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We needed rain so we got rain! What, are we going to become Seattle? I can remember a long time ago when it rained day after day for about a week. This season was very different because it rained a lot in the day time and night time. We also found out how dangerous too much water can be, with the problems with dams around northern California. They also got a lot of snow, which may cause problems when it melts.

California needs to spend a lot of money on disaster preparedness and repairing roads and freeways. We can’t afford to put it off any longer. We would do better with repairing and replacing the infrastructure than wasting money on the so called bullet train to nowhere. What a fiasco that has become because our governor, Jerry Brown, wants to leave a legacy, something with his name on it. Someone needs to stand up and stop the train now before the federal government decides to add some money to the misbegotten idea.

Our new President Trump is ready to spend big money on big projects. He also wants to fix roads and bridges, build a wall on the Mexican border and many other ideas. Right now a lot of people are gathering on the Mexican border, waiting for an opportunity to cross into the U.S. They are coming from central America, South America, Africa, Haiti, the middle east and beyond. They think that if they can get across they will be able to stay forever.. The stories are heartbreaking but the U.S. can’t support more immigrants here. L.A. is losing a lot of ground salary-wise as many more poor people are willing to work cheaper than home grown citizens. Poor people also need a lot of services.

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We can’t accept the world’s poor people just because they want to be here. Some criminals have been sent back to their countries and they bounce right back as many times as it takes. American citizens are victims of crimes committed by (mostly) men who are always up to no good. Compassion is one thing, there is no reason that Americans have to become victims. Drugs coming into the U.S. are also creating an underclass of providers and users who are hooked on pot, heroin, opiates of all kinds. This is the most destructive thing; that young lives are being ruined, sacrificed to drug cartels that are filthy rich selling it to our young people.

No one knows if a great wall will do any good. Smugglers will still persist, bringing in drugs and more immigrants who have to pay to get here. It’s a never ending cycle. President Trump seems convinced that a wall can be built, but until it is a reality we can expect the drug trafficking to continue and maybe even increase at all vulnerable entry points. If President Trump is successful at even some of his goals he can expect to be elected again for another term. Illegal immigration is an ongoing problem that will need to be attacked by a united force, with attainable goals.

How would you like to be paid to go away? To get paid for a job that you didn’t do well? The principal of a charter school in the Valley was given over $200,000 to leave his post. He had been accused of spending a lot of money for dinners, wine, trips, hotels, furniture and more. Some wanted him to continue, others wanted him gone, along with the chief financial officer of the school. Charter schools are supposed to be run differently, with input from parents and teachers. They are still funded by taxpayers. I am very leery of charter schools. They are supposed to be better for children than the usual school setting. The people who run charters should be above reproach.

The Los Angeles Times (Oct.13, 2016) printed a story about Magnolia Public Schools, which consisted of ten campuses. What was the problem there? They were hiring teachers from Turkey, using temporary work visas. How about that? Does that make anybody mad, upset, perturbed? It should. Who okayed this scheme or was it hidden from the Board of Education? It’s sad but this kind of fraud goes on all the time. The waste of money is enormous and it’s all taxpayer money.

Life is always a plus or minus thing. Here are other examples: Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf retired his post with no severance. But he still keeps more than $100 million in vested stock, accumulated pension and401(k) benefits of more than $24 million. Macy’s, Sears, K-Mart and J.C. Penney are all closing some of their properties. J.C.Penney is closing 140 stores. Many shoppers are buying online so brick and mortar stores will have to reflect that change and adjust. Wells Fargo was treating their customers badly, setting up accounts they didn’t ask for and making money off the fees they charged. The CEO, Tim Sloan and seven other high ranking executives will lose about $32 million in pay. Wells Fargo was fined $185 million for their bad behavior. They’re also losing business to other banks. Etc.

Volkswagen came up with a scheme so that their cars would cheat on diesel emission tests. They have cut 30,000 jobs and agreed to pay $15 billion to authorities and owners of about 11 million cars. Takata makes airbags for autos and there were flaws in the design, making some bags go off and injuring passengers. They agreed to pay $1 BILLION for their scheme. $850 million to automakers, $125 for victims and families and a $25 million criminal fine. Some people have filed law suits. They charge that Honda, Nissan, Ford, Nissan and BMW knew the airbags were dangerous but used them anyway. In California the bill to fix roads and highways has been estimated to cost at least $550 million dollars. Just for contrast, the USA added 156,000 jobs last September. A bit of good news: Homes in our area are selling for more and sales have been rising. The median price for a home in the southland is $455,000. That’s a lot of money! Hang on to your houses!

Whatever happens in the world, it’s always what happens in your own community, your own house that matters. On Tuesday, March 7th we’re supposed to vote for some propositions and in my area, a new councilperson. It would feel strange if I didn’t vote. The longer I live the less faith I have in our elected leaders. I don’ t believe them anymore. Our councilman for my area just up and quit way before his time was up. He’s a lobbyist now, so he revealed his true character. Maybe it’s a good thing that he quit. It’s better than someone who quits and stays. That is, someone who keeps the job but does a lousy job. We have a lot of quitters here in L.A. They are the people who hold down government jobs at very good salaries, but persist in not serving the public. Some are just waiting for a better job to pop up so then they can quit and get a pay raise to boot!

I like to compliment people who are doing a good job. “Thank you” is good but I like to say a little more, such as “All the nurses I’ve encountered here at Kaiser are so good, so efficient.” I compliment the people who work at Ralph’s or at a restaurant where I’ve gotten good service. Life is so mean, so cruel sometimes that our lives may feel very diminished. There are problems that can’t be solved easily or quickly. There are times when waiting is all that can be done. Wait for a change, wait for a check to come in, wait for someone else to do what they’re supposed to do, without complaint.

Right now, I’m thinking about jazz in L.A. all the time. I want to have a livelier, more robust jazz scene, We’ve lost so many clubs, venues that had lots of “jazz action” I wish we had a few more clubs to support the musicians, so audiences could hear different artists. I do like all kinds of music so I will occasionally do something outside the jazz realm. Good music is good music. We have so many talented people in our big area, but there are only so many opportunities to work. I can only hope that things will change. We’ll see what happens.

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Hang in there.

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“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
American essayist, poet and philosopher
(1803-1882)