Sunday, January 14, 2007

Steve Lopez Shows His Superb Skewering Ability In Last Week

Steve Lopez of the L.A. Times is always a fine columnist, but he has been at his best this past week with a series of excellent columns that demonstrate what a great critic of both official and private incompetence and double dealing he is.

Ron Tutor, boss of the incompetent building firm of Tutor-Saliba, Zev Yaroslavsky, the inept county supervisor most responsible for doing nothing about Los Angeles' traffic problems, and Jack Weiss, the city councilman who is supporting rampant building projects on the West Side that compound those problems, were all subject to Lopez skewering this week, and all richly deserved it.

Tutor, the ill-tempered builder, easily becomes furious when anyone accurately describes all the screw-ups his firm has been responsible for, and he was at his worst this week, fulminating in answer to Lopez' questions. Tutor said, "The truth of it is, I don't trust anybody who works for the L.A. Times."

Unfortunately, there is no reason to trust Tutor or his firm. It seems they invariably do poor work, and charge high prices. Why anyone would use the firm at all defies one's understanding.

Now, Tutor-Saliba is working on yet another project where the costs keep mounting, the new LAPD headquarters. LAPD is the police agency that lets its cops go around shooting minority youths with impunity.

Tutor hung up on Lopez when he called to discuss the company's latest foul-ups. The biggest question is why the city is letting Tutor-Saliba do this complicated project, when it couldn't even correctly build a parking structure for the L.A. Airport people out in the San Fernando Valley.

This morning, Lopez, is back to discussing L.A. traffic. He points out that building two new 47-story condos in Century City hardly makes sense before the area's terrible traffic congestion is ameliorated.

Councilman Weiss makes a fool of himself in this column, telling the columnist that all the residents of the condos will walk to work and do their shopping nearby, rather than add to the congestion. It also turns out that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa accepted $100,000 in campaign contributions from the developer before coming out in favor of the project.

But it is Yaroslavsky who is among those bearing the greatest guilt for Los Angeles becoming more and more unlivable. This longtime officeholder is chiefly known for enlisting Congressman Henry Waxman to author legislation blocking federal funding of further subway construction years ago when it was already clear that the subway was desperately needed and when a West Side subway would have cost far less than it would today.

Yaroslavsky moves from one screw-up to the next. Now, he wants to make major thoroughfares one way streets, rather than try to really deal with the problems.

L.A. badly needs competent officials. A newspaper columnist can't solve the city's problems entirely on his own. The voters have had numerous opportunities to put Yaroslavsky out to pasture, but so far have been reelecting him.



Anonymous James Fulton said...

Your points about West Side growth were valid with two notable exceptions. It was Congressman Henry Waxman who blocked plans to extend the Red Line into the West End, not Yaroslavsky. And I'm especially ticked off at your suggesstion that the LAPD lets if officer "go around killing" minority youths with impunity.
You're referring to the case in which a police panel found that an officer need not be disciplined for shooting a 13-year-old who attempted to back a car into him. Hey, secret hearing or not, the kid had stolen the car -- which can be as deadly as a bullet. I think you show a lack of respect the diligent and dangerous work performed by our cops, even going so far as to quote a Times op-ed columnist who was dedicated to LA so much that he moved to North Carolina a few years ago.

1/14/2007 9:29 PM  

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