If Nikolai Gogol wrote about Los Angeles…

It might be like this:

“Bad people in the city have been breaking into city streetlights and stealing copper wiring. The city can’t seem to stop such thefts.”


“The best — or perhaps worst — part of the story was that some streetlights in Boyle Heights still haven’t been fixed since thieves struck in August.

“There is some irony here. Just down the hill from Boyle Heights, Department of Water and Power crews have been working since early last month to install Christmas lights on the 4th Street Bridge, while blocking traffic lanes doing so.

“But the DWP doesn’t fix streetlights. That’s the purview of the Bureau of Street Lighting. It is also worth noting that when we called the Department of Transportation to find out which agency was blocking lanes on the bridge, the agency didn’t know. Officials had to look at one of their remote cameras positioned on the bridge to figure it out.

“Why does it take the Bureau of Street Lighting more than three months to fix a streetlight?

“‘It doesn’t do us any good to replace the wire without the secure lids’ on the base of the streetlights, said Cynthia Ruiz, president of the Board of Public Works, adding that a special order has been placed for tamper-proof lids.

“But, we asked, isn’t it just a wee bit weird that a DWP crew has time to put up Christmas lights but the city can’t fix a streetlight in a timely fashion?


“So why does it take the nation’s largest municipal utility nearly one month to string up a bunch of Christmas lights — like they do each year?

“‘We’ve had one crew working intermittently for the past three weeks,’ said DWP spokesman Joe Ramallo. ‘There are over 7,000 lights. They are elevated and the crews are putting up decoration in addition to the lights. It’s obviously a very labor-intensive process. They had to string power from five different locations.’ Ah.”
Caught in a jam after taking mass transit. Walking from Union Station to City Hall made one news conference unavoidable. This time, copper wiring thefts from L.A. streetlights were on the agenda. By Steve Hymon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, December 10, 2007

And yet we get through each day…somehow.

I think Mr. Hymon could be the Carl Hiaasen of Los Angeles. Really.

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