Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Pollution on our streets and highways is all the rage to talk about these days. Over the weekend, the LA Times came out with a story about the installation of air filters (or lack thereof) on new housing construction abutting our area freeways. City Watch LA had a blog post yesterday that declared LA's bike lanes as criminally toxic as the water in Flint. And anyone paying attention to community discussions at neighborhood meetings and on sites like NextDoor will hear often about how anything slowing down traffic increases pollution.


Sunday, July 9, 2017


Mis-an-thro-py (noun): A dislike of mankind  
Mis-an-thrope (noun): A person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society
Mis-an-thro-pic (adjective): Disliking humankind and avoiding human society
“Why is everyone else traffic?”

It’s a simple question, really, but it belies a much bigger challenge in a culture that relies so heavily on the most inefficient means of transportation: cars. Go to any community meeting discussing a possible new park or creative space or commercial venture or new housing, and the chief concern will be traffic and parking. Watch the local news about a big event coming to town, and the primary areas of focus will be traffic and parking. Traffic reports are as frequently provided on every radio station and every television station as reports of the weather, and more frequently than anything else.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


There's a part of Measure S that is personal for me. No, not because of its impact on land use and planning in LA - although that definitely hits home on a number of levels. And not even because it feels like the older generation telling the younger generation to bug off - although that also hits home for many reasons.

Measure S is personal because of how it is being financed. Officially, the campaign in favor of Measure S has received contributions of about $2.5 million in one year. What's noteworthy about that is that almost all of that $2.5M (well, about 98%) has come from one source: the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Whenever this financing has been raised by members of the community wanting to understand AHF's involvement, the measure's proponents have typically pointed to AHF's advocacy for hospice care in the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

This answer leaves me wanting, for a few reasons. And, ultimately, it leaves me upset and, personally, offended.

Monday, February 6, 2017


We are just two weeks into the new President's administration, and already there have been myriad protests. Most prominently, fewer than 24 hours after the inauguration, millions of women and men participated in Women's Marches the world over. One week later, tens of thousands of people of all stripes showed up at airports across the nation (with nearly no advanced coordination) in protest of a cruel and punitive Executive Order.

The United States of America was founded on the back of a rebellion against the overreach and heavy-handed rule of a British King and his empire that imposed rules and expectations with few checks on the King's power. Our nation's history is rooted in mistrust of power, coupled with a general trust in the will of the people (allowing for checks on that as well through legislative and judicial levers of power).

What we're seeing in these dark times has the feel of a revolution. But we mustn't forget that revolutions are about much more than marches and rallies. They're about organizing, legwork, and lots and lots of mind-numbing time and effort.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


November 8, 2016 was a devastating, demoralizing day for many of us. We learned that many white Americans are either supportive of or indifferent to racist, mysogynist, homophobic rhetoric and actions. We also learned that the GOP's ongoing efforts to destroy voting protections across the majority of states has successfully enshrined that party's power, even as, despite all that, the GOP *still* lost the national popular votes for President, the US Senate, and the House.

For those of us in California, we also learned something else. Here, we voted 2-to-1 for Clinton over her opponent, handing her a 4 million-plus vote margin of victory; our US Senate race came down to two Democrats; we legalized recreational marijuana; we gave overwhelming approval to taxes for progressive causes; and we provided Democrats with a two-thirds super majority in both state legislative chambers to go along with the all-Democratic statewide elected offices. Here, even in notoriously-GOP Orange County, Clinton won the majority of the vote.

For many people across the country, California is going to be the proverbial "shining city upon the hill." We have already been that for many years now for a large portion of the nation's economic engine, most recently in tech, but now we'll have even more attention shed on us, as millions of our progressively-minded brethren, particularly those in the deepest red of states, look to us and see opportunity and, frankly, refuge.

In other words, California could be poised to grow even faster as the nation lurches beyond this destructive election and numerous states regress even further, leaving more and more of their residents in the impossible position of having to choose between their homes and their livelihoods.

California could be that welcoming place for many of our nation's future political refugees. However, if we are to do so, we have two enormous challenges that we must confront, with as much clarity and vision as possible. Those challenges are, in no particular order:
- Housing, and
- The Environment

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Can someone please tell me what new housing the Coalition to Preserve LA supports? I mean it.

They oppose tall buildings. They oppose short buildings. They oppose homes that would be built near highways. They oppose homes that would be built in neighborhoods and away from highways. They oppose homes that would replace surface parking lots. They oppose homes that would replace strip malls. They oppose homes that would replace auto dealerships. I mean, they even oppose homes that would replace completely empty, vacant land!

What do they support?

Friday, July 8, 2016


Today is witness to still more tragedy in our nation. This time at the hands of someone who has been described as a "sniper," but who I prefer to refer to as, simply, a murderer.

It's got my mind spinning, trying to make sense of what's happening, and one thing keeps pinging in my head - which either means there's truth to it or that I just need to get past it. But I can't help but keep coming back to this idea.

The idea? The monolithic other.