To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Heir Transparent:  Activists say clarity needed on how Holden’s replacement would be chosen
 (Pasadena Weekly, 11/1/12)
By André Coleman 11/01/2012

Concerned that an unelected appointee could be casting votes on some of the biggest issues facing Pasadena, some local activists are demanding community members be given a say in replacing Councilman Chris Holden should he be successful Tuesday in his bid for a seat in the state Assembly.
By most accounts, Holden — a Democrat whose Council District 3 includes portions of Northwest Pasadena and mid-city, north of Colorado Boulevard — is expected to beat Republican Donna Lowe in the race for the Assembly seat in the 41st District. A Holden win would trigger a City Charter provision calling for the City Council to appoint a replacement within 75 days of Holden’s resignation from the council. If elected Tuesday, Holden would be sworn into the Assembly in late December. California is among nine states in which legislators assume office in December following a general election.
Although Holden’s District 3 council seat is up for election in March, his replacement would remain on the council until May 7, when local elected officials are sworn into office.
The person selected to replace Holden in the wake of a win would not be able to run for the position in the March 5 municipal elections but would have a say, and possibly a vote, on such weighty issues as the Rose Bowl renovation project, currently millions of dollars over budget, general plan updates and the Heritage Square housing development project in District 3.
That person could also be involved in discussions on controversial plans to connect the 710 and 210 freeways, deliberations with the NFL to allow a team to play in the Rose Bowl and the possible resolution of lawsuits filed in relation to the officer-involved shooting death of 19-year-old Kendrec McDade last March.
“We need to clarify the [replacement] procedure immediately,” said community activist Martin Gordon. “When I first considered it, I said, ‘Who cares?’ But considering what could be coming up, I want someone politically savvy and competent seated. We really need to get together as a community and start talking about bringing someone forward, but we can’t so that until the process is clarified.”  
The City Charter does not specify a specific selection process for the seat. According to the charter, “If a vacancy occurs among any other members of the City Council, the remaining members shall within 75 days after such occurrence appoint a qualified resident voter of the unrepresented district who shall hold office until the office is filled at the next general municipal election.
“If the City Council cannot agree on one person to fill the vacancy,” the document continues, “the replacement shall be chosen by lot.”
In essence, the council could vote for a replacement, appoint a committee to make the selection or hold a secret ballot among themselves. The last option was exercised in 1986, when then-Mayor Bill Bogaard resigned from what was called the Board of City Directors. Replacement candidates William Cathey and former Mayor Katie Nack each received three council votes, forcing a second vote that led to Cathey’s winning the seat. Cathey later ran for the seat when that term ended, but lost to Nack, despite what some considered an unfair advantage gained through his short experience on the council. 
Bogaard said Friday that not only would the community be informed of the process in the case of Holden’s departure, but that the council would most likely not make the appointment until after the nomination period for the March 5 election ended on Dec. 7. That way, the mayor explained, no candidates could gain an unfair advantage by being appointed to the seat and running as a faux-incumbent after serving less than six months on the council.
 “There are important issues coming up, and there are important issues that can arise unexpectedly,” Bogaard said. “We want someone with some knowledge of the city and some record of good judgment  I have talked to (City Clerk) Mark Jomsky about making a public announcement at the appropriate time for interested parties to come forward who live in that district.”  
One of the candidates rumored to be running said he would implore the city to conduct an open process with some type of community input.
“I am favorable to the city’s process as long as they have a transparent process,” businessman Ishmael Trone told the Weekly. “They need to have criteria out there on how they select the person. Maybe that person should go before a committee and state why they should be appointed, and maybe there should be an opportunity for the community to put names in there, so no one can point fingers at the council and say ‘Look what they did.’”
District 3 resident John J. Kennedy, onetime president of the NAACP Pasadena Branch, told the Weekly that not only should the process be transparent, but the city should consider putting off voting on some issues if at all possible until after the next full-time councilman is elected. 
“If they go to a selection, it should be extremely transparent to the residents of Pasadena,” said Kennedy. “From a public policy standpoint, people want to know their government is open and includes the community process, and the way you guarantee that is through an open and public dialogue. We enjoy robust debate in Pasadena, and I think the community wants to ensure that debate continues. If there is the possibility of a negative financial impact and the city is falling apart, you have to move forward with these issues. If not, there is no reason not to wait for the elected officials to be seated before voting on these issues.” 
Holden, the son of former Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden, has represented the district since 1989. During that time, he helped establish the city’s water and power utility advisory commission and pushed for more resources in Northwest Pasadena neighborhoods. Holden voted to bring the NFL to the Rose Bowl in 2002 and then launched a successful ballot initiative calling for placing the NFL issue on a special ballot, saying the city had to do something to bring the aging stadium back into the financial black. Voters did not agree, but now it appears Holden was right, as the stadium continues to lose money and is costing the city millions of dollars in repair costs.
Last June, Holden led a field of five challengers for the 41st Assembly District seat, which stretches eastward from Pasadena to Upland and includes communities along the Foothill (210) Freeway, with 34 percent of the vote, according to Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office. Lowe finished second in the primary with 20 percent of the votes cast.

