Purpose

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

Monday, January 14, 2013

 Pasadena's Draft Letter to METRO

Attached is Mayor Bogaard's Draft Letter to METRO. 

There are two attachments to the letter.
Pages 4 - 14 is the Scoping Letter of April 14, 2011
Page 15 - Statement of Unresolved Issues of December 12, 2012

If you are unable to download the letter from the above attachment, try using


 U.S. Senate I-Bank Champions Leave

 http://movela.org/2013/01/15/u-s-senate-i-bank-champions-leave/

 Posted on January 15, 2013

National infrastructure bank supporters Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Kerry, who co-sponsored legislation that would have created an infrastructure bank to leverage public- and private-sector dollars for large projects, will soon be gone from the U.S. Senate. Supporters will have to search for new champions.

 A national infrastructure bank has always been of interest to Move LA and to others who want to accelerate construction of LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 30-10 plan to build out LA’s transit system.

Kerry is likely to move to the State Department and Hutchison leaves at the end of the 112th Congress.



 Infrastructure bank advocates seek a new champion

 http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/infrastructure-bank-advocates-seek-a-new-champion-85925.html

 By KATHRYN A. WOLFE | 1/9/13 4:42 AM EST 

 

 

 John Kerry and Kay Bailey Hutchison are shown in a composite. | AP Photos

 John Kerry and Kay Bailey Hutchinson's co-sponsored legislation never gained traction.

With Kay Bailey Hutchison gone from the Senate and John Kerry probably soon to follow, supporters of creating a national infrastructure bank are searching for a new champion.

Hutchison and Kerry co-sponsored legislation that would have created an infrastructure bank aimed at leveraging public- and private-sector dollars to help seed large projects, particularly those that span regions. The idea has never quite gained traction, despite years of floating around the Capitol, but infrastructure advocates continue to press for it.

 Kerry’s likely departure for the State Department will be a particular blow, considering the tenacity with which he operates and his fervent desire to see an infrastructure bank realized.

“For too long now, we have lacked adequate investments in our infrastructure, and what building we have done has been without a long-term strategic plan,” the Massachusetts Democrat said during a 2011 hearing on transportation financing. “A national infrastructure bank will change that. A national infrastructure bank will make Americans builders again.”

Marcia Hale, president of Building America’s Future, one of the main groups pressing for a national i
nfrastructure bank, said losing Kerry will be bad, but losing Hutchison may be even worse. The Texas Republican left Thursday with the end of the 112th Congress.

“Hutchison was really important in this process,” Hale said, adding that whatever Democrat might take up Kerry’s mantle in the Senate will need a GOP partner to have any hope of success. “A partnership with a Republican is key.”

But Hale said that even if Kerry joins the administration, he probably won’t give up on the idea — especially since his former aide who worked on the infrastructure bank legislation, Heidi Crebo-Rediker, now works at the State Department. Much of Kerry’s bill was based on a long examination of how other countries do their infrastructure banks.

The most likely person to lead the charge now is Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a co-sponsor of the Kerry-Hutchison bill who was heavily involved in the infrastructure bank legislation. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) was also involved with the bill, but he might resign or face a primary challenge from Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker.

Kevin Hall, Warner’s spokesman, said his office has yet to figure out his priorities for the 113th Congress. But advocates for an infrastructure bank are already looking to him for leadership.

Hale said she hadn’t spoken directly with Warner or his staff. But she said that “he really believes in it” and has “many strong relationships with Republicans.”

What Republican might come to dance on the infrastructure bank idea remains to be seen, but it probably won’t be Sen. John Thune, the South Dakota Republican set to replace Hutchison as the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

During a Commerce hearing last summer, Thune said he’s concerned about the impact of an infrastructure bank on rural areas, such as his state, saying it would “primarily benefit larger, metropolitan areas while ignoring the needs of rural states.”

He added that rural drivers, who drive disproportionately longer distances than urban drivers, “would be looking at paying a significantly large amount in toll fees or other dedicated revenue sources so as to help repay the national infrastructure bank loan.” That echoes the criticism rural advocates often level against the idea of switching to a vehicle miles traveled fee to pay for highway projects.

New Metro Rail Posters Appeal to Bicyclist Etiquette

 http://thesource.metro.net/2013/01/14/new-metro-rail-posters-appeal-to-bicyclist-etiquette/

 Posted by Dave Sotero

 New Metro posters urge cyclists to stay with their bikes in the designated area and do not block train doors or aisles.New Metro posters urge cyclists to stay with their bikes in the designated area and do not block train doors or aisles.



L.A.’s bicycle community may remember that last year Metro made good on a promise to remove seats from Metro trains to make more room for cyclists, as well as people with strollers or luggage. Metro added the gold decals on train doors and inside the train to help guide riders to these areas.
There is also a separate area to accommodate wheelchairs. People with or without large items standing in the wheelchair area are expected to move and make room if a person in a wheelchair enters the train.

This year Metro is introducing some cyclist etiquette guidelines that will help keep all transit riders safe on Metro Rail. Messages shown on the poster above or on passenger message boards at station platforms have started to appear systemwide.

With more passengers coming onboard with bicycles, strollers and luggage, it’s more important than ever for riders to peacefully and safely co-exist. Metro’s customer relations department receives complaints of all sorts, but complaints related to bike riders can be more easily resolved if cyclists keep a few common sense precautions in mind:
  • Use the designated area. One of the biggest breaches of bicycle etiquette on trains is likely to be a bicyclist who does not use the designated areas, leaves his/her bike and sits down, or blocks doors and aisleways. Another common practice is to enter through a door not designated for large items. Look for the train door that has the gold bike/stoller/luggage decal. Enter that door and go directly to the designated area. Do not block the area for wheelchair riders.  They have priority in their space. Maintain control of your bike at all times and take care not to brush it against other passengers. Do not use a kickstand. Keep your bike as clean as possible.
  • Bikes are allowed on trains if there is room. If all designated bike spaces are full or the train is too crowded to board safely, especially during rush hours, please wait for the next train. Other options are taking your trip before or after rush hour, parking your bike at the station or using a compact folding bike.
  • Always walk your bike in station areas, transit centers and pedestrian corridors.
  •  Use the elevators rather than the escalators. It has happened – people have lost control of their bicycle on an escalator.
Check out this Metro CicLAvia video to see a demonstration from Miss Traffic on the use of bicycles on Metro Rail.

Who would replace LaHood?

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/who-would-replace-lahood/2013/01/10/1bc560e0-5b49-11e2-beee-6e38f5215402_story.html

 


A “White House official” set off a bit of consternation — okay, maybe panic — in a number of agencies Wednesday when he (or she) apparently confirmed that Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki were staying.

