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Gold Line Official Calls Metro's Ballot Measure Illegal

Metro approved a ballot initiative to extend Measure R 30 years, but it includes no money to fund the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Claremont, according a Gold Line official.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority board of directors voted Thursday to move forward with a ballot initiative to extend Measure R--the half-cent sales tax that funds Los Angeles transit projects--without providing any funding for the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Claremont, according to a Gold Line official.

Calling the decision "contrary to law," Gold Line Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian said in an email Thursday that Metro is not abiding by the original terms of Measure R by leaving Gold Line funding out.

"The many who have advocated on the projects’ behalf stressed that Metro is not meeting the 2008 voter mandate; a congressional letter read during the (Metro) meeting called attention specifically to provisions of the enabling legislation which 'delineated the Gold Line Foothill Extension as terminating in Claremont,'" Balian wrote. "Unfortunately, contrary to law,  the board did not amend the expenditure plan to include the project to Claremont."

The ballot initiative was passed by Metro's board in a 10-3 vote, with Supervisor Mike Antonovich as one of the dissenters. Before it goes on the November ballot, a state bill must be passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and Metro's resolution must be approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Metro's blog The Source said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supports the ballot measure as it stands.

"...Villaraigosa said after the vote that the extension proposal was backed by a wide coalition who viewed an expanded transit system as a way to make Los Angeles County look and function better while creating jobs in the process," the blog reported.

LAofAnaheim July 05, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Antonio Villariagosa overturned the federal subway drilling ban and found funding for transit projects. Name other mayors, besides Bradley, who did the same. Antonio is a very transformational Mayor for LA, once he leaves, his legacy will be the Gold Line to Asuza (yes, without Antonio you wouldn't even have that first extension), Subway to Westwood, Crenshaw Line, Gold Line Eastside Extension Phase II, Expo to Santa Monica, etc... You can bash on Antonio all you want, but in the end, he would be considered one of the greatest Mayors of LA because he overturned federal bans, found local funding (something Republicans like) and put America Fast Forward in a FEDERAL bill. Any other mayors that can get their inititiaves like Fast Forward which helps all cities in a federal bill, supported bi-partisan? You don't know what you got until it's gone....and Antonio was a transformational Mayor for LA.
LAofAnaheim July 05, 2012 at 06:09 PM
More SGV people travel to Los Angeles for jobs than vice versa. So don't SGV people deserve world-class transit in LA when they take Metrolink into LA? Again, the SGV heavily supports the Regional Connector project and has no problem funding an LA project. Also, a lot of SGV people work on Wilshire boulevard, don't they want to get between home and work faster and in a more relaxed mode? So you're cheating your neighbors if you're against LA projects, b/c SGV may need them more than LA residents.
LAofAnaheim July 05, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Please support evidence on the park theory.
LAofAnaheim July 05, 2012 at 06:10 PM
West Hollywood has zero projects funded in Measure R, but yet they know the value of a regional transportation plan. Plus, when all the other projects are done, they'll finally get the subway between North Hollywood to LAX via Crenshaw/San Vincente/Santa Monica.
Tom Adams July 05, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Daryl, This is the best ever, thanks for taking the reins on this. As for Tony V. being so good? Not too sure on that, check how many fees have been raised in LA and what the average guy egts back. I think he will go down as a failure, certainly has no moral compass.
Tom Adams July 05, 2012 at 06:33 PM
LAofAnaheim, this is not a theory, send me your email address and I'll send you the documents. You are starting to sound like a Tony V plant.
LAofAnaheim July 05, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Antonio cut down your LADWP rates from 10% to 9%. Also, yes, he did pass a tax increase, but it was supported by 68% of the county. But that funding goes toward numerous highway, transit, pedestrian and bike projects that were impossible for. So he made something that couldn't happen before, now happen. Be reasonable. Even the old Reagan Republicans liked local taxes because it directly funded local initiatives. Some taxes are good and Measure R was a good tax. Without it, the Gold Line wouldn't even be under construction to Asuza.
