it was in another pocket

When I taught for Los Angeles Unified School District there seemed to always be plenty of money , but the School District was always in financial trouble .  There was money for what they needed , but not for what you needed . That was the general rule I came to understand .

At one time the Superintendent rode around in a chauffeured limousine . Well , the chauffeur was a LAUSD cop , and the limousine wasn’t quite what Paris Hilton would choose , but at the same time the classrooms were always short of supplies ; teachers fought to keep their pay from being cut, and the Super being was riding around like a potentate  . Same old drill . Actually , I don’t think that he actually rode around much ; but , his royal chariot was , nevertheless ,  ready and waiting .crownSlave child redeemed

When it got into the evening news that the Superintendent was riding around in style , no problem , the District had to backpedal a bit for public consumption , and so they cut the limo and the driver .  Poor bugger Super had to drive himself  to work and back again . But he had to drive around visiting schools and do LAUSD work at the same time , the District honchos had explained , and that was why he needed the driver . And the driver , a cop , was more of a bodyguard , anyway , they said .

Yeah . Right .

What made it to the public eye got addressed , though , so as they , those upper echelon flunkies , fought tooth and nail to keep teacher pay low , the Superintendent’s driver went back to police work . Teachers talked about the Superintendent’s  high pay , too . Maybe keep it as some multiple of a teacher’s pay . Well , the honchos explained , he wasn’t getting nearly as much as  executives  in private industry . Poor bugger was underpaid . How you gonna attract the best people to the job if you don’t inflate the pay and benefits ?  That nice logic they never applied to teacher pay ,  I noticed  . Slick irony unrecognized in the ivory towers  .

But , I’m getting off track here . I wanted to talk about generals’  job perks . Came out in the L.A. Times a couple of days ago . Photo of a mansion in Coral Somethings , Florida . Coral Gables ?  Maybe that was the place . The generals have maids and housekeepers and free rent , too . Paid by the government . Paid by us .

I was looking at the photo of the general’s house . Not such a big deal . I say , he probably earned it , doing his general stuff , protecting the country from terrorists and communists and insurgents and whistle blowers . Planning strategies for the next wars , improving  battle techniques . Maybe there won’t be any battles at some point , as it seems to be going ;  just drone strikes .  The general , though , will have to be there  to give public rationalizations during news conferences , excuses if needed , apologies if required . He’ll have to testify in front of Congress .

And pilots . The military doesn’t have enough fighter pilots . Sign up and we  ( taxpayers ) will give you $ 225,000 as a signing bonus . Buy a house somewhere . Buy an expensive car . Take a pre military -time cruise . Buy your girl or boy friend a diamond necklass .  Think of something .

I was talking all of this important stuff over with my ninety-two year old neighbor , Don . Don is a WWII vet . He was a navy medical  officer floating around in the Pacific at the same time that my father was a navy medical officer floating around in the Pacific off the coast of places like Guadalcanal .  ” We got too many generals , ” Don says . ” They got nothing to do but strut around acting like big shots .”   He might be right . What do I know ?war talk WWI

Meanwhile ,  Detroit declares bankruptcy .   Stockton , California did it , too , not too long ago . Can’t pay the bills , just like a lot of Americans these days .

When the schools paid easily for new pet projects and programs , but had no money for textbooks , or for routine maintenance on the school site , I’d wonder where  all the money for this stupid program or that new building came from .   A friend of mine explained  , ” Different pockets . The money’s in different pockets . ”   He  was a teacher union guy at the time , and he meant simply : They got money for what they want , but not for what you want .

We got money in this country for what they want , too , but not for Detroit or Stockton , or  ………or…………

The money is just in different pockets .steel helmet army

4 Comments

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4 responses to “it was in another pocket

  1. I suppose this has always been true. I get angry when I read about how our state is running out of money and then people suggest cutting the “lucrative” teacher pensions. Those pensions in CT are in lieu of Social Security, so not so lucrative after all. Plus, it’s an obligation, a promise we made to people who taught our children. Meanwhile, we have enough money to fly the Gov in a National Guard helocopter around this, the third smallest state in the union. We have money for… don’t start Dan, don’t start…

  2. Dylan Green

    That’s a good analogy. Explains a lot about the disparities in this country.

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