The Los Angeles City Council really failed a pop quiz showing how disconnected, overpaid and puffed-up its 15 elected politicians have become, when it voted 14-0 to urge L.A.'s 3.8 million residents to adopt Meatless Mondays.
Would they mean the 80% of LAUSD kids on a federal school lunch program, who get at least some meat while their struggling parents often rely on a ubiquitous pot of frijoles to provide the family its protein? Or perhaps Ed Reyes and Jan Perry, who authored this idea, are aiming at the 19.5% of L.A. households below poverty? It's tough to relate to these vast communities who can't afford meat when you're an L.A. City Council member paid $178,789, and given eight free cars at taxpayer expense yearly (yes, eight) not to mention free gasoline year-round:
The vote in Council Chambers last Friday even made USA Today, where a columnist breathlessly reported about Meatless Mondays:
Meatless in LA: If you are reading this over breakfast in Los Angeles, you better put down the bacon -- at least if you want to stay in line with a city-wide "Meatless Monday" effort just endorsed by the city council. Participation is voluntary, of course ...
Well thank God for that.
Someday, somebody will place on the Los Angeles ballot a measure to roll back the curious, sky-high salaries and benefits paid to the "civil servants" of the Los Angeles City Council. They earn nearly four times the household income in L.A. -- they are paid more than top-educated federal judges and members of the U.S. Congress.
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Many on the City Council get quite rich during their 12 years in office, since taxpayers also cover their personal overhead: car payments, gas, some of their food, and unusually large chunks of their health care bills. It's a deal no working Angeleno can get.
Years ago, 45 words were inserted into the City Charter that grant automatic pay raises to the 15 council members (no matter how bad or good a job they do) whenever local Superior Court judges get a raise.
As David Zahniser at the Los Angeles Times reports, an incredible 62 people are running for eight open seats next March for L.A. City Council. Clearly, one reason for this is that the job pays damn good money and amazing benefits, lasts 12 years almost without fail -- and lets you imagine a dreamscape L.A. made up of millions of people eating a daily meal of meat.