disgraceful


LAist has a post up today enlightening me to the previously unknown efforts of the nearby city of Arcadia to protect its imperiled citizens from coyotes by killing them — the coyotes, not the citizens. To date, some 15 have reportedly been snared and destroyed. LAist links to an ABC Local article, where one finds Arcadia Mayor Peter Amundson quoted apparently verbatim as saying:

“We were overwhelmed with people saying we are corned [sic] with coyotes in our community, we’re concerned about our animals. A few people mentioned to us, we have lost our animal [sic], but we don’t want to lose our children.”

I’m not sure what Amundson meant by “corned,” or the fact that the mayor seems to have trouble with subject/noun agreements (“…we have lost our animal…”), but I am sure disheartened by yet another kneejerk coyote cull and am reposting the following comment I posted at LAist along with a looping timelapse vid of the coyote I encountered last Thursday in Griffith Park, whose habituation to humans was obvious in its fearlessness of my proximity (it’s hard to see the creature in this small version so I’ve spotlighted its location in alternating frames):

My comment:

My faith in humans as reactionary quick-fix massacre makers is surpassed only by my faith in the coyotes ability to survive — and thrive — in spite of everything we throw at the species.

It’s been demonstrated that when coyotes suffer sudden population decreases, be it natural or man-made they simply increase their reproduction.

As to anyone who thinks coyote populations are “out of control” due to an absence of predators, that’s patently false. The coyote’s chief predator is us humans and we are certainly not absent. In ironic fact as much as we try to make the coyote extinct it is our arrogant habits of making food sources so readily available to them (and then being frightened and outraged that they exploit those sources) that has allowed them both to succeed and extend their reach into all manner of inhospitable environment.

Not too be too morbid, but go crazy Arcadia with your worthless short-sighted culls. Coyotes will be here long after we destroy ourselves, feasting on our corpses.

There was supposed to be rain today but being Earth Day, I put away my lazy/don’t wanna get wet excuses and got on my bike for the ride to work. As I discovered on the way in it must have also been Block The Bike Lane Day as demonstrated by a variety of motorists, including the most ironic one (pictured in sequence  of my approach/arrival below): a Department of Transportation Parking Enforcement officer sitting in her vehicle that she has parked in full obstruction of the bike lane on Venice Boulevard while issuing a citation to the vehicle parked at the curb — despite there being ample curb space in front of the violating vehicle for the officer to park and thereby avoid me yelling at her not to block the bike lane as I passed (click for the bigger pictures).

Here’s the deal. This morning I’m stopped at Jefferson Boulevard, just west of the 405, kinda at the gateway to Playa Vista, which is Westide Spanish for Why Have The Ballona Wetlands When You Can Build All Sorts Of Shit All Over Them.

Anyway, the light on Jefferson turns red, the light for me turns green, but a westbound MTA bus, still not even in the intersection barrels through after tooting its horn, which from repeated personal experience is becoming pretty much an acceptable way of breaking that law.

Just tap your horn and come on through because that honk or beep is more than just an announcement of your awareness that you’re premeditatedly running the red, it’s a veritable shout-out that you care about those of us in the cross traffic. Seriously, it’s almost as conscientious as you can get, short of — call me crazy: STOPPING.

But nevermind the bus! Because after that monster had long fully cleared the intersection here comes today’s King Of Distracted Drivers — cellphone firmly plastered to right ear just moseying on through like red means go in his world while at the same time of course he’s on the phone, probably an important call like with the AARP trying to explain how he lost his membership card — again!

But enough of me narrating, let’s go to the half-speed no-sound clip taken from my sunglasses cam, beginning from the moment after the bus honks its horn and gets my attention. When the King promenades on by afterward you won’t be able to see his phone, but trust me it’s there. His cell number probably spells out BAS-TARD.

