I turned on the spigot and an ‘Occupy Park’ poured out

July 26, 2012

By Wayne Lusvardi

LOS ANGELES — Most people admit that they don’t know much about California’s water system or local tiered water rates. Except that when they turn on the spigot at their home the water pours out.

But what if you learned that when you turned on the spigot, a park for the “Occupy Los Angeles” movement poured out?

That is what I recently learned during reporting for jury duty at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles, located across from the L.A. City Hall.  When I bought some food at the courthouse cafeteria for lunch, I found all the tables in the lunchroom were “occupied.”

So I looked out the window and saw this inviting brand new park with newly painted pink benches, brand new grass turf, meandering concrete walkways, and succulent gardens.  I thought that I could eat lunch there in the open air and get my daily dose of vitamin D from sunlight as well.

But once I approached this well-groomed park, it was fenced and screened off on all sides.  It then dawned on me that this was the “Occupy LA” park, which was “occupied” for two months by those symbolically protesting economic inequality supposedly resulting from the Mortgage Meltdown and Bank Panic of 2008 and its aftermath.

Reportedly, the protesters lived in tents on the lawn and erected a makeshift food dispensary and first aid tent.  They were said to also have built a tent library, which was curiously within walking distance of the downtown Central Library.  To my knowledge, where the funding for all this came from has not been disclosed.  My guess is that it came from labor unions that stood to benefit from the eventual reconstruction of the park.

The encampment ruined the grass, broke automated water sprinklers, and became what real estate appraisers call an “attractive nuisance.”  I still could see signs of the ruination on the edges of the park of dried up plants from no watering and broken concrete landscaping.

I looked on the Internet and found that this park was recently restored and “re-opened.”  But it was inaccessible to the public or even to jurors who were serving in the adjacent courthouse.

The Inaccessible “Occupy Park to Nowhere”

It was the new symbol of government and economic stimulus programs: the figurative “park to nowhere” — just like the “bullet train to nowhere,” the “bridge to nowhere,” the “airport to nowhere,” and “the Solyndra solar panel manufacturing company that ended up “nowhere.”

They were all emblematic of the new welfare state: lavishly funded with no or few public benefits.  Unlike the public works projects of the 1930’s Great Depression, the present-day Managed Depression provided no social dividends: no needed new roadways, no concrete channels to reduce flooding hazards, and no new dams or canals to provide water and hydropower for new communities and industries.

These new public works were empty-headed, useless public works solely meant to provide jobs mainly to public-employee union workers.  The taxpaying public now worked for the unions and not the other way around.  And allowing the “Occupiers” to destroy the previous park was an excuse for yet more expensive but useless public works projects and contrived jobs programs.

Park Restoration Funded by “Waterless” Water Bonds

But where did the City of Los Angeles get the reported $1 million to fund the restoration of the park?  Ironically, the park improvements were partly funded with monies from Proposition 84, the $5.39 billion Bonds for Clean Water, Flood Control, State and Local Park Improvements Act of 2006.

Prop. 84 was one of five water bonds passed by voters since the year 2000, totaling $15 billion.  These so-called “waterless” water bonds produced no new water sources, dams, reservoirs or water conveyance facilities in a state that is in perpetual “drought” due to the shift to water conservation instead of building of new water works.

With interest, the bonds would cost taxpayers about $20.8 billion. And the repayment of the principal and interest on the bonds would total about $1 billion per year out of the state’s $90 billion annual operating budget.  That would be $1 billion that could not go to public schools, needy Medi-Cal patients, or to pay off the huge Federal loan for state unemployment benefits.

Public employee unions came first.  Everyone else would have to wait in line or find that whatever funding they needed from government was already “occupied” by unions.

The bond funding was justified on the basis that drought-tolerant vegetation was included in the park to reduce water usage.

The day I went outside from the court building to find a place to eat lunch I saw union workers massed on the step of the Los Angeles City Hall with a lunch time rally.  Clad in their distinctive yellow shirts and shouting “Obama” slogans from bullhorns, they made their presence known in the public square.

The next time you turn a spigot on at your home be aware of the trampled taxpayer for whom there is no funding to reclaim the public parks for public use.

6 comments

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  1. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 26 July, 2012, 09:46

    So true Wayne – everything that government does now is for government, and not for the people, or for the collective good of the people who reside in the state.

    Katy

    Reply this comment
  2. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 26 July, 2012, 11:02

    Think on it as trickle down…government union workers clean us out…they spend on boats, Napa Valley jaunts, guarded gate homes, golf country clubs, beer and designer burgers….

    Any different from zreoublicans’ trickling?

    Reply this comment
  3. Ted Steele, Janitor
    Ted Steele, Janitor 26 July, 2012, 21:37

    a trickle is a trickle——–

    Reagan wept.

    (tm)

    Reply this comment
  4. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 27 July, 2012, 01:00

    1%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 😉

    Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 27 July, 2012, 08:00

    Republican RAGWUS is out there…Poodle appears stunned that McConnel and Ryan and lollipop Rubio are their star power!

    Reply this comment
  6. Dave Boz
    Dave Boz 27 July, 2012, 09:51

    WTF is a Ragwus??

    Reply this comment

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