Purpose

To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Alhambra supports controversial freeway tunnel (and comments to the article)

 http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-alhambra-supports-controversial-freeway-tunnel-20130519,0,4318056.story

 By Daniel Siegal, May 19, 2013

 Signs opposing the 710 Freeway being built on Ave. 64 were placed at the corner of Church St. and Ave. 64 in Pasadena. (Raul Roa/Staff photographer / August 8, 2012)

 Signs opposing the 710 Freeway being built on Ave. 64 were placed at the corner of Church St. and Ave. 64 last summer in Pasadena.

 

 

The city of Alhambra last week reaffirmed its support for a controversial tunnel that would connect the 710 and 210 freeways, proclaiming July 10 as “710 Day” in the city.

“We as a city want to raise awareness that now is the time [the 710 freeway] can be completed,” Alhambra Mayor Steve Placido said at a news conference at City Hall Tuesday.

Extending the 710 Freeway from its terminus in Alhambra via a tunnel to the 210 Freeway in Pasadena has for years faced strong opposition from politically powerful neighborhoods and elected officials.

Officials in Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, La CaƱada Flintridge and Los Angeles have all issued public statements opposing the 710 Freeway extension, as well as state and federal representatives. Opponents argue the connection would bring a deluge of big-rig traffic, noise and air pollution.

Combined with an active coalition of residents opposed to the proposal — the No 710 Action Committee — the public argument in favor of a tunnel has hardly registered.

The Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation Authority is currently conducting an environmental study of five options for reducing congestion in the 710 gap, which in addition to the tunnel, include light rail and bus transit. A first draft of the study is expected to be completed in 2014.

Alhambra has long supported extending the 710 Freeway from its terminus, where vehicles currently spill out onto city streets in an effort to follow myriad urban paths to other freeways.

Placido said the city was stepping forward now because the financial commitment was there for a full environmental study of the options through Measure R — the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects approved by county voters in 2008. The review also has the backing of the MTA and the California Department of Transportation.

Placido said plans for “710 Day” were “up in the air” at this point but that officials were considering a street fair and other public-outreach efforts.

MTA spokeswoman Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap said the agency welcomed input from Alhambra and other communities that will potentially be affected by the project “because it is a regional problem.”

Also attending the announcement on Tuesday were about a dozen tunnel opponents and members of the No 710 Action Committee.

Among them was Alhambra resident Melissa Michelson, who said she was disappointed to see her city focusing on the freeway option and not public transit.

“I still don’t understand why they want to have this freeway … just to close the gap,” she said. “For me, that’s not a good enough reason."

Comments to the article:

Res Ipsa Loquiter at 9:41 PM May 19, 2013 Alhambra doesn't care where the freeway goes, as long as it dumps the traffic onto its neighboring communities. Only a handful of people showed for this "event." It was done just so sleezy Alhambra politicians could get media face time.
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imhurt at 8:29 PM May 19, 2013 Finish the freeway NOW!
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buclon at 8:24 PM May 19, 2013 Simple, when the tunnel is completed...............no big rigs allowed or hefty fines.

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Res Ipsa Loquiter at 9:53 PM May 19, 2013 Not a bad idea, except the the main economic argument in favor of the tunnel (excluding Alhambra's nimbyism) is to allow trucks to run from the ports to the I-5 into the central valley and points north without having to go through downtown LA.

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LysetteOne at 8:23 PM May 19, 2013 Alhambra is not overrun with traffic.  I used to live there. Alhambra is doing fine.  Show anyone on the west side Alhambra's traffic woes and they would laugh at the crybabies talking about it with such exageration. It's a few cars twice a day.  Gives us all a break.  I also used to live in South Pasadena too and am absolutely against a freeway obilterating that community.  The 710 debate goes on and on when the answer has been obvious for decades. No 710 freeway extension. And the way CalTrans has all those properties in South Pas tied up for decades sitting vacant is criminal. This whole discussion is just ignorant.  The answer is NO.  Move along.
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mg6ninety at 7:16 PM May 19, 2013 This project should have been done 40 years ago. The rich shut it down. However the 105 freeway cut through poor neighborhoods and it was easily approved.
Two Americas, rich and the rest of us.
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raschumacher at 7:13 PM May 19, 2013 A tunnel is the best way to uncork this decades-old bottleneck.  By all means, NUMBYS, keep talking about the notion that an underground facility would bisect South Pasadena; it makes you sound hysterically silly.
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captscurvy1 at 5:07 PM May 19, 2013 this is simply another boondoggle.   go ahead - ruin your neighborhoods with smog and the sound of more traffic so dbag contractors can get rich!
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mg6ninety at 7:17 PM May 19, 2013 Those dang contractors gambling trillions of dollars and then losing and then us taxpayers bailing them out and with bonuses. How dare they.

