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 Punch.com: 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.