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, March 4, 2013

Shanghai to pilot PM2.5 forecast mechanism


By He Wei, March 4, 2013

Shanghai to pilot PM2.5 forecast mechanism

Zhang Quan, an NPC deputy and director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau

Shanghai is likely to become the first city nationwide to pilot PM2.5 forecasts in 2013, as national legislators submitted proposals to address thorny environmental issues.

"We will try to report PM2.5 data one day in advance by the end of this year. The date will eventually be lengthened to two days," said Zhang Quan, an NPC deputy and director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

He suggested that "ecological civilization" be written into the Constitution so environmental issues will be legally defined as a national priority.

PM2.5, or hazardous particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less that can penetrate the lungs, are closely linked to a number of significant health effects.

Environmental agencies currently report the air pollution figure in the latter half of the day. But delayed reports fail to send an early warning to alert sensitive populations, including people with heart or lung disease, children and older adults, said Zhang.

 As a result, Shanghai is committed to revamping the monitoring system so that pollutants can be announced before people leave their houses, he said.

Zhang revealed that part of the efforts include introducing measurement equipment for PM1.0, which is an even stricter gauge to track air quality. But such facilities would gather information only for scientific research at this stage, rather than for public release.

On March 1, the city's air quality index reporting system was upgraded to provide real-time information to the public.

Under the new system, should a sudden air quality change occur, an immediate and specific description will be provided to the public via the website of the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, the micro blog of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau as well as applications installed on mobile devices.

The new round of the environment protection plan in Shanghai emphasizes the promotion of a circular economy and a low-carbon economy, with automobile emission control being the first priority, he added.

Apart from such endeavors, Zhang also called for the amendment to the Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, which lacks guidance on regional efforts to combat air pollution.

He proposed setting up a regional coordination mechanism to tackle the issue under the leadership of the State Council. A management committee would be co-established by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as well as provincial and municipal governments.

Zhang suggests the committee map out the macro policies while cross-regional organs draft specific plans to address emergency air pollution issues.

"For instance, even if each single plant has met the anti-pollution standard, overall pollution may still be shocking if 100 similar plants are set up in the same region at the same time," he said.
Zhu Zhiwen, Party chief of Fudan University and a lawmaker from Shanghai, also believed the amendment will be a reasonable and necessary step to consolidate environmental protection measures on a national scale.

"The law was last updated in 2000. Major pollution events in recent years have severely compounded the situation, which propelled us to seek stricter standards to monitor the pollutants," he said.

A region can never enjoy superior air quality if there is lack of coordination nationwide, said Feng Jun, another deputy and general manager of Shanghai Municipal Electric Power Co.

Jim Rainey: Los Angeles Voters Don't Know About Local Elections, Don't Care (VIDEO)


March 5, 2013

Go to the website to view the video and a slide show. 

  Los Angeles Times political writer Jim Rainey didn't mince words when describing the typical Los Angeles voter. In a discussion on HuffPost Live Monday, Rainey claimed that Angelenos suffered "no social stigma" if they didn't know a single thing about local politics.

"If you don't even have an opinion or don't even know who the mayor is, you can go out and there's no social stigma attached to knowing nothing," said Rainey. "It's part of the local culture."

Unfortunately, voter turnout rates for LA's most recent mayoral races seem to validate Rainey's observation. When Antonio Villaraigosa first won his mayoral seat in 2005, only 28 percent of registered voters took to the polls, notes LA Daily News.

Twenty-eight percent seems low, especially when compared to LA's 51.6 percent voter turnout for the 2012 general election. However, Villaraigosa's first mayoral campaign was an historic one, and the turnout ended up dwarfing figures for his 2009 re-election: 17 percent.

Voter turnout for Tuesday's municipal elections is also expected to be very low.

So what gives? Pollster Dan Schnur of USC thinks that LA's 2013 mayoral race suffers from a lack of outsized personalities.

"You have to feel bad for them. They have debated 40 times," said Schnur to The Daily Beast. "It is like watching a very long and detailed spelling bee."

But could there be another way to encourage voter participation, besides praying for more inspirational (or kooky) candidates?

Yes, according to former LA City Controller Laura Chick. In a February op-ed for the LA Times, she noted that moving municipal elections to coincide with state or national elections would save the city money and encourage more people to vote for local issues that have a direct impact on their everyday lives.

Rainey pointed out that some critics claim local issues could get buried if municipal elections are moved to "on-years," but added, "I do think that with these paltry turnouts it would be good to do something to try and get more people to pay attention."

USC/LA Times' latest polls, released Sunday, show that Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel are statistically tied for first place (27 percent and 25 percent, respectively), while radio host Kevin James and Councilwoman Jan Perry are tied at 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Tech executive Emanuel Pleitez racked up just 5 percent.

In order to win the primary election, one person has to gain more than 50 percent of the vote. Given the most recent polls, it seems all but inevitable that the mayoral race will end in a runoff election, scheduled for May.

Share the road, it’s the law


By Anna Chen, March 4, 2013


Metro is launching a new campaign to increase bicycle traffic safety in Los Angeles County.  The campaign will include signs on buses, billboards and radio spots with the message “Every Lane is a Bike Lane … Bicyclists may need a full lane; Please share the road.” The ads will run from March to May, leading up to Bike Week ( May 13 through 17, 2013).  http://www.bikeleague.org/content/national-bike-month

As per California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21200, bicycle riders may use any lane in the street since they have the same rights and must follow the same laws as car drivers. Bicyclists may need the full lane to safely navigate specific road and traffic conditions. In addition, CVC 21202 sets out several situations in which bicyclists are specifically permitted to leave their usual position on the far right of the street:
  • To avoid obstacles and unsafe conditions (including the door zone along parallel-parked vehicles)
  • To pass another bicyclist, car or bus
  • To prepare for a left turn
  • To avoid an area where right turns are made
  • When traveling as fast or faster than other traffic at that time and place
  • When the lane is too narrow to share with a vehicle
With bicycling growing in popularity as a serious mode of transportation, it’s important for everyone to work together to create a safe transit environment.

Reminder: why Election Day in Los Angeles matters if you care about transportation


  By Steve Hymon, March 4, 2013

As you may have heard, there’s a primary election Tuesday in Los Angeles to elect the next mayor of the second-largest city in the nation — a city with about 3.8 million inhabitants and some well-known transportation challenges.