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Hank Starr at 4:41 PM May 19, 2013 It's unfair how Alhambra has to deal with all the big rigs, cars and traffic that spill over onto its streets at the terminus of the 710 at Valley. Every other city these freeways have carved through had to sacrifice a part of their neighborhoods in the spirit of less congestion except South Pasadena. They don't want to sacrifice an inch instead they want everyone else be burdened with the freeway system.
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mg6ninety at 7:19 PM May 19, 2013 What Alhambra should do is shut down the onramp to the freeway and then divert offramp traffic to the west. The work should be done on their streets and not touch the 710. It would bring the media and attention to this decades old problem.
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Joe B at 4:40 PM May 19, 2013 Build it.  Build it now.
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Warren at 4:35 PM May 19, 2013 Because South Pasadena was able to get a no build law passed in the city the tunnel is the most logical alternative. Now South Pasadena will fight this tunnel too if Cal Trans build under the city. Building the freeway street level straight down the middle of South Pasadena would be the best solution to the problem.
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LisaPelos at 4:24 PM May 19, 2013 Looks like another case of transportation racism.

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jbh-1957 at 4:09 PM May 19, 2013 But if we connect the two freeways, thousands of cars won't be able to idle their way through South Pasadena during morning and evening rush hour.

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riffic at 4:25 PM May 19, 2013 Freeways are traffic multipliers, so if you think the existing S. Pasadena traffic is bad, just wait and see what it'd be like with a completed I-710 during those times. I'm sure you won't be singing it's praises after seeing what will happen.
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jbh-1957 at 9:02 PM May 19, 2013 Yeah, I', terrified that cars are going to worm their way out of the710  tunnels up to South Pasadena's streets.
And how crowded does Foothill Blvd get in La Canada during rush hour?
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Bull Moose Progressive at 3:44 PM May 19, 2013 For many years this connection has been denied to the growing population in Los Angeles County. Population growth and vehicle growth on the road come hand in hand. With vehicle growth comes more traffic on both local streets and freeways both contributing to the ever growing carbon footprint in our state. The 710 connection will help in someway to reduce the emmisions from vehicles stuck in gridlock. If vehicles are moving, flowing people will get to their destination somewhat quicker lowering emmisions. I disagree with the community of Pasadenas argument in opposition to extending the 710. This is a time where our state should step in use eminent domain and enforce the 710 extension. Pasadena must have an equal share of commuter responsibility and reducing carbon footprint, not just for the surrounding communities of LA COUNTY but the State of California.
We have now passed the threshold for political gridlock on the 710 extension, it is time to do what is right. It would be better if the 710 extension were put to a vote in Los Angeles County this way we can see just how many other communities disagree with Pasadena. 710 belongs to all people in California, overwhelming it takes one community to stop progress. Time to put 710 extension on the ballot.  
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bikemom1056 at 4:09 PM May 19, 2013 South Pasadena is only 3 sq miles and already has the 110 freeway (technically the Arroyo Seco Parkway bisect the city.  It would have been built decades ago but it is the ONLY city where the 710 plan does not run along the border but instead wouldl also bisect the very small city once again.  When we moved to CA and first heard about the 710, the natural route seemed to be up Garfield which was already 2 lanes in each direction to S Arroyo Pkwy (a very wide commercial street of several lanes in each direction)in Pasadena and then on to the 210   It was already apparent that the small homes on Garfield would be replaced by commercial development as it has.  So it would not not have upturned a residential neighborhood.  But apparently along the border was too close for the citizens of San Marino who like to complain that citizens of South Pasadena should not be allowed to ride freeways because they object to the completion of the 710. However, unlike San Marin o, SOuth Pasadena alreadys  supports one freeway..the Pasadena Freeway...which actually ends before it enters Pasadena.  And if you dont think that there will be instant gridlock with among other things the trucks from San Pedro I have a bridge to nowhere to sell you.
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jbh-1957 at 9:08 PM May 19, 2013 To further support Bikemom's observations, just look at how having CA 2 run along it's eastern boarder and I-210 run straight through the middle of La Canada has turned it into an industrial wasteland.
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areeda1 at 3:29 PM May 19, 2013 I look forward to completion of the 710.  It will make the north south transition of the area much better.
I would think it will decrease traffic on the surface streets considerably.
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bikemom1056 at 3:44 PM May 19, 2013 That has neveer been the case when a new freeway opens.  Th truck traffic from the Port of Long Beach will keep a lot of the traffic on surface streets.  And a great deal of the increase in traffic on streets in Alhambra is due  to commercial development and the huge number of condos replacing single family homes in the last 30 years.  That surface traffic will never change
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jackalope66 at 3:24 PM May 19, 2013 For some reason Caltrans is OK with the "2 Gap" between the 101 and the 210.  This would also be a great way for trucks to get from San Pedro.  If the problem is moving people, then it should be light rail / subway.

