Monday, April 1, 2013
L.A. to launch new 311 app
By Rick Orlov, March 30, 2013
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
will unveil the city's first comprehensive mobile app allowing residents
to report problems and request services on everything from tree
trimming to pothole repair on their cellphones.
Called MYLA311, the app has been in the development stage for months
and early versions were used by several City Council offices to test
out before the citywide version was released.
"MyLA311 is a major leap forward in making City Hall a more tech friendly place" Villaraigosa said.
"Angelenos now have a direct mobile portal to vital services and key
city information. This will spur a more open and transparent
government. MyLA311 puts the power of City Hall in the palm of your
The app will be available for download at Apple Apps and Google Play stores for IPhones and Android devices.
Villaraigosa said the app is designed to allow residents to pay
their Department of Water and Power bills, get general city information
as well as report issues such as potholes and graffiti as well as
request city services.
It also allows people to take photos of problems, like potholes,
email it in and it will be tracked by mapping services. City agencies
are also to report back to callers on the status of their request.
The mayor first discussed the app last February when the new city's
website was released and said it was based on what is being used in other cities, but he believes it will go further and become a national model.
It will be updated so that future versions reflect what the public says is needed as well as to include bilingual features.
Here Are the 'Hoods You Can Blame For the Death of the Transit-Speeding Measure J
By Neal Broverman, April 1, 2013
Groundbreaking ceremony for Westside subway pre-construction work
One of the big complaints about Metro is how long they take to deliver on big-ticket transit projects, and last year's Measure J was their partial solution to that--the ballot initiative would have extended 2008's Measure R tax increase for at least 30 years and allowed the agency to obtain loans to open projects like the Westside subway extension years sooner than planned. But Measure J, like all tax measures in the state, needed three-quarters of voter approval and it failed in November by all of 16,000 votes, with 66.1 percent of the electorate voting in favor of it. As politicians introduce legislation to change the tax initiative threshold to 55 percent, the Los Angeles Times looks at the sliver of voters who doomed Measure J. Compared to Measure R, support for J eroded in many South Bay communities, already a tax-averse area: "In Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance and Rolling Hills, the analysis found, support for Measure J dropped between 6 percentage points and 10 percentage points compared with Measure R." The South Bay's one big in-the-works transit project is an extension of the Green Line into Torrance, though some locals already oppose it. Support for J in outer-area, and car-dependent, communities like Malibu and Agua Dulce was also much diminished compared to R.
Beverly Hills and its school board now have four separate lawsuits against Metro and the FTA because the Westside subway extension will tunnel underneath Beverly Hills High School. Some Bev Hills officials joined with the Bus Riders Union to oppose Measure J--the wealthy city's support for the measure was down 16 percent compared to Measure R. Some in South LA always came down hard on J because they're fighting for a tunnel on the Crenshaw Line, as well as a station in Leimert Park.
BNSF and Architects Cosponsor “Great Park” Design Competition for Commerce Rail Yard
By Brian Addison, April 1, 2013
This announcement had come as little surprise as numerous press releases for the proposed SCIG and accompanying Environmental Impact Report cited the intention to remove the 1.3 million trucks from the Interstate 710 Freeway.
BNSF representatives April Feuel stated, “SCIG will allow trucks to bring cargo from the ports just four miles before transferring them onto rail, rather than driving 20 miles up the 710 Freeway to BNSF’s Commerce rail yard.”
The chair of the City of Commerce AIA followed, praised BNSF, noting that this realignment of rail infrastructure has created the opportunity to reimagine a bold future for the City of Commerce and neighboring communities of Maywood, Bell Garden and Montebello.
“The City of Commerce will see a bright future as the Hobart Yard is reimagined as a regional-scale park, complimented by community amenities and new job center.”
Representatives of the Commerce AIA and BNSF announced that they will be co-sponsoring an international competition to design a new 250 acre park that combines much needed public open space with economic generators, into a sustainable development that seamlessly integrates into the surrounding communities.
