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, September 2, 2013

Monrovia City Council Meeting Tomorrow

From Sylvia Plummer, September 2, 2013


The Monrovia City Council will meet Tuesday, September 3rd, beginning at 7:30 p.m. .  On the agenda (Consent item AR-1) is a recommended action to reaffirm a prior resolution to support the “completion” of the 710.   A representative(s) of Metro will speak at this meeting, it could be Doug Failing or someone from his staff. Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of SCAG, has also been asked to speak at this meeting.

Agenda item AR-1 is located under:

Administrative Reports

Item AR-1
Reaffirmation of Resolution No. 89-48, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Monrovia, County of Los Angeles, State of California, supporting completion of the Long Beach Freeway (State Route 710 (SR-710) Freeway.  
Staff Reference:  Laurie Lile, City Manager
Recommendation:  Adopt Resolution No. 2013-41


CALL TO ACTION:  If you have not sent an email do so.  If you can attend see information below:  

Able to Attend?

For those that can attend and speak, or just come and support those that will speak, here is the city council meeting info:

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

City Council Chambers
415 S. Ivy Avenue
Monrovia, CA  91016 

Meeting starts at 7:30pm

Public Speakers are given up to 5 minutes to speak.  

Wear No 710 T-shirt or plain Red or plain white shirt.

405 Freeway nightmare: Even the retaining walls are weeping


By Carla Hall, August 31, 2013

 Retaining wall along 405 Freeway
 An excavator scrapes away dirt as a surveyor keeps watch at an unfinished retaining wall along the 405 Freeway near Getty Center, south of Sunset, two years ago.

There’s plenty to weep over if you live near or drive around the 405 Freeway on the Westside during the seemingly endless construction project to widen it.

Now, it turns out, the freeway feels your pain and weeps along with you. Well, actually, it’s the retaining wall that keeps the hillside from cascading down onto Sepulveda Boulevard, just east of the freeway, that weeps.

For the next two weeks, crews will be working on a retaining wall -- east of the freeway -- on the east side of Sepulveda Boulevard. The task: installing weep holes.

Being one of the geeks on the 405 Construction Activity Update email string, I had to know more.
Weep holes, it turns out, are small holes that get drilled into the retaining wall to allow water to drain from the soil contained behind the wall, Erika Estrada, a Metro construction relations officer, told me. This particular stretch of wall runs from Sepulveda Way to Ovada Place.

“There’s so much to building these retaining walls — so many more components than people can see by just driving by,” says Estrada who gets excited about this stuff. Her father is a laborer working on the 405 project, so it’s kind of in her genes. “These walls are being built to outlive all of us.”

Of course, all of us who live near the 405 just don't want the construction project to outlive us; we'd like it to be finished in our lifetimes. (Date of completion is now June 2014.)

At least, the next time we're stuck in traffic on Sepulveda because of the freeway construction, we can pass the time by looking for those weep holes in the retaining wall.

California Rail Safety Month begins with a message to be safe


By Anna Chen, September 2, 2013

A simple reminder from Operation Lifesaver to kick off California Rail Safety Month: see tracks, think train – because it could save your life. While Metro has installed new safety improvements along the tracks, it’s up to you to pay attention and be responsible so you can get to where you’re going safely.

Check out the following video for examples of what NOT to do around trains.


 For the stats on accidents and Metro’s press release on Rail Safety Month, check out this previous Source post.

Proposed, But Not Built, Riverside Freeway


By JWillams, September 1, 2013

 Diagram of proposed Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, 1957.

10 in hospital after tour bus crash on way to San Diego County casino


By Tony Perry, September 2, 2013

The driver and nine passengers of a tour bus on its way to a casino in northern San Diego County were taken to a local hospital Sunday night after the bus careened off the road and crashed into trees, the California Highway Patrol said.

The accident occurred as the 1996 bus was traveling from Los Angeles to the Casino Pauma with 18 passengers, the CHP said.

The driver and passengers were taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido with "various complaints of pain." The most serious injury appeared to be a cut to the head.

The driver said the bus suffered brake failure on Pala Temecula Road near Aruba Road about 10:49 p.m., the CHP said. The bus was unable to stop while entering a curve and instead smashed into a guard rail and then collided with trees and a boulder on the right side of the road.

The passengers were from the Los Angeles area. The driver is a 58-year-old resident of El Monte.
The incident remains under investigation. Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be involved, the CHP said.

