December 2, 2023

Maybe oleaginous Governor Gavin Newsom should have kept the street-cleaning firehose running, and sluiced out Los Angeles when he was done sprucing up San Francisco. I mean, what the heck? He certainly had the time. It only took him a couple days to wipe the mean streets of the Golden Gate City to a buff shine impressive enough for visiting world leaders and his particular friend, the Chinese Emperor Chairman, Xi Jinping.


Think of all the trouble a little extra time and love spent on his other big headache would have saved him.

Especially, well…now.

Yeah, the Friday night campfire sing-along in the junk piles under the I-10 got a little rambunctious this weekend. Normally it’s just the regulars who inhabit the “pallet yards” as they’re called. Well, technically, no one is supposed to be living there, as the yards are for the storage and sales of excess pallets and 55 gal storage drums, etc. Seems a perfectly legit place to put a mondo huge mass of combustible material – 8 acres’ worth – under a major interstate freeway but that’s how they roll. It’s worked alright up ’til now.

The state transportation agency CALTRANS is investigating the cause, and Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles was quick to exonerate the homeless who lived there. She’s sure they had nothing to do with it…


…Mayor Bass said as of Sunday evening, there is no connection between the homeless encampment that was near the burn site and the fire. She added that about 10 to 15 unsheltered individuals who were living in that encampment were unharmed by the fire and have since been moved to a shelter.

…even though she’s stretching the truth a little. The “unsheltered individuals” encampment wasn’t “near” the pallet yard. It was kind of right in/cheek-by-jowl to the pallet yard, as one enterprising X user documented simply by using Google Earth photos.

Lots of makeshift homes and broke-butt campers…

Screencap @landsnark

…scattered among the 20-30′ high towers of pallets and other flotsam.

Screencap @landsnark

That’s not a fire hazard at all, especially when you consider how careful drug addicts and alcoholics are around the propane cannisters, busted up pallets, and lighters they use to start and as fuel for cooking fires. Speaking of those propane cannisters the “unhoused” are so fond of (being they’re relatively cheap and small), I guess the fire was hot and noisy even before it really got going. I’ll bet no investigator asks the vendor why he heard explosions before the fire.


It might make the mayor look bad. Considering that Google has a wealth of street views to offer of the location prior to the conflagration…

Screencap @SistersPress

…you can clearly see where the mayor is coming from. It’s obvious this is a case of spontaneous pallet yard combustion.

Or a Russian inter-space nebulizer.

Once they got the flames out and took a good look around at the smoking ruins, I’m sure the CALTRANS folks – who, in an awkward story twist, actually own the property and leased it to the junk men and never bothered to properly supervise the lease – and high-ranking yes-goobers from the mayor’s to the Gavinor’s office got a little queasy.

That darn popular, heavily traveled, absolutely essential section of freeway is fried. BBQd. Well done.


It’s going to be a *gulp* “significant challenge.”

…In a couple of press conferences held Sunday, Bass said the issue would “not be resolved in one or two days.” It is unclear when the stretch of freeway impacted by the fire will reopen.

With Newsom’s Saturday declaration of a state of emergency in response to the blaze, the governor said the state is “mobilizing resources & taking steps to ensure any necessary repairs are completed on the I-10 as soon as possible to minimize the impact on those traveling in & around Los Angeles.”

They’ll be using all the latest advanced Scientific™ techniques to speed the process along.

…“They will test the concrete to see if it rings rather than makes a thud sound,” she said. That is how the engineers will determine the integrity of the pillars and bridge deck.

Speaking of dull rings and thud sounds – in an astonishing turn of events, the Secretary of Transportation was heard from before a week had passed!

This must mean Newsom’s running. Why else would Mayor Pete bestir himself before, say, Thursday at the earliest? Not his style at all.


Buckle up, LA.

It won’t be a bumpy ride, because you’re going to be in the same spot for quite some time. Make sure you…you know… before you leave home. You might be between exits or lights on city streets forever.