Time to break up Los Angeles

Los Angeles postcardMarch 8, 2013

By John Seiler

Los Angeles obviously doesn’t work. The election of a new mayor, the first phase of which was held Tuesday, won’t help.

L.A.’s schools are among the worst in the country. Driving through the city is an obstacle course the roads are so bad. The city is visibly deteriorating.

The problem is not democracy, but the lack of democracy. The city council has 15 members for 3.8 million people. That’s one council member for every 253,000 people. How can the council possibly be responsive to what people need? Can you keep track of 253,000 people?

As with most cities in California, the council is held hostage by the ultra-powerful public-employee unions, which demand — and usually get — massive pay, perks and pensions. The pension situation is so bad the city is on the verge of bankruptcy.

’72 suburbs’

Dorothy Parker once said L.A. was “72 suburbs in search of a city.” Well, the break it up into those 72 suburbs. The new cities would be uneven in population, but the average would be about 53,000 per city.

Wouldn’t this duplicate government offices and increase costs to taxpayers? Not if it’s done right. The members of the new city councils would not be paid for their jobs. City Halls, instead of being gigantic “Taj Ma City Halls,” would be in strip-mall storefronts.

As Costa Mesa is trying to do, most city services would be outsourced to private companies. Fire departments would be of the voluntary kind. Police could be contracted out to the county sheriffs, or perhaps contracts could go to groups of cities forming competitive departments.

The L.A. Unified School District would be abolished. In its place — assuming the new cities even have public schools — would be 72 new school districts, all of them merely doing administrative work for charter schools, on the New Orleans 100 percent charter model.

Of course, the major resistance would come from the unions. But the bankruptcy of the current L.A. would take care of much of that.

The politicians also wouldn’t like it. The mayor of huge Los Angeles automatically becomes a statewide, even national player. I remember when Sam Yorty ran for president back in 1972.

Tom Bradley lost two campaigns for governor, in 1982 and 1986.

Richard Riordan lost a governor’s race in 2002.

And outgoing Antonio Villaraigosa often has been talked about as a gubernatorial candidate or to get a cabinet position in the Obama White House.

Political ambition aside, breaking up L.A. would do wonders for the people who live there. They could control their own affairs democratically at the small, local level, instead of trying to work through the immense city bureaucracy or the remote city council.

Breaking up L.A. is a reform whose time has come.






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  1. doug
    doug 8 March, 2013, 09:51

    kevin jaymes was the one to vote for to break up unions.
    he’s not in the run off.

    the city will go broke and the union will point fingers at everyone else.

    look at san berdo.

    Reply this comment
  2. stolson
    stolson 8 March, 2013, 10:00

    RE–police could be contracted out to the county sheriffs–read that
    Georgia town considers mandatory gun ownership Home / USA /
    Georgia town considers mandatory gun ownership
    Published time: March 08, 2013 14:59
    AFP Photo / George Frey Share on Tumblr Tags

    Arms, Crime, Police, Politics, USA Residents of a town in the US state of Georgia may soon be required to own a firearm. If a new law is passed, Nelson will become the second town in the state to mandate gun ownership, as the federal government debates limits on gun control.

    The Family Protection Act was proposed by a city leader in the town of Nelson – just 50 miles north of Atlanta. It calls on every household to have a gun as a means to keep crime down. The proposal was unanimously approved by city council members earlier this week.

    “In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore,” the two-paragraph proposal reads.

    Although there would be no penalty for not having a weapon, the new law would deter would-be criminals, according to Councilman Duane Cronic.

    “Now the person that may be there [checking] your home out to cause harm to you or your family to break into your house has to decide, ‘When I break that door down, what’s on the other side of that door?’” Cronic said in a council meeting.

    But not all residents agree with the law – especially since the town has no intention of following it through.

    “Why have an ordinance if you’re not going to enforce it? What’s the point? They just want publicity to say Nelson is a town full of weapons. This is big government at its worst. Government mandating what a free individual can and will have in his home,” Nelson resident Lamar Kellett told WSB-TV.

    The crime rate in Nelson consists mostly of petty theft – not gun crime. But that hasn’t stopped Cronic from pushing the ordinance.

    “This is just a way to keep our crime rate low,” he said.

    Nelson, which is home to 1,300 people, employs just one police officer – and he only works at night. When the policeman is off duty, residents must call the local sheriff’s office if they need assistance – which can result in longer response times, Cronic told Reuters.

    So instead of employing more police, city councilors are choosing an alternative route. It’s an idea that has been praised by Nelson Police Chief Heath Mitchell.
    From an article in Russiatoday.com
    interesting idea for breaking up L.A. into smaller areas?

    Reply this comment
  3. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 8 March, 2013, 10:53

    First step needs to be LAUSD. 660,000 students, a $7.5 billion budget, atrocious results.

    And have you seen the people on the school board, the ones who manage that $7.5 billion?

    I get KLCS, the District’s TV station, bundled as part of my cable. I’m among the dozen or so people throughout Southern California who might actually watch a few minutes of the Board meetings they broadcast.

    There are seven board members. Without naming names, perhaps half appear to be at least semi-competent. The other half should have jobs no more demanding of intellect and managerial skill than doling out food at a school cafeteria.

    It is jaw-dropping that this motley collection of half-wits and semi-literates has so much power in their ignorant hands.

    Reply this comment
  4. us citizen
    us citizen 8 March, 2013, 11:22

    Hmmm get rid of all the illegals, and my guess is about 1/2 of LA would vanish. Its good for a start.

    Reply this comment
    NTHEOC 8 March, 2013, 11:27

    John, Was this a vision you had when you were high!! Anyway, Goodluck…

    Reply this comment
  6. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 8 March, 2013, 13:13


    Just as civilizations advance and decline, grow and contract…..so can cities.

    As you are obviously ignorant of history, you may want to familiarize yourself with how it was L.A. got become a sprawling 470 square mile – and now ungovernable – giant.

    As recently as 1909 Los Angeles included nothing north of Wilshire or west of Hoover. For the next twenty years they held a figurative gun (perhaps water pistol is more apt) to the heads of dozens of communities: Annex or else.

    And go see Chinatown.

    Reply this comment
  7. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 8 March, 2013, 13:21

    Here’s a great map from 1918.


    Reply this comment
  8. Hondo
    Hondo 9 March, 2013, 09:11

    Breaking up LA is kinda like the movie,” Escape from LA”, where the zombies are the public unions.
    It is politically impossible to break up LA county. Too many financial fingers in too many pies. You would have to create a San Gabriel Valley county to fill the void. LA county is far to big and populated to manage as is. It is bankrupt and headed for another Detroit.

    Reply this comment
  9. bee pollen
    bee pollen 14 September, 2013, 15:49

    Time to break up Los Angeles | CalWatchDog
    bee pollen http://midtree.co/article/article.php?id=19556

    Reply this comment

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Costa MesaDorothy ParkerJohn SeilerLos Angeles

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