ALPERN AT LARGE - This is a sort of “Part Two” and counterpart to my last piece, which was for Ten New Year’s Wishes for the City and County of Los Angeles.
Welcome to the self-induced dystopia that is now California and the United States. Despite all our smiling political leaders telling us that everything is juuuuust fine, the kids are NOT alright, and the rent IS too damned high, and the future is NOT so bright that we need to wear shades (but we do appear to be wearing blinders).
This election year will be crazy…crazy! And it’s impossible to know where it’ll end up as we march into an election year led by some of the most divisive leaders in Sacramento and Washington we’ve ever seen in our nation’s history.
Still, hope springs eternal, and here are a few wishes for our state and nation to do better:
1) A better understanding that low- and middle-income housing is best achieved through a combination of newer, more spread-out cities with supportive transportation planning that encourages density along major thoroughfares, but also with new cities created to allow our coasts to not be so overcrowded.
New cities are needed! People need hope and homes…the American dream!
2) A better understanding of what environmentalism really means, and that overblown urban infill destroys not only traffic and mobility but prevents clean water, air, and soil. Helping a few developers (who are making lots of empty buildings for foreign investors) does not allow Joe/Jane American to own a home.
Build housing aplenty! Limit empty housing and buildings that do not help taxpayers find a home and future!
3) A better understanding on how to claim more water in reservoirs established throughout the nation (and with a nationwide series of pipelines and reservoirs to capture rain and snow runoff) to encourage more housing—affordable, and for the middle class—where it can logically be established.
Create a national water infrastructure to establish new cities and communities, in both California and the nation!
4) A better understanding of not enforcing the law is not the same as throwing out statistics that suggest crime is going down. Crazy, radical, and dogmatic Leftist extremists have no business running or enforcing crime. Rampant shoplifting and mob smashing and looting businesses is NOT acceptable in a law-abiding and civilized society.
Enforce the damned law, and let the prisons fill as much as the coffers of honest people trying to make a legitimate living!
5) A better understanding of how our sidewalks and thoroughfares in all cities throughout the nation being overrun by homeless encampments reduces mobility for pedestrians and bicyclists…and is a danger not only with respect to crime but for public health.
Create the places where the homeless can go to live, receive health care and job/education/counseling, and do not give any option for the homeless to leave if they can go elsewhere!
6) A better understanding of how encouraging and rewarding the rest of the nation’s homeless and disaffected to come to Los Angeles, San Francisco, or any other “homeless magnet” is NOT acceptable.
Covid and the lockdowns are over! Rewarding bad behavior is just that! Make it affordable to live and raise the bar for civilized humans to be self-supporting and not overly rely on others!
7) A better understanding of how grassroots democracy (and NOT blocking streets and creating chaos) once flourished and thrived in the 1800’s, 1900’s, and even over the past 20 years, and how they enhance democracy while diminishing tyranny from governments great and small.
Grassroots democracy is the best that America can be. Peaceful marches and multiple competing media outlets are best practices! Control of free speech and exploiting the pandemic must end!
8) A better understanding that poor voter turnout and voting for the same ol’, same ol’ results in a vicious cycle of leading to poor voter turnout, and then re-electing the same ol’, same ol’, and then poor voter turnout, etc.
Term limits are both necessary, but also avoidable, if we demand that politicians stop treating their positions as royalty and aristocracy, and if we don’t keep voting them in again…and again!
9) A better understanding that throwing money to create a few low-income housing units is NOT the same as results-oriented efforts to get the homeless encampments off our streets…be it through aggressive movement of the homeless and the establishment of tent cities or other low-cost housing units to allow the homeless to be housed.
Let the private sector fulfill what government fiat can never do! Small homes, new water and electricity and road infrastructure, and the creation of new major cities in our very large land will get the job done! New frontiers where the young can make a mark!
10) A better understanding of what powers the federal government really has, and what instead state has responsibility over to make the right politicians responsive to our needs. And if we need to throw out the jackasses currently running our state and federal governments (even if they’re replaced by others in the same political party) in 2024.
Learn what civics is! Learn what history really means! Talk to others of different political, social, and religious persuasions! And stop voting for the incumbents every damned time!
And to you all, Friend Readers, I wish you the happiest and healthiest of New Years in 2024.
(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father. He was active for 20 years on the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) as a Board Member focused on Planning and Transportation, and helped lead the grassroots efforts of the Expo Line as well as connecting LAX to MetroRail. His latest project is his fictional online book entitled The Unforgotten Tales of Middle-Earth, and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)