ALPERN AT LARGE--It is November, and YOU decided.
It doesn't matter that California is a one-party state; what matters is that Big Business (be it liberal or conservative) and Big Government (be it liberal or conservative) and Special Interests (be they liberal or conservative) threaten the middle class and anyone who believes that criminal, corporate, and environmental law still mean something.
Right now we will have Gavin Newsom as our next governor. Antonio Villaraigosa, a man who let more people down than I can possibly ennumerate, is gone from politics for the unforeseeable future. John Cox, a man who may or may not be living, or may just be an embalmed pseudo-conservative dragged in from the Midwest, was the perfect opponent for Newsom to beat to become governor.
Jim "Damn, I love to lose elections for my Republican Party" Brulte will almost certainly be replaced, and it's to be hoped that Californians will some day have two parties (or more) to choose from. He's the leader of the California GOP, or at least those who still live in California, for those of you who don't know him, and wonder why the hell the GOP just keeps losing and becoming irrelevant lately.
Yet with City Mayor Eric "Damn, I want to be President, and Damn, I love to break the law" Garcetti about ready to unleash a Policies and Procedures Amendment under the guise of ReCode L.A. that will completely destroy the ability of Neighborhood Councils and Environmental Law to have anything to do with Planning and Development on us all, there are problems within the Democratic Party, too.
Yes, Californians (who are very generous, and kind) did elect to spend money on infrastructure and hospitals and the like to help build things and restore things that are decades-old in their need for funding and construction, but the ability to justify more taxation and the ever-worsening pension crisis can only be papered over for so long. Democrats want their money to be spent well, too.
Democrats also don't like being denied access to quality health care, the planning process, and sufficient water and electricity...but these will happen if enough water storage and development that adheres to Environmental Law and the Laws of Physics aren't pursued.
Gavin Newsom is the governor-elect, and with lots of money being spent on roads and rail (but with many people VERY nervous about how it will be spent, and how much will be shoved into the General Fund and/or an unsustainable pension system) he will have to (to paraphrase Lt. Governor Newsom) adhere to the FACTS.
FACTS don't care too much about your feelings, my feelings, that other guy/gal's feelings, etc. FACTS are just facts. Screaming, protesting, crying, whining and the like don't change those FACTS one bit.
Mr. Newsom inherited a California much better off from Mr. Jerry Brown than the California Mr. Brown inherited from Mr. Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and to a large degree that is a strong statement for Mr. Brown's tenure as Governor of the Golden State.
But like it or not, there is a new tax code that is ripping away the ease of high taxes for six-digit-figure workers paying off mortgages of $750,000 or more, and which in other states would establish them as rich (rather than here, where they're amazingly just upper middle class, and surprisingly not living too fat as their salaries would in other states).
There WILL be a shock as the new federal tax laws and lack of deductions for state taxes and interest on home loans kick in this year. The pension and union problems aren't just abstract talking points for whiny nerds who need to "get a life".
There are some very adult discussions to be had, and some very adult decisions that need to be made.
The best of luck to you, Governor-Elect Newsom. And to all of those who think that Environmental Law and an end to the CEQA and Neighborhood Council process is just an abstraction to be shredded up for a new "woke" generation of voters and taxpayers, Mayor Garcetti, please be aware that Democrats are as adult as anyone else in recognizing bad actors.
Even those who were, are, or want to be in the White House.
(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 email@example.com. 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.)