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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wanted: A mayor worthy of L.A.

City Hall needs a leader who is part Richard Riordan, part James Hahn and part Antonio Villaraigosa. Can any of the candidates fit the bill?


Since my knee replacement surgery less than two weeks ago, I've been popping narcotic painkillers that come with long lists of potential side effects.

Among them are vomiting, hallucinating and impaired thinking.

It is perhaps that third one that made me feel compelled to write about the race for mayor of Los Angeles.

It goes without saying that mayoral politics in Los Angeles is not that closely followed — not like in, say, New York or Chicago, where people pay close attention to what's going on at City Hall and respond with cheers, boos, or calls for grand jury investigations.

You disagree? A nickel says you can name more Lakers than council members. Los Angeles has no shortage of high-topped hipster know-it-alls who can hold forth on the benefits of raw milk or Bikram yoga but don't give a thought to city budget issues until the ref doesn't show for their kid's soccer game at the local rec center.

When it comes to a mayoral election, people tune out because they're too distracted or understandably cynical, or because of the limits of power in that office, or because of the belief that no mayor can have a substantive impact on daily life.

But maybe that's because we haven't had a great mayor in a while.
Dick Riordan's strength, bullying everyone in his path to make things happen, was also his weakness, a
lienating the City Council whose support he needed to finish the game.

Jim Hahn knew the inner workings and was good down low in the bunker, but he had no feel for the public part of the job, which requires a detectable if not a winning personality.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is neither as horrible as critics contend (he'll leave office with a tidy list of accomplishments) nor as terrific as he believes (the disappointments are many). He's like the flashy but inconsistent halfback who picks up 20 yards before getting thrown for a crushing loss, calls his own press conference after the game, then drives away with a cheerleader.
So what does Los Angeles need next?

That's the $4-million question (an amount already raised by two candidates). And we don't have long before the March 5 election, which will be followed by a May runoff if no candidate musters more than 50% in the first round.

On the ballot will be City Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, City Controller Wendy Greuel, entertainment attorney Kevin James and tech company exec Emanuel Pleitez, the only candidate I don't yet know.

I don't think this is a bad field, although it would have been more interesting if Rick Caruso, Zev Yaroslavsky and Austin Beutner had jumped into the jamboree instead of running for the hills.

Some (including James and Pleitez) would argue that the only way to start anew is to tent City Hall, fumigate, and then put Garcetti, Perry and Greuel in public stocks on the front steps. They're co-opted insiders, the thinking goes, having helped create a projected $200-million budget deficit by approving pay and benefit packages the city now can't afford.

True enough, they cut unworkable deals in 2007 with union bosses who had papered them with donations, though each would contend that nobody knew the depth of the coming economic slump.

It's only fair now to ask Greuel how she can be expected to act more responsibly as mayor, particularly after picking up recent support from police and DWP employees. The business-friendly Perry, meanwhile, has her own potential conflicts, and one can wonder whether Garcetti will be able to stand up to the developers or union chiefs who write him checks.

But there's more to each of them than the warts and baggage that come with a career in public office. Experience has its benefits, and the three front-runners are all smart, they have all built connections in Sacramento and Washington in the interest of Los Angeles, and each has done good work.

I don't know anyone, other than perhaps James, who believes the winner is going to be someone other than one of these insiders.

So who are they, and how do we pick which one?

It's a tough job. We need a mayor who can figure out how to fill potholes without a bond measure, but we also need a visionary schemer who marshals the city's great minds and institutions to make Los Angeles a Pacific Rim trend-setter in job development, transportation, healthcare, land use and clean energy.

We need someone who can manage the budget, restore a collective sense of civic pride and know how to make a difference in both Koreatown and El Sereno, but also someone who knows when to pat City Council members on the back and when to kick them in the pants.

In other words, we want a little of Riordan's audacity, but with more transparency; a little of Hahn's focus but with a more rapid pulse; and a little of Villaraigosa's hustle but with fewer photo-ops and junkets.

It's not easy to be mayor of a massive, multicultural city carved up by economic disparity and staggering challenges. But that's precisely why we need each candidate not only to articulate realistic objectives, but to give us a compelling reason to believe in any one of them.

If you get a chance, go take a look-see when the mayoral wannabes traipse through your neighborhood. Ask what they can do to make your neighborhood work better and how their ideas will improve your life.

But also ask them about their larger vision. Get them to define what's different about Los Angeles, what's needed in a mayor, what prepared them for this moment and how they intend to deliver in ways no one before them has.

