Sunday, November 26, 2006

Consistency in L.A.

The city of LA (the place) is home to almost 4 million residents. The City of LA (the government) will spend upwards of $6.7 billion on all sorts of services, some more worthy than others, this year. And this does not count all of the "off-budget" items.

In this morning's NY Times, there is a report that the City wants to save approximately $250,000 per year in tree maintenance costs (0.00373% of its budget) by replacing the city's street palms (non-indigenous), as they age and die, with other trees (also non-indigenous; the only indigenous growth is wild shrub).

Never mind that palms have come to be identified with LA, and vice-versa.

About 3 million overseas tourists visit LA each year. At a plausible average of $1,500 spent locally per visitor (Travel Industry Association of America), if just 166 of them (0.0056%) go elsewhere because they like the palm tree and its associated lore, the policy is a loser.

Our leaders are consistent in their treatment of costs and benefits. The do badly with the big-budget items along with the small ones.