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

Friday, November 2, 2012

 Help needed to go all out against Measure J now to Tuesday!

From: Eric Romann <EricR@thestrategycenter.org>
Subject: Countdown: Help needed to go all out against Measure J now to

Hello friends in El Sereno, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Pasadena and
beyond (Please forward widely to 710 activists and others!) Election
day is near and the Coalition to Defeat Measure J is gaining momentum
going into it -- with a flurry of op-eds in various online publications
against Measure J and an article in today’s LA Times offering a sharp
critique of Measure J relating to increases in fares and cuts in

But the Yes on J campaign has a big campaign war chest thanks to
corporate donors who are going to make a killing off of Measure J at
our expense. They are running TV and radio ads round the clock full of
lies about what Measure J promises. We don’t have that kind of money
but we have grassroots people power, and we need as much as we can get
to counter-act the Yes on J propaganda. We are putting out a call to
all of you to help us this weekend. Here’s what you can do:
Phonebanking: We are calling registered voters from our office every
day until the election. We have a great system and lists of “high
propensity registered voters” and that makes this a very effective way
to bring votes to our side.

Our office is easy to get to: 3780 Wilshire Boulevard @ Western in
Koreatown, across the street from the Red Line Station, close to the
Here’s the schedule:
Tonight (Friday) 3-9Pm
Tomorrow (Saturday) 9AM-3PM
Sunday 3-9PM
Monday 3-9PM
Tuesday 9AM-5PM
Please contact Kitzia Esteva at 213.387.2800 or

Measure J still worthwhile, despite possible fare hikes


 By Dan Turner

Measure J, the Nov. 6 ballot proposal that would extend a half-cent sales tax hike in Los Angeles County for another 30 years to accelerate transportation projects, was endorsed by The Times because it promises to ease traffic flow and stimulate the local economy without raising other taxes. But activists led by the Bus Riders Union say it will have an unintended effect: raising transit fares.

The opponents aren't necessarily wrong -- future revenue and fare demands for the transit system are tough to predict, but past rail construction booms in L.A. have indeed resulted in reduced service for bus riders and higher fares overall. The questions, then, are will future fare hikes be reasonable, and are the improvements worth it? Based on what other cities charge for fares and what they offer in the way of public transit, I think the answer to both questions is yes.

The Bus Riders Union, whose 1994 lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for allegedly neglecting its bus network in order to focus on developing commuter rail led to a decade-long consent decree in which a special master oversaw bus service improvements, was quiet on Measure J until a couple of weeks ago, when it launched a protest campaign. Its major contention is that if Measure J passes and the MTA proceeds to accelerate construction of rail projects as planned, the MTA won't have enough money to operate them, leaving the agency no choice but to raise fares and reduce bus service. That's what happened in the mid-1990s when the Bus Riders Union sued the MTA, and it may have been a contributing factor to reductions in bus service last year, when about 4% of bus hours were cut.

ENDORSEMENTS: The Times' recommendations for Nov. 6

That doesn't mean Measure J will automatically result in fare hikes. That will depend on how many people ride the new rail lines and other factors. MTA chief Art Leahy told The Times that he has no plans to raise fares next year, but he wouldn't make any guarantees after that. Even if ticket prices are hiked in the next couple of years, though, L.A. transit riders will probably still be getting a phenomenally good deal compared with other cities (which will, like L.A., also be under pressure to raise fares).

It's tough to compare MTA fares with those in other cities because different transit agencies handle costs differently. Some cities, such as New York and Phoenix, charge more -- usually twice as much, in fact -- for a ticket on an express bus (with fewer stops) than a local bus. L.A. doesn't charge more for express buses, though it does charge more for buses that travel on freeways. Meanwhile, cities such as Houston and Philadelphia charge more for tickets the farther one travels from the central city; in Houston, for example, a single bus ride within Zone 1 costs $1.25, but the fare rises to $4.50 if you're going all the way to Zone 4.

Both these ideas -- extra fees for express, light-rail or subway service, or extra charges for longer rides -- represent fare structures that the MTA might adopt. Indeed, the Bus Riders Union would doubtless be thrilled if the MTA raised fares solely on rail service, which the organization sees as a system for well-off white commuters rather than low-income people of color. (The demographics of bus versus rail aren't quite as clear-cut as bus advocates tend to think. MTA ridership surveys show that about 92% of bus riders are minorities, compared with 80% of rail riders.)

