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

Saturday, March 30, 2013

710 YouTube Videos

From Sylvia Plummer, March 30, 2013

These videos have been out for a while.  But for those of you that have not seen them, it's worth your time.

First two 710 videos are from Patrizzi Intergalactica, last one from "Dick Gozinya Television":
1) This is an interview with Alhambra Mayor, Barbara Messina (Charter California Edition); (3:13) 
Messina states she is confident they will start building the 710 tunnel in 2015 and construction will take 3 years.
She also states that the tunnel can only be built with a Public Private Partnership and Tolls.

Meet Barbara Messina, not your ordinary grandma. She has positioned herself for 28 years to be a force to link the 10 fwy to the 210/134 fwy. The plans for the 710 Freeway have morphed to a TOLLway, expanded to 14 lanes from the Port of Long Beach, and will be a tunnel under El Sereno, So. Pasadena, and Pasadena for big rig trucks.

What is she thinking? We live in earthquake country. She's missing the reality train on this one. And if you think this is a project that will never pass US standards for air quality you would be right, but she's way ahead of us. She says the foreign investors are lining up to build this thing. That means the tolls will have to be high enough to provide the investors a return. How many ordinary people in cars are going to pay $20 for a trip through a creepy 4.5 mile tunnel filled with pollution? It's delusional.

It's a loser, and what a shame to see established communities once again be misplaced and destroyed for the sake of another freeway.

3) chm2hill (2:54)
Najarian: One Fight Down, One to Go


By Ted Ayala, March 21, 2013

Earlier this month, Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian was reelected to his seat on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) despite his staunch and often very vocal opposition to the proposed extension of the 710 Freeway.

When Najarian’s name was nominated for reelection to his seat in December, a number of the MTA’s “North cities” – cities spanning the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys – spoke out in opposition. Among the most strident opposition heard was from Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina and Duarte Mayor John Fasana, both strongly in favor of “completing” the freeway.

Ultimately, Najarian was able to reach a compromise with his opponents, assuring that he retain his MTA seat.

With one hurdle cleared, he still has a final one to overcome – next month’s city elections.

Alongside fellow incumbent Laura Friedman, Ara Najarian is defending his seat in the April elections. Mayor Frank Quintero, also an incumbent, has declined to run again for office.

“My ability to serve the interests of our community and those opposed to this project is contingent on my keeping this seat,” Najarian said.

For Najarian the questions in respect to safety and costs, not to mention environmental impact, are too serious to ignore without deeper consideration.

Citing major tunnel accidents last year in Switzerland and Japan – the former killing 28, the latter nine – Najarian said that “safety is a very big concern here.”

“I feel this hasn’t been more carefully looked over,” he added.

Though the 710 extension would not directly affect Glendale, Najarian insists its effects would be felt not only in communities along the Foothill (210) Freeway corridor that would see its lanes swelling with added traffic, but throughout the city.

“In the northern communities, you’ll have the direct impact – particulate matter, noxious fumes, and noise pollution. But the impact doesn’t stop there,” he said. “Because what you’ll have is added traffic straining not only the [Glendale] 2 [Freeway], but the [Ventura] 134 [Freeway] that runs through the heart of Glendale. The added gridlock this will bring will be a detriment to the quality of life throughout the city.”

“You also have the impact from freight coming from the Port of Los Angeles,” he added. “We don’t want to stop that flow of freight. But what we do want to do is encourage the shipment of freight via rail as much as possible, not just off the 210, but off of the freeways entirely.”

Najarian reminded that none of his opponents in the election has advocated opposition of the 710 extension to the extent he has. At least one has spoken in favor of the project

Though the fight wears on, Najarian knows what is at stake here.

“[My opponents] know that without me the next person taking my position wouldn’t have the same level of interest in this matter,” he said. “They want somebody that can go with the MTA’s flow.”
Earthquake: 3.8 quake strikes near Mammoth Lakes, Calif.


By Ken Schwencke, March 29, 2013
 A map showing the location of the epicenter of Friday evening's quake near Mammoth Lakes, California.

A shallow magnitude 3.8 earthquake was reported Friday evening nine miles from Mammoth Lakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 8:19 p.m. Pacific time at a depth of 5.6 miles.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was 72 miles from Clovis, Calif., 73 miles from Sanger, Calif., and 119 miles from Carson City, Nevada.

In the past 10 days, there has been one earthquake magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.

Read more about Southern California earthquakes.

City Watch: Is Civic Engagement Illegal?

March 30, 2013

 (Mod: As anyone who watches or perhaps even attends our City Council meetings will tell you, it is a pretty frustrating process. We now have a situation where 3 obviously collusive individuals make all of the decisions for this entire community, which is unfortunate for a unique town such as ours as each of them is more closely tied to the destructive policies of Sacramento, Los Angeles County and the Edison Mafia than what the people actually living here want. The undermining of our long-standing citizen committee system in order to supposedly accommodate the scheduling convenience of "staff" being only the latest of many steps to take the people out of the process ... City Watch is this great site that covers the affairs of that large city down the road a bit, and they on occasion post something that should also be discussed here. I thought today I'd repost one of them today.)