Some of “The Unlisted,” such as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, were almost certainly staying, sources said. But others, such as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, were seen as possible departures. Some were somewhere in between.

 LaHood, though highly regarded by President Obama, indicated in 2011 that he was leaving at the end of the first term, but then he seemed to hedge, most recently saying he and Obama needed to chat. (Which still sounds as if he’s edging out.)

There are a fair number of names being heard as possible LaHood successors, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa , who is seen as quite knowledgeable on transit matters.

One tiny problem appears to have surfaced, however, in the form of a Los Angeles Times story Wednesday and a picture that actor Charlie Sheen, former star of “Two and a Half Men,” tweeted showing him with his arm around Villaraigosa last month at the opening of Sheen’s bar in Baja California, Mexico. The mayor “knows how to party,” Sheen said.

Villaraigosa said he had been there only a few minutes, but Sheen countered this week that it was more like a couple of hours in his hotel suite, surrounded by a number of beautiful women.
Sheen apologized, noting that many other people were there and saying he was trying to make a joke.

 Sheen apologized, noting that many other people were there and saying he was trying to make a joke.

This sounds like much ado about very little — Sheen’s relationship to matters of space and time seems to be a bit distant these days — but it’s not the kind of news the White House wants to read.

Another name mentioned for the Transportation Department job is former Pennsylvania governor Ed 
Rendell, a major name in Democratic politics for years. His closeness to Obama, however, has been in doubt.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman also appears to be decidedly in the mix. Hersman, a former Senate aide, is in her second five-year term at the NTSB. She was appointed to the board by President George W. Bush and then reappointed by Obama, who named her chairman.

House Transportation Committee members and their transit ridership

 http://www.cyclelicio.us/2013/house-transportation-committee-transit-support-2013/

 Posted on by Richard Masoner.

 

Field Guide to the 113th Congress House of Representatives Transportation Committee and Their Support for Bicycling

Cap’n Transit in New York has done something pretty cool. He took the newly designated members of the US House of Representatives House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, looked up the American Community Survey numbers for the number of car-free households and transit riders in their respective districts, and created charts showing who these members represent.
Here are the Republican members of this committee from California, for example:
US House of Representatives Republican members House Transportation Committee


As the Cap’n points out, these represent mostly suburban and rural districts. Duncan Hunter‘s 50th Congressional District, for example, covers most of San Diego County outside of the central part of the city of San Diego. You might remember Hunter for his famous statement that funding for bike paths are unconstitutional while the Federally funded 10 lane monstrosities criss-crossing his district are perfectly constitutional. Jeff Denham led an effort to strip California of its high speed rail funding, saying the $3.3 billion is better spent on more highways. Gary Miller‘s 42nd District Congressional District, which covers northern Orange County and Southern LA County, is an interesting exception, though even there transit ridership is low.

The Democratic members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are Grace Napolitano, Janice Hahn, and John Garamendi. Grace Napolitano, who hails from my father’s hometown of Norwalk, CA, represents the district with the highest transit ridership among these three representatives, but that’s only a paltry 4.36%.

John Garamendi has solid Democratic credentials, but he covers a district where only a token 1% of residents ride public transportation, and his Central Valley bedroom community of Walnut Grove depends solidly on the automobile for all transportation. While Garamdendi pays lip service for the occasional bicycle project, he really likes big money on freeway widening projects that benefit outlying communities like he represents. He claims credit in securing funding for the Highway 4 widening in Pittsburg, CA and the Caldecott Tunnel, for example.

As far as I know, Janice Hahn from Los Angeles is the only cyclist on this committee from California and she’s known to support all kinds of crazy schemes to promote cycling in Los Angeles.

I’ll try to find the time to make up a similar chart for bicycle riders and our Representatives. In the meantime, see Cap’n Transit’s excellent work here outlining all of the members of this committee.

Larry Wilson: Don't tell me it's election season again

 http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_22352496/larry-wilson-dont-tell-me-its-election-season

 
Updated:   01/10/2013 10:11:25 PM PST
 
 ELECTION season again? You've barely had time to catch your breath since that godawful November thing and everything that came before it.
Then there was Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, and now we're already back at it.

Well, some are. Hottest race on March will be to replace 20-year Councilman Chris Holden, who won promotion to the Assembly in Sacramento. In the running are former NAACP President John Kennedy, now a senior vice president with the Los Angeles Urban League; Ishmael Trone, a Northwest businessman and city commissioner; and the Rev. Nicholas Benson of Summit Evangelical Free Church.

Three-term Councilman Victor Gordo will be challenged by Israel Estrada of the Pasadena Marathon and Pasadena Forward, who I figure is ticked that his road race has been reduced for this year to a 13.1-miler by City Hall.

Councilman Terry Tornek, like Mayor Bill Bogaard the last time around, has stomped all opposition like a bug and is running unopposed.

March 12 will see parcel taxes for the San Marino and South Pasadena school districts, and April 16 an Arcadia school board race.

But the Pasadena Unified School District election, also on March 5, will feature the biggest changes of any local polling. That's because for the first time ever the board of education seats that used to be at large in elections throughout Altadena, Pasadena and Sierra Madre will now be geographically based.

It used to be that a person  hoping to get elected to a seat was essentially prevented from getting the word out through any cost-efficient means - i.e. neighborhood coffees or walking door to door. You can't walk and knock from southwest San Rafael to Beantown in Sierra Madre, from Chapman Woods to the Meadows - it's impossible in one election season.

Now, for the first time, candidates can in time-efficient and cost-efficient manner get out to voters in the way that, ever since Rick Cole did it for the first time in the 1980s, has been shown to be the best way to get elected to local office in Pasadena and surrounding cities: Ring every doorbell in your district.

And they're doing it, at least if my front porch is any indication.

I wasn't home when those vying to be my geographical reps on the school board walked up the drive. But each left a one-sheet, and a handwritten note: "Sorry to miss you!" scrawled incumbent Scott Phelps, and a couple of days later, from newcomer Luis Ayala: "I would greatly appreciate your votes."

Both gave basic CVs and goals for the schools. Both bragged on their own kids. Though both fliers are just cheap photocopies, Ayala wins on design points with photos and graphics and pointers to Facebook and Twitter social media sites for the campaign. And Phelps got in a bit of characteristic personality: "I am independent and unafraid to speak the truth even when politically correct." True, that.

One holiday present given out to customers by a local business had me at first scratching my head and then laughing at the wonderful malapropisms made possible by translators with a little learning in the second language. It was a box of bars of fancy Japanese soap, and all the writing on the foam-green box was in Japanese, except for the product's name: Flu Sea.