So even if you get all scratchy and/or break out in hives during campaign season, I’m here to kindly remind you to vote because there’s a lot at stake. Strike that. There’s tons at stake. Look up your polling place here.

Here’s why. Metro is a county agency and is overseen by a 13 member Board of Directors who serve as the deciders on most significant issues. The Mayor of Los Angeles gets a seat on that board and gets to fill three other seats with his appointees.

So let’s do some math! A majority of the Metro Board — i.e. seven votes — is required to approve most items. Four of those seven votes are controlled by the Los Angeles mayor. That means that the mayor controls more than half the votes needed to approve items that have impacts (hopefully always very positive!) across Los Angeles County.

Here are some items that are likely to confront the Metro Board in the next four or so years, meaning they’re items likely to confront the lucky soul (if luck is the right word) who becomes the next mayor of the City of Angels and/or Parking Lots:

•Although there’s nothing currently on the table, there will likely be a discussion in the next four years about Metro’s fare structure — all large transit agencies have to confront the fare issue at regular intervals. If you’re one of the readers who has left countless comments on this blog calling for distance-based fares, then this might interest you.

•Not long after the next mayor takes office, there will be five Metro Rail projects under construction simultaneously — Expo Line Phase 2, Gold Line Foothill Extension, Crenshaw/LAX Line, Regional Connector and Westside Subway Extension. That’s a lot of balls in the air.
The Metro Board will have to deal with any significant issues that arise or are ongoing, such as the four lawsuits brought against the subway by the city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Or tying LAX to the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Fun fun fun!

•The ExpressLanes one-year pilot program is well underway, now that the lanes are open on both the 10 and 110 freeways. When the pilot program is done, the Metro Board will get to decide what to do next with the congestion pricing experiment. I am willing to bet there is already not 100 percent consensus among the motoring public on this.

The SR-710 Study. I’m not sure I need to say more in order to tick someone off somewhere, but the environmental study for this project is scheduled to be completed in a couple of years.
At that point, the Metro Board may decide which project alternatives to build. Or not build. In addition to the no-build option, the four alternatives still on the table are bus rapid transit (East L.A. to Pasadena), light rail (East L.A. to Pasadena), freeway tunnel (Alhambra to Pasadena) and traffic signal and intersection improvements.

•And then there is the issue of accelerating Measure R projects. Half of the America Fast Forward program (a federal loan program) has been adopted by Congress. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Metro are currently pushing for the other half (a bond program) and an extension of the loan program.

The next mayor of Los Angeles, by virtue of their bully pulpit and influence, will have the option of pursuing America Fast Forward. They’ll also have a say over putting a transit tax before voters — there’s nothing proposed at the moment — and also can push or not push the state Legislature over the issue of whether the threshold for such taxes should remain at two-thirds or be lowered to 55 percent (as two different bills propose).

It’s a big deal because some Measure R transit and road projects are currently scheduled to be completed in the late 2020s or in the 2030s — a long time from me typing this sentence at about 7 p.m. on the 4th of March, 2013.

You don’t need me to tell you these are big and important issues that will impact mobility in the region, not to mention the area’s economy and overall livability. None of the above may have received much attention in the campaign thus far. But after the votes are counted tomorrow night it’s likely it’s likely there will be two candidates still standing and facing another 10 lovely weeks on the stump.

Gov. Brown sends out robocall for Gilbert Cedillo's City Council bid


March 4, 2013


A robocall recorded by Gov. Jerry Brown went out to 25,000 voters Monday in support of Gilbert Cedillo, a candidate for an Eastside seat on the Los Angeles City Council.

"I've worked with him in Sacramento," Brown said in the recording, "and I believe he will do everything humanly possible to make things better in your neighborhood."

The automated call is Brown's first during this election cycle, a Cedillo campaign spokesman said.
Brown's office could not be reached for comment. The call went out to voters in the 1st District who registered as Democrats and voters who declined to state their party affiliation.

Brown endorsed Cedillo last monthas did Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Cedillo has frequently mentioned in his campaigning that his connections in Sacramento would help him get things done in Los Angeles.

Cedillo is a familiar figure in the state capital, having served two terms in the Senate and two in the  Assembly. His dedication to passing a law that would allow undocumented immigrants to be eligible for driver's licenses sparked the nickname "One-Bill Gil."

The 1st District cuts a diagonal swath from Pico-Union to Highland Park. It's the third-smallest council district by area and one of the poorest. Half the voting population is Latino. Nearly 15% is Asian.

Cedillo has said he hopes to revitalize the 1st District, where job growth declined 9.6% in 2011, according to the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and the average wage was third-lowest in the city.

The call was paid for by Gil Cedillo for City Council.

Cedillo's chief rival is Jose Gardea, the longtime chief of staff for current Councilman Ed Reyes.

(Note that Cedillo is for the 710 tunnel and Gardea is against it.)

Antonovich 'outraged' by Kevin James endorsement email


March 4, 2013


County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich blasted as "outrageous" a letter distributed by Los Angeles mayoral candidate Kevin James that made it appear that the supervisor was endorsing James over his opponents in Tuesday's primary election.

Antonovich said Monday he had nothing to do with the letter and was incensed that it used what he considered inflammatory language. The James campaign said it was inadvertently sent by email to "hundreds" of James' supporters and campaign volunteers.

"The letter contains comments I have never said in support of his campaign,'' Antonovich said in a statement condemning the release. "While I prefer Kevin James or Jan Perry for mayor, I would have never sent a letter using such negative rhetoric."

The email blast bears the James campaign logo and appears to be signed by Antonovich. It asks readers to make a last-minute donation to help the James campaign get his pro-business, anti-union message out in the final hours of the race.

It goes on to say that recent polls show the race tightening and that James has a chance to make it to the runoff and that "even though political insiders and union bosses have spent millions to silence Kevin, he's still in this thing because of the intensity and conviction of his supporters."

Antonovich's spokesman, Tony Bell, said his boss would never has sent a letter using such "negative rhetoric." Antonovich is demanding that the letter be rescinded, Bell said.

Antonovich last week did appear at a campaign event with James and has given dual endorsements to James and Perry, a city councilwoman who is also running for mayor. But that doesn't mean the James campaign was free to send out a letter with the supervisor's name, Bell said.

"This was completely unknown to us,'' he said. "The language was not something the supervisor had ever seen before."

