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When I first moved to Los Angeles, I did not have a car, so I rode public transit. In the way back years, it was called the “RTD” for “Rapid Transit District.” False advertising, as it wasn’t rapid, and barely transportation. While the crime wasn’t as bad back then, the homelessness problem has always been a feature, not a bug. Imagine taking a long ride from West Los Angeles to the West San Fernando Valley, a two-hour, 12.26-mile trip, with a smelly homeless person raving in the back.
Yeah… good times.
RTD eventually morphed into the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Association or Metro LA. Different branding and an expensive network of underground and light rail have not solved the problem of the homeless using it as their permanent toilet and sleeping quarters. Coupled with the drug use and the mounting crime… their problems have only gotten worse. Since the pandemic, ridership on the LA Metro has been down… way down. Lord knows why.
But look out, homeless, drug dealers, and miscreants —the Transit Ambassadors are here to save the day!
I feel safer already. <insert *eyeroll* emoji>.
Actually, I laughed for about five minutes after watching this video. I mean, seriously?!
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority launched a new pilot program of ambassadors Monday to provide support and safety for riders on the transit system.
Nearly 300 new Metro Ambassadors made their debut Monday. Their job is to monitor what’s happening on buses and trains, as well as to help riders navigate the system, provide extra eyes and ears, and support for riders who need assistance.
Jenifer Sory is one of the program’s new ambassadors. She said she wanted this job “to help people.” Other ambassadors come from diverse backgrounds, like Takiesha Harper, who previously worked in customer service. She said, “I love this job. I absolutely love this job.” Meanwhile, Patrick Satchell is an Air Force veteran with security experience.
The program has been in the works for several years. Ambassadors are unarmed, but have undergone 40 hours of classroom training, and another 40 hours of field training. The job starts at $23.50 an hour.
Unarmed and making enough hourly to pay for a monthly transit pass. This is supposed to make me feel as though Metro cares about “people first” or public safety?
I don’t think so.
The useless “Girl Bosses” known as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors think this is a grand idea.
LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said the ambassadors are an alternative safety model.
“We thought that by again by having an extra set of eyes on the system unarmed and well-trained we could improve people’s perception of public safety without the unnecessary risk of over policing or enabling situations to escalate violence,” she said.
In February, four men beat a man unconscious at a Koreatown Metro rail station. Violence is already escalated. How exactly would an ambassador have changed those circumstances? More than likely, the ambassador would have ended up with a beat down or thrown on the tracks.
Metro’s 2022 budget was just over eight billion dollars. The 2023 budget is 8.8 billion. 40 million of that money is slated for the transit ambassador program under the guise of “reimagining safety.”
I can’t reimagine safety, but I can imagine the lawsuits that will probably follow this move. Like our benighted Governor, Los Angeles City knows lawsuits — mostly losing them. I can imagine the attrition that we will probably see from this program once these “bright green steps” realize what they are in for. There’s a huge difference between strutting and striking a pose, and knowing how to react when confronted with true violence. Once these kids realize that posing will do nothing to stop a homeless meth head with a machete from slicing them in half, it’s just a matter of time before they choose to peace out, rather than face these imminent threats. Especially at $23.50 an hour.
And sadly, that matter of time might involve a fatality. Then nobody will be striking any poses, they’ll be running to cover their asses.
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