Why are People So Damned Unreasonable?

ALPERN AT LARGE--The last two nights I witnessed a couple of Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) committee meetings that addressed development, traffic, and the environment. Discussions were had, the presenters were smart and sensitive to those doing the questioning, and the MVCC did what it does best: they were reasonable. 

Frankly, most people ARE reasonable ... unless you start treating them unreasonably. 

1) When developers do outreach, try not to win the lotto to the suffering of their neighbors, and come up with projects that do the "elegant densification" that former Mayor Villaraigosa articulated (but for which he and his successor have pulled a bait and switch with megadevelopment that is anything BUT elegant), people are reasonable. 

Because people are reasonable about trying to create more and affordable housing. 

2) When councilmembers, mayors, and other elected leaders are sensitive to the transportation and infrastructure needs of their constituents, and then come up with transparent plans and spend in an equally transparent manner, people are reasonable. 

Because people are reasonable about funding and improving our environmental standards and quality of life. 

3) When environmental issues and goals are raised that are compatible with the laws of physics and economics, and with studies that are scientific and objective, people are reasonable. 

Because people are reasonable about tough energy and conservation issues, including the pros and cons of our current recycling programs, fossil fuels, alternative fuels, nuclear energy, and conservation efforts, and are willing to pursue and implement viable answers. 

4) When taxation and budgeting is done in an appropriate, respectful, and efficient manner, people are reasonable. 

Because people are reasonable and know that taxes and public investments are necessary, but they aren't interested in being fleeced, blindsided, and exploited. There's a reason why City Controller Ron Galperin and David Ryu have the credibility they do, and why so many Angelenos are agonizing over a city that appears to be on a sixteen or more year stretch of not being run by adults. 

5) When planning is done in an appropriate, environmentally-smart, health-conscious, and sustainable manner, people are reasonable. 

Because people are reasonable and know we need to develop, to appropriately densify throughout the state, and create affordable housing...and know that development that leads to less affordable housing, and/or is being gobbled up by foreign investors, is quite obviously unreasonable. 

And to treat people otherwise, like so many elected officials in our city and state do to the people they are supposed to serve, is just unreasonable.  

To have a one-party rule that is led by a corrupt group of leaders, with the other major party run by either feckless, clueless, or equally-corrupt individuals ... well, that is also unreasonable. 

California was built on ideas that were both bold and anchored by reason. 

California is falling, and will continue to fall, if it continues to eschew reason, and in so doing be unreasonable to its citizens.


(CityWatch Columnist, 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 two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of both its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure and Planning Committees. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at [email protected]. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)