This blog is defunct! Check out my new music blog at Sonicrampage.org.
Today being the fortieth anniversary of the Watts Riots, some of you might be interested in this story from the LA Times, following around the Homicide squad from LA's Southeastern Division, which covers the most dangerous, gang-infested neighborhoods in the city. It's quite long, but it's well worth a read.
You might also be interested in an article from last year entitled "Infinite Ingress", about California's seemingly unstoppable population growth, and the strain it is putting on the state's infrastructure. A taster:
The Eagles were right: This could be heaven or this could be hell. But the more closely you examine California's plight, the more the heaven part looks iffy. No other state has so many residents (Texas ranks second, but with almost 40% fewer people), and no other state comes close to matching California's annual net population increase. In Los Angeles County and five surrounding counties—Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Imperial—the population now stands at more than 17 million. That's nearly 6% of the U.S. population, one in every 17 Americans, all within a four-hour drive—if you can find four hours when the traffic isn't bad. At least 20% already live in crowded housing, and poverty levels have increased steadily for three decades. Yet during the next 25 years the region is projected to grow by 6 million.
This is not exactly a formula for a Golden State.
Most of the conversation about growth these days revolves around principles of growth management—"smart growth" in planning-speak. Schwarzenegger is heading down this road, rhetorically anyway. Smart growth emphasizes increasing density in cities as an alternative to sprawl, enabling people to live close to where they work, minimizing environmental impact, preserving open space, and encouraging public transit, bicycling, and walking rather than driving. But the discussion is always about accommodating growth, never about slowing, limiting, or stabilizing it. Mention the idea of somehow trying to limit the population and politicians react as though you have suggested that our society eat cats and dogs instead of cows and pigs. Curb population growth? The very notion is unthinkable because—well, this is America.
"How do you do it?" Feinstein asks. "Are you going to tell people not to have children? I don't think so. I have never had a single county official say, 'We have decided we want to slow growth in our county, and here's how we want to do it, and we need the federal government's help.' "