No offense (really) to the LA bashers, but you remind me of the three blind men describing an elephant to each other. “it’s like a tree; no you fool it’s a rope…”
LA is HUGE (LA County anyway, areas of which have been brought up). I’ve been around quite a bit myself and LA has to be the hardest “city” to peg down. NYC, DC, Atlanta, SF (I’ve lived in all) all have a defined downtown, which is the center of jobs and/or the center of culture. Downtown LA is nothing like the other city centers. One can live in LA, never go downtown for anything and still have a richer cultural life than 90 percent of the country.
Living in Manhattan Beach is nothing like Compton, and neither is like Beverly Hills, etc.
True LA traffic sucks, but it’s as bad in Atlanta, and even Charlotte if you need to go to downtown–and you need to. I know the breadth of traffic jams in LA is worse than in, say Atlanta, but in Atlanta there really isn’t anywhere else but downtown to go for good jobs, culture etc.
DC and NYC go without saying, but nobody needs to drive in NYC–only taxi drivers, tourists, and lost Long Islanders. For DC, there is a reason the Beltway is a circle–you start out at 7am, get halfway around by 4pm, decide to continue home on the other half and get home by 8pm.