When the City Hall Ghosts Haunt You ... Who Ya Gonna Call?

ALPERN AT LARGE--This may be one of my most unpleasant columns to write, because I don't like the way this City, County, and State are shredding the rights, quality of life, and even health of their constituents.  But it does become clear that we have to think differently, as our middle class becomes ever-more attacked, and ever-more stripped of its rights. 

And not everyone living here wants to move. 

We have a lack of transportation/mobility construction/completion of projects, which justifies more and then overdevelopment...but when we create new transportation/mobility projects, we justify more and then overdevelopment. 

So who ya gonna call? 

We have a homeless problem, raise a lot of money from initiatives from sales taxes and developers...and our homeless problem gets worse. 

So who ya gonna call? 

A judge and a lot of political climbers scream "we have a homeless problem!" prevent RV/camper dwellers from being appropriately towed (or at least fined), and then our enforcement is hampered from doing its job. 

So who ya gonna call? 

Single-family homes are being used as multi-family units, overtaxing our water/sewage/electricity and other related infrastructure, but our building/safety inspectors are disempowered and legally prevented from doing their jobs. 

So who ya gonna call? 

We have political leaders screaming and beating their chests about how green they are, and how woke they are about the environment, and then they have a Planning Commission and a Planning Department, to overbuild, break every darned environmental law they can, and worsen the gridlock and dangerous air for us to breathe. 

So who ya gonna call? 

We have a LADOT and other transportation agencies that are used to following the laws of physics and of reality, but suddenly get new "transportation gurus" (who are indoctrinated, not educated) who are empowered to thwart everything needed to ensure safe and clean traffic flow, and who endanger the safety of law abiding citizens. 

So who ya gonna call? 

Well, we CAN'T call the City Attorney.  That job description covers representation of the City Council and the Mayor, and NOT the ordinary Angelenos who pay for everything.  Mike Feuer is, overall, a good and caring man who must follow his legal responsibilities, and those responsibilities are NOT to the average citizens.   

That's a fact, and a reality, that we may not like but we MUST understand when the City Attorney is just doing his job...even when the job description is NOT something of which we are all aware.  

So who ya gonna call when all these hidden legal, bureaucratic, and political ghosts haunt us and destroy our daily lives, and force us out of our environmentally-haunted city, county, or state? 

A lawyer.  A "people's lawyer".  A lawyer who ISN'T responsible for small squabbles between neighbors, but IS dedicated to upholding the laws of the environment, of physics, and that represent the rights and needs of the common man/woman of our City. 

Similar to that of the intent of Neighborhood Councils, which was to provide advice and representation to the grassroots, but which are NOT legally-empowered (and surely are not well-led or overseen by DONE), we need lawyers who can defend the citizenry from cities, counties, and state governments (and kooky judges) which choose to crush anything akin to the rule of law. 

Because of the oversight that the same city, county, and state politicians have over publicly-elected lawyers, this would more likely than not have to be a sort of non-profit ACLU-type of organization, with salaried and pro bono lawyers and paralegals taking up cases and stopping developers and local governments in their tracks. 

Have a Planning Commission that tells the citizenry to go pound sand because they owe their jobs to the Mayor? 

See you in court. 

Have a city or county government misspending homeless and/or transportation funds? 

See you in court. 

Have a state that chooses to ignore or violate environmental laws, and/or are enacting policies that are proven to have a deleterious environmental impact? 

See you in court. 

Because all of the meetings, motions, and other grassroots efforts of the volunteers in our city, county, and state are being ignored. 

And at this horrible time, we have no choice but to create a non-profit, or a group of non-profits, that would fight the lawbreakers the only way we effectively can at this juncture: 

In court.  See you in court. 

Who ya gonna call?  A lawyer.  One we will all be asked to donate to, instead of more taxes, and instead of more fees, and instead of larger government that doesn't choose to represent us, or serve the needs of the citizenry. 

And THAT is arguably the only way we can put our money where our mouth is, and actually restore the environment, health, and quality of life for Angelenos and other Californians.


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud father and husband 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 Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at alpern@marvista.org. 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.)