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My Sunday Column: Is It Time for Solutions to Real Problems Instead of Change for Change’s Sake?

Frankly, I’m fed up with politicians telling me, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” when they really mean you better not get in the way of them serving some special interest at the public expense.

I’m dismayed at seeing young people with Skullcandy in their ears, fiddling with an iPad mini while groping to answer their smart phone. Are they zombies programmed by unknown forces somewhere out in cyberspace?

I’ve had it up to here with “progress.” Who needs a $100-billion bullet train? Are bigger, smaller, brighter, lighter, faster, sleeker really better? Do we really need same-day delivery of every product we buy?

Call me a Luddite, call me an old fogey, but I’ve decided to make a stand, to make my No. 1 New Year’s resolution the launching of a new movement —

I bought that website earlier this year in a fit of frustration as an outlet for my angst over the failure of government at all levels to face the realities of our time like the fundamental economic changes taking place and the public’s refusal to exercise their power to demand what they want.

It was going to be satiric, a biting commentary on planned obsolescence and change for change’s sake. But all this fiscal cliff nonsense and political blackmail to squeeze more money out of my wallet without fixing anything that’s broken has convinced me to play straight.

It’s not that I like things just the way they are or that everything was better the way it used to be — although some things really were better decades ago, and there are a lot of great things about the way we live today, like the artificial lenses in my eyes that not only replaced the cataract-damaged natural ones but left me no longer needing glasses.

But Windows 8 vs. Windows 7, iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4 — do the changes really enhance our lives, or are they merely a way to add to the profits of mega-corporations by conditioning us to believe that we can’t live without the latest bells and whistles?

It seems to me 99% of so-called “progress” isn’t progressive at all, it’s just a commercial gimmick. We need to perfect what we got, to make perfect all the amazing tools of technology and medicine, to make life here on earth better for everyone — humans, animals, plants, the oceans, the land and the skies.


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18 Responses to My Sunday Column: Is It Time for Solutions to Real Problems Instead of Change for Change’s Sake?

  1. Mark Reed says:

    Ron I feel you. However as we grow older we do not like change because we actually become more conservative in our lives. I know most gag on that word however most do not know it’s many meanings. We want substance not cotton candy. The progressives in this country have exchanged Family for friends,God for Government, what we need for what we want, accomplishment for entitlement, freedom for socialism, individualism for collectivism and so forth. Progress is good however progressive isn’t without the foundation this country was built on, a belief in something bigger than ourselves. What ever name you want to put on it, it’s your freedom to do so in this country. I call it God and so many have tried to remove and replace him with something else. Good luck on your mission.

    • Secular nation says:

      The Founding Fathers excluded God from the government. They thought the exclusion was obvious from the Articles themselves, but people in the States were so adamant that God stay out of government, that they would not ratify the Constitution without the First Ten Amendments. There were other protections which the States believed need to be stated explicitly.

      The Constitution allowa each person his private beliefs, and if people want to believe that the world sits on the back of a turtle or that sacrificing one’s child leads to salvation, they are free to believe such things. They are free to hold such beliefs because this is a secular nation. If you want a God dominated government, go live in The Vatican.

  2. ex valley says:

    Ron, why so much angst? If you are so concerned about failures on all government levels, why do you keep re-electing the same politicians that have failed you?

    You were for “change” in 2008 but are for “no change” in 2012? I guess that things are going great, so why so much angst?

  3. Noel Weiss says:


    If we fail to ‘grow’, we die. . There is no alternative. . .

    Can we ‘grow’ in the absence of change?
    Answer: No.

    The real question and issue is the quality and quantity of change. . The degree to which we truly want to turn obstacles into growth opportunities. . . . This City and this Country were not built on status quo (no change) thinking.

    The ‘check’ and the ‘balance’ on change is the idea that we embrace the renewal of our core social and moral values even as we embrace the need and natural requirement for change.

    Equally as important is the fact that great ideas poorly executed are worth zero; while even the most average ideas can be very worthwhile and valuable if well executed. . . . So long as they are carried out with gratitude, humility, and faith given that (1) no outcome is ever certain and (2) we all are called upon to make principled commitments in the face of an uncertain (non-guaranteed) outcome. . . .

    So Ron, please be careful not to substitute ‘fear of the unknown’ for your ‘no-change’ views. If ‘no change’ means succumbing to fears of the unknown, or fear of difficulty, or fear of making a firm commitment out of a fear of failure, or forsaking the curiosity inherent in human nature, then no-change becomes no-growth. . . . How can any society prosper in the face of such a circumstance? Is there any precedent in world history? Not likely. Change is an inherent part of who we are as people. . . That includes the struggles, the difficulties, and the tragedies attendant to change that eventually yield to triumph so long as we do not succumb to the idea of ‘no change’, status-quo thinking.