Jeff Corless, a James campaign strategist, said the email was sent in error and that he had personally called the supervisor's office to apologize. "We have a flurry of emails going on in the final days, and the wrong version was sent out at the wrong time,'' he said.

Corless said he and Antonovich's staff were still working out details of whether a retraction was necessary.

A Subway Map for Pedestrians


By Emily Badger, March 4, 2013


A Subway Map for Pedestrians 
The Polis Blog points us to the smart map above from the Spanish city of Pontevedra. It looks like a transit map, with those universally recognizable black nodes of subway stops and the colorful connecting lines associated in most cities with rail corridors. These routes, however, are intended for pedestrians, and they come complete with walking distances and travel times (assuming a casual pace of 5 kilometers an hour) between just about anywhere in Pontevedra a pedestrian might want to travel.
There is, of course, a long tradition in graphic design of transposing transit maps onto wholly unrelated subject matter: highways, waterways, web trends. But we particularly like the Metrominito – as Pontevedra calls this map – for how it conveys otherwise inaccessible information, and for the way it subtly recasts walking as just another transportation option akin to taking the train.
The idea, as Eduardo Ares points out, is infinitely replicable in other cities, and we can see this as a handy pocket accompaniment to good wayfinding campaigns. The map obviously doesn't give actual walking directions (maybe layer it over the street grid?). But with the caveat that users should not interpret the walking routes too literally, this could be a clever way to make seemingly far-off locations look as close by foot as the nearest metro stop.

NFL Sources Saying Downtown Stadium Plan is Dead to Them


By Adrian Glick Kudler, March 4, 2013



Well, another plan to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles is dead--make the nine-thousandth or so tally on the big board. Hopes were so, so high for LA Live developer AEG's plan to build a stadium in South Park (the plan also included the rejiggering of the LA Convention Center and the City Council approved the whole thing last year), but things started looking dicey lately: AEG was put up for sale, the NFL announced that no team would move here for the 2013 season, and the league started making noises that they'd rather have football in Chavez Ravine (home to Dodger Stadium). Now "two sources" tell Yahoo! Sports that "the concept is essentially dead to the NFL." The sticking point turned out to be the financials (duh!): "It's either too hard for AEG to make money [and pay the debt on the stadium] or too hard for the team. I just can't see a way for it to work," says once of the sources. And while an expert says the Downtown site "is not necessarily the problem," Y!S still says that "the cramped conditions that would come with shoe-horning a stadium into that area would leave the site unacceptable for what the NFL wants and needs to be successful when it returns to the city." Whatever that means exactly.

Officially, the NFL won't say the site is dead to them, just: "We continue to monitor the AEG situation and remain interested in multiple sites in the Los Angeles area." (Other potential sites besides Chavez Ravine include Hollywood Park, the City of Industry, and possibly Carson.)
Everyone seems to be hot on Chavez, especially since Dodgers owner Guggenheim Partners is one of the companies bidding on AEG; but "multiple sources said that such an idea would take 10 years of political wrangling before it would have a chance to become reality."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles officials seem to have missed several "signals" that the Downtown plan wasn't looking good--NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa multiple times and "expressed questions about the project."

What can be done? The same thing that can always be done: "Ultimately, the NFL source said the only answer may be for a particularly wealthy owner to pick a site and make it work."
Video by Joe Cano: Caltrans Tenant's Assembly March 14, 2013

Published on Mar 4, 2013
Caltrans Tenant's Rights Meeting. Elected officials have been invited & confirmations are coming in.

Video by Joe Cano: Geotechnical Tests for SR-710 Study

March 4, 2013

Here is what Metro wrote about the noise associated with the tests:

"Noise associated with the work is expected to be that of a typical bus engine." http://www.710studysanrafaelneighborhoodposts.com/2013/02/notice-geotechnical-tests-for-sr-710.html

Here is how loud this process actually is:

SR710 soil sampling in So. Pasadena.

Published on Mar 4, 2013
This process is really loud. Anyone that lives in So. Pasadena can use this to complain about the noise.

LA mayor's race: Greuel has slight lead over Garcetti - poll


By Carlos Granda, March 4, 2013


With less than 24 hours to Election Day, the top two candidates in the Los Angeles mayor's race are locked in an extremely tight battle.

The latest Eyewitness News SurveyUSA poll released Monday morning shows City Controller Wendy Greuel at 28 percent, Councilman Eric Garcetti at 26 percent, former prosecutor Kevin James at 15 percent, Councilwoman Jan Perry at 12 percent and former tech executive Emanuel Pleitez at 9 percent.

Garcetti led by three points on Feb. 18, but for the first time, Greuel had a slight lead, but it's within the survey's margin of error.

Greuel and Garcetti were out before dawn on Monday campaigning. Garcetti is traveling on mass transit all day to meet voters. He started in Wilmington, where he met with members of the longshoremen's union.

"L.A. is a place that works hard, and I want this city to work. I want there to be jobs, and I want City Hall to work for these men and women, return a phone call, pave the streets, fix the basic things in a neighborhood once again," Garcetti said.

Greuel started in downtown Los Angeles at the produce mart and then headed south to San Pedro.

"I've gotten support from all over the city of Los Angeles," Greuel said. "That's because I've been working hard as the city controller and is someone who is going to get L.A. back on track."

The other candidates are also campaigning Monday.

Perry was at an event where she spoke against Proposition A, the proposed sales tax increase. She has trailed in the polls, but she says she has her own internal tracking numbers.

The results of them, which show in absentee ballots the people who have already voted, shows me at 27 percent," Perry said. "Everyone has a poll. I have a poll, which shows me at a much higher position."
James campaigned in the afternoon at the farmer's market in the Fairfax District with former Mayor Richard Riordan.
With voter turnout expected to be low and a race involving several City Hall regulars and a long shot Republican, it is expected to end in a two-person runoff. That is expected to take place May 21

Don't Give Up on Gold Line to Montclair and Ontario Airport


By Neal Broverman, March 42013_03_goldlinework.jpg, 2013



Even though Metro starved the Gold Line extension to Montclair by giving other transit projects higher priority (i.e., money), hope isn't lost. Members of the Gold Line Construction Authority--which is currently extending the light rail from Pasadena to Azusa--recently traveled to DC and lobbied Congressfolk and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer for money or bonds for the project, which would stretch the Gold Line even further east (and allow for a one-seat train ride from Santa Monica Long Beach to Montclair when the Regional Connector is built). Glendora city councilmember and GLCA board member Doug Tessitor is also lobbying for money to get the ball rolling on connecting the train to Ontario Airport, reports the Glendora Patch: "Hopefully we'll find roughly a million-and-a-half dollars to provide some studies and alignment and route selection out of the San Bernardino area to the Ontario airport," he says.

