In this the fifth anniversary month of my citizen activism, I thought the desolation of this election season and the futility of all that I have done – Saving LA Project, OurLA.org, LA Clean Sweep, 1902 blog posts and more than 100 newspaper columns – had silenced my voice.
And then a friend called to remind me the City Council today was taking up the long-delayed expansion plan for LAX, construction of a new north runway to accommodate super-jets at the expense of long-term disturbance of Westchester and other Westside communities and abandonment of a regionalized air traffic policy that would benefit all of Southern California.
It is an issue I’ve followed for 20 years or so and never understood why anyone in their right mind would try to salvage one of the world’s worst airports – landlocked and ocean-locked, bereft of public transport access – unless there was an ulterior motive that had nothing to do with the public interest.
The motive, of course, is the motive for everything that happened in L.A. for the last 150 years: GREED.
The business community, the labor leadership, the civic leadership are all aboard the plans for LAX, public be damned, congestion be damned, the environment be damned. There’s money to be made so why share any of it with the nobodies out in the Antelope Valley, Inland Empire or anywhere else.
Only Rosendahl (and his successor Mike Bonin) stood against the nonsense of the LAX “modernization” scheme if you discount the opportunism (Mayor) Garcetti and (Controller) Zine in casting safe “no” votes and the phony hand-wringing from the weak-kneed Koretz who rolled over as usual to the power structure.
The worst part is the EIR they approved 10-3 for the $652 million project to move the north runway 260 feet closer to residential neighborhoods for what LAX officials admitted was only a marginal safety increase, more convenience than safety in fact, totally lacks plans for traffic impact during years of construction that includes major re-routing of Lincoln Boulevard.
But who cares – more passengers means more jobs for hotel workers with their “living wage” deals, and more revenue for hotel operators blackmailed into those deals, more union construction jobs guaranteed under city-enforced project labor agreements, more business opportunities in the most congested part of the city, county and region instead of out in the boondocks.
It’s all about who profits and who holds the keys to power no matter how much harm is done to the quality of life for vast numbers of people.
This is what L.A. is about – money and power. It’s why the L.A. County Chamber of Commerce, the L.A. Civic Alliance, the L.A. County Federation of Labor all aboard to this high-flying flight to oblivion.
They are united behind Greuel for mayor and mostly for Galperin for controller, which is why Garcetti and Zine are siding with the begrudged community that came out in force with support from the city’s lowest paid unionized workers in the SEIU.
They have been united for decades now, feeding off the public, turning L.A. into a horror-show with the nation’s dirtiest air, worst congestion, bursting pipes and rutted streets, deteriorating neighborhoods, pervasive gangs, poor schools, soaring poverty, dying economy and a rapidly declining quality of life.
These are your masters. You are their slaves. You suffer the consequences of their actions, pay their bills and when it all gets to be too much, slink off with a whimper and whine.
L.A. – don’t you love it?