Everybody Calm Down: Obama Gridlock Edition

Yesterday afternoon (around 5pm), President Obama flew into LA for a fundraising event in Hancock Park. Rather than arrive by helicopter at his destination, he landed somewhere (I'm not sure where exactly), and traveled via motorcade to his destination. This was unannounced, which really is to be expected. However, this motorcade trip led to the closing of many East-West streets in LA, causing absurd amounts of gridlock that lasted well into the event he was attending. And since there weren't even announcements about closings of streets, people didn't know to look for alternate routes (not that LA even HAS many viable ones). You can read a little bit more about it here and here.

People are, as you can imagine, VERY angry. After all, some people sat in traffic for HOURS. Such anger is to be expected, and quite frankly, perfectly justified. What happened was ridiculous, and calls for an investigation are not unreasonable either*.

But to blame Obama for causing all of this is completely off-base. If you actually think President Obama sat down and planned all the details of this trip himself, choosing what route to take to his destination, which streets to close, and for how long, then you are delusional. In fact, if you think you can even NAME the person in the Obama administration who is directly responsible, you are delusional. Obama probably made the decision to attend the fundraiser, at which point scheduling came down his personal aides, the Secret Service, and other White House staff. They then coordinated with local authorities (aka, LAPD) to prepare the streets.

Somebody (or a handful of somebodies) in that mess of people made the decision to shut down the streets, and for how long. It could have been on the White House end, or on the LAPD end - or both. But it certainly wasn't a decision that came "from the top".

Blaming the president for things is fun, and reactionary headlines help to sell dying papers and drive all-important clicks on web articles, but it's not really realistic. Of course, as the figurehead, he really should issue an apology. This won't satisfy anybody, of course, but it's the right thing to do. Hopefully, the results of this lead to better planning in the future, and maybe they'll have raised a bit more awareness to LA's traffic problem (not that I have high hopes anything will come of it).

To anybody who tries to argue that he never should have come out here in the first place, that as President, he has more important things to do: you may be right. But if you really think that McCain wouldn't have been out SOMEWHERE fundraising were he President, you are sadly mistaken. These midterm elections are important for both parties, and to believe that a Republican wouldn't have done the same thing is pretty naïve. Besides, with a Republican's "lower taxes", it would've been a BIGGER hit had he done it. =P

So let's all calm down, take a big breath, and blame something more reasonable. Like the LAPD!

*While an investigation is probably warranted, I think somebody should really weight the costs v. benefits of doing so. Is it worth spending MORE taxpayer money to assign blame to this particular waste? I don't have the answer, but it's something to consider.


Anonymous said...

I just don't want any more assholes coming here if they will cause a traffic delay.

Helicopter, helicopter, helicopter.

Feel the wrath of the angry Volvo driver!

Nick said...

Jeremy, that's way too sensible of an approach for LA drivers that alternate between having road-rage and having glazed-over-might-as-well-be-dead-eyes.

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