Daryl Hons July 05, 2012 at 09:31 PM
LAof Anaheim, you aren't Tony V. are you? Are you Zev? Who are you masked man...are you the Lone Stranger,,,I mean Ranger? Yes, I like regionalism, even paying taxes for regionalism--when the wealth is shared. And you're right...a lot of San Gabriel folks do work in L.A. But how are a lot of folks who live in the San Gabriel Valley supposed to ride the Subway to the Sea to work if there is no mass transit in their area? Well, let's see...I know...they can drive from Glendora or San Dimas to the Sierra Madre Gold Line station and hope that there are spaces to park. Yes, that's it! Oh, but let's not forget about all the people who live in the San Gabriel Valley and work in Pasadena. They can do the same thing--park in the Sierra Madre garage and ride the train a couple of miles to work though they've driven two or three times as far to get to the train station. By the way, I'd already researched that particular story, but thanks for sharing the link. It was fascinating and clears up the puzzlement I've had as to why the Valley, a part of the city of Los Angeles, has a bus route and not light rail. If it hadn't been for local politicians there, the Valley would have trains as well...you can be assured of that. But one question is why was a subway built out to that dense population mecca of North Hollywood? Lastly, I don't think Tony and the fed's have a deal yet. And as far as the subway drilling ban goes, I believe you can thank West Side politicos for that law.
LAofAnaheim July 05, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Wow Daryl, you really don't know your stuff. Fact #1 - The federal subway drilling ban happened before Antonio took office. HIs first directive as Mayor was to commission the Methane Gas study to convince Waxman to overturn the federal drilling ban. This was the only way that Waxman would create legislation to remove the ban. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westside_Subway_Extension#New_support_and_new_project) Fact #2 - The Gold Line is being constructed to Asuza right now and Measure R provides $750 million in funding. So to say that Sierra Madre is your only station is false because the extension to Asuza opens in 2015. This is not a question, it's already under construction and is fully funded to Asuza thanks to Antonio and Measure R (http://www.foothillextension.org/construction_phases/pasadena_to_azusa/) Fact # 3 - The Red Line was funded to North Hollywood, that's why it ends there. (http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/pdfdocs/tr1998176.pdf). Neighborhood councils (more scarier than politicians) prevented light rail in the Valley and convinced their politiicans through bullish tactics to get a subway, which Metro said was not worthy. Thus, the Orange Line busway boom for the SFV! Fact # 4 - I'm not Antonio or Zev, just a LA resident who knows what's really happening in LA and not making blanket statemnts of anger.
Daryl Hons July 05, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Oh, yeah, another point. Measure R was passed--barely--by one percentage point for adoption. And I'm confident that it was passed because a lot of people drank the MTA Kool-Aid about all the REGIONAL mass transit projects that were going to be built. I voted against it then and I will vote against it in November--ulnless the MTA folks start playing fair and square. I knew then what a slippery slope it was going to be getting commitments for the Gold Line extensions and I was right. Attending those MTA board meetings prior to the Measure R vote was instructive to say the least. The board entertained the San Gabriel rubes and philistines in much the same fashion as Marie Antoinette listened to the downtrodden of Paris. "Let them take buses," was the apparent noncommital sentiment. But now it looks like the smoke being blown from the downtown fog machine is starting to clear and the real intentions are being not so subtlely broadcast.
LAofAnaheim July 05, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Well, it passed a super majority, meaning it was greater than 66.67% to pass. You think that is easy today? No city voted less than 50% for Measure R, so a majority of residents did vote "Yes". So if you voted against Measure R, you didn't want the Gold Line extended to Asuza? How else would the Gold Line extension happen? The expected ridership is so low that Metro didn't want to submit it to federal funding because the rating was so low it may have never been funded. Without Measure R, there would be no Gold Line to Asuza. Ironic, you want the rail, but don't want to fund it. That's not fiscal responsiblity.
Daryl Hons July 05, 2012 at 10:02 PM
LAofAnaheim, I believe that you are off on your facts. First, I know that the federal drilling ban was in place before Tony V., but I believe that Waxman had a big hand in getting the ban in place to begin with. Second, I KNOW that the first extension is under construction for the Gold Line as we speak (you know, the bridge that's materializing over the 210), but there is a point of contention here as to how that happened. Deal for a park, maybe? And my question regarding the North Hollywood Subway is WHY WOULD funds be allocated there when, by your own admission, subways should only be built in densely populated areas; e.g. Manhattan, Chicago Loop? You've made plenty of blanket statements as well as inaccuracies and wrong assumptions.
LAofAnaheim July 05, 2012 at 10:07 PM
You really forgot how in 2005 ran off the "Subway to the Sea" platform? His first directive was the methane study commission to convince Waxman to overturn the federal drilling ban. Waxman put it in, and only he could remove it (b/c he was a Representative). There is no deal for a park; somebody is stirring up rumors. Nobody can site a source about this. I've been to many Metro meetings. Like to see proof. The North Hollywood extension was funded and doubled Metro ridership. Rideship studies can substantiate the need for a NoHo extension. We don't make those determinations. Science does.
