without getting killed or caught. Great words from Jerry Jeff Walker in his classic ‘LA Freeway‘.
Stock market continues to slide. I took a 7 mile walk this morning, north on Santa Monica freeway walk path and then back south on the beach trail. Lots of older white men walking their dogs with their faces glued to their phones. Checking their portfolios I imagine.
California is beautiful. But, even at 7:00am the highway looked more like a parking lot. And then of course you have the fires and mudslides and threat of the big earthquake and everything costing 3x the rest of the country. Great place to visit.
I had dinner last night at Wally’s on Wilshire. Not bad, but of course pricey. Half-way through my starter (nice charcuterie and cheese plate), the hostess came and told me that I was not allowed to use my iPad after 6:00pm. The owner had a policy because he felt it disturbed the other customers. I was sitting alone, at a table near the back. I took a long, slow, deliberate look around and of course all their well-heeled customers were busily engaged in their own worlds and conversations. No one seemed disturbed or even to be paying attention. I let my gaze linger on a lady sitting alone at a nearby table who was reading but on her phone instead of an iPad. I looked back up at the hostess and said ‘I’m reading the paper on my iPad during my dinner’. If you are asking to leave, then I’ll move along and go have dinner somewhere else’. She was nervous and kept looking at the kitchen and finally said ‘we’ll make an exception this time’, and then she quickly turned and left.
I did not hear back from management on this issue. What a crazy fucking policy. They had big screen TV’s all over the place. Apparently those are not a distraction. Also, of course, all over the place, people were scrolling through their phones. I suspect it’s based primarily in trying to keep single people from coming because they generally don’t spend as much money and they take up a two-top for a single cover. It’s such a stupid policy that I don’t have the energy to write more about it.
At coffee now, back at the hotel; sitting outside, which is hella nice. A guy next to me made a comment about the market and asked how worried I was. I told him my retirement portfolio is measured in life experiences and it always goes up. Got a chuckle. I guess since I have grey hair, and staying at a nice hotel and don’t dress like a homeless person, he assumed I care about the stock market. My view–if this helps get Trump out of office, it’s a price we should be willing to pay.
I noticed a charge of $7.14 on my hotel bill and it was listed as health and wellness surcharge. When I called the hotel to ask what this charge was (this $7.14 was in addition to the total tourism tax levy of 14%), I was told this was put in place to help with health and wellness of City of Santa Monica workers. Interesting.
Here’s the point. In this country, Republicans and lots of other ignorant people love to characterize policies that promote social services as ‘socialism’. They love to compare Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s policies as something akin to 1950’s Russia, rather than the far more appropriate comparison to almost all European countries as well as much of the rest of the world. My point is this—in this country, we already practice the basic tenets of socialism; which is to generate revenue by collecting various forms of taxes, and then using that money to provide services to people that need those services. Which is exactly what is happening here.
The only difference is that we are too ignorant, or perhaps just mean-spirited, to do this at the federal level which would be far more efficient than local economies patching together programs such as this to try to make sure all their citizens are reasonably cared for.
According to the Santa Monica tourism press kit, there are 3,500 hotel rooms in the city proper. If those hotel rooms are booked 75% of the time, that would generate revenue of $6.8M per year. Anyway, interesting as I’m used to seeing all sorts of taxes on hotel rooms, but have never seen that one.
I hope it work and those workers are cared for.
Wrapping up shortly and grabbing an Uber to head to Long Beach.