In any case, what's striking about the comparison between Los Angeles and other cities is how comparatively cheap local transit is. A single-ride ticket on an MTA bus or train costs $1.50. I compared that to fares in the other nine biggest cities in the United States and found that all but one charge more, once you factor in the added costs of express buses, zone travel or the different fares charged in such cities as San Jose for buses versus light rail. In New York, for example, a single ride costs $2.25, and an express bus costs $5.50; the same applies in San Diego, except that express buses are a "mere" $5 for a single ride. Single bus rides in San Jose and Houston are technically cheaper than L.A. at $1.25, but that rises to $4.50 in Houston if you're traveling to a distant zone; in San Jose, light-rail tickets cost $2 and express buses cost $4.

So which top-10 city is cheaper than Los Angeles? San Antonio, Texas, where a single bus ride costs only $1.10 (an express bus costs $2.50, but that's still pretty cheap). Actually, San Antonio is the kind of city that L.A. bus activists would adore because it doesn't have a rail network: Buses represent the only option for transit riders. But is that the kind of transit system Angelenos want?

Judging from the overwhelming public support for building rail networks -- Measure R, the sales tax hike that would be extended by Measure J, won two-thirds of the vote in 2008 even as the economy was starting to melt down -- the answer is clearly no. That's because L.A.'s size and traffic problems dwarf those of San Antonio, gasoline prices are quite a bit higher here than in Texas, and commuters are crying out for an alternative that's cheaper and faster than driving, which doesn't apply to buses.

Moreover, independent examinations of L.A.'s transit system indicate that its well-rounded bus/rail network is more effective than systems in such cities as San Antonio. A U.S. News ranking of the 10 best U.S. cities for public transportation last year ranked Los Angeles third; San Antonio isn't on the list. Last spring, the website Walk Score, which assesses the walkability of neighborhoods across the country, ranked cities by access to public transit and placed Los Angeles at No. 11, with San Antonio at No. 19.

The MTA needs to be sensitive about future rate hikes, and it could end up in hot water once again if it neglects the bus network to focus too heavily on rail. But memories of the consent decree make it almost certain that proposed increases will be reasonable and that buses will continue to get the attention they deserve, whether Measure J passes or not. Meanwhile, a congested city badly needs the relief that Measure J would bring. It's a good deal for commuters that's very unlikely to hurt bus-dependent people, and is still worth a yes vote Tuesday.

Measure J: A Self-Help Economic Stimulus Package For L.A .County 



By Denny Zane and Gloria Ohland, Move LA

Los Angeles is the future -- watch your back New York! That's what the New York Post told readers a month ago, and it wasn't tongue in cheek. Writers Andy Wang and David Landsel were effusive in their praise for L.A.'s transformation: "A decade of building real transit... Of creating truly walkable neighborhoods... For the first time in generations you will soon be able to travel by rail between downtown and Santa Monica. Soon after expect a subway stop on Rodeo Drive."

It wasn't the only such story. In April, an Atlantic Cities story asked "Is SoCal America's Next Environmental Success Story?" And a story on Slate speculated whether Los Angeles was becoming "America's next great mass-transit city." Apparently the media noticed there were three transit lines under construction this year for the first time in LA County history, or at least since Henry Huntington was building the Pacific Red Car lines a century ago. Next year work on three more lines begins.

Measure R, the half-cent sales tax passed by voters in 2008, has ushered in a new era of transportation choices -- making it possible to double the size of the rail system and the number of stations in 30 years. Meanwhile, commuting by public transit is up 11 percent, according to the 2009 American Communities Survey, taking a lot of cars off the road.

Measure J -- on the ballot next Tuesday -- would usher in this new era with a bang, making L.A. County more healthy, prosperous and sustainable, with cleaner air, in about a decade. Measure J would construct seven iconic transit lines and eight highway improvement projects all over L.A. County in 13 years instead of 27, as is currently planned under Measure R.

