lingua Latina pro eo tu stultus es.

            1. This is poorly written Latin, and I’m not stupid 🙂

              1. No it’s not. I’d love to hear how it was poorly written. This will be quite amusing.

                1. Never mind, you’re right. “linguae Latinae”.

                  Fuck the dative.

                  1. 🙂 Can’t we just be friends!?!?!??

                2. It seems to me that what you said was “In Cincinnati you do not hear the Latin language because you are stupid.” It doesn’t make sense to me.

        2. True, it is “El Pueblo de Nuestra Se?ora la Reina de los ?ngeles” or “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels”.

          1. I’ll stick with ‘L A’, that’s a little easier.

            No wonder speakers of Latin languages talk too damn fast. They have to!

  5. “Los Angeles Is Killing Itself”

    Well it’s about goddamn time.

    Somebody had to do it and none of us want to get close enough to do the job.

  6. Los Angeles Is Killing Itself

    Well, I hope so. YEAH, I SAID IT!

    Fuck California. And, for EDG, fuck Michigan!

    1. You say that until the Feds start pumping money into failed states. It’s going to happen.

      1. Nope, I’ll say it then, too.

        Bring on the collapse!

        *throws Molotov cocktail*

  7. The city’s downtown subway system was finally complete.

    Speaking of downtown subway systems, I rode Seattle’s light rail subway through downtown yesterday for the first time in a few years.

    Seattle built a subway system so brilliant, it can actually get stuck in… wait for it… traffic. Yeah. A subway that’s subject to the whims of traffic.

    All the inconvenience of a car in traffic with all the annoyance of public transit. Win win.

    1. I’m excited for the Cincinnati Streetcar, which travels on the same streets as cars…with traffic lights…and cars…

      1. If it’s like the S.L.U.T. it will constantly be in accidents as oblivious drivers turn across it in traffic. Because awesome.

        1. I’ll let you know at the end of 2016…if they stay on schedule. Because, you know, it takes 3 years to build 3 miles of track in a city with virtually no traffic…

          1. Only three years? That’s a bit optimistic, don’t you think?

            By the way, my sister used to live in Cincinnati and yeah, your downtown is a bit… bleak.

        2. “We’re welcoming the S.L.U.T. into the neighborhood,” said Jerry Johnson, 29, a part-time barista.

          amazing sentence

          1. The city was… upset when that acronym caught on.

            Ride the S.L.U.T.!

  8. Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. http://www.Fox81.com

    1. $100 a day is hardly a living wage!

      1. If you got nice boobs and a nasty disposition, you can earn $100 an hour, you webcam whore!

  9. innovations?like longer class days and truncated summer breaks?

    brilliant

    About 12 percent spend two hours or more?fully four percentage points above the national average.

    ermagawd

    The primary drivers of Los Angeles’ fate are unsexy city departments, council staff, and administrators.

    and …

    As the Milken Institute’s

    surely a trustworthy institution

  10. Higher poverty than Detroit? Damn.

    1. HTF is that possible!?!?

      1. You would think all of those wealthy progressives in the area would be major philanthropists and doing something about the poverty in their own backyard…

        1. It is a third world country. The wealth is all at the top and thats where it is gonna stay. Progressivism for the win!

        2. They are voting for politicians who will force them to be charitable! Everyone knows that is how you accomplish real change.

        3. They leave it to govt, which as we all know merely perpetuates the problem. Seriously, you should see the proposed “solutions” for Skid Row.

      2. “HTF is that possible!?!?”

        The LA Metro complex is so huge, people can completely avoid the black-hole that is ‘City of Los Angeles’. Suburban Cities like Anaheim, Pomona, Pasadena, Glendale, Covina, Torrance, etc. are all large scale populations where people can live and work and barely interact with the actual city. South Central and East LA are huge poor areas that the rest of LA avoids.

      3. One possible reason is that the actual city of Detroit (where most of the poverty is concentrated) makes up a much smaller portion of its metro area than LA does. The city of Detroit now has only about 700K of the overall 4.3 million.

  11. There ain’t much about modern American bureaucracy that can surprise me anymore but…..*931* deputy mayors??? Seriously?????

    1. I was curious about this.

      Are these honorary titles or are these deputy mayors actually doing ‘work’?

  12. “Is Los Angeles Doomed?”

    Yes.

    When you have a large population of people, including leadership, who not only do not believe in the principles that separate the U.S. from the rest of the world, but they don’t even fucking know what those principles are, you are doomed to become just like the rest of the world.

    See City Assemblywoman Fiona Ma ( she is in the video) ; https://reason.com/blog/2011/10…..the-man-ca

    “We found out later on that, Constitutionally, you can not ban a type of music,” said Ma. “Plus, I, like my opponents said, I didn’t really know what was going on.”

    DOOMED.

    1. “When you have a large population of people, including leadership, who not only do not believe in the principles that separate the U.S. from the rest of the world, but they don’t even fucking know what those principles are, you are doomed to become just like the rest of the world.”

      Suthenboy is Bill ‘the Butcher’ Cutting?

  13. Lived there for a few years in the early 90’s. The place had a surreal, late Roman Empire feel to it. Decadence, massive wealth disparity like I’ve never seen anywhere in a concentrated area. Warm soft climate, stupid, soft people. A casually accepted sense of impending doom from “the big one”.

    Weird place.

    1. It’s even worse. And I have a front row seat for the decline.

  14. After living for a decade in Hell A…I’m glad to have finally escaped the clutches of that imploding cesspool.
    Being libertarian in LA is a daily grind.
    Everywhere you turn there are moronic liberals…or stick-up-their-ass conservatives.
    Droves of them all sitting in traffic–like festering boils on the ass of the West Coast.

  15. It takes an extraordinary level of what might be called dishonesty in other venues but here qualifies for the excuse of unhinged systematic intellectual self-delusion to compile a list like this one without once mentioning the primary cause for all these school, social service, first responder, job loss, and political corruption costs and failures: uncontrolled legal and accommodated illegal immigration.

    Leave it to Reason to be utterly dishonest, all the time. You guys bat 1000.

    1. It’s the hill a lot of them want to die on for some reason. I don’t get it.

      1. OOh those libertarians and their freedom!

        1. Says the shitbag who lives in a coutry I can’t even visit because I got a DUI 15 years ago.

          1. You’re…blaming me for that?

            1. Everything is your fault. Everybody knows this.

      2. People say the same shit about drugs, health care, taxes, spying, foreign policy, etc. in regard to how libertarians shoot themselves in the foot by being consistent.

    2. 1. Other cities have seen the same decline without the immigrants.

      2. Other cities with immigrants have not seen the same decline.

      Immigration has no explanatory power in this case.

      Furthermore, the notion that a city can be destroyed by migrants who aren’t wielding force of arms (the gangs were largely homegrown in LA, at least at first, and now they are net exporters of thugs) relies on the complete abdication of governance a priori.

      In order to say that immigrants destroyed the city, you would have to recognize that at some point, the “native” population created the conditions that made it possible.

      1. Absolutely TRUE!

        The fact that we did not shoot them at the border, but allowed them in and did not force them to leave made the destruction of this part of America possible.

        Thank the party of women (Demoncraps).

        1. Poe’s law anyone? Mary stack is that you?

        2. Yes, the problem with Detroit is that they failed to shoot the immigrants on arrival. I’m not really sure who those immigrants are, but if they were shot the city of Detroit would be a shining paradise today.

    3. Interesting. You know, Miami, FL in the late 1950’s-early 1960’s experienced a massive influx of Latino immigrants, and it was turned from a sleepy, Southern town into an economic powerhouse.

  16. OK thats the craziesnt thing I have heard all year.

    http://www.AnonToolz.tk

  17. “Fewer than half of its high-school students are even proficient in English. Less than 60 percent graduate.”

    Que? Me pregunto por qu? eso es cierto.

  18. Aw, come on, Reason! Los Angeles has one of the highest concentrations of criminal aliens in America! This is what you want ALL American cities to be! Must be Nirvana with all those disease-ridden, criminal, free-ride aliens sponging off taxpayers for schools, hospital visits and freebie housing and food!

    1. Yeah no kidding. What is killing Los Angeles?

      According to Reason, its the long commutes. See those millions of violent, low IQ, invaders over there? Nah, me neither.

      1. No. They don’t exist. The ‘invaders’ commit crime at a lower rate than the natives. And they don’t cause decline in any other city.

        1. Oh bullshit. DoJ statistics show that Blacks commit violent crimes at about seven times the rate of Whites, and Hispanics commit violent crimes at about four times the rate of Whites.

          You people keep throwing out this “immigrants commit crime at a lower rate than the natives” bullshit without taking reality into account. EVERY SINGLE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT has violated the law. Those that have been deported and have returned illegally are FELONS. Where did all those Hispanics in California’s prisons come from?

    2. Yeah go down to a soup kitchen in DTLA and tell me how many Latinos you see there. Not many. You’ll find them all buying food from the food truck at Home Depot while waiting to perform some hard labor under a blazing hot SoCal sun.

      1. Then how do you account for 47% being on welfare? They may be depressing wages by taking jobs off the books below market but they’re not adding to the tax digest and they’re not adding more to the economy than they take out.

  19. “Long commutes also have the unfortunate effect of propping up the mind pestilence that is political talk radio.”

    Ah, sounds like another bitter hack that couldn’t make it in the business.

    1. The highest radio ratings in L.A. are held by Spanish-language stations.

  20. No, it’s not killing itself – it already died, it just doesn’t know it yet.

  21. What a terrible place to be so close to a lovely city like Pasadena.

  22. Is there a performance difference between “Tony Villar” and Barack Obama?
    It doesn’t appear so, they both spend/spent the majority of their working day doing ‘stuff’, not work – it’s just that Obama gets to fly around on AF-1.
    So, what you see in Los Angeles (specifically), and in CA (generally), is where the USA will be after 8-years of Barack Obama.

