No Matter What Happens Tuesday there will be Plenty of "S" to Deal with for Years to Come

Election Stories

ALPERN AT LARGE--After being assaulted, pillaged, and treated like useful idiots for years, it's come down to this Tuesday. Both the promoters and detractors of Measure S acknowledge that Planning is corrupt and broken ... it is now merely a matter of who you trust and whether or not we can keep drowning in the ocean of what has forced us to confront Measure S.

Oh, NOW the City Council wants to update our Community Plans ... and with what poison pills and overdevelopment/unsustainable policies do those venerable City Council members want to add to those Plans?  And WHAT is the role of Sacramento in all this?

At this point, there's no need to be coy or restrained--if you think corruption is acceptable, cute, cool, hip, or just "business as usual", then enjoy the ride--but our true volunteers, our tax base, and our businesses will continue to flee the City and the State.

After so many transit advocates and environmentalists fought for mass transit (including myself!), the LAST thing we need to see are mini-Downtowns thrown about all over the City to create a new gridlock that light/heavy rail and buses were meant to mitigate.

Building big Downtown?  Great! Building big in suburban west, east, north and south LA?  Well, that's as smart as putting a toilet or a maintenance shed in your living room!

And meanwhile, behind it all, there is the legacy of Governor Brown and a detached Sacramento that is a guiding hand behind all of this "let's develop until the rational people flee the state".

Years ago (approximately 2002), I came up with the idea of a countywide sales tax for transportation and promoted it to The Transit Coalition and Friends of the Green Line, entitled "How LA County Will Have To Save Itself".

It was premised on the idea that Sacramento and Washington were not contributing anywhere near to their fair share on transportation/infrastructure spending for LA County's needs, and the rail/freeway/infrastructure of the county would have to come from its own residents.

Either Metro and the political world came to its own similar conclusion, or there was a shared conclusion that led to the passage of Measure R in 2008 and Measure M in 2016.

Well, LA County did save itself ... but the City, the County and even the State will have to do the same for Planning.

Again:  building dense in Downtown?  Perfectly obvious and smart.

Building dense all over?  Well, then it's HELLO MORE GRIDLOCK!

As our state's infrastructure continues to crumble under our current Governor (LINK: ), the focus on social issues and so-called environmental issues has become clear to all those on the Left and Right (but still morally sound) that it's all been about MONEY.

And not MONEY to help you and me.  It's money to help the empowered, those who flout the law, and who don't give a damn about whether or not the cities and counties of California BURN so long as they can win the lotto and get PAID (Primarily Associated In Development).

Cap and trade money? A sham that's all about "the green" of money rather than environmentally/sustainably-sound policy.

Maybe Governor Jerry Brown was once an environmentalist, but he's now overseeing a Sacramento that's as broken and detached from the needs of this state as ever we have seen in our state's history.   

Goodbye to the promising state of Pat Brown and hello to a conglomeration of Greece and Detroit.
Sacramento forcing cities and counties to turn themselves into congested, polluted hellholes just to appease developers?  No problem, so long as a few folks make a few bucks while sending their neighbors straight to hell.  Or to another state.

So after Tuesday, the battle will NOT end.  Whether Measure S passes or fails, the talk of Community Plan updating and developer/Planning reform will NOT end.  And we will discover whether or not the City Council is full of "S" or whether or not another Measure S will have to be fought.

The City Council and Sacramento have been bought and remain for sale to the highest bidder.  We can either entrust them some more to destroy our lives and those of our children, or we can start the fight by passing Measure S on Tuesday.

But the "S" does NOT end Tuesday.  In fact, it's just begun!


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties. He is also 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 CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)