Tue, Apr

Stupid Choices Equal Stupid Results: Are These Really Adults Running LA and Sacramento?


ALPERN AT LARGE--We're really in a fix, aren't we?

Why are we asked to make stupid choices, when they're as ridiculous as "food vs. water"? Is it all just political theater? Are we really so "woke" that childish aphorisms have replaced adult conversation? 

1) Trains vs. Cars? Really? When they take us places we want to go, and can afford the money and time to use them, the numbers favor BOTH. The freeways are full, and so is the Expo Line.

2) Buses vs. Uber/Lyft? Considering they both link to our primary train destinations, or our final work/home destinations, is the choice truly that awful that we can only choose ONE?

3) Dockless Scooters vs. Bicycles vs. Pedestrians? How awful is this a decision? What is wrong with designating certain venues for bicycles and electronic scooters, and for clearing out sidewalks for pedestrians? Are the goals of safety and convenience that hard to balance...and are they mutually exclusive?

4) Carbon-based energy vs. Alternative energy? Oil is bubbling up out of the ground, while the cost of alternative fuels is driving up utility and automobile prices in a manner that is destroying the middle class. Do we really have to throw away what we have, or can we share the wealth...and does the cost of solar and electric cars have to be so doggone HIGH?

5) Affordable Housing vs. Neighborhood Preservation? Truly? Need one be an advocate for one and yet an enemy of the other? Why would anyone want to live affordably in a community that is being transformed for the worse?

6) Transparent budgeting vs. Greater infrastructure spending? Is spending our taxpayer dollars wisely so darned difficult a concept to grasp? How many times are we paying for our roads when the old dollars we assigned are being diverted to something...else?

7) Pro-public servant vs. Pro-balanced budget? Since when did the public sector ever have to have their needs at odds with the general good? Don't public servants pay taxes, too? Shall we at least consider a more equal, or at least more similar, health and pension benefit package that is "best practices" for good corporate citizens to emulate the public sector? 

So long as we are forced to make stupid choices, we will have stupid results. So long as we act like children, we will have irrational results. So long as we're pigeon-holing ourselves into ridiculous narratives, we will have equally ridiculous outcomes.

Grow UP, Los Angeles and California! And ditto for the nation and everywhere else!


(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 protected]. 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.)