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LOS ANGELES Tuesday, July 7th 2015 11:33

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Pirates at the Port (of Los Angeles)

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The growth of the Port of Los Angeles and its ability to maintain and create good paying jobs and its market share of imported cargo are under siege by external market forces as well as the demand by the San Pedro and Wilmington communities to finance $400 million of public benefits over the next ten years. The Harbor Department, one…

Why I Support 'No Gays Allowed'

C.J. Prince
GUEST WORDS-Last week, a Tennessee retailer made headlines when he took the whole we-won't-bake-cakes-for-gay-weddings thing to the next level. In response to last week's Supreme Court marriage ruling, Jeff Amyx, owner of Amyx Hardware, taped a "No Gays Allowed" sign to his storefront window. Amyx, who is also a Baptist minister, explained to WATE…

Never on Sunday

Paul Hatfield
GREEK VOTE, A PERSPECTIVE-According to the lyrics from the memorable theme to Never on Sunday (enjoy the trailer), it is OK to kiss in Greece except for Sunday. However, on this past Sunday, July 5th, Greek voters invited the EU to kiss them. I need not mention the part of the anatomy, though. Contrary to some extreme views, this does not mean the…

LA Transpo Slowed to a Crawl by Outdated and Ignored Laws

Ken Alpern
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-Reform of the City Charter or its Bylaws is almost certainly in order, but it's no secret that the City of LA … for all its hype about being for "sustainable living" and being "environmentally-friendly" … is burdened by a host of either outdated laws (which encourage inappropriate overdevelopment) or ignored laws (which are…

You’ll Never Guess Why I love Los Angeles

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-I remember the first time I went on a vacation outside of Mexico. We went to Los Angeles when I was 6 years old. I didn’t have to wonder why my dad choose Los Angeles, he knew I wanted to go to Disneyland and meet Mickey Mouse. That first trip we took that summer made me fell in love with this City. Los Angeles has everything a…

Unsolicited Advice for New LA Councilmember David Ryu

Joe Linton
GUEST COMMENTARY-Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu. Photo via ryuforcouncil.com It’s July. That means a new budget year for government agencies, where there is some turnover: some new faces, new officers, and new committees. LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is the new chair of the Metro Board of Directors, replacing LA Mayor Eric…

LA Working on Plan to Plaster the City with Digital Billboards

Adrian Glick Kudler
GUEST WORDS-People in Los Angeles love digital billboards!! We can't get enough of them! Give us more!!! Oh, thank god, the LA City Council is ON IT. Lawsuits have tragically darkened so many of those blinky, flashy ads, but yesterday the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee voted to bring them back big time. They want to…

The Persuaders: California Hospital Association

Bill Raden
CAPITAL AND MAIN SPECIAL REPORT-The nurses who showed up at state Senator Richard Pan’s Capitol office in May were furious. They had been assured by Pan, a Democrat from Sacramento, that he would be on their side when it came time to vote on Senate Bill 346, a charity care measure aimed at providing transparency to the state’s currently murky…

Vacations are a Necessity…Not a Luxury

Denyse Selesnick
Since most of the readers of CityWatch are “high achievers” you have undoubtedly faced the situation where you feel you can’t afford to take a vacation right now because of a million different reasons. Many of these boil down to one…without your presence things will fall apart. Really, they are just excuses … not reasons! Getting away from your…

 

  • 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…



Thu Jul 16, 2015 @12:00AM
LA Equality Awards RSVP
Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth


One More Time! Grateful Dead say goodbye.

USA World Cup Soccer win … sealed with a kiss

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

EXPOsing the Other Ex Officio Expo Line Boardmember: YOU

GETTING THERE FROM HERE - Ultimately, the Expo Line—as with all passenger rail and other transportation projects—must be planned, constructed and operated by government experts, engineers and contractors.  The establishment of the Expo Line Construction Authority to wrench this project from Metro also wrenched it from Metro’s allies at Friends4Expo Transit and other grassroots organizations as well…and the results leave room for both concerns and improvement.
To be honest and fair, the Expo Line has had a pretty nice start and those who’ve ridden it like it; the main complaints to date are that it doesn’t yet access the Westside, and that the stations provide insufficient shelter and rider amenities.  Furthermore, the daytime meetings prevent us working folks from attending and providing feedback and suggestions.

But to be even more honest and fair, the Metro-run Crenshaw/LAX, Downtown Light Rail Connector and Wilshire Subway projects have also drawn criticism by their cost- based and legal limit-setting to some constituents who “want it all”, and these projects have similarly drawn complaints by the public of being shut out of the planning process.  For all projects, hard but unpopular decisions MUST be made.

