ALPERN AT LARGE - Much of the reason why this City (and County) of Los Angeles is hurting is because we rely on a very biased and myopic Editorial Board of the LA Times to do our thinking for us--when, in fact, that Editorial Board often gets it wrong, which it has (again!) in its ridiculous editorial characterizing the debate over LAX Expansion as a few local self-absorbed NIMBY's opposing an overdue expansion effort of LAX into Westchester.
The fact remains that LA World Airports has never made a convincing case to ANYONE on the Westside as to why this expansion into Westchester is needed.
However, considering its past history of obfuscating and foot-dragging on MetroRail links to LAX and creating a true regional airport system for the Southland, it's not hard at all to conclude that the ultimate goal of LA World Airports is to sneak past its past legal promise to limit annual passengers there to 78 million.
The 78 Million Annual Passenger (78 MAP, for short) is critical to avoid both environmental and mobility nightmares around LAX from worsening, but after years and decades of forcing the entire Southland to fly into and out of LAX (I grew up in Long Beach and hated every flight I had to take at LAX), it's clear that the one-airport approach of LAX and LA World Airports is here to stay.
Ontario Airport has had its name changed to LAX/Ontario Airport, but still Inland Empire residents must fly LAX. The price and availability of flights streamlines and forces Southland flyers to use LAX (the lucky ones have smaller airlines using Burbank, Long Beach and John Wayne), and our South Bay/Westside traffic and environment are all the worse for it.
Of course, the facts don't get in the way of the Times' myopic approach:
Problems with Lincoln/Sepulveda if expansion forces either a shutdown or major limitation of those two major north-south thoroughfares? Blame it on Westchester NIMBY's.
Venice, Mar Vista and Brentwood and the whole doggone Westside screaming "NO!" to Alternative 1? Blame it on Westchester NIMBY's.
Paying thrice as much for northern LAX modernization with Alternative 1 as the Environmentally-Preferred Alternative, which as per the EIR is Alternative 2, with that money better being used instead to build a LAX/MetroRail connection? To hell with that--blame Westchester NIMBY's.
Bill Rosendahl's recommendations to move both Alternative 1 (expanding LAX north) and Alternative 2 (modernizing the northern portion of LAX without expansion, as was recommended by NASA scientists) forward for further study while expediting the rest of LAX modernization? To hell with it--Bill Rosendahl is hearing only from Westchester NIMBY's, and not his entire CD11 District.
It's a shame that Councilmembers Englander and Buscaino have bought into the notion that making an Endless Carmageddon, and diverting money away from what should be a LAX/MetroRail connection and a preservation of the 78 MAP agreement, is something that's just a Westchester NIMBY issue.
Once the San Fernando Valley, South Bay, Wilmington, and entire LA City and County realize the deleterious short- and long-term effects of Alternative 1, it would be clear that the Alternative 1 project is as threatening to mobility as is the 405 Widening effort. It's regional--and South Bay and Valley residents would do well to realize that.
But at least the 405 Widening Project has been above board and honest with its progress and its intentions.
So go ahead, ignore the pan-Westside effort to promote Alternative 2, and not Alternative 1, and blame the opposition to Alternative 1 on Westchester NIMBY's, despite all environmental and transportation grassroots groups who have no financial stake in Alternative 1 or Alternative 2 weighing in on the latter.
So to the City Council, which will address this issue this Tuesday, April 30th at 10:00 am in the John Ferraro Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, 90012, I'll just say the following after over a decade of following LAX politics:
If blaming this issue and controversy on a few self-absorbed, myopic rich, white homeowners in Westchester enough times makes you feel good for what is nothing short of an environmental rape of the Westside--with painful and damaging effects from the Valley to Downtown to the South Bay--then maybe you'll feel better about the horrible decision that is Alternative 1.
And if presuming that the Times and LA World Airports could never be self-absorbed and myopic, that's your choice as well.
After all, if saying something like "the emperor has no clothes" or "Alternative 1 is neither necessary or prudent" places you out of your comfort zone--especially with the trade unions, contractors and chambers of commerce who want nothing more than short-term MONEY from a bigger project--then by all means, go ahead with the environmental rape of the Westside.
Just don't get all congratulatory about your position to make LA a clean, green place to live.
Alternatives 2 and 9, and not Alternative 1, are in the best interests of the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, the State of California, and federal transportation policy.
(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Boardmember 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 is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs 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 Mr. Alpern.)
Vol 11 Issue 35
Pub: Apr 30, 2013