What If CA's Affordable Housing and Homeless Crises Were a Big Fat Lie?

ALPERN AT LARGE--We're so used to presuming that the crises coming from the city, county, or state governmental halls of power are Truth that we've forgotten that they could be existing only because of stupidity, incompetance, or downright manipulation.  So Washington's declarations of a given crisis are to be ignored, but it's OK coming from LA or Sacramento? 

What if the YIMBY ("Yes, In My Back Yard") bill from State Senator Scott Wiener (SB 827) and all the other proclamations from Governor Brown is all based on a LIE:

That lie being: If you build more housing, then housing will get cheaper. 

What if the lies emanating from Sacramento, L.A. and everywhere else about how their "fixes" to affordable housing and homelessness is being promoted by the very same people who caused housing to become unaffordable, and for homelessness to skyrocket? 

What if throwing away the planning, density, and traffic laws around transit lines (real or imagined lines that did or maybe did not have high usership rules) actually caused discouragement of more transit funding or planning, because transit was suddenly akin to "screw up mobility and add density that nobody asked for"? 

What if we were oblivious to the fact that most low-cost, price-controlled housing is really geared to students, seniors, and workforce populations who couldn't or wanted to avoid using their cars and worsen traffic, and didn't bastardize the term "affordable". 

What if we ignored the 800-pound gorilla in the room that there are large swaths of California homes and condos and other housing that are either unaffordable and/or unoccupied because foreign investors (particular Chinese investors) have gobbled up the houses, condos, and apartments at ridiculous prices that ordinary, everyday Americans can't afford? 

What if we wanted more infrastructure, and were really starting to wonder if the infrastructure we are willing to pay for is actually GOING to the infrastructure we were told it was going to pay for. 

What if we decided to just end all parking tickets and policies altogether, because squatters in RV's/campers had successfully convinced idiotic judges, city councilmembers, and legislators that parking wherever the hell you wanted, for however the hell long you wanted, was a civil rights thing rather than a matter of mobility, safety, and urban blight? 

What if the taxpayers and developers strapped with more taxes to "help the homeless" realized that the homeless were being used as pawns to raise more money to pay for anything BUT the resolution and relief of the homeless and impacted communities? 

And what if Angelenos and other Californians ever became "woke" to the endless (and lately very successful) cries of taxes, fees and the like to ultimately just pay for benefits and pensions to an ever-growing public sector that we just cannot afford (even for those of us with family members and friends who are in the public sector)?  

What if it was all just a big, fat LIE to get money directed for public sector pensions that have nothing to do with the stated intent of helping our cities, counties and states with infrastructure, our economy, mobility, the environment, etc.? 

What if the older generations who fought against "taxation without representation" in the form of Proposition 13, and other transparency/taxpayer rights efforts just LEFT California, including the aforementioned public sector? 

What if businesses...and even Silicon Valley...left California to go to other states where they were more appreciated, and more capable of surviving financially, and with a better quality of life to boot?

What would be left in the Golden State? 

And for the middle class, or those struggling to make it to the middle class status/level, and who remain here because of family or related obligations, what would be left? 

And just how long would the rhetoric and propaganda result in putting food on the table, paying one's rent and utilities, and paying for children's education and health needs? 

And finally, when does the LIE get discussed without shouting at, and belittling, those proclaiming that there is a LIE for us to discuss and debate ... and act upon?


(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.)