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Special to CityWatch: Can Jorge Ramos Save The American Immigrant Dream?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA- President Barack Obama’s disappointing failure to champion immigration reform, what The Washington Post called his “immigration train wreck,” may be the consummate example of the failure of the Obama presidency on Latino issues. It is also a tell-tale sign of the potential trouble the Democratic Party could find itself in…

Museum Row’s Billion Dollar Block Party

Tim Deegan
EXCLUSIVE TO CITYWATCH--City planners, developers, community members and other stakeholders are having a block party in the Miracle Mile: no champagne but plenty of stress served to order, depending on who you're aligned with. Issues with development: take a seat. Raising hundreds of millions of dollars for development, take several seats. Here…

What Is It About The Homeless That Makes Us So Angry?

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD--It was a long public hearing at my neighborhood council the other night. Outraged, obviously frightened homeowners were pitted against advocates for the homeless. At least that's how it started, but it's not how it ended. It's curious, but in this contentious culture of ours, it turned out to be possible to have a meeting of the…

Kill the Transit Tax, Kill the Olympics

Ken Alpern
ALPERN AT LARGE-You know, it's indeed possible that there will be enough voters who won't remember (or care about) the current shenanigans and budget games in the City of LA--enough to allow a 2/3 vote to pass a new sales tax measure in November 2016. Then again, maybe enough voters will remember, and the initiative will (like its predecessor…

Headlines Don’t Lie – LA Needs Leadership

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-I’m talking to you as a man who policed Los Angeles streets for over 30 years and established policy for another 14 years -- two years as an elected Charter Reform Commissioner and 12 years as an elected Los Angeles City Councilman. Take a look at the latest Los Angeles News and Breaking Headlines. They tell a frightening story…

Airbnb Just Floats by the PLUM Committee

Tony Butka
THE CITY-I was going to do my usual flip and cynical kind of a piece on the Airbnb hearing, but the issue is too important, and just maybe, all is not lost. The Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee hearing was scheduled in the Public Works Hearing Room, but so many people attended that they had to move it to City Council Chambers…

Bikeshare Comes to Los Angeles … Sort Of

Richard Risemberg
WAITING ON LA--Here’s photographic confirmation that bikeshare has arrived in LA: Not the City of Los Angeles, though; not quite yet. That’s a live bikeshare station in Santa Monica, on Main Street, next to one of the two bike corrals that grace the block south of Ashland. (There’s another and very busy bike corral two blocks north.) This is a…

The Summer of My Discontent ... LA Version

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN--I think there is such a thing as the "Dog Days of Summer" since my usual sunny disposition ... glass half full demeanor ... seems to be out of sorts of late. There is a litany of things that are annoying me, aside from the heat. I am disappointed in our local government ... not all of them, but a majority. Like many of you I studied the…

Marilyn Who? Ask Councilman Krekorian or Mayor Garcetti

Richard Lee Abrams
PRESERVATION POLITICS-Who doesn’t like Marilyn Monroe? Councilmember Krekorian, that’s who! Why else would Councilmember Paul Krekorian support the demolition of one of the most significant homes of Marilyn Monroe? With the blessings of Mayor Garcetti, who believes in eradicating as much of Hollywood’s history as possible, and with the support of…





Record Breaking! Josh Groban sings Trump


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

The Ridley-Thomas Motion is “Pork Barrel Spending?” Seriously?

EXPO LINE DEBATE - Characterizing the motion by County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to underground the one-mile portion of the Crenshaw-LAX Line in Park Mesa Heights and return the Leimert Park Village station to the light rail project that failed at the May 26th Metro board meeting, as “pork barrel spending” is astonishing to say the least.

Undergrounding the train at Crenshaw/Slauson, an intersection that currently functions at the worst possible level of congestion (level of service “F”), an intersection that currently has more cars traveling across it than Wilshire/Western is “pork barrel spending?”

Undergrounding the train at Crenshaw/57th Street, right next to View Park Prep School, an intersection that the California Public Utilities Commission staff recommended for grade separation is “pork barrel spending?”

Returning the Leimert Park Village station to the rail project, an international cultural destination that Metro staff states would generate the third-most riders of any station along the line, behind only the LAX station and the Expo Line-Crenshaw Line junction station, is “pork barrel spending?”

Give us a break!

Far from “pork barrel spending,” the Ridley-Thomas motion sought to correct Metro staff’s shortsighted and illogical recommendations to bypass a major international destination and build street-level trains across busy Crenshaw Blvd. intersections for the next 100 years, in the process killing the last African-American business corridor in Southern California and our plans for economic revitalization.

Perhaps the public shouldn’t be surprised that Metro staff has proposed such a ridiculous thing.  This is after all an agency that built a train line that doesn’t go to the airport and recently cut bus service in the name of improving bus service.

But there is a bigger problem with characterizing Ridley-Thomas’ motion as “pork barrel spending” and it isn’t limited to Robert Leabow’s commentary, (link) it also could be heard in the statements of some board members at the May 26th Metro meeting.  That problem is a convenient ignorance of history.

Too many politicians and decision makers want to have a debate about the Ridley-Thomas motion while conveniently ignoring the long history of transportation decisions that have disproportionately harmed communities of color, all of which were done under the stated “greater good” for the region and with the promise of new commercial development that never materialized.

Books have been written about the East LA interchange, the 110 freeway and the 105 freeway.  

While black and brown communities were unsuccessfully fighting the demolition of their homes, businesses and communities, the same politicians voting to send the bulldozers into South LA and East LA were sparing affluent communities like South Pasadena and Beverly Hills.  

We intentionally mention those two communities because today Metro offers both of them not community-killing freeway overpasses or street-level trains, but rather tunnels: a 710 freeway tunnel UNDER South Pasadena and Subway to the Sea UNDER Beverly Hills!  Both projects cost multiples more than the original plans.  Even with the Mark Ridley-Thomas motion, the Crenshaw-LAX Line project is a fraction of the cost of them.

More recently on the Downtown LA-to-Culver City Expo Line Phase 1 project, while all residential communities along the line were fighting against street-level crossings, only Culver City was spared, while Crenshaw, Western, Vermont, Dorsey High School and Foshay Learning Center were placed on the chopping block in the name of “regional progress.”

The Ridley-Thomas motion petitioned the Metro board to reverse the long-trend of public sector dis-investment in South Los Angeles so that this important 100-year rail project would not bypass the Leimert Park Village community or be built and operate in a destructive manner that pushes the Crenshaw community backward instead of forward.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by the result.  The politicians, led by Mayoral candidate Zev Yaroslavsky, were only doing what they’ve always done.

We did not win on May 26th, but we will be back, we are going to win the struggle, and because of our efforts our region and community will get a rail line built wisely … and justly.

(Winnifred Jackson it the President of Hyde Park Organizational Partnership for Empowerment, and Linda Ricks is the Chair of the Crenshaw-Slauson CRA Community Advisory Council.  Both ladies are residents of Hyde Park.) -cw




CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 44
Pub: June 3, 2011

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