 Oh, jeez. The queasy color of the box, the very association of something meant to clean with influenza just as that disease was coming into its wintry own, the fact that sea was perhaps short for the time of year. What a concept: "Flu Season: Your go-to personal hygiene product when you want to be clean as whistle while sick as a dog in bed!" Great soap, though.
Oh, jeez. The queasy color of the box, the very association of something meant to clean with influenza just as that disease was coming into its wintry own, the fact that sea was perhaps short for the time of year. What a concept: "Flu Season: Your go-to personal hygiene product when you want to be clean as whistle while sick as a dog in bed!" Great soap, though.

It used to be that a person

Alternatives Analysis released for East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project; bus rapid transit and light rail on Van Nuys Boulevard recommended for further study

 

  http://thesource.metro.net/2013/01/14/alternatives-analysis-released-for-east-san-fernando-valley-transit-corridor-project-bus-rapid-transit-and-light-rail-on-van-nuys-boulevard-recommended-for-further-study/

 

Posted by Dave Sotero on January 14, 2013

 

 

A bus rapid transit or light rail line along Van Nuys Boulevard are among the options recommended for further study in the Alternative Analysis released today by Metro for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project. The study considered more than 30 alternatives for improving transit in the eastern Valley and narrowed them down to six.

On Wednesday, the Metro Board’s Planning Committee will consider contract changes needed to advance the project into its Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report phase, which is expected to take about a year to complete.

Several very busy Metro bus lines already run in the project’s study area, including the Rapid 761 on Van Nuys Boulevard. The corridor also includes connections to the Metro Orange Line and Metrolink’s Antelope Valley and Ventura lines, as well as Amtrak.

In plain English, an Alternatives Analysis details why the project is needed and identifies reasonable project alternatives based on cost, technical issues and community input. Some key points in the Alternatives Analysis study that we know are of interest to Source readers:

•Staff is planning to evaluate two “build” alternatives in the DEIS/R: light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit (BRT). A streetcar was eliminated because of its lack of community support, speed and capacity.

•The light rail and bus rapid transit alternatives being recommended by staff focus on Van Nuys Boulevard, the Valley’s heaviest north-south transit route and the seventh busiest bus corridor in the Metro system. Buses on Van Nuys carry more than double the ridership of nearby Sepulveda Boulevard. Van Nuys Boulevard also includes several major activity centers....

•The future transit line is envisioned to run in its own dedicated right-of-way in the center of the street if it’s a light rail line and mostly in the center of the street if it’s BRT. Side and curb-running alignments were removed from further consideration due to the many driveways and turn lanes on Van Nuys Boulevard that would interfere with transit operations.

•One goal of the project is to increase the frequency, speed and reliability of transit in the study area. Bus speeds on Van Nuys Boulevard, in particular, are highly variable because of traffic congestion.

• Another Measure R project that is being coordinated with this project, is the Sepulveda Pass Transit
Corridor. That project’s study area partially overlaps with this one — it is considering ways to improve transit from the northern San Fernando Valley in a north-south corridor that stretches south to Los Angeles International Airport.

•Among options under consideration for the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor are bus rapid transit, rail transit and alternatives that combine BRT or rail with managed toll lanes or even a tolled highway tunnel; here’s a power point. As planning proceeds on both projects, Metro planners will consider ways for them to connect the project.

•It is important to remember that the East San Fernando Valley project has an estimated completion date of 2018 in Metro’s long-range plan while the Sepulveda Pass project has an estimated finish date of 2039. A potential public-private partnership is under study for the Sepulveda Pass project as a way to accelerate its construction.

•About 50 percent of the transit trips that begin in the study area also end in the study area meaning, of course, that roughly half the people boarding transit in the area are headed outside the corridor to trips both elsewhere in the Valley and throughout the entire region.


•The study area has a population of nearly 458,000 and is expected to keep growing — one reason that transit travel times are expected to worsen if nothing is done. The Valley as a whole has more than 1.7 million people making it more populous than most other American cities. It’s also interesting that the corridor’s population densities and transit dependency rates are twice that of the LA County average.

•The bus rapid transit and light rail alternatives recommended for further study have costs ranging between $250 million and $2.3 billion. Metro’s long-range plan has $170.1 million earmarked for the project. Cost estimates will continue to be refined and Metro may explore potential cost savings — i.e. opening the project in phases, among others — and other possible sources of funds that will be available.

•The city of L.A. is a co-lead on the project with the city of San Fernando serving as a contributor as Metro will need both jurisdictions help to build the project on city streets.
Stay tuned for public scoping meetings to be held this spring as the first step in the environmental clearance phase.

Go to the webpage for charts and graphs.


POST-MEASURE J IT’S BACK TO PLAN A: QUALIFIED TAX CREDIT BONDS TO ACCELERATE PROJECTS

 movela.org/2013/01/13/2408/

 Posted on

Measure J was LA Metro’s “Plan B” for accelerating the Measure R funded transportation program. “Plan A” was the federal TIFIA loan program as well as a new class of federal bonds called QTIBs or qualified investment bonds. (Measure J, which failed to get the two-thirds majority required to pass on last November’s ballot, would have extended the Measure R sales tax for 30 years to enable Metro to bond against a longer revenue stream.)

Congress adopted a robust TIFIA loan program last year — the largest transportation infrastructure financing fund in U.S. DOT history — providing $1.7 billion in capital over two years, up from $120 million in FY2012. But Congress never did adopt the new class of QTIBs, which would have allowed issuers to finance more than twice the dollar value of capital improvements than is possible with traditional tax-exempt bonds. The federal government would subsidize the interest by providing investors with tax credits in lieu of interest payments.

Metro’s gone back to Washington to advocate for this bonds, which are being rebranded as America Fast Forward, arguing they would provide a more reliable funding stream for transportation projects than the current Highway Trust Fund.

Congress has authorized qualified tax credit bond programs in excess of $36 billion for forestry conservation, renewable energy projects, energy conservation, qualified zone academies and new school construction. America Fast Forward Transportation Bonds would represent a sixth class of these bonds.

As proposed by Metro, America Fast Forward Transportation Bonds would be authorized in the amount of $4.5 billion annually from 2013 to 2023 in total.

Read Metro’s brochure here.

Kennedy Kicks Off District 3 Campaign with Saturday Event

 http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/kennedy-kicks-off-district-3-campaign-with-saturday-event

 Published: Monday, January 14, 2013 

 

 

 John J. Kennedy officially threw his hat into the District 3 City Council race at a campaign kickoff Saturday at The Market on Holly, just a few blocks from City Hall.