These projects include a rail line to LAX, a transit corridor up the notoriously jammed I-405 freeway to the San Fernando Valley, the subway to the Westside, the Regional Connector project in downtown LA that will provide "one-seat rides" from the beaches to the inland valleys, and highway improvement projects that promise traffic relief on every LA County freeway and we have a lot of them -- the 5, 10, 15, 60, 101, 110, 138, 210, 405 and the 605!

Measure J does this not by raising taxes but by extending Measure R for another 30 years, allowing L.A. Metro to use the longer revenue stream to finance construction now, when the cost of financing and construction is at historic lows.

Here's the kicker: speeding up all 15 transit and highway projects is expected to accelerate the creation of 250,000 jobs over 13 years. Think of the economic impact of all those paychecks, boosting retail sales and tax revenues -- it's as if LA County voters could create their own economic stimulus package and put friends and neighbors back to work at the same time.

Jobs and traffic relief wrapped up in the same package is a hard proposition to turn down in Los Angeles, where commute times haven't decreased -- or increased -- in a decade and where unemployment remains painfully high (10.6 percent). Which is why Measure J has won endorsements from all nine major L.A. County newspapers, from the Los Angeles Times to the Daily News, from La Opinion to the Los Angeles Sentinel.

Measure J has created a stunning coalition: business associations are standing in solidarity with labor and environmental organizations, progressives with conservatives, Republicans with Democrats. Endorsers of Measure J range across the spectrum, from the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association to the L.A./O.C. Building Trades and L.A. County Federation of Labor, from the American Lung Association and the Sierra Club to the American Jewish Committee and the LA Dodgers!

Even the San Gabriel Valley, which opposed Measure R, is on board with endorsements from 10 cities as well as the subregional council of governments.

Measure J also provides an additional 30 years of funding for bus and rail service (20 percent for bus and five percent for rail) at a time when financially strapped transit agencies across the county have cut service and raise fares. And it provides an additional 30 years of "Local Return" funding (15 percent) to cities and unincorporated parts of L.A. County to fill potholes, improve safety, synchronize traffic signals, repair sidewalks, build bike lanes and fund local bus service.

All of this for an estimated cost of about $25 per person per year, in a state where sales taxes are not regressive and exempt rent, food, medicine, gasoline and utilities. Yes Measure J would extend the sales tax to 2069, but these are projects that would serve current as well as future generations -- our children and our children's children.

It's a well-crafted measure, offering something for everyone, which is what is required to pass a county sales tax measure that requires a two-thirds majority vote.

Denny Zane is executive director of the nonprofit Move LA. Gloria Ohland is policy and communications director of Move LA.

The delusion behind Measure J tells you a lot about L.A.


There's an amazing quote from Richard Katz in this morning's LAT about why it's so important to support Measure J, which would extend the county's sales tax hike from from 30 to 60 years (2068 but who's counting). Katz, who is Mayor Villaraigosa's transportation advisor,says that the extension would help accelerate construction of various transit projects, including the subway to the sea Westwood and that work would pump tens of billions of dollars into the economy. "Based on the revenue that I think will come in, I don't think we'll need a fare increase through the life of Measure J," he said. Really? Economists will tell you that they can't forecast the economy going out six months, much less six decades, so already I'm a tad skeptical. As to why it's so important to be thinking about 2068, the LAT editorializes that transit officials would be able borrow money on the bond market in the near future and then repay that money "from anticipated tax revenues that would roll in after 2039."I'm not saying that's necessarily wrong (though it sounds mighty fishy). But it is certainly wrongheaded.

More to the point, why is the current crop of lawmakers so fixated on projects that will not be realized in many of our lifetimes? What about now? Hell, what about five years from now? Here's one obvious possibility: Long-term planning is easy - at least it's easier than dealing with the extremely messy present. If you're sitting on the MTA board or the city council, wouldn't you rather concentrate on lofty goals instead of intractable problems like deficits and layoffs - problems that will not end happily? Instead of being labeled incompetent, you'll be come off as some sort of visionary. And if things don't work out as planned (raising fares, for instance), well, you'll be long out of the picture. Trouble is, the long view does nothing to help resolve the current traffic problems (note how much of the rhetoric in support of these measures focuses on job creation rather than any easing of congestion). Boosters would no doubt claim that L.A.'s bottlenecks defy short-term solutions, but that's a dubious argument. After two episodes of Carmageddon, along with the ongoing ramp closures on Wilshire Boulevard, motorists seem able to adapt reasonably well to changing traffic patterns, so long as they're provided some help. What's needed are shorter-term strategies for incrementally improving rush-hour flows. Of course no one is much interested in that because they're incremental. Who wants to cut commuter times by a measly three or four minutes? Also, incremental change won't result in big gleaming edifices plastered with the names of the people responsible. Future generations wouldn't be saying, "Thank God for Antonio Villaraigosa. If it weren't for him... well, who knows where we would be." Yup, I'm sure that's how it would happen.
Freeway Revolts


