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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Transit Coalition e-Newsletter, Mon., July 23, 2007

Weekly Transit eNewsletter
Monday, July 23, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 30

Welcome to The Transit Coalition weekly newsletter! Our organization participates in meetings with key decision makers and community leaders and our goal is to keep you informed on the latest developments in the transportation scene across Southern California.

EMERGENCY MEETING: State legislators axed all of the $1.3 billion from the Spillover that would have gone towards public transportation operations. After lengthy negotiations, the State Assembly voted to move the $1.3 billion towards unrelated programs, after previously setting aside $550 million for transit. Also, the new budget cut funding for high speed rail from a previously negotiated $55 million to a useless $15 million, which was strongly opposed by county Supervisor Mike Antonovich. The budget will be debated at the state Senate this week, where more cuts might occur. The Transit Coalition monthly meeting to be held this Tuesday will discuss strategies that can restore these vital transportation funds. See Upcoming Events below for details.

No one involved with public transportation is happy with the recent shenanigans at the State Capitol. The Los Angeles Times expressed discontent at the “bait and switch” tactics employed during the recent budget negotiations. Subsequent letters to the Los Angeles Times expressed outrage at the development. The Los Angeles Daily News editorialized its contempt towards tax breaks for the film industry at the expense of mass transit. Transit Coalition President Kenneth S. Alpern also had nothing nice to say about this duplicity.

How You Can Help: You can still call your state Senator and express your desire to see all of the Spillover directed to public transit operations. The following members are important to contact: Don Perata 916-651-4009, Sac. District 510-286-1333; Speaker Fabian Núñez 916-319-2046, District 213-620-4646; Alex Padilla 916-651-4020, District 818-901-5588; Bob Margett 916-651-4029,District 626-914-5046; Alan Lowenthal 916-651-4027, District 562-495-4766; Jeff Denham 916-651-4012, District 209-726-5495; Bob Dutton 916-651-4031; Dave Cogdill 916-651-4014, District 209-599-8540; Gil Cedillo 916-651-4022, District213-612-9566.

Is the San Fernando Valley ready to house the region’s largest mall? Westfield plans to build a new mega-mall that would bridge its existing Topanga and Promenade malls in Warner Center.An environmental assessment for the project was filed last week. Traffic will be a major concern for the project. Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed suggested that a peoplemover could connect the project with the Orange Line and other Warner Centerpoints of interest. The Daily News published an editorial that emphasized the need to mitigate traffic for the project.

In absence of a “Subway to the Sea”, some folks doled out ostensibly well-meaning, if puerile, ideas on how to improve transportation along Wilshire Blvd. One contributor to the Times suggested banning cars on Wilshire altogether and bringing the subway out of the ground and onto the street. Monorails and simply giving up also feature prominently as solutions.

The OnTrac debacle has yet to end for Placentia. A briefing between state Assemblymember Todd Spitzer and Caltrans officials revealed that the city may owemillions to the state transportation department. Placentia would teeter the brink of bankruptcy should Caltrans ask for a lump sum repayment. Meanwhile, Orange Countybus drivers are back at work after a weeklong strike.

Elsewhere, Sacramento Regional transit will test regenerative braking on its light rail trains. The technology sends energy used to decelerate trains, which is otherwise lost in the form of heat, back to the electrical grid. Also in Sacramento,the leader of an important planning commission is pursuing more pedestrian- and transit-friendly growth in the region. San Diego County residents are demanding more Coaster service as part of an ongoing transportation plan. SO.CA.TA Public/Legislative Affairs Director Kym Richards disseminateswhy the Bus Riders Union failed to stop fare increases. The GreenLAGirl blog also expressed annoyance at the inflexible anti-rail stance of the BRU.

In light of a growing population, what should California look like in2020? Ventura City Manager Rick Cole opined how transit should be the centerpiece in turning development away from disconnected suburban patterns. Cole acknowledged that the next generation of city dwellers may have to take the lead in such changes, since much of the baby boomer generation is entrenched with the suburban way of life. Urban life like the one somewhat contemplated by Cole can be seen in Hollywood, where mixed use development is flourishing.

Thank you for your donations! We would like to express our gratitude for your donations, which help us prepare materials and educate elected officials, community activists and business leaders on transportation issues. If you have not done so yet, you can still donate and join The Transit Coalition. A monthly subscription to Moving Southern California comes with your membership.Visit our new and improved Donations page to explore other options. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

Caltrans announced tomorrow as the opening day of the final segment of the 210 Freeway in Rialto. While the new and completed freeway promises to bring a speedy alternative to the parallel 10 Freeway, some in the San Gabriel Valleyare concerned that it will bring new traffic onto an already burdened 210 through their communities.

