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No Escape?

ALPERN AT LARGE - It was nice to think that a sojourn to Ventura County to see my brilliant niece’s college graduation from Cal State Channel Islands could allow me to buck the prediction of those proclaiming the end of times was upon us this weekend. The world did not end, but I could not escape its toils and troubles because (silly me!) I made the mistake of keeping up with the local, national and world news.

It appears that Ventura County allows no escape from the hassles affecting Angelenos and Californians everywhere, because it has the same critical need to reform an unsustainable pension system as much as any county or other governmental entity in the state. (Link)

No escape from the potential chaos of foreign affairs that our President has created by sweeping aside over 50 years of history and proclaiming he has all the answers to create Mideast peace. (Link) As someone who wants world peace, I hope his proclamation favoring pre-1967 boundaries helps create dialogue and trust in the Middle East…but as a Jew who really respects history, I fear his Nobel Peace Prize has gone to his head and wonder how much Israeli and other Jewish blood  (in addition to a lot of Arab and other Muslim blood) will now be lost.

No escape from the political soap opera that (fortunately) has fewer, not more, names being thrown into the ring as we figure out our next big choice to determine who will occupy the Oval Office for the next four years. (Link)

No escape from the dangers of low expectations as our mundane economy seems to just creep along with intolerantly high unemployment (Link), as the “green economy” looks more and more like hype than hope. (Link)

No escape from the state’s economic debates, with unexpected increased revenue both helpful (in balancing the budget) and hurtful (in preventing the necessary discussions of reforming our state budgetary processes) at the same time.

No escape from the knowledge that our LA Lakers truly let us all down this year, although at least the season is over.  We’re stuck with nothing to look forward to Downtown except a City Council that’s still years from answering our budgetary nightmare and enacting the reforms to our DWP that we just voted for.


…it’s nice to know that my son still wants only to see a Narnia or Harry Potter movie after he’s read the corresponding book first.  He just finishing reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and we then saw the movie this weekend.

…it’s nice to know that my daughter still delights us all by her singing and dancing and sharing all that she learned in preschool, and is shaping up to be one of the smartest and most beautiful little ladies I’ve ever met.

…and it’s especially nice to know that my niece graduated from our most recently-established universities, Cal State Channel Islands (Link) with a stellar academic performance and an equally stellar future, to boot.

So it’s tough to know that there is no escape from the challenges that confront our current adult generations…but it also appears that there is no escape from the need to fix our problems to support future generations, and that the next generation might do a better job of dealing with the problems than we have.

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently cochairs its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee.  He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) -cw

Vol 9 Issue 41
Pub: May 24, 2011