Times Community News Columnist Ron Kaye

Ron Kaye
Columns about culture and politics in Los Angeles, Burbank, Glendale, San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley

Ron Kaye: The importance of remaining engaged

A young man responded to a recent column by emailing me the story of a moral dilemma he faced when he saw a bee on the ground, unable to fly, its wings flapping desperately, disoriented.

Ron Kaye: RIP Blockbuster and human connectivity

Dish Network, its shares up 50% since March, soared to new highs on Wednesday just hours before its Blockbuster employees were showing up for work in the middle of the night for the opening day of the liquidation sale of DVDs and video games in the...

Ron Kaye: We're playing a game of national suicide

My favorite Halloween-week movie, promoted at a discount by Redbox, was "Daddy, I'm a Zombie," described as a coming-of-age film about an early teen named Dixie who turns into one of those living dead creatures that populate, along with vampires,...

Ron Kaye: Living the dream at Stengel Field

Every child ought to have a dream, a big dream. It ought to be a human right.

Ron Kaye: Getting their names on the wall

A year after graduating from Hoover High School, where he was a star pitcher who attracted attention from major league scouts, Seaman Apprentice James Kerr found himself sitting on a dock at Subic Bay, near Manila, chatting with Signalman Stephen...

Ron Kaye: Is the civil grand jury relevant?

The Los Angeles County civil grand jury got a well-deserved thrashing last week from local officials for its dumbfounding end-of-the-year report on the financial health...

Ron Kaye: Facing the state's day of reckoning

Gov. Pete Wilson suffered a power outage over his Prop. 187 assault on illegal immigrants. Gov. Gray Davis self-destructed over runaway spending policies that hurt just about everybody. And the politically ambivalent Arnold Schwarzenegger's big ideas...

Ron Kaye: Mike Gatto and the condom measure

Mike Gatto is a clever fellow. But like a lot of smart guys, he's sometimes too clever for his own good.

Ron Kaye: Get up and do something about the homeless

My connection with Robert the Walker started back in March with an emailed copy of his letter to Burbank officials about how much he loves the newly-opened Glendale Narrows portion of the Los Angeles Riverwalk and the sadness he feels seeing homeless...

Ron Kaye: Watching as Sinanyan figures things out

It is well established in all times and all places that even a little power tends to corrupt, especially when the power derives from being elected to public office.

Ron Kaye: Glendale's decision, L.A's problem

This is a tale of two cities — yours and mine, each with its own water and power utility companies.

Ron Kaye: As certain as the lights coming on

City Manager Scott Ochoa, armed with graphs and pie charts and a thousand details, spent 55 minutes offering a "relatively brief presentation" explaining why electricity rate hikes averaging 26 percent over the next five years are necessary or...

Ron Kaye: Glendale Power Assn. vs. IBEW

The moral premise of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 as often expressed by union boss Brian D'Arcy is clear and to the point:

Ron Kaye: Activism and the 710 tunnel

Joanne Nuckols has put the people she calls "transportation bullies" in their place for decades.

Ron Kaye: Valley COG shifts leadership gears

As the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments celebrated its third anniversary last week, one thing was perfectly clear: It was set up to fail by Los Angeles city and county officials and succeeding spectacularly at doing so.

Ron Kaye: Is this the house we want to live in?

The Fourth of July always brings out the little boy in me, no matter how old I get, the little boy whose imagination was lit when he saw a movie short of Frank Sinatra singing “The House I Live In” as he stopped a bunch of kids from...

Ron Kaye: Outcry preserves the right to know

Journalists, the good government crowd, even some ordinary people who believe in democracy, felt triumphant last week when the farce in Sacramento over what they called the "gutting … neutering … eviscerating'' of California's freedom...

Ron Kaye: Water provides a lesson in government

Many government meetings are broadcast live and archived with a vast array of official records posted online. Mainstream media may be on financial life support, but more than half the adult population still reads a newspaper daily, in print or...

Ron Kaye: Working for the union or fighting it

In Glendale, utility workers found their paychecks a little smaller last week — the price of the inability of their union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18, to negotiate an initial contract two years after winning...

Ron Kaye: Valley COG is a missed opportunity

The meeting started late and it started badly, with a 10-minute argument about approving the minutes of the last meeting. Then it headed downhill.

Ron Kaye: It's time for divisions to cease

In the dismal Los Angeles election cycle that mercifully concluded on May 21, much was made about the lack of women in high places if Wendy Greuel didn't win the mayor's race.

Ron Kaye: Brains, talent, too much ambition

In the costliest and most vicious City Council race of the Los Angeles election season, the battle for Hollywood has shattered beliefs about Armenian solidarity, with Paul Krekorian's role seen as causing deep rifts in the community.

