Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How American Civil Servants Have Failed The Public

Back during the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt, he instituted the civil service system that protected employees from capricious firings, layoffs or payoffs. Each applicant had to take a competency test and the highest scorers were hired. The "design" to protect government workers was a wonderful idea that eventually got corrupted.

Fast forward to the 21st century; the joke among many "civil" servants is that you get a position at the city, county, state, school, water districts or federal districts and you can retire for life! Examples of this abound. Just in my own area of Pasadena, San Gabriel or Arcadia, CA projects that should have taken no more than two years have taken 3-4-5 and more years. Its almost seen as a job for life! You see 8 people standing around (I've counted) and one may actually be working.

The real proof came when after the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, the La Cienega overpass collapsed  on the I-10 freeway. CalTrans, the California Hwy. department, a union protected affiliate of the state,  predicted it would take two years to fix. Since this was on I-10, one of the busiest freeways in the world, the city was frantic. They opened bids to one and all. The winner won with a 90 DAY bid for the repairs. Los Angeles, which was losing millions a day in delays on this freeway, said that they would pay a bonus of $1 million for every day they were done before 90 days. It was done in 61 days and met all state and federal standards.

This has been on the curb since before Christmas.
Its the little things though that irritates the citizens. Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles is beginning to see that cracked sidewalks, water pipes that burst, failure to repair huge holes in the cities streets and highways, untrimmed trees could be his undoing. We are tired of excuses. Trim the personnel and make those left actually work! There's a novel idea.

I am the Neighborhood Watch captain on my street of well over 100 houses and have been relentless in keeping graffiti off walls, streets and sidewalks. There is no graffiti or for that matter trash left around the sidewalks!

However, we are pretty much a neighborhood of immigrants whose standards are not quite the same as ours. The case in point is an old CRT TV left on the curb across the street from my house. After a few weeks I went over to them and said they had to dispose of it themselves. "No understand English," even the kids in public school. Finally on Jan. 19th I emailed the Rosemead liaison about this problem:

As you can see, reading from bottom up, lots of excuses. Have someone from the yard drive over and pick it up. Give them a warning or tickets if necessary. No wonder it takes so long to get anything done these days.

Then I got not one but TWO emails saying they were going to do something. Nothing happened.

Now you have to understand that not one of these links work. I have a Mac using Safari as my browser and they are using Chrome which sees nothing. Easy to ignore the resident I guess.
This was my email today and I might add, the TV is still there...going on six weeks now.

Dear Alan,

Your request # 37872 has been resolved with the resolution:
Inspected property and observed broken TV set on lawn.  Case opened, warning letter issued.

This is in reference to the Problem on Illegal Dumping you submitted on 01/20/2015  10:02 AM
Location: 9141 De Adalena St
Description: Homeowners  of 9141 De Adalena throw junks on sidewalk. Neighbor is requesting that a Code Officer speak to 9171 De Adalena homeowners of dumping. They speak Asian Lanaguage therefore neighbor can not communicate with the,

We are committed to providing you the best service we can.  We would 
appreciate you filling out an online survey on how this request was 
handled.  You can fill out the online survey by going to:

This is their reply. Pretty sad I would say. If this is the "best service" can you imagine the worst?
You may reply to this email to send a response or you can view this 
request online at:

I think its about time City Manager Jeff Allred rides around, like an undercover boss, and sees just what goes on in his city. As far as I am concerned he isn't earning his salary and is a pretty weak leader of others at city hall as well. Rosemead has 55,000 people and while there are many different ethnic groups, there is no excuse for not taking care of business in a land area of less than 6 miles. I too can write emails and not have to face the public. Maybe the time has come for new faces at city hall don't you think?

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