In the city of Bell, residents finally rose up and threw out the bums who were ripping them off.
In Venice and Eagle Rock, residents mutter about what so many in the San Fernando Valley still yearn for: Seceding from LA and forming their own cities.
The CRA keeps on looting property taxes that could be used to keep libraries and parks open and giving it away to bring sweatshops to town and subsidize well-connected developers to build projects that nobody wants.
The DWP quietly goes about buying up land near downtown, as Joseph Mailander reports in the LA Weekly, on speculation to serve the mayor’s fantasy of a clean tech corridor, whatever that means, in a city with half a million unemployed or unemployable low-skilled workers.
But today we celebrate the triumph of our political leadership: The far-flung subway and light rail system that isn’t a system at all.
It was plagued with corruption and catastrophe during its construction, cost $8 billion and has failed to get more people to use public transit.
Twenty years too late, the LA Times finally gets around today to reporting just what a fiasco it is, quoting transit experts Tom Rubin and James Moore on what they have been telling the world all along: The rail system was built at the expense of the bus system, destroying the critical links that make transit systems effective while driving up fares.
The result is more traffic congestion and lower ridership despite a 20 percent increase in the county’s population.
Yet, the mayor in his desperation and delusion is staging a dog-and-pony show for the TV cameras today near Staples Center — where else? — to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Blue Line between downtown and Long Beach.
The real reason is to promote himself and his plan to build more rail lines, mostly on the hopelessly congested Westside.
The problem with that is the same problem with the whole rail system: It is making the cost of public transit even more expensive and forcing even more cuts in bus service that are needed to connect passengers from train stations to where they want to go.
The only facts you really need to know are that bus use doubled in the 1980s when fares were cut in half and that the construction cost per passenger of the Orange Line Busway across the Valley was a fraction of the cost of the subway and light rail per passenger. In addition, took only three years from conception to operation, not a decade.
Richard Riordan, when he was mayor, understood that the only reason we were building a rail system instead of a transit system that works was to feed the contractors and unions that funded the political system with campaign cash and gifts. .
Only, the Valley, that poor stepchild of the city, got a busway from his efforts and we’re now moving forward on more subways and light rail to feed the contractors and unions instead of going back to the drawing board and figure out how we get more people into public transit because it gets people where they want to go at a cost that gets them out of their cars.
That isn’t going to happen until we take a lesson from the residents of the city of Bell and throw the bums out.
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