Jill Stewart has a great column on Jackie Goldberg, the former LAUSD school principal/board member/LA City Council Member/CA Assembly member who has a unique talent for talking about the downtrodden and helping out the Skybox Crowd.
While on the LAUSD Board, she helped start the avalanche that would become the $200 million Belmont debacle (important mitigating point: her role was in proposing a much smaller middle school on the most contaminated 11 acres of the 25 acre site but the key staff and players who led the march for the absurd effort of the school bureaucracy to become for-profit developers came on board during her watch).
While in the City Council she carried water for the $600 million Trizec/Haan Hollywood/Highland project:
On another local front, Goldberg’s idiotic deal with the Canadian developers TrizecHahn to create the new Egyptian-themed mall and Academy Awards hall at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue stands as the worst expenditure of city tax dollars in recent years.
Two weeks ago, the L.A. City Council spent an hour commiserating over the money-hemorrhaging project, into which Goldberg, using her strong-arming, backroom style, persuaded the city council to pour $90 million into the parking structure. The money should have gone to more cops for Hollywood, or true redevelopment of its heavily barred storefronts and litter-strewn, filthy sidewalks and streets.
This is exactly the kind of Skybox Crowd project doing well by purporting to do good that represents the failure of modern liberalism.
I dont know if it is just the seductive power of the lobbyists, or the desire of the low-level elected officials and bureaucrats to be playahs that leads to the kind of insane belief that the lives of the bulk of the population or the character of their communities will be improved by building these ill-thought-out megaprojects.
And what we see in real estate carries on to social programs as well, as we try and solve problems that are a collection of a number of small factors with one massive, sweeping program or project.
Things are more complex than that, and to effect peoples lives which is what liberals in government purportedly want to do we have to come up with solutions that reflect and embrace that complexity.
Ill suggest that there is a kind of new paradigm emerging with the open-source Cathedral and the Bazaar, with “Emergence : From Chaos to Order”, with Wolfram’s new book, “A New Kind of Science” that suggests that a collection of smaller decisions, programs, or projects all built around a basic set of rules or goals, may in fact be a more powerful agent of change than a single massive project.
It requires a new kind of humility on the part of the change agents though, and as long as the space is occupied by blowhards like Goldberg, that will be hard to do.