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I live in Los Angeles County, and just moved here this year from New York City.  I regularly visit the San Francisco Bay area as well as San Diego where I have children living as well as business interests.  These areas all share in common a largely affluent and highly educated population.  They also all have terrible traffic problems.  As I sat in some traffic recently my mind drifted again, as it does too often, at the terrible incompetence of government and how we citizens demand virtually nothing of our leaders.  In election season we fall for a few platitudes about change or growth and like complete morons we run to support this politician or that one, never insisting upon hearing real concrete goals and demanding upon hearing concrete action steps that will be taken to improve our lives.

We also generally tend to over-complicate things.  When choosing leaders we often focus on all of the wrong things, such as:  Does he/she have a degree from a great law school?  Is he/she a great public speaker?  Is he/she handsome/pretty?  Where does he/she stand on the abortion issue?  These are all nice, but secondary issues.  We need to have leaders who focus on fixing something tangible that will improve citizens’ lives.  There are many issues to choose from, but traffic seems both worthy and addressable.  Traffic destroys lives, it keeps people from their families, increases stress levels, keeps people from exercising, etc, etc.  I postulate that if an elected official would make fixing traffic his/her only goal, and accomplished it to even a moderate degree, then that individual could rightly be considered among the greatest political leaders of modern times.  In fact, I bet that a third political party called the Traffic Party would have a decent shot of making a big dent in the political landscape.

As an aside, I am speaking at a real estate conference in Los Angeles called RealShare on March 19th at the Hyatt Regency in Century City.  The conference organizers, who are friends and regular blog readers, have offered to give my readers a 15% discount off of the registration.  You can provide the code “PENNERVIP” when registering.  I promise to be entertaining.

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