Los Angeles has had mediocre mayors. It's had decent mayors. Isn't it time we had a great ma

Ron Kaye LA - A Few People Can Make a Big Change

(From Sylvia Plummer)

We need as many people as possible to attend the METRO Board Meeting on Thursday, January 24, 2013

This is the chance we have been waiting for.  We need people to come and speak in favor of Katz's motion.  See item # 98 below (Full Agenda is ATTACHED).   It's critical that we get representation from far and wide to support this motion so that in February the board can do the right thing... STOP THE 710 TUNNEL.

98.         FINANCE, BUDGET AND AUDIT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED (5-0) approval of KATZ MOTION regarding State Route North 710 Project that the MTA Board consider the following:

         A.   Direct the Chief Executive Officer to report back at the February 2013 MTA Board on the following:
1.     a description of the study area and the limits of the project;
2.     a complete project schedule that identifies major milestones;
3.     the current scope of work being performed by staff and consultants;
4.     a project cost breakdown related to all the alternatives being evaluated including:
        a.    Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
 b.    Light Rail Transit (LRT)
 c.    surface freeway
 d.    underground tunnel
 e.    other options being considered
                   5.     a report on consultant services and related costs to date; and

            B.   discontinue any technical efforts until the Board receives a full report at the February 2013 Board meeting.

One Gateway Plaza
Metro Board Room,  3rd Floor 
Los Angeles, CA  90012

Thursday, January 24, 2012  ---   9:00 a.m.

There is parking under the Metro Headquarters Building, $6.00.
The Gold Line is a great option, since the end of the line is next door to Metro's building.
(behind Union Station)

Metro Regular Board Metting agenda: http://www.metro.net/about/meetings/board/arbm-0124-2013/agenda/
Hilda Solis considering a run for L.A. County Board of Supervisors

By Richard Simon


WASHINGTON — U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis confirmed Friday that she is considering running for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, plans to “get my footing back in the community” and remain politically active in Los Angeles.

"I’m going to take a look at it," she said of her potential run for the eastern Los Angeles County seat that will be vacated late next year by Supervisor Gloria Molina, who will be termed out of office.

Solis declined to offer a date when she will officially announce her decision, saying she wants to take time to "reflect, relax" and spend more time with her 87-year-old mother.

Solis, 55, has spent 12 years in Washington, first as a San Gabriel Valley congresswoman and, since 2009, as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. Solis described Molina as her mentor and noted that the district Molina has represented since 1991 encompasses a large chunk of territory she represented in Sacramento and Washington.

"But I’ve been away," she said. "So I need to go back home and get out there."
Solis’ resume would make her a strong favorite for the job: a daughter of immigrants, first in her family to attend college, first Latina Cabinet member, a former congresswoman, first Latina elected to the state Senate and a labor union ally who is likely in a campaign to tout her connections in Washington as a plus for the county.

As rare as it would be for a Cabinet member who has traveled in the rarefied atmosphere inside the Beltway to move into a position that includes fielding pothole complaints, Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors presides over the nation’s most populous county, with a $25-billion budget and a 100,000 workforce that is larger than the Labor Department’s. The board's members each preside over a district with more than 2 million residents, more than the population of 14 states.

The supervisor’s job pays $178,789 a year.

Solis noted the board could provide an opportunity for her to work on a broad range of issues of importance to her, including healthcare and transportation.

Filing for the office doesn’t open until Feb. 10, 2014.

Solis said she was proud of her record. "We have put back 5.8 million private sector jobs and growing," she said of improvements in the labor market since it bottomed out in early 2010.
Asked about disappointments, she said, "I wish we had had more cooperation from the other side of the aisle."

While Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also has announced plans to leave the Cabinet, Solis said, "I have no doubt in my mind that this president is going to fulfill his commitment to diversity on the Cabinet."

(Good news for the Yes on the 710 Tunnel people as Solis has many ties to the Teamsters, the Trucking Association, organized labor, and Los Angeles, state, and federal politicans who are supporting the tunnel.)

Two Articles on Public Private Partnerships (PPP)

Thanks to Sam Burgess 

A list of Public Private Partnership disasters and their stories.  
It's interesting that the only PPP's on Caltrans completed list are also on the disasters list.   (Please go to the website to view the disasters as I'm having trouble posting it opened.)


