Highway to hell

John Taylor: April 24, 20080 Comments

Lucky LA. Although lots of services are being cut in the name of budget "austerity," (LA Times headline-ese), the Bureau of Street Services (oxymoron?) will be bumped up 3% so it can repair an additional 60 miles of streets.

That means the city's backlogged calendar of street patch-jobs will decline from 63 years to 43 years, the Times says. (This ain't a waiting list to get Green Bay Packers seasons tickets -- this is busted axles and trips to the orthopod.)

Lucky UC. Longtime Sacramento Bee columnist Peter Schrag quotes UC San Francisco researcher Stanton Glantz as saying the only way to offset the portended cuts in higher ed budgets in California would be enormous -- and unlikely -- increases in student fees or gobs of private contributions.

UC Berkeley, UCLA and maybe UC San Diego will survive the debacle, Glantz predicted, "but the rest of the system will fall apart." (Hello, Merced?)

Lucky USA. Bridges are collapsing, intellectual brilliance sounds like it may become a total accident and nobody in the media has yet done an overall "this-equals-that" analysis of the cuts in mental health services and the number of crimes attributed to those lacking mental health treatment.

We've got 46 million or so uninsured. The California Hospital Association says the total value of uncompensated medical care provided in the nine-county Central Valley is approximately the value of the entire Tulare County citrus industry. Last year, Community Medical Centers alone provided $122 million in un/undercompensated care, more than other area hospitals combined.

We should all appreciate the miracle of awakening each morning, especially if gifted with health, a few dollars in the wallet and a willingness to tackle small problems coming our way.