Daryl Hons July 05, 2012 at 10:19 PM
LAofAnaheim, you apparently have a problem with reading comprehension, so I'll repeat myself. I'm 100% in favor of mass transit. Had there been concrete assurances to build the Gold Line as documented in its long-term transportation plan, I would have gladly voted for the tax increase. If MTA includes the second phase of the extension in its plans, I will vote for the upcoming measure. However, that does not appear to be the case even though the daily ridership of the Gold line is in the 30,000 range. And since you claim to be so big on proof, show me the federal government's denial of Gold Line funding because of low ridership projections. No, I think it was more the case of going to the federal government with our pet projects. Last, you repeated my point about Waxman instigating the federal drilling ban.
Daryl Hons July 05, 2012 at 10:25 PM
LAofAnaheim, why is the big picture so difficult? Why can't the trees be seen within the forest? Very simply: Tony V. runs on a platform of building mass transit. Tony V. is elected by Los Angeles voters. Tony V. needs money to build these projects. Tony V. chairs the MTA board and controls several votes. The MTA orchestrates tax measures to generate the needed money. We the taxpayers of the County of Los Angeles need to decide whether the increased taxes will benefit us.
Gayle M. Montgomery July 13, 2012 at 07:33 AM
Tom, are you talking about the Historic State Park opposite China Town? It's currently being used to hold festivals and things that would heretofore have been held downtown. It is an interesting park. The design is in the shape of the old rail yard that used to sit there. There is a quest to restore the LA River to a more pristine state. The LA River was cemented over because of all the flooding it used to do, but it's more of a blight in its cement state. I know this doesn't help the rail situation, but there is merit in both the park and the River restoration.
Gayle M. Montgomery July 13, 2012 at 07:35 AM
That said, we were looking pretty good to get that increase in the Gold Line eastward, or at least it was still in the ball park until they wanted to do the extension to the sea for the people on the west side. I'd love to see ridership counts (accurate ones since they often do counts on days that people do not normally ride with such frequency--like school breaks and Fridays) of people who will wind up taking transit from the west side to Downtown. I don't see it happening because they would have to travel with the hoi polloi from other areas.
Tom Adams July 13, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Gayle, not that park, that is from the old heavy rail yard. The current light rail yard will be town down and replaced with a park along the river. The new rail yard will be in Monrovia. I am not against the park or the river. I am against LA using $100 Million of Measure R dollars that we approved for transportation to build a park for Los Angeles.
Gayle M. Montgomery July 13, 2012 at 09:21 PM
So, Tom, for clarification, are you telling me the lot against the hills of Chavez Ravine, near the bridges of the 110 Freeway where they have what I call the drive through car wash for the Gold Line is going to be torn down? I thought there would be two lots to better serve the line.
LAofAnaheim July 13, 2012 at 09:30 PM
And it does benefit you. The most densest part of Los Angeles County is downtown to the westside. That's not a question. A lot of your neighbors probably travel into and/or west of downtown, hence why the biggest benefit is there. But don't worry, y'all get the Gold Line to Asuza. That's under construction and not a question. Plus, you have Metrolink. West LA has zero rail.
LAofAnaheim July 13, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Gayle, before you go ahead and believe what Tom Adams says at heart, ask him to provide evidence that $100 million from Measure R is being used to convert the Gold Line rail yard into a park. So far, this is an unsubstantiated theory just used to drum up anger at Metro for nothing. Simple Tea Party methods.
Gayle M. Montgomery July 13, 2012 at 09:43 PM
The issue, LAofAnaheim is that the West Side does want the rail any more than South Pasadena wants the 710. It's a NIMBY issue for some. They're NIMBY is my frustration.
LAofAnaheim July 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM
The westside wants rail, it's those wealthy homeowners at Cheviot Hills who are trying to stop the Expo LIne (they lost two lawsuits so far - woohoo!) and Southwest Homeowners Association of Beverly Hills is loaded with cash to halt the Purple Line extension west. Outside of those two groups, every homeowner group has full support of the subway and Expo Line westward.
Daryl Hons July 14, 2012 at 02:10 AM
LAofAnaheim, millions were spent to buy out George Brokate's property for the new Gold Line maintenance yard, which appears likely to replace the present one. You continue to accuse Adams of not having proof, but the fact is that you don't have proof to the contrary. At least Adams blogs under his real name--something that you don't do. I'm beginning to think you're just an MTA markting minion employed to monitor social media and spew forth comments favoring the November ballot initiative. The facts are that phase one of the Gold Line extension is being built and it has now been publicly stated that there will be no money for phase two. Well that's good news for the folks in the San Gabriel Valley who will not be close to the Gold Line but will have to drive 30 minutes just to get to a train station to take a train to West LA.