Among the 100 attendees was Pasadena Fire Chief Calvin Wells, activists Martin Gordon of the Pasadena Community Coalition and Jim Morris, as well as City Councilmember Jacque Robinson.

‘I’m just here for general support,” Robinson said. “I know what it’s like to be a candidate. So I wish him, Ishmael, Dr. Benson the best. The voters of District 3 will decide who they would like to see as their next council member.”

Kennedy will face community activist Ishmael Trone  — backed by Assemblyman Chris Holden (who left the District 3 seat for the State Assembly) — and the Rev. Nicholas Benson.  The election is scheduled for March 5.

Kennedy told the gathering he is endorsed by Renetta Cooper, President of the Pasadena Board of Education, Randy Ertl, Executive Director of the El Centro de Accion Social, the Right Reverend Preston Warren Williams II of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a number of other civic leaders.

Kennedy’s campaign manager is his sister, Lena Kennedy, an experienced political fundraiser who has worked on both Obama presidential campaigns.

“Many of you in this room (at the Market on Holly) have come out every Saturday and walked in the district with me because we’re trying to build something new in Pasadena,” Kennedy said.  ”No Balkanization of the community, all working together to make Pasadena a better community. That the Pasadena I want to see.”

“I’ll be supporting businesses in my district, supporting young families in my district, making sure we have the resources to keep our libraries open,” he said. “When we’re about to close eight libraries in this community, we found a funding mechanism that keep the libraries open for children.”

Kennedy said some issues facing District 3 include the undergrounding of utilities, the use of the Rose Bowl and “trying to figure out why our community paid $200 million for the renovation of the Rose Bowl and we don’t see the return that we need as a community.”

And, in respect to creating more jobs, Kennedy suggested the city adopt a comprehensive employment training program.

“I have the support of you in this room and you can spark everyone that I need to win this race,” Kenned said. “You, collectively working with me, we’re going to win this race, we’re going to have the resources for sure to win this race and we’re going to have the shouldering with all of you, talking to the community about the real issues that are affecting this community.”

Saturday’s kickoff ended with a poem lauding Kennedy, read by Denise L. Cook. Cook called Kennedy a “man of love, a man of peace, a man of action and community.”

 Kennedy’s website is at http://johnjkennedyforcitycouncil.com/.

Update: Najarian Effort to Retain Metro Board Seat about to Commence

 la.streetsblog.org

by Dana Gabbard, Monday, January 14, 2013

 (Go to http://www.710studysanrafaelneighborhoodposts.com/2013/01/najarian-effort-to-retain-metro-board.html to view the original article.)

(Update: It turns out that unless the Najarian nomination is rejected by a majority in a weighted vote by the City Selection Committee, that no action is required by North County Cities earlier today. While the Committee didn’t confirm his nomination, it didn’t reject it either. This wasn’t announced until today at the meeting, with everyone involved somewhat confused as to what the rules are. As Najarian put it in an interview with Streetsblog, “It’s no surprise people are confused. This has never happened before.”
In the meantime, Najarian continues to serve as a member of the Metro Board of Directors unless the North County cities and the City Selection Committee agree to a different representative.- DN, 11:32 A.M.)

Three 710 Meetings Scheduled in January 

 http://sanmarino.patch.com/articles/three-710-meetings-scheduled-in-january

 By MarieSam Sanchez, January 14, 2013

Later this month, local residents will have the opportunity to discuss with experts and officials plans for the one 710 extension route that Metro has yet to scratch from its list: an underground tunnel that would run beneath the South Pasadena and El Sereno.

During the three All Communities Convening Open House events next week, information will be shared about the five alternatives that will be carried into the Draft Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Impact Statement for in depth environmental analysis. They include:
  • No-Build
  • Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management
  • Bus Rapid Transit
  • Light Rail Transit
  • Freeway Tunnel
While several foothill cities have opposed the 710 tunnel, San Marino's City Council has been supportive of the idea.

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.Maranatha High School169 South Saint John Ave., Pasadena

Thursday, Jan. 24, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.San Marino Community Church1750 Virginia Road, San Marino

Saturday, Jan. 26, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.Cal State Los AngelesGolden Eagle Building – Ballroom, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles

Why Is It Important to Participate?
During these meetings, the public will learn about the multi-modal alternative concepts under evaluation in the SR-710 Study process, including, but not limited to, the “No-Build” alternative, improvements to local streets, the expansion of light rail and bus transit systems, as well as freeway options.

What is the Format of these Meetings?
Locals are invited to attend any of the Open Houses to learn more about the SR 710 Study and the five alternatives under review, to engage directly with members of the Study Team, and have questions answered.
There will be a video presentation that will run throughout each open house. Members of the public are encouraged to visit information stations at their own pace to learn about the project need, the alternatives analysis screening and environmental review processes, and the five alternatives that will be considered in the EIR/S. Information shared at each meeting will be identical.
Defining the Hazards of Traffic Related Air Pollution to your Health

 http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/16010521

 In Southern California and throughout the world, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine are defining the hazards of traffic related pollution and advocating ways to reduce risks.
2013 Pocket Guide To Transportation
 2013 Pocket Guide To Transportation ("The Pocket Guide is divided into five sections: Safety, The Transportation System and Equipment, System Use and Livable Communities, Economic Competitiveness, Environmental Sustainability)
U.S. Bureau Of Transportation Statistics


Click on link to see the guide.

APTA President and CEO Releases State of the Public Transportation Industry

 New Voter Survey Shows Strong Support of Public Transportation

 http://www.apta.com/mediacenter/pressreleases/2013/Pages/130114_.aspx


In the State of the Industry for Public Transportation, published in the January 14 edition of Passenger Transport, American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Michael Melaniphy released new information about voters’ support for public transportation. A new nationwide survey conducted on November 6, 2012, which assessed the voter mindset and motivation as the American people voted for a new Congress and President, showed overwhelming support for public transportation.

Eighty-one percent of respondents value public transit’s affordable mobility; 79 percent believe public transportation offers opportunity for every segment of the population; while 76 percent of respondents favor increased public transit funding to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and to improve America’s economic security.  A strong 75 percent of respondents support using tax dollars to expand and improve public transportation and 73 percent say a strong public transit system leads to economic growth in their communities. Melaniphy noted that these numbers all point to a public that is clearly aware that public transit is vital to economic recovery in the U.S.

The survey numbers above are supported by the ballot box results of 2012 at the state and local level according to APTA.  “Last year, Americans nationwide approved 49 of 62 – or 79 percent – of public transit initiatives,” said Melaniphy. “That represents our best showing at the ballot box since APTA and the Center for Transportation Excellence began tracking these ballot measures in the year 2000.”