While the Expo Line extension appears to be moving more quickly than the Gold Line extension, the latter project is still on track to open in just two years--even though just one of 24 needed bridges has been completed. But "Ground has been broken on the first at-grade crossing at Highland Avenue in Duarte and Dalton Avenue in Azusa" as well, and "Work is in progress on the Duarte station and the Operations Campus."

The construction authority recently awarded the final contract for the Azusa extension--they hired Webcor to build parking facilities and other enhancements.

Disney Expansion Plans Are Reason for Streetcar Proposal


By Adam ElMahrek, March 4, 2103



  During questioning by Orange County Transportation Authority directors Thursday morning, Anaheim City Councilwoman Kris Murray acknowledged what insiders have been saying for months about the city's planned streetcar project: A major reason for the transit line is to allow expansion of the Disneyland Resort.

West Katella Avenue and West Ball Road Ball, which border the park, are “beyond capacity,” Murray said. “If we're ever going to see a third gate at Disneyland,” she said, “we need to get cars off the road.”

The streetcar project would no doubt accomplish that end, according to a city staff report. Once in the city, visitors could park and be taken via streetcar directly to Disneyland.

Murray's comments, however, highlighted a question that critics of the project have raised: Should $319 million in taxpayer dollars be spent on a 3.2-mile project that serves primarily Disneyland's interests?

It was an issue looming behind many questions asked during a special OCTA board meeting and public workshop regarding proposed streetcar projects in Anaheim and Santa Ana. As expected, OCTA directors challenged the Anaheim project and its defenders, citing the cost of the project and wondering why city leaders didn't choose a much cheaper enhanced bus alternative.

Directors Jeffrey Lalloway and Todd Spitzer — the former an Irvine councilman and the latter a county supervisor — provided the most intense scrutiny. OCTA staff for the first time provided answers to some questions, including factors that contribute to the nearly $100-million per-mile cost of the proposed system.

“The problem is we're spending a lot of not only [Measure] M2 but federal money. I'm an American taxpayer too,” Lalloway said, referring to the countywide ballot measure that allowed a half-cent sales tax for transit improvements.

“I'm OK if it costs more money, frankly, if there are real benefits, tangible benefits I can point to and say this is why I'm doing it,” Lalloway said.

Murray and others have argued that the project will support city growth by improving mobility and will attract economic investment along the route. The streetcar is to provide a “last mile” connection to the transit depot, which is expected to have 19,000 daily boardings by 2035 and increase to 50,000 daily boardings with the completion of the state's high-speed rail line, according to a city report.

However, as a city-hired consultant pointed out, that main reason for having the streetcar — to connect to high-speed rail — depends on a massive project that many see as unlikely to ever be built.
Employment and residential population is projected to significantly increase in the area served by the streetcar, according to the report.

OCTA and Anaheim officials hope to cover 50 percent of the project's cost with revenue from a highly competitive federal grant program known as New Starts. The rest would be paid with local funds, including Measure M2 revenue.

Murray, whose City Council campaign was heavily funded by Disney, was not shy in voicing her support of the proposed project. It's a “big part of growing [Anaheim's] convention center,” she said.
 The streetcar will “improve the economic vitality” of both the city and the county, and there are federal and state mandates that require the city to take cars off the road, Murray said.

But it was Murray's argument about “choice riders” — tourists from “around the world” — that drew Lalloway into sharp exchanges with the councilwoman.

Murray said that the tourists are looking for permanent tracks. The reasoning for that, city leaders say, is that streetcars attract riders by being, as Spitzer put it, “sexy” or “cooler” than buses.
Lalloway asked if it was appropriate for local taxpayers to be subsidizing tourists' preference for streetcars over buses.

Murray said that the subsidy should be viewed differently. The tourists, by way of their spending at the resort, produce tax revenue for Anaheim and the county, she said.

Lalloway also had an exchange with OCTA's director of rail and facilities, Jennifer Beregner.

Beregner said that a streetcar would more efficiently move people than an enhanced bus system because the streetcar would be on a priority lane, allowing it to skip ahead of other cars at signals, thus getting more people to their destination faster.

Lalloway said that having more buses would transfer more people at a cheaper price. Berenger countered that buses have worse environmental impacts. Electric buses could be used, Lalloway replied.

Spitzer pointed out that there is a “$260-million spread” between the streetcar and the enhanced bus service. The cost difference between the streetcar and the enhanced bus is "alarming,” he said.

Director Miguel Pulido, who is also mayor of Santa Ana, said that successful cities around the world have been using a streetcar to move people. “Part of the reason the voters voted for Measure M2 was we had this [streetcars] as something we had embedded in there, campaigned on and told folks about,” Pulido said.

Yet Lalloway, who is originally from New Jersey, said that cities there abandoned streetcars many years ago. “They move their folks fine,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, the issue, which was debated for more than two hours, remained unresolved.

Spitzer said that he wants every step of the process to have a hearing. And he said he doesn't want Anaheim officials to argue that they've invested too much to stop the project from going forward.

“I can't stand that,” Spitzer said. “It's disingenuous for me as an elected to be in a position like that.”

Shhh! 'Quiet Cars' Turn Commuters Into Librarians 


NJ Transit's 'Shhh'

Quest for Relaxed Ride Sometimes Raises Ruckus; 'Vigilante' Passengers


By William Power and Brian Hershberg, February 28, 2013


A quiet-car notice for Pennsylvania's Septa line.

PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J.—Welcome aboard the Tension Train.

"As a reminder, folks, this train has two quiet cars," announces a conductor on a NJ Transit train. "Please refrain from cellphone usage and keep all conversations down to a quiet tone."

In theory, and often in reality, the quiet car has been a haven for commuters seeking peace. Passengers who desire quiet stay in a designated car, and chatty types in the rest.