Couple weeks ago I posted on LA Metblogs about the irony of that “Need Repairs?” sign pictured at right (that I saw on my way to work), screwed there by some brainiac handyman so damagingly — not to mention unlawfully — high up the trunk of a palm tree in Hancock Park. But this wasn’t just any palm tree. It was one of all of those trees on the median of Highland Avenue between Wilshire and Melrose, which collectively make up Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmark No. 94.

I wrote about calling the phone number on the sign, getting the person’s (his name is Jake) voicemail and leaving a message suggesting Mr. Fixit get back over from the 818 at his earliest opportunity and repair what he hath wrought.

He ignored me, as I figured he would. So at the same time I contacted him I also filed a request with the Bureau of Street Services that the sign be removed. They fulfilled my request about a week later.

Oh and I almost forgot! I also googled the gentleman’s phone number and wouldn’t ya know it matched up with a Hollywood-based construction outfit’s website, which in the wake of his noted unwillingness to rectify, made it all the easier to post up a review of his company’s negligent promotional strategy on Yelp:

The proprietor at Hopwood Construction may very well be one of the finest craftsmen around. But unfortunately all that’s known is that he saw fit to promote his business by screwing a sign advertising his services into a Hancock Park palm tree, which is not only unlawful but also damaging to public property.

In addition, he ignored a request to remove the sign, leaving it instead to our taxpayer dollars via the city’s Bureau of Street Services to do so more than a week later.

As said, the level of quality of this person’s work is not something that can be spoken of here, but this sign and his unwillingness to remove it, is something that speaks volumes and such willful negligence should be taken into account if hiring this person becomes a consideration.

Lastly while the sign was removed successfully by Bureau of Street Services personnel, they neglected to extract the seven ( seriously, seven!?) screws that held the sign to the tree, as you can see in the picture at left (click to enlargify). Though I pointed this out in the follow-up call I received advising the sign had been removed, I wasn’t given much hope that personnel would be in a rush to return any time soon and finish the job.

Nothing against the worker who got rid of the sign, but it was enough to bring to mind one of my favorite lines from  the movie Poltergeist: “You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn’t you? You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the head stones. You only moved the head stones!”

So I expect that, while it might take a couple weeks, I’ll load my truck up with a ladder one of these Saturday or Sunday mornings and extract those bodies myself.

Unless of course, Jake beats me to it.

UPDATE (03.25): It crossed my mind that removing those and any other older screws embedded in the trunk might be detrimental to the tree’s health, leaving wounds that could potentially make it susceptible to infestation and disease. So I called the city’s Urban Forestry Division and spoke with a supervisor who advised that the only removals that could pose a threat would be those older foreign objects that the palm’s trunk has actually grown over. He said to leave those alone and just go after the screws and nails that are easily pried or screwed out without doing further damage to the trunk.

So I checked email this morning and found a comment to a two-year-old YouTube video clip I posted of an encounter with wrong-way cyclists, one of my random and occasional “This Is Why I Hate” series.

YouTube User “Berlitz777” wrote:

@wildbell  I live in L.A. and it really irritates me to see you people riding all over the right hand lane in traffic. I often imagine running you over and speeding away. I think if I ever have the chance to hit one of you on Sepulevda blvd; you know, that long stretch of road near Skirball Center where it sometimes get’s lonely? If I ever have the chance to hit one of you and get away with it — I’m gonna do it. Free Christopher Thomas Thompson.

To which I responded:

Thanks for the comment Berlitz, but I don’t think it’s going to help free Dr. Thompson. It does reinforce the need for me to be triply careful when I ride. I’m pleased you haven’t yet acted on such an irrational and violent impulse to injure or kill someone simply because they ride a bike on the streets that you do, and I hope for your sake and for the sake of bicyclists in Los Angeles that you continue to vent your hate-filled venom online rather than on the streets.

As you can probably tell my considerate reply was through clenched teeth, but one executed successfully because of my personal goal to promote peace — too meet evil, with good.