Otherdevelopments have enveloped the road world. Ramps connecting Ventura Blvd. with The 405 and 101 Freeways will be opened in late August or early September, while Foothill Blvd. and Sierra Hwy., site of 25 deaths by car accidents this year, will get a much-needed traffic signal. Caltrans has committed $150 million to install carpool lanes on the 101 Freeway between Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Also, the Los Angeles Dodgers rolled out a new communications facility that intends to update drivers on stadium traffic.

However, it does not bode well for crosswalksnear Los Angeles schools, where 33 dangerous intersections have yet to be upgraded. Repeated acts of road rage during construction are forcing Caltrans to entirely close a portion of State Highway Route 138 in the Victor Valley. Santa Monica rejected demands made by Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl to mitigate traffic resulting from a future reconstruction of the California Incline.

In our human interest section, we go back to Sacramento, home of the California State Railroad Museum. Avid railroad buff Paul Hammond was named the new museum directorlast month. Hammond comes from a family of transportation experts, including his father, who worked in the Apollo program.

Shameless Plug: The Thunderhead Alliance is an organization dedicated to providing bicycle and pedestrian advocates the tools necessary to carry out and win campaigns. The Thunderhead Training seminar, an intense curriculum on how to effectively fight for improvements, is coming to Los Angeleson August 24-26. Here, you can learn from expert coaches and each other through Thunderhead’s proven curriculum on choosing, directing, and winning campaigns and to promote complete streets,where walking and bicycling are safe and commonplace. You can viewthe schedule or register for the event (the latter form features registration fee information).

Here is a list of other recent developments:

July 9:The San Fernando Valley Business Journal published an op-ed piece by Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed, blasting Metro bus cuts that have harmed the commutes of Valley employees.

July 19: Virgin Americaannounced the launch of five round trip flights between LAX and San Francisco International Airport, starting August 8. For a low cost carrier, the airline will fly new Airbus A319 and A320planes with economy and first-class seating. In the economy section, each leather seat will be equipped with 9-inch video screens offering on-demand movies, and 18 television channels including ESPN and CNN, and video games.

New York Statelawmakers struck a deal with New York City leaders that would create a commissionon congestion pricing. This means that NYC will stay in line to receive up to $500 million of federal grants for the concept. The compromise was the fruit of several missteps by the city administration in outright implementing a congestion charge.

July 22
: South Pasadena hosted its first clean-aircar show and film festival. More than 20 alternative energy vehicles will be on display, including a solar-powered Toyota Prius and a natural-gas powered Honda Civic, a fuel-cell powered Honda FCHX2, and an electric-powered ZAP car. Of note is the emerging plug-in hybrid technology, where a recent study concluded that these vehicles would reduce greenhouse emissions withoutoverloading the electrical grid.

Upcoming Events
: Please attend our Emergency TransitCoalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday,July 24 - 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Philippe The Original, 1001 N. Alameda St. Los Angeles CA 90012. (Map.) Wehope to see you there!

Metro Orange Line anoga Transportation Corridor Meetings:

  • Thursday, July 26, 7 p.m., Chatsworth High School, 10027 Lurline Ave.,Chatsworth.
  • Monday, July 30, 7 p.m., New Academy of CanogaPark, 21425 Cohasset St.,Canoga Park.

  • Metro Board Meeting: Thursday, July 26, 9:30 a.m., BoardRoom, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.

    SCRRA(Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, July 27, 10 a.m., San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG Building, 12th Floor, 818 W. Seventh St., Los Angeles.

    Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority: Thursday,August 2, 2:30 p.m., Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Board of SupervisorsHearing Room 381B, 500 W. Temple St., Los Angeles.

    Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee: Thursday,August 2, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.

    SCAG MagLev Task Force: Thursday,August 9, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.

    Orange County Transportation Authority Board Meeting
    : Monday, August 13, 9 a.m.,Board Hearing Room, 600 Main St., Orange

    Missed last week's newsletter? Read it here!

    Get the Print Edition of Moving Southern California, our monthly newsletter. Request a sample copy.

    Contact Us:
    We welcome your thoughts and comments on our new electronic newsletter. Please write us:
    Bart Reed, Executive Director
    Numan Parada, Communications Director

    About The Transit Coalition:
    The Transit Coalition is a 501[c](3) non-profit whose goal is to increase Transit Options and Mobility in Southern California by mobilizing citizens to press for sensible public policy to grow our bus and rail network.

    As a grass roots group, we depend upon your contributions to allow us to pursue our important work. Add yourself to our mailing list and please donate to help us grow.

    Visit our Discussion Board for the latest dialogue on transit.


    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Is it really necessary to post this entire report in one take?

    July 24, 2007 9:52 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Mayorsam, where are you. This Numan character and Zuma Dogg are driving off all your posters.

