Sunday, May 13, 2012

Your Tattler News In Review for Sunday, May 13

(Mod: We tried this last Sunday and it seemed to work. Since most Sundays are usually a little quieter for traffic than weekdays, we were pleasantly surprised to see that a weekly news review was popular. So we're going to try it again. It's currently 4 AM, I have a fresh pot of coffee, Radio Fishbowl is playing on my computer and is apparently in one of its more club-happy musically out there moods. Which is fine with me. Though I am not certain that too many of the all night party events Sierra Madre is so famous for are still bumpin' it at this late hour. But that is neither here nor there. So anyway, let's do this, shall we?)

La Canada Valley Sun: "Council rejects Metro's 710 freeway board proposal"

La Canada Flintridge's role on the advisory board addressing the proposed extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway is off to a bumpy start. City Council members voted unanimously on Monday to buck a request by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority to swap out their preferred representatives for the State Route 710 Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

In March, the council appointed three of its own members to serve on the advisory committee despite Metro's insistence that the 17 participating cities send planning commissioners, not elected officials. City leaders staunchly oppose a surface route or tunnel that would link the 710 to the Foothills (210) Freeway. Monday's vote refused Metro's proposed committee that a commissioner serve as La Canada's lead representative with a council member as an alternate.

(Later..) Metro's resistance to council participation was "more than cheeky," Olhasso said. "It appalls me that Metro is trying to control this committee by controlling who the appointments are. I think they've got lot of gall.

(Yes, nothing is more anathema to state uber bureaucracies like Metro than the presence of uncontrolled elected officials. Unless, of course, if you are talking about the poodles most districts send as representatives to Sacramento. I'm certain Metro has little problem with them. After all, who else would commit $10s of billions of dollars to build a freeway tunnel nobody wants under South Pasadena during a time of state fiscal collapse? You can read more about La Canada Flintridge's fight to save their town by clicking here.)

Pasadena Star News: "Brown: California faces $16 billion shortfall"

SACRAMENTO - California's budget deficit has grown to a projected $16 billion and the state will have to make severe cuts to schools and public safety if voters reject tax hikes in November, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday.

The Democratic governor said the state's shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January because tax collections have not come in as high as expected and the economy isn't ramping up as fast as the administration had hoped. The deficit has also gone up because billions of dollars in state cuts have been blocked by lawsuits and federal requirements.

(Later..) The governor is expected to propose a contingency plan with a list of unpopular cuts that would kick in automatically if voters reject tax hikes this fall. In January, he said they would result in K-12 school year shorted by up top three weeks, higher college tuition fees and reduced funding for courts.

(Is it just me, or does Jerry Brown sound a lot like John Buchanan did when he claimed paramedic services would go away if the UUT Measures didn't pass a month or so ago? As far as I can tell our one brave ambulance is still on the streets. Why does Jerry have to go after schools? Why not just axe the 710 Tunnel, or the billions being spent to prop up SB 375? Or how about removing funding for such parasitic operations as SCAG or the SGVCOG? The rest of the article can be read by clicking here.)

The Atlantic: "Democracy Is For Amateurs: Why We Need More Citizen Citizens"

... We celebrate the "citizen scientist" or "citizen diplomat" or "citizen soldier" on the idea that while the job -- scientist, diplomat, soldier -- requires professional expertise, amateurs who care can also step in and contribute. Indeed, this is something of a golden age for amateurs. With big data and social media amplifying their wisdom, crowds of amateurs are remaking astronomy, finance, biochemistry and other fields.

But not so much the field called democracy. The work of democratic life -- solving shared problems, shaping plans, pushing for change, making grievances heard -- has become ever more professionalized over the last generation. Money has gained outsize and self-compounding power in elections. A welter of lobbyists, regulators, consultants, bankrollers, wonks-for-hire, and "smart ALECs" has crowded amateurs out of the daily work of self-government at every level.

(A good and very thoughtful article on the professionalization of everything. Something that can be seen often at City Hall as consultants are hired for everything from parking lot surveys to a report on what products Sierra Madreans use. Click here for more.

Pasadena Star News: "Pasadena hopes free parking will land new business"

PASADENA - Officials want to grow the local economy by replicating the retail success of old Pasadena in neighborhoods across Pasadena. But first, Pasadena must find a solution to its parking problem.

"The conversation is one that has gone on for a long time," said Ishmael Trone, a Northwest Pasadena business owner and former chair of the Fair Oaks Project Area Committee. "Old Pasadena was one of the first of its kind in Southern California, now you have Glendale, Alhambra, and other towns who have developed that same retail, restaurant and commercial mix in their downtowns. The only difference is you can park in those cities for free."

Pasadena has been forced to come up with other ways to attract business, albeit nebulous. The city publishes its long-term economic development strategic plan in April and held a meeting this week where residents and business leaders could brainstorm on how to attract businesses. The process is still in its infancy, but Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck hopes business leaders and residents can come up with some smart solutions and city staff can start recruiting those businesses to come to Pasadena.

One of the consistent themes through the report is a need for more parking and free parking.

