Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Steve Poizner needs to get out more

As reported on This American Life (get a download here. It's well worth the money), back in 2002, recently retired multi-millioniare Steve Poizner volunteered to teach a class in east San Jose. A few years later he wrote about that year in the book Mount Pleasant: My Journey from Creating a Billion-Dollar Company to Teaching at a Struggling Public High School. It's an interesting account (though not in any of the ways Poizner intended).

One detail struck me as particularly funny as I listened to the story while driving through LA. Here's the excerpt as Poizner read it on the show:
Several miles and a couple of highways later I took the Capital Expressway exit and drove into what felt like another planet. Signs advertising janitorial supply stores and taquerías. Exhaust hung over 10 lanes of inner city traffic; yellowing, weedy gardens fronted many of the homes, as did driveways marred by large oil spots or broken down cars.
Taquerias are generally small restaurants that serve mainly tacos and burritos. After hamburger joints, they are probably the most common restaurants in California. The thought that a California resident who wasn't looking for a place to eat would even notice them is odd. Listing them as an exotic sign of urban decay is downright bizarre.

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