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LOS ANGELES Sunday, July 5th 2015 10:30

 OUR 4TH OF JULY DIFFERENCES

The Declaration of Independence Meant Something Different to America’s Not So Independent Slaves

Amy Goodman
WHO WE ARE-“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” asked Frederick Douglass (photo above) of the crowd gathered at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, NY, on July 5, 1852. “I answer,” he continued, “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which lie is the constant victim. To him,…

Trumping Trump: Shun the Donald, Boycott His Palos Verdes Golf Course

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-I believe that it's really Donald Trump's hair. I seem to be unique in this belief. It's nice to be unique in some way, but what bothers me is that I have also been nearly unique, until now, in arguing that Trump should be shunned and boycotted. But times change. It's been a traumatic week both for Donald Trump and for the…

LA’s Sidewalks: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City of Los Angeles is expected to spend $1.4 billion over the next 30 years to repair our sidewalks pursuant to a Settlement Agreement involving the Willits class action lawsuit that alleged that the City was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the yet to be disclosed Settlement Agreement appears to…

Is It Really a Golden State or Is It Just One of Those Hollywood Illusions?

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-Is Los Angeles really part of a Golden State or is it a place to remember as you move to greener pastures? I pose this question following my recent visit to Chicago and other cities east of the Rockies. My travels to the east coast were part of my reserve LAPD duty. I was part of the group of LAPD Reserve Officers escorting the…

Want to Save The Bullet Train, Governor … Get Better Bullet Points!

Ken Alpern
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-George W. Bush had Iraq. Barack Obama has ObamaCare. And Jerry Brown has HIS bullet train. Not OUR bullet train, mind you, but HIS bullet train. And like Iraq, and like ObamaCare, the bullet train that was meant to help all of us, and which was promoted with great fanfare and wonderful intentions, has to survive the test of…

LA: Hit-and-Run Capital of the World May Be Getting an Alert System

Damien Newton
LA’S STREETS - After last week’s warning that CA Assemblymember Mike Gatto’s legislation to create a “Yellow Alert” system was imperiled by Senate Transportation and Housing Committee staff and the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) objections, there was a feeling of a looming showdown before today’s committee hearing. Assembly Bill 8 would create…

LA’s Citywide Sign Ordinance: By, For and Of Special Interests

Barbara Broide
IRATE PRIVATE CITIZEN’S OPEN LETTER-I write this letter not as a representative of my local homeowners association or neighborhood council, both of which have come out in support of the sign ordinance that limits new signage to sign districts in specified commercially zoned areas and who seek enforcement of and the issuance of citations to signs…

Now Is the Time For True Courage

Abby Zimet
FURTHER-Britanny 'Bree' Newsome - the filmmaker, organizer, activist and aspiring Super-Woman who memorably, determinedly climbed the flagpole at South Carolina's capitol to remove the Confederate flag - has spoken out for the first time about her feat, which she views "both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power…

When Did the American Civil War Really End and … Did Shenandoah Really Save the Whales?

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE - When did the American Civil War end? Could it really have been late June or early November of 1865? April 9, 1865 is the date widely accepted, and for good reason: it marked the surrender of General Lee’s army at Appomattox, Virginia. It was a foregone conclusion that other field commands would quickly follow suit. In fact, they did,…

 

  • Costco: Free Range Liars!

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS POLITICS-Eight years ago grocery retailer Costco (COST) pledged to transition out of using eggs from chickens in small cages to cage free…
  • 10 Things Over-Thinkers Are Tired Of Over-Thinking

    Lindsay Holmes
    WELLNESS-While writing this intro, I deleted the first paragraph approximately six times. My thoughts ranged from "Just get to the point already" to…
  • Can Procrastination Give You a Heart Attack?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-A study posted in the journal of behavioral medicine linked procrastination with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Specifically…



Sun Jul 05, 2015 @ 5:00PM - 09:00PM
Twilight in the Garden: Little Tokyo Concert Series
Thu Jul 16, 2015 @12:00AM
LA Equality Awards RSVP
Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth


Fail! Fail! Americans don’t know why we celebrate the 4th of July

Awwww! Tornado separates dog and owner … dog waits!

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Voters Don’t Trust State to Build High-Speed Rail

CALWATCHDOG - Californians don’t want to pay for high-speed rail, nor do they trust the state government to build it, despite the aggressive push from Gov. Jerry Brown.
A new poll found that the majority of voters have buyers’ remorse when it comes to High-Speed Rail.

A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found that 59 percent of voters would oppose building high-speed rail if the measure was placed on the ballot again.

