Friday, August 3, 2007

Sunlight from the stars.

One of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Los Angeles is called Watts.
In the south of the city, Watts has a reputation of a violence-prone and impoverished area.

The saying goes that in Los Angeles people can walk in the streets safely but in Watts people are running.

Annette Orozco is a beautiful 31-year-old senorita whose parents are from Medina in the Yucatan, Mexico.
She drives a fancy Chevrolet Tahoe and from the mirror an image of the Virgen de Guadelupe takes care of protection.

Nobody goes to Watts when not living or having business there: it is simply too dangerous.

Guided by a TomTom, a navigator coming from a company in the Netherlands, Annette and this photographer set off for a visit to Watts.
To meet Tunisia Adams and her family.

Entering Watts is landing on another planet.
It is a side of the United States that is shocking.
The richest country in the world looking like one of the most impoverished nations.
Knowing to be in the USA while it looks like a poor neighbourhood in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa.

Many times cities in developing countries like Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Senegal, Bangladesh, India, Bolivia and Mozambique have been visited.
And in Watts memories of those visits returned.
It is the same misery.
The same hopelessness.
The same trap the people are in.

A trap also in a literal way.
Because there is so much violence the people surround their houses with a high fence.
Like Tunisia Adams: she locks the 8 feet high fence around her house and she locks the doors, barricades the windows and inside her house she lives with her husband and children.
Exactly like in Dar es Salaam, Harare, Kampala, Dakar, Dhaka, New Delhi, Bogota and Maputo.

Thousands and thousands of people live in this degrading and miserable way in Watts, Los Angeles, USA.
And it is not a unique situation: many cities in the USA have these impoverished neighbourhoods.

Why does this situation exist in the richest country in the world?
While in other developed nations that kind of circumstances of living has been eliminated a long time ago?

The answer is obvious.
It is a matter of priorities of the Government.

The war in Iraq has cost until now almost 500.000.000.000 US dollars.

The Pentagon reported that it is now spending over 10 billion US dollars per month paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US Government spends over 626 billion US dollars annually on weapons.

While over 70.000 bridges in the USA are structurally deficient needing immediate repair according to the Washington Times.

So, Mrs. Adams in Watts, Los Angeles, cannot have any hopes that much improvement will come soon to her neighbourhood initiated and paid for by her Government.

But fortunately there are people in the USA who think differently.
Who are concerned and take initiatives to get people out of poverty and Third World living circumstances.

There is the Enterprise foundation.
A non-profit organisation that assists low-income people in different ways.

One of the activities of Enterprise is to invite Hollywood celebrities to finance solar systems on houses of low-income families in Watts.
Tunisia Adams has such a solar system.
Paid for by German born film actor Roland Emmerich.
12 large panels on her roof and a Xantrex inverter.

When Tunisia and her family use electricity during the day, it comes as much as possible from the panels on her roof.
If she doesn’t use electricity the production of the solar panels goes back into the grid of the electricity company.
One can actually see her meter turn backward when that situation arises.

Tunisia Adams saves between 60 to 85 % on her electricity bill depending of the time of year.
The solar system on her house has been costing about 25.000 US dollars all-in and this was possible thanks to the involvement of Enterprise and the generosity of the Hollywood celebrity Roland Emmerich.

Now Tunisia Adams has money to spend on the education of her children that might eventually and possibly get them out of the trap called Watts.


To learn more about the cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, click on:

To learn more about the spending of the US-Government on weapons, click on:

To learn more about the situation with bridges in the USA, click on:

To learn more about generous actor Roland Emmerich, click on:

To learn more about the Enterprise Foundation, click on:


Clarke Hockwald said...

Michael, as I'm sure you must know, Watts has looked like it does now since the mid 60's....the bigger the US welfare state has grown, beginning with Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" in the mid 60's, the worse the inner cities have become, regardless of military spending, or not. The conditions have more to due with local cultural values than lack of government spending. Since 1964 the Federal government has spent over $10 trillion dollars in its "all out war on poverty" and still poverty persists. For many years poverty spending exceeded 14% of the annual budget, and things only got worse, and in fact, the number of people on welfare rolls increased steadily until Clinton's welfare reform in 1997. It has always been a popular theory of those favoring socialist programs that all societal problems are rooted in economics and if we just spend enough money the problem will be solved.....the past 40+ years shows that is not the case.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Gang attacks ambulance in Sundsvall (Sweden)
The Local ^ | 08/05/2007

Posted on 08/06/2007 2:31:25 AM PDT by Republicain

A gang of youths are reported to have attacked an ambulance in Sundsvall in the early hours of Sunday morning. A number of other violent incidents were also reported in the town on a night police described as "very messy".

At around 1.30am police were called to Ljusdalen, north of Sundsvall, where ambulance staff called out to help a woman with respiratory problems suddenly found themselves under siege.

"The healthcare workers locked themselves into the ambulance when they were prevented from driving away," said police spokeswoman Eva Lindberg.

"The youths smashed the windscreen and aimed kicks at the ambulance," she added.

The ambulance staff eventually managed to escape and the situation had calmed down by the time police arrived.

Just a few minutes earlier a 24-year-old man was stabbed in the thigh outside a party on Bergsgatan in the centre of town.

"A dispute out on the street turned violent and one man was slashed in the thigh with a knife. The injury is not thought to be life-threatening," said police spokesman Stefan Edin.

A 22-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of having carried out the attack.

Two girls also claim to have been assaulted on Bergsgatan, Expressen reports.