LA City Council chamber in more polite days.
Two things struck me in Aida Ahmad and Kate Linthicum's LA Times story about yesterday's LA City Council meeting, and the phrase "out of touch" came to mind.
First, they describe a confrontation between gadfly Michael Carreon and City Councilman Paul Koretz. Carreon was (justifiably) upset that a couple councilmembers weren't paying attention when he was speaking.
Councilman LaBonge instructed Carreon not to address his comments to specific members, as per city rules. Carreon fumed. "The city's going to hell in a handbasket, and you're going to sit up there and dictate," he said. "I'm upset, so I guess I'll just salute you." Raising one hand in the air in a Nazi salute, he shouted: "Heil Hitler." Councilman Paul Koretz stood up from his seat. "That's a highly offensive thing," said Koretz, who is Jewish. "I'm very tempted to go over there and clock 'im."
It was Councilman Richard "100 Days of Solitude in the Assembly" Alarcon who came to Koretz's defense:
"Mr. Koretz did not in any way, shape or form threaten Mr. Carreon," Alarcon said. "What he said is he 'felt' like doing that. He's entitled to his emotions under the civil liberties of this country."
Problem is, Mr. Koretz is an elected official, and - this might be news to the councilmembers - we hold elected officials to a higher standard of conduct than we do regular citizens. You can voice your (justifiable) disgust without threatening physical violence.
Later in the meeting, the Times reported, City Hall critic Matt Dowd swore during his comments. And then, get this:
Councilman Mitchell Englander asked that in light of the day's disruptions, the council direct the television channel that broadcasts the meetings to stop airing the proceedings. He explained that students may be tuned in to the channel because it is spring break.
I'm not sure what to think about Mr. Englander. Really, you think kids spend their spring break watching city council proceedings on cable? Dude, I didn't watch Watergate when it was droning on and on, pre-empting cartoons, when I was a kid.
Councilman, I don't think there's grave danger of kids tuning in to Channel 35 when you consider whether to:
AUTHORIZE the General Manager, LAHD, to make any necessary revisions to line item budget amounts within the HPRP budget, not to exceed 10 percent within any line item, to ensure that all HPRP funds are spent by the grant expiration date of August 26, 2012.
...in LA City Hall's august city council chamber.
Kids today prefer fictional zombies.