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LOS ANGELES Monday, May 25th 2015 8:22

ONE MOTHER'S PERSPECTIVE

  • 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

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Top Ten Lessons Learned From the Expo Line

MOVING LA - After long years of planning, talking and even fighting, the Expo Line appears on its way to becoming a reality, with operation of the first phase to Culver City a matter of months away, and with the groundbreaking of the second phase to Santa Monica now behind us. (Link)

Yes, Virginia, the Expo Line will actually make it to USC, the Mid-City, Culver City West LA, Santa Monica and the beach, and the long effort by the grassroots Friends4Expo Transit to create a light rail that parallels (and effectively offers an alternative/addition to the capacity of) the I-10 freeway, as illustrated by the map on its website. (Link)

There are lessons learned, however, and by no means should they be forgotten, because they WILL come up both for this project (with operations and construction that are anything but completed), and for other rail projects in the county.  Here are a few biggies.

1) This was a project saved and fought for by the little guy, not the political aristocracy, which is a reality that is all too forgotten by the elected who think the world revolves around them.  This was a project that was held to high standards against the former opposition by two Westside county supervisors and a former mayor of Los Angeles.

2) Volunteer and middle-class efforts created this and related rail projects, often over the opposition of the rich and well-connected, a phenomenon we saw and still do see by those special interests who were used to getting their way prior to the Internet, with former and current opposition to the Pasadena/Foothill Gold Line, Orange Line, Expo Line and Wilshire Subway being overwhelmed by the power of the majority who wanted this and other lines.

3) When volunteers and taxpayers demand more, they must be listened to, with both opportunities and blowback not to be dismissed.  Just as the taxpaying commuters of Los Angeles were left seething when the Green Line didn’t make it to LAX, they demanded a light rail line paralleling and offering a perfect alternative to the I-10 freeway become not merely a Busway but a speedy, modern light rail line—and with Measure R, they were willing to tax themselves.

4) Just as the Expo Line paved the way for other transit projects, the grassroots input to create it can be capitalized to enhance the planning and construction of other major rail projects.  There are still many who just can’t believe that Friends4Expo Transit volunteers were just that—volunteers—and the sad, sorry top-down approach of some of the Expo Authority Board (they know who they are) will leave rail stations and other features with problems that could have been avoided.  Metro staff worked with Friends4Expo Transit volunteers to make the Expo Line, Wilshire Subway and Green Line to LAX projects a funded work in progress—and the elected pols need to listen to their staff.


5) Most of the problems that Westsiders had and will have with the Expo Line lie in the failure of L.A. and Santa Monica City Planning, and absolutely NOT with the Expo Authority.  Whether it’s the Casden project at Expo/Sepulveda, the Bundy Village project at Olympic/Bundy, or the Bergamot Village project in Santa Monica, no one but no one wants the Expo Line to be an excuse for over-development that worsens car traffic, overall mobility and quality of life in the Westside.  The City Councils of L.A. and Santa Monica need to get over their bad selves and be realistic about what should and should not be built next to what will be very attractive commercial property near Expo Line stations.

6) Grade separation is a nice betterment, but usually it will involve rail bridges, and not rail tunnels.  Anyone familiar with the Expo Line rail trench near USC and the future Crenshaw/Green Line rail trench near LAX is aware of the financial, environmental and engineering nightmares they pose compared to the expensive but eminently simpler rail bridges at La Cienega and La Brea.  Westside grade separation at Sepulveda, Sawtelle and Centinela, for example, is elevated—and the fight for a tunnel-or-nothing at other major intersections led to at-grade crossings that the Westside might rue for years to come.

7) There is no Westside Metrolink service, so the Expo Line needs to have features of commuter as well as light rail transit—in other words, PARKING IS CRITICAL. It’s amazing how this line was meant to be a regional alternative to the I-10 freeway but yet bean-counters and environmental green zealots disrespect the need for parking.  Of course it’s expensive, and of course it’s not needed for every station, but not everyone in the Westside, Valley and South Bay who use this line will bicycle or take a bus to it.  Do whatever is needed to attract both public and private funding for parking, particularly at freeway-adjacent stations.  File this one under “Duh”.

8) A Westside Regional Transportation Center accommodating rail, bus, bicycle, car and all other transportation options, belongs at or adjacent to the Sepulveda station (pursuant to the above point)

9) There are inevitable lessons to be learned from funding and constructing this project, and they should be applied to other Measure R projects. It’s to be remembered that the successful passage, planning and now construction of the Expo Line left the Westside and LA County clamoring for more—and Measure R defined critical regional rail projects that either are or will be strictly budgeted.  We learned a lot of painful lessons with the first phase of the Expo Line (LINK), so let’s take taxpayer money seriously and not have to relearn these lessons.

10) Nail down police/traffic/safety issues now, and not wait for “incidents” to occur—While it’s good to know that Metro, the Sheriff’s Department and the LAPD are enhancing their enforcement of illegal activities of motorists and pedestrians on MetroRail Lines, the Westside and Mid-City (as with all regions) deserve to have this enforcement consistently applied.  Equally important is the need to have sheriff’s deputies routinely assigned to Expo Line stations and to trains so that everyone can feel safe and secure on MetroRail.

We deserve to give ourselves a good pat on the back, but there is so much to figure out and plan that this is no time to rest on our laurels.  Our mission to enhance the economy, environment and mobility of LA County is anything but accomplished.  Let’s get moving, LA!

(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 Alpern@MarVista.org . The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) –cw

Tags: Expo Line, Culver City, Santa Monica, Ken Alpern, lessons, Westside




CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 74
Pub: Sept 16, 2011

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