Sunday, July 09, 2006

Lapdogs, not watchdogs

As per yesterday's theme, there are several people who combine journalistic flair with good ideas (and persistence). Today's LA Times even includes a section on "urban myths". And the two articles featured debunk some myths that the Times has been forever fond of.

Robert Bruegmann writes "What gridlock? L.A. traffic isn't as bad as you think. Try speeding through the center of Paris." He reminds us that L.A.s multi-billion dollar rail transit investments have been hugely expensive but otherwise mostly irrelevant as a commuting option for most Angelenos.

Joel Kotkin writes "Don't feed the white elephant ... Aided by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, downtown Los Angeles' boosters are poised to dip again into the pockets of taxpayers to help a splashy new project. The cost this time is up to $300 million in loans, tax breaks and fee waivers for a $750-million 54-story complex -- including a 876 room Marriott Marquis, a posh 124-room Ritz-Carlton and 216 luxury condos -- across from the Convention Center." Kotkin goes on to explain that the center has been a sink for other people's money for many years.

Both writers are too polite to mention that the dumb ideas that were used to justify all of these catastrophic projects had been championed by the Times for many years. In a better world, journalists and editors would have been watchdogs instead of lapdogs.