  23. Sarcasm Button On:
    Comrades! Los Angeles is not poor or broke. That is a capitalist myth created by the nefarious producing class that wants to keep more of its ill gotten gains. Money is easily made in America. It does not take a lot of effort, planning or intelligence. Just look at Hollywood! Shrinking job market? Jobs are a dime a dozen in LA. Look at all of the part time jobs out there. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to work ten hours a week and live under the freeway? There is no pension cost crisis. All one has to do is raise taxes, and all will be well. If it worked in Detroit, it will work in Los Angeles. What could possibly go wrong? The education system in Los Angeles is fine despite alarmists ranting and raving. Like the pension crisis, all Los Angeles has to do is raise more taxes on the producing class. How else are public schools of Los Angeles maintain their excellent reputation of producing functional illiterates? It is also unwise to blame Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. So what he spent only eleven percent of his time on city business. You wouldn’t want him to work on the city’s problems, as if that is the reasons why he was elected. So what he used his station to make money? Isn’t that why he was elected mayor…twice? So let’s give the mayor and the voters of Los Angeles credit where its due. Los Angeles is the city that it is today because socialism, cronyism and tax and spend works.
    Sarcasm Button Off

  24. Rob Montz, “a filmmaker living in Washington, D.C.” writes: “The city’s downtown subway system was finally completed”

    Now that’s why I read Reason.com instead of Vox — as someone living with the apparently false memory of the uncompleted unstarted Red Line throughout the mid-, late-, and entire-1980s I can really benefit from this accurate explanatory journalism in the public interest. My only regret is that Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and the late Dennis Hopper could not be reached for comment

  25. Hair of the dog.

    The “A Time for Action” report makes the following recommendations:

    Create an independent ‘Office of Transparency and Accountability.’

    Create a truly independent oversight and rate-setting body for DWP.

    Establish a ‘Commission for Retirement Security’.

    Update Community Plans to enhance neighborhood input and establish
    a thoughtful growth strategy.

    Collaborate as a region to bring in more jobs and investment, and tax revenue

    Focus on economic clusters to generate jobs of the future.

    Establish a Regional Tourism Authority.

    More commissions, more agencies, more planning, more bureaucracy.

  26. Two thoughts…

    1) Going north of Dana Point is your fault and you deserve to be stuck in highway hell.
    2) Better poor than to commute an hour plus each day. Looking at you DC

  27. Another federal bailout waiting to happen, to be paid for by our children and grandchildren…

  28. That look similar to a topic I saw on Skyscraperpage titled “Los Angeles in Decline?”
    http://forum.skyscraperpage.co…..p?t=209119 about an article of the Los Angeles Times.

  29. I have a neighbor who was an attorney in Los Angeles. About 10 years back she joined an exclusive womens club for women making over 250k/yr as she had just started earning that much. She thought it would be great to meet and network with other women that were rising up through the power rankings of Los Angeles. She quit soon after she joined because it turned out that it was completely filled with low-level middle managers from the city government and LADWP (dept of water and power). Not high ranking officials, but pretty low-level managers – it sickened her to find out they were all making more money than her.

    1. Welcome to the progressive aristocracy.

  30. We have problems. But I’m happier here than I was when I was living in the Bible Belt

  31. Yes, LA is facing a certain death.
    Ironically, this is where a large proportion of the “unaccompanied minors” are going to end up–purportedly as refugees from the street gangs of Central America.

  32. L.A. schools are doing well, then.

    According to an article in the McKlatchy news service, circa 2012, the UC/CSU systems reported that 75% of HS graduates are illiterate, and over 80% are innumerate – L.A, with a mere 2/3 illiteracy rate, is ahead of the curve.

    Let L.A. kill itself – maybe then, we can keep our irrigation water in the San Joaquin Valley, instead of pumping it over the Grapevine so people in L.A. can fill their swimming pools.

  33. “increasingly little”?

  34. 931 Deputy Mayors? Perhaps LA could get by with 930 or even 929 for a while. And where does one find 930-some deputy mayors? Is there a “Deputy Mayors R Us” I haven’t heard about? Are the procured in bulk or one at a time?

  35. 47% of illegals receive some type of welfare. As soon as a child is born in the US to an illegal it is eligible for every handout.

    Illegals take jobs under the table so they qualify for ever-greater confiscations from taxpayers’ earnings yet they contribute nothing to the tax rolls. They further take from taxpayers in medical care and education.

    50% of LA accidents are hit and run due to illegals ignorance of rules of the road and lack of insurance – increasing premiums for honest Americans.

    According to report from Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Californians bear an enormous fiscal burden as a result of an illegal alien population estimated at almost 3 million residents. The annual expenditure of state and local tax dollars on services for that population is $25.3 billion. That total amounts to a yearly burden of about $2,370 for a household headed by a U.S. citizen.

  36. Re: “affect substantial change”. Surely you meant to say “effect substantial change”?

  37. Your buckyballs has infinite solutions that you can create. A sense of achievement comes with inventing anything of artistry and fascination . With buckyballs you can mold infinite arrangements of shapes that you will love to flaunt, and create plenty of patterns that are unique, and have never even been seen before!

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