    With the upcoming City elections, we need to change the status quo Ron. . As human beings, we all possess the ability and the potential to be creators. . . . Creation is inherent in change. . .That is why ‘no-change’ means no-growth. What we have now are a group of City Councilpersons who are reluctant to debate, discuss, and properly and thoughtfully reconcile the conflicting economic and political interests. . .Their voting buttons on their desks at City Council are pressed on permanent ‘yes’ mode (this has to change); all despite the fact that we pay these people very well to make decisions, not to defer, deflect, and thereby disappoint not just themselves, but their legacies and the people. The result? The well-connected and the special interests in control. . . often to the detriment of the broader public interest. . . .

    The City Attorney can change that dynamic by acting as a more effective ‘check’ and a ‘balance’ to the Council and to the Mayor. . . on behalf of the broader public interest, as a true attorney for the people; and in so doing, force the Council to really do its job. . . .and it is the Council where the true power lies in our system. If we can get the City Council to act, then we will have succeeded in converting (changing) our current obstacles into growth opportunities; which, in turn, can, if well managed, evolve into practical, principled and positive (citizen-empowering) outcomes, consistent with our core social values.

    So Ron, I hope your call for ‘no-change’ is not an endorsement of the status quo, or of any of the Sacramento politicians now running for local office who (after screwing things up in Sacramento) want to now feed at the trough of LA City politics and its attendant resources. . . in effect being rewarded, yet again, for their exceedingly sub-par performance. . . .

    In short, we can have renewal and change. . . . . . It is up to the people to insist on substantive, meaningful change

    Because enough is truly enough. . . .

    Noel Weiss
    Candidate for City Attorney

    • weiss, james, and brazeman says:

      The three we need to win are Kevin James, Cary Brazeman, and Noel Weiss.

      [Although I really like Jan Perry, her ties to the CRA completely disqualify her to be may.]

      There is one public works project which I favor. It is called Felony Towers and it is a new windowless prison to be constructed next to Baca’s Twin Towers. It was be designed specifically for councilmembers and their ilk. The Garcetti section will be composed only of closets. The Labonge section will have walls filled with graffiti with birth salutations to octogenarians . The Wesson wing will have a picture of fat greedy man cashing after wallet which is always being yanked just of his reach by a string pulled by CIM Group.

  4. transparency says:

    “I’m dismayed at seeing young people with Skullcandy in their ears, fiddling with an iPad mini while groping to answer their smart phone. Are they zombies programmed by unknown forces somewhere out in cyberspace?”

    Ron, I can say by what I know you are totally correct, but most people don’t know it. It started long ago and it has continued with the TV which has been proven its waves can put people into a state where they can easily be programmed. Now with the IPods our children are falling into a deeper programming where their reality will be a false reality. And it has become an addiction just like gambling.

  5. transparency says:

    Change, people do not like to change they prefer to stay where they are as long as they can and as long as they don’t have to use their time to make those changes. We cannot change anyone’s views if they are not ready .I have come to the conclusion that their dendrites have taken a different path than mine and that’s why they think differently, that’s why they cannot see what I see or understand what I say.
    Is there a possibility that politics can change? I don’t know, by the looks of it seems that it doesn’t matter how good a person is when they enter City Hall they become infected by the same disease the others have. Sometimes I think the only cure for the whole construct is to collapse. One thing we have to realize is that members of the council are just puppets and they are controlled by a higher hand.

    What politicians and everyone has to understand is that we are all in this together and that the benefits that they make for the people will benefit them too. Life can change in the blink of an eye and they may just fall to the bottom at any time and be like the rest of us.

    There is money, plenty of it and these are the people that are hording it. These are the puppets masters.
    Google “This Is How The Banksters Took Control Of You!!! [VIDEO]“

  6. Wayne from Koretz-Occupied Vichy Encino, whose post awaits moderation like Bruno's says:

    The quality and intelligence of these Posts are amazing, given that every time I see a car with someone under 30, they’re playing rap so loud you can hear it 4 blocks down the road saying “MuthaFuka” every third word!
    The Citizen’s Juda of Encino, Field Marshall Paul Koretz, has succeeded in getting his 3 McMansions build right on top of my property along with 20 condos down the street, complete with financing. These pieces of crap should be done in May 2013, ready for the next real estate bubble! This tiny little creep, along with his millions in backer’s wealth will have his additional 8 years of power in CD5. No one in L.A. has the right to vote or say a damn thing. Just like that Hernandez family, we are equally FUCKED when it comes to representation in this Land of Bankers and Crooks.
    We will all have to live with this, until millions pour into the streets and demand the resignation of these crooks and stooges and DEMAND a budget, fair and free elections, and total restoration of the Bill of Rights. It will happen, it’s not IF its WHEN. Washington D.C. will start a new war, probably with Iran or China (or both) to keep the “Cattle” (you and I) in line. We’ll all be dancing in the streets with our banners and flags waiving “Go U.S.A!” The creeps know how to keep screwing all of us out of everything. Hitler would of been proud to reside over this Nation of today. It’s almost like the Nazi’s came back to life and took over America.
    Heil City Hall and the Napoleanic King Herb I.!