Melaniphy addressed the future and goals for the coming year, “…our mandate is clear: Keep fighting for those public transit dollars that have proven to be an engine for growth and a lifeline to mobility.”  He added, “in the new year, this will indeed be a challenge. As Congress and the White House seek ways to reduce federal spending and lower the deficit, every sector will need to prove its return on investment. 2013 is the time we’ll redouble our efforts to educate more people, win new allies, and demonstrate public transportation’s essential role in a national recovery.”

According to Melaniphy, public transit success is due to the work of public transportation systems across America providing mobility to riders in communities of all sizes and all walks of life. He notes that public transportation continues to serve as a job creator as well as a primary mode of travel for Americans as the economy continues to recover. He further emphasizes the industry remains strong and continues to grow as America gets back to work.

Continued growth in ridership over the first three quarters of the year has been reflected in APTA’s quarterly ridership numbers which show that more and more riders are relying on their local public transportation system. “Younger riders as well as an aging population turn towards a reliable and accessible public transportation infrastructure,” said Melaniphy.

For the full text of the State of the Industry of Public Transportation, go to www.apta.com.  The survey was conducted among voters during the last national election night on November 6, 2012 through a national phone and online opinion survey of 1,007 actual voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
#   #   #
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.

CEQA Reform and Transit Planning

 www.cahsrblog.com/2013/01/ceqa-reform-and-transit-planning/

 Jan 13th, 2013 | Posted by Robert Cruickshank






Yesterday the Planning and Conservation League held a daylong symposium on the California Environmental Quality Act. Coming amidst a concerted effort to reform the 43-year old law, the PCL wanted to use the day as an opportunity to rally progressives and environmentalists to defend the status quo and oppose any changes to CEQA. However, the day’s discussions revealed a series of divisions among the ostensible allies regarding CEQA’s future. While the PCL wants to frame the debate as one of heroic environmental and community advocates resisting evil oil companies and sprawlmongers who want to destroy environmental protections, the reality is far more complex.

The PCL Twitter account provided a good overview of the day’s discussion, as did Coast Law Group, the San Diego law firm that is doing great work by taking on the flawed SANDAG transportation plan. Both feeds provide a good sense of the conversation; I’ve also had participants email me their impressions of the event.

One of the more revealing moments of the day came when Stuart Flashman, a longtime opponent of the California high speed rail project, attacked the California High Speed Rail Authority for rejecting the Interstate 5 alignment through the San Joaquin Valley before beginning CEQA review. Some participants nodded their heads and agreed with Flashman’s contention that this was an example of the CHSRA abusing and evading CEQA.

But that’s not an accurate charge. The route for the California high speed rail project was selected after 10 years of public hearings and discussion. It was ratified by the state legislature and then by voters at the November 2008 election. The route was selected based on sound transit planning principles – one of which is “send the trains where the people are.” If HSR followed Interstate 5 through the Valley, it would bypass over 2 million potential riders. Serving those riders helps reduce carbon emissions and other aerial pollutants in the Valley, where transportation is a leading cause of severe air pollution.

I don’t see how it makes sense to force the transit planning process into a CEQA framework. Proposed rail routes, for example, should be planned based on how well they will serve the city or region or state transportation need. Once a route is chosen, that route alone should be submitted for environmental review. If it passes review, great, build! If it doesn’t pass review, then things can be fixed. CEQA was never intended to provide a process for evaluation of different routes. But if that’s what Flashman wants, well, he too is arguing for CEQA reform.

That’s just one example of how CEQA has become a de facto state planning law when it was never designed or intended to play that role. CEQA is designed to ensure that new projects have to publicize how they conform to different environmental standards. It wasn’t designed to pick winners and losers. It wasn’t designed to shape transportation systems or regional land use plans. If people want a law that does so, then they are looking to reform CEQA, whether they’re aware of it or not.

Since CEQA passed in 1970, California’s carbon emissions have soared and tens of thousands of square miles of new sprawl has been built. Clearly, CEQA hasn’t achieved the goal of building a more sustainable state or protecting its environment. California’s neighbors to the north, Oregon and Washington, have less sprawl and stronger land use planning laws than does the Golden State. Those who want to reduce carbon emissions as well as those who don’t want to reduce them both see CEQA as a tool to serve their own ends. Even those who came to defend CEQA wound up making the case for change, even if unintentionally.

Yesterday’s event clarified that there are three distinct groups when it comes to CEQA reform, and while their positions may at times overlap, they are not the same:

1. Businesses and developers. These stakeholders are tired of the expense and delays caused by the CEQA process. We should not universalize this group, as their positions and intentions are not all the same. Some of them do not have good environmental intentions, such as oil refinery operators, sprawl builders, and toxic polluters. But some of them have very good environmental intentions, such as those promoting infill development and those wanting to build large-scale solar or wind projects. Their preferred CEQA reforms would probably not be ones that work for progressives or environmentalists, as they’d come with too many loopholes. Yet they are also able to play the long game with increasing success, winning legislative support for specific CEQA exemptions as even Democrats have a harder time justifying a broken CEQA process. Currently they’re driving the CEQA reform process.

2. Sustainability and transit advocates. These stakeholders are increasingly angry at watching CEQA used by NIMBYs to slow down, make more expensive, or even stop entirely those projects that are indisputably good for the environment. California cannot address climate change, stop sprawl, or provide for sustainable and broadly shared prosperity without building more solar panels, wind turbines, dense urban developments, or mass transit routes. They are aware that the status quo has failed California and that change is needed immediately to avert catastrophe and provide environmental and social justice. So on that level they have a lot of sympathy with the well-intentioned folks in group #1. At the same time, they do not want to see CEQA gutted and projects that are bad for the environment or that increase carbon emissions, like the freeway-heavy SANDAG transportation plan, become permissible under a reformed CEQA. That gives them sympathy with the folks in group #3.

3. NIMBYs. Some may object at my use of that term to describe this group of stakeholders, but it remains the most accurate. Groups like PCL and the numerous small groups that pop up to oppose specific developments and projects regardless of their environmental impact are not acting out of concern for the climate, but out of their own self-determined notion of what counts as environmental protection. They like CEQA as it stands, because it gives them a way to attack infill development and mass transit projects that are very good for the environment but otherwise offend their individual sensibilities. Sometimes they do use CEQA to attack truly bad projects, but increasingly they are using it to undermine environmentally friendly projects. Peninsula anti-HSR activists, Beverly Hills anti-subway forces, even the guy who stopped the San Francisco bike plan in court for four years under CEQA because he claimed it would cause traffic delays are all classic examples of this group. They don’t take climate change very seriously, they hate density, and they are not much interested in social or environmental justice. They just want to protect their own privileges. But they also know that they can sway a lot of people in group #2 to their side by rallying against the more egregious members of group #1. That was clearly PCL’s goal with yesterday’s event.