    Let's get 300 post thread going on Antonio's 9/11 defense and his pitch for Mirthala's job. How difficult is it for an uneducated spanish newsreporter to get an Emmie? And how about his thank you tour to all this sniveling little pussies in the city council who didnt have the balls to take on Antonio over this issue. Did Richard Alarcon boink Mirthala also, what about Ed Reyes or Huizar?

    July 24, 2007 10:50 AM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    This guy needs to summarize, then post a link to the newsletter. Those who are interested in reading the newsletter can do so. Those who aren't interested don't have to feel their eyes glazing over.

    July 24, 2007 1:08 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    A hit and run by the transit brothers. Ironic?

    July 24, 2007 1:16 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    To those who think the transit newsletter is too long, and distracts from this blog;s real mission of going after the Mayor digging up dirt and criticizing everyone who's ever had a meeting with him: The fact that L A lost this huge amount of money which was virtually promised IS the only big story on this dumb blog.

    If you people want to b-ch about the traffic, do somethng: call these reps, including Nunez and Padilla (you can think of Mrthala when you're doing it, if it makes you happy): it is a huge disaster for us to have to halt carefully- made and designed plans for the rail and start of a subway.

    (You people have no problem with Zuma's endless rants?)

    As for the Westfield Mall: it WILL be huge, and if you people gripe and moan about everyting downtown and in Hollywood and Westside, why by such hypocrites and not demand equal attention to an EIR/ traffic mitigations here? IS this even what the community there wants?

    Why shoud Zine get off scot-free just because he's out in the Valley?

    July 24, 2007 1:26 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    It's a formatting issue, not a policy debate.

    July 24, 2007 1:40 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Yes, we'll be holding a rally tomorrow at noon in front of Phillipes The Original to air our grievances.....

    July 24, 2007 2:05 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:


    What if we believe not building a subway is a good thing?

    July 24, 2007 2:28 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Why isn't Laura Chick running for Council District 5?

    July 24, 2007 3:08 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Why isn't the sky falling?

    July 24, 2007 6:04 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    3:08 p.m.: Cuz the activists in the hood who are attacking Jack have made her too fed up and disgusted; even tho they don't have a chance, it's a royal waste of time and energy to deal with these people. And they're so stupid, have nothing to go on, are dissing him in their site for saying the city needs to make sure the Fire Dept. is fundamentally changed to not incur future payouts, like the latest $6+2 mil = $8 mil, one case, others for millions more...fiscal responsibility is what they attack!
    And the Beverly Wilshire Assn. newsletter they've reprinted is full of idiocies, including bashing him for "meddling in the affairs of WeHo," over the Hilton case, when in fact, press all over the world as far as Japan managed to get it right that it was in his district in L. A... Every time they open their mouths to anyone, it's either ignorant or arrogant, or both... NO Chick does not want to rep these people.

    They have also likely scared off Paul Koretz, who was interested but said these people have never been happy with anyone. Feuer is getting termed out, but he already had his tumble with these fools.

    Besides being stupid, they are ensuring that the district not have anyone reputable wanting to run.
    Tuttle (who?) has been out of the picture so long, he's thinking of taking a shot (at anything).

    July 24, 2007 8:18 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    2:28: Get ready to rely on your bike. But what about people not fit enough to do that?

    July 24, 2007 8:20 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    @2:28 "Get ready to rely on your bike. But what about people not fit enough to do that?"

    That is why the democrats want free health care for everyone, so the fat and lazy can be an even bigger burden in life. To say nothing about these fat people are already snarfing up more oxygen, producing more CO2 and polluting the planet with their irresponsibility.

    July 24, 2007 8:37 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Yeah, can you imagine being locked in a house with Super Nanny's Brattiest, most spoiled, whiniest and dumbest me-me brats for four years? I think Laura decided she'd rather not.

    July 24, 2007 8:38 PM  

    Anonymous Anonymous said:

    8:37: I think you've got a point there. HMO's should make all fit but lazy people prove they peddle 5 miles a day on their bikes, before being eligible for the good deductible plans. Instead, they punish/toss out people for minor, one-time things, so they get high blood pressure just going into a doctor's office, and are tossed out for that. National Health care would be worse: do the idiots promoting it, realize all the rationing that goes on in those systems, how in every country that has it, anyone with money goes to private anyway? They're like free clinics in E L A: fine if you're not really sick. Only good thing I've heard, is France's plans for childbirth: don't kick you out of the hospital so fast, and includes visiting nurses/ baby help. Great.

    July 24, 2007 8:43 PM  

    Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

    10:50am said.."Let's get 300 post thread going on Antonio's 9/11 defense and his pitch for Mirthala's job."

