Stumped and Trumped By the City  

ALPERN AT LARGE--Last night, the Mar Vista Community Council (NVCC) Transportation/Infrastructure Committee spent a considerable amount of time and debate on a problem (in this case, the inability to remove unsightly and sometimes-dangerous tree stumps) facing Angelenos, and which is emblematic about other problems facing the citizenry in the City of the Angels: 

We're paying more and more money in the hopes we're going to get City services in return ... which doesn't happen: 

1) Neighborhood councils and neighborhood associations will have to find ways to contract out for their own efforts (and without dedicated City-funded/taxpayer-funded resources) to remove tree stumps, and to fix sidewalks, and to repair our infrastructure. 

2) More taxes to help the homeless ... only to be told that we can't or won't be able to do much for RV's and camper dwellers who want to live rent-free near the ocean, and there is no major effort to enlist social workers, medical professionals, and non-profit agencies to house the homeless and be kind to those who want, and will likely respond to, our help. 

3) More taxes, fees, and assessments to build and repair our roads, sidewalks, and medians...going too often to somewhere ELSE. 

4) Learning that there are public/tax funds for parking lots and structures to allow cars off the roads and get pedestrians on the sidewalks (and, of course, to help businesses), and being told that this money is going into the general fund. 

5) Not getting vacancy rates and related information from L.A. City or County to determine how to help our affordable housing and homeless crisis, and then learning that the overpricing of real estate from the flood of foreign investments is causing rents/home prices to skyrocket artificially, only to conclude that this "conspiracy theory" is ... OMG ... actually true

Why the City of Los Angeles doesn't go on a tear to use private/public partnerships--particularly with the influx of City/County taxes, fees, bonds and assessments over the past several years--to do the series of big fixes and little fixes we all need is especially problematic now.

There's no shortage of money--it's going to a variety of political, pension, and unrelated places that help a few connected folks and do nothing (or maybe even hurt!) the rest of us paying that money. 

With the exception of a few special people like Councilmember David Ryu, who isn't a product of the Sacramento or Washington inbred elites, we have a City Council and Mayor who have chosen to not be representative of Democratic, Republican, Socialist or other Parties. 

We have a one-party City Council and Mayor:  A Green Party ... but not the environmentalist kind.  A Green Party ($$$$$) of "follow the money" and damn anyone who favors kindness, decency, morality, results, and respect for those who follow the rules and are trying to do the right thing.

California ranks behind Chicago in its corruption, but we're certainly #2, and rapidly catching up with respect to money and influence "trumping" the need to do the ethical and legal thing. 

Are corrupt and money-grubbing politicians anything new under the sun?  Hardly, but the Mayor and City Council of the City of the Angels is increasingly showing their "Green Party" attributes to levels unheard of in recent decades. 

So that pain in your chet you feel?  It's probably NOT due to the headache you get when you hear or see the President doing anything that drives you crazy. 

That pain is probably due to the knife being drive daily into you by a tone-deaf, aloof, and "smarter than you taxpayers" City Council and Mayor who want to tell you that that faraway Orange Man in the White House is the source of your problems, but who are now killing us locally with the daily drumbeat of Orwellian excuses of why they just can't ... and won't ... do their jobs.


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud father and husband to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. 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 was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired 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.)