I consider myself part of group #2, and I have been urging members of that group to take the lead in charting a new and better course for CEQA, rather than leaving it in the hands of group #1. Several of us in group #2 have been sketching out what a better CEQA law looks like, one that improves public participation, provides better incentives for good urban planning, and helps reduce carbon emissions without empowering people who oppose those values and goals.

On the other hand, the members of group #3 may well succeed in framing the debate instead as one of defending CEQA against the bad actors in group #1. I think that would be a huge mistake, not just in terms of politics (it could make more likely a moderate Democratic and Republican alliance to do bad things to CEQA), but also in terms of a missed opportunity. CEQA can be better. Land use planning in California can be better. Carbon emissions can be lower and sprawl can be reduced. We know that CEQA as it stands today won’t achieve those goals. Why not seize the moment and build something better?

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg walked a fine line at yesterday’s event, acknowledging legitimate concerns while vowing that the essence of CEQA must remain unchanged and reminding the audience that the law has a LOT of defenders in the Capitol. I consider him a part of group #2, and I believe he is one who can help drive a good reform through the Legislature – and one who would help kill a bad reform. But a good reform can only happen if environmentalists, transit advocates, those who want environmental and social justice, labor unions, and others interested in building a 21st century economy step up and start driving the conversation.

The suggestions laid out by SPUR in 2006 remain a good starting point. Let’s hope those start to drive the discussion over CEQA’s future.

Should California make changes to landmark 1970 law?

 http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/13/5108985/should-california-make-changes.html

Published: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1E
Last Modified: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 - 9:24 am
 
  Join the Conversation: Should California lawmakers make major changes to CEQA? If so, how? And to what end? Add your comment below. To write a letter, go to sacbee.com/sendletter. Or comment on our Facebook page at facebook.com/sacramentobee.

Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the California Environmental Quality Act in 1970, a monumental year for the nation's environmental movement. That was the year the nation first celebrated Earth Day and that President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

NEPA and the CEQA have some similarities, but California's law is far broader and more powerful. The federal law only requires reviews of projects receiving federal funding or approval by federal agencies. CEQA applies to all public and private projects that have received state or local approval.

Over the years, supporters and detractors have debated the law's flaws and benefits, and in response, the Legislature has tweaked the statute several times. But Gov. Jerry Brown has elevated the issue by declaring that he wants a major modification of the statute in this year's legislative session.

YES: Opponents abuse CEQA to derail worthy projects


The new Metro Expo line from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica was delayed for years by requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act, says writer Michael Rubio. Mark Boster Los Angeles Times file, 2012
Michael Rubio
By Michael Rubio
Special to The Bee
 
I support the California Environmental Quality Act and, when asked why I want to modernize it, I immediately think of the Metro Expo Line Extension in Los Angeles, connecting Santa Monica to downtown.If and when it is completed, this project will have taken more than nine years to complete. The project will significantly reduce traffic on one of the most congested freeways in the country and help California achieve its internationally renowned greenhouse gas reduction standards. It will also greatly improve air quality and overall public health.

In New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman's book "That Used to Be Us," he writes about how "people have sort of gotten used to" the snail-pace project schedules in the United States compared with other countries. Similarly, many in California have "sort of gotten used to" the misuse of arguably one of the most important laws enacted in our state's history: CEQA. When NFL football stadiums are exempted from this law and projects that improve the public health and the environment take nine years, it motivates me to modernize CEQA.

There are many examples of where the misuse of CEQA has impacted foster youths, elementary school upgrades, University of California campus improvements, urban bike lanes and critical infrastructure projects. We seem to have "sort of gotten used to" doing without all of these projects while CEQA lawsuits cause years-long delays and significant cost increases. Two specific examples occur in the Sacramento and Bay Area regions.

In Auburn, a group of people calling themselves Residents Against Inconsistent Development, or RAID, used CEQA to challenge an affordable housing project that forced the developer to lose loans and grants. RAID then signed a settlement agreement to allow the project to move forward if the majority of units were market rate, essentially discriminating against poor people. The Sierra Club and the Audubon Society publicly stated that the suit was bogus, serving as an attack to stop affordable housing rather than to protect the environment.

In Berkeley, an infill mixed-use development to house 40 low-income seniors was delayed two years by one person who sued, claiming the project would change the aesthetics of her neighborhood. The Sierra Club supported the project as it met every environmental law in California. This case cost the city and developer an extra million dollars.

As 2013 is upon us, now is the time to look forward and determine how we are going to best fulfill our stated priority: restore full economic growth in California while leading the world on progressive environmental standards. As the incoming chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, I believe that modernizing CEQA should be the top priority to ensure that California remains both green and golden.

Many laws have been adopted at the federal, state and local levels to protect the environment, including air quality, water quality, species protection, greenhouse gas reduction, toxics, hazardous waste, responsible land use planning and more. CEQA, however, has not been modified to reflect these new laws.

Clearly, modernizing CEQA is needed so that California remains a leader in protecting the environment and growing a 21st century economy. We can do this while also preserving the best portions of the law – public disclosure and participation, mitigation of environmental impacts and the ability to challenge projects that don't meet existing environmental standards.

Specifically, one of the main ideas being proposed is the basic premise that once a project has met the relevant environmental statutes, regulations and codes set forth by the state and local authorities, and has completed an Environmental Impact Report, that it be protected from lawsuits on those regulated aspects. Too many times, a project that has met all of the environmental requirements is unfairly delayed or even killed by a lawsuit. Misuse of CEQA should not be able to derail projects.

As this process moves forward, we will continue to solicit input and make sure that the voices of interested stakeholders are both heard and considered. Public participation will always remain a key element of CEQA and the process to modernize this important law.
We must never get used to the delay of projects caused by CEQA abuses.

NO: We should resist efforts to weaken a law that works well


The Golden Gate Bridge is seen from the Marin Headlands. Writer Thomas Adams says the California Environmental Quality Act kept sewage out of San Francisco Bay. Manny Crisostomo Bee file, 2012
Thomas Adams
By Thomas Adams
Special to The Bee
 
The California Environmental Quality Act has protected public health and the environment again and again for more than 42 years.
CEQA works by requiring public agencies to consider the effects of projects on the environment. If a project may have a significant effect on the environment, an environmental impact report is prepared. Citizens may comment on it. Agencies are required to avoid or reduce significant effects to the extent feasible. Alternatives to the project must be considered. The end result of this process is typically a decision by the public agency to approve a project subject to measures to protect public health and the environment.

