Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Election of the Century

The vote.

It's everything in The United States of America.

Our civic responsibility cannot be quantified.

When an election comes along, we MUST respond.

Ultimately, we have no choice. The alternative is tyranny.



Or get tyranny.

On May 9...

Angelenos will get yet another chance...



This is the the sample ballot we got last week:

They meet twice a month -- along with the occasional emergency meeting.

There are only seven of them.

They are... the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees.

Up for grabs: seat number five.

Since no one received a majority in the March election, the top two finishers are in this runoff.

Two candidates. Only one can win.

Why is this important enough for me to stop in at my local orthodox temple before work on May 9? It's best you just check out their meeting agendas yourself:

Also check out the latest minutes of their March 9 meeting:

This is SO not over.

Not. Fucking. Over.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Restoring America's Pastime in Los Angeles

This was a bad week for baseball in L.A. For starters, the uber-wealthy funsters who run Major League Baseball decided that Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt was so inept at running his own team that they had to step in and relieve him of day-to-day duties. I don't want to say that the Dodger organization has a recent reputation for things going sour, but in a 60 Minutes profile of philanthropist Eli Broad that aired tonight, a driver pulled over and suggested that Broad take over the team. Broad declined. Nobody's that philanthropic.

It hasn't helped matters that McCourt and his ex-wife have been fighting over the team the way angry exes would fight over the kids in a custody battle. Honestly, the team has been so mediocre most of the last 20 years, if I were Jamie McCourt, I would have taken the money instead.

Then in the parking lot on opening day, two guys beat up a fan so badly that he's still in a coma. This is the kind of violence we'd gotten used to when the Raiders were here. Hell, their fans didn't even wait to get out to the parking lot. They started during halftime in the stands. But I don't remember news items of Raider patrons ending up in comas. Regardless of McCourt's degree of blame, it was under his stewardship that family-friendly Dodger Stadium became a sketchy place to visit, which kids of my generation never thought possible. McCourt responded to this tragic news by announcing increased police patrols at the stadium, which is just the kind of thing that makes some of us feel less safe.

On top of which, he recently had to borrow $30 million from Fox News to stop harassing phone calls from his own team's accounts payable department. It is a terrible thing for anyone to go to Fox News for help with anything. The only reasons you do business with Fox News is if you're a Republican trying to run for President or if you're trying to bullshit people into believing that your incredibly unpopular agenda is actually going to help people. But to borrow money from Fox just to meet payroll is, in a word, pathetic.

Plus, why would you have such a gigantic payroll for such a lukewarm team? Other franchises have been just as lousy over recent years on much lower payrolls. And nobody should have problems paying their bills when they charge $15 for parking.

For all that spectacular day-to-day operating, you will be shocked to learn that attendance is down. It is down thanks to people like me. In the last 10 years or so, I've been to about three games. Part of it is because I'm a jaded adult and I don't care about the Dodgers any more than I care about the storylines on soap operas. But McCourt made my decision easier when he jacked up the price of beer to $8.

Why, there are other baseball teams that sell beer for much less money. Like Burroughs High School in Burbank. You can even get it for free if you're a player.

As if our glorious reputation as a baseball town isn't smeared enough, the Burroughs baseball team just mathematically eliminated itself from playoff contention, a .500 season, and next-to-last place. During a recent tournament in Arizona, an assistant coach gave beer to some of the kids. When school officials found out, they canned the whole coaching staff and canceled the rest of the season.

I think the lords of the baseball realm have it backwards on this one. Punish the adults who gave alcohol to minors, but don't punish the players by taking away their entire season -- especially since some of them did nothing wrong.

Now, as for a team that should have their season canceled, that would be the Dodgers. This will:

• Take day-to-day operations out of the hands of Frank McCourt, seeing as how there would be nothing to operate
• Minimize fights in the parking lot
• Reduce the citywide crime of selling beer for $8 (except at trendy bars)
• Free up the police to fight crime elsewhere

It would punish the players, but...

• They're not going to win the World Series again this year, so big whoop
• Attendance is down. Who'd notice?
• Burroughs High School could use a few coaches who aren't enablers. How cool would it be for those kids to have Andre Ethier and Jonathan Broxton coaching their team?