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Warren at 4:43 PM May 19, 2013 Actually, there is talk of extending the 2 to the 101.  I believe Metro/Cal Trans will evaluated the cost and benefit before it makes the final decision what route to take.
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thehouseofg at 3:11 PM May 19, 2013 710 fwy completion is a HUGE waste of public funding & tax dollars ... Cal-Trans & the MTA are corrupt self-serving out of control Government agencies that continue to mis-manage tax revenues & continue to mis-appropriate public funds... & BTW recent scientific environmental findings have concluded major health hazards from automotive and diesel trucking exhaust and this proposal will further poison & harm Alhambra, CSULA, Lincoln Heights, Highland Park, El Sereno, & South Pasadena populations with increased daily permanent damaging air quality ... THIS IS TRUELY A FREAKING STUPID OUTDATED IDEA

Rewriting 'I Love L.A.' for the malaise of 2013 Los Angeles

 http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-rewriting-i-love-la-for-malaise-of-2013-los-angeles-20130519,0,4648690.story

May 19, 2013

In his column Sunday, Steve Lopez laments the low voter turnout expected in Tuesday's Los Angeles mayor runoff.

In doing so, he also writes a new version of Randy Newman's classic song "I Love L.A.," set to the mood of 2013 Los Angeles:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0b5LzCOc98E


Look at that uplifted sidewalk
Look at those shabby trees
Look at that digital billboard, man
Enough of them, please
Flat tires (We love it!)
Ruptured water mains (We love it!)
Grand Canyon pot holes (We love it!)
Trash fees were tripled
405 construction won't stop
Crank up the Beach Boys, baby
Wish we could hire more cops
From the South Bay
To the Valley
From the Westside
To the Eastside
Looks like another perfect day
I love L.A.
Look at that guy's pension
Can I have one please?
Look at that poor bum
He's STILL down on his knees
Look at these candidates
Ain't no one like 'em nowhere
Century Boulevard (We love it!)
Victory Boulevard (We love it!)
Santa Monica Boulevard (We love it!)
Sixth Street (We love it! We love it!)
We were gonna vote
But we just didn't know where to go
We must admit sadly
We haven’t voted since Bradley
I love L.A. (We love it!)
Do you have some alternative lyrics? Does Steve get L.A. right? Share your comments below.


And Still More Comments to



Alhambra declares '710 Day,' reaffirms support for freeway extension

 http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-alhambra-710-freeway-extension-20130515,0,3414698.story

 

 

pasadenawatch at 10:30 PM May 18, 2013 All I'm saying is that the Honorable Barbara Messina, a long term Council person and Mayor from Alhambra has all the winning cards now. It's gonna happen case Barbara wants it. Poor Fremont St and Holy Family and St James Church. The traffic is terrible for them on the surface streets. Put a tunnel in like Boston. It's wonderful now. All the traffic is off the streets and underground. Same thing can happen here. Bike lines or the Blue Line ain't gonna get me from Long Beach to Valencia FAST. My Mustang in the tunnel will get me there in no time!  Vroom!!!!
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no710tunnel at 10:54 PM May 18, 2013 Councilmember Messina represents Alhambra, not South Pasadena, Pasadena, Glendale, Los Angeles, La Canada, La Crescenta, Sierra Madre, all cities which oppose the 7120 Freeway/Tunnel. Messina doesn't have influence in neighboring cities.
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Mimi N at 1:48 AM May 18, 2013 What a folly to celebrate the proposed extension of the 710 freeway that will ruin the quality of life in Alhambra and the surrounding cities.  Doesn't Alhambra have a better way of spending their constituent's tax dollars then trying to promote a celebration of a freeway extension?  Go ahead drink the Kool-Aid that the City of Alhambra is serving up.  If you live in Alhambra your City officials are not informing you of the negative effects of that the 710 extension will bring and the Metro EIR won't present the real or complete picture either.  They are wasting your tax dollars to try to convince you that it is a good thing and not telling you anything that is bad.  Wake up residents of Alhambra the freeway is going to create more traffic, noise and pollution.

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Glendy Orantes-Zurita at 11:27 PM May 17, 2013  A 710 freeway extension will not help decrease pollution or noise pollution. Southern CA already has too many freeways!
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Glendy Orantes-Zurita at 11:24 PM May 17, 2013 A 710 freeway extension will not help improve air pollution or noise pollution. Southern California already has enough freeways and pollution!!

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sbolan at 10:35 PM May 17, 2013 I think July 10th would be a great day for you to move out!
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sbolan at 10:33 PM May 17, 2013 Nice try Pasadena Watch  We will beat it because Metro and Caltrans are making big mistakes.  It is certainly not an ironclad EIR!  Far from it.  Pasadena City Council does not want it anymore than the rest of us but they may be limited legally.  However, they are not the only dog in the fight and we certainly have enough backing by other cities, organizations for a nice legal battle.  I suggest that you move if you don't care enough about the northeast to protect it.
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pasadenawatch at 7:46 PM May 17, 2013 Really there's no way stop the tunnel. It's gonna happen this time for sure.  Meto is preparing an iron-clad EIR.  No 710 signs aren't going to make Metro roll over. Heck even the City of Pasadena government wants it. More $ and easy access to the Rose Bowl for UCLA and NFL football, swap meets, and cash in Old Pasadena. It will take millions to mount a legal case to fight Metro and face it THAT is not going to happen. This one is not winnable. Either accept it or move now.

