I have lived in the LA Metro area for 6 years, and there are people here that are just as Frizelle described. Natives (or in the case of my Aunt and Uncle, people that might as well be natives) are so accustomed to a certain way of life that they don't understand a world without /THE/ 405, /THE/ 10, or /THE/ 101. When there is traffic it has to really be out of the norm in order to even qualify for a mention in the periodic radio traffic reports.
When I moved out here, my Aunt was gracious enough to let me stay with her in Altadena. Everyday I had to drive from Altadena to Culver City. There was no reasonable public transportation that could take me from Altadena to Culver City and back again because The Westside had pushed against any form of rail transit for so long that it was impractical to say the least (Thanks Henry Waxman!). I asked my Aunt and Uncle how they dealt with the maddening commutes, and they looked at me like *I* was the crazy one. 45 minutes to an hour and a half in a car for them to get to Korea Town was perfectly reasonable. I asked why they didn't just live closer to their jobs, and avoid the traffic and they were incredulous I would even ask. They wanted to live where they lived more than they cared about the drive.
Taking this in to account, I found an apartment that was less than 15 minutes from my office (still no reliable public transit). No freeways. For the next four years I spent very little time venturing outside of a small radius of my apartment and tried to eschew freeway whenever possible. When people would come to visit they would ask to go to the beach, or to go to see Hollywood and I would turn pasty white and ask them if they really wanted to go sit in traffic just to see some dirty tourist traps. I became quite jaded by the surroundings. Recently, I've discovered how to best take advantage of what Los Angeles has to offer with minimal bumper-to-bumper. Carefully planned and timed excursions to have great shanghai soup dumplings in SGV, or a weekend in Santa Barbara wine country, museums, galleries, etc. There is much that can be done without watching your life tick away behind a blue-smoke spewing '78 Volvo.
When the Expo line and the Purple line extension projects actually got underway, I was thrilled. Progress! Finally! My enthusiasm trailed off as I realized that it would be decades before they would stretch from Downtown to Santa Monica. Even then, there still weren't feasible plans to build a perpendicular line to connect them, or to cross in to the valley. Every stage of the Expo line and Purple line extension has been dogged by critics and attacked by neighborhood groups. Beverly Hills is very openly attacking the Purple line extension because they don't want it to run under Beverly Hills High School. They're not the only ones though, anywhere worth going to wants to put the stops far out at the periphery of any useful location. NIMBY-ism is pervasive, and the op-eds and blogs in opposition to these projects are innummerable. Op-ed hacks held up a study by the LADOT that shows there won't be an appreciable decrease in cars as a reason to call the projects wasteful. "Why not put the money in to more buses and widen the roads?" It's also no use arguing that you can't just make roads wider. This $1 billion project to add a carpool lane to the 405 is fiscally sound in their opinion.
The people calling for more buses are also not the people who actually take the bus. They just want to add more lanes and buy cheaper buses. To them, the problem is that everyone else is on the road.
Wilshire Blvd. was in such disrepair (and no one had the funds to fix it) that LADOT is borrowing money from the federal government to close off 2 lanes and turn them in to bus only lanes. Beverly Hills has successfully lobbied to have the Beverly Hills section of Wilshire omitted from the project. So... that's going to be super-useful.
I'm going to miss this weekend's heavy dose of fear. It was Los Angeles at it's most rational.