CEQA is not enforced by a government bureaucracy; instead it is enforced by citizens through the courts. Litigation, though important, is comparatively rare, less than 0.02 percent of total civil litigation per year.

Under this process, CEQA prevented offshore oil drilling. It led to the preservation of the Santa Monica Mountains. It kept sewage out of vital bodies of water such as the San Francisco Bay and Newport Bay. When developers proposed an open-air human sewage treatment facility near the town of Hinkley, CEQA forced them to consider using an enclosed facility. When the Port of Oakland considered an airport expansion, CEQA forced it to address toxic air contamination threatening nearby residents.

It was a CEQA lawsuit that began electrification of industrial equipment at the Port of Los Angeles in order to keep toxic pollution away from neighborhoods. The law has protected workers and residents from exposure to highly toxic and explosive anhydrous ammonia by requiring the use of alternative materials in industrial processes. CEQA has required freeways to make room for transit. It has required the Department of Food and Agriculture to consider the effects on schools, hospitals, nursing homes and parks before it authorized spraying of pesticides. Where there is a concentration of pollution sources, as in poor neighborhoods, CEQA requires consideration of the cumulative impacts of pollution.

Because CEQA is powerful and effective, it has been under attack for most of its life. Currently there are calls for modernizing or updating the law. However, CEQA has been updated continuously. Though the law was first passed in 1970, 334 sections have been added, amended or repealed since 1990; 170 sections since 2002; and 83 sections since 2008.

Some critics say that CEQA impedes California's progress toward renewable energy. That is not the case. Despite a few local legal challenges to these projects, the president of the California Public Utilities Commission recently confirmed that California is well on the road to meeting its standard of having 33 percent of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2020.

Like all statutes enforced by citizen lawsuits, including statutes like the civil rights acts, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are always individual cases that can be criticized. However, it is one thing to spin an anecdote. It is another to offer proposals that are specific, thoughtful and carefully crafted. Those proposals will be evaluated by their ability to improve the protection of public health and the environment. Proposals to weaken CEQA in the guise of modernization should be resisted.

No one can refute the overall record of this statute. Because of CEQA, California's air is cleaner; our water is safer to drink; our workplaces are healthier; and our landscapes are protected. Making our state laws work better is something we should all strive for, but no one should support proposals that would undermine a statute that has protected the health and environment of Californians for 42 years.

Open space in the Santa Monica Mountains is one beneficiary of the California Environmental Quality Act, thanks to agreements that allowed developers to mitigate the effects of their projects by protecting large undeveloped areas. Myung J. Chun Los Angeles Times file, 2005

U.S. Chamber Chief Calls for Higher Gas Tax

 http://www.governing.com/news/state/gov-us-chamber-chief-calls-for-higher-gas-tax.html

The nation’s top business advocate said Thursday it was time for the federal government to “quit fooling around” with funding the transportation trust that fuels many state and local infrastructure projects and called for an increase in the gas tax.

“You don't need a lot,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said during a press conference that followed his annual State of American Business Address. “You do a little bit a year for a couple years and it'll make a big difference.”

Donohue noted that the gas tax meant to fully fund the U.S. Highway Transportation Trust Fund is no longer sustaining the trust alone as better fuel economy has reduced tax revenue while roads are used more. Since 2008, the trust fund has been supplemented with money from the U.S. General Fund.

While acknowledging that raising the federal gas tax for the first time in two decades is no easy feat, he also argued the issue was semantics.

“A lot of people in the Chamber get a little squishy because a lot of people on [Capital] Hill don't like anything that sounds like a tax,” Donohue said. “It’s not a tax, it’s a user fee. And if you don’t want to ride on the roads you don’t have to pay for it.”

Earlier this week, a report by Wells Fargo analyst Randy Gerardes noted that a 5 cent increase in the federal gas tax would be sufficient enough to cover the $147 billion funding shortfall that is projected for the transportation fund through 2022.

Meanwhile, states have had their own problems with depleting transportation revenue and raising fees or taxes while consumers are still recovering from the recession has been politically unpopular. In Virginia, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell is proposing nixing that state’s gas tax altogether in favor of a higher state sales tax. But Donohue, without panning the idea outright, said the plan of “just upping the sales tax” severs the relationship between the transportation tax revenue and the amount roads are actually used.

Donohue's comments came as he detailed a larger push from the Chamber regarding federal tax reform in order to grow jobs domestically. Donohue said his organization would continue to push for spending restraint as a top priority, but he believed that restraint must be coupled with a new tax structure that makes the U.S. more globally competitive.

“The right kind of tax reform will turbo charge our growth, create jobs and generate more revenues for government at all levels,” he said.

Why Americans will soon pay more to drive every mile

 http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/why-americans-soon-pay-more-drive-every-mile-235604924.html

 

The financial lookouts who toil in America's transportation departments have been waving red flags for years that there wasn't enough money to keep the nation's 4 million miles of roads and bridges drivable. Now the federal government's top accountant has told Congress it should experiment with taxing drivers by the mile to make up billions of dollars in shortfalls. The debate isn't whether you'll pay more to drive in the future, but how you'll pay — and how much.

For decades, federal and state governments have relied on gasoline and diesel taxes to pay for road building and maintenance. By one industry group estimate, the nation needs a minimum of $123 billion a year just to resurface roads and shore up the bridges it has, let alone build anything new.

But the tax side of that equation hasn't kept pace with those needs. The federal tax of 18.4 cents a gallon on gasoline was last raised in 1993. State taxes add on an average of 22 cents a gallon, and many of those haven't been raised in several years as well; Georgia charges the same 7.5 cents a gallon in taxes it did in 1971. (In Europe and Japan, fuel taxes for roads are 10 times higher.) And as new, more efficient vehicles hit the road — along with electric cars and plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt, whose owners may buy a tank of gas every few months — road-building taxes will soon start falling.

Since 2008, Congress has been forced to kick in $52.8 billion to patch the sinkhole in the federal highway building fund; states have been forced to spend money from other sources or even turned rural roads from pavement back to gravel to keep maintenance costs down. The U.S. Government Accounting Office says over the next 10 years, the federal road jar will run $110 billion short without changes.

The favored answer of road engineers? Taxing by the mile driven. A handful of states — Oregon, Minnesota and Nevada — have already tested ways to use GPS and other electronics to adjust taxes. In the Nevada and Oregon tests, drivers had devices installed on their cars that sent data to special fuel pumps; those pumps automatically adjusted their fees based on how far the vehicles had driven, without revealing data that would amount to tracking drivers.

