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Fri, Aug

Los Angeles: Why Bother Making Laws If They're Not Enforced?

ALPERN AT LARGE--Part of the problem with making laws is that they have to be enforced.

Not just those involving violent crime, homelessness, and even (gasp!) illegal immigration and employment. Believe it or not, people who break the law...need to be treated as if they broke the law.

But what about enforcement of inappropriate rent reporting (with respect to affordable housing) and keeping the middle class from being bounced out of their affordable housing apartments without considering their legal rights?

What about something we've heard a lot about...inappropriate housing rentals?

Even reporting damaged sidewalks and trees that pose safety issues involves City codes and services meant to protect the most vulnerable among us from physical harm?

Who ya gonna call? 

Ditto for 3-1-1. go ahead and call...but if nothing is going to happen, why bother calling?

And why try more outreach to show how the City can provide more services when it clearly has more of a focus on pensions and taxing/fees for its citizens and businesses than it does for meeting the years-to-decades-long list of needs to be met for the taxpaying constituencies.

How about even meeting the open space needs by asking Parks and Recreation to arrange for local agreements with the LAUSD for school playgrounds to be open on nights and weekends?

I have always been an advocate of the law enforcement community, and our firefighters, but while it's ridiculous to ask physical grunt work and athletic ability to be pushed on 50-somethings and 60-somethings, the consideration of urging our smart, intelligent, and legally-savvy older City workers to perform the above-mentioned enforcement is not.

Reporting those breaking the rules on City codes and laws on infrastructure and public safety requirements? Keeping schools supervised in the later hours and weekends for families and children?

Whether we use older City workers, including cops and firefighters, to do those jobs related to their personal interests and abilities prior to retirement, and to encourage later retirement in a more cost-effective and cost-sustainable manner, is a vital question.

But whether this City, which loooves making laws (regardless of whether or not they're silly or spot-on), has no chance of making them work if ONE critical feature isn't part of that law-making.

And that feature is enforcing those laws. 

Because we're getting so used to laws being unenforced, the concept of new laws, and any associated respect for those new (or existing) laws being made or changed is becoming increasingly ridiculous.

(CityWatch Columnist, 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 was (termed out) also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of its Planning Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at Ken.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