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I'VE just returned from a three-week dash across America,

with stops in West Palm Beach, Houston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Denver and beautiful, livable and surprisingly hip Kansas City. The trip was exhausting yet exhilarating. When you get out of town you really do see how the other half lives, and, frankly, they're living better than we are.

Which isn't to say Indianapolis and Kansas City don't have their problems; an earthquake rattled dishes and nerves in the wee hours of a K.C. morning. Paradise is God's jurisdiction, so I'm not talking about perfection, but I am happy to report life doesn't have to be as mean as we've allowed it to become here in the City of Angels. The epidemic of sprawl, malls, spray paint and spilled blood is a choice. We can knock it off anytime we want.

While driving a Ford Focus south on I-29 toward K.C., I did my best to take in the sights while reading the tiny print on my rent-a-car map while trying not to plow into the gore point. There was something missing from the landscape. I couldn't put my finger on it, but it felt better, cleaner.

That's it! Graffiti! I saw a single tag on the wall of an overpass. The only spray paint I passed in my 22.3 miles from the airport into town. Somehow, Kansas City has stumbled into the 21st century without turning over its cityscape to gang taggers. So tell me, city slickers, who are the real rubes?

Kansas City was once run by a crooked political machine. The Pendergrass operation was sort of a Middle America Tammany Hall. Somebody had to manage the whorehouses, gin mills and bootleggers. But along with the slime, Kansas City also got schools, libraries, public parks, museums, and Harry Truman. We've got Janice Hahn.

Janice "I'm counting your chickens" Hahn. Fredo Hahn. Wow.

Hahn wants to limit the private ownership of chickens. She believes the majority of L.A.'s urban roosters are fighting cocks, bred to kill in the cockfighting ring -- a dreadful, inhumane, barbaric blood sport. Meanwhile, she has no problem squiring around Betty Day, the mother of "Honcho" Day, one of L.A.'s most notorious gangbangers, a cock-fighter of a different sort, barbaric, inhumane. A killer of children. A facilitator of drugs and drive-bys.

Janice Hahn has given more consideration to chickens than children. We elected Janice Hahn. Election after election we have sent enablers to run the city of Los Angeles. Now, the chickens have come home to roost.

Last week, District Attorney Steve Cooley had to remove the prosecutor from the Pedro Espinosa case. Espinosa, to refresh your memory, is the alleged murderer of Jamiel Shaw II. Jamiel and Anita Shaw believe the prosecutor was threatening to drag their son's name through the mud if they did not back off their support of Walter Moore's "Jamiel's Law," a proposed revision of Special Order 40 that would allow the LAPD to arrest illegal-immigrant gangbangers like Espinosa before they slaughter.

What a unique concept. Stop the killers before they kill. Cooley claims there was a misunderstanding between the Shaws and the prosecutor; maybe there was. Emotions are raw. But Mr. Shaw is nobody's fool and he's not for sale. The dangled offers of better jobs and repeated attempts to get him to stand down on "Jamiel's Law" only embolden Jamiel Sr. He is the system's worst nightmare; a truthful man of courage.

In a city dying from political correctness we need more Jamiel Srs., we need more Walter Moores. We need people to stand up to the Janice Hahns and demand accountability.

The biggest chicken coop of them all is right on Spring Street. We are a city run by politicians too afraid to do what common sense and common decency demand. So LAPD anti-gang Officers Ryan Moreno and Chuck Garcia are painted as villains, and the Grape Street Crips are painted as victims. Walter Moore is a villain. Jamiel Shaw Sr. is a public-relations problem to be managed.

"Official" Los Angeles has had its chance to get this right. The mayor and the City Council have consistently gotten it wrong. The mayor continues to demand ICE not do its job. LAPD Chief Bill Bratton continues to toe the P.C. line. The L.A. Times continues to end debate rather than stimulate debate. The wagons circle around the system while Los Angeles spirals into a Third World metropolis.

Yes, life is different in Kansas City. It still has value.
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Title Annotation:Viewpoint
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 11, 2008
Previous Article:PUBLIC FORUM.

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