Memo To LA and CA Leaders: Go Trump Yourself!

ALPERN AT LARGE--It's very cute, if not a bit appalling, to see our local and state leaders falling over each other to prove how "with the people" they are while making laws and backroom deals that fly in the face of fiscal transparency and good government.  And obeying the law. So we're supposed to believe that the local/state anti-Trump pols are ANY better than the Orange Man they're pillorying? 

You like big projects?  I like big projects.  Most of us like big projects.  Except when they're unnecessarily (and potentially harmfully) big.  And when they're too darned expensive (NOT as in, they cost a lot but worth it, but costing 2-3 times or more the reasonable cost of those big projects. 

1) You like high-speed rail?  I like high-speed rail.  Most of us, in the right setting, want those trains we ride (or hear about, at least) to go as fast as is reasonable and as safe as possible.  Amtrak and Metrolink and Caltran to be speedy and cost-efficient...of course! 

A California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR) blasting through budget projections.  Well, the outgoing Obama Administration might have cut the CAHSR Authority some slack, but it's doubtful the Trump Administration will be any kinder to cost overruns than they are to Boeing or other air/military contractors who charge too darned much to the taxpayers. 

And it's doubtful that the contracts for the CAHSR to Senator Feinstein's husband's firm, or to bait-and-switch extraordinaire Ron Tutor will make too many of Trump's opponents too happy, because they want the high-speed rail built cost-effectively as well. 

So to the high and mighty state authorities who love the CAHSR but hate Trump (but who will certainly want him to approve money for this Trump-style big project), maybe you should just...go...Trump yourself! 

2) You like the Wilshire Subway?  I like the Wilshire Subway.  Most of us, for that matter, want that project built like...yesterday!  So who does the Metro Board of Directors vote to give the construction contract to extend that project to Century City? 

Why Ron Tutor, of course!  He of the bait-and-switch, substandard construction and master of the "better to ask for forgiveness than for permission" style of doing business!  After his legal battles with Metro for his past subway work, why he'd be even allowed anywhere near Metro is anyone's guess.

Funny how this was approved AFTER Measure M was just passed.  

So for those who are now flush with taxpayer dollars (from those, like myself, who hesitatingly supported Measure M), maybe you should just...go...Trump yourself! 

3) You like Good Planning?  I like Good Planning.  You like Good Government?  I like Good Government. You like the City obeying its Bylaws and Charter?  I like the City obeying its Bylaws and Charter. 

So imagine why those of us community/volunteer activists have concluded that Measure S, which would force updating of Community Plans (rules for zoning and height and density in each region of the City), and which would force megadevelopers to pay for traffic analysts who are impartial and not just "hired guns" to accurately predict impacts of development, is the only way to go. 

Obeying the law.  No longer threatening our environment, finally establishing affordable housing, creating a sustainable infrastructure.  Imagine having reasonably tall and dense development throughout LA in a matter of years to address the housing shortage, and to address affordability and access to our City. All do-able with respect to quick, easy, approvable projects that obey the law and establish neighborhood-friendly and neighborhood-compatible new projects, and which create gobs of jobs. 

And yet WE who support Measure S--the neighborhood council and neighborhood association leaders, and the affordable housing advocates--are the ones pilloried by the "fake news" by the high-and-mighty City Council. 

So while the Mayor and City Council are ramming lawless overdevelopments down our throats (which are ALWAYS thrown out in court if they ever are challenged), and while they're giving us all sorts of "head fakes" to show us how they'll protect us from President Trump, maybe the REAL question is: 


So for you Downtown clowns, and you Sacramento clowns, so very used to stepping on the necks of the taxpayers and residents of our city, county, or state, maybe enough of us are finally on to you, enough to tell you to: 



(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 CD11Transportation 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.)