Tell that to the passengers on the 8:07 p.m. NJ Transit express train out of New York City late last year. In an extreme example of the kind of scene that has played out regularly on train lines nationwide, two passengers mistakenly got on an express train at Newark, N.J., instead of the local—and then stood in the quiet car as they discussed their dilemma. A stranger on the train told them to shush. A shoving match ensued. Police were called in. The train was delayed on its route for 30 minutes.

Some people, the conductor explained to riders, "didn't know how to behave like adults."
A NJ Transit spokeswoman, Nancy Snyder, acknowledges the occasional quiet-car incident but says the program has been popular. "We do not encourage customers to go about quieting other passengers," she says.

Yet passenger-on-passenger policing is just what can happen as the quiet-car concept continues to expand to more railroad lines. Best-known on Amtrak, the shhh-cars are an option on local train lines in places including New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois and California. While some of the quiet cars have clear signs with the rules, others roll up with none.

Quiet-car "vigilantes," as some railroad workers call the self-styled enforcers, step in. They can pinpoint someone talking from half a car away, and will intone "This is a QUIET car" to the stranger. And not every adult likes to be shushed.

"You get scolded like you're an idiot!" says Cindy Marselis, a professor who rides Septa, the commuter rail in southeast Pennsylvania, which has a "QuietRide" program. "A number of times I was on the train and colleagues get on. You want to say hi to them and you get a dirty look [from others]. I'm like, come on. I'm not screaming across the whole car."

Sonia "Sunny" Linkfield knows the feeling. The makeup artist, who embarks at Hamilton, N.J., to commute to New York, is part of a class of commuters that might be called the "second-car riders." There she was, contentedly sitting in the second car of a NJ Transit train the other day. She knows she is just too chipper for the lead car, which is a quiet car during rush hours.

"There was a time," she recalls, when she and a woman friend "were coming back from the city and she never really took the train before." The friend made the mistake of talking. A stranger admonished: "Excuse me, you'll have to be quiet, or you'll have to leave. This is the quiet car and you can't talk."

Ms. Linkfield, who also confesses she has a text-message alert that whistles ("I was getting dirty looks" for that, she says), gave up on the line's Quiet Commute cars.

Other transit agencies that have adopted some iteration of the quiet-car experience include the Altamont Commuter Express system in California (with its "Dim-Lit" cars); New York's two big systems, Metro-North (which has a "Quiet CALMmute" program) and Long Island Rail Road; and Virginia Railway Express.

Patco, a system that takes passengers between Philadelphia and the New Jersey suburbs, on Jan. 2 became one of the latest transit agencies to jump on the trend, making a pilot program permanent. Since Patco has no onboard conductors, its quiet-car policing is entirely up to the passengers.

That sounds like a recipe for the worst, but so far it's working, a Patco spokesman says. A key move was putting in big yellow-and-red signs. But it dropped the onboard announcements calling for quiet; after all, they were "contrary to the concept" of quiet, he says.

"Self enforcement" is the Chicago way. The Metra rail system says its quiet car is "largely enforced by peer pressure and conductor intervention when necessary."

In California, Thomas Reeves, manager of public affairs and communications for ACE's regional rail commission, says officials have talked about ways to combat the tension, which he says is generally minimal, and even considered ending the program. "It's still up to people to respect the rules or not respect the rules," he says, "but it's such a staple of our service that we can't do away with it."

One of the biggest myths about quiet cars, say transit officials, is that the rules have legal authority. Most of the time, the quiet ride relies on riders to voluntarily comply—by talking in "library voice" and disabling sounds on all electronic devices.

Septa, for example, says riders shouldn't expect to hear a pin drop. "It's the quiet car, not the silent car," says Kim Scott Heinle, assistant general manager for customer service and advocacy. What helps is that conductors will hand "shush" cards to riders who forget or didn't know the rules. The system lets conductors suspend quiet operations when needed, like before and after a sports event or during the Flower Show in Philadelphia, when many riders aren't regulars.

Two of the most heavily trafficked rail systems in the U.S.—Metro-North and the LIRR—similarly use cards that explain the rules of etiquette in English and Spanish, says a Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman. That, plus routine announcements and a regular savvy ridership, keeps the conflicts in check.

On NJ Transit trains, there often aren't any signs to announce a car is in quiet mode, and riders can stumble into trouble.

On the 8:07 p.m. express out of New York's Penn Station to Trenton on a recent Tuesday, the door to the next-to-last car suddenly slammed open and a woman marched in from the last-car quiet car, muttering obscenities. As she found a seat, other passengers nodded knowingly to each other about the car she had fled: "Quiet car."
 A window decal for quiet cars on the Virginia Railway Express system.

are free fares realistic? it depends on the alternatives


By  Jarrett Walker, February 28, 2013

In response to my post on Tallinn, Estonia's experiment in free transit for all city residents, a freelance reporter asked me:
The idea I'm most interested in exploring from your post is your proposal that smart farecard systems can be used to easily subsidize fares and "opening up a huge range of subsidy possibilities for any entity that sees an advantage in doing so." I'd like to get more of a sense of what you mean by that and whether this is possible even in today's austerity-obsessed environment.  
What I mean is that as long as the transit agency sets a price for an unlimited ride pass -- with appropriate discounts for bulk purchasers -- anyone can buy those passes for anyone.  Universities can buy them for their students, companies for their employees, and as in Tallinn, cities can even buy them for their citizens.  Any other entity can also buy them for any group of people it cares about, yielding possibilities that we can barely envision now.
Is this realistic in an age of austerity?  It depends on what the alternatives are.  The alternatives may include building wildly expensive parking, or losing out in a competition for the best people.  

