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Thoroughly Modern Bob – Coming to a Legislature Near You!

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE-Thoroughly Modern Millie was a Tony Award winner. State Senator Bob Hertzberg is rolling out his own sequel. The only problem is the production cost. Actually, the real problem is we will be the ones bankrolling it if Bob gets the green light. It is the most expensive tax scam concocted, more than California HSR. I’m talking…

Elite Girls School Has Brentwood Up in Arms … Over Traffic

John Schwada
INSIDE LA-Hairdresser Mikell Powell is walking her two dogs in Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard just across the street from the Archer School for Girls (photo left). “I’m opposed to anything that would make driving on Sunset here anymore hellish than it already is,” Powell says as her dogs tug on their leashes. No question: there’s a 1.2 mile…

Homeless LA: Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

Mike Bonin
WHO WE ARE-In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has – yet the problem is still getting worse. Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people – a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout…

Can LA Afford Another Olympics?

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Boston bailed on hosting the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) that would have put Beantown (and possibly the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) on the hook for any cost overruns associated with this 17 day extravaganza. But Walsh’s refusal to…

The Petty Hypocrisy of Mandatory Ethics Training

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-As a member of a neighborhood council board, I am required by state law to do 2 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Elected officials such as members of the City Council are also required to take this training. The curious thing about our California ethics rules is that they prohibit the small stuff while looking the other way…

Los Angeles: Brown lives Matter!

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-According to the Los Angeles Times, over the last five years in LA County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino. The Times raises an…

Grading the LA Times: Mike Feuer’s B+ Leaves Something Out

Noel Weiss
OTHER VOICES-Reading the LA Times’ Report Card grade of B+ for City Attorney Mike Feuer, it was good to see at least a 'hat-tip' to the issue of whether the City Attorney really is the “attorney for the people.” But their conclusion seems to be that he is not, and I believe that is wrong. Exactly who does the City Attorney represent? Certainly, he…

Beverly Hills Pounds Final Nail in Bike Lanes Coffin

Mark Elliot
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-If you expected that Beverly Hills might install bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard when reconstructing it next year, you will be sorely disappointed to know that City Council just pounded the final nail into the bike lanes coffin. City Council split on the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendation to expand…

Helter Skelter, Murder and the Looming Race War

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-In one of our last conversations before his death earlier this year, author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lamented that while he had successfully imprisoned Charles Manson, he feared he had only made a dent in the threat of an apocalyptic race war that the mass murderer had hoped to ignite. “Madness and mad men,” said Bugliosi,…


Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.

You’re gonna cry! Kids sing to teacher with cancer

Scarrrry! The Flying Gun

Kid Stuff! Full of chuckles

LADWP Rates Overview







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