City Pols Rightly Oppose SB 827 but Get No Kudos … Here’s Why

ALPERN AT LARGE--Credibility, intellectual honesty, and fairness aren't just big things that determine success in life … they're the ONLY things.  So while it's only fair to criticize both our Mayor and City Council when they lack those above qualities, it's also fair to praise them when they do things right.

The City Council and Mayor oppose the terrible, AWFUL SB 827, but their own track record, and the question of did they "lead" or "follow" the will of Angelenos in disagreeing with a state approach to overdevelop everywhere, and end the rule of Planning law, is a fair question.

After all, the willingness of this Mayor and City Council to routinely break the law and cause environmental, economic, and even health risks to harm LA's residents and taxpayers is abundantly obvious, so their sudden "finding religion" in opposing the "Wild, Wild, West" anarchy proposed by SB 827 contrasts with Downtown's blatant disregard for neighborhood councils and associations.

Credibility and accountability to the ordinary Joe/Jane citizen/taxpayer/voter shouldn't be hard to do, provided a political, business, or other leader recognizes and adheres to the concept that these folks aren't lower life forms ... but that is, apparently, a big problem with many leaders.

And hiding behind a "liberal", "woke", or other facade doesn't take away the facts and reality that we're too often represented by poseurs, not citizen leaders.

1) Witness the heat that Facebook billionaire Zuckerberg is getting for--despite a very successful social network--giving or selling social and political data to either former President Obama or current President Trump (or at least their surrogates).

Zuckerberg reports being empathetic, caring, and supportive of the common man/woman, but his business, hiring, and other practices show that he's as ruthless as they come when it comes to getting his way.  It's anyone's guess why an anti-trust lawsuit hasn't been filed against this otherwise successful social network that gets happily used by many of us every day.

2) Witness the heat that Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos is getting--despite a very successful sales and marketing network--from President Trump (another billionaire who networked in his own way) for putting so many brick and mortar stores out of business.

Lots of people hate the President, but probably are equally concerned about the job losses incurred in other areas of the economy.  Add the lack of taxation that Amazon gets compared to its declining brick and mortar competition (don't go, ToysRUs!), and it's again anyone's guess why an anti-trust lawsuit hasn't been filed against this otherwise very successful and effective daily retail enterprise.

3) But closer to home, our OWN little and local transportation monopoly and vital network (Metro) has just announced it will reopen its five South Bay Green Line stations a week early.

Metro is no Facebook or Amazon, but it's a network, and its bus/rail network is critical.  The expedited opening of a Crenshaw/Green Line "wye" at Aviation/Imperial to serve the Westside, South Bay, and South LA County is almost as vital as the Downtown Light Rail Connector.

Metro is poised to bring large regions together with its budding, growing rail network, but (unlike so much of the rest of the county/city government of Los Angeles) still fights to listen to, and be accountable to, its constituents.

4) Which brings us back to Mayor Garcetti and the City Council--the aforementioned credibility, intellectual honesty, and fairness must be addressed.

The City got its money from Measure M, and then started ignoring its street, sidewalk and other infrastructure needs that the taxpayers thought they'd see.  

The City opposes SB 827, but gains no trust from its constituents because it's so blatantly obvious that City Hall HAD to oppose it for political purposes ... because their previous actions show they're no better than the "Wiener" who proposed SB 827.  

When you have a Mayor and City Council that all too often acts like a pack of Wieners, it's hard to not want a civic sort of "anti-trust lawsuit" against "the network" at City Hall that's more "good ol' boy" and not "with the people".

As CityWatch and other publications suggest, it's not hard to do the right thing if you're by nature credible, honest, and fair.  It's what makes or breaks political or economic leaders, and is as sorely needed as ever in a City of the Angels that needs those attributes more than ever.

(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 alpern@marvista.org. 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 Dr. Alpern.)

-cw