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no710tunnel at 11:02 PM May 17, 2013 pasadenawatch you talk tough but you haven't provided one compelling reason why the tunnel is needed. Compelling means broad public support for spending billions of dollars on this project. Sorry, UCLA and NFL games (temporary basis only) and swap meets at the Rose Bowl don't cut it. Three Pasadena City Council members and the mayor oppose any surface or tunnel extension of the 710, so you can't claim that the Pasadena government supports this boondoggle. It may end up in the courts. In the meantime you might try to find out what this project means for our neighborhoods, cities,  county, region and our environment. Such a perspective might lead to less cynical conclusionsl
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Mayor candidates on transportation: innovation vs. tried and true

L.A. mayor candidates Garcetti and Greuel have similar track records on city transportation problems, but there are a few notable differences.

 http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-mayor-transportation-20130519,0,7719588.story

 By Laura J. Nelson, May 18, 2013L.A. mayor's race: Transportation

 L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa inspects a Metrolink train in 2012. The two candidates to succeed Villaraigosa, Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, hold views similar to the mayor's on transportation, but there are a few differences in their approaches to solving problems.




During eight years in office, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa staked much of his legacy on transportation. He lobbied Washington for millions of dollars in federal funding. He oversaw the addition of 150 miles of bike lanes. And, five years ago, he won voter approval of Measure R, the countywide half-cent sales tax expected to raise more than $30 billion over 30 years for a dozen new transportation projects.

The challenge for the next mayor, experts say, will be the nuts and bolts: repaving the city's broken streets and sidewalks, completing a surge of bus and rail projects and securing more transportation funding.

Mayoral contenders Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti view transportation much like Villaraigosa, as a key cog in the machinery of a well-planned city. Each has supported a combination of bus and rail service, more economic development near transit hubs and more safeguards for bicycles and pedestrians. Both favor a Westside subway that would run under parts of the Beverly Hills High School campus and more transit options through the Sepulveda Pass.

But there are notable differences, experts say, in the candidates' approaches to transportation problem solving.

"Eric is creative and innovative," said Frank Zerunyan, a public policy professor at USC who has not publicly supported either candidate. "Wendy wants to know what will work."

A key challenge for the new mayor will be influencing decisions on the countywide Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. Neither Greuel nor Garcetti has served on the panel. The city's voting bloc often has been at odds with county representatives, who argue big rail projects do little to help other cities in the region.

Among likely L.A. city voters in Tuesday's election, nearly half said they thought policymakers should focus on public transportation, compared with 35% who favored spending on roads and freeways, according to a new poll by the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Los Angeles Times.

More respondents — 38% — said Garcetti has a plan to address the city's transportation problems, compared with 26% for Greuel. But 11% said neither had a plan and 19% didn't know. Six percent rated both candidates about the same on the question.

One measure of the new mayor, UCLA professor Martin Wachs said, will be whether she or he can find common ground on priorities with powerful county supervisors and finish big transit projects without having to incur more public debt.

"The most important thing either will do, ultimately, is make appointments to the Metro board," Wachs said. In addition to the seat held by the mayor, L.A.'s elected chief executive appoints three board members.

Zerunyan, a Greuel acquaintance, said she brings a "boardroom mentality" acquired while working in government and community affairs at DreamWorks.

Greuel's former City Council transportation deputy, Jennifer Cohen, said that when her boss was chairwoman of the council's transportation committee she listened to a wide range of groups and favored practical solutions to problems like congestion and pedestrian safety. She still emphasizes such programs as left-turn signals, filling potholes and imposing a ban on construction during rush hour.

To save money on street repairs, she suggested requiring the city to repave the streets rather than contracting out the work to private firms. She has proposed reviving a fast-track sidewalk repair program under which the city and property owners split the costs. The project, canceled in 2009 because of cost, became so popular that applicants were being turned away.

Greuel supported bus-only lanes now being built on Wilshire Boulevard and was "a critical ally at a time when we needed allies," said Sunyoung Yang of the Bus Riders Union.

Greuel — supported by Garcetti— wrote a motion that helped clear the way for L.A. County's new freeway toll lanes. Now, both candidates say they will support continuation and expansion of the lanes only if traffic flow has improved at the end of a one-year test period. Initial data for the 110 shows speeds in the non-toll lanes on the Harbor Freeway have slowed.

A plurality of likely L.A. voters, 39%, said traffic congestion is the city's most serious transportation problem, according to the USC Price/Times poll. But voters were evenly split on the new toll lanes, with 47% supporting and 47% opposed, according to the survey. More than half of voters — 58% — said they would be unwilling to pay the current tolls charged on the Harbor Freeway to reduce commute time.

Garcetti tends toward more creative fixes for the city's transportation problems, experts say. During one debate, he suggested a $1-million prize — perhaps funded by the private sector — for whomever provided the best solution to L.A.'s chronic congestion. He's also proposed high-tech "car trains" that would control speeds of groups of vehicles and increase the capacity of the region's freeways.

