TRANSPORTATION POLITICS--While it's not wrong to complain--vigorously and harshly, if so indicated--about City politics and how Downtown tends to smash the middle class (particularly families with small children) and crush the taxpayers, it's also unfair to ignore things when our leaders get it right.
Yes, Downtown treats taxpayers like ATM machines. Yes, City public sector unions treat taxpayers and ratepayers like lower life forms. Yes, many Councilmembers deserve to be thrown out of office.
And yes, too many of us are so used to Downtown corruption that we tolerate it and take it for granted...and vote in the same crooked gangsters and thugs when they really deserve to spend time outside of public office (or in jail).
But there are times that the voters get listened to, and there are times when our leaders are ... well ... leaders.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has some of the same associations and positions in the Downtown LA "groupthink" that got us into the pension/budget/overdevelopment mess that has made many "give up" on LA. But as a regional leader, he's gotten into the "silver and gold" thing for the holidays:
1) He's helped extend the Silver Line Busway into San Pedro, thereby allowing by far better access for San Pedro, Long Beach and southern L.A. County resident’s access to/from Downtown.
2) He's advocated for including the Foothill Gold Line Extension all the way to the eastern county border at Claremont--the era of Downtown vs. the San Gabriel Valley is over.
3) He's taken on LAWA and made darn sure that its leadership connects Metro Rail to the LAX terminals. That has implications for LA County residents from the South Bay to the Southeast Cities.
4) If LA gets the 2024 Olympics, it will be without any doubt the achievement of Mayor Garcetti.
One can only hope that he will continue to push for developers and public sector unions to be flexible while the taxpayers--who've never really recovered from the Great Recession of 2007-2009--are asked for more sacrifices.
And if the ratepayers (who really are the same group as the taxpayers) are asked to pay for ever higher DWP costs, then keeping the DWP in line is as critical as doing what it takes to convince us to pay for the sewers and pipes below us as it is to convince us to doing what it takes to pay for the roads and sidewalks above ground.
And then there's Councilmember Mike Bonin, who's an amazing breath of fresh air for innovation and working with the community to do the right thing. As City Council Transportation Chair and Metro Board member, his transportation legacy is the ultimate successor to that of Bill Rosendahl, his predecessor.
Bonin's seven-point plan to fix our parking problem is a long-overdue effort to addressing and confronting a part of transportation we've long dismissed: parking, and parking fines.
In short, Bonin's seven-point plan, which is the result of a great deal of taxpayer/resident outreach (and entirely supported by Mayor Garcetti), will both create a five-year plan to fund, expand, and improve parking in the City of the Angels.
The plan will also perform an electronic inventory to determine where the City's parking assets are, and what appropriate fines and other measures are needed to enable and implement appropriate and fair parking laws.
Coordination of freight parking, technological advances and updates to alert owners of parked cars when they need to move them for street sweeping, and ensuring that parking meter revenues are invested in transportation improvements, are also part of the plan.
Voters and taxpayers want leaders with plans. Well, Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin have plans. Most of them are very good.
Let's just hope that they will get credit for all that they do ... and recognize that when the time is right to get out the pitchforks and torches and march to City Hall, we give them credit for those times and things that they actually got right.
(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at Alpern@MarVista.org. He also does regular commentary on the Mark Isler Radio Show on AM 870, and 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.)
Vol 13 Issue 101
Pub: Dec 15, 2015