Yet Brown announced on Friday that California’s strict environmental laws could be bypassed in order to build the train system. The mandatory Environmental Impact Report for the train system is not complete, and current law calls for certified Environmental Impact Reports for each segment of the system.

Brown’s announcement collided with the filing of an environmental lawsuit by Central Valley farmers and farm groups in state Superior Court. The farm groups include the Madera and Merced county farm bureaus as well as Madera County, and are seeking a preliminary injunction to stop rail construction.

There are already several lawsuits against the high-speed rail project, and several more Central Valley agriculture groups are planning to sue.

The poll


On Sunday a press teleconference was held to discuss the latest public opinion poll on high-speed rail. Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said the results were very striking, especially with Brown’s hard push to get the project started.

Support for the project appears to be coming primarily from labor unions, which would greatly benefit from the rail construction projects. Even with union leaders’ support, 56 percent of union employees now reject the state funding plan, according to the poll.

But voters find the concept “a bit of a luxury,” according to Schnur, as only 5 percent of poll respondents said they would even use the rail monthly, and “zero percent said they would use it weekly.” Most respondents said they would not use high-speed rail at all, preferring to drive or fly when traveling in the state.

Schnur said that the poll was not divided along party lines or ethnicity. Most voters said they don’t want the statewide project to be built using taxpayer funds, and would prefer that any transportation funds be spent on local transit projects.

Voters were more concerned about the economic future of the state, according to Schnur, and lack confidence in government to execute the construction of high-speed rail properly.

High-speed rail redux


Fifty-five percent of the voters want the bond measure put back on the ballot, and 59 percent say they would vote against it.

The cost to build the rail project has more than doubled since the bond measure was passed in 2008.

In the hands of the Legislature

Without another ballot measure to vote on, the future of high-speed rail rests in the hands of the Legislature. Lawmakers can choose to fund the project, or not.

But despite pressure from Brown and labor unions, state lawmakers are feeling heavy pressure from constituents to withhold funding of the rail project.

If voters “connect the dots” between a tax increase and spending on a controversial bullet train, “it could completely undermine support for Brown’s initiative,” said Schnur during the teleconference.

Schnur said that Brown sees himself as a visionary and believes that California needs the high-speed train as key component of the state’s infrastructure in the future.  But he also said that it’s voters who don’t want to spend the money right now to build the train.

The $240 round-trip fare is another reason voters appear skeptical of the plan, especially with low-cost airfare available.

Proposition 1A Mandates

With Brown’s latest push to get construction of high-speed rail started, mandates from the original 2008 ballot measure   seem all but forgotten:

* The California High-Speed Rail Authority must have all of the funding ahead of time, before any construction starts on a new segment.

* The high-speed train system must operate on its own entirely, and in the black. That means operating profitably, and includes caveats of no government subsidy. But the current plan unrealistically relies heavily on a projection of 100 million users by 2030, a notion that was created with manipulated data.

* Prop. 1A stipulates 11 requirements that must be met before funds can be released for the construction of a “corridor” or “usable segment.”  Specifically, some of these requirements include actual high-speed train service, ridership, revenue projections and planned passenger service.

Environmental guidelines


Brown’s meeting on Friday included several leading environmental organizations. With California Environmental Quality Act laws being tossed out for this project, injunctive relief will also be banned, according to rail expert Rich Tolmach, impacting all of the lawsuits.

Tolmach said that superficial, one-page program Environmental Impact Reports will become the only required environmental documents. Project EIRs can be anything, Tolmach said, don’t have to be tied to program work, and can be revised without consequences. Piece mealing will become completely legal. This will not just apply to Merced-Fresno or Merced-Bakersfield, but to the entire state for the duration of the project, said Tolmach.

Bypassing environmental laws appears to be the wave of the future by state lawmakers for pet projects. Last September, Los Angeles legislators jammed a bill through the Legislature allowing a Los Angeles stadium to be built without adhering to California’s strict environmental laws.

Voters should be concerned because it appears that Brown is doing the same thing with high-speed rail in order to provide the union jobs he obviously promised he would deliver. Voters need to ask if Brown can legally bypass state laws and stop lawsuits, or if he is just running roughshod over the process in order to deliver to the unions.

(Katy Grimes writes for CalWatchdog.com where this article first appeared.)
–cw

Tags: Katy Grimes, California High Speed Rail, CHSR, Environment, voters, Superior Court, farmers, Merced County, Governor Brown, lawsuits







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 45
Pub: June 5, 2012





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