Engaging Los Angeles politics as a citizen or homeowner is to face the limits of patience. I offer a small illustrative example from the Special Election in District 6 to replace Nury Martinez:
Dakota Smith of the Times asked the candidates in a recent forum what the proper staffing level of LAPD should be. Who says we’re not talking about public safety? See, the box is being checked. Look!
In an exercise of pure conjecture, the progressives proffered fake numbers: 9700, 9200, 8500, abolition. None of it mattered. Left unaddressed was the wee inability of the LAPD currently to recruit at all. We are losing 50 officers a month to attrition. The recent Academy class was 27, a number only achieved under relaxed physical standards and lenient background screens following a billboard and online recruiting drive.
So, having installed a Soros D.A. and a Police Chief who banned the Blue Lives Matter flag from all precincts and tolerated a Mayor who literally kneeled before BLM and called them murderers, having de-criminalized theft, assault and civic disorder, having emptied the jails and closed four prisons; having incentivized miscreants to refuse handcuffs and turn any garden variety police encounter into a Jerry Springer-like throwdown for the benefit of social media, Los Angeles is discovering fewer and fewer are willing to sign up and now draws an academy class of 5’3″ single mothers and middle-aged recovered alcoholic ex-cops from the Midwest looking to put hay in the barn for retirement. Six foot 23 year olds with proper upper body strength and cardio fitness? Not so much.
In a reasonable media environment the obvious question would be, if the veterans are taking early retirement or transferring to Idaho and young, fit men are not replacing them, what policy changes do you intend to make? But our world is not reasonable and the Times does not ask. Instead the candidates are invited to play rotisserie baseball and everyone gets a pass.
So let me be the one to say it: an inverted recruitment curve is a bit like eating the seed corn. A city might get away with it for a few years, but the remorseless mathematics of scarcity take over. Los Angeles has reached the inflection point of triaging 911 calls for lack of personnel. Is the iceberg next?
Thomas Andrews, in life as in film, could have been undone by pride as the ships designer. Instead of denying the obvious to save face for a few hours, he persuaded people to board the life boats immediately, sparing hundreds of lives.
This might be a good time to ask: who is our Thomas Andrews? Where is is he? She? They? Public safety is the first obligation of the state. Without it, there is no commerce. Reduced commerce, lower tax base. Fewer stores and restaurants call into question the price point for houses. Zillow beckons. Starlink. Amazon. The frontier. The next great American metropolis may prove a virtual one, where people live on farms and trade direct to consumer beef for solar panels.
I’m an urban guy. I kind of liked my city. In 2019.
Is there no one running for office or holding a position of influence willing to acknowledge our bulkheads have been breached? Perhaps not yet five, but do we really want to put ourselves to the test?