Policy

Why Outsiders Have Wound Up Running So Much of L.A.

lasky.jpg

When I was young and my brother was a little older, we would be in bed before dark on mid-summer evenings. (The times were different then.) We would lay in our separate beds, but only an arm’s length apart as shadows lengthened up the far wall of our room, until the dial of the Zenith radio on top of the dresser was the only light left. The Dodgers’ game would be on. Vin Scully was calling the plays.  read more »

Skepticism Greets US DOT's Draft Transportation Bill

Interchange.jpg

An undated--- and possibly still unvetted by OMB---draft of US DOT’s legislative proposal for surface transportation reauthorization, the "Transportation Opportunities Act," has been making the rounds in Washington for the past week. Its publication, however, has been largely ignored by the inside-the-Beltway transportation community. What would ordinarily be an eagerly awaited event and an occasion to compliment the Department , has passed virtually unnoticed.  read more »

The Dispersionist Manifesto

city-haze.jpg

We live in an era of the heady drumbeat of urban triumphalism. In a world that is now, by some measures, predominately urban, observers like historian Peter Hall envision a “coming golden age” of great cities. It is time to look at such claims more closely, replacing celebratory urban legends with careful analysis. Although the percentage of people living in cities is certain to grow, much of this growth will be in smaller cities, suburbs and towns.  read more »

Yuri Gagarin’s Brave, Brilliant Leap into the Dark

yuri.jpg

Yuri Gagarin was my hero. For a child just nine years old on 12 April 1961, the day he flew into space, he appeared intrepid, unassuming, and cool. Above all, he appeared in black and white. This was not the glossy, sunlit, bright blue Florida-sky ethic of American efforts in space, all NASA aluminium foil and silver crewcuts in magazines such as Life. No, with Gagarin there was something grittier, more documentary, something altogether scarier than Cape Canaveral.  read more »

Subjects:

Los Angeles: The MTA's Bus Stop Strategy

Los Angeles Metro Bus.jpg

Those who run the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority evidently believe that, since the Consent Decree that forced it to improve service to its bus riders has expired, they are free to rewrite history to justify Metro's elimination of nine bus lines, its reductions in service on eleven more, and its overall elimination of four percent of its bus service hours by attempting to show that MTA bus service is little utilized and not cost-effective.  read more »

California: Club Med Meets Third World?

calif-coast.jpg

On March 25th, the Bureau of Labor statistics released a report that showed that California jobs had increased by 96,000 in February.  The state’s cheerleaders jumped into action. Never mind that the state still has a 12.2 percent unemployment rate, and part of the decline from 12.4 percent is because just under 32,000 discouraged workers left California’s labor force in February.   read more »

Bicycle Commuting: A US System and A World-Wide Guide

beijing bike 3 copy.jpg

To my pleasure, there is now a United States Bicycle Route System that goes more places than Amtrak and Greyhound do. Have a look at the proposed map of the national corridor plan.

The goal is to create clearly marked north-south and east-west routes, as romantic as the Oregon Trail or as functional as the Erie Canal. The trail of Lewis and Clark is on one of the routes.  read more »

Actually, Cities are Part of the Economy

sydney-arial.jpg

“The prosperity of our economy and communities is dependent on the political structures and mechanisms used to manage and coordinate our economic systems.”

No politician expecting to be taken seriously would say that today.  read more »

Energy Policy Reset: Forget Nuclear Reactors and Mideast Oil

oil-pump.jpg

The two largest crises today — the Japanese nuclear disaster and the widening unrest in the Middle East — prove it’s time to de-fetishize energy policy. These serious problems also demonstrate why we must expand the nation’s ample oil and gas supplies — urgently.

The worsening Japanese nuclear crisis means, for all intents and purposes, that atomic power is, if not dead, certainly on a respirator.

Some experts may still make the case that nuclear power remains relatively safe. Some green advocates still tout its virtues for emitting virtually no greenhouse gases.  read more »

Why We Can’t Shun Manufacturing for the Service Sector

emsi-services.jpg

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the shift in the US economy away from production and increasingly into services. Consider the employment data from the US: In 1950, 30% of all US jobs were in manufacturing while 63% were in services. In 2011, 9% of total employment remains in manufacturing, 86% in services.  read more »