Posted byEllen Biasin on No on Measure J Facebook page

The entire article covers other countries, states, and areas in California. Here is the Los Angeles and Orange County segment.

Los Angeles

  • The Laurel Canyon Freeway (SR 170) would have been aligned through western Hollywood, the Mid-City West area, and western Inglewood en route to its terminus at the San Diego Freeway (I-405) near Los Angeles International Airport. It was scrapped in the face of community opposition from these districts and its namesake Laurel Canyon. Only the portion traversing the Baldwin Hills was finished, later being designated as La Cienega Boulevard.
  • The Beverly Hills Freeway (SR 2) would have run from the Hollywood Freeway (US 101) in southern Hollywood to the San Diego Freeway (I-405) in Westwood along the alignment of Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. It went through several proposed iterations—including a cut-and-cover tunnel—before its mid-1970s abandonment in the face of opposition from residents of Beverly Hills, the Fairfax District, and Hancock Park. Caltrans acquired and cleared the land needed for the freeway in the city of Beverly Hills; the right-of-way later became a long greenway.
  • The Slauson Freeway (SR 90), originally known as the Richard M. Nixon Freeway and intended to run across southern Los Angeles and northern Orange counties between the Pacific Coast Highway (SR 1) and Riverside (SR 91), was truncated as a result of opposition to its construction through South Central Los Angeles. The only portions completed to freeway level are the short Marina Freeway that runs between Marina del Rey and southern Culver City and the Richard M. Nixon Parkway in Yorba Linda.
  • The Glendale Freeway (SR 2) terminates roughly 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northeast of its intended terminus at the Hollywood Freeway (US 101), due to opposition from residents of Silver Lake.
  • The Pacific Coast Freeway (SR 1) would have upgraded the existing Pacific Coast Highway to freeway standards. Opposition by residents of Malibu, Santa Monica, and the coastal cities of the South Bay region led to the project's abandonment. One segment, between Oxnard and the Point Mugu Naval Air Station, was built in the 1960s before the project was abandoned.
  • The Redondo Beach Freeway (SR 91) would have linked the Pacific Coast Freeway in Redondo Beach or the San Diego Freeway (I-405) in Torrance to the Long Beach Freeway (I-710). Opposition by Redondo Beach and Torrance led to its truncation to its current terminus at the Harbor Freeway (I-110) in Gardena; the California legislature subsequently renamed it the Gardena Freeway.
  • The Century Freeway (I-105), itself the subject of an unsuccessful freeway revolt in Hawthorne, South Central Los Angeles, Lynwood, and Downey that lasted nearly two decades, was truncated at the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) instead of its intended terminus at the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) due to opposition from the city of Norwalk. One of the compromises allowing the freeway to be built caused the inclusion of a mass transit line in the freeway median. This is the LACMTA Green Line, which opened August 12, 1995. The Glenn Anderson Freeway opened October 15, 1993.
  • The Long Beach Freeway (I-710) was originally intended to go from the port complex all the way north to Pasadena, linking up with the Ventura and Foothill Freeways (SR 134 & I-210), completing a bypass of Downtown Los Angeles to the east. The freeway was completed to just past I-10 in Alhambra, and a half-mile stub was built in Pasadena (still unsigned, but officially SR 710). Opposition came from the small city of South Pasadena which would have been cut in half, impacting its small but lively downtown. A six mile (10 km) gap currently exists and Caltrans is still attempting to build some sort of link, the latest idea of which has been a pair of tunnels.
    • Opposition to the building of the 710 extension through South Pasadena has, for some 30 years, resulted in the suspension of plans to build an extension from the 210 freeway through West Pasadena and South Pasadena. The ramps exist and a stub is in place at California Avenue, but much of the land taken for the freeway has been resold by Caltrans to private parties. In 2006, the idea of completing the freeway by means of an underground tunnel was first proposed. This idea is currently under a funded study by the LACMTA.
    • A proposed rehabilitation and widening of the aged Long Beach Freeway (I-710) between the Pomona (SR 60) and San Diego (I-405) freeways, which would have removed over 2000 residences in five cities and one unincorporated area, generated such opposition that Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) abandoned it within days of its unveiling in 2004. Caltrans and MTA have issued a new plan that would use MTA-owned utility right-of-way along the Los Angeles River and require the taking of fewer than ten residences.
  • During the 1980s, Caltrans proposed extending the Orange Freeway (SR 57) from its terminus at the "Orange Crush" interchange to the San Diego Freeway (I-405) by means of an elevated alignment along the bed of the Santa Ana River. Pressure from environmental groups led Caltrans and the Orange County Transportation Authority to abandon the plan.[citation needed]
  • The portion of the Foothill Freeway (I-210) running through the Crescenta Valley was not completed until the early 1980s, largely due to opposition by the wealthy city of La Cañada Flintridge. As part of the legal settlement allowing for the freeway's construction, it was built so far below grade that two creeks crossing its alignment traverse the freeway by means of aqueducts.

