Last updateMon, 06 Jul 2015 6pm

LOS ANGELES Monday, July 6th 2015 7:30


Pirates at the Port (of Los Angeles)

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The growth of the Port of Los Angeles and its ability to maintain and create good paying jobs and its market share of imported cargo are under siege by external market forces as well as the demand by the San Pedro and Wilmington communities to finance $400 million of public benefits over the next ten years. The Harbor Department, one…

Why I Support 'No Gays Allowed'

C.J. Prince
GUEST WORDS-Last week, a Tennessee retailer made headlines when he took the whole we-won't-bake-cakes-for-gay-weddings thing to the next level. In response to last week's Supreme Court marriage ruling, Jeff Amyx, owner of Amyx Hardware, taped a "No Gays Allowed" sign to his storefront window. Amyx, who is also a Baptist minister, explained to WATE…

Never on Sunday

Paul Hatfield
GREEK VOTE, A PERSPECTIVE-According to the lyrics from the memorable theme to Never on Sunday (enjoy the trailer), it is OK to kiss in Greece except for Sunday. However, on this past Sunday, July 5th, Greek voters invited the EU to kiss them. I need not mention the part of the anatomy, though. Contrary to some extreme views, this does not mean the…

LA Transpo Slowed to a Crawl by Outdated and Ignored Laws

Ken Alpern
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-Reform of the City Charter or its Bylaws is almost certainly in order, but it's no secret that the City of LA … for all its hype about being for "sustainable living" and being "environmentally-friendly" … is burdened by a host of either outdated laws (which encourage inappropriate overdevelopment) or ignored laws (which are…

You’ll Never Guess Why I love Los Angeles

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-I remember the first time I went on a vacation outside of Mexico. We went to Los Angeles when I was 6 years old. I didn’t have to wonder why my dad choose Los Angeles, he knew I wanted to go to Disneyland and meet Mickey Mouse. That first trip we took that summer made me fell in love with this City. Los Angeles has everything a…

Unsolicited Advice for New LA Councilmember David Ryu

Joe Linton
GUEST COMMENTARY-Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu. Photo via It’s July. That means a new budget year for government agencies, where there is some turnover: some new faces, new officers, and new committees. LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is the new chair of the Metro Board of Directors, replacing LA Mayor Eric…

LA Working on Plan to Plaster the City with Digital Billboards

Adrian Glick Kudler
GUEST WORDS-People in Los Angeles love digital billboards!! We can't get enough of them! Give us more!!! Oh, thank god, the LA City Council is ON IT. Lawsuits have tragically darkened so many of those blinky, flashy ads, but yesterday the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee voted to bring them back big time. They want to…

The Persuaders: California Hospital Association

Bill Raden
CAPITAL AND MAIN SPECIAL REPORT-The nurses who showed up at state Senator Richard Pan’s Capitol office in May were furious. They had been assured by Pan, a Democrat from Sacramento, that he would be on their side when it came time to vote on Senate Bill 346, a charity care measure aimed at providing transparency to the state’s currently murky…

Vacations are a Necessity…Not a Luxury

Denyse Selesnick
Since most of the readers of CityWatch are “high achievers” you have undoubtedly faced the situation where you feel you can’t afford to take a vacation right now because of a million different reasons. Many of these boil down to one…without your presence things will fall apart. Really, they are just excuses … not reasons! Getting away from your…


  • Costco: Free Range Liars!

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS POLITICS-Eight years ago grocery retailer Costco (COST) pledged to transition out of using eggs from chickens in small cages to cage free…
  • 10 Things Over-Thinkers Are Tired Of Over-Thinking

    Lindsay Holmes
    WELLNESS-While writing this intro, I deleted the first paragraph approximately six times. My thoughts ranged from "Just get to the point already" to…
  • Can Procrastination Give You a Heart Attack?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-A study posted in the journal of behavioral medicine linked procrastination with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Specifically…

Thu Jul 16, 2015 @12:00AM
LA Equality Awards RSVP
Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth

One More Time! Grateful Dead say goodbye.

USA World Cup Soccer win … sealed with a kiss









Twenty Years After the Riots: An Expo Line

ALPERN AT LARGE - I’ve no doubt that some readers will consider me hopelessly naïve, and others will consider me naively hopeful, when I suggest that one of the best ways for the City of LA to get past the 20th anniversary of its divisive riots is to focus on the more cohesive promise that we have with the new Exposition Light Rail Line, or “Expo Line”.  
Certainly the riots, which began over racial animus after the police acquittals surrounding the Rodney King beating, helped prevent both the Expo Line and Wilshire Subway from being built for at least 10-20 years.  Having fought for the Expo Line over the past decade as one of the louder Westside grassroots voices (and as one of the most economically- and politically-conservative advocates), I witnessed the following:

1) The myriad individuals (who were clearly in the voting minority, as Measure R revealed) from the Westside who kept asking, “Who will be using this rail line?  Who do we want to let into this neighborhood?”  As if that all-too-obvious “code” would be ignored.