As a council member, he urged the city to expand support for a car-sharing program, a pedestrian coordinator and the city's first bicycle-only lanes. "Bicycling should not be an extreme sport," Garcetti has often said. And he's been a champion of denser mixed-use development near subway stations in Hollywood. Advocates say such "smart growth" helps reduce congestion by encouraging greater use of public transportation.

Both Greuel and Garcetti support extending a half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2008 and lowering the threshold for passage of such measures from a two-thirds majority to 55% of the vote.

One controversial issue the new mayor could face is choosing a contractor for the proposed Crenshaw rail line, which would connect the Expo and Green lines. Both candidates have promised to fight for a station in Leimert Park, considered a hub of African American culture in Los Angeles.

Garcetti also has promised that his Metro board appointees would include a South Los Angeles representative and a transit rider. Greuel has been less specific, saying she would make sure "South Los Angeles voices are represented on the Metro board."

Neither commitment is good enough, said Damien Goodmon of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition. "We keep pressing for more specificity," he said. "What will we see? We're close to the end, and no one is sure."
I'm Sorry, But I Cannot Decide Who the Winner Is

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/

May 19, 2013



 
                          Aaaghhhhhhhh!!!!
 Last Sunday we announced a contest, and it was our solemn intention to choose from among all of the entrees submitted and help City Hall rename the mash up of the Green Committee and the Tree Commission. The names the City had chosen were, in our opinion, coldly inadequate and hopelessly bureaucratic. I thought we could do better. And I was right. Some of the names submitted by genuine Tattler readers were better, and oftentimes are far more descriptive of what it is City Hall seems to be doing in this important matter.

Though, of course, this is to dangerously assume that City Hall knows what it is doing. Outside of telling us they're ever so busy with stuff, they haven't actually communicated any actual intentions or goals here.

This is how this contest was described a week ago today:

We have only held this contest twice in the nearly 5 year existence of the Sierra Madre Tattler. At this moment I cannot recall the reasons why we did it before, and honestly I am too lazy to go into the pile of 1,400 or so posts back there and find out what it was we thought we were doing.

But that said, today we are once again offering a 30 count box of audio music CDs from my own personal collection of thousands to the person who can come up with the best new name for the soon to be mashed up Tree Commission and Green Advisory Committee. This is your chance to be rewarded for your creative abilities, an opportunity that sadly does not come along as often as it should in adult life.

However, there is now a problem. I can't decide which one to pick. There are a number of them that I feel are very good, and I can't seem to make the final choice. An embarrassing dilemma for me. So what I am doing today is posting an A to Z list of those that I think deserve to win, and leaving the final choice up to you. A cop out I know, but what can I say. I was out late last night.

One other thing. If you do not believe that any of the A to Z are up to the honor of renaming the Green Tree Mash Up Whatever Committee-mission, and believe that you can do better, submit a new one of your own. You do know that we're hardly sticklers for arbitrary rules here at The Tattler, and we'd hardly presume to stand in the way of a sudden burst of white hot creativity on your part.

Here are the Top finalists, minus any new ones that you might wish to add today. There is no particular order to the selection, outside of the fact that this is how I typed them.

A) Buzz Lightyear Action Committee for the Preservation of All That is Natural In Sierra Madre

B) Bureaucracy Sustainability Commission (BS Commission for short)

C) The Utter Waste of Time and Resources Commission

D) Green Is Whatever Paul Alva Says It Is Commission

E) The Green Busybody and Snoop Commission

F) Pope Paul and the Bobbleheads Commission

G) Put Down That Hose Or I'll Taze You Bro Commission

H) The Sell-Out to the Sacramento and Washington Development Lobbies Me Too Commission

I) Green For Sale Commission

J) Building Industry Bosses, Development Devotees and Realtor Greenies Commission

K) The Green We Love Best Is Money Commission

L) North of Guyana Experience, Tie Me Leprechaun Down Sport, Green Behind the Rears, Gargle, Spit, Recycle, Repeat Commission

M) The Tear Out the Trees and Shrubs, Replace Them with Concrete, Asphalt, and Apartments, and then Tear Those Out and Replace Them with Trees and Shrubs Commission

N) Johnny Bummer's Empty Keg and Endless Ail Party Commission

O) The Popes of Green Witch Village Commission

P) The Buck Starts Here Commission

Q) Linda Blair and the Projectile Green Symposium

R) Zsa Zsa Grabmore & the Green Belly Achers

S) Condos Will Save the World Commission

T) Johnny Electric's Green Action Squadies

U) Composting of Sierra Madre Commission

V) Kowtow to Sacramento Commission

W) The Green Pond Scum, Transportation & Homeless Shelter Scam Committee

X) Team Never Green

Y) Bombastic Bandini and the Methane Kids Commission

Z) Cha Cha and the Recusing Heels Committee

We hope to have chosen a winner by next Sunday. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Something Inspiring to Help You Make a Caring Choice

There was an article in Time Magazine recently that discussed a new United Nations inspired concept for leading a sustainable lifestyle while availing ourselves of a seemingly endless food resource. And that is eating bugs. The article is titled Fight World Hunger by Eating Bugs, Urges U.N., and here is its six-legged essence:

It’s time to rethink our aversion to bugs-as-food, advises the United Nations in a new report. And no, not in the Man vs. Wild sense, grimacing as you dangle tiny wriggling arthropods over your chops, then mumbling the words “To my health” before chowing down. Instead, the international organization is advocating the protein-rich diet to deal with an exploding global population and growing environmental concerns.

