John has been doing some excellent work covering the literal decay of some of the west coast’s larger cities. Conditions in both Seattle and San Francisco have been going steadily downhill, with growing armies of homeless people, trash piling up in the public square and rat populations skyrocketing. But those problems aren’t restricted to just the northern part of the coast. It turns out that Los Angeles is also going to hell in a handbasket in a similar fashion. (LA Times)

The good news is that two trash-strewn downtown Los Angeles streets I wrote about last week were cleaned up by city work crews and have been kept that way, as of this writing.

The bad news is that I didn’t have to travel far to find more streets just as badly fouled by filthy mounds of junk and stinking, rotting food.

Then there was the news that the LAPD station on skid row was cited by the state for a rodent infestation and other unsanitary conditions, and that one employee there was infected with the strain of bacteria that causes typhoid fever.

What century is this?

These stories are coming from LA Times reporter Steve Lopez. He describes sections of the city where the sidewalks can no longer be seen because they’re covered by makeshift tents. The “army of rats” is turning into a significant issue. One health inspector he spoke to said he had detected rodent dropping “everywhere.”

One part of the problem is obviously the growing ranks of the homeless. Los Angeles is now all but unaffordable for anyone who isn’t well up on the wealth scale. The city currently has nearly 20,000 people in shelters, but there are easily the same number or more out on the streets.

But the other part of the issue is the illegal trash dumping. Rather than paying for waste removal, people are collecting all their garbage in trucks and driving it down to some of the poorly lit areas and dumping it out on the sidewalks and in the streets. This includes owners of some of the produce markets, who dump food waste in the streets, attracting even more rats.

Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council are simply not getting the job done. I’m not saying it’s easy or that I envy them the task, but they asked for these jobs. The taxes in Los Angeles are already through the roof so there should be revenue available. And if that’s not enough, a vast amount of wealth is concentrated in and around Hollywood. Perhaps some of the elite over there could kick in to help solve the problem.