Is Civic Engagement Illegal? (click here): Everyone knows the standard public meeting in America: formal agenda handouts, official presentations, and three-minute speeches at the microphone for citizens. It’s boring. It doesn’t work.

And it’s mysterious—because the past two decades have seen the development of meeting strategies and online tools to change all that, to make meetings truly productive and dynamic. So why don’t American public meetings change?

One major obstacle is legal. The country’s open meetings and records laws include many specific, rigid requirements for how elected officials communicate, meet, and make decisions. For instance, California’s Brown Act severely limits communication between elected officials outside of formal meetings. So a school district that uses an online tool to put members of the school board together with parents may very well be violating the law.

While there are often good reasons behind the laws, many of the rules are unclear, and changes in technology and society have made them even harder to interpret. Lawyers fear that if the standardized procedures are junked and citizens are allowed to participate directly in budgeting or planning decisions, either online or in person, any decisions they make will be under a legal cloud.

Since the old processes of citizen participation offer little real interaction or deliberation, citizen turnout is usually very low; lawmakers often refer to the few people who turn up as the “usual suspects.” On the other hand, if the community has been gripped by a controversy, turnout is often high, and the three-minute commentaries from citizens can last long into the night. (One of the more popular video compilations on YouTube is a set of outrageous three-minute statements by citizens and responses by public officials, culled from public meetings all over the country.)  [Peggy Drouet: The link to the YouTube video is not given here or in the City Watch article and I haven't been able to locate it.] But neither extreme is helpful.

Many local leaders understand that society and technology have changed, and they want to use new online tools and engagement processes. They also want to involve citizens more directly in budget cuts and other difficult decisions. “If we think we’re going to come out of this recession and expect everything to go back to normal, we’ve got another think coming,” Harry Jones, county executive of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, once told me. “We need to reach out and reframe our relationship with citizens—the people who are the ultimate source of our revenues.”

Over the last two decades, Jones and many other local leaders have pioneered a new generation of participation practices. These include the use of citizens’ juries and other deliberative processes that allow large, diverse groups of residents to tackle hard questions. And there are a burgeoning array of online tools to report problems, generate and rank ideas on government policy, work in small action teams, and visualize options for public budgeting and land use planning.

The trouble is most of these efforts occur outside the scope of official citizen participation processes and the laws that govern them. This has created a host of legal headaches for public officials who want to engage the public but don’t want to face legal penalties or be subject to litigation.

Simply put, opening the doors to civic engagement requires new rules. Over the last year, a working group of scholars and local officials from around the country has drafted model state and local laws that would support more effective forms of public participation. These model laws would exempt new types of civic engagement processes from judicial review, as long as the processes were sound and followed principles of transparency and fairness, with records of engagement made public and processes open to rigorous evaluation.

In the 1980s and ’90s, laws on alternative dispute resolution were enacted to give Americans new alternatives to judicial proceedings. Something similar is required for public participation. We must free elected officials and decision makers to engage the public, even as we uphold the goals of transparency and accountability.

Reaching out to constituents, and making policy with their collaboration, is the essence of democracy. When our public officials try to do this, the law should be on their side.

Why is a Board of Education seat worth so much to them?

(Mod: In this week's Pasadena Weekly - click here - they tally up all the cash being lavished on political machine Board of Ed candidate Ruben Hueso. This in his District 3 runoff with Tyrone Hampton, a candidate that would make a far better advocate for the needs of the people in that district. And the question has to be asked, why is it worth so much to them?)

In the primary, Hampton, a local contractor who, according to his Web site, graduated from Cal Poly Pomona, raised only a few hundred dollars, with one $100 contribution coming from sitting Board President Renatta Cooper, the board’s only African-American member and, incidentally, a Democrat.

On the other hand, Hueso, a teacher with children attending public schools, lists a number of major out-of-town donors to his campaign. Although the district, which was carved out of some of Pasadena’s poorest neighborhoods and includes most of Northwest Pasadena, Hueso has collected more than $30,000 — $1,000 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee, $1,000 from the local and ostensibly nonpartisan political action group ACT, and $14,000 from the campaigns of Democratic state Sen. Kevin DeLeon of Los Angeles and Assemblyman Ben Hueso, Ruben’s brother, from Encinitas. Hueso’s brother contributed $11,000 from his 2012 re-election campaign, according to the latest financial records filed with the Pasadena City Clerk’s Office. DeLeon gave from his 2018 Assembly campaign fund. Former state Assembly Speaker Fabio Nuñez, also from San Diego and running for state Attorney General in 2014, gave Hueso $5,000 with funds from that upcoming campaign. One of Hueso’s local supporters is Pasadena Board of Education member Ed Honowitz, who gave $250.

This week's Green Action Committee meeting was canceled due to the lack of a quorum

Is it just me, or do these people seem kind of entitled and lazy? They don't get their work in on time and  their only real accomplishment was "Green Accords," which they cut and pasted from some United  Nations publicity releases. Why heaven and earth are being moved by Mayor Moran and the City Manager is mystifying. Don't we have enough low impact people working on city business as it is?