“It is widely accepted that by 2050 the world will host 9 billion people,” write the authors of a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report titled “Edible Insects” in its introduction.

To accomodate this number, current food production will need to almost double. Land is scarce and expanding the area devoted to farming is rarely a viable or sustainable option. Oceans are overfished and climate change and related water shortages could have profound implications for food production. To meet the food and nutrition challenges of today – there are nearly 1 billion chronically hungry people worldwide – and tomorrow, what we eat and how we produce it needs to be re-evaluated. Inefficiencies need to be rectified and food waste reduced. We need to find new ways of growing food.

That is, new ways of thinking about food, namely the sort of potential nourishment Westerners routinely spend piles of money and time obliterating via exterminators, repellants, pesticides and our shoes. The report points out that insects have always been part of our diet, noting that today more than two billion people already consume insects as food and implying that the reason Westerners don’t comes down to irrational cultural distaste.

Hopefully whatever it is we finally call the Tree Green Mashup Whatever will conduct a symposium on the proper culinary preparation and presentation of insects. You know, to help you overcome your irrational Western aversion to getting your chow on over a bowl of wiggling grubs.

You can read the rest of the Time Magazine article by clicking here.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Alhambra Celebrates 710 Day!

Pasadena Sun, May 19, 2013















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Do we love L.A.? We don't always vote like it

The weather should be nice (what else?) for Tuesday's municipal election, so roll out of bed and start humming Randy Newman. Maybe we'll hit 25% turnout.

By  Steve Lopez, May 18, 2013

 

 

 100 years of L.A. elections

 The percentage of registered voters who cast a ballot in L.A.'s mayoral elections peaked in the late 1960s and has declined to historic lows, according to a Times analysis of 100 years of city election results.

No, wait, don't turn the page.

Yes, I'll admit it. This is yet another column on Tuesday's election in Los Angeles, the race half the city doesn't care about and the other half hasn't heard about, but DO NOT turn the page.

OK, I'll give you $5 to read this. All right, make it $10.

Would you stay with me for $20 if I promise Randy Newman's going to make a cameo?

Sure, you've got your reasons for tuning out. Some of you think Wendy Garcetti and Eric Greuel are the same person, so it doesn't matter which of them is the next mayor.

Wait, did I get the names wrong?

If so, how many readers would even know? Did you see our story last week that said Los Angeles has 2 million registered voters and 1.6 million of them probably won't vote?

Shameful, but it's not their fault we didn't have the sense to put the polling places at car washes, coffee shops and 24-hour fitness centers.

All right, I get it. L.A.'s too cool to vote. And to be fair, I checked the rest of the country, and we're not alone when it comes to political apathy. The turnout for local elections has been declining across the United States for several decades.

Why? Lots of reasons, from changing demographics to affluent indifference to a cynical conviction that they're all crooks anyway so why bother?

To be honest, I'm turned off myself, and insulted too.

For all the hundreds of solid stories sizing up the candidates, their records and their promises, a good chunk of people know nothing beyond what they get from mailers, TV and radio ads. And this kind of stuff is based on the notion that we're all idiots who'd believe anything we're told.

Add up all the millions of dollars spent on advertising — much of it from Super PACs — in the campaigns for mayor, city attorney, City Council and city controller, and you'll understand why a stink hangs over the city from Pacoima to Pedro.

Last week, a Greuel backer spent a couple hundred thousand dollars on a TV ad trying to convince us that Eric Garcetti is lying about being Latino. Meanwhile, Garcetti backers would have you believe that Greuel all but co-wrote Proposition 187 with former Gov. Pete Wilson, when in fact she voted against Wilson and 187.

Exaggeration, distortion, manipulation. Those have been the daily specials week after week and month after month, so, yes, I understand why the turnout was under 21% in the primary and might not be any better in the runoff.

But here's the deal: The city's many problems exist in part because City Hall is controlled by a few powerful special interests, and when fewer and fewer of us vote or pay attention to the way business is conducted at 1st and Main, those interests become even more powerful.
Last week, City Hall reporter David Zahniser had a story that beautifully explained how things work here in Chinatown, Jake.

The story explained that an advertising company that sued the city two months ago for the right to install new digital billboards in Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Glassell Park and the Fairfax district, among other places, has "financed scores of billboards for candidates in the May 21 election — 100 for mayoral hopeful Wendy Greuel, 100 for city controller candidate Dennis Zine and 20 apiece for City Council candidates Curren Price, Nury Martinez and Gil Cedillo."