Urban universities with constrained sites often subsidize transit because without it they would need unmanageable amounts of parking.  One common reason that universities get into transit subsidies is that they want to build on their surface parking lots, and the cost of structured parking (and its impacts) turns out to be higher than the cost of buying transit passes for many years.  So it can be a logical business decision.
We're used to the idea that companies leave the cost of commuting to their employees, but companies that are competing for the best talent don't have that luxury.  Witness the huge fleets of shuttles that ferry employees to Silicon Valley giants like Google and Apple from as far away as San Francisco.  Companies that compete for talent can find transit subsidies to be a reasonable part of a total compensation package. And of course, corporate campuses can have expansion crises much like those of universities, where they'd like to build on their parking lots and look for alternatives to expensive structured parking.
City governments are the hardest to imagine financing free fares in the US, if only because of how broke most of them are.  But if it goes well in Tallinn the idea will spread.  One problem in much of America, and notably in California, is that residents are net consumers of government services while employers are net subsidizers of them; this motivates cities to minimize their populations and maximize their employment.  (This explains many odd shapes of city boundaries that seek to include jobs but exclude residents.).  In those distorted tax environments, cities don't want people to live there so much as to work there, so subsidies to residents don't make much sense.  But of course residents are the voters, and wealthy cities that value green credentials may sometimes see merit.  And of course cities aldo benefit if it can reduce their parking requirements, which may increasingly be the nexus that makes fare subsidies make sense.
Remember, though, that massive fare subsidies don't just require the replacement revenue for the fares but also the revenue needed to add service to handle the crowding that the free fares will generate.  I will be interested to see how this plays out in Tallinn.  This has been the barrier to free transit in big cities that have studied it, and the main reason that only small towns -- especially university towns -- have made large scale fare subsidies work.

Is Helping Strangers to a Free Subway Ride a Good Way to Protest Rising Transit Fares?


By Sarah Goodyear, March 4, 2013

 Is Helping Strangers to a Free Subway Ride a Good Way to Protest Rising Transit Fares?

 People use Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) cards to enter the New York Subway system at the Times Square stop.

The price of a ride on public transportation in New York City went up again over the weekend, from $2.25 to $2.50 – a full dollar higher than it was just 10 years ago. A weekly unlimited MetroCard now costs $30, up a dollar from the most recent rate, while a monthly unlimited pass will set you back $112 – an $8 increase. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) projects to increase revenue by $391 million this year with the move.

A small group of activists in the city is planning to fight back against what they see as an unfair fare hike by using their unlimited cards to swipe in fellow New Yorkers for no charge. (You can reuse an unlimited card once 18 minutes has passed since your most recent swipe.) They’re calling their effort “Swipe Back!” It’s perfectly legal to do this, as the group points out on its website, as long as you don’t collect any money from the person you’re swiping in. From the group’s website:
We would boycott the subway, if we could. But since it’s an essential public service, we need it, to get to our jobs and live our lives.

So instead of boycotting, we find ways to express our protest, like this: If you use your unlimited card to swipe someone else in, then you’re effectively helping them boycott the fare hike, sort of like boycotting it forward.
The idea, according to organizer Ingrid Burrington, isn’t necessarily to stiff the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). “I’m more excited about helping people who can’t afford to ride the train,” says Burrington, who describes herself as “just a person.” Any lost fares from the Swipe Back initiative, she says, will have little effect on a system that is already suffering huge financial problems – woes, she emphasizes, that are caused in large part by debt service and a lack of funding from the state government. “The MTA’s coffers are being undermined from all directions,” says Burrington. “Riders are the least equipped to fill them.” Farebox revenues currently account for 41 percent of the MTA’s yearly take.

The MTA, unsurprisingly, is not pleased with the Swipe Back idea. A spokesman for the authority told Gothamist this:
The MTA is raising fares and tolls because our costs for employee healthcare, pension contributions, mandatory paratransit service, energy and other costs out of our control are rising far faster than the rate of inflation. We have cut our costs by more than $700 million, we have built a budget with net-zero wage increases for unionized employees, and we are implementing moderately higher fares and tolls.

If anyone thinks the best way to balance the MTA's budget is to reduce the amount of money we collect from customers, then their math is as bad as their logic.
Burrington says she and her fellow organizers don't want to "hurt the MTA," but they do want to change what they see as an unresponsive system at the mercy of state legislators in Albany. The Swipe Back action, she says, is designed to educate the system’s users about the complicated financial and political issues behind rising fares, especially the arcane financial deals known as interest rate swaps, which have worked out to the agency’s distinct disadvantage over the past few years. The group is handing out buttons to people who want to get involved, and encouraging them to talk about what they’re doing when they give another straphanger a free ride.

Most people, Burrington says, don’t understand why the fares keep going up, just accepting it as one of the expenses of city life. “We’re trying to generate conversations about how transit is funded,” she says. “One of the reasons I think it’s hard to get people interested in transportation is that it’s not just one thing. It’s complicated. People are not necessarily seeing the big picture of what’s happening.”

This isn’t the first time the free swipes have been used to raise awareness among the harried riders of the city’s transit system, which carries seven million passengers every day. A group called the People’s Transportation Program offered free rides during a previous round of fare hikes in 2009, with very few people taking notice (except, of course, the lucky ones who benefited directly).

But Burrington says she and her fellow organizers aren’t daunted. “This is a very small part of a long-term endeavor,” she says. Most of all, she wants to see some of the city’s elected officials take a stand on the issue, especially during what is likely to be a blistering mayoral race. “I would like to see New York City politicians fight for this issue,” she says. “They need to fight for transit, fight for riders.”

3 Charts That Explain Why You Spend So Much on Transportation


By Eric Jaffe, March 3, 2013


It's no secret that conventional city planning emphasizes the automobile. The focus placed on metrics like car level-of-service lead to decisions that remove any obstacles to automotive speed and mobility — even a crosswalk can slow down traffic too much for a planner's liking. The upshot of this approach, of course, can be seen on any of America's congested city roads.

But traffic isn't the only impact to car-centered planning: it also creates transport inequity for a region. In a report released last week [PDF], Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute argues that vehicle-based planning methods reduce the overall affordability of travel in a metro area, particularly for low-income residents (our emphasis):
Because it evaluates transport system performance based primarily on travel speeds, conventional planning favor faster but more costly transport modes, such as automobile travel over slower but more affordable modes such as walking, cycling and public transit. This tends to create automobile dependent transport systems which increases total costs.
Litman argues that a windshield planning perspective misses many of the costs of owning a car. Affordability evaluations tend to focus on fuel costs, failing to include the general cost of vehicle ownership, which by most estimates comes to $3,000 a year at the lowest end. This view also ignores indirect costs of car-based planning: higher general taxes (to pay for roads), higher rents (from residential parking requirements), higher insurance premiums (or, failing that, higher damage costs), not to mention the more or less immeasurable cost on the environment.

