Friday, August 14, 2009

Another Reagan legacy

When riding public transportation there should be a caveat; try not to travel on really hot days and avoid full moons like the plague. On my trip to the Getty last week I broke both those rules.

Let me remind my readers, new and old, I love riding public transportation. My experiences on LA's train and bus system are, for the most part, easy and rewarding. I've sufficiently moved on from the train wreck to be able to travel again on all systems though the anniversary of the crash is looming. I'll deal with that at a later date.

One observation is so blatant on the bus. Most of the riders either can't afford a car or for some reason are physically/mentally unable to obtain or keep a driver's license. I don't have a problem with that because I truly don't want to eliminate the poor, disabled or chronically unwashed. I want to add more people that own cars and decide it is more efficient to ride a natural gas bus to work/shop or whatever gets them on the street. Everyone knows the traffic in LA is a nightmare. But does everyone know we have a very efficient bus system?

Unfortunately what keeps people from trying the systems are the wackos that ride the bus. Yes, I'm ashamed to call them wackos but everyone riding the bus has a similar story. And, yes, I know they are not going to go away, nor should they. They are part of the Public in public transportation. If we only had a few more semi-normal people to ride it would balance everything.

Take my last ride. Everything was pretty tame until the lady with four stuffed teddy bears got on. She rode quietly until, imagine this, someone started talking loudly on a cell phone. This sent the bear lady over the edge and with fingers stuck in both ears, started ranting and raving. It wasn't until she screamed, "You can't take my baby!" that I noticed all four of the stuffed bears were wearing baby clothes and realized this poor woman needed much more care than the State of California is able to give.

Thank you Ronald Reagan. In the 1980 his policy toward the treatment of mental illness failed to address the issue: the mentally ill. I know it's easy to blame him for the past but what scares me is to think of what will happen with the current budget cuts coming from Sacramento. What legacy will that create?

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