ALPERN AT LARGE--Who says that President Wannabe/Mayor Garcetti doesn't have a sense of humor!
His latest propaganda piece is entitled "And now for something completely different", and it starts with "We're changing this up." The idea is a good one--fewer and more straight-to-the-point e-mails.
Yet it's the same old, same old! Oooooh, that awful Trump! Oooooh, the war on the environment! Oooooh that awful global climate change!
Well, the Bloviator-In-Chief, that Orange Man in the White House, is texting and doing things to get all sorts of people's panties in a wad, but if we get past Garcetti's diversions, the environmental wars being waged on Angelenos are actually CAUSED BY and ENABLED BY the coin-operated, smiling-while-he-stabs-his-constituents-in-the-back Mayor.
Mayor Garcetti is the obvious environmental threat (both physical/scientific, and political) who's jumped into Antonio's Villaraigosa's empty suit and talked up how "woke" he is by favoring well-heeled lobbyists and developers over the taxpayers who are either hurting, fleeing the City, or both.
You know, the Mayor (like his pathetic predecessor) who's put his Planning Commission and Planning Department on notice that all developments (whether they're affordable or not) are to be approved in one way, shape, or form ... without mitigation or compliance with environmental laws.
You know, the Mayor who's shoved Mike Bonin and the Westside into harm's way by shredding fifteen years of beautification efforts on Venice Blvd. to create a "road diet" on what's virtually a freeway, but is now a regional traffic nightmare that's been rammed down everyone's throats (with a BIG smile, to boot, so you just KNOW it's great) ... and which isn't being emulated in any other City Council District.
You know, the Mayor who claims he's all about saving the lives of pedestrians, when in fact the pedestrian deaths have gone UP and he's doubling down on the "Vision Zero" thing which is so replete and chock-full of big-donor special interest money it's just obscene.
You know, the Mayor who purports to be a mass transit supporter but has overseen a plunging of Metro's bus and rail network ridership leaving Angelenos more reliant on, and purchasing at a record pace, their cars.
So what would REALLY be different?
The TRUTH, and a Mayor with the spine to admit when he's wrong (we ALL have lessons learned, something that a good Mayor, a good Councilmember, and any good civic or political leader should know). We all throw up trial balloons, and we all do things that seem right but gets proven wrong when reality dictates a time to change course.
People respect noble experiments, but they respect courage and confronting reality even more.
Former Mayor Villaraigosa shredded his credibility and his political career NOT so much with his extramarital dalliances (which were pretty disgusting, and sent a horrific message to just about everyone), but with his complete willingness to politically and environmentally and fiscally dump on the hopes and dreams of current and future Angelenos.
And with Garcetti following his predecessor into the "liar, liar, pants on fire" paradigm of similarly dumping on his constituents just to please a few donors of the developer, fitness buff, or "woke-but-fiscally-conflicted" ilk, there is NO smile, handsome grin, or cute e-mail that will win over the voters and taxpayers who continue to remain aghast at how their City government has waged war on them.
Again, what WOULD really be different?
1) To tell the naive and/or financially-conflicted "help the homeless" crowd to let the medical and social worker experts, as well as the police and public health experts, address and (when indicated) confront those squatters who've taken over our sidewalks and curbside parking with tents and campers.
A statement of "we're here to help, we're reaching out with our money and other resources, but if you don't fulfill your responsibility to society we'll treat you like any other lawbreaker" would go a long way with Angelenos who are watching their City degenerate into a Third World public health nightmare.
2) To have the guts to hire a force of (and pretty much completely comprised of) women with children who "get it" with respect to what it takes to entice riders of rail and bus who are of both genders, all ages, and all socioeconomic backgrounds to feel as safe on our public transit system as they do in New York City.
A statement of "we're paying big bucks to bring our public transit system into the 21st Century, and we're not just looking at mass transit but rapid and convenient transit, so NO homeless or criminal hangouts will be allowed on our public and shared investment" would also go a long way.
3) To reverse course on the Venice Road Diet, or any other similar failures, and to proclaim that--after a year of ignored requests for data, probably because the data is horrible for this Road Diet--this noble experiment must be altered to enhance mobility for all...and that Los Angeles will have its own, locally-controlled and evidence-based "Vision Zero" to provide for pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
A statement of "we will no longer create winners and losers among our commuters, and we will focus on data and not propaganda, and we will do the right thing by all of our constituents" would restore faith in a taxpayer/voter constituency that is more forgiving, and more respectful of truth-telling, than our Mayor has so far acknowledged in his Orwellian "isn't this great?" approach to Venice Blvd.
4) A pledge to work with Uber, Lyft, Bird, and all the first/last mile private-sector efforts that have enhanced mobility in ways that NO ONE (including yours truly) could have anticipated a decade ago. Making these entities comply with the law, but ensuring safety and mobility to all parties involved, allows these developments to become a wonderful private/public partnership.
5) Finally, a demand that doesn't just throw out pie-in-the-sky limitations on carbon-based fuel requirements to power a City that is buckling under horrific utility bills and still doesn't have enough water and affordable solar power to fulfill the needs of its citizens:
"Affordable housing means just that--if a variance to build a development that includes affordable housing is requested, then 25% -40% affordable housing is required. To do otherwise is just to create more market-level housing for wealthy (and often foreign-owned) millionaires and billionaires while the middle class is sent packing from the City of the Angels."
And that would Then Be Something Completely Different for a city who's had Way Too Much of The Same Lies and Corruption.
(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.)