The byproduct of this conventional view, says Litman, is that policymakers come up with car-affordability measures that often make the situation worse. Low-income households, in particular, bear the brunt of political efforts to keep gas taxes low. (Studies have found that funding transportation through sales tax measures can be painfully regressive, benefiting wealthy car owners most.) Increasing fuel taxes or implementing road fares, while ostensibly making cars less affordable, actually go a long way toward improving general transport affordability, argues Litman, especially if the revenues go toward improving multi-modal transit services.

Litman rolls out a series of charts to help make his points. We'll share three of the best instructive ones. The first shows that as transit-miles traveled increase, transport costs decrease:

The next chart shows that car ownership is a regressive cost — in other words, owning a car costs
you relatively more money if you make less:

The third chart puts the U.S. situation into context with developed European countries. Household transport spending is much greater in the United States, a fact that correlates strongly with per capita vehicle travel:

The importance of affordability goes beyond general equity, argues Litman, because what people spend on transportation can't go to other sectors of the economy. That's a problem because transit spending doesn't create the same wealth as other investments, say in real estate or personal health. Litman cites two scenarios in which households spend $20,000 a year on housing and transportation.
A split of $15,000 toward a mortgage and $5,000 toward transport creates about $100,000 more equity over the course of a decade than an even split of $10,000 toward mortgage and $10,000 toward transport.

To address the affordability problem, Litman suggests that planners favor access over general vehicle mobility. This approach recruits urbanist strategies like compact land use and multi-use development, and focuses on bringing jobs and services and residences closer together. (While transportation costs often makes up 25 percent of household expenditures in car-dependent communities, that share goes down to 10 percent in truly multi-modal places.) Litman offers six keys to achieving this affordable vision:
  • Make affordability a goal of transport planning.
  • Support affordable modes like walking or biking through complete streets.
  • Encourage car-sharing programs to reduce the need for car ownership.
  • Promote smart growth and transit-oriented development to increase access.
  • Eliminate parking requirements for housing development.
  • Expand delivery services.

Endorsements: Our recommendations for new L.A. city leaders


LA Daily News, March 3, 2013

Los Angeles voters will go to the polls Tuesday to bring the biggest changes to City Hall's elected offices in more than a decade.

They'll choose winners in open races for mayor, city controller and six City Council seats, and they'll decide whether to re-elect the city attorney and two councilmen. In addition, they will approve or reject two ballot propositions.

Mayor: Wendy Greuel

City Controller Wendy Greuel has the right combination of government and private-sector experience, promising personal qualities and broad-based support.

Greuel's endorsements from business leaders and San Fernando Valley conservatives, who know her from her City Council years, should temper voters' concerns about her ties to organized labor. She is tough enough to take on entrenched interests, while chief rival Eric Garcetti inspires no such confidence. Greuel would make L.A. proud as its first woman mayor.

City attorney: Greg Smith

Incumbent Carmen Trutanich, former Assemblyman Mike Feuer and private attorney Greg Smith are credible candidates. Smith has demonstrated his knowledge of the city's legal weaknesses by winning tens of millions of dollars for police officers, firefighters and other public employees in lawsuits against city agencies. Smith can be the outsider L.A. voters hoped Trutanich would be four years ago.

Controller: Ron Galperin

A veteran of commissions that have contributed good ideas about improving city finances and services, attorney Ron Galperin is well-suited to this official watchdog position. Tellingly, respected former City Controller Laura Chick endorsed Galperin over Dennis Zine, who currently represents Chick's old City Council district.

Council District 3: Joyce Pearson

A presence in San Fernando Valley politics since the secession bid, Joyce Pearson is a strong alternative to Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, another termed-out state legislator seeking a council job.

Council District 5: Paul Koretz

Even opponent Mark Matthew Herd praises Paul Koretz's service to his Valley and Westside district. Koretz should continue his good work on transit and the environment.

Council District 7: Felipe Fuentes

The top candidates say this Northeast Valley district gets too small a share of city resources. Former Assemblyman and City Hall staffer Felipe Fuentes has the best chance to fix that.

Council District 11: Tina Hess

It will be hard to beat council staffer Mike Bonin, who seeks to succeed his boss Bill Rosendahl. But prosecutor Tina Hess has knowledge and good ideas.

Council District 15: Joe Buscaino

Joe Buscaino deserves his own full term after completing Janice Hahn's. Proposition A: NoPermanently raising the city sales tax by one-half percent would ease L.A.'s cash crunch but remove the urgency to fix its systemic fiscal problems.

Transportation Funding Crisis — And A New Tax? 


March 4, 2013


 road funding crisis

 Transportation funding crisis symbol

The “Transportation Funding Crisis” was just recently brought to my attention. While conducting some research, I was startled to find congress pondering a “novel” new tax. So what is this “crisis?”

Currently the U.S. federal government spends $78 million a year to keep the national highway system in working order, but only receives $34 million in revenue from the gasoline tax. This disparity is only going to increase if we leave our current system in place, as vehicular efficiency continues to rise and EVs start satisfying an increasing portion of our transportation. While many of us here at CleanTechnica would probably argue more efficient transportation and a lowered dependency on oil is a good thing, I think most would also agree we need to maintain tax revenue in order to keep our transportation sector in working order, and hopefully even improve it.

To this end, congress is currently considering passing legislation to tax car mileage. For the moment, let us completely overlook the difficulty in enforcing this tax, along with its incredibly invasive nature, and look at tax systems as a whole.

From a societal perspective, the best tax systems are used as incentives to discourage behavior that has impacts which society has deemed as “negative.” Whether people realize it or not, this was the foundation of one of the most well-known taxes in existence: the sales tax. The sales tax is a tax on consumption, and while the behavior of buying goods is not necessarily negative, those who consume more of society’s resources place more of a demand on society and, therefore, pay more taxes to help keep society running. This is a very successful tax and has been adopted in fifty states and is the same principle behind the excise tax levied on gasoline and diesel fuel.

So, what went wrong with the excise tax on gasoline and diesel? Inflation. The law for the gas tax stipulates a tax of between 26 and 81 cents per gallon depending on local governments, and currently does not increase with inflation. With the American pastime of driving, and our incredible distaste for paying taxes, legislation to increase the gas tax became untouchable. No lawmakers dared to increase such a noticeable tax! While the federal government did correct some of the disparity in 1993, and some states have attempted to update their local gas tax, none have come close to keeping the revenue in line with the cost of transportation maintenance.

