Greetings Constant Reader:
I am on jury duty. While that seems like the opening statement of a rant (or even the beginning of a beef) it is not. I am happy to be on jury duty. Through the miracle of laptop computing it is the only way I would have finished this web site anywhere near on time (that and a lot of calls to web master Jason and graphics guru Brett.) I also love jury duty because I live in LA and if you want to come downtown to Chinatown, Little Tokyo, MOCA, or any other cool place downtown you have to pay for parking which can range anywhere from 10 to 40 dollars on a weekday. Here I am with paid parking for 10 days and plenty of quarters to ride the DASH, for a quarter, all over this great town on my fabulous hour and a half lunch break. Of course I am only making 15 dollars a day plus one way mileage (until recently you only made 5 dollars a day.) You also have to spend about a week coming down and parking and sightseeing to see everything. Again, I’m already here doing something. Also, I found out that the Japanese National Museum lets you in for free if you show your jury tag. I’m hoping MOCA is also as civic minded. I do, however, feel sorry for a lot of the people here.
And yes, this is where the beef comes in. Democracy is a great thing. I, unlike a lot of people, love jury duty. You get to see your city center, get over your fear of the man and be away from work for 10 days. I’m lucky however, my work pays my jury duty and I don’t have any children to care for at home. A lot of the people I’m in this very cold, uncomfortable jury room with will have to lose pay and pay for childcare in order to perform their civic duty. Students are also no longer exempt and can only get extensions so that they can look forward to spending their vacation time, when they should be earning money to stave off their student loans, at the downtown civic center. Why should anyone have to pay for their part in democracy?
Meanwhile across the street, the City Hall is getting a face lift which includes a new lawn, at least an acre of it. The water and electricity cost alone to keep a lawn alive in the city is staggering. Not to mention the people they are paying to put it in and care for it. The Getty Museum put in amazing gardens that are made from drought tolerant plants and they seem to be doing ok with it. Thousands of people visit there every year and have no complaints. The Getty Foundation has more money than the city of LA because it chooses wisely. Downtown LA reaches double digit heat in the summer and city hall has a new lawn. How about a nice rock and cactus garden and more pay for jurors who don’t get paid by their employer while they’re here? How about a childcare center that caters to jurors in the area?
A lawn? Oy.