Assembly member Anthony Portantino Facebook post from 11/1/12
  submitted by:Jan SooHoo"

At today's A(lameda) C(orridor) E(ast) grade separation ground breaking in San Gabriel a Commissioner for the California Transportation Commission stated that recent work of the C(alifornia) T(ransportation) C(ommission) shows that California is $300 Billion short of what it needs for transportation over the next decade. My thought went immediately to how the heck can the state ever finance a $15 billion dollar 710 tunnel and why is MTA continuing to pursue this project that doesn't solve a problem when there are so many other needs?"
No on Measure J

Posted by Sunyoung Yang on No On Measure J Facebook page

We've been hearing from some of our movement allies in New York-- "The bus services started rolling since yesterday - but the buses are packed and you have to wait for 4-6 buses before you can get on. The bus moves 2.5 million a day and we've been pushing Bus Rapid Transit and accelerating the number of lines. This is a cheaper, more fair/equitable way of getting public transit for more people over subway expansion. Access to public transit is free, but will start charging at some point. We're in the midst of fare hike campaign. Yesterday, a couple of other orgs have been talking about how we keep message for proper financing for public transit, more affordable mass transit, and recognizing fairly big cost for clean up and pumping out. One of subway stations has water literally past platform area." Climate and other diisaster preparedness and flexibility of bus transit is a big plus.

Yes on Measure J– To advance Los Angeles County’s traffic relief by accelerating light rail/subway construction within five years


  Measure seeks to extend the one half sales tax approved by voters under Measure R for another 30 years, with independent audits. Approving this measure now will save county taxpayers money in the long run, since interest rates on the money are likely to be substantially lower than they will be in future years. By borrowing now, the County can accelerate the transportation projects already identified and in some cases underway. It should be noted, however, that we are seriously concerned about opponents claims that Metro officials have refused to meet with those opposed to some of the projects proposed, or their efforts to seek assurances that accelerating projects will not lead to impacted communities having no say in how those projects impacts are mitigated in their neighborhoods. Giving permission to buy bonds using taxpayers dollars is not as one opponent said “a blank check” to allow Metro authorities to do whatever they want, and we urge Metro and the elected officials who make up the Metro Board, to be responsive, open and engaged with the communities they represent, even when their views differ. That being said, we believe that rail projects are part of the traffic solution for the region, and should become part of a transportation plan that includes bus service and gets riders where they need to go in the fastest, least expensive way possible. Today, that’s not always the case, and that needs to be fixed. There is no denying that if Metro fails to sell bonds for transportation enhancements at today’s affordable interest rates, someday we will have to finish the job at a greater cost.  Vote Yes on Measure J.

