BLOG: Breaking up with Los Angeles

- Los Angeles is broken.

And now, so am I.

On Saturday afternoon, while walking to the post office on Sherman Way in Van Nuys, one of the oh-so-many broken sidewalks in town tripped me.

I didn’t stand a chance.

I flew and slammed into the pavement so hard the air was knocked out of me. As my heart raced, I even struggled to breathe for a few seconds. It seemed like forever.

I looked around to see if anyone was coming to help but no one came. I made eye contact with a lady sitting in the passenger seat of a gold SUV and even though she clearly saw me laying there, she turned her attention back to her cell phone without even asking if I needed help. I wanted to say something but I couldn’t even speak.

Had it been one of those buckled pieces of concrete a foot high, like so many in this aging town, I would have seen it but this particular raised and cracked slab isn’t obvious until you look at it closely.

And no, I wasn’t texting or distracted, my cell phone was tucked away in my purse.

My hands cut and bloodied, everything from my knees to my foot to my shoulder quickly began to swell so I went to the ER where they cleaned me up, gave me a tetanus shot and thru x-rays confirmed that my foot was fractured.

Up to that point it had been a beautiful day. The post office was to have been the last of a few errands and I was looking forward to meeting my friends at Agape later to hear author Iyanla Vanzant speak. I had purchased my $85 ticket in January for the event and was excited the day was finally here.

I never made it.

I saw an orthopedic surgeon who told me I have to stay off my foot and wear a special boot and shoe. X-rays of my bruised shoulder were taken but most likely will have to be followed up with an MRI of that and of my knee.
All of this because the city has failed miserably in the upkeep of not only an aging infrastructure, but a poorly planned one that is in critical condition after decades of being ignored.

Between the potholes, the burst water mains, congested freeways and thousands of miles of broken sidewalks, the city I love so much is falling apart.

And so are the cockamamie ideas to fix her.

I’m in pretty good shape, I try to take care of myself, I walk and hike regularly and I make it a point to be aware of my surroundings (because of all the crime I cover) and look at me now. What if that had been my grandmother? Or any other senior citizen? Or a woman carrying a baby?

And the worse thing is the city has known for decades it has a huge problem and has basically done nothing…except talk about it.

According to an investigative television story a few years ago Ludmila Klet tripped on a cracked sidewalk, also in Van Nuys, and broke her hip. Klet sued the city and they settled with her for $425,000.

Adding insult to injury, according to Klet, the city had previously received numerous complaints about others hurting themselves on that SAME broken sidewalk, yet they had done NOTHING to fix it! So it cost taxpayers $425,000 which I am sure Mrs. Klet deserved but boy, would that money have fixed a lot of sidewalks, maybe even the one I tripped over.

One of the city’s more cockamamie ideas (again the only word that comes to mind) to fix the problem is to have homeowners pay for the repair of damaged sidewalks in front of their houses. As if we really “own” the sidewalk! I mean, could I gate it off instead? Or put my patio chairs out on the sidewalk? Install a decorative fountain? No, of course not! The sidewalk is part of the public road, the road we pay taxes to maintain.
And of course that doesn’t address the problem of all the other damaged sidewalks.

I’m hurting and I’m sad and mad.

I love Los Angeles but just like a toxic relationship, I’m beginning to feel the city isn’t good for me anymore.

Between a DWP bill that’s doubled for no reason other than their ineptitude, the potholes, the crime, the toxic gas leak, the traffic, the days without water because of pipes going boom, the local park unusable because it’s been turned into a city-sanctioned homeless RV park and now the sidewalks, I am beginning to think it’s time to break up with LA.

Or maybe LA has already broken up with me.

Gigi Graciette
FOX 11 News

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