ALPERN AT LARGE--With all the mental and psychological jujitsu we're supposed to play with the "top two" primary system we imposed on ourselves, the governor's race is probably simpler than most might think:
If you're a Democrat or independent with liberal leanings but adherent to fiscal discipline, math, and the rules of physics, then vote for John Chiang.
If you're a Republican or independent who is sick of unsustainable planning, immigration, and infrastructure policies from Sacramento, then vote for Travis Allen.
Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa are a couple of narcissistic clowns who embody all that is wrong with municipal and Sacramento politics, and John Cox is a blatant fraud who will say anything to cheat and lie his way into the hearts of voters.
(Which is not to say that politicians aren't usually narcissistic clowns, but Newsom, Villaraigosa, and Cox just take things to breath-taking new levels).
The issues of planning, transportation, education, and immigration are all COMPLICATED and cannot be properly, accurately, or fairly simplified by either end of the political spectrum.
But the era of a hard California leap to the left has led to the crushing and virtually fatal blow to the middle class, and a massive exodus of the more reliable tax base that is always preferable to a small cadre of billionaires who care not a whit about their neighbors.
Just wait until the next stock market crash to see what happens when California pays for its overreliance on a few billionaire sugar daddies.
California grew because it balanced kindness and open-mindedness with hard reality and common sense, and it still (no matter what the eggheads from the Bay Area and Sacramento ram down our collective throat) longs for a moderate to who will say not only what we want to hear, but what we need to hear.
And Villaraigosa is the WORST thing for California, because he's a blatant fraud who stands for very little other than shiny financials and hot females.
I wish I could say otherwise, but as one of the many who rejoiced during his election, and who later came to rejoice at his final departure, from the office of Mayor of Los Angeles, I'm one of the many who wishes him well at Herbalife.
Because Herbalife is all that he's suited to ever lead.
Villaraigosa had good transportation advisors, but he's also responsible for ramming the Pico/Sepulveda Casden and a host of other transit-NON-oriented overdevelopments down our collective throats.
I'm not the ONLY transit advocate who fought for Villaraigosa's election, and then saw with horror how he rammed the Casden/Sepulveda project, which is overdevelopment and housing next to the car fumes-laden 405 freeway, down the throats of Expo Line grassroots advocates and pro-transit Councilmembers Bill Rosendahl, Mike Bonin and Paul Koretz...
...who were and are pro-transit but who knew this was a sneaky "poison pill" to the Expo Light Rail Line and was all about donor dollars and not about sustainable planning.
Villaraigosa took the good will of the taxpayers and transit advocates and threw it in their face once he got the money to fund the overdeveloping overlords to whom he showed ultimate fealty, and who have ruined the good reputation of transportation alternatives ever since.
(And our current Mayor, Eric Garcetti, has shown himself to not be much better about using and abusing mass transit development to justify inappropriate and environmentally-nightmarish dystopian overdevelopment!)
And as for Education, which Villaraigosa campaigned and still campaigns to reform, it's NOT hard to conclude that our K-12 public education unions have been a major force to bringing the Golden State to financial ruin--they constantly put a gun to the heads of children, and scream "give us the money or the kids get it!"
Anyone who thinks that the K-12 public education unions are juuuuuuust fine are being first-rate fools who've ignored the endless examples of more and more and MORE money being funneled to priorities that do NOT help students, and which have horrifically underfunded higher education such as our UC, Cal State, community college and (yes!) a long-overdue vocational college system.
But let's not let the corporate charter school systems who have aligned behind Villaraigosa, and who are just as greedy, self-serving, and problematic as the public education unions they scream about.
Reform public education? Certainly. But who speaks for the need to keep charter schools of nontransparent funding and backing in check?
Not Villaraigosa. He ran the City of Los Angeles into the ground financially, and he will certainly do no better in Sacramento if elected.
And ditto for Gavin Newsom.
Again: If you're a Democrat or liberal with independent leanings, but with common sense and an awareness of the rules of physics, environmental science, and public policy, vote JOHN CHIANG.
Again: If you're a Republican or conservative with independent leanings, but with common sense and an awareness of the rules of physics, environmental science, and public policy, vote TRAVIS ALLEN.
And as for Mr. Villaraigosa--you had your chance. You blew it. I once bought into your story about "boy from the barrio makes good". So did others. For the sake of those who know you for who and what you've become ... please, just GO AWAY.
(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 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.)