LEANING RIGHT--Contrary to those of us who presume to know better (but really you don't), we're not all stupid, and the balance of rights versus responsibilities is something we're all capable of understanding.
Yet the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the whole darned state are yearning for leaders who can govern...but not rule.
1) Did we know there was going to be a second wave of the COVID-19 virus back in March during the winter of 2020-2021?
Yes. Did we prepare for it with increased ICU beds and trained personnel ready to be brought into the hospitals if or when it happened? No.
2) Did we create a COVID-19-adaptable economy for what the state will inevitably endure until 2022?
No. Did we create new outdoor infrastructure or dining facilities in the great, large state of California which still has an extraordinary amount of open space? No.
3) Did we create a homeless plan that allows for tent/camper cities for those with nowhere to go, and with ties to California, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit?
No. Did we ever create a homeless plan to accommodate those who've been out of work and without shelter since the COVID-19 pandemic hit? No.
4) Did we ever create a blueprint for housing designed specifically for the middle class, and with mortgages and rents consistent with those developed in the 1950's to create a middle class?
No. Is our middle class shrinking and either running away from California, or falling into an ever-yawning rich-poor divide? Yes.
5) Did Sacramento ever get over a faux "affordable housing" plan that truly focused on those making under 300,000 or more per year?
No. Is Sacramento creating a series of permanent ruling classes, either focused on the uber-wealthy Tech or foreign/global elites, with the rest of us consigned to impossible access to appropriate housing and cost of living? Yes.
6) Does California have an infrastructure plan to capture more water during the years with wet winters, to keep away fires from inhabited towns and cities near our forests, to build reservoirs to hold enough water, and create an expanded option for environmentally friendly telecommuting?
No. Is California really people-friendly, climate change-friendly, economically friendly, or quality-of-life friendly? No.
7) Is Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature running the state like a kingdom with fiefdoms, with the political and bureaucratic classes having a secured future, and the rest of the citizenry enduring no such security?
Yes. Are the Governor and Legislature representing Californians in a matter befitting a democratic republic? No.
So, here's a Christmas wish, and a present we will have to give ourselves: the ability to demand representation, and not rule.
That's right--at the City and State level, political officials can be recalled. If they are harming the environment and overdeveloping, and/or mismanaging public funds, then the citizenry has the right to recall them.
And if Sacramento, or Downtown L.A. (or any other city in California) continues to slam through legislation that harms the average Joe/Jane in our city or state?
Then we act by threatening their recall--the elections are over, but they can be recalled.
Take the rapidly growing recall effort of Gavin Newsom--has he run this state in an economically- and environmentally-friendly manner? Is Newsom (and, by extension, the Legislature) presiding over an increasingly separated two-tier system that makes California less affordable and livable?
So, the choice is ours: shall we aspire for a Christmas wish for a 2021 California that has turned over a new leaf with respect to good governance.
Or shall we just accept the "new normal" to be ruled, and not represented, because we want to be taken care of...somehow, some way.
Because if you want someone else to take care of you, well...they certainly WILL "take care of you".
ityWatch 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 of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 8-9 years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach, Planning, and Transportation/Infrastructure Committees. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at Ken.Alpern@MarVista.org. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)