“We imagine this park to be a grand initiative on par with the Wilmington Waterfront Park and Los Angeles Historic State Park developed near Chinatown on the site of another former railyard.” Continuing, they stated that a park encompassing the Hobart Yard would be the largest in the region until reaching Elysian Park five miles away.
While many residents around the Hobart Yard are praising the news, West Long Beach residents continue to be dismayed by the near-dock rail facility proposed to be built behind their homes and schools.
In the same press conference, BNSF representatives shared their intention to mitigate the new facility’s impacts on West Long Beach. “BNSF will construct a permanent 12-foot high soundwall along the eastern side of the Terminal Island Freeway from W. 20th St. to Sepulveda Blvd. After construction of the soundwall, BNSF has offered to install landscaping along the entire length of the soundwall. BNSF will plant intensive landscaping on the western side of the Terminal Island Freeway between PCH and Sepulveda Boulevard.”
This was a similar strategy proposed between the Los Angeles community of Wilmington and the Trans Pacific Terminal development before the Port of Los Angeles invested $70 million dollar [and 30 acres of Port property] to develop the mile-long, block-wide Wilmington Waterfront Park that now separates Angelenos from the port complex.
When reporters asked about developing a greenbelt along the proposed SCIG project similar to the Wilmington greenbelt, BNSF officials stated that like the Trans Pacific Terminal development, they only had in their budget one great park and they chose to locate in the City of Commerce. AIA representatives followed up with that maybe after the 50 year lease between BNSF and the Port of Los Angeles expires, they can explore converting the railyard into a park, like Hobart.
Details of the design competition will be forth-coming but BNSF stated that their intention would be to develop the new park as soon as the SCIG project is completed, so cargo can be shifted from the Hobart Yard, and finally closed.
Local design enthusiasts have expressed excitement as rumors of James Corner Field Operations from the world famous High Line [linear park developed on former elevated train tracks in New York], 2013 Pritzker Prize winning architect Toyo Ito and Ken Smith Workshop, of Santa Fe Railyard Park fame are all mentioned to be considering entering the competition. What is yet to be determined are next steps for the California Department of Transportation, as they determine the impacts of removing Hobart Yards truck traffic, and the need to expand the Interstate 710 Freeway.
Will You Be Queen
By Kat Ward, April 1, 2013
So states the literature informing the denizens of Pasadena of the upcoming tryouts (raucous spectacle) to determine who will be queen of the 36th Occasional Doo Dah Parade.
Contestants are usually outnumbered by equally-costumed judges, who include many former queens, and another hundred or so parade entrants, tryout supporters, Legion members, and the curious public.
Doo Dah Queen tryouts will be held Sunday, April 7th at the American Legion Bar on Vinedo Street in East Pasadena.
The first 20 Queen Hopefuls to arrive get in FREE (1 admission per Queen’s entourage). Each Queen
Hopeful will have a few minutes to WOW the Judges. Microphone and boom box, even drumroll, provided. Be ready to show us and tell us why YOU should be Queen! Bring Loyal Followers and HUMOR! Tell them to buy the judges a beer to get a chance to vote. Hecklers encouraged!
And, how else would you want to spend a Sunday?
Good luck to all who dare…
We’ll expect a proper Queenly wave along the parade route…
Pasadena Doo Dah Parade Queen Tryouts
Sunday, April 7th
American Legion Bar
179. N. Vinedo St., East Pasadena, between Walnut and Colorado
2 p.m.: doors open, live music begins
3-4 p.m.: Queen Hopefuls check-in; judges arrive
4:30-7 p.m.: Doo Dah Queen tryouts
7:30: Doo Dah Queen 2013 is crowned
Cost: $5 cover, except for first 20 Queen Hopefuls—cash only!
For any unanswered questions, call 626.590.1134
Applications for parade entrants are still being accepted. Find entry information and form HERE.
36th Occasional Doo Dah Parade with Grand Marshall Alan Zorthian
Saturday, April 27th, 11 a.m.
Parade route: Colorado Blvd., between San Gabriel Blvd. & Altadena Dr.
Scenes from Doo Dah 2012: