Friday, January 19, 2007

USC's Peter Gordon Is A Sell Out To Car Lobby

At a time when traffic congestion has become an ever bigger issue in Los Angeles and nearby communities, USC Professor Peter Gordon and colleagues continue to rail against construction of subways and light rail lines, and even extol congestion as a good thing.

Gordon has taken this position for years. I once asked him whether he was paid by the auto industry to take the positions he does. After all, it is widely reported that the industry purchased and then scrapped Los Angeles Pacific Electric system back in the 1940s and 1950s. Wouldn't paying a USC professor be even a cheaper way of helping to keep the automobile dominant in Los Angeles?

Gordon didn't respond to the question. Instead, he hung up.

But the views of this man, now being expounded in his blog (you can find it by typing his name into Google), are highly suspect. I notice that in a recent blog, he also denigrates Al Gore and his warnings of global warming. This too is the position of the auto industry.

Every time Los Angeles has made a little progress on building public transit rail lines, Gordon and his associates have slammed them as a waste of money. He continues to denigrate the Red Line and light rail while thousands ride it, he continues to oppose building the Red Line to Santa Monica. If he is not a shill for the auto industry, then he has a lot of explaining to do, because his views make him an enemy of progress in Southern California.

As a Times reporter, I suggested several times to public relations spokespersons at USC that they check this man out, and, specifically, investigate to see just what outside sources may be paying him a salary. But USC seems no more anxious to check into him and his associates than they are into the Reggie Bush controversy.

USC, the school that has the nearest thing to a professional football team, keeps Gordon on the staff. I never heard back that they followed my suggestions.

Anyone in this great, free country can say anything he or she likes. But it is also pertinent to ask why they take crazy, counterproductive positions year after year, decade after decade.

Traffic congestion serving a good purpose? How does that figure, and why is this academic saying it does? Is he vying to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, my scoundrel of the year for 2006, as scoundrel of the year for 2007?

(I notice that a friend of Gordon who identifies himself as "Bradley," has posted an objection to this blog. Let me reemphasize what I said. Gordon's views are counterproductive. and USC should investigate his connections).

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2 Comments:

Anonymous James Fulton said...

Thanks for your comments on this guy. Very revealing. I've been reading his stuff and wondered who the hell he is.
I ride heavily crowded Metrolink rains regularly and also see the swarms of riders exiting the Red Line tunnel at Union Station. Car travelers should be thankful these throngs of public transit riders aren't adding to the already impossible congestion on the streets and freeways.

1/19/2007 5:21 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

With your shitty bonehead reporting on Peter Gordon the only thing that IS obvious is that you worked for the LA Times for your entire career....

Prof. Gordon holds his appointment at USC's economics department and if you look real hard at the numbers, as economists are wont to do (not political scientists like you), light rail and LA's subways
have been a dramatic losing proposition for America's taxpayers since inception.

Dirty little innuendos, such as those imbeded in your post, are no substitute for rational economic and fiscal analysis. Ken, Im glad the LA Times is relieved of your half-wits, if readers stumbling upon your blog are not...

2/03/2007 12:08 AM  

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