Clouding the Expo Authority’s efforts in Phase 1 was an extraordinary learning curve of the Expo Authority Board and staff that resulted from contractor malfeasance and incompetence, and which resulted in a two-year delay and hundreds of millions of dollars in overspending for the first phase of the line (which was supposed to have been at least $200 million cheaper and was supposed to open in 2010).

And even then, as reported in the Times and as addressed in my piece last week in CityWatch, it appears that the Expo/Blue Line junction was improperly built/adapted for the joint operations of the two lines, and needs adjustments and ongoing extra inspections to avoid excess wear-and-tear to both the rails and the railcars.

Now there are concerns that continue to be raised from USC Professor Najmedin Meshkati of USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering that certain Expo Line intersections (in particular, near Foshay Learning Center and at the X-shaped intersection of Exposition and Rodeo) have insufficient gates, signage and special crosswalks to protect pedestrians.

Of course, considering the way that Professor Meshkati has been so exploited by the Expo Line opponents (such as by Neighbors For Smart Rail and FixExpo, who appear to oppose most or all surface or elevated level light rail more than they want to make it “smart” or “fixed”), it’s hard at times to not dismiss Professor Meshkati as a person consumed by a desire to be in the spotlight.

However, Professor Meshkati has his supporters and credibility by many at Metro, Metrolink and the media, and there are no shortage of prominent  pro-Expo advocates who also favor better gates and signage to enhance both the safety and speed of the Expo Line at Rodeo and at Foshay Learning Center.  

The big question that should be on all of our minds—and especially should be on the minds of the past and present Boardmembers of the Exposition Line Construction Authority—is whether these technical problems would have occurred had Metro been the Authority to build the Expo Line, and had not acceded to former Expo Line opponent Zev Yaroslavsky’s desire to create a separate Expo Authority and then hand off the project for Metro to inherit.  

More specifically, for Metro to inherit … and to fix.

Which isn’t to blame Zev Yaroslavsky, Expo Authority CEO Rick Thorpe or the Authority in general, who were rather blindsided by the unanticipated lawsuits and racial obfuscation of the facts surrounding the first and second phases of the Expo Line (an obfuscation worsened even by some Boardmembers) and who were also blindsided by the aforementioned greedy and/or incompetent contractors to make this project much more complicated than anyone could have expected.

Furthermore, in our politically correct society the accusations of racist double standards in creating Phase 1 of this line, which were always entirely unfair and untrue, slow this line’s construction and community acceptance even to this day.

Still, those on the Expo Authority Board (which was both geographically and racially diverse) were appointed to make this first phase HAPPEN, on time and on budget—and both successes and failures on their part MUST fall directly on their shoulders.  

This is particularly true when Friends4Expo Transit, Neighborhood Councils and other grassroots organizations (who were responsible for making this project happen in the first place) were pretty much shut out of the politically-appointed and daytime-only meeting schedules of the Authority and the committees who purported to design the stations to meet the needs of future Expo Line riders.

So now that the problems in Phase 1 of the Expo Line have been exposed, and the design/planning stage of Phase 2 is commencing in earnest, the Expo Authority must reinvent itself to be more inclusive—and less dismissive—of criticisms when they are constructive in nature (tragically, Neighbors For Smart Rail and FixExpo have probably destroyed their credibility to provide both helpful critiques and demand helpful mitigations for the communities impacted by the line).

The Expo Line is the ultimate “next generation” MetroRail Line for the 21st Century because of its grassroots origins and partnerships with Metro, its widespread support throughout the county, and because of its ability to make a huge impact in the renaissance of development and beautification that is occurring in a Downtown which increasingly is becoming a place to go to, and not through.

Most important to the equation that ties the Expo Line to the taxpayers and commuters is the need to demonstrate that this MetroRail line, decades in the making, was a good and prudent use of taxpayer dollars in a society that is increasingly becoming disillusioned by tax proposals—even for that which Governor Brown purports to resolve the state’s ongoing budgetary nightmare.


If Metro and the City/County of LA want to extend Measure R this fall (when Governor Brown’s proposal is also to be decided) in order to expedite the Wilshire Subway, a San Fernando Valley/Westside rail project, and connect MetroRail to LAX and Ontario Airports, a new Ex Officio role of “Boardmember” must be created for the ordinary individual who is responsible for paying for any construction and operation of these passenger rail lines.

That Ex Officio Boardmember is me, it is YOU, and it is anyone who wants “in” to the decision-making and planning for the Expo or any other MetroRail Line or other transportation project necessary to enhance the economy, environment and quality of life in 21st Century Los Angeles City and County.

(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. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us.   The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)
-cw

Tags: Ken Alpern, transportation, Metro, Expo Line, Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail, Construction Authority







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 44
Pub: June 1, 2012


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