Orange County

In Southern California, a number of environmental organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation and others, along with the California State Parks Foundation, banded together to stop a planned extension to the SR 241 Foothill South Toll Road. The groups contend that the project threatens the fragile San Mateo Creek Watershed and would result in the loss of a significant portion of the popular San Onofre State Beach Park. In 2006, the coalition filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Corridor Agency - the agency responsible for the project - stating that deficiencies in the project's environmental impact report violated the California Environmental Quality Act. The groups were joined in the lawsuit by the California State Attorney General's Office.
 South LA says #NoOnJ !! "

Measure J for Justified … and Jobs


ELECTION 2012 - Supporting Measure J is one action that will be Justified to every taxpayer in LA County for years and generations to come.
Justified that Measure J will invest in residents of South LA and East LA accelerated access to job connections via the very construction activity that these transit corridors that will provide through the Project Labor Agreements. 

Justified that the Crenshaw Community will have expedited access to LAX jobs through an accelerated direct rail extension into the LAX Terminals creating a great nexus of community, culture and commerce and establish the Crenshaw Community as both a local and regional economic hub. 

Justified that disadvantaged communities will have easier and faster access to higher paying jobs in the South Bay and Gateway Cities through the Light Rail extensions of the South Bay Green Line and West Santa Ana Corridor that will be accelerated under Measure J.

Justified that, within a decade, the Westside Subway will give up to an hour of time back to those from every community under the sun who are stuck in jam-packed buses on Wilshire Boulevard, or who travel through the congested Sepulveda Pass and will finally have a transit alternative.

Justified in the fact that commuters will see an accelerated plan to allow travel from the beaches of Santa Monica and Long Beach to the growing Inland San Gabriel Valley (and vice versa) with one of the most vital transit projects in the nation—the Regional Connector that links four currently-unconnected light rail lines--because of Measure J.

Justified that future generations will be the greatest beneficiary of accelerating these projects through Measure J, because of this accelerated system that finally has the greater network connectivity to ensure the original intent of Measure R with a transit network that will finally reach the jobs, communities, airport terminals, education campuses, beaches and activity centers throughout LA County.

Justified that LA County residents have wisely invested 30 more years of dedicated funding towards local communities and transit operations dollars to improve transit service and investment in first-to-last mile strategies of linking communities and activities via walking and biking to transit stations, while fixing and upgrading the road and freeway system we now have.

All in all, Measure J is a JUSTIFIED approach that will link jobs, families, communities and the region together, both for the present and the future.

(Jerard Wright is a South LA Resident and Darrell Clark is the Co-Chair of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Transportation Committee.)

Transit tax measure fuels debate over price of fares


 Foes of Measure J, which would extend a transit tax, say the cost of running new rail lines ahead of schedule will leave Metro no choice but to sharply hike fares, reduce bus lines or both.