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Accountability for Services in Los Angeles

July 10, 1994

I love Los Angeles, and I've paid dues as a homeowner and sweat equity as a neighborhood association president in the inner city, so I have something to say about accountability and mismanagement. I want to say it in the form of a story about light.

The street lights have been out for a week. This is not the first time of recent note--the lights went out in late March when a city contractor accidentally cut the circuit in front of Tommy's at Beverly and Rampart boulevards.

The city lighting supervisor told me then that the contractor's insurance was not responsible because the city did not have their underground facilities marked. They didn't mark them because they don't have enough crew to keep up with the workload. The city had to pay for the repair.

Last week the lights went off again. Rampart Boulevard has been pitch black from Temple to Sixth. It seems a drunk driver killed a pole. Street Lighting can't fix it. DWP has to power it, but the DWP guy can't do it until the pole people put in the pole.

The city has found it cheaper to pay for mistakes than to hold people accountable. The city is paying again and again for mistakes caused by insufficient people or miseducation or mismanagement.

And who is the city, and who has to pay!

PAUL GAMBERG

Gamberg is president of the Upper Rampart Heights Neighborhood Assn.

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