And I'm not singling out those candidates, because it's not like everyone else is pure. But if at some point you're jolted awake in the middle of the night because a Dos Equis ad blasts a billion-watt beam through your window and into your bedroom, now you'll have a clue as to what happened.

And that, friends, is how just about everything works in this town. The big players at City Hall are major corporations, developers and public employee unions. And it's a never-ending picnic for lobbyists, whose jobs are made all the easier because the last time you voted it was for homecoming queen.


But I'm holding out hope.

The weather's going to be nice on Tuesday, because what else would it be? So roll out of bed, start humming Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." to yourself, and I think there's a chance we could hit 25% turnout.

Look at that uplifted sidewalk
Look at those shabby trees
Look at that digital billboard, man
Enough of them, please
Flat tires (We love it!)
Ruptured water mains (We love it!)
Grand Canyon pot holes (We love it!)
Trash fees were tripled
405 construction won't stop
Crank up the Beach Boys, baby
Wish we could hire more cops
From the South Bay
To the Valley
From the Westside
To the Eastside
Looks like another perfect day
I love L.A.
Look at that guy's pension
Can I have one please?
Look at that poor bum
He's STILL down on his knees
Look at these candidates
Ain't no one like 'em nowhere
Century Boulevard (We love it!)
Victory Boulevard (We love it!)
Santa Monica Boulevard (We love it!)
Sixth Street (We love it! We love it!)
We were gonna vote
But we just didn't know where to go
We must admit sadly
We haven’t voted since Bradley
I love L.A. (We love it!)

Metro considers adding fees to every new home, store or office building to fight congestion

 http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_23274608/metro-considers-adding-fees-every-new-home-store.html

By Steve Scauzillo, May 18, 2013

 

 

  Construction workers build new homes in the Rosedale housing project in Azusa on Dec. 10, 2012. A new fee being considered by Metro to fight congestion could add as much as $1,900 to the cost of a new home.



 
Developers in Los Angeles County are bracing themselves for a new layer of congestion fees that would add about $1,900 per new home and about $30,000 on a new Trader Joe's store,

The added fees are being considered as part of a developing Congestion Mitigation Fee Program, 10 years in the making by the county's Metropolitan Transportation Authority or Metro.

After more than 50 businesses signed a letter opposing the measure, the program suddenly was withdrawn from Wednesday's Metro Planning and Programming Committee and placed on hold.

"The Board and their staff felt that it being a complex issue, more time is needed by all to fully understand it. It will probably go back to the Board at a later date," wrote Metro spokesman Rick Jager. Though the May 23 date originally set for board approval also was withdrawn, Jager said the board had not set a new date for consideration.

The program was created in 1990 and was paired with Proposition 111 that raised the state gas tax 9 cents a gallon. The program is required to fund transit projects that will help alleviate traffic congestion caused by new development. If no program is in place, the county and 88 cities are in jeopardy of losing Prop. 111 revenue, about $83 million a year, according to Metro.

Metro had recommended each city charge a minimum fee of $200 per car trip generated by each new development. Under the minimum, Metro estimates the fee would generate up to $767 million over 20 years.

Cities have submitted wish lists containing numerous projects, from lane widenings and new freeway on- and off-ramps to traffic signalization to a $60 million grade separation proposed at a train-street intersection in Baldwin Park. If all 1,700 projects submitted by 88 cities were completed, it would cost $5.1 billion, create 60,200 jobs, and reduce the number of hours drivers sit in traffic by between 6 percent and 38 percent over 20 years, according to Metro.

Development fees are nothing new to many cities. Pasadena and Santa Monica, for example, have a sophisticated system for charging developers for roads, traffic signals, bikeways, etc. Some 22 cities in the county already impose transportation mitigation fees, while 66 cities do not, according to Metro.

If the new program was adopted, Metro would work with each city in the county to adopt a separate congestion mitigation fee schedule. Though it's not totally clear, those cities with existing fees could receive credits if the fees are adequate, according to Metro.

Members of the Los Angeles County Business Federation are opposed to the fee plan and opposition is growing. "This is a hot issue," said Judi Erickson, spokeswoman for BizFed who attended Wednesday's hearing, only to hear the matter was tabled without any discussion,
Prior to the meeting, the business group had met with Metro staff and went over the numbers. The group sees it as potentially onerous.

"We are worried about adding a fee, which would drive up costs. And we're not going to see any real change," said Holly Schroeder, chief executive officer of the Building Industry Association Los Angeles-Ventura Chapter and a BizFed member.

Others have criticized the plan, saying it is based on a 1990 law and does not take into account newer laws that reduce congestion and air pollution, such as AB 32, a greenhouse gas reduction plan, and other "smart growth" laws that prioritize developments near rail stations and bus stations to reduce commute times and air emissions.

"A plan that assesses a development and impact fee to fix some streets and build some bike paths seems out of touch," said David Grannis, president and CEO of Point C LLC, a Pasadena company. Grannis is also BizFed's transportation committee chairman.

