THE DOCTOR IS IN - I don't always agree with outgoing (and now former) Councilmember Paul Koretz, but he was absolutely RIGHT in giving the f-bomb to those protestors who'd made it so damned difficult for the City Council to do their jobs.
I've known Paul Koretz for years, and I can assure that while I disagreed with him on a few issues, I always knew he tried damned hard to navigate a middle road when it came to justice, the homeless, transportation (he was one of the earliest advocates for the Expo Line), and urban planning. He was too often put into an untenable position that he had to dodge and crawl his way out of.
But there are an increasing number of Angelenos who feel that verbal bomb-throwing or silencing of the opposition (or just trying to control decision-makingwith an iron fist) is just fine because they live in the universe of truth, and they were all too empowered by outgoing folks like Eric Garcetti and Mike Bonin.
And I MUST remind you that in the simultaneous/concurrent first-term of both Eric Garcetti and Mike Bonin that they were extraordinary and appreciated examples of support for the grassroots, and in the empowerment of all their volunteer constituents.
And then something happened in their second term, and to the best of my knowledge it had to do with a few powerful and wealthy "woke" donors and a kowtowing to left-of-left-wing extremists such as the Democratic Socialists of America.
And now that Ron Galperin is no longer City Controller, we may have lost a major voice from our Downtown leaders who focused on just doing their job by not catering to insiders and elites.
I very much fear his successor very much...although I would love to be proven entirely wrong.
I would also love to be entirely wrong about Karen Bass being the right leader at this time, because I thought her opponent was more likely to be a leader akin to Richard Riordan, the moderate who CREATED the neighborhood councils and who gave L.A.'s economy a well-needed shot of support when it needed it the most.
As a matter of fact, I very much DO wish Bass and any newcomers the best of luck, and it is my hope they ARE moderate and ARE successful so I can dedicate my articles to just how much they proved me wrong.
Please prove me wrong about that whole moderate/neighborhood council revival/economy thing, Mayor Bass, and perhaps throw in more balanced and honest urban planning and transportation planning, to boot--because we're doing everything environmentally all wrong.
I've done such "I was wrong about you" articles many times, and when I was involved in the earliest advocacy efforts for creating a LAX/Metro rail/car/freeway transportation hub, or when I was active with the Mar Vista Community Council, I always told newcomers and fellow advocates that if they wanted to impress me the most...prove me wrong!
But there are too many outgoing leaders who sadly proved me right, or changed my heartfelt trust into a cruel sense of betrayal that has thrown many a volunteer away from civic activism, and they very much deserve an "F-bomb".
Not from Paul Koretz (who now speaks for himself, and I wish him and his staff the best of love and joy with their families)...but some other "Eff"-bombs that comes only from yours truly:
1) To those who thought it was OK to trash and terrorize the City, wreak havoc, and burglarize innocent businesses...Eff you!
As LAPD Chief Michel Moore said it well, you really are no better than George Floyd's killers (and you established the narrative against those who protested peacefully that their criminal stereotypes might be true).
2) To those who gaslighted and manipulated the majority of Angelenos wanting to reduce homelessness into having to be put on the defensive, lest they be labelled as elitists, racists, and classists...Eff you!
None of us ever wanted to hurt the homeless, but those "homeless by choice" in public locations or taking over the sidewalks always led to removing the human rights of the rest of us. Those lovelies who commandeer publicly-owned venues and rights of way are no better than those wealthy and powerful who tried to "own" public beaches or rail rights of way.
Let's hope that Mayor Karen Bass, a former healthcare worker, will remember that many of the homeless deserve a chance or three, or even more chances if substance abuse and mental health are involved, but that others deserve a one-way trip the city/county border because they refuse to play by society's rules.
3) To those who emasculated and thwarted the ability of neighborhood councils to have a voice, and who played a frightening role in manipulating the makeup and function of neighborhood councils...Eff you!
Shredding the motivation of the grassroots to think that they, too, could have a voice, is a terrible thing.
Voting turnout is too often low, and neighborhood council involvement even lower, because when the Powers That Be make it clear that ordinary individuals have no say in manners that concern them (and they can leave if they don't like it), we're on the road to fascism.
4) To those who took the efforts of those who sweated and worked for years to allow Venice Blvd. to become a City-run venue, and then who used those efforts to smash the ability of the community to create a transportation corridor that worked best for cars, buses, and bicycles alike...Eff you!
And an equally heartfelt "Eff you!" to those who've trashed the ability of rapid transit to become the safe, convenient, and pleasant experience that it should be...and I don't mean just the criminals and homeless who plague rapid transit, so much as I do those who were and are entrusted to oversee and reduce unsafe behavior.
5) To those who kept us from dreaming and creating more parks and affordable housing to be paid for by developers who too often became wealthy-only creeps who were allowed to gaslight us into stating they would be great new neighbors...Eff you!
Mitigation is mitigation, tradeoffs are tradeoffs, and compromise is compromise. But B.S. has always been, and always will be B.S.
To those who fit into the above categories, I'm sure that you'll feel offended and all in a huff about what I just stated. I'm also sure that you'll have more than a few "Eff you's" to throw at me as well.
But for all those who gave, spent, bled, and hoped for a better City, and did so at the expense of their families, and jobs, and well-being, I salute you. Like myself, we did and do it all for free (including writing these articles, by the way).
For all those who I've referenced--not with a hope of being proven wrong, but with a track record meriting wholesale rebuke--I remind everyone that you bastards were being PAID during all of this outgoing era.
And PAID while abusing your empowered rules to hurt the majority of hardworking, law-abiding Angelenos who just wanted some rules and standards of decency for this City to work with.
So to those who've made it miserable for us to come together--the racists, the criminals, the corrupt, the connected elites, and especially the fascists and gaslighters who too often ran this City for the past four years...
Because Lord knows you deserve that outgoing sentiment.
(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 a wonderful wife and two cherished children. He was termed out of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two 9-year- stints as a Board member and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach, Planning, and Transportation/Infrastructure Committees for 10 years. 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 His latest project is his fictional online book entitled The Unforgotten Tales of Middle-Earth and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)