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LOS ANGELES Wednesday, May 27th 2015 6:47

WAGE RAISE RAGE

  • WHO WE ARE-Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community groups nationwide. The City Council…
  • ​City Snookered by Westfield Billionaires

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In March of 2014, the Herb Wesson led City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a 25 year, $48 million giveaway to help the $28.5 billion Westfield Corporation finance its $250 million development, The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo) But this subsidy championed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield was hardly necessary as The Village…
  • Slick With Denial: ‘Self-Regulation’ and the Latest Oil Spill

    Judith Lewis Mernit
    HISTORY LESSONS IGNORED-On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46…
  • Scaremongering about the Patriot Act Sunset

    Jameel Jaffer
    FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED-In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning that allowing Section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset would compromise national security. (One particularly crass example from Senator…
  • Still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

    Ken Alpern
    ALPERN AT LARGE-It's been another year and another successful Flag Placement at the West Los Angeles National Cemetery. Crawling out of bed in the morning on a holiday weekend to show up bright and early for a show of American patriotism and respect to our veterans and fallen heroes, the region and nation saw yet again how the Boy Scouts, Girl…
  • Retaliation: VA Police Target Veterans

    Robert L. Rosebrock
    LOS ANGELES – Recently, I was interviewed by John Ismay, an Iraqi War Veteran who is the “Veterans and Military Issues Reporter” for Southern California Public Radio. We met at the Los Angeles VA to discuss the never-ending misappropriation of land at this largest VA in the nation, within our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. We were…
  • 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…




ICYMI-Amy Schumer shows Dave her vagina

Remembering Ann Meara: 1929-2015

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Walking Works for LA

RETHINKING LA - One of the simplest ways to reduce the traffic congestion that surrounds LA’s schools in the morning and in the afternoon is to support children as they walk and bicycle to school, yet the City of LA continues to engage in a charade that’s all talk and no walk (or ride!)

All it would take is to fix the sidewalks and repair the streets that kids walk and ride as they commute to and from school. Add some refuge islands and roundabouts and streets would be safer to cross. Complement that with some speed tables and shared street design and our streets would work better for everybody.

Typically, the debate over the delivery of city services comes with LA’s standard “budget crisis” excuse but in this case, there is significant federal (SRTS) and state (SR2S) funding that can be used to support children as they walk and bicycle to and from school.

Safe Routes to School is administered by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and there is funding to provide infrastructural improvements as well as funding to  address distracted driving through education and enforcement. Programs that educate and encourage parents, teachers, administrators and students on pedestrian and cyclist safety also qualify.

The City of LA is a notoriously weak performer in the competition for SRTS and SR2S funds, not only failing to qualify for its proportionate share but then defaulting when it does qualify by failing to execute the funded projects.

Funded parties are given four and a half years to spend the money they qualify for or they get “red-flagged” and are suspended from further grant cycles until they clear their past projects.

The City of LA spends more time arguing for extensions and exceptions than it spends simply working on the streets, enforcing the law, educating the community, and encouraging healthy and safe behavior.

This bureaucratic traffic jam within the City of LA has resulted in lost revenue and a missed opportunity to reduce traffic congestion and make our streets safer for everybody.

During the last funding cycle, the City of LA failed to even submit funding applications that would demonstrate a citywide commitment.

As if broken sidewalks and busted streets are hard to find!

In the competitive Safe Routes to School funding process, projects that come with community support do better than those that are simply proposed by traffic engineers seeking funding for routine scheduled roadway improvements.

Yet the City of LA has the audacity to set a deadline for community nominations that falls on this Friday, January 20, 2012.

How does the City of LA expect the community to engage in a process that offers no real opportunity for real participation?

Surrounding communities (the ones that beat LA in the funding competition) have formed Safe Routes to School organizations that engage the community in ongoing campaigns that use the funding process to educate the community.

Children who walk and bicycle to school are more likely to reach the recommended goal of 60 minutes of physical activity each day, they will arrive at school energized and ready to learn, and they take an active role in their well-being.

What does the City of Los Angeles have against Safe Routes to School funding and why is it so reluctant to get competitive?

Last year, a group of community advocates took a Safe Routes to School project to the City of LA in search of support and a commitment to enter it into the pool of submitted projects. It was an ambitious project, one that proposed improvements to a busy arterial with four schools within walking distance.

The traffic engineers looked at the project and expressed a lack of interest, advising the advocates to take it to the Council office for support, after all, “We get paid the same whether or not this project gets funded. The difference is this, if it gets funded, we have more work to do.”

The honesty is refreshing but the revelation is contemptible.

To charge the City of LA with a lackluster commitment to LA’s most vulnerable mode share, children walking and bicycling to and from school, is a harsh charge but the evidence stands.

The City of LA’s infrastructure is unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists and the token gestures at improving the walkability and rideability of the neighborhoods around our schools fall far short of a commitment to our children.

The City of LA’s performance in past Safe Routes to School funding cycles pales in comparison to smaller surrounding cities with smaller staffs who somehow are able to translate a real commitment to public safety into great projects. LA, on the other hand, turns in weak projects, complains about “Fair Share,” and then fails to spend the money when it eventually qualifies.

The City of LA is currently in the process of preparing for the State of California’s Cycle 10 SR2S process which comes with a deadline of March 30, 2012. (City of LA has given community members until January 20, 2012 to submit their projects)

The City of LA has two months to come up with innovative and inspirational projects that will not only make it safer on our streets and sidewalks, but that will also serve as an invitation to walk or to ride, improvements that encourage great behavior and bring neighborhoods together.

If the City of LA is unable to come up with at least two great proposals per Council District for this coming funding cycle, perhaps it’s time to look at the Cities of San Fernando, Rancho Palos Verdes, Burbank, Covina and Claremont. What are they doing that LA isn’t doing?

The City of LA has a long history of talking the talk, but when it comes to Safe Routes to School can it walk the walk?

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net.) –cw

CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 5
Pub: Jan 17, 2012

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