All Hands in the Piggy Bank: California’s Red Light District and the Money Whores at Work



Upon discovering this, my stomach curled into a knot, and from the small fact room, I phoned Peggy, a teacher friend of mine who worked at Utah Elementary School, part of Los Angeles Unified School District, to ask if she knew about the CTA’s lobbying efforts. Of course, she didn’t and instead blasted out how several good teachers at her school alone this year were cut and thereafter filled by school administrators, who haven’t taught students in several years! This hit home, and I called another friend who is a counselor at Santa Monica High School. She said there will be $500,000 in cutbacks this year at SaMo High, with teachers and outreach people like her being cut, as well as possibly the dean of students. “SaMo High has eight administrators,” she told me, “when most high schools have one! These unnecessary jobs are where the money is going, and the school board makes these decisions.” Here we go: Backdoor politics on our home turf, cutting jobs where it counts and rehearsing once again good-ole boy politics, with unnecessary jobs and salaries for friends of the bank president.

Meanwhile, one of her students is excited about a new skate park being built in Venice by the LA County Parks and Rec to the tune of $2.5 million, one of several skate parks recently built for millions of dollars in Los Angeles. Let’s see… How do these skate parks help or create jobs or revenue for the state? They don’t bring in a significant amount of tourists, rather mostly locals who are indeed kids. Priorities? Funding the Parks and Rec to build places for children to wheel around, or redirecting funds to actually educating those children? Something is askew…

This is indeed Wonderland–—a pig-rich fantasy park where the swine and their accounts get fat n’ handsome. Who is making decisions as to where our money should come from, where it goes, and who benefits? This is surely a parallel world for political fat cats and tax junkies looking to keep spending where it is without accountability. Our options? Apparently, extend personal income taxes or cut health care and education. Never mind trying to figure out this mess and redirect money from the biggest earners to the most needed programs. Never mind firing some of these useless board members or decreasing high-salaried state wages or prison spending or marijuana enforcement or any of the other ridiculous set-in-stone spending habits and directing them toward much more needed, and possibly higher earning, systems. How are we in this mess of a deficit when there are so many boards and programs with inflated budgets, overpaid officers, and overspent programs; with big industry conglomerates who have extra money to spend on making sure they don’t have to pay higher taxes along with the rest of the general public; and with underutilized revenue streams, like taxing marijuana or selling off the states surplus real estate properties, as mentioned by Senator Huff?

I stayed awake through the sunset, huffing more caffeine pills and waiting eagerly for the official results in the newsroom on the evening of May 19th. Props 1A–1E all got shut down by the state’s voters… There is a God! Prop 1F–limiting elected official’s salary increases during economic hardships–was the only one that passed. And Schwarzenegger was nowhere to be found, out of state, it seemed, probably hiding in total horror.

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