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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

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Do You Trust the Gang at Metro to Manage Another 90 Billion of Your Dollars? Say No to the Measure J Slush Fund

LA WATCHDOG - “Would it be a good idea to see how Metro handles the first $40 billion of sales tax revenue before we give them an additional $90 billion?”

You bet it is.

This is reason enough to vote NO on Measure J, the November ballot measure that proposes to extend the life of the “one-half cent traffic relief sales tax” for an additional thirty years to 2069.

If passed by two-thirds of the voters, this extension would provide the politically controlled Metropolitan Transit Authority (“Metro”) with an additional $90 billion, resulting in a 60 year total of $130 billion.  

While we have questioned Metro’s management capability and organizational resources to control so many complex, capital intensive highway and mass transit construction projects that will burden our grandchildren with tens and tens of billions in debt and interest payments, we have not focused on the allocation of 40% of these sales tax revenues dedicated to finance the massive operating losses of the Metro’s bus and train operations and to fund the “Local Return Improvement” program.

25% of the Measure R and Measure J money is mandated to help cover the annual billion dollar plus operating losses of Metro’s inefficient and highly subsidized transit operations.

And while we may not all agree on the politics surrounding the huge subsidies for Metro’s labor intensive bus and rail operations, at least we know where the money is being spent.

That is not so true for the 15% for the sales tax revenue that will be diverted to the County’s 88 cities and the unincorporated areas of the County under the “Local Return Improvement” program.

Local Return projects would include pothole repair, safety improvements for both roads and bridges, the establishment of bikeways, operating subsidies for politically popular transit programs, and various other programs that would normally be funded through the General Fund.

The City of Los Angeles would be entitled to about 40% of the Local Return funds based on its share of the County’s population.  

But as with most items that involve the flow of money in the City, the ultimate use of these funds will be hard to trace.

Last year, for example, Mayor Villaraigosa proposed LA Road Works, a hare-brained scheme where the City would fund the repair of 25% of our lunar cratered streets through an $800 million bond offering secured by over $1.4 billion in future Local Return Measure R revenues.  

But this deal was DOA (dead on arrival) when the City Council and Public Works realized that the City did not even have an operational plan for the Ten Year Maintenance and Repair Program recommended by the Bureau of Street Services in its November 2011 State of the Streets Report.

With this all this new found money sloshing around City Hall, the Mayor and the City Council would love to stuff this dough in their own slush funds that would be used to finance their pet projects and those of their cronies.  

However, in light of the next year’s projected budget deficit of $216 million (a function of the $300 million increase in salaries, benefits, and pension contributions), our “kick the can down the street” Elected Elite may have to devote a portion of this money to filling potholes and repaving and resurfacing our streets.

Of course, this will allow the City to slash the budget of Street Services and use these “savings” to “balance” the budget.

Whether it is a slush fund for pet projects or a “rob Peter to pay Paul” scheme, it is obvious that we cannot trust the Mayor and the City Council to use these Local Return monies in a prudent manner.

No wonder we need a charter amendment that requires the City to “Live Within its Means.”

And before we drown our grandchildren in a sea of debt, it would be an excellent idea to see if Metro and the City utilize the $40 billion already allocated under Measure R in an efficient manner before we vote to give them an additional $90 billion.

Vote NO on Measure J.  

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: lajack@gmail.com) –cw




CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 82
Pub: Oct 12, 2012


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