Opinion newsletter for Saturday, May 9, 2015

It's the ultimate tech-induced "disruption," to use a venture-capitalist trope that might actually be appropriate in this case: Your quiet, hillside neighborhood, brimming with curb appeal and expensive real estate, suddenly becomes the preferred rush-hour commuting route for impatient motorists, all because of a single app. For the last few months, Waze – the app offering drivers real-time, crowdsourced traffic tips – has been prompting complaints from L.A. residents who blame it for an increase in traffic and dangerous driving in their neighborhoods.

In the past, Times readers have written to denounce Waze. Others have lamented the extinction of once-quiet residential streets identified by Waze users as good alternate routes to backed-up thoroughfares – and they have the attention of sympathetic L.A. City Council members who want to effectively regulate Waze.


Brian K. Roberts is having none of this. In his Op-Ed article this week, he defends Waze, "that brilliant smartphone app" that "is a quantum leap forward for those of us who want to keep our blood pressure down during the daily commute." He writes:

Surprise! Readers who live on Waze-afflicted streets weren't pleased. Their complaints echo Sherman Oaks resident Leon Sturman: "We had a peaceful residential home prior to Waze. Now we live on a pretend freeway." L.A. Times

The Times editorial board takes a stand for free speech. It doesn't matter that Pamela Geller's event in Texas was provocative or insulting to Muslims – it's still speech protected by the U.S. Constitution. L.A. Times

Working in L.A. doesn't stop us from writing about the royals – or even giving them advice. Editorial writer Carla Hall has helpful hints that Princess Charlotte might want to read – once she learns to read, of course. L.A. Times

Speaking of writing from afar,  the drought has made the End of California As We Know It something of its own punditry genre. New York Times

Jonah Goldberg gets to the root of what's wrong in Baltimore. To fix the problem of poverty, he says, you have to fix the culture of poverty. L.A. Times

Write letters to The Times, and you may get results: In response to a letter from a rabbi on an Op-Ed article about soldiers who come home from the battlefield with "moral injury," the article's writer, Nancy Sherman, tweeted this: "Intriguing response to my @latimesopinion piece is about using religion to help heal morally injured veterans."

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