Wed, Jun

Metro’s Follies-Continuing Failure of Leadership 


GUEST WORDS - First the good part--our Mayor has ordered a police surge on Metro and rail routes amid the mounting spike in violence--she is doing Stephanie's job.  Kudos to her. Metro's former head of Public Safety--who was recently fired--puts the blame squarely on Stephanie Wiggins for the recurring safety issues.  Stephanie, Sharon and Nicole are not capable of doing their jobs--and they continue to prove it---maybe they would be better suited for a reality show---The Housewives of Metro---although I don't think any streamer would make it--because they clearly fail as executives--or they can remake the movie "Clueless" and they can all have roles. Lawyers who will represent those who were hurt or families of those murdered will clearly raise negligence as a cause--and they would, in my opinion, be correct. I have been writing about this for the last 4 years--and rather than safety improving, it’s gotten worse. How many more people need to be hurt before these 3 individuals are replaced? 

FYI-on another separate matter - Jody "Wurst" Litvak is no longer involved in the Sepulveda Transit Corridor (STC) project---which is addition by subtraction. More on STC later----but it does show personnel can be moved--and if the head of security can be fired, why not these three. The Status Quo is unacceptable. 

Now to be clear--the Mayor and I do not agree on everything--that's what makes democracy great--there will be a ballot measure in November entitled the Taxpayer Protection & Government Accountability Act (I assume the Court challenge in June will not succeed) -- but I have been wrong before---we will know by the end of June. The Mayor opposes it--I support it as does the California Business Roundtable and many others--among its benefits is the repeal of ULA--and absolute error in judgment--ill-conceived by an academic at Accidental--sorry I mean Occidental University---and has cost the city jobs and many new construction projects.(Although since its passage, we did get Graffiti Tower--a pictorial embarrassment to our City).  Part of the reason it was originally passed by the voters was the misrepresentation by Nithya Ramen (and who was proud of it) -- who called it a mansionization tax--notwithstanding it applies to all residential and commercial projects--and then she rallied the Democratic Socialists of Los Angeles--with a serious ballot harvesting effort--to see that it was passed. For those of you who don't know who Nithya is---she is the Council person of District 4 and she voted against keeping the homeless tents 500 ft' away from all public schools--fortunately there were others on the council who had good sense.  Another example of how this city is upside down. This is part of the narrative to defund the police--or keeping a police presence off public transportation--it’s no wonder there are so many incidents on Metro. Another problem is our District Attorney---George "Revolving Door" Gascon---in the recent primary-- 75% of the vote was for other candidates---and he needs to be defeated in November. As Charles Barkley stated on a recent broadcast--"We need law and order and trying to fix inequalities has nothing to do with letting people go in stores and rob people." 

When does the wake-up call come---more than $25 billion of annual taxable income has left our city and county in the last 4 years. The city has a budget deficit--and the state just announced that its deficit increased by an additional $7B----and you cannot pay for the social programs the city supports and needs without revenue to pay for it--and you can't keep taxing the same people. The only industry that has increased is activists---the City has activists for every cause---one qualification to be an activist is the ability to talk very loudly or scream your point of view--we even have activists who represent activists--it’s become absurd--and the tax base continues to shrink. We need to bring business back to Los Angeles---and stop reading about people leaving---and while we have had a slight uptick in our population, many will need the social services the City provides--so it’s still net negative. 

Now --which agency is oblivious to what's going on -- of course – it’s Metro— Measure M keeps money pouring in--without commensurate responsibility and accountability. It's totally insane. Jeff Jacoby--an opinion columnist for the Boston Globe recently wrote and I quote " In the real world, the glaring truth about public transit is that fewer and fewer Americans want anything to do with it." "As long time transportation analyst Wendell Cox documented recently for the "Committee to Unleash Prosperity", the share of commuters riding on public transit in the nation's largest metropolitan areas has in virtually every case plummeted since 1960."   

This is Los Angeles---a car culture-as soon as anyone gets $200, they buy a car--that's never going to change--and the public is not going to ride in 13 mile tunnels--and just for laughs and giggles---if the number Metro continually misrepresents is true, where are all those people going to park when they get to the train station in the valley?? For TWENTY FIVE YEARS, Metro's leadership has been wrong about everything--cost, time to build, environmental reports. The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the STC --Metro stated would be released to the public in May, 2022 (18 months to prepare it) -- now, after the latest postponement its early 2025--51 months and counting.  Here's the real question-- why does this group of incompetent individuals and this Agency have any credibility? -- and why should anyone trust the information they publish??  Those are fair questions, and the answers should be obvious. 

Now as to the useful idiots at UCLA---let me remind everyone---that STD's for ALL--oops--that's STC for All is really a propaganda front for what UCLA wants--and after watching the behavior of UCLA students in the last 6 months, one can only wonder what they are teaching there? And I for one am curious, how they would behave if the awful events of last October happened at Coachella...but I digress. One last point--to remind everyone-the Vice Chancellor at UCLA who is leading the tunnel effort, killed a similar subway project when he was the City Manager of Pasadena. As I have said before, you can still sign up for his course on Hypocrisy. 

It's one screw up after another----we have so many potholes in LA and there are not enough people to fix them--there are 388 vacant positions in the City's Bureau of Street Services.  There are more than 7,500 miles of streets in LA----so now that we have Streets for All--with more bicycles using our streets in the future--I guess when the rider hits a pothole and goes flying, one can say they are training for the X Games. Does anyone in power think we should get our priorities straight? 

One last point--for all of those who have criticized what I have written--my view is that I consider the source....the biggest criticism that continually comes up is Nimby--which is lame and boring---no one argues on the facts--and without facts, your comments are totally meaningless----there is no way $35B-$45B is going to be spent on STC project---but if any of you have the need to dig, we would be happy to buy you a shovel. It's time for reality, safety, common sense, and accountability.

(Fred Rosen is a retired businessman who resides in Los Angeles.) [email protected]


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