Tue, May

Some ‘Climate Change’ We Could All Use: A Climate of Common Sense


CLIMATE CHANGE POLITICS-Wouldn't it be great to factor in jobs and REAL economic growth in LA, Sacramento and any other major power hubs when it comes to environmental and economic policy? 

Wouldn't it be great to presume that "common sense" environmentalists understand cost/benefit ratios, and that the best businessmen respect environmental science? 

Too much to hope for, huh?  But then again, as Mark Twain put it, "Common Sense is not so common": 

1) First, there is no need for slapping around and beating up taxpaying commuters with too many "road diets" and other arrangements where "a few folks WIN, and the rest of you LOSE".  Donald Trump isn't the only person favoring the "win-win" approach to deal making, after all. 

As Steve Lopez opines, the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians are favored by pretty much everyone, but slowing down traffic to a painful crawl with a snuck-in-and-slammed-through Mobility Plan 2035 that really did NOT have public input has all sorts of unintended consequences. 

As in the unintended consequences of cut-through traffic that can lead to traffic accidents on adjacent residential streets. 

As in the unintended consequences of environmental problems from idling cars stuck worse than ever in gridlock. 

As in the unintended consequences of infuriating City car commuters BEFORE adequate transit alternatives of rail, buses, and DASH lines are established.  (Do you KNOW how unprepared the Westside is for bus connections to the soon-to-be-operated Expo Line?) 

As in the unintended consequences of convincing City residents that the City will play Big Brother and decide what's best for a community without input from that community...because some of us are more equal than others in their ideas and input. 

And here's some unintended consequences Mr. Lopez didn't bring up:  killing popular support for Measure R-2, the sales tax hike for transportation that's planned for a vote in November 2016, a funding plan for sidewalks and curbs, and the 2024 Olympics because City Hall looks detached, uncaring and downright cruel. 

2) Second, the alternative of doing nothing for mass transit for too long has its own challenges.

After a clueless abandonment of the Orange County Centerline light rail years ago, Orange County is again considering a streetcar project in Santa Ana and adjacent areas. 

To its credit, Orange County is ahead of the curve with respect to Metrolink service (arguably better than Los Angeles County, but it has fewer tracks and routes to contend with than Los Angeles County), and has better bicycle amenities and bus service because its streets are wider and larger to accommodate all forms of travel. 

But sooner or later, Orange County and any other major county is going to have to confront the fact that it is more urban than suburban in many of its regions, and it will have to adjust its transportation and planning policies to accommodate that reality. 

3) Third, mass transit need not be for the transit-dependent, and it need not be limited to those too desperate to use their cars. 

As San Franciscans are learning (and Angelenos can certainly learn as well), mobility can be pleasant and attractive with well-run, clean, and passenger-oriented vehicles such as the Leap Bus.

Some people will dismiss this as an elitist form of mass transit because of the higher costs involved, but when Google shows up in Silicon Beach it's going to have private and nice mass transit that probably takes people to/from their initial and final destinations, and isn't going to take them for granted. 

Wonder why Uber and Lyft are doing so well?  Simple.  People don't want to be treated like dirt, and if they can they will pay for it. 

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On a similar note, Metro and other mass transit authorities and organizations should vigorously enforce its Code of Conduct policy and throw out any troublemakers to enforce the rights of the law-abiding and well-behaving majority.  Keep a nice security presence of the L.A. Sheriff's Department, to boot. 

And to all those who complain to me about the Metro Green Line being the "Ghetto Train"?   Yes, I hear you loud and clear--if and when the Green Line connects to LAX (ditto for the Crenshaw/LAX Line), the need to make that train as nice as any Chicago or Washington D.C. train with respect to safety and conduct will be more critical than ever. 

4) Finally, can you Sacramento pols please balance common sense with cost-effective government, and balance the need to tax with the need to spend well? 

Yes, it's again the Republicans who stopped more tax hikes this time around, but there's no shortage of Democrats who are wondering about the need for more gas tax, sales tax, and other tax hikes at a time when Sacramento's track record of "good spending" is really, REALLY bad. 

I'm actually FOR more spending if the case can be made that the wasteful spending has been eliminate, and that the money will be spent well--that's what an investment is. 

If you want to establish more funds for transportation/infrastructure, then great.  But don't spend the money we now take in on junkets and waste.  Don't talk about cutting gasoline use and eliminating carbon emissions based on numbers pulled out of the ether and on ideas that sound great but really have pathetically low or non-existent scientific standing. 

Yes, climate change exists, but the portion of it that is man-made and what we can do about it solely by smashing California's economy is up for serious debate.  There's a few reasons why even Democrat-dominated Silicon Valley has a few big GOP donors --and one of them is that Jerry Brown and a few others have "jumped the shark" on climate change . 

Of course, man-made climate change does exist, but global population reduction, enhancing women's rights and economic opportunities to encourage smaller families, slowing down the paving over of Mother Earth, and leaning on China and India and the developing Third World is by far smarter than destroying California's middle class. 

Deal with that!  Heck, I didn't make this up! 

So let's do the unthinkable: encourage a "climate change" of common sense and debate for prudent economic and environmental and quality of life changes that doesn't favor a few well-connected and/or zealot-like bullies to the detriment of the rest of us. 

And that's some "climate change" we could all use for a change.  Hope and Change, even!


(Ken Alpern is 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  [email protected]   He also does regular commentary on the Mark Isler Radio Show on AM 870, and 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 13 Issue 76

Pub: Sep 18, 2015

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