California unprepared for public-private partnerships


Councilman Steve Madison fires back in Pasadena recall fight


By Brian Charles, Staff Writer

 Posted:   01/18/2013 06:51:28 PM PST
Updated:   01/18/2013 08:51:42 PM PST
Pasadena City council member Steve Madison asking questions regarding the possibility of an NFL team using the Rose Bowl at the Pasadena City Council meeting on Monday, November 19, 2012.

 PASADENA - Amid a vigorous recall effort, Pasadena District 6 City Councilman Steve Madison fired back Friday with a letter defending his support for temporary use of the Rose Bowl by the NFL.

In the letter, Madison said his vote was made out of fiscal prudence and not, as some have suggested, because of his law firm's relationship with the NFL.

"Mayor (Bill) Bogaard, five other council members and I approved the (Environmental Impact Report) because it would be fiscally irresponsible to rule out this possible future temporary use," Madison wrote in the letter. "Now Pasadena can listen should the occasion ever arise, with no obligations whatsoever."

Madison is a partner in Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. The firm has represented the Cleveland Browns the Washington Redskins, the Baltimore Ravens and the Green Bay Packers in matters related to copyright laws, Madison said.

Earlier this week, the supporters of Madison's recall released a letter citing ties between NFL teams and the councilman's law firm.

"The firm has an extensive `sports litigation' department led by Madison's law partner who is identified as the `chief outside intellectual property, litigation and licensing counsel to the NFL,"' Michael Vogler, of Committee to Recall Steve Madison 2013, wrote in a letter sent this week.

In the letter Vogler asked Madison "to disclose just how much his business has been paid by the NFL."

Vogler said Madison has a conflict of interest on matters between the city and the NFL and said the District 6 city councilman "is no longer qualified to represent the individuals and families of West Pasadena."

Vogler, who has led the recall movement since it began in November, said the choice is clear.

"If you want the NFL in the Rose Bowl keep Steve Madison," Vogler said Friday. "If you don't want him, you have to replace him with someone who is trustworthy."

The recall proponents must collect about 2,800 signatures, or 20 percent of District 6 residents, to put the recall on the ballot. They have about four months to gather the signatures.

Madison said he had Steve Churchwell, the former general counsel for the California Fair Political Practices Commission, review the relationship between Quinn Emanuel and the four NFL teams. Churchwell found no conflict of interest exists, Madison said.

But Vogler said he remains suspicious of the firm's ties to the teams.

"Just because it's not illegal, it doesn't mean it's not unethical," Vogler said.

Madison came under fire in November after he and seven members of the Pasadena City Council voted to accept an EIR on temporary use of the Rose Bowl by an NFL team.
Pasadena District 7 City Councilman Terry Tornek cast the lone dissenting vote.

City officials have pushed to include the Rose Bowl among possible contenders to become an interim home for an NFL team, if one returns to Los Angeles. The stadium could host a team for up to two season while one of two proposed stadiums is built as a permanent home for an NFL franchise. There are plans to construct a stadium in downtown Los Angeles and a proposal to build a stadium in City of Industry.

There are no current talks between the NFL and the city of Pasadena, according to Madison. And any possibility of the NFL returning to Los Angeles has been put off until 2014, according to league sources.

However, the city wants its stadium to be in play if the NFL makes a return to Los Angeles.

Pasadena recently approved $30 million in additional debt to help close a funding gap of close to $50 million on the Rose Bowl renovation project. The city backs those bonds and in the end Madison said he fears Pasadena may have to dip into its General Fund to pay off the debt service.

"The high cost of the Rose Bowl renovation/preservation is straining Pasadena's finances, and could impact city service like police, fire and traffic management," Madison wrote in his letter Friday.

The EIR and the mere mention of an NFL team unleashed vociferous opposition from the residents who live closest to the historic stadium.

Complaints of traffic, rowdy fans and scrutiny of the revenue estimates - which the city pegged at $5 million per year - led the list of criticisms by opponents of allowing the Rose Bowl to be a temporary home to a pro football team.

Madison said any move to support or oppose placing a team in the Rose Bowl on a short-term basis is premature.

The NFL hasn't cleared the way for any team to move and no team has openly said it has considered a move to Los Angeles. Madison said the city approved the EIR as a preliminary step to allow Pasadena to talk with the NFL, if the time ever comes.

"If there is a deal that is beneficial to Pasadena and our city, we do want to be able to listen," Madison said.