Metro's report dated May 15 said no matter how many new laws have been passed to deal with new roads, trains, and carpool lanes, Metro is responsible under the 1990 law for developing "a congestion mitigation fee methodology" and the cities can then decide to adopt their own ordinances.

Metro Board Member and Duarte City Councilman John Fasana said he's leaning toward supporting the plan. He said extensive study by Metro supplies the link between the congestion fee plan and a possible reduction in traffic when applied regionally in all cities.

"I think it has been well-researched and is well-founded," Fasana said.

Under the minimum fee amounts spelled out in the Metro report, congestion fees would amount to: $1,876 per home, $1,150 per multi-family unit (apartment or condominium), $2.92 per square foot for retail, $2.26 per square foot for office space, $1.43 per square foot of industrial space and $2,464 per room for hotels.

BizFed members said they've heard from Metro board members who said the fees could be much, much higher.

Bill Holman, vice president of Azusa Land Partners, the group building the 1,250 Rosedale project in north Azusa, said his project's mitigation fees are already locked in under a previous agreement. But he was concerned about future developments.

At the $200 minimum congestion fee, a typical new house would generate eight car trips a day, amounting to a $1,600 congestion fee. "It all adds up," he said.

Schroeder said when one adds up all the existing fees on a new home for roads, schools, parks, etc., and adds in this one, between $25,000 and $75,000 is added to the selling price of a new home or townhome. "This is a big chunk of the price," she said.

Freeway and train watcher Bart Reed, executive director of The Transit Coalition in the San Fernando Valley, said every new project brings more traffic that must be addressed. "Everyone thinks they can have a free ride. But if you impact the community, you have to provide mitigation," Reed said. "There are lots of impacts when you build things. The business world naturally doesn't want to pay its fair share."

 

Editorial: L.A. county should slow down on fee to limit traffic

 http://www.dailynews.com/opinions/ci_23276218/editorial-l-county-should-slow-down-fee-limit

May 18, 2013

 
Sometimes it seems there's a deliberate attempt by bureaucrats to use language as off-putting as possible with the purpose of creating a wall of boredom that only the most determined or demented will take the time to penetrate.

Exhibit A: the Congestion Mitigation Fee proposal being considered by Los Angeles County's transportation officials.

This banal bureaucratic action with the clunky name is anything but boring. The county's business community is in an uproar because it would mean thousands of dollars in fees for every new house or business built.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board delayed plans to vote on the fee this week after dozens of the county's business leaders protested.

But this fee, meant to pay for ways to ease traffic, is far from dead. Metro officials say the proposal will probably come back to the board after officials take time to study it further.

If it does, it won't be trouble just for the county's business community. According to transportation officials, the congestion fees would come to about $1,876 per home (already fees account for between $25,000 and $75,000 of the purchase price for a new home). For a new businesses, it would cost between $1.43 and $2.92 per square foot. For a county that's already thought of as a tough place to do business, that's huge extra expense for every new grocery store or business space. Our delicate economy would surely
suffer.

While Metro officials are "studying" this fee, they should consider four troubling aspects:

1. It may be outdated. The congestion fee stemmed from a 1990 state law that sought to find ways to battle the growing traffic problems in the state. The Metro staff started work crafting this proposal about a decade ago. But here's a short list of what has happened since then:


  • Measure R. In 2008, voters of the county chose to invest $40 billion over 30 years via a sales tax hike to pay for transportation projects across the county. The results have been a success by any measure - an extension of the Gold Line, the opening of the Orange Line across the San Fernando Valley and the Expo Line from downtown to Culver City, just to name a few.


  • The reurbanization of cities. The central district of Los Angeles, especially downtown and Hollywood, boomed in the 2000s, with empty or low-used buildings turned into living spaces. That's what officials call "smart growth," smart because it is a key to successful public transportation.


  • Congestion-pricing toll lanes.


  • The state's landmark greenhouse gas reduction law, AB 32.
    It's unclear what the redistribution of more than $760 million over the next two decades could do to improve traffic.

    2. It funnels more money to cities. Because the MTA doesn't have the authority to levy fees, the agency would turn to cities to collect, enforce and, ultimately, spend this money. The cities in this country aren't exactly paragons of fiscal prudence. Indeed, many city officials, from the criminally corrupt officials in tiny Bell to the legally negligent leaders in gigantic Los Angeles, have used hurt taxpayer funds to benefit themselves or their political patrons. Do we want to hand over even more money to our city officials to potentially misuse?

    3. It could cause more problems than it fixes. Here's one example: City X wants to spend its fee revenue to take one of two lanes of its main thoroughfare to build a bike lane. Its next-door neighbor, City Y, chooses to spend its proceeds synchronizing traffic lights on its stretch of that same thoroughfare to speed up traffic. The result, an epic bottleneck that makes traffic even worse.

    4. It's unnecessary. About a quarter of the 89 cities in Los Angeles County already have some type of congestion mitigation fee - including Pasadena and Santa Monica. Metro shouldn't be mandating cities adopt any type of policy.

    The Metro Board should indeed study this proposal - long and hard - before deciding whether this fee will help or hurt the region's traffic.