All posts tagged: Politics

Public Policy 101: Understanding Policy

It is important for the public to understand how to understand policy, especially when it is in the process of being deliberated and adopted. As a policymaker, I want to share some of the finer points of policy making, especially into today political climate. *My views do not represent the City of Los Angeles or the Department of City Planning. Every year, a large number of policies are deliberated at all levels of government. Some are passed, some are postponed, some are dead upon arrival. In a democratic government, almost all of these policies are heard in some form or another by the public. However, there are a lot of nuances to understanding them and because the public are not generally versed in understanding policy, there are ways to get policies passed by influencing public sentiment or despite public sentiment. To make it easier for you to understand policies, especially those you care about, the following are three important things to look for to avoid supporting a policy on misguided assumptions. They are listed in …

Los Angeles – No to Measure S

Dear Friends in the City of Los Angeles, For those of you who are residents and are able to vote, there is a ballot measure to take an important stand against in next week’s local elections: Measure S. L.A. Times, Governor Brown, Mayor Garcetti, and many others have came out against this measure, (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) which will basically prohibit development in the City for the next two years and make it extremely difficult in the years after (to be explained below). For those of you that don’t know, the City of Los Angeles like the rest of California, is in the midst of a housing crisis. With a vacancy rate hovering around 2%, the supply of housing is extremely tight and housing costs are skyrocketing. What most people don’t realize is that at around $56,000, the median wage in Los Angeles is actually not that high, yet average home sale prices have now soared above half a million. That is lunacy. Renters are also suffering, with many paying more than 30% of …

A Short About Policy Making

Have you ever wondered about the city you live in: its history, its planning, its development? The Guardian has an incredible 50-part series on the history of urbanization from around the world. The more you read about cities, the more they become a metaphor for life – patience, plans, foundations, and changes. Any sort of urban development can takes years and decades. The saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Furthermore, even the best laid plans can be easily swept aside by unforeseen circumstances or self-created consequences. Yet, without plans and goals, a city will cease to exist. Therein lies the paradox of urban planning (and of life) – each action results in an infinite possibility of reactions. You want to capture the current circumstances and anticipate future change, but it is always an impossibility. You create that which you hope to contain, and yet what you hope to contain is based on projections, assumptions, and visions that can easily fall apart in an instant… The building of cities always serves as an expression of the political …

Days on Public Transit

What has the world come to? A slogan that has resonated throughout history, “Stronger Together”, is out-done by a call based on isolationism and division to a fictional, non-existent past. The world, supposedly more interconnected and educated than ever, is fraught with regionalism, fear, and ignorance. This is not to say that the future is not going to be better. The march towards progress and understanding has continued to be unceasing. With the rise of the millennials, who have a better grasp than any generation before of the interconnectedness of humanity, into positions of leadership and power, perhaps the world will truly understand that humanity is one. When I take public transit in Los Angeles to work everyday, I am exposed to the lives, actions, and faces of those less fortunate. Sometimes, it makes me wonder what we can do better to help those that society’s progress continue to exclude and leave behind. Sometimes, it makes me angry because of their own ignorance and their lack of desire to do better. Just today, while on …

Short Post: The Issues – Educate and Compromise

Recently, I have had several conversations with my friends back in Taiwan. A common thread of discussion is how hopeless they feel about social conditions getting better. Since the recent presidential election that resulted in the first female president in the country’s history, there have been a wave of euphoria. A large majority of the population, especially millennials, felt that the fall of the KMT was key to social change in Taiwan. Yet the problems that face Taiwan, especially those of my generation, are complex and difficult to untangle and dissect. One thing that we all agreed on is the fact that many people are unable to think for themselves. Many young people comment and criticize based on misinformation or a lack of independent thought. Part of the issue is how the media presents information and part of the issue is how people consume media in Taiwan. Though media consumption is not a unique problem to Taiwan, the culture of Taiwan tend to cause people to disregard and dismiss opposing opinions and voices. I feel …

Bombing Oil Fields and Fighting Islamic State

Has anyone given thought to the political, economic, and environmental consequences of such destruction? Has anyone thought about the devastating environmental impact of bombing oil fields? For the most part, the majority of the people under IS control are innocent. Yet, this sort of destruction and retaliation by the West, is exactly what drives the youth to join in the extremist movement. How can anyone be alright with the destruction of their livelihood and of their environment?