Tuesday, July 11, 2017

pollution

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.

Here's what I don't get: WHY DO WE THINK THAT THE STATUS QUO IS OK?


Sunday, July 9, 2017

misanthrope


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

personal

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

revolution

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.