July 5, 2009

Our hopes went up in smoke

Well we had high hopes for July 4, 2009. Things were looking up July 1-3 when sales at the fireworks stands were way down for the first three days they were allowed to open (July 1-3). We were hoping the economy was finally knocking some sense into people's heads. Why pay $200.00 for some fire and smoke when you can go to a public fireworks display for free? But alas Lakewood residents did not disappoint come July 4. By 8:30 things were rockin'. It seems that those that like to make the most noise and irritate the most people and pets are apparently doing well in the recession and spent like mad on "Chinese safe and sane" fire and sparks being pedalled by our "good friends" over at TNT (who appear to have gobbled up most of their competition) But we had hope. We saw a few LASD Sheriff cars cruising around with smirking deputies (knowing they were halfway to buying that new boat with fireworks duty OT).

But alas as 11 pm came and went the big guns came out (big illegal "fireworks"). And where were the sheriff's? I guess they had mostly gone home for the night having used up all the amount Lakewood budgeted for the holiday weekend (160 deputy hours for $10.931...fyi thats $68.31 per hour for that fine sheriff "protection" for a grand total of 16 deputies for one 10 hr shift...such a deal!). Also note that none of the clubs benefiting from these sales or TNT which benefits the most offered to pick up the any of these extra costs. At least the Lakers and AEG picked up some of the Lakers parade OT costs. Hear that TNT?

Calls to LASD station after midnight were met with 20 min hold times. When you did get through residents reported a litany of stupid questions (after you reported "illegal fireworks" at a specific address were still being shot off well after the 11 pm cut off). Questions like:

"how long has this been going on?"

Who cares? Its illegal! Its midnight already!

"What is the cross street?"
What you dont know the city street grid by now...how long have you been patrolling...or have you ever?

"What color is the house?"
Its midnight you idiot how am I supposed to know the color of the house?

"How many people are at the house?"
Are you serious? Who cares? How should we know? Do you need to know haw many tasers to bring?

All the time this was going on you could hear the rocket scientist on the phone typing this in. Oh and their tone of voice over at LASD is usually one of "why are you bothering us...go away you bothersome resident..." (I assume in the new sheriff locker room the words are not so kind)

Most of the time this is done after the long hold time so that callers will eventually just hang up and give up (and never call back). That is the way LASD works; make it a pain for people to report problems, then show up two hours later and do nothing. After two hours you know everyone will be gone from the scene so thats even better. You can bill 2 hrs for the call, honestly say you drove by but nothing was seen. How true! This is typical even on low call volume days.

So Capt. Christy Guyovich's "pleas" or "warnings" (depending on your vantage point) were nothing more than words or idol threats at best. The third 4th of July since the March 2006 "Dunrobin" (Brian Miler) "incident" and we really dont have much to show in terms of progress. Can't wait to hear the post July 4th spin from City Hall. They need to hire some retired Bush spokespersons to boost their credibility.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA
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