Tue, Jun

Might a Garcetti Era Promote Compromise Over Villaraigosa-Style Compulsion?


POLITICS - For those of us trying to keep up with the enormous and sudden number of scoping meetings, City Council meetings, workshops, etc. that involve dramatic changes in City Policy involving Planning, Infrastructure and Transportation, it's become clear that our outgoing Mayor is not only interested in underfunding Neighborhood Councils but in eliminating their relevance altogether.  

Tragically, it does appear that democracy is something that Mr. Villaraigosa finds cumbersome, but it does appear that Eric Garcetti appreciates that ideal.  


While it's unfortunate that Wendy Greuel appears to be an extension of this Villaraigosa-style dictatorship--a sort of Villaraigosa in heels and skirts--but it appears that Eric Garcetti not only has the smarts to be a Rhodes Scholar but is also savvy enough to know that Consensus and Compromise can get things done in a way that Smashmouth Politics and Sneaky Procedural Tactics never will. 

What popular and outgoing Westside Councilmember Bill Rosendahl "gets", and which is why his handpicked successor, Chief of Staff Mike Bonin, got elected without a runoff because Bonin also "gets" it, is that the same Internet that allowed the Expo Line and the Neighborhood Council system to be created over the objections of "old school" backroom politicians is also the same system that can create the aforementioned Consensus and Compromise that is the hallmark of Garcetti's modus operandi. 

So if CityWatch and grassroots activists who've fought for progressive change for the past decade are suddenly crying foul at the top of their lungs, Garcetti is the type of person who will listen and try to keep them happy...because he doesn't like unhappy Angelenos.  In contrast, Greuel has thrown out celebrity endorsements without showing any concern towards the welfare of the ordinary Angeleno: 

1) For example, Greuel endorses moving LAX a virtual football field into Westchester and requiring both the rebuilding of Lincoln Blvd. (creating both a Westside and Regional Carmageddon Forever by the impacts to the 405 freeway and adjacent streets) and a plan that will be thrice as costly as the Rosendahl- and Garcetti-supported option of rebuilding the northern portion of the airport without the expansion--an expansion that unbiased, scientific analysts state is unnecessary. 

Members of the Trade, Commerce and Tourism and Planning and Land Use Management committees will hold a joint meeting in the John Ferraro Council Chamber at City Hall on Tuesday, April 9, at 2 p.m., and Rosendahl encourages his constituents to attend and voice their concerns.  Were the modernization-without-expansion approach to be approved by the City Council over the tone-deaf  LAWA expansion that is opposed by everyone from former mayoral candidate Kevin James to House Rep. Maxine Waters, this modernization could be built ASAP. 

2) Similarly, with oversized developments being built NOT based on affordable housing, transit-oriented or other venerable needs but to further the profits of self-obsessed developers and without much public benefit, it's as easy but unfair and untrue to attack those developments' opponents as it is to attack Westchester for opposing neighborhood LAX expansion. 

Even the LA Times has gotten into the act, blaming Westchester, Westside and Hillside "NIMBY's" for trying to block reasonable and necessary "progress".  Yet these same "NIMBY" regions have voted to raise their taxes for transportation and utility upgrades and repairs so many times, and for the construction of the Expo, Wilshire and MetroRail/LAX Lines, that criticism of these regions ignores why even the most liberal and environmentally-minded in these regions are up in arms: 

Angelenos aren't close-minded, or NIMBY, but they do know corruption and cronyism when they see it.  There's a water shortage, electricity and utilities need repair, and we're throwing up explosive mega-megadevelopments without public process or Compromise.  

By Eric Garcetti's rejection of the oversized Millennium project, he aligns himself with other liberal, transit-friendly Councilmembers Rosendahl and Paul Koretz, who are fighting the Casden project and now have concerns about other future Expo Line-adjacent projects at Bundy/Olympic. 

To those who drink the Kool-Aid that Villaraigosa and his Planning Politburo are forcing us to drink, please CONTROL yourselves and recognize that Garcetti, Rosendahl and Koretz, and their constituents are not just troglodyte NIMBY's.  Angelenos wanted affordable housing and appropriate densification...but asking for a glass of water is not the same as being water-boarded. 

It's not a fact but a mere McCarthyistic tactic to betray transit advocates and proper urban planning by demonizing reasonable people raising reasonable concerns.  Densification consistent with, or in slight variance with, a given neighborhood is both appropriate and visionary--transforming and even destroying it against the wishes of those who presumed there would be reasonable Compromise is mere dictatorship. 

3) Garcetti also is winning over the support of the African-American leaders of Los Angeles in his efforts to create a Leimert Park transit station as part of the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail, and because of his long history of affability and Compromise.   

It is hoped that a densification and renovation of that region can justify placing this rail underground as per the wishes of the local community, and it is hoped that the megadevelopers who only want to build in the Westside or Hollywood will learn what "urban infill" means and also develop along the Crenshaw Corridor. 

After all, people of color need transit-oriented development, affordable housing, mixed-use development and open space/parks as much as anyone else. 

There are just too many other issues to address in this article, and that are being rammed through by a dictatorial Villaraigosa bound and determined to compel Los Angeles to lose their quality of life and the neighborhoods they've loved (and yet are always open to Compromise) before Villaraigosa leaves office, and to pay higher fees and taxes while it occurs.  A few monied interests would get bigtime payback if Villaraigosa succeeds in ruining our City, while the rest of us would lose while being demonized as "NIMBY's" after years of fighting for reasonable change. 

It's regrettable that Wendy Greuel appears to be more of the same as the outgoing, disappointing, and apparently-dictatorial Villaraigosa, but it does appear (and is certainly hoped) that an Eric Garcetti who appreciates community outreach and Compromise will restore faith between a Los Angeles citizenry that cries for representation, and not oppression, from its City government.


(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Boardmember 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 [email protected].  [[hotlink]]  This email address is being protected from spambots.  You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   He also 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 11 Issue 29

Pub: Apr 9, 2013



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