  7. Teddy says:

    Absolutely. You see, real change like secession of major suburbs ( most are so
    far away from downtown, tthe citizens find it unaccessible), is the only way to
    bring reality to ordeinary citizens who live in this huge metropolis. For years
    the tax monies from te San Fernando Valley were siphoned away from the Valley
    and used for downtown and places 60-70 miles away.

    The government we now have thinks of spending all tax moniues to im prove and maintain “downtown”. Jan Perry said so when she,Kevin James, Wendy Greuel and
    Garcetti had their public debate on KABC7.

  8. Teddy says:

    Ron, when I write “secede”, I do not mean the entire Valley.

    My point is that if the people in an area wish to secede and have figurerd out how to have fire, police, trash mgt, schools, in order to be able to have a say (via townhall)
    they should not be deprived by the people who live in other places
    of the opportunity to explore possibilities, and vote yea or nay.

    All over the State (and Nation) there are small and large towns who have their own
    town hall meetiings and vote on issues. It makes sense to me.

    and oiku=ice

  9. Ricardo says:

    Ron, I feel your pain. Call me old school but I don’t like my Iphone 4S and in fact it gives me more frustration then my old time cell phone. Youth and adults today are out of control. Kids lack good parenting like the good old days of the baby boomers. I believe if more if more people had a foundation of spirituality that taught them ethics, morals and making the right choices our society wouldn’t be so messed up. When I think back to our childhoods we had it pretty good and enjoyed life.

    • There's nothing new under the sun says:

      These complaints were aired in the Bible years ago, and before them, we find these complaints in cuneiform writings

  10. anonymous says:

    I use to love that quote until I saw how it was misused and abused in politics. Voltaire would cringe if he knew. It’s one thing for the perfect to be slightly altered to still be good. It’s another for the perfect to become so bad, but called “good” in some sort of propaganda way that our “leaders” will think we’ve been fooled. Worse, yet, perhaps they don’t even care what we think as long as they got another little coin in their war chest. As Wesson said “this is our house.” He’s failed to see it is OUR house and we need to reclaim it.

  11. anonymous says:

    your first sentence is the all-enlightening insight…
    you say “gimmick” and I say “racket”…
    public service has devolved into the ultimate criminal enterprise..
    finally, love the irony of…perfect…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ron, on this New Year’s day, I agree with everything you’ve written. You have tried your damnest to wake up the soul of this half dead city. Thanks. Change will come when people can’t take it any more. It is clear that the LA citizenry has a pain threshold above the normal. Why? Because they think they have an escape route. As they believe, they’ll just move elsewhere where angels are awaiting to welcome them to paradise. One day they’ll realize that poltical corruption is just a matter of degrees. Their new abode may not be as evil as LA but corrupt, nevertheless. A day will come when people will arise against political corruption that has sapped all our energies and reduced us to the condition we are in. When countries more restricted than us are protesting against the poltical elite, not sure why we do nothing other than to elect the same corrupt politicians again, again, again and again.

    • anonymous says:

      Anonymous @ January 1, 2013 at 6:58 pm – The sad fact is the political elite is working diligently at deflecting the blame onto those that made money. The economically challenged are buying it ’cause it’s an easy target. Goodness knows there is nothing that holds the political elite accountable–not even elections. Those that put them in office are exempt from the new tax laws (film producers, etc).

      There are predators within every class of individuals but the way the wealthy are portrayed they have made it a class war and people believe every wealthy man or woman is the equivalent of Enron or Countrywide.

      People will revolt, but it won’t be against the political elite-it will be against anyone who is over 250, 450 or whatever high income mark is established by tax laws and the propaganda issued by elected officials and their “puppeteered” press.

    • ex valley says:

      I agree that other locales are corrupt but nothing really compares to the city of LA. Maybe Chicago, don’t know – never lived there.

      LA is truly pathetic: corrupt politicians, naive misinformed citizenry, masses of 3rd world poor, density, unrestrained development, scammers of every kind, complete disregard of laws, etc etc etc

      And you and Ron cannot change a thing. Too late, the machine is too big and will not budge.

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