But don’t go  congratulating me for my insane ability to meet fire with nice,  because I am no Ghandi. Not by a loooooooong shot, what with my first impulse being to invite Berlitz777 up to that lonely stretch of Sepulveda near Skirball Center where I’d promise he’d have no trouble finding me because I’d be the determined looking motherfucker with the bike on the side of the road and a crudely crafted cardboard sign hoisted over his head of which one side would read: “Hey, Berlitz777! Your Momma Rides A Bicycle!” and the other side: “Berlitz777! Queen Of The Gassbags!”

And the main reason I didn’t go that route? Not for lack of hackle-fed motivation, but rather because taking the hate bait from such chickenshits of the city accomplishes nothing but a waste of my time. So instead of behaving reactively and meaninglessly calling him out, I opt to proactively recognize that he did me a favor in reminding me that he and other 120-pound cowards driving 3,000-pound egos like him are out there somewhere, and to be that much more alert, cautious and considerate when I ride.

I’ve long had it with Audi. Like most cliché-loving car companies that can’t help but sell the sizzle for the steak they hypervaunt their cars to be magical life-changing devices full of sexy. In the past Audi’s claimed their product line can “reawaken one’s long-lost love of driving.” Really Audi? Is that the best you could do?

But then it gets even worse with this most recent ad above — slickly filmed here in Los Angeles to add insult to injury. My wife Susan can attest to how much I loath it. The several times we’ve seen it she’s had to endure me involuntarily contorting, usually followed with obscene gesticulations that underscore a monologue laced with foul language directing where Audi can uber-shove their stupid and stupidly expensive cars.

Do I take it too seriously? Absolutely. But why shouldn’t I what with the cheapshots Audi felt compelled to take at such easy targets as crowded buses (trundling along the 6th Street Bridge), bike commuting (in fake rain no less while going the wrong way up one-way Flower Street south of the Disney Hall), Segways (at 7th and Grand), and veggie-powered wagons (in Griffith Park). Bastards. Go pick on someone with your own overinflated sense of self-importance.

Particularly rankling is the spot’s elitist tag line: “Many people are trying to do their part,” the narrator intones over a scene of a Segway rider having trouble negotiating through pedestrians at the aforementioned downtown corner. Then it cuts to a winding section of what looks to be Mt. Hollywood Drive (ironically closed to vehicular traffic) wherein an Audi A3 TDI “Clean Diesel” five-door aggressively blows by an aged Volvo wagon sporting a “Powered by Vegetable Oil” bumper sticker (passing on a blind curve no less). After that comes the narrator with the kicker: “Some, just have more fun doing it.”

At 5,141 commuter miles biked this year Audi: some of us just have more fun calling bullshit.

I’m southbound on La Brea, pedaling in the curb lane. There’s a parked car between me and Wilshire Boulevard so I work my way to the left edge of the lane and as I get there a sedan in the center lane passes me and I see there are four males in it — all of them wearing identical redshirts. Maybe they’re carpooling to work or a job site. Or a parole hearing.

The light at Wilshire is red and as they come to a stop in their lane I pass them noting both front and rear passenger-side windows are down as I come a stop in mine. At the green I get going across the intersection and by the time I get to 8th Street they’ve pulled abreast of me and slowed slightly and I’m getting a sense something’s up. Keeping my focus ahead of me I brace for anything from a “Get off the fucking road!” to having something thrown at me, but nothing happens until the driver hits the gas and the four bust out loudly laughing and they pull ahead. Then the passenger riding shotgun sticks his arm out the window with his fingers splayed wide yells out “Honk!” a couple of times as he makes ass-squeezing gestures with his hand.

One might argue that perhaps it wasn’t about me. That maybe I wasn’t the subject of their moronic attentions. I’d counter that given the arm’s-length proximity of my rock-hard gluts to their soft-serve intellects, it’s hard to imagine the display being meant for anyone else but me. Either way, I smile at the buffoonery, mostly in relief that that’s all there was to the encounter.

But that’s not all there was.

(more…)

« Previous PageNext Page »