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LOS ANGELES Tuesday, August 4th 2015 2:56

 LA'S UPSET NEIGHBORHOODS

People are Pissed! Can a Revolution be Far Behind

Dick Platkin and George Abrahams
LA IN MOTION-Throughout LA’s vast 500 square miles are many self-identified neighborhoods. Ninety-six of them have formed official Certified Neighborhood Councils (CNCs), as established by the Los Angeles City Charter. But, the real number of neighborhood groups is much larger, and they reflect tremendous differences in concerns, demographics,…

Exposed: Guess Who’s Leading the LAUSD Witch Hunt Against Teachers

Leonard Isenberg
CONSIDER THIS-How is it that the LAUSD's go-to outside law firm Sedgwick L.L.P. (that was embroiled in the Miramonte scandal and sanctioned for covering up evidence) is running teacher investigations, teacher jail, and the current witch hunt against nationally acclaimed teacher Rafe Esquith? As CityWatch has previously reported, LAUSD's latest…

DWP Ratepayers Facing Billions of $$$ in ‘Taxes’ Over the Next Five Years

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Over the next five years, the Ratepayers of our Department of Water and Power will be hit up for over $3.7 billion in taxes by City Hall as a result of the combined 20% levy on the power portion of our DWP bimonthly bill. And this does not include the billion dollar-plus price tag associated with the IBEW Labor Premium and its overly…

Politics: Let's Say Goodbye to the Snark

Ken Alpern
POLITICS FOR GROWN-UPS--It's been so long since the terms "liberal" and "conservative" were considered decent and honorable that probably most readers don't even know that they once were perfectly fine labels to bear with pride and respect. Ditto with respect to "Democrat" or "Republican". Yet after not one but two presidential eras where the…

Gang Wars: Don’t Just Send Cops to South LA

Ken Stone
URBAN PERSPECTIVE--With stepped-up police patrols continuing in South Los Angeles, community groups and clergy called on city and county officials Friday to bolster resources for gang-intervention programs and services for at-risk youth and adults. Twitter meme about Los Angeles gang violence.The groups spoke out in response to a wave of violence…

They Love Us This Much

Rick Risemberg
LA’S NEIGHBORHOODS--Yes, the photo is of a hole. Specifically, an incipient sinkhole on Hauser Boulevard where it runs through Park La Brea. It is about eight inches deep. It has been guarded for over a year by its faithful traffic cone. A companion pit behind it suffered the usual indignity of a half-baked cold-patch repair, and is now itself…

Latinos: More Concerned about the Environment than Average Americans

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-Yes it’s true, according to recent polls, Americans of Latino descent are more worried about the quality of our air, water and the alarming effects of climate change already impacting our country, than the average American. Anyone who says that Latinos are only concerned with immigration doesn’t understand the complexity of…

Hey, Councilman Koretz … Westwood is for Bikes Too!

Joel Epstein
DEAR PAUL--LA City Councilman Paul Koretz that is. Say it ain't so! How sobering to read in the LA Times and The Daily Bruin that you now not only oppose bike lanes on Westwood Blvd but also want to strike the planned lanes from the City's Mobility Plan. Such a move would be totally unprecedented and would reverse nearly a decade of bicycle…

Could Molly Knight Be Vin Scully’s Successor?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-For almost four decades, my summers have been passed listening to Vin Scully religiously, bemoaning the cutback in his announcing schedule and, I suppose, unconsciously preparing myself for that day when Vinny calls it a career. I am also one of those baseball fans who wears headphones and listens to Scully call a game on the…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Korea Was Made in China.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

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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