Dan Walters is worried about LA.

In a recent column, Walters identified L.A. County as a problem for the state:

Los Angeles County’s bewildering mélange of overlapping, and sometimes competitive, local government entities has existed for many years, but in the last couple of decades another element has been introduced: its evolution into the nation’s most ethnically diverse metropolitan area, thanks to an immense wave of migration from other countries.

When coupled with the decline of the county’s once-powerful aerospace industry, one effect has been its sharp bifurcation into enclaves of self-indulgent wealth, surrounded by vast tracts of poverty — especially in the immigrant-heavy smaller cities in the county’s southeastern quadrant.

A corollary impact has been, unfortunately, the corruption of many local governments that function semi-secretly, little noticed by media and ignored by their residents, many of whom are noncitizens who cannot vote.

He has a point about overlapping governments, and the problems of media vigilance given the number of governments, but that’s a problem virtually everywhere in the state. California has too many cities and too many governments in all of its major regions. Misbehavior by politicians is hardly limited to L.A.’s poorer and more diverse cities. (Yep, I’m looking at you, San Diego).

Maybe I’m too sensitive, but there’s something nasty about his connection of immigration, diversity, poverty and corruption. Walters has been making some version of this argument for years – that diversity is a big reason the state can’t govern itself. That’s wrong as a matter of political science (California’s governance problems are profoundly structural), and it no longer fits the on the ground.

L.A. is not becoming more diverse in the way he suggests. Indeed, the wave of migration into L.A. ended long ago. The real challenge for L.A. is as much about a growing sameness as the struggles of diversity. While we may look different, we are much more like each other. More of us are from here, and thus are dependent on California’s underfunded schools, straining safety net, and miserable infrastructure. And we are getting older, more settled, and less dynamic.

L.A., by the miserably low standards of California governance, has been doing a pretty decent job of governing itself. The region is making investments and improvements in public transit that should put the rest of California to shame. Up in Sacramento, by contrast, the city is in a rush to build a new arena for a third-rate professional basketball team. In the Bay Area, they can’t keep the BART trains running or get their most important bridge replaced properly.

And the L.A. county government, despite problems in social services and with the sheriffs department, has done a remarkable job of managing its budget. The state of California would be better off if it were run as well as L.A.