Measure J: Why you should vote ‘no’


Opinion  November 1, 2012


This piece was written in response to 'Measure J: Moving today for tomorrow'

Clearly Measure J is, in reality, a magician’s slight of hand trick.   If I remember correctly Measure R, the predessor to Measure J, was a detailed proposition consisting of 34 pages describing the implementation, oversight and accountability procedures of the bill and what it was for?   However, Measure J is a one paragraph, non descriptive, non definative request for $90 billion from the taxpayers.  I have trouble understanding how it took 34 pages to definatively describe the request for $40 billion.  In Measure J the request consists of one paragraph that has no definative procedures for accountability, oversight or implementation.  Simply put it is one paragraph asking for a $90 billion slush fund to cover the hidden costs of Antonio Villaraigosa’s “Subway to the Sea” and in the process disrupt cities and communities with impunity and disregard.

This article does not state how much Measure J, $90 billion, is for or Measure R, $40 billion?  Together they total $130 billion.  When the interest is added Measure R and J will total at least $300 billion.  Only two budgets in America are significantly larger:  the total education budgets for all states combined and the Federal Department of Defense Budget.

This is a tax increase as it is the “Permatax” until 2069.  Being a tax measure this requires a 2/3 majority for passage.  Currently this measures support is under 60% and is being promoted as a vision for the future.   This measure is actually a wellfare program for the current devolupers, real estate moguls and all of the current wealth holders and big money interests that traditionally have raped communities by putting rail lines in that did not provide needed access to address community needs.  The access that it does provide is to new projects that they control so that service services them and not the people.  Understanding that this bill is faltering in support,  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is now attempting to court black leaders to support Measure J by telling them that they will be allotted $300 million for the Liemert Park station in return for their support on Measure J.  This black leader is not going for the hokey doke.  This mayor wants to bribe us with $300 million out of $90 billion?  I guess we come real cheap.

Does anyone know what the real transportation needs will be until 2069?  This money will be spent and when most of us are long gone you can bet your bottom dollar MTA will be back for more money.  And if you think I am wrong just look at the history that started with Proposition A in 1980 and followed up with more in 1990 and then came in with Measure R and now for Measure J.  Remember it has always been the same mantra.  This is the same message and request for more money.  They are insatiable.  And then to cap everything off they consistently reduce access to all parts of the community and then of course they raise rates.  Less service with more cost and that is efficiency?  Let’s assume that some miracle takes place and they finish these lines, do you notice something is missing here and it is glaring.  That is that there is no money set aside for operation or maintainence of these new lines.

A perfect example of this is what is in the “Subway to the Sea” EIR where they do not include in the budget figures what they will have to do which increases the cost by $10 billion or double the stated amount.  Is should be very clear to all of us now why we are looking at a one paragraph request for $90 billion dollars without accountability, oversight or implementation parameters.

It should be noted that organizations and government entities are coming together in strong opposition to Measure J.   The diversity of the opposition to Measure J is like a true Rainbow Coalition that extends across the breadth of L.A. County.   Recently the chairman of the MTA, Supervisor Michael Antonovich along with his collegues Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas, all members of the MTA Board, have expressed strong opposition to Measure J.  Assemblyman Mike Davis, Chairman of the Select Committee on Transportation, has reassessed and is now in opposition to Measure J.   The City of Beverly Hills has passed a resolution to not support Measure J.  The Beverly Hills School Board is in strong opposition to the tunneling underneath their school campus as a result of Measure J.  Organizations from South L.A., East L.A., San Gabriel Valley, the San Fernando Valley, Beach Cities, as well as the Bus Riders Union and the Congress of Racial Equality of California (CORE-CA) have joined together with a collective voice “VOTE NO ON MEASURE J.”

Why A Broad Coalition of Grassroots Groups Oppose Measure J



 Why A Broad Coalition of Grassroots Groups Oppose Measure J


J, an extension to Measure R which was approved in 2008, will extend a half-cent tax for an additional 30 years to fund the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The sales tax is not new, but if J passes, it will be extended to the year 2069.

Proponents of Measure J say it will speed up the completion of several projects that were introduced after Measure R was passed by starting construction in five years rather than twenty. Projects include extending the Green Line to LAX and a Westside Subway Extension. However, many of the projects will also rely on outside funding in order to see completion.

