RANTZ & RAVEZ--I will begin with Governor Jerry Brown’s California High Speed Rail commonly referred to as the Bullet Train. The 800 mile and 220 MPH top speed Train is expected to run from San Diego to San Francisco sometime in the distant future and possibly in our lifetime.
The projected budget for this transportation project began at $60 plus BILLION DOLLARS with the Central Valley portion scheduled for completion in 2017. The new date for completion of this phase is now expected in 2024, seven years behind schedule.
We now find the current facts about this transportation project that is way behind schedule and struggling for additional dollars to move forward by a Federal Railroad Administration audit. It is now known that the project is currently being built by an independent authority that has never built anything and depends on a large network of consultants and contractors for directions.
When I talk about behind schedule I am not kidding. With this in mind, how long will this craziness continue? It will continue until the State of California gets a governor that has some common sense and is willing to admit that the Bullet Train is not going to work for California and scraps the project saving billions of dollars that can be used for a host of pressing state issues. Issues like the homeless, crime, finding the funds to keep state prisons open and a host of other serious matters that impact our daily lives. More to come on this subject as additional reports are released.
METRO SECURITY–While I am reviewing public transportation on trains, I must bring to your attention that the Metro, our Bus and Train Service in the Los Angeles Region, has established a 24 – Hour Hotline to provide counseling to transit riders who have experienced unwarranted sexual contact or harassment on buses or trains. The Hot Line number is 844-Off-Limits or 844-633-5464. Counselors from Peace Over Violance, which has been offering counseling for sex-abused victims for more than 40 years, staff this service.
Since I am an infrequent rider on the Orange and Red Rail Lines, Metro should start placing uniformed officers on the Lines to provide protection for the passengers. Seldom do I ever see a law enforcement officer actually riding on a bus or train in the Los Angeles region.
CRIME REPORT--We are now in January 2017 and the crime stats for the year 2016 are being tabulated by the LAPD. I will publish them when they are available. It is interesting to note that as of January 7, 2017, the LAPD is at 9,892 officers compared to 9,897 as of December 17, 2016. That is 5 fewer officers protecting and serving the people of Los Angeles.
Knowing that the LAPD is having a difficult time recruiting police officers and keeping crime down, why would the City of Los Angeles try and take over from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Transit Policing throughout Los Angeles? MONEY. It is all about the MONEY and how the City of LA can use it for various programs.
While the Metro Board reviews the proposals from the Sheriff’s and LAPD, the people of Los Angeles deserve to have sufficient police officers available to protect their homes and businesses.
A recent protest in San Pedro brought to light the fact that the jail in the harbor station has been closed and that crime is increasing in the neighborhoods. From the San Fernando Valley to San Pedro and all parts in between deserve their fair share of police officers. Assigning transit operations to the LAPD will only reduce the number of LAPD officers patrolling the streets of Los Angeles.
ILLEGAL ALIENS AND DEPORTATION--It has been recently reported that the City of Los Angeles does not have the funds to pay pending lawsuits. While the City is now pleading poverty, they come up with $2 MILLION to help defend illegal aliens facing Immigration Enforcement with the LA Justice Fund. It is all about priorities.
While I have always believed that the legal system is there to sort out the truth and that justice must prevail, I can’t see how the taxpayers should be responsible to defend people facing Federal Immigration matters. While the City is posting $2 million dollars, the County of Los Angeles is posting $3 million. An additional $5 Million is coming from the private sector.
LA ELECTION--Our Mayor Eric Garcetti is facing an election on March 7 along with half the City Council and the City Attorney and Controller.
As far as the contests for Mayor, it is smooth sailing for Garcetti who is facing light opposition and over $2 Million to spend.
Both Mike Feuer the City Attorney and Ron Galperin the City Controller are both running unopposed. The City Attorney has raised $682,091 and the Controller has raised $446,838.
The City Council Races will be featured in my next article.
GRACIAS--Thank you to Ron Rinard for his email concerning my RantZ and RaveZ article that is “A Great Read.”
Thank you to Jan Kanowitz for her comments and concern about the lack of a pedestrian safety zone in West Hills. I am working with Councilman Bob Blumenfield’s office to correct the situation.
(Dennis P. Zine is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Vice-Chairman of the Elected Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission, a 12-year member of the Los Angeles City Council and a current LAPD Reserve Officer who serves as a member of the Fugitive Warrant Detail assigned out of Gang and Narcotics Division. Disclosure: Zine was a candidate for City Controller last city election. He writes RantZ & RaveZ for CityWatch. You can contact him at Zman8910@aol.com. Mr. Zine’s views are his own and do not reflect the views of CityWatch.) Graphic credit: LA Daily News.