LAofAnaheim July 15, 2012 at 08:09 PM
SGV people have access to Metrolink trains already, so to say they have no access to a train station is absolutely false, which you know. Is there any Metrolink service west of downtown LA? Why is the burden on me to provide proof to the contrary of a park plan when NO PLAN EXISTS. I attend Metro meetings and the whatnot, and this has never been mentioned. You have created a conspiracy theory just to rile masses and get them upset at Metro. Where is your proof? I cannot find a single website that mentions Division 21 rail yard (the existing Gold Line yard at Chinatown) will be converted to a park. Not a single one. Measure R does NOT allow for park conversions.
Gayle M. Montgomery July 15, 2012 at 09:10 PM
LA the fallacy in your argument regarding the SGV having Metrolink is the cost. For $75 a month I can get on any light rail and travel from Pasadena to Universal to Redondo Beach to the Museums at Expo to Wilshire and to the Aquarium in Long Beach. But if I want to switch to the light rail and take the train, my costs skyrocket dramatically making it cost prohibitive and the reliability, frequency, and accessibility all suffer. Metrolink trains share the lines with other conveyances. The opening of the Gold Line was the reason I moved back to Monrovia from Covina following a 2 year absence.
Gayle M. Montgomery July 15, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I took Merolink to Covina for two years. My costs were close to double, and if I had to stay after work a few minutes and missed the last train in the five o'clock hour, I had to wait a full hour for the next. The Gold Line runs far more frequently. With my arthritis I can step directly into the Gold Line but getting onto Metro means I need to find a conductor to get a ramp and then will not get a seat. Do not try to step onto Metrolink carrying a laptop with bad knees. So your argument though partially true is an apples and oranges kind of thing
Daryl Hons July 15, 2012 at 09:34 PM
LAofAnaheim, if your comments weren't so pathetic, they would be funny. Comparing light rail to Metrolink? First off, Metrolink doesn't run all times of the day, only peak times for commuters. Second, Tom Adams challenged you to give your email address. Did you? And did you go the Los Angeles River Revitalization Plan as suggested by Adams? This rumor about a deal isn't the first time it's come up. I first heard about it a few months ago. And I will go back to what I originally said--you don't have proof to the contrary. . You're sounding more and more like an MTA employee paid to monitor the media and plant remarks. But since you don't give your real name and hide behind a pseudonym, we'll never know. At least Adams, a public official, has the guts to put in print using his real name. If he is spreading falsehoods, it will come out. The bottom line is that you are going to vote for extending Measure R and I am going to vote no. Further, I am going to do what I can to see that this measure is defeated. Gayle, thank you for your comments. I think we are both agreed that mass transit is good, duplicity isn't. Check out these links below: Monrovia Patch story: http://monrovia.patch.com/articles/metro-s-gold-line-comments-extremely-disappointing-glca-ceo-says San Gabriel Valley story: http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_20945831/mta-executive-gold-line-not-part-new-measure
LAofAnaheim July 15, 2012 at 09:55 PM
So, again, no proof to the park? And apparently I have to provide alternative proof which is INCORRECT in the first place. There is NO PLANS to convert the Chinatown Gold Line yard (Division 21) into a park. As for the alias....just because we don't agree doesn't automatically make me a Metro employee or cohort. Can't people speak the voice of reason? I have no affiliation with Metro, just trying to correct wild rumors. My Metrolink reference is that the SGV already has rail and that there is no rail that connects the biggest destinations like Westwood, Beverly Hills, Century City or Mid-Wilshire, which have far greater ridership demands than Claremont, San Dimas, etc... The irionic thing is if you vote against Measure R, you basically are screwing yourself out of potential sales tax money that will be used to extend the Gold Line east of Asuza once all Tier 1 projects are done. Let's finish Tier 1 projects first, then focus on Tier 2, where the Foothill to Claremont is located. You're basically hop scotching over other geographic areas that have 0 rail (Metro or Metrolink).
Daryl Hons July 15, 2012 at 10:36 PM
You never answered any of my questions, LAofAnaheim. You also say that there are no plans to close the current maintenance yard. How do you definitively know that? Yes, I know, you're just an interested party who lives in Los Angeles and likes to read obscure little news sites like the Monrovia Patch in your spare time. I bet you scour the San Gabriel Valley editions of the Penny Saver, too. And let's talk about transparency. Just assume that a deal was hatched. Here you have the MTA, which isn't a big fan of the Gold Line, agreeing to build the first phase extