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Empty Congestion


JM, Empty Pinkberry, Hyperion, 1.2.09


I was at a dinner on the westside New Year's Day, thrown by a realtor. Also present were an EIR researcher and two comedy club owners. Left early because it was the westside; we needed to return to sanity. But while I was there, I caught the drift: the westside is so purposelessly congested, and the Mayor so magnificently indifferent to this problem, that people are even ripe for listening to---Republicans.

Yes, it's come to that; even though spouting slow-growth was once a Democratic precept, the Mayor has botched LA so badly with so many awful developments that now either party could claim slow-growth as theirs. Maybe Ron Kaye should start straying further west; maybe Walter Moore should start being nice to the producers at KCRW.

New Year's Eve was spent with some postcolonial Anglo-Americans in the Barham hills. Again I caught the political drift, but this time it came in the form of a song-parody: "Old Man Bundy," sung with feeling to the tune of "Old Man River." The parodist was stuck on Bundy for an hour and a half; he composed the song in his head while trying to reach the Santa Monica Airport.

The now-contracting, once-pricey Pinkberry fad is to me expressive of the kind of city planning that the Mayor's office brought us and Council shamelessly rubber stamped over the past three years. Once elected, the Mayor's people immediately set to work developing things that only pleased the recently arrived, and that nobody who had lived here for over a decade wanted. The Mayor and his developer-doormat, Gail Goldberg, grafted much onto Los Angeles it neither wanted nor needed; but we're all stuck with the consequences now, and the westside is the most stuck part of town of all.