The GAO told Congress this week it should allow a similar test on electric vehicles and commercial trucks, and estimated that a pay-by-the-mile tax of 0.9 cents to 2.2 cents per mile designed to replace fuel taxes would raise a typical driver's costs from $98 to between $108 to $248.

But it's not the only answer to filling this financial sinkhole. Washington state lawmakers have put a flat fee of $100 a year on electric vehicles to make up for the gas taxes they don't generate, and Oregon lawmakers may follow suit. In Virgina, Gov. Bob McDonald has proposed abolishing the gas tax entirely, replacing it with a sales tax and a new $100 fee on "alternative fuel" cars and trucks. That idea has already drawn fire from critics who point out that it would make Virginians who never drive pay for roads while letting people who travel through the state do so for free.

Congress would need to act to create such a test, and there's many concerns about the privacy of giving the government unfettered access to drivers' odometers. But there's no signs on this highway to higher taxes of any off-ramp.

A video is on the website posted above.
Najarian Effort to Retain Metro Board Seat about to Commence 
 http://la.streetsblog.org/2013/01/14/najarian-effort-to-retain-metro-board-seat-about-to-commence/

This morning the North County/San Fernando Valley Sector-MTA of the Los Angeles County City Selection Committee will be meeting in the Council Chambers of the city of San Fernando. The sole item for discussion on the agenda is for the Sector to recommend a nominee for their seat on the L.A. Metro Board of Directors for a four-year term ending January 1, 2017. This is the latest episode in the soap opera like drama surrounding the attempt by proponents of the I-710 Big Dig project to keep vocal opponent Ara Najarian from continuing to serve on the Metro Board. The proponents make no bones it his use of his seat on the Board as a bully pulpit to preach his opposition that drove them to try and prevent Najarian’s re-appointment.


Najarian previously received the nod of the Sector last October only to have project proponents actively prevent Najarian from receiving enough weighed votes to be confirmed when the full Committee met in December. Note that at the same meeting Mayor DuBois of Lakewood easily had her appointment to continue on the Metro Board ratified, which signifies what an unusual move this is being taken against Najarian.

Only 52 of the 88 cities in Los Angeles county were present at the December meeting. This matters because the votes are weighed by population (i.e. larger cities have more votes). Najarian received a total weighted vote of 236, short of the required 250 weighted votes for ratification.
If as I expect the Sector votes to re-confirm its nomination of Najarian the next step is for the full Committee to meet sometime in the near future and consider the matter. And one can bet Najarian and his allies will be working to make sure enough supporters attend to finally get him past the opposition. The Committee is made up of the Mayors of all the various cities in the county, although they can designate a proxy from among any of their city council members to attend and vote in their stead.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina and Duarte City Council Member, and Metro Board Member John Fasana (the chief plotters in this attempt to delay Najarian’s reappointment) while surely will be voting no will not be working overly hard to prevent Najarian’s victory. This entire drama has received more scrutiny than they likely anticipated and is giving proponents a bad image by appearing to be bullying and intolerant of other views. And in any case they have already achieved their goal of making an effort to not let Najarian’s return be rubber stamped, the prospect of which evidently infuriated many of the proponents. Now, Fasana and Messina can say they fought the good fight (at least in the view of the proponents) until the tide turned against them.

BTW, some years ago I actually attended a meeting of the Los Angeles County City Selection Committee (held in Culver City) along with transit activist Ken Ruben. My impression was it was a very cozy grouping of what I call regional bigwigs, ambitious politicos of the type who often seek seats on local multi-jurisdictional/regional entities which can be a stepping stone upward especially in this era of legislative term limits. The vibe was definitely hail fellow well met. Having a public scuffle probably is not to the liking of many of the Committee members and they likely will be happy when this whole matter is resolved.

And I must admit most of the forgoing is conjecture on my part, albeit based on my many years observing these various processes unfold. Just another example of the Kabuki-like rituals that often shape the structure of local governance.

Los Angeles Metro Riders Go Pantless

 http://www.neontommy.com/news/2013/01/los-angeles-metro-riders-go-pantless

 Shako Liu, Senior Staff Reporter

 January 13, 2013

 

  Los Angeles locals appeared pantless on Metro bus and light-rail lines Sunday despite chilly weather and flu season. Only in their underwears, people showed up from Union Station to Hollywood to celebrate the fifth annual No Pants Metro Ride. The event happens early in the new year just to celebrate wearing no pants. The idea is to have a normal day without wearing pants. People started at stations of North Hollywood, Whilsire/Western, Culver City, Atlantic Station and Sierra Madre Villa Station, and gathered in the Union Station. After that all of them went to Hollywood to take a group photo. There are no set rules, but the Facebook page for the event had said, when asked why no pants, it's best to give a simple answer such as "I forgot them."

Old Pasadena 

Go Metro and Save at Various Places

 http://www.metro.net/service/discounts/retail/old-pasadena/

 

 

Come discover a cosmopolitan mix of over 300 independent specialty boutiques, exclusive national retailers, award-winning restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and after-dark entertainment venues, all showecased within 22 blocks of historic architecture.  Stroll the tree-lined walkways and pedestrian-friendly alleyways that offer surprises around every corner. There are few urban destinations as dynamic, yet so quaint, picturesque, and rich in history as Old Pasadena.

Metro Discount: Show your valid TAP card, Metro Employee ID, or LA County Employee ID at the following destinations and receive special discounts:

Kings Row Gastropub: Save $5 on food

Sugar Fix: Save 10% on your purchase

Kabuki Japanese Restaurants: Save 15% on your bill

redwhite + bluezz: Receive a free dessert

Bar Celona: Save 15% on your purchase

The Market on Holly: Receive a free cookie

ix-tapa Cantina: Save 15% on your purchase

The Soap Kitchen: Save 10% on your purchase

Villa SORRISO: Save 15% on your purchase

Melting Pot Tours: Save $5 on Adult Tour tickets

Go Metro: Old Pasadena is located along Colorado Boulevard, Green Street, and Union Street between Pasadena Avenue and Marengo Avenue. Take the Metro Gold Line to Memorial Park Station and Del Mar Station.  For your best route, use the Trip Planner.

More Info: For upcoming events, and a complete list of shops and restaurants, visit oldpasadena.org.

Other Discounts for Metro Users

http://www.metro.net/ or to find other discounts, go to the first url under the title and other discounts will appear at the right of the page. It does appear that you have to arrive at your destination using metro to be able to get these discounts.