    I hope you are joking, right? Except due to your follow-up, I think you are serious.


    * Why does Los Angeles City Council allow un-documented workers (who could have flown off the plane from terrorist training camp) to build the condos they are approving through Planning and Council?

    Then, the legal workers can get work while you continue to raise their taxes and tack on new and innovative fees?

    * LAUSD: Watch for the board to do everything possible to eliminate the parental input they campaigned they were going to include more of.

    Things like once a month meetings (less opportunity for parents to attend), requiring a majory vote in order to allow a boardmember to even ask a question on what they are voting on. Cutting back the amount of time of public input (after cutting back to once monthly meetings), but they will allow everyone to speak; they will just divide up the time equally, so you may only get five or six seconds. (NO JOKE!) PLUS, the entire annual order of business what magically sent over to monica garcia from King of Education, Mayor Antonio. Hmmmm, did Antionio hold public input hearings and get back the results of all those questions they needed, that wasn't even in the field yet? And if it was the first board meeting, how could it have all been done already? Didn't the new board members have any say in the annual order of business? In Tamar's case, that is probably a good thing, since she has less experience with LAUSD than a first grader. (Who at least has been through kindergarten.) But if you spend a million bucks to get elected, I'm sure it means she isn't just sitting there to approve mayor-friendly construction projects while she waits for a council seat to open up.

    But this thread is going to be about LAUSD, and I haven't even mentioned the Riordan crew from the old pirate days, who somehow seem to be the current cast of construction money pirates.

    And since the mayor probably forgot to aks Bloomberg about mayor control in NYC, ZD is gonna post the results of how that debacle, along with all the others across the country have been going from an achievement and financial level.

    * How much is Ruby De Vera gonna cost the City? The closed door settlement talk has been called by City Attorney to Budget and Finance Committee this week. And someone should include the price of a copy of the constitution and show it to a few folks on the wrong side of the rope.

    * METHANE GAS POLICY: Why are reporters saying it's fraudulent and non-existent?

    * WHAT'S going to happen to City Hall's fantasy subway to the sea and magic bullet trains needed to accomodate "Dumb Growth" and "Hideous Density" when the pueblos say go fuck yourself over all these billions in bond money at the polls. AND AKS YOURSELF THE SAME QUESTION ABOUT THE SCHOOLS. Cause ZD's market research says that well is about to dry up. Research says "negatives" going "up" when issue of more school bond money is raised in a questionaire. (I hope they get em built before the money runs out. But if I know the City of Los Angeles, as planners, they end up with a bunch of half-finished school, un-completed; rather than getting a few actually built -- which better be the strategy cause vote paitence and "yeses" are running out.

    * ZD doesn't have to check the budget to know that the number of 311 operators were cut back first week of July, right when the new budget kicked in. Every try calling during the day, now?

    Trust me...no one is gonna sit on hold that long. Quality Management guru Dave Elliott would like to remind you, "311 is the representation of how constituents and "customers" (as the mayor calls them on the line) will judge their business experience with the City of Los Angeles If the city considers itself to be in business, then the mayor should be striving to reduce the time on hold between first ring and connection to the appropriate party. NOT INCREASING ON HOLD TIME AT A GEOMETRIC RATE OF PROGRESSION.

    MAYOR, I know it seems like a small thing...those damn 311 lines for those damn people calling about things you don't care about.

    But you are taking the opportunity to make a good impression on everyone who calls in to city hall, and pissing em off, right off the bat. And if they are calling to complain in the first place, well you sure ain't spinning the right way on these former supporters either.

    BUT, for the threads, I am going to focus on undocument workers (unsafe) who are building condos in L.A. that also take the jobs from those you increase taxes and add new fees. (And we haven't gotten those 1000 new cops yet, although the fees have been raised?) AND, the scandal at LAUSD (Hey Monica, where's the inspector general? You'd hire Kellen Keller for the position if you could, wouldn't you. I challenge you to have him in the room at all LAUSD board and committee meetings (if you ever have one). I mean, if you care about kids and schools and fixing the system, and making sure no one bamboozles all the money away like in other major "mayoral controlled" cities...wouldn't you WANT the inspector general to be as involved as much as they would like to be, so as to do the job and protect the money.

    I mean, it doesn't do any good to allow fraud, waste and abuse to rob the kids of their future. And the Inspector General is there to protect against that. So what does it say if AB 1381 wanted to eliminate the inspector general, and you supported this move, and it is quite clear to the whole world that you don't like the position of IG? [I'm not passing judgement, necessarily, just aksing what it would mean if you were LAUSD school board president and wished you were "Bewitched" so you could wiggle your nose and send the IG to Bombay.

    July 24, 2007 9:20 PM  

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