Last night, I heard this phrase on NPR, “The President Of Los Angeles.” Of course, it was succeeded by something innocuous like “. . .Chamber Orchestra,” but it did get me to thinking. What if I were elected President of this town of nearly 7 million? (I am reluctantly counting Orange County). If I were King Of the Forest, what changes could I enact to improve the lot of the poor, help the burgeoning immigrant community, and generally torture the rich? Firstly, my Administration would demand the following:
- Revoke Prop 13. This has turned California from The Golden State into The State That Was. Sorry homeowners (I was one of you once, prior to the Great Recession), but somebody’s got to pay for our crumbling roads, embarrassingly bad schools, neo-fascist police force, and simple amenities like libraries. Go ahead, cry on your kitchen table. I eat standing up, in my 450 square foot studio.
- Force the 1% of our town to visit a poor neighborhood every month. Use the Red Line to transport Hollywood starlets to Watts, and the inhabitants of Beverly Hills and Brentwood to East L.A. and the North Valley. Think of it like Pol Pot’s “political re-education program,” but no one is actually killed. Instead, give those who spend their days having plastic surgery a glimpse of how Real People live. Who knows, maybe they’ll buy a tamale or visit Food 4 Less.
- Immediately impound the 8 million Mercedes and Beamers on the road, sell them, and in their stead set up actual public transportation. With routes that go from the Westside to the Valley; and one that traverses Beverly Hills (!!) on its way to the beach. While this is in process, hand out bicycles to the rich so that they can get around. They’ll lose weight without spending a fortune and thank us for keeping them in shape!
- Have the LAPD focus on pulling over white drivers for at least a one-month period. In fact, they can even pull over themselves.
- Have everyone who works at a studio take on a real job for a couple of weeks. They might come to the realization that if a TV show doesn’t make airtime, the planets will not collide.
- Have a Clique Relocation Program. For example, surfers become gang members for a day, and ganstas get to be Valley Girls. Gardeners live in the houses whose lawns they trim, and housekeepers make studio heads clean up after themselves. Koreans can pretend to be African-Americans, then arrest themselves for shoplifting.
- Learn how it feels to be Armenian and go to Glendale for a day! After a couple of kabobs and anoush, you’ll almost be a Kardashian! (Don’t forget to make a sex tape!!)
- Sub-divide the houses on Sunset Boulevard and create more public housing. Take the stars’ enclaves in Malibu and turn them into rehab centers.
- Speaking of Malibu: everyone must get out. No one should live in a place that has regular fires, mudslides, floods, and earthquakes. Barbra, we’re doing it for your own good!
- All non-natives must return to whence they came. That will leave me, Paula Abdul, Debbie Reynolds (she was Miss Burbank), Drew Barrymore, Corey Feldman and Shia Labeouf. We will all collaborate on a big-screen version of The Flying Nun. Since Sally Field was born in Pasadena, we may grant her a temporary visa.
So that’s how things would stack out if I were President of L.A. I will confiscate Mel Gibson’s mansion and use it as my Presidential Palace. Mr. T. and The Rock will serve as my personal bodyguards. Wolfgang Puck will man the kitchen, and Mel, as part of his Human Rehabilitation Program, will be my driver.
I’ll try to keep things low-key and ban The Secret Service. If I want to have a blowout, I’ll invite the GSA and we can party with sushi from Katsu-ya. And oh yeah, my VP will be Heidi Fleiss. She’s the quintessential L.A. gal and a damned good businesswoman! Forget what I said about the Secret Service. They can come round the Palace any time.