L.A. Is My Home; It’s My Duty to Keep an Eye on City Hall

When I was a little boy, I went to church with my parents and joined them in singing songs I didn’t understand. One such song often comes to mind:

“This world is not my home, I’m just a-passin’ through/

My treasure are laid up somewhere beyond the blue/

The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door/

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

It’s the last line in this stanza that really bugs me. I don’t think about “treasures” or “angels,” but there are times when I really don’t feel at home in this world anymore.

I’m almost 85 years old. I started working for the City of Los Angeles in 1958. Before retiring in 1986, I’d done a wide variety of HRM work in two city departments. And I’d come to be known as a “workaholic.”

In addition to the work I was assigned to do, I was an active advocate of good city government. I wrote a column on that subject for a community newspaper. I served as an advisor to Mayor Bradley’s EEO/AA Task Force. I earned an MBA at Pepperdine, and was elected — ten times — to a one-year term as president of PELT — Public Employees for Lower Taxes.

After retiring, I helped organize and served as secretary of a non-profit organization, “Academy for Supervisory Development.” We had hoped to solicit contributions from the public. Although that did not work out, we did — at our own expense — provide training for all the supervisors in two city offices.

Finally, for the last 25 years, I have worked as an unpaid volunteer to help officials replace their archaic, wasteful and unlawful personnel practices. But my proposals have been dismissed without explanation.

Yes, I do sometimes recall the words, “I can’t feel at home in this world anymore,” but it’s not because the angels are beckoning from Heaven’s open door — it’s because city bosses bar the door to those who’d restore the civil service system they’ve dismantled.

You can contact Samuel Sperling at samuelmsperling@yahoo.com.