Last updateThu, 21 May 2015 9pm

LOS ANGELES Sunday, May 24th 2015 4:13


  • WHO WE ARE-Women did it again. The annual Memorial Day tradition of placing flowers on graves of fallen soldiers was begun by women in the South after the Civil War. Who knew? Who now remembers that it was originally Decoration Day? Or that it is a day to decorate the graves of soldiers who fought for a better future. Memorial Day is a great deal…
  • 453 Days Later...

    Tom Rubin
    OFFENSIVE BUT PROTECTED SPEECH-Welcome news this week from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. By a vote of 11 to 1, the court overturned its injunction against the controversial video called "Innocence of Muslims" that it had ordered off YouTube back in February 2014. Here's the background. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia (photo below) was…
  • What LA Educators Should Learn From Bell Gardens High School’s Shocking Turnaround

    Jay Mathews
    VOICES FROM THE SQUARE-Bell Gardens High School in east Los Angeles County was a sorry mess when science teacher Liz Lowe arrived in 1989. It was overflowing with trailer classrooms and graffiti. More than 3,000 students crowded into school buildings surrounding a concrete quadrangle with patches of grass and some trees. Expectations were low. Not…
  • The Clean Sweep Election Finally Happened

    Bob Gelfand
    GELFAND’S WORLD- A few years ago, a group calling itself Clean Sweep argued that the voters of Los Angeles should defeat all the incumbents and replace them with fresh blood. On Tuesday, the results came close. There are two distinct lessons, one of which is quite ominous for elected officials. This election demonstrated the end of voter patience…
  • What Did Tuesday’s LAUSD Election Results Prove?

    Paul Hatfield
    PERSPECTIVE-Did the LAUSD election results signal a change for charter schools? Perhaps. Possibly. Maybe. You can make a decent case that Ref Rodriguez’s victory in District 5 points to strong support for charters. It was a battle between two well-funded candidates with diametrically opposed views on the issue. The effectiveness and fairness of…
  • (Train)ing Ourselves to Confront Modern Mass Transit

    Ken Alpern
    GETTING THERE FROM HERE-It's great to learn that Metro has an excellent new CEO with the hiring of Phillip A. Washington who comes to us from Denver. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Roger Snoble and Art Leahy, Mr. Washington has a first-rate reputation to maintain--but his first job will be to pass Measure R-2. Measure R-2 (perhaps…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…


  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…

Memorial Day 2015- Freedom Isn’t Free

J. Cole raps on the Letterman show: “Be Free’

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before









What Would, Could or Should An Extended Measure R Do?

ALPERN AT LARGE - Governor Brown’s State of the State address can be summarized in a few key bullet points:  we’re in a world of hurt, painful (very painful!) cuts need to be made, the budget won’t be balanced without more revenue, and the need to scale back government needs to be weighed against public works projects that would provide jobs and infrastructure for the state to rebuild (LINK).

A host of other issues remain unaddressed (the role of corporate state residents, the fiscal impacts of illegal aliens, the lopsided number of welfare recipients in our state, pension reform, and other issues), and they might prevent the voters from approving more taxes, but it’s clear that the contrast of our state versus our local transportation planning is stark.

In particular, the concerns surrounding our bullet train appear to be:  We spent a lot on planning, there might be a few glaring flaws about the estimated costs of the train as well as the road/freeway/airport alternatives, and yet it’s still necessary (LINK).  The potential for conflicts of interest and bait and switch appear to be profound, if not fatal, for voters to continue pushing forward with this project.

On the other hand, the complaints that surround the Measure R projects appear to be mostly in the form of “they’re not enough, and the funding is coming in too slow”.  Hence, we have the timely efforts of Assemblymember Mike Feuer to extend the revenue collecting timeframe for at least another ten years, and to legally expedite Measure R projects.

The purpose of Feuer’s legislative efforts is to ensure that the Measure R projects (which, unlike the California High Speed Rail Project, or CAHSR, enjoy a greater transparency and consensus than just about any major transportation effort in the nation) are built faster by using future tax collections as revenues against which to sell bonds, and to address cost overruns in our Measure R projects.

Unlike the CAHSR project, these cost overruns of the Measure R projects have yet to cause the intense voter acrimony against the governmental entity planning and constructing them (Metro).  The engineering, legal, bureaucratic and other delays/fiscal problems have been vigorously confronted by Metro, and by the Expo and Gold Line Construction Authorities.

And with the opening of Phase One of the Expo Line to Culver City this year, the fruits of years of labor appear to be a tangible reality.  Should that be a heavily-ridden line, it cannot help but promote more money and efforts to finishing the other Measure R projects sooner, and not later.

So what would, could or should an accelerated and/or extended Measure R do?

1) Expedite and even add to our local freeway widening/upgrading efforts:  the I-405, I-605, SR-60, I-5 and a host of other freeway projects are moving forward but they can’t be finished fast enough.  Furthermore, perhaps some more Measure R money would attract state and federal money to consider other projects, such as widening the I-5 from the 605 to the 710 freeways.

2) Add more money to street repairs, sidewalk repairs, bicycle lane creation, and other related public works

3) Make sure that the Expo Line Authority has necessary financial and legal cushions should engineering or lawsuit surprises potentially risk delaying this line, which is virtually a widening of the I-10 freeway capacity between Santa Monica, West L.A., Culver City, Mid-City and Downtown L.A.  Phase 2 to Santa Monica efforts are moving rapidly, old structures and rail ties are being quickly removed, and a two-year opening delay that plagued Phase 1 to Culver City likely will not be repeated.

4) While many (including myself) believe it’s a good thing that Governor Brown abolished Community Redevelopment Agencies, there were a few good projects (such as the Foothill Gold Line railcar maintenance yard in Monrovia) that have been put in jeopardy.   The Foothill Gold Line is to the I-210 freeway as the Expo Line is to the I-10 freeway, and both the maintenance yard and an extension of the light rail line as far east as possible is needed for funding from Metro.

5) The biggest flaw in the Green Line to LAX Project is the profound lack of funding that was assigned to it:  $200 million is a nice but glaringly insufficient start, and additional funding is inevitable to make sure it’s elevated and trenched to please the FAA and Metro, to say nothing of the likelihood that Metro will need to work with LA World Airports to add to a connecting LAX People Mover to serve the Century Blvd. Corridor between the Crenshaw/Green Lines and the central airline terminals at LAX.

6) Any additional or expedited funding for the Downtown Light Rail Connector and Wilshire/Purple Line Extension Subways would be as critical to serve the Wilshire Blvd. and Downtown commercial cornerstones of L.A. County as is more funding for the aforementioned Green Line/Century Blvd./LAX rail projects to serve the LAX/Century Blvd. commercial corridor.

7) Finally, the option of reconsidering rail projects, both old and new, would and could and should be enabled by an expedited/expanded Measure R effort.  In particular, the question of whether a southeast L.A. County rail line should be pursued, or shelved in favor of a revisitation of the eastern extension of the Green Line to proceed underground at Norwalk and connect with the Norwalk Metrolink station.  Such a project would provide an important option for L.A., Orange and Riverside County commuters who have no choice but to use the SR-91 and I-105 freeways.

Sacramento and Washington are still sources of matching revenue, despite their fiscal miseries, but setting and underlying the tone for Measure R projects (which, unlike most projects are vetted and enjoy consensus) is something that state and federal politicians want to be part of as much as city/county elected leaders.

After all, the fiscal agonies of the early 21st Century are not mutually exclusive to the equally vital opportunities that the voters and taxpayers want to pursue as well.

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Vice Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at   The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)




Vol 10 Issue 6
Pub: Jan 19, 2012