Ron Kaye: Standing up to the town bully

The sparse front page of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 website expresses exactly the message Brian D'Arcy wants his members to get: Rotating photos of protesting workers waving "A DEAL IS A DEAL" signs.

Ron Kaye: Zareh Sinanyan admits racist remarks, expresses regret

It was a week Zareh Sinanyan will never forget. The man who left the Soviet Republic of Armenia as a 14-year-old a quarter century ago took his seat as a Glendale City Councilman on Monday, faced harsh criticism from residents during public...

Ron Kaye: Civic engagement and high expectations

It was the changing of the guard — Parcher Plaza at Glendale City Hall filled with people celebrating Mayor Frank Quintero with taquitos and cupcakes, a gathering of well-wishers that included Burbank Mayor Dave Golonski, who offered a framed...

Ron Kaye: Getting along to run the city

Everybody loves cops and firefighters who protect our lives and property so when you get a slate mailer in the middle of a heated election campaign that looks like these public servants are supporting candidates based on their personal merits, you...

Ron Kaye: Wishing PACs would pack it in

Just days before Burbank voters went to the polls, Mike Gatto was the star attraction for a Napa Valley retreat at a five-star hotel where, for $5,000 each, guests could schmooze with the assemblyman and four of his legislative pals. 

Ron Kaye: Throwing rocks at the windows of power

What would your town be like if its harshest critic had a seat at the table of power?

Ron Kaye: Respect for the Council of Governments

One of my first impressions when I called the San Fernando Valley my home nearly 30 years ago was that this vast middle-class enclave suffered from a bad inferiority complex, like it was populated by a lot of Rodney Dangerfields who just couldn&...

Ron Kaye: Democracy wins a round

The setting was beautiful: a hill high above the intersection of the Santa Monica (10) and Long Beach (710) freeways, with panoramic views of downtown L.A. and much of the San Gabriel Valley, even on this dark and misty Thursday night.

Ron Kaye: L.A. has gone to potholes

Cracked and potholed streets don't just damage your car and annoy you, they also kill — causing accidents, slowing emergency response times, endangering pedestrians, even increasing the risk of West Nile virus by allowing stagnant pools of...

Ron Kaye: Glendale seeks straight story

Twenty months after Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature abolished community redevelopment agencies statewide, local officials have gone through all the stages of grief — from horror to anger to confusion.

Ron Kaye: A forefather's forethought

When I retired five years ago after a career as a rather maverick newspaperman bristling at the restraints of corporate journalism, I vowed to speak what was in my heart and to say “yes” to just about everything.

Ron Kaye: It isn't utopia, but it's far from dystopia

Once long ago, during my year as an old-fashioned rewrite-man at the National Enquirer, the demonic man who owned and ran the tabloid as if it and its journalists were a figment of his over-active imagination sent a reporter around the world in...

Ron Kaye: The Gatto plot thickens

The clumsy statements by Assemblyman Mike Gatto's political team denying that he ran a slate of delegates for the 43rd Assembly District's seats at the state Democratic Party convention — and that challengers were threatened and intimidated...

Ron Kaye: Party needs to clear the air

Assemblyman Mike Gatto's political director sent out an email blast urging Democrats in the 43rd Assembly District to show up with “as many friends and family as possible” on Jan. 12 at the IATSE union hall in Burbank to elect a dozen...

Ron Kaye: A few people can change a lot in a community

The radical community organizer Saul Alinsky, whose insights are used today as much by those on the right as on the left, once wrote:

Ron Kaye: Scott Ochoa sits down for a chat

For Scott Ochoa, it was a year to remember given the 41-year-old city manager's leap from a small suburban town to Glendale, a city five times larger and far more complex.

Ron Kaye: Progress isn't often in pursuit of perfection

Frankly, I’m fed up with politicians telling me, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” when they really mean you better not get in the way of them serving some special interest at the public expense.

Ron Kaye: There's no justice in this system

Consequences — there must be consequences for our actions, or there will be hell to pay. The punishment must fit the crime. Without that, at least as a shared principle, what do we have?

Ron Kaye: Ouster speaks of modern politics

The way that Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and the cabalists of the San Gabriel Valley cities treated Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian over his Metropolitan Transportation Authority board appointment because he opposes the 710 Freeway...

Ron Kaye: A termed-out 2-percenter

Ask just about anyone who has hung around the state capitol a while — reporters, lobbyists, staffers — and they will tell you that 98% of our legislators forget who they are and why they are there within two years of being elected.

Ron Kaye: Trying to extend a 5-second spotlight

If you ever tried to spot the Glendale Rose Parade float on television on New Year’s Day, you know you had to stay glued to your set and never blink — you only get a passing glance.