The New Cucuy, Gangsters, and Plague
Developers, politicians, and high taxes
Orale, usually around this time of the year, I write a piece that I jokingly say might get me "shot, arrested, ostracized, taxed...or all of the above" for it's bluntness and lack of political correctness.
Published on LatinoLA: November 17, 2007
Oh well...here goes again...the Holiday season is upon us, watcha:
As what occurs every so often in my day job, a number of faithful LatinoLA readers comment on how my camarada, Oakland's "northern Califas biker-cholo-writer extraordinaire", Al Carlos Hernandez, hits it on the head with his vivid and timely descriptions of current news headliners, and current Chicano consensus.
This week, it was on the current Hollywood writer's strike.
What struck us all as current, and prompting the "it's about time somebody said it" agreement, was Al's description on how America's commercial writers have successfully stereotyped American husbands, fathers, and men in general as clumsy and inept (I've always hated that, and wondered whose pendejo idea that was); teenagers as smart-cool- and in control of their own destiny(yea, right! Who pays THEIR rent?); and women as gorgeous-loose-successful-and having all the common sense answers. Prime sheep to be sheared, one would think.
Oh, would it be so sweet as to be real... we would all be enjoying a peaceful, economically equal world, and I could kick back with no worries, letting my woman and kids handle all the bills and daily life's stressers.
But hey...not everybody lives in an "Ozzie & Harriet" world (those of you not knowing what this means, need to get with a older person and get hipped...), so now I take it a notch up...
TV reality shows aren't the only places people lose...
As a young child growing up, I was always frightened and warned of "the cucuy", "la llorona", "gangsters", "the devil", or some deathly disease I might catch and die of if I wasn't careful. Many of these fears set guidelines and boundaries for my life, some helpful, some a hindrance.
As age, maturity, and reality set in, I realized that many of these fears were just control factors that we now realize religions have used for thousands of years, but now, some of them have been modified by new forces wanting to control the masses in modern day society.
For instance, nothing annoys me more than when somebody in the news, especially politicians, say that "developers" are responsible for traffic gridlock, smog, and too many condo complexes that overload and clog our sewer systems. Politicians and voters seem to be at the mercy of developers. Politicians and their constituents can't say "no" to developers unless a measure is put on the ballot. Developers manipulate politicians and government agencies and exercise "eminent domain" to take away land from their owners in neighborhoods. How does one become a "developer" that has so many politicians in their back pocket? How did a developers "right to build" become a public law?
But here's where the "cucuy" part comes in: Who are these developers? Hardly a name gets mentioned... and how come eminent domain (i.e. community development) is never practiced in condo neighborhoods, golf courses, open fields surrounding expensive gated estates, beachfront property, or shopping malls whenever a new school or freeway expansion is needed, or when some developer~ manipulated public agency sees fit to condemn a neighborhood as "blight" ? (making room for newer , expensive houses, of course)?
Who are these "developers" that they get tax breaks and incentives to build condos, luxury homes, and business parks that the average working Joe can't afford to move into, own businesses hiring locals at minimalist of wages (in the guise of "creating jobs"), and making money selling goods and services at such a low business incentive tax rate that , when included with the start up breaks & incentives, are literally supported by the working class, making them rich (and able to afford campaign contributions, of course)?...the new way to practce segregation, don't you agree?
You never know when a developer is creeping in your neighborhood, scheming how to snatch your property from underneath you & your neighbors...do you?
How can we recognize one, or at least hang out with a couple of them?
(I could use the money!)
Gangsters: For many years, stereotyped as well dressed mobsters bearing tommy guns and ripping people off and killing, and more recently, as baggy clothed, bald, gold chain & baseball hat wearing, dope dealing, Latino & Black youths ripping people off and killing...
...OK...some stereotypes have may foundation...but none of these having a local or national economical effect as the covert (real) gangsters: the politicians and public agency administrators and bureaucrats. They got their hand in everything...and nothing can stop them but their own greed when they get caught taking just a little bit too much. Ripping people off and killing has become an art . They are literally taxing and starving us to death, and we don't have the power to stop them anymore.