(Didn't the kind of "Smart Growth" planning Pasadena adopted not all that long ago discourage automobile traffic by limiting parking? Instead encouraging the kinds of design that would cause shoppers to get there using public transportation? I guess that one didn't work out quite like they'd hoped. Click here for the rest of the article.)

Pasadena Sun: "Recap of 41st Assembly District, Measure A election panel"

6:14 p.m. Good evening, readers. We're here on Wednesday, may 9, 2012 at KPCC's Crawford Family Forum, hosting two panels. The first one focuses on Pasadena education, calling on three experts on Measure A ...

6:20 p.m. William Bibbiani on Measure A: "Right now, every voter has the right to vote for or against each board member when they're up for election," he said. "If we go to single-district elections, voters will have the opportunity to vote for one guy every four years and the other six board members will have no incentive to listen to anything you have to say."

6:27 p.m. Stella Murga on Latino voters who are new to the process: "What it tells us is they don't think they're represented unless they have a Latino on board," she said. "Having been born and raised here, having a Latino on board doesn't necessarily mean they're the best person or they're going to vote for Latino interest. A good person, regardless of their race or ethnicity, would be a good representative on the board.

6:32 p.m. Bibbiani: "This district was involved, prior to 1970, on the wrong side of the issues. It was segregating itself. It was segregating black folks. In 1970, we were forced to integrate our schools, now we might be forced to divide the district. What we're doing is wrong. I believe it's a step backwards. It will reduce the power of every voter."

(More can be read by clicking here.)

Orange Feds say spend money on high speed rail - - or else!

Federal transportation Sec. Ray LaHood has "warned" California lawmakers not to wait until the fall to vote on the Moonbeam Express high-speed rail boondoggle. "We need to make sure that the commitment is there to obligate the money," LaHood lectured.

In short, the feds are threatening, although of course not using that word, to yank about $3 billion in federal funds (that's taxpayer money) on the fanciful train project estimated variously to cost between $33 billion (in 2008) and $117 billion (earlier this year) to $68 billion now. That's in taxpayer money.

"We need to make sure that there's a continued, strong commitment on the part of the Assembly, as reflected in their budget," LaHood demanded, uh, suggested, or perhaps threatened.

(So let me get this straight. Jerry Brown is going to slash school and university budgets unless we vote to raise our taxes, yet we're expected to want to spend $117 billion on a high speed choo choo? Madness. Click here for more.)

It is now 6:45 AM and Radio Fishbowl is still playing that same kind of high energy electronica mix. They're on a tape loop, it seems. I recognized the dance version of "Year of the Cat" from earlier. Not what you'd expect on a Sunday morning here in Sierra Madre, although I am waving my Glow Sticks around in the air anyway.

Enjoy what is hopefully your day off, too.


  1. Fan no matter whatMay 13, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    I'm a big fan of consistency! You promised news in review on Sundays, and Voila! , it's here! It's like a palate cleanser after a week of peeling off the layers of the City shenaniganeer's onion. Thanks, Crawford.

  2. Would the 710 tunnel bring more traffic and more greenhouse gases to the San Gabriel Valley? Why is the state pushing this when so much of its focus remains on cutting traffic? Seems like a contradiction.

    1. Managing traffic, 7:51 am. Managing traffic will be their focus. A lot like air traffic controllers. Transit centers will become analagous to airports. Next will be the train routes in and out of major cities where container cargo will be routed to large centers in areas outside the metropolitan areas. Every class of graduating City Planners and Traffic Engineers will bring newfound solutions to traffic. Soon it'll be a scene right out of Star Wars. Ordinary citizens and their Cadillac Broughams or Lincoln Towncars will be like dinosaurs as they motor to Albertsons.

    2. The only way the stupid govt will get Californians to give up personal transportation is at gunpoint. A good example of how their policies are failing is Pasadena. Merchants there are demanding that they bring back parking. Why? Because people would rather shop elsewhere than ride their damn trollies and buses.

    3. The tunnel will also bring increased cancer incidence to the neighborhoods at either end of it. They get a double dose of the carcinogens. Where did I find out about that? From the Metro's own report.

    4. SCAG is in favor of it being built, so you know there has to be some money changing hands somewhere.

  3. Thinking back on how things are interconnected: British housewives protested the milk company eliminating the half pint container for the house delivery. Why? The bigger pint container would not fit into their small fridge. We in the US shop by car, do a weeks worth at a time, if not more, and pack the stuff in a huge fridge. Try doing that from public transportation.

  4. I've got an idea. Since CA has a $16 BILLION deficit, let's build high-speed rail from Modesto to Fresno.

    Yeah, that should work.

  5. I just tuned into Radio Fishbowl and I am happy to report that they have switched over to their regular Sunday morning classical broadcast. All of you party people can go get some sleep now.

  6. Love your Sunday Weekly Review, John.

    John is working long hours over at Hollywood Park and misses reading the Tattler everyday, so he enjoyed this column this morning to get caught up!
    I'm sure many busy people do as well.

    Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there who read the Tattler!