2)  The small but loud number of individuals (who were also in the voting minority) from the Mid-City who raised all sorts of cries of racial double-standards, and who made all sorts of divisive statements references of “Westside interlopers” and other epithets.  As if that all-too-obvious “code” would be ignored as well.

3) The politicians of all racial stripes and political backgrounds who fought the ordinary Joes and Janes who wanted this no-brainer of a rail line, and were willing to exploit racial divisions in our “open-minded City of the Angels” to both delay and confound its construction.  As if the rest of us were being fooled into ignoring the greater need to come together and to provide an alternative to the nightmarish I-10 freeway from Santa Monica to Downtown LA.

4) The developers who did and still do want to kill any benefit of this Expo Line by exploiting the daylights over convenient schticks of “affordable housing” and “transit-oriented development”.  As if we were all too stupid to recognize their profit-driven efforts to overbuild in a manner that threaten to worsen, not benefit, our traffic, density, environmental and health impacts, and overall quality of life.

5) The uber-environmentalists who wanted to focus on saving the planet when this line will do more in simply saving our sanity.  As if we would ignore a new light rail line that demands no carpooling, with no congestion pricing that allows better mobility by virtue of who can pay more, and which will allow any of us to jump ahead of those stuck on the I-10 during rush hour without having to worry about HOV lanes, rush hour, the cost of gas and where to find parking Downtown.

So the first phase of the Expo Line is here with lots of pomp and celebration by political and institutional individuals and entities who, in previous years, threw one monkey wrench after another in the way of building this line.  

I just hope that they remember—as I certainly do—the end of the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 1 of the Expo Line.  And I mean AFTER the dignitaries and transit advocates left, when two nameless individuals quietly started shoveling away the ceremonial dirt that we all had fun posing in front of with shovels.  Because it is the nameless individual who most wanted this line, and will most likely use this line, for no other reason that enhanced mobility leads to a better economic future.

Meanwhile, as the headlines scream how the Expo Line is forging its way into the Westside and how the Westside is reorienting its commercial future around this new light rail line), it’s hoped that the Mid-City and Downtown will not be treated like “chopped liver”.

Because the Crenshaw District, USC, the Downtown Convention Center and everywhere in-between are now more easily accessed by individuals throughout and even outside LA. County.  The Westside will be connected—later this year—to MetroRail when this line reaches Culver City, and then only in 2015-16 when the second phase opens to West L.A. and Santa Monica.  Right now, it’s the Mid-City’s turn to crow, and Downtown’s turn to crow, about their new addition.

And it was in these regions where much of the worst rioting occurred twenty years ago, and a younger Hector Tobar of the LA Times and others witnessed a self-destructive orgy of immolation in neighborhoods which should have been blessed with the pride that everyone desires.

And it is in these same regions that economic uncertainty (and the misery that goes along with it) still exists, despite the passage of time, as well as racial and demographic shifts, that should have healed and made moot so much of what went wrong twenty years ago.

It’s 2012 now, and a Latino is now a sincere “transportation Mayor” for the City of Los Angeles.  An African-American is now a sincere “transportation President” for the United States of America.  An old-but-still-energetic white liberal from a bygone political era is now a sincere “transportation Governor” for the State of California.

But it will be the political, business, and grassroots organizations and individuals who are out of the spotlight, and who just want to feed and help their families, and who want to fulfill their career aspirations, that determine whether this light rail line will succeed or fail to live up to its hype and hope.  

The success of the Expo Line will hopefully enhance an extended Measure R to expedite other projects such as the Downtown Light Rail Connector  and the Wilshire Subway (Purple Line) extension to the Westside.

Yet all of these projects, each as overdue as the Expo Line, were and are delayed by the LA Riots of twenty years ago.  So while I wish I could say that racial animosities, racial obsession, political egos and human nature have improved in the last twenty years, it is a safer bet to say that we’re all more experienced and smarter than we were twenty years ago.

More building of rail lines, roads and infrastructure, and less rioting, would certainly be a nice working paradigm for a twenty-first century Los Angeles…but whether that’s just me being naïve or hopeful, only time will tell.

(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 He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at   The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) -cw

Tags: Ken Alpern, Transportation, Riots, Expo Line, Rodney King, Los Angeles, Westside

Vol 10 Issue 35
Pub: May 1, 2012