In L.A., they pay themselves way too much, hire way too many assistants, staff, and consultants, afford themselves way too many luxuries and executive privileges...and then deny the people essential services and courtesies because they're "broke", and then have to raise taxes. A local constituent can complain but they usually get ignored, or worse, investigated. News media report political misdeeds, the public loathe is aroused, but nothing occurs.
Luckily for the politicians & bureaucrats, there's always Britney Spears and O.J. Simpson and the paparazzi to deflect attention away from them.
Statewide and nationally, they raise more money than a local community's annual gross in the name of "campaign funds", and it seems NOBODY asks them where that money went. It seems some people can run for a public office, raise millions in campaign funds, lose the election, and live happily ever after...what a racket!!
With some noted exceptions, such as staunch Veteran supporters SFV Congressman Howard Berman and L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, it seems becoming a politician is the new , legal, and sophisticated way to become a gangster...getting rich while ripping people off and killing...and immune from prosecution for doing so.
There just aren't enough Howards & Glorias to go around...
College and University administrators make more money than your average rock star...and nobody knows what they do other than raise college tuition fees and live like kings off the public dole, while arrogantly pointing out what top quality people they are simply by virtue of their advanced college degrees, usually earned off student loans while their same age peers were working for a living, or fighting a war they got out of or feared to go to. ( Freedom's NEVER free, baby!). Affirmative action was killed, and lowered the number of people of color in major universities because in the bureaucrat's eyes, it just wasn't "equal" ...and they are so pompus and seemingly ultra appropriate as the purveyors of educational equality as a benchmark of credible acceptablity in today's society.
(never mind that THEY never started off as equal. Equal =white+money)
...almost sounds like a new, sophisticated form of racism, just tax payer supported...
High Taxes, the new plague: Ever notice how a lotto winner, TV game show winner, or Las Vegas jackpot winner get the same visitor immediately after winning?...the IRS... that well trained and hungry Government pit bull that will chase you to your grave, then turn on your family if they can connect them to you for unpaid tax purposes. They are a bigger threat to the average working class family than your local terrorist sleeper cell, know what I mean?
Scary to know that IRS employees actually get promotions and other perks for taking away citizen's assests in the name of tax collecting. (How come these bullies don't have the huevos to go after foreign countries that break promises and agreements, and rip us off in the name of billions of dollars worth of "foreign aid"?). Do you know of ANY IRS employee that ever got audited? Hmmm...
Almost half the price of gas is tax. We all need gas.
Almost 1/10th of your average grocery bill is tax. We all need to eat.
Property taxes, other various "fees", and "voter approved bonds" in Los Angeles alone could support a small state the size of Maine . We all need to sleep somewhere...some people just sleep better than others is all...
Agency mismanagement and waste, coupled with lawsuits for misconduct in various public agency departments would probably do away with hunger and homelessness in L.A. if they decided to hire fair, competent people (not relatives and cronies) to run these agencies .
The Department of Water & Power in Los Angeles, and Southern California Edison Company are having problems supporting their nepotism-saturated executive salary base, with all it's executive privilige, fully paid travel junket budgets, and luxurious executive office and housing accommodations... so they just simply raise the rates on the average family who need water & power. The L.A. political base has no objections, as long as they get "their cut"...and guess who loses out?
There's a reason postal employees go "postal"...know what I mean?
...don't you just hate it when somebody acts rich off of public money?
Try to open or start a new business, and the tax arm of the government efficiently find you and deliver tax forms explaining "their cut", and when it's due. There was even recent talk about making gardners and street vendors get a business license...so they can be taxed.
(I'm sorry! I tried to avoid the "evil illegal immigrant's takeover of the Country" threat...darn those Canadians! They just keep coming!)
All in all, we still have reasons to fear the cucuy, gangsters, and the plague. We just need to remember who they are.
EDUCATION, mi Gente...learn what "they" have...do what "they" do...and watch how fast somebody cries "foul" and "equality" in the same breath!
...hey, wasn't there a Country started somewhere back in 1776 that was tired of being overwhelmingly taxed, brutalized, and ripped off by powers that be?
Frankie Firme does not advocate the overthrow of the Government, but invites everybody to kick back, calm down, and listen to the finest music on www.eastLArevue.com