"In 2002, then-Mayor James K. Hahn traveled to China with hopes of securing pandas for the zoo. Instead, the city was later given the right to lease golden monkeys."
--Steve Hymon, L.A. Times reporter, in his story about the next item.
2. Boondoggle Du Ju Jour:
How much do you think it should cost to tear down -- not build, mind you, but just tear down -- the elephant pen at the L.A. Zoo? Let's see, you'll need a backhoe or a bulldozer, and a truck to haul away debris, and a couple of guys with shovels and brooms.... Twenty grand? Thirty? Try $2.1 million!!! Steve Hymon reports that the City's Board of Public Works approved spending $2.1 million to tear it down.
Has anyone heard of competitive bidding? Better yet, I bet you could charge people for the right to tear it down. Animal rights activists would pay good money to blow up an elephant pen, I'm guessing.
3. Statistic Du Jour:
Glass-half-full version: 86% of LAUSD's seniors passed the exit exam. Glass-half-empty / Daily News version: 14% failed. The state-wide figures were 91% and 9%.
Hey, if a kid passes it in the 10th grade -- which is the first time you can take it -- shouldn't he get to graduate early or something? Let's provide some incentives here. Imagine how hard kids might study if they could get out of a year or three of high school. Plus, it might help with the crowding problem. Maybe "free tuition" at the City College for each year you finish early?
4. Speaking of Elephants and Monkeys:
The circus is coming to town. The real circus. Protests to follow.