Readers React: A rat problem in L.A. City Hall — you mean, the rodent kind?

A view of City Hall from Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 8, 2017.
(Los Angeles Times)

City Hall is ready to do some housecleaning, but not the kind many of our readers want.

A report in the Los Angeles Times this week detailing pest problems at 1st and Main prompted several letter writers to decry what they see as the more menacing metaphorical rat infestation at City Hall. The action by Council President Herb Wesson to begin the process of cleansing the historic center of city political power of its flea-infested rat and raccoon populations takes place against the backdrop of questionable donations by developers and a federal corruption investigation that has ensnared City Councilman Jose Huizar.

With the two stories so neatly timed, you can’t blame readers for taking some easy shots.

Los Angeles resident Toby Horn, a writer who has in the past reacted coldly to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s presidential ambitions, is first up:


Given recent reports of alleged corruption by a City Council member and mayoral appointees, I can well understand why City Hall has a considerable rat infestation. Perhaps the law will serve as a metaphorical mousetrap.

Cypress resident Paul DuNard distinguished between rats and rodents:

Yes, City Hall is wrestling with a rat problem, but the rat problem there isn’t a rodent problem.

Jean Koch of Los Angeles was the only reader to offer some practical advice to city leaders:


We had that problem at our house — big time. I decided action had to be taken when a rat gnawed a big hole in my dining room rug, ate up my blooming African violet plant and munched on the couch and chair upholstery.

I quickly learned that rats are smart. They weren’t attracted to my $50 battery-powered exotic trap. They ignored the yummy bait in the eight traps the exterminator placed in the house.

Our final attempt at extermination started with a visit to the animal shelter. There we found a tiny, fluffy, gray kitten who needed a home. Problem solved! The rats left and have not returned. Maybe they went to City Hall.

I suggest that a couple of kittens for the rat-infested areas of the City Hall would help.

Oscar Rosalez of Diamond Bar was at first confused by a headline:

When I read the headline for the article on rats and other pests in government offices, I assumed it was about all the allegedly corrupt politicians in City Hall. After reading the article, I discovered it was about the rodent population in City Hall.

My bad!

Roger Newell of San Diego said this problem is not exclusive to Los Angeles:


Top to bottom, government buildings are full of rats. Their removal may take more than just removing the carpets.

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