Measure J’s supporters and funders include the L.A. Dodgers, AEG, LACMA and Mayor Villaraigosa, who together have raised $2.2 million dollars in campaign contributions. According to them, Measure J will bring 400,000 new local jobs, decrease traffic and will make popular areas more accessible by train.

Opponents of Measure J, which include the Bus Riders Union and City Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe, say the measure is discriminatory and promotes gentrification in low income communities of color.

While most of the revenues from the Measure J sales tax will be spent on the rail system, in the last five years alone bus service has been cut by almost one million hours, making it difficult for low wage employees to travel to and from work. Metro Officials have publicly said they prefer focusing on rail projects.

But in 2011, a federal civil rights review showed that the MTA had violated civil rights regulations knowingly – their cuts to bus services were known by MTA to be racially discriminatory. The MTA’s rail expansion make them property owners throughout Los Angeles, and as such, it has encouraged developers to construct high-end shopping centers, homes and businesses along their rail routes.

GUEST: Sunyoung Yang, Lead organizer with Bus Riders Union

Visit www.noonmeasurej.net for more information.


(Pasadena) City Council Decision on Measure A/F-7 Tunnel Issue -- Video Now Online
Submitted by Weston DeWalt

At last night's (Oct. 29) City Council meeting Mayor Bogaard announced that the Council would finally be addressing the issue of Measure A's relevance to the Council's ability to consider opposition to METRO's proposed F-7 tunnel on December 10 - three days prior to METRO's December 13 Board meeting. The timing does not seem at all coincidental.Yet to be answered is the question of why it took the Council so long to decide to deal with this issue, especially since the City Manager was telling Pasadena residents that every effort was being made to deal with this issue prior to next week's Election Day. 


29 October (Pasadena) City Council Video Now Online
Mayor Bogaard's Announcement Regarding Measure A/F-7 Tunnel Issue: 2:39 to 6:42
My Public Comments on 710 Related Matters: 7:23 to 10:54
Council deliberations on whether to have Planning Commission Review Final NFL/Rose Bowl EIR: Starts @ 1:52

Ignoring Port, Councilmember Johnson to Hold Own Hearing Regarding SCIG Railyard

 Following the public hearing organized by the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) nearly two weeks ago regarding the proposed Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) railyard by BNSF, Long Beach Councilmember James Johnson has decided to take matters into his own hands–literally.

The SCIG Railyard is a proposed 12-track rail yard intended to expand the Port’s capacity for goods movement. The 153 acres are already mostly owned by the Port in unincorporated East Wilmington. Residents of West Long Beach fear the impact such a yard would have on local air quality and road conditions as trucks and trains access, idle and leave the port area. The project would cost $500 million dollars.

After a rare show of vitriol towards the POLA after the port refused to hold a public hearing in West Long Beach Johnson has decided to host his own public hearing . While  POLA opted for Wilmington for its hearing, Johnson will host his in West Long Beach, the region he represents and the one POLA’s documents show will be most impacted by the rail yard. By holding a hearing Johnson is not just giving residents a chance to speak up, but also gets their opinions on record. The move, at least within the eyes of detractors of the project as it stands, was a bold move to be both applauded and respected.

“A core part of the democratic process is the right of residents to be heard on projects that may affect them,” said Johnson, who also said that the recorded responses will be transcribed and sent to POLA as a formal response to the matter.

The project, particularly following the analysis of its RDEIR, has gained more media attention within the past two weeks than it has over the past five years, including a rather ironic piece from the Press-Telegram covering the initial public hearing after endorsing the project just weeks beforehand. The surge in coverage is most likely due to BNSF’s rather faulty response that residents within the proposed construction area will suffer more if the project does not go ahead as planned.

Johnson’s own hearing will be held next Tuesday, November 7, at Silverado Park at 6 pm. Silverado Park is located at 32nd Street and Santa Fe Avenue.