Last updateMon, 29 Jun 2015 7pm

LOS ANGELES Tuesday, June 30th 2015 6:53


Using The N-Word

Clinton Galloway
WHO WE ARE-Somehow it has become acceptable to use racial slurs as long as they are directed at yourself. The fact is they are rarely directed at you but to someone else. The most glaring example of this is the use of the N-word. I need say no more because we all understand what the N-word is. The extensive use of the word in modern hip-hop and…

‘LA Is Not Designed To Work’

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City of Los Angeles is a sprawling enterprise with 32,000 employees and an annual budget of $8.6 billion. But according to Rick Cole, the City’s former Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation, “LA is not designed to work." Our City’s operations are relatively simple compared to Los Angeles County and other large cities such as New…

SCOTUS Supports the People, Okays California’s Citizen-Driven Redistricting Commission

Deirdre Fulton
NO MORE SECRET BACKROOMS RUN BY POLITICIANS-In a decision hailed as a "major victory for voters," the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Arizona ballot initiative, adopted by voters in 2000, which took redistricting power away from elected politicians and gave it to a nonpartisan commission. The 5-4 decision (pdf), which saw Justice Anthony…

To Latinos Trump Is Bad News

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-This past week businessman Donald Trump announced that he will seek the 2016 Republican nomination for President. We all paid attention to his speech, not for great policy ideas but because he said that “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of…

Supreme Court Aftermath: Meet the New Haters, As Repugnant as the Old Haters

Ken Alpern
HATE POLITICS-The Supreme Court has spoken...again and again and again. And now we're encountering a group of New Haters, as repugnant as the Old Haters, as we discover who is REALLY on the side of Love, Country and Humanity versus that once-marginalized group of emotionally- and intellectually-stunted individuals who now somehow think they're not…

About Time! Neighborhood Councils, NC Alliances: More Comment Time at City Council

Erik Sanjurjo
GUEST WORDS-On Saturday, Council President Herb Wesson gave the keynote speech before the 100+ Neighborhood Council board members and stakeholders gathered for NC Budget Day in City Hall. He announced that in the next Council term he will be folding in neighborhood council related issues under his Rules & Elections Committee, partly to help…

Councilman Parks Sidewalk Repair Plan: Bypass Union Workers

Sharon McNary
CITY HALL-The city of Los Angeles has fallen so far behind on sidewalk repairs, it took a lawsuit to get officials to guarantee more than a billion dollars for repairs. It could take years before the work reaches residential areas because the city must still come up with a strategy for which sidewalks to fix first. But some neighborhoods are…

I Never Believed This Would Happen In My Lifetime

Andrew Sullivan
GUEST WORDS-As Gandhi never quite said … First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they attack you. Then you win. I remember one of the first TV debates I had on the then-strange question of civil marriage for gay couples. It was Crossfire, as I recall, and Gary Bauer’s response to my rather earnest argument after my TNR cover-story on…

Changing the Way We See Ourselves: Every American Should Adopt a Second Country

Andrés Martinez
TRADE WINDS-About 10 minutes into the soccer game, Sebastian’s cries of “here,” “behind you,” and “cross it” became cries of “aquí,” “atrás,” and “al centro.” I’d never heard so much Spanish voluntarily pour out of my ten-year-old. There is nothing like a hunger for the ball. And nothing like full immersion in a foreign language. I brought…


Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth

Golden Oldie-Johnnie Carson & Betty White-Adam and Eve

Rude. Rude. Rude … orchestra deals with rude cell caller

Whoa! More than 280 million hits. Taylor Swift hit-Bad Blood









From Heroes to Zeroes: Beyond the War on Math

ALPERN AT LARGE - Although CityWatch showcases many articles raising concerns about our public servants—and the recurrent theme that any analysis of the pension/budget/tax math shows our city, county, state and nation has yet to confront the painful decisions needed for a sustainable public sector—the fact remains that heroes abound in our public sector, and they enhance our daily lives in ways that aren’t always appreciated until they’re gone.
Heroes like the late Frank Edward Ray, the Chowchilla bus driver who saved and led 26 children to freedom after being buried alive by hijackers.   Or the Metro bus driver, Alan Thomas, who was just shot and killed in West Hollywood while driving his normal route.  

