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My Sunday Column: Fun and Games at the MTA — Why Is It So Hard Just To Do What’s Right for the People?

In the climactic scene of director Ivan Reitman‘s 1993 political satire “Dave,” President Mitchell (Kevin Kline) tells a joint session of Congress he lost his way, forgot his job was to make people’s “lives a little better…care more about you than I do about me…care more about what’s right than I do about what’s popular…”

The occasion for my viewing “Dave” recently was Warner Bros. executive Jeff Brown’s quarterly movie event for staff and guests on the Burbank lot where he brings together filmmakers to talk about what they created in advance of screening their movie — directors, producers, editors, writers and actors.

It was fascinating to hear how a movie got born, but it was Reitman’s comments about how the political culture he made fun of 20 years ago seems like child’s play to what we see today.

I was getting “Dave” flashbacks Thursday morning as I watched the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority‘s board members squirm over whether to give the bus-train advertising contract to CBS or Titan — firms that are spending fortunes on dozens of lobbyists to get a $22-million to $23-million-a-year contract.

The meeting started nearly an hour late with only seven of the 13 members present and went downhill from there, to the point they couldn’t even muster a quorum for a while to approve a long list of non-controversial measures because of conflicts of interest.

Then chairman Mike Antonovich announced that in discussions with the California Department of Transportation, several of the “alternative concepts” for extending the Long Beach (710) Freeway to Pasadena along Avenue 64 and through the San Rafael neighborhood were “off the table” from consideration as staff had recommended because of “low-performance characteristics.”


This entry was posted in 2012 Election, City Hall, Community Activists, Glendale-Burbank, LA County, Los Angeles, Transportation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to My Sunday Column: Fun and Games at the MTA — Why Is It So Hard Just To Do What’s Right for the People?

  1. Teddy says:

    If you are reading please do read the complete story Ron has provided.

    It is a story of selfishness, greed, power, politics today – and shows how
    little our career politicians and agencies care about the 4 million of us (1.74 millions
    just in the San Fernando Valley).

    I live in the SFV and have since 1966. I supported a call from the Editor of the L.
    A. Daily News for a secession. It still is a good idea. Instead of suburbs, we residents
    would be living in small cities, would be able to hold our own town hall meetings
    and would no longer have to try to deal with has been and is going on now in the City of Los Angeles City Council – which I do believe is an insult to the SFV.

  2. Teddy says:

    Sorry, I forgot many do not know why we did not secede.
    Secession was defeated except that becausthe Mayor went to Sacramento and got the Legislature to decide THE WHOLE CITY HAD TO DECIDE If we COULD RESIGN ! Outrageous!

    We lost by very few votes. If our Valley were allowed to vote for their own secession, we did win. But Mayor was James Hahn; his sister is Janice Hahn who
    just took office as a member of Congress from Long Beach. Their father was Kennth
    Hahn.. Shame on them.

    What kind of freedom is that? We must try again. Needless to say this should have
    gone to Supreme Court. Where was I ? Rearing my familyof 4 and that was a big job.

    • anonymous says:

      I agree Teddy, it should go to the SC. If we lose, then we should have the city allow us to vote for every Council seat (not that I care, just to bug them). After all, each one of their rate increase votes impacts us, so every Angeleno should be able to vote for each and every Council district.

    • ex valley says:

      I remember that the vote for secession even in the valley was not that overwhelming – 51% or so. Of course it was about 20-80 % against in south center.
      Despicable Hanh put a lot of lies on tv, the ads threatened rent control, high utility rates etc. Hanh spent tons of money on these ads whereas the secession supporters had no money.

      That was probably the last opportunity to change things. Now it is too late and you are all dreaming that somehow against all odds Kevin James will win. Nope the machine wins all the time.
      You can’t even throw the bum like bob b out. And it’s a shame on you to let both berman and sherman to contest instead of trying somebody new.
      You got the government you deserved.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Valley secession like all movements was the genesis. They planted the seed which later movements will bear fruit. I think LA is ripe for what the valley started. This time it has to be several secessions because LA is too big to govern by 15 idiots. It may take a few more years but LA needs to be broken into 50 pieces for communities to thrive. Once LA is decimated so will LAUSD. There is no other way; the unions have ensured that.

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