  7. Tattler, your comment sent me on a youtube search for "Year of the Cat" which led to "Sailing" which led to "Burning Down the House", to "Babylon", - my Sunday chores are going to get lost in music.

    1. Nothing says "eclectic" like Al Stewart dance remixes.

  8. Names like SCAG and COG, are so fitting for corrupt, conformist bureacratic nincompoops. And now LaHood, another fitting name for a clueless hoodlum trying to bankrupt the state forever.

  9. A wise old timer told me that the problem with the slow growth side, the reason we lost against the likes of Lyin' Joe Mosca, is that we haven't hired professional help, and the Dirts and DICs have. Maybe we need a wonk-for-hire too.

    1. I think we might have one, 10:33, his name is John Crawford and he has a team of Tattler friends with him.

      We did win an the way, 12-1 and 12-2 were defeated by a substancial margin.

      Chris Koerber took over the abandoned council seat of Joe Mosca.
      That was a HUGE win, my friend. HUGE.
      The dirts put a lot of effort into the guy who ran against Chris.
      He lost by a substancial margin, along with his dirt pals tax.

  10. High Speed to Nowhere. I think I caught the "geniuses" reserecting the tried and failed idea of mingleing the "bullet train" with freight trains". They must be kidding. Passenger trains lose money, lots of it. Freight trains pay all the bills and turn a profit. Once the P&L statements come in, you tell me which train goes first, Passenger or Freight? It will be the bullet train on the siding. Or it will be one hell of a crash at 200 mph, and the chairman of the TSA committee investigating will be heard to say, "thats the first time that ever happened".

  11. Left DC on Amtrack heading west and when the sun was setting out the left side window we knew something was wrong. We ended up in Michigan routed around a derailment and lined up behind freight which always gets first dibs. Sat 8 hours on a siding waiting for a replacement crew in the Michigan woods as the original crew was over their time limit. Many people freaked out. No explanation. Late for connections in Chicago. 20 min. run to and catch something else. In Albequerque switched engines as ours would not pull up the grade whereas eastbound train was all downhill. Late to Williams, AZ so those from there to LA were late to air connections for Europe after their nice visit to the Grand Canyon.

  12. That is how it goes with smart growth. As soon as the business community starts complaining about something, down it goes. Sorry Pasadena, no parking no shopping.

  13. We had a big laugh over our morning coffee today reading the Star-News article. So, from being a model city at SCAG to breaking away from that model to bring more automobiles into the city is a big leap. And, what does that say for our city which wants to have Shields build commercial shops and then promises him they will go easy on the parking requirements? So, we build an ALF that doesn't have enough parking as it is, force him to build shops that he will probably not be able to rent, but if they do rent, they'll not have enough parking. That means, people will not come into town because of lack of parking. Oh what a web we weave.

    1. Don't you realize that people long to give up their suburban lifestyles, move into small quarters in a packed neighborhood and then spend the rest of their lives riding buses. That is what being Green is. Where have you been?

    2. You left out the part about spending $5,000 a month to live at the Kensington - sell their homes, move into a "dwelling unit" and be shuttled about to doctors' appointments in a clean burning shuttle craft. How green.

    3. $6,000 more likely.

    4. sorry, i didn't realizebthat was being gree was all about.

    5. It's not easy being "gree."

  14. Up that price a bit to the mid $6,000.00!

    It would only be a green move if the house you left went off line and if the new owners did not have multiple drivers, and several cars.

    1. None of the ridiculous nonsense being peddled by Sacramento as green is going to make the least little difference in the world. This is all a big payoff to the development, real estate and construction lobbies.

  15. Rather than saying, "if they build it, they will come",.... I think it would make more sense to a mature community like ours to say "if they don't build it, they won't come"....

  16. No one has mentioned the issue of E D U C A T I O N

    On Mother's Day that should be the most important issue:
    Educating our children.

    Education and learning.
    Curiosity, culture.
    We need to stand behind all of our children in California.
    We cannot fear the threat of a train and not speak out about what
    is most important.

    The future of our society: Education.

    God knows we have too many dunces locally..."gonna take you out"
    and nationally "I can see Russia from my window."

    They should meet, they have much in common.

    We need to improve our system, not abandon it.

    How about a conversation about people in public education
    who have made a huge difference in your children's lives.
    Does anyone out there volunteer or have a positive memory about
    a teacher or school and can we support our Governor for the sake
    of those who must remain in California and cannot leave?


  17. The greatest responsibility any American has is to pass the knowledge that he or she has learned down to the next generation. That responsibility in this country is largely handled by government. This is the way it has been for a few hundred years. In California today it is plain to see that we are failing badly in this regard. It calls into question the right of these people to govern. Because if they are not handling this responsibility, what other terrible things are they doing?

  18. Yes, it's interesting that Sacto is still pushing for the construction of this white elephant (the high-speed train) when the rest of the state's economy is suffering so - lack of funds for education and public services vs. let's build a high-speed train with billions of taxpayer dollars and cut education. HMMMMMMMMMMM. Continue to vote your pocketbooks, folks - no more taxes and hold those hoodlums accountable for the taxes they already collect!