Your Labor Day Real World News Report


September 2, 2013


(Mod: As troubling as recent events here in Sierra Madre might be for some of us, the rest of the world does move on. And today I thought we'd take the opportunity to catch up with it, if only a little. Most of us have the day off, so why should we not want to take a bit of our time and see what's shaking in the real world? Not that the world here behind the Michillinda Curtain isn't any less real, mind you. If anything it could be even more so. But it is good to get out every once in a while, no matter how hot it might be. So let's do that, shall we? Just don't forget the tanning butter.)

Even violent and sex offenders released early by L.A. County Jail - Budget and overcrowding problems cause many inmates to serve as little as 40% of the time they were meant to spend in jail. (Los Angeles Times link): More jail inmates in Los Angeles County are being set free after serving only a fraction of their sentences because of budget problems and a space crunch caused by an influx of offenders now serving their terms in county jails rather than state prisons.

The releases are benefiting even inmates sentenced to jail for violence and sex crimes, with those offenders released after serving as little as 40% of the time they were meant to spend behind bars, according to Sheriff's Department records obtained by The Times under the California Public Records Act.

Other criminals are serving even shorter stints. Under the department's current policy, jailers immediately release male inmates sentenced to less than 90 days and female offenders sentenced to less than 240 days.

So far this year, the Sheriff's Department has released more than 23,000 inmates before their jail terms were up, a sharp increase over recent years. During all of 2012, the county released 26,000 inmates early, according to department records. In 2011, the number was about 15,700.

The early releases have raised concerns among some on the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Gloria Molina accused Sheriff Lee Baca of cutting the time inmates serve "willy-nilly" and of failing to explain his rationale to the board. In an interview Friday, Molina said the early releases do a disservice to the victims of crime.

"Everybody wants to make sure their neighborhood is safe," she said. "I don't think people in the general public have any idea that [criminals] are not serving as much time as possible."

(Mod: Public safety seems to be less of a priority these days. Apparently government here is owned by special interests, and the public isn't particularly special. The again, look at who the public elects. We could be talking about a karmic reward here.)

The Indebted States of America - States and localities owe far, far more than their citizens know. (City Journal link): Maria Pappas, the treasurer of Cook County, Illinois, got tired of being asked why local taxes kept rising. Betting that the answer involved the debt that state and local governments were accumulating, she began a quest to figure out how much county residents owed. It wasn’t easy. In some jurisdictions, officials said that they didn’t know; in others, they stonewalled. Pappas’s first report, issued in 2010, estimated the total state and local debt at $56 billion for the county’s 5.6 million residents. Two years later, after further investigation, the figure had risen to a frightening $140 billion, shocking residents and officials alike. “Nobody knew the numbers because local governments don’t like to show how badly they are doing,” Pappas observed.

Since Pappas began her project to tally Cook County’s hidden debt, she has found lots of company. Across America, elected officials, taxpayer groups, and other researchers have launched a forensic accounting of state and municipal debt, and their fact-finding mission is rewriting the country’s balance sheet. Just a few years ago, most experts estimated that state and local governments owed about $2.5 trillion, mostly in the form of municipal bonds and other debt securities. But late last year, the States Project, a joint venture of Harvard’s Institute of Politics and the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government, projected that if you also count promises made to retired government workers and money borrowed without taxpayer approval, the figure might be higher than $7 trillion.

Most states have restrictions on debt and prohibitions against running deficits. But these rules have been no match for state and local governments, which have exploited loopholes and employed deceptive accounting standards in order to keep running up debt. The jaw-dropping costs of these evasions have already started to weigh on budgets; as the burden grows heavier, taxpayers may decide that it’s time for a new fiscal revolt.

(Mod: Yes, and can we please start today?)

Plan Bay Area: Telling People What To Do (New Geography link): The San Francisco area’s recently adopted Plan Bay Area may set a new standard for urban planning excess. Plan Bay Area, which covers nearly all of the San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Vallejo and Napa metropolitan areas, was recently adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). This article summarizes the difficulties with Plan Bay Area, which are described more fully in my policy report prepared for the Pacific Research Institute (Evaluation of Plan Bay Area).

Plan Bay Area would produce only modest greenhouse gas emissions reductions, while imposing substantial economic costs and intruding in an unprecedented manner into the lives of residents. The Plan would require more than three quarters of new residences and one third of net additional employment to be located in confined "priority development areas." These measures have been referred to as “pack and stack” by critics. The net effect would be to virtually ban development on the urban fringe, where the organic expansion of cities has occurred since the beginning of time.