Which brings us to this new tax on mileage. While this tax may seem logical at first, at its core, this tax has a fundamental flaw. While it does tax the “negative” behavior of driving, which consumes resources and produces pollutants, it does so ambiguously! This concept does not distinguish between the person who drove 13,000 miles in their Land Rover LR4 last year and consumed over 850 gallons of fuel and the Chevy Volt owner who also drove 13,000 miles last year and only filled up his 9.3 gallon tank 4 times. Because of this, the proposed law ends up targeting the behavior itself and not the negative externalities associated with it.

So, what is this article doing on CleanTechnica? As that last example illustrated, using this mileage tax would remove much of the economic incentive to driving a fuel-efficient vehicle, making it even more difficult for hybrids and EVs to gain market penetration. On the flip side, however, we could write tax policies that collect from those using most of our natural resources, policies that account for the externalities produced by consuming oil-based fuels, and policies that encourage a more sustainable lifestyle through encouraging efficiency and alternative fuel vehicles.

But, then again, policies like these might promote a more efficient, self-sustainable America. Who would want that?

Washington Republican: Bicycles cause more pollution than cars


By Stephen C. Webster, March 3, 2013


Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt (R). Photo: Public.
The ranking Republican member on Washington state’s House Transportation Committee thinks that riding bicycles causes more pollution than driving cars, the Seattle Bike Blog reported Saturday.

State Rep. Ed Orcutt (R), pictured, wrote an email to a constituent who disagreed with his support for a new tax on the sales of bicycles, a proposal being considered as part of a larger piece of transportation legislation. Reached by the Seattle Bike Blog, he confirmed the email is real.

In his message, sent to the owner of a bicycle shop, Orcutt wrote: “If I am not mistaken, a cyclists [sic] has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.”

He added that when citizens drive cars they are helping to pay for the roads, whereas bicyclists “need to start paying for the roads they ride on rather than make motorists pay.”

Reached for comment, Orcutt told Seattle Bike Blog that “you would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car,” although he admitted to having no evidence to back the claim.

Unfortunately for Orcutt, his claim is based on a debunked allegation in a book called How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, by Chris Goodall. Virtually all available science on the carbon footprint of driving versus biking says this is dead wrong.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that each passenger vehicle in the U.S. generates on average 4.8 metric tons of CO2 every year, not accounting for emissions resulting in damage to the vehicle and local infrastructure, along with the actual production of fuel. The European Cyclists Federation, however, puts CO2 emissions from biking at about 10 times less than driving a car (PDF), even after accounting for the emissions required to make the bike and emissions linked to food the rider eats to power the device.

The California-based Pacific Institute estimated in 2008 (PDF) that in order to match the emissions from cars, people who walk or bike would have to exclusively consume a diet of extremely greenhouse-intensive food, like beef. Even bikers who consumed the average American diet, largely considered to be unhealthy, produced far fewer emissions than people who drive vehicles.

What is the Senate’s 2013-14 Agenda for Transit Issues?


By Larry Ehl, March 2, 2013




 The U.S. Senate Banking Committee will tackle a number of transit issues. Image – Alt fuel bus at Denver Airport via Dean Armstrong, NREL, via Energy.Gov

In the U.S. Senate, mass transit issues are handled by the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. (Passenger rail, however, is handled by the Commerce Committee.)
As you would imagine from the title, the Committee has a broad set of issues to deal with: banking, insurance, financial markets, securities, housing, urban development and mass transit, international trade and finance, and economic policy.

The Committee plans to tackle a number of transit related issues in 2013-14, including strengthening federal public transportation programs, overseeing implementation of MAP-21, and preparing for the next surface transportation authorization. Most of the issues will be heard first in the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development. Here is the outline of topics, according to a briefing paper issued by Committee Chair Tim Johnson in mid-February:
  • The growing demand for public transportation as economic recovery strengthens and the benefits of transit service including congestion relief, job creation, reduced fuel consumption, environmental improvements, and better daily travel for millions of Americans;
  • The role of federal transit investment and the need to ensure the long-term solvency of the Federal Highway Trust Fund and the Mass Transit Account;
  • Rural public transportation needs and related issues concerning mobility in rural states and on tribal lands, including the delivery of new formula funding for tribal transit;
  • Improving public transportation for seniors and individuals with disabilities by seeking new resources for specialized transportation and identifying additional strategies to promote the coordination of transportation services across federal programs;
  • Public transportation safety, including implementation of the comprehensive federal transit safety framework created by MAP-21;
  • The condition of public transportation assets, on-going efforts to address the significant backlog of maintenance and repairs at transit agencies, and oversight of new asset management practices required by MAP-21;
  • Improving project delivery, including oversight of changes in MAP-21 to the “New Starts” program for construction of significant capital projects that expand public transportation service; and
  • Public transportation emergency relief following an emergency or major disaster, including federal assistance for transit recovery in New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy.

Don’t Just Sit There, Sound the Alarm — Save L.A., Tell Your Friends and Neighbors: No on A, Yes on James or Perry


By Ron Kaye, March 3, 2013

It’s in the hands of all of us to stop the political machine from doing more harm to the city and the quality of our lives — we can force them to the table to negotiate real solutions by voting down the Measure A sales tax hike and getting Kevin James or Jan Perry into the mayoral runoff.

We don’t have to accept a permanent sales tax increase that only rewards the failure of people like Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti with more money to give away to the unions and their political friends, the big money special interests that have poured millions of dollars into their campaigns and into passing the phony sales tax hike.

Gutless as always, the city’s elected officials have sent paid functionaries, the politicized Police and Fire chiefs and their fallguy CAO Miguel Santana to make the unmakeable case for the tax as you can see in the video above in which Santana and me debate the tax issue on Sunday’s “News Conference” with Conan Nolan on KNBC.

According to Dan Schnur of USC, who was also on the show, the latest poll shows Measure A winning but beatable and show James and Perry could make the mayoral runoff with a surge in turnout, now expected to be the most dismal in modern L.A. history after a dismal campaign.


Tweedledee and Tweedledum would be better choices for mayor than the easiest to manipulate (Greuel) versus the easiest to intimidate (Garcetti).
James and Perry have shown throughout their careers that they have the guts to stand up for what they believe in and to fight against entrenched interests.

As usual, Greuel nothing to say Sunday when Conan Nolan pressed her for concrete answers to the hard questions she has ducked during the whole campaign:


View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.