But if the NFL deal ends up not nearly as sweet as the analysis in the EIR predicts, or if the NFL insists on unreasonable terms for use of the stadium, Madison said he is more than willing to turn the NFL down.

"I would not hesitate to reject the NFL again, as I did in 2006," said Madison, who led opposition to the 2006 effort to bring a permanent NFL team to the Rose Bowl.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected the 2006 ballot initiative.

Metro releases final Alternatives Analysis report for 710 study

 http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/, January 19, 2013

Metro releases final Alternatives Analysis report for 710 study (click here): After months of delay, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority released the final report on the Alternatives Analysis phase of the agency's three-year environmental study for the completion of the Long Beach (710) Freeway. The 183-page report was posted on the Caltrans District 7 website at 3:50 p.m. Friday.

The report, which was originally promised in October, details the process by which Metro's study team narrowed the options down to five final alternatives that it will study for environmental impacts: "No build," traffic management systems, light rail route, bus route and a dual-bore underground freeway tunnel.

Metro announced that it planned to move forward with these "final five" options to fill the 4.5 mile freeway "gap" between Alhambra and Pasadena in August. The final EIR is set for completion in 2014.

The report explains that the study team evaluated each of the 12 initial alternatives - which were already narrowed down from 42 - based on how well each option would minimize travel time, improve connectivity and mobility, reduce congestion on the freeway system, reduce congestion on local streets and increase transit ridership.

The team also looked at each alternative's impact on the environment and local communities as well as it's cost efficiency and cost feasibility.

(Mod: I think it is fairly safe to say that the reason this "710 study" was delayed for as long as it was is because in the eyes of Metro it really wasn't very important. They decided that the tunnel was the way to go years ago, and this attempt to convince area residents that they have somehow been considering "other options" is pure bunk. This report, along with the upcoming meetings to "explore all the options," are just a public relations stunt designed to soft soap local sensibilities about what would be a disastrous event for this area.)

Why we should challenge METRO’s estimated cost of the 710 Dual Tunnels 

In an e-mail from Sylvia Plummer, Jan. 20, 2013

As you know, the Alternatives Analysis report for the SR-710 Environmental Study was released by Metro and Caltrans this week. 
Link provided here:

On Page 5-3, it is stated that the total construction cost for the F-7X tunnels will be $5.425 billion.  (In the second paragraph on page 2-44 it is stated that the length of improvements is 6.3 miles, including 4.9 miles of tunnel -  4.2 miles of bored tunnel and 0.7 cut & cover tunnel.  Two tunnels x 4.9 miles = 9.8 miles.  The remaining miles (2 x 1.4 miles = 2.8 miles) will not cost the same as a tunnel so we will not talk about that factor right now. 

I want to refer you to another link below for the Sepulveda Pass Study:
This is a document that was prepared by a different group at METRO studying a highway tunnel under the Sepulveda Pass.  According to this METRO group, one 9 mile highway tunnel of the same diameter as our 710 tunnels will cost in the range of 10-13 billion dollars.  See below in blue ink (comes from page 4 of the study): 
Highway Tunnels—
A large-bore highway tunnel could be constructed under the Sepulveda Pass. A recommended distance for an initial project would be approximately nine miles and would extend from the US-101 Freeway to a location just north of the I-10 Freeway. An example of such a large-bore tunnel currently in construction in North America is the Seattle Alaska Highway Replacement Tunnel which is 1.8 miles in length and carries 4-lanes of traffic (two lanes in each direction). Costs for that project as reported by the Washington State Department of Transportation are $2.034 billion ($2013-YOE). Rough order of magnitude costs for a similar type of project under the Sepulveda Pass including necessary surface roadway improvements north and south of the Pass are estimated to range from $10-$13 billion ($2012). In addition to auto traffic, transit buses would be able to travel in these lanes thereby significantly reducing transit travel times.
The same information is stated again on page ES-22, in the Highway Tunnel paragraph.
Page ES-24 has a chart listing similar projects that they reviewed.  Including the planned cost per mile of the Seattle Alaska Highway Viaduct Replacement Tunnel ( $1 billion per mile).  
On page ES-23 for figure 14, it is explained that these costs were then applied to each systems concept to derive an estimated total capital cost.  
So my question is:  How did the METRO team working on the 710 tunnels study come up with their figure of $5.425 billion for 2 tunnels (10 miles)?  I come up with more than twice the figure they got.  Perhaps the folks working on the Sepulveda Pass Corridor Project don’t know what they are doing or is it the other way around?