Oh, Fleas! Science Debunks City Hall’s Infectious Stupidity

@THE GUSS REPORT-While Eric Garcetti, LA’s lame duck Mayor, keeps foolishly Tweeting #MayorsGetThingsDone, the phrase does fit if the subject is LA’s booming homelessness across the city and literally at the front doors of City Hall, imperiling the health and safety of thousands of people who work, visit or pass by the complex each weekday. 

At that, Prince Eric exceeded our expectations. 

But American Thinker recently put it this way: “There's a typhus epidemic in Los Angeles, just like any other third world city.” 


And the problem isn’t going away without a sea change in how Garcetti and the crime syndicate known as the LA City Council see the problem, which as of right now is devoid of science, common sense or effort. 

In the den of stupidity that is LA City Hall, rarely has it cratered like it did last week, when Council president Herb Wesson and Councilmember Paul Koretz espoused ideas to get rid of the rodents, fleas and typhus which have found for themselves #AffordableHousing and plentiful nourishment for themselves under and within the bowels of City Hall. 

How’s that for a hash tag, Mr. Mayor? 

Wesson and Koretz, both products of toiling for decades in the public sector’s zero accountability bubble, ridiculously pondered whether “an army of feral cats” could be brought in from the streets to live in City Hall in order to hunt and kill the rats. It would be bad enough had they suggested using a hundred non-feral cats Garcetti’s animal impounds kill on a regular basis despite his untruthful “No Kill” claims. But to even consider using feral cats in City Hall is a whole other level of stupid. 

For starters, ferals would have to be caught, spayed or neutered, de-wormed, rid of their own fleas and taught how to use a litter box. And then, with City Hall infested with rats, how would they get fed?  As if the feral or homeless cats aren’t already living tragic lives, neither Wesson nor Koretz could answer these questions: if ferals who live outside of City Hall haven’t killed the rats there, why would they be any more effective inside of City Hall? And what about City employees who are allergic to cats? 

They could ask the LA Animal Services Commissioners, except they haven’t met in almost a month, and won’t again for several weeks, despite a lengthy winter break. 

Also, neither Wesson nor Koretz asked the best veterinary school in the U.S. – the University of California Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine – whether cats can be inoculated from typhus. 

They didn’t, so I did. And the answer is there is no such vaccine. While typhus can be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline, it can’t be prevented, and can be fatal. 

Even if cats were the solution, the fleas on the rats would jump off of the dead rats, stay off of the cats who are properly treated with flea meds, and jump onto the floors and carpets of City Hall, ready to snack on the nearest ankle or latch onto hosiery for transport to the person’s car and home. 

Speaking of non-compos mentis, part of the reason why I refuse to work with politicians’ media reps was demonstrated when I asked Koretz which recycling facility would take in infested, infected carpeting. His staffer sent me gobbledygook on toxicology reports, the history of carpeting in landfills and Koretz’s call for a feasibility study on recycling of the carpets! 

Hey, I have an idea! While we wait for the results of those reports and studies, let’s rip out every inch of the carpet, and store it on Koretz’s and Wesson’s driveways until we are absolutely sure it’s dealt with in an earth-friendly manner. 

Thanks to the “John and Ken Show” doing a few segments on my column last week, several city officials trudgingly fielded my questions. Advance precisely to the 69-minute mark of their 2/12 show. 

One who did is Koretz, who John and Ken recently dubbed, “The Dumbest Politician in America.”  Koretz emailed me, “today in Council, staff acknowledged that the carpet will be recycled appropriately when removed.” 

So then why the need for a feasibility report and why can’t Koretz name the recycling facility? 

It’s because those questions have not been answered, yet Koretz needs to maintain the public charade that there is an earth-friendly solution for every problem in life, including infected rats, fleas and carpeting. 

And then there’s Wesson, who shamelessly wondered aloud whether the 32-floor City Hall tower, or the 18-floor City Hall East, could be tented for fumigation. Good grief, no. The larger building, which has a phallic look, would need one heck of a condom for fumigation. 

Still, while they can be less effectively treated by sealing their thousands of windows and doors, it is doomed to fail. To explain why, I reached out to a friend who has spent decades as a doctor, and boils it down as follows: 

“Rats are attracted to the squalor of a homeless encampment. Food allows them to reproduce and they will colonize the area. Removal of the attracting food source will allow vector control to eliminate the rats. 

I don’t know that the cat idea will solve the problem. They will not always be effective ratters. Rats fight back and are bigger than mice. (And the cats could end up dead.) 

Think back to the Middle Ages. We solved these types of diseases by creating sewer systems, toilets, trash pickup, etc. …you know, civilized society. Now that we are reverting back to the Dark Ages our public officials will have to go thru their own learning curve that these types of living conditions are not good for anyone and ultimately affect all of us. Unfortunately, politics will stand in the way of doing what is proven to work in this instance. 

Eliminate the food source and the rats will go away.” 

There it is. 

Until the politicians and their fan club at the LA Times recognize the causation between the putrid, infected areas in and around the Civic Center, and throughout the city, this problem is here to stay.  

In the meanwhile, we still don’t have an answer why Wesson ripped out the carpet only in his office suite, leaving vulnerable everyone else in City Hall and where exactly that carpet wound up. The LA Times Editorial Board should keep this in mind when Wesson seeks its endorsement to become the next LA County Supervisor.


(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. Join his mailing list or offer verifiable tips and story ideas at TheGussReport@gmail.com. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.