The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

UCLA Water Pipe Burst:
Rich Neighborhood Flooded

Aug 4, 2014

A rupture of the main water pipe sent a geyser shooting 30 feet at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) last week. The university and a very rich neighborhood surrounding it were flooded with about ten million gallons of water before the pipe was shut off. The city officials pretended that they didn’t know why the pipe ruptured. But, it was not that hard to guess the reason: the pipe was 93 years old.

There are more than 7200 miles of pipe that provide water to Los Angeles residents. The average age of these pipes is around 47 years. The city replaces around 20 miles of pipe every year. At this rate, it will take 360 years to replace all pipes.

This is ridiculous. Pipe replacement is basic work and people need jobs. And the money for this work is available: we pay 9% sales tax in addition to many other taxes. But, the city hands over the tax money it collects to the rich through inflated contracts and business tax breaks.

Such water pipe bursts are usually expected to happen in working class districts. This time, the pipe burst flooded a rich neighborhood. Now, the media and the politicians are talking about quicker pipe replacements funded by hikes to city water rates. That is, once again the working class is supposed to pay for rich people’s comfort and easy life.