Other heroes that don’t always get enough credit include the LAPD SWAT officers who apprehended the suspects in the slayings of two USC graduate students from China.

Or the first-rate teachers at my son’s fifth-grade classes at Overland Avenue Elementary School.  

Or the first-rate staff members of Council Districts 11 and 5, with whom I work on a regular basis on planning and transportation issues that affect the entire Westside.  

Or the Metro, Expo, LADOT and Caltrans officials who go out of their way to inform and update us on local and regional transportation projects.

And so on, and so on.  Just growing up as the son of a LA City civil engineer in the Department of Sanitation/Refuge taught me first-hand of the inherently-selfless mindset of the majority of public servants who provide us needed services in our daily lives.

It therefore behooves us CityWatch writers, as it behooves the rest of us, to refocus our critiques of the public sector towards the Math that is drowning us all, and that threatens the economic future of both current and future generations.  Our critiques should focus on the attitude of those within government who ignore—or even declare war—on that Math that underlines the unsustainability of how we’re budgeting our essential government services.

Regardless of whether we believe Governor Brown is doing enough to limit-set the public sector unions (particularly teachers and prison guard unions) who are especially guilty of that aforementioned War on Math, he still has done considerably more than his gubernatorial predecessors (Republican or Democratic) towards pension/benefit reform in our state government.

And while Republican zeroes such as state Senator Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) cross the line in her repeated calls for a $74,000 claim her husband had against the state other Republicans have chosen to remain independent and open to the idea of working with Governor Brown—even if it means raising taxes.

Which is not to say that either Republican or Democratic legislators in Sacramento, or their counterparts in LA City or County, should be too quick to raise taxes in an environment where many—if not most—voters are just NOT ready to raise taxes yet.  And despite the claims of the usual media suspects like the LA Times, it’s not as simple as “voters are selfish and want services but no taxes to pay for them.”

It’s really just a simple matter of taxpaying voters (most of whom exist in the real world of the private sector, and which is the overwhelming majority of our economy) knowing our current Mathematical Realities, and expecting the public sector to follow suit after years of widespread taxpayer imploring the public sector to engage in reform of our budgetary structural deficit.

Mathematical Realities such as the enormous and crushing student debt loans that thwart the efforts of hardworking college students to create a successful career for themselves after years of playing by the rules and which threaten the futures of their own children.

Mathematical Realities such as our “lower unemployment rates” that appear lower solely because too many have given up looking for jobs, and which for some reason are not included in the official unemployment rate. In other words, anyone who’s suggesting things are getting better for jobseekers is either lying or just confused.

The true unemployment/underemployment rate is pathetic, and has been since virtually the beginning of the twenty-first century, and which has occurred on the watch of both liberals and conservatives, and of both Democratic and Republican political leaders.  There are probably about 20-25% of us who are either unemployed, have jobs that don’t meet our financial and/or career needs, or have jobs that abuse us but keep us trapped because we’ve no other place to go.

And from that widespread misery—all during an annual federal deficit of approximately $1 trillion—derives what should be an obvious need for all levels of government to enact hiring freezes, pay cuts or combining jobs to maintain individual salaries, a delayed retirement age to receive full pension benefits, and the need to replace public sector union leaders with individuals who can smell the coffee and not force public sector layoffs because of union rigidity in its negotiations.

The wickedly-painful pay and work cutbacks are occurring, and are not about to stop occurring, in the private sector—who are about to vote on more tax hikes.  Austerity alone is not the answer to our economic problems, but previous government-supported growth initiatives have been misspent and the political/grassroots will to engage in more initiatives is sadly lagging.

The War on Math by those who ignore or fight that math must end.  We must do the right thing by our public sector heroes, by the private sector taxpayers who are suffering endlessly (and who pay for the public sector), and by our children who stand to inherent the mess we either choose to resolve or ignore.

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Vice Chair of 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 Alpern@MarVista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us.   The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)

Tags: Ken Alpern, CityWatch, public servants