Welcome To 2011: Worst Potholes Ever, Los Angeles?
Are these the worst potholes in Los Angeles in modern times? We had the second wettest December on record (leading to some pretty deep craters), the city budget is on thin ice (leading some to wonder who will fill the holes), and friends are starting to post photos of their popped tires on Facebook.
The year of the pothole: 2011
Of course, for nearly every pothole, even in a city that perennial medal winner in the worst roads in America contest, there's a politician who says he'll fix 'em right.
This year we present two: City Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilman Jose Huizar, who took to the podium last week to announce that they're fighting to get more cash for the Street Services department so it can send workers curbside.
Good idear, guys.
Garcetti even said 50 crews would head out over the weekend to fill 15,000 holes as part of "Operation Pothole."
Except that, as the Weekly's Simone Wilson reports, all the press conferences and hype in the world won't cover up the fact that fewer potholes are being filled than last year -- and last year saw a city budget disaster so bad that even Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stepped up and admitted street craters couldn't be a priority.
Bill Robertson, director of the Bureau of Street Services, says last year's "Operation Pothole" lasted two weekends and filled more than 350,000 craters. This year he says we'll be lucky to see 250,000 of them filled over just one weekend (a second one is not in the budget).
So good luck with those popped tires and cracked rims.
Or commenter of the day, Joseph, has a typical pothole nightmare:
I hit a pothole Xmas night, had a flat, couldn't get a tow company to respond, and had to fiddle with the tire myself in the rain. I caught something between bronchitis and pneumonia and was out for ten days. You can bet I'm going to try to bill the city for the tire--which had just been checked and was in perfect condition (It's not often you get compliments on your tires, but I did), and I shudder to think of anyone but an experienced city worker filling these things.
Potholes shmotholes, you might say. So what. In the scheme of things -- policing, firefighting, paramedics -- they're a minor nuisance.
Then again, how can we sell L.A. to the world as the entertainment capital and the high-tech city of the future when our streets consume hubcaps like New York in the 1970s?
By the way, here's your claim form, Joseph. Happy driving.