(Mod: Pretty great Wendell Cox article. Should you check out the rest of this one I think you'd find it to be pretty eye opening. Remember, the state central planning and development apparatus is doing this one region at a time. We are next.)

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person (Slate link): You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)

So, how would this work exactly? It’s simple! Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.

And parents have a lot of power. In many underresourced schools, it’s the aggressive PTAs that raise the money for enrichment programs and willful parents who get in the administration’s face when a teacher is falling down on the job. Everyone, all in. (By the way: Banning private schools isn’t the answer. We need a moral adjustment, not a legislative one.)

There are a lot of reasons why bad people send their kids to private school. Yes, some do it for prestige or out of loyalty to a long-standing family tradition or because they want their children to eventually work at Slate. But many others go private for religious reasons, or because their kids have behavioral or learning issues, or simply because the public school in their district is not so hot. None of these are compelling reasons. Or, rather, the compelling ones (behavioral or learning issues, wanting a not-subpar school for your child) are exactly why we should all opt in, not out.

(Mod: Great idea. Your kids first. And thanks!)

Protesters take to downtown L.A. streets to denounce Obama’s Syria strike plan (Los Angeles Daily News link): Hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Los Angeles streets Saturday afternoon to denounce proposed military action in Syria.

The group condemned President Barack Obama’s decision to ask Congress to approve strikes in the Middle Eastern country, and many argued any action against the regime of Bashar al Assad would lead to a long-term war that wasn’t in the best interests of the United States.

“Why doesn’t he feed the women and children at home before he goes to hurt women and children in Syria?” Deva Fletcher asked. “And this would hurt the Syrian people, not help them. In a war the women and children would be the most affected and I can’t support it.”

Fletcher also said there hasn’t been enough evidence given to the American people that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its citizens, despite the first hand accounts from United Nations inspectors.

“We need to see the canisters of what was sprayed,” she said, and called into question the reliability of the U.N. inspectors. “We need an independent investigation. They’re not independent. We need information from someone that isn’t backed by any government.”

Other protesters echoed her sentiments about the veracity of the reports coming out about the war-torn country and the cost to the U.S.

(Mod: Back in the day I changed my voter registration from Republican to Democrat when George W. Bush launched his completely useless vanity war in Iraq. Not that all but one Congressional Democrat didn't go along with Junior, but I had to do something to express my annoyance. Unfortunately this time I cannot change my voter registration from Democrat to "Decline to State" because I've already done that. Which has also presented me with a kind of dilemma. How can you protest the actions of a completely amok national government by changing your registration from "Decline to State?" I seem to have backed myself into a corner.)

Now Rolling Stone worships Jerry (Cal Watchdog.com link): The East Coast media, ever ignorant of California, keep worshiping Gov. Jerry Brown and his supposed “rescue” of California. The latest is from Rolling Stone magazine, which started out in San Francisco but moved to New York City 35 years ago. Tom Dickinson writes:

"As wind turbines spin like massive, inverted egg-beater blades against the bluest California sky, Jerry Brown steps into the sun. Since he took office in 2011, Brown’s hawklike brow has been cemented in a scowl as he battled to stave off bankruptcy for the Golden State. But as he high-steps to the microphone today, the 75-year-old governor is loose and smiling. Soon he’s riffing about his first stint in Sacramento in the 1970s as 'Governor Moonbeam,' joking of the nickname, 'I earned it with a lot of hard work!'"

Brown has come to a warehouse district just south of Oakland to cut the ribbon on the Zero Net Energy Center – the first large-scale commercial building in the nation to be retrofit to consume no more energy than it produces. With function following form, the building will house a green-energy training program, where apprentice electricians will earn union wages while learning to install things like solar-power inverters and electric-car charging stations.

Dickinson might have wandered over to Oakland’s less savory areas; something fabled RS reporter Hunter S. Thompson certainly would have done. But then, he might have been mugged, because Oakland’s high crime rate has been soaring. The Chronicle reported in June:

“With nearly 12 robberies a day and murders, rapes and assaults all on the rise, Oakland is the Bay Area’s crime hot spot – but new FBI statistics show that the city is far from alone in confronting rising mayhem.”

(Mod: Look at it this way, if we elect him again by the time his second term is over Jerry will be 80. At which time he will be able to reinvent himself one more time. Probably as Yoda.)

That is it for today. I hope I haven't cheered you up too much. It's not good for you.