Playing With Politics

A Blog on Law, Politics, Planning, Development, and Other Vices

Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Round Two: LA Area vs SF Bay Area

Posted by Roobs on March 12, 2014


Yesterday I posted my first LA vs. SF comparison list, where San Francisco beat out Los Angeles in a pure city on city fight.  My list addressed what I thought was a gaping oversight on most internet lists on the same topic.  They would often (though, not all of them) grant LA regional status, while limiting SF to its city borders.  Meaning, some lists gave LA points for things like Disneyland, even though the happiest place on earth isn’t even in the same county.  HOWEVER, one of my earliest posts on this blog also addressed this ill comparison.   “In Defense of Los Angeles” showed how you can’t say Los Angeles has, for example, a horrible public transit system and SF has a great one because SF is tiny compared to LA.  The scales are different.  So  now that we have seen how city vs. city stacks up, let’s make this a fair fight by comparing the two general areas together.  So how does the LA Area stack up against the SF Area?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Pop Culture, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

LA vs. SF in 15 Categories!

Posted by Roobs on March 11, 2014


Lists on the internet comparing two different places abound.  But, perhaps, no list appears more than lists comparing the City of Los Angeles vs. the City of San Francisco (with maybe the East Coast of the United States vs. the West Coast coming in a close second).  But the one thing that has always annoyed me about these lists is that they never seem to grasp the fact that places like Disneyland are not in the City of Los Angeles.  In fact, Disneyland is not even in the same county.  So, as an urban planner (aka: map Nazi), I thought it would be fun to create my own LA vs. SF list.  Here is my totally subjective yet totally awesome comparison of Los Angeles vs. San Francisco.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Pop Culture, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

For the Love of Food

Posted by Roobs on January 13, 2014

Hamburger and Fries

When I was a child, I found the making of food to be fascinating.  My mom first let me enter the foray of cooking when I was probably around six or seven years of age.  She let me crack and scramble my own eggs in a plastic bowl and then let me put it in the microwave.  I remember watching as the eggs puffed up with great interest.  That pretty much cemented my love of cooking and food in general (I have since moved to cooking my eggs stovetop).  Now, one of my favorite activities to do outside my apartment is to try the new and trendy restaurants that are popping up over any of the cities I have lived in, now Los Angeles.  The result is a wide-ranging pallet of tastes but also some populist scorn at what others believe to be a type of food snobbery.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trading Places: Dodgers to DTLA, NFL to Chavez Ravine

Posted by Roobs on August 19, 2013

Dodger Stadium

The process build a new NFL stadium in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as draft an NFL team to fill it, has hit more than a few hurdles in the last few years.  But one thing that has fascinated me, both as a baseball fan and as an urban planner, about a new NFL stadium in LA is the choice of location.  Why would you want an NFL stadium in Downtown LA?  With new owners, the Dodgers are spending hundreds of millions on new payroll and upgrades to Dodger Stadium.  But perhaps they should consider a move to a brand new facility in Downtown and leave Chavez Ravine for a future football franchise.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Economic Development, Pop Culture, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trolley Buses Won’t Solve LA’s Transit Woes

Posted by Roobs on April 22, 2013


SF Muni Trolley Bus

When I was at UCLA for my urban planning master’s, one of my professors told us that whenever you are provided with a potential solution, you have to ask if that solution solves the problem you set out to solve.  A post by Alexander Friedman on Streetsblog LA makes a decent argument to bring back trolley buses – electric buses powered by overhead wires – to Los Angeles as a way to provide a temporary fix to LA’s transit woes.  While I have no problem with trolley buses given their great environmental benefits and long-term savings, I believe Mr. Freidman overestimates the effect trolley buses have on transit ridership and their benefits to overall transit service.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Greuel, Garcetti, and Skyscrapers

Posted by Roobs on February 14, 2013


The other day, someone asked me what is a “skyscraper”.  Really.  I mean, they knew conceptually what a skyscraper was (or is), but they asked me for a definition of a skyscraper since I’m an urban planner.  Who cares, you ask?  Well, this all stems from the current battle for short hairs that is the LA mayoral race.  What exactly is a skyscraper and is Eric Garcetti even really responsible for Hollywood’s turn-around?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Economic Development, Politics, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Insulting Fallacy of HSR Critics on the Central Valley

Posted by Roobs on July 10, 2012

During much of the debate leading up to and even during last week’s vote to fund HSR, many legislators and critics of HSR either implicitly or outright insult the Central Valley as a poor place to begin construction of the nation’s most ambitious infrastructure project.  After the years of listening and responding to HSR critics’ arguments, I really am simply and unquestionably irritated and downright tired their statements on the Central Valley.  I have to force myself at times not to just go off on many of these individuals who fancy themselves experts on planning issues – many the most outspoken are those who have no background in the subject at all.  But specifically regarding the Central Valley, I think they just need to stop.  Just stop talking.  As native son of California’s (and arguably the country’s) most productive agricultural region, catchphrases like “train to nowhere”, the Norcal-Socal centric statements that “no one will ride it between Madera and Bakersfield”, and that it should go along Interstate 5 as opposed to State Route 99, are just downright offensive to all residents of the Central Valley.  There are many reasons why the Central Valley is an excellent place to begin construction.  Here are just a few. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Critique of Current TOD Planning in Los Angeles

Posted by Roobs on May 30, 2012

Los Angeles today exists as a truly polycentric city with multiple, often competing job and activity centers.  Downtown Los Angeles, Wilshire Center, Miracle Mile, Century City and Westwood are often pulling workers from across the region and competing with one another, let alone the other cities within Los Angeles County.  Unfortunately, the once expansive rail network that helped fuel Los Angeles horizontal expansion is gone, leaving the existing transit system struggling to deal with the dense, urban sprawl that defines Los Angeles. In an attempt to improve the quality of transit (and life) in Los Angeles, LA Metro has been aggressively expanding its rail network – rail routes once operated as the early Red Car system – and pursuing transit-oriented developments around its new train stations.  But due to Los Angeles unique urban form, TODs spread throughout the public transportation system risk counteracting the benefits of each other and only preserving the urban form that contributes to its transit woes.  The reason is in the unique urban form of Los Angeles and the necessary requirements to create a successful TOD.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »