By Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D.

The author is chair of The Transit Coalition, a grassroots public transportation advocacy group. He’s also led both the Planning and Transportation committees of the Mar Vista Community Council.

Without a logical or moral defense of overdevelopment, apparently one can always resort to bullying and belittling those who would stand up against it.

After years of fighting for the Expo Line, a Metro rail connection to LAX and a countywide transportation system, I am the last person who should be called a NIMBY. I’ve been disparaged in public, faced considerable opposition and my family has suffered, to boot, in the fight to build a better Los Angeles. So allow me the indulgence of being offended by Charles Rappleye’s Sept. 22 column, “NIMBYs Gone Wild.”

Like the rest of the all-volunteer Friends4Expo Transit, the grassroots group who advocated and fought for the now-built and successful Expo Line, I never got paid for my efforts. And like the rest of Friends4Expo, we never, never, NEVER wanted overdevelopment that would be environmentally-unsustainable, neighborhood-destroying and dangerous for our health.

There is a difference between being open to compromises, variances and appropriate rezoning that accommodates our water shortage and a lack of affordable housing … versus blatant, biologically-dangerous and physically-unsuitable overdevelopment that allows a few well-heeled developers and contractors to “win the lotto” at our expense.

Having approved many a development with variances in my 15 years on and off the Mar Vista Community Council Board, and being a big fan of both affordable housing and walkable streets, there is plenty of opportunity for more housing.

But in case Mr. Rappleye has forgotten, we’re in a drought. Our air quality is at risk. Our streets, sidewalks, sewers, electrical grid and other infrastructure are all in disrepair.

And income inequality is worsening in our city, while affordable housing and family-friendly neighborhoods are both in very short supply.

Recreational parks for children and their families, anyone?

Industrial parks for employment, anyone?

How about general plans for regions (such as the Palms/Mar Vista/Del Rey General Plan) that haven’t been updated for decades, despite their legal mandate to be updated every 10 years?

Hence we need the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative to be voted on next spring.

We also need to support and pass Measure M for more transportation funding this November — no NIMBYism from me, or from just about every transportation advocate who is also anti-overdevelopment.

So when Mr. Rappleye attacks Mr. Weinstein and the supporters of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, he also attacks all those Westside and other neighborhood councils who fought, and still fight, for more mass transit, more affordable housing and a better quality of life for ourselves and our children.

It is not NIMBY to be anti-overdevelopment. And despite the distractions and obfuscations put forth by the initiative’s opponents, the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will allow for variances as well as for legally-acceptable developments.

What the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative opposes is overdevelopment.

What it offers instead is appropriate development.

We could virtually double our affordable housing with standard two- to three-story apartments and condos throughout the city, and do so in a legal and relatively speedy timeframe.

But to demand five- to 12-story (or more!) behemoths throughout the city will not only give rise to unlivable “housing projects,” but also create new traffic gridlock of the kind that the Expo Line was supposed to help mitigate.

So go ahead, Mr. Rappleye, attack Michael Weinstein all you want.

Just remember you’re also attacking the majority of hardworking taxpayers in this city — those who have the compassion and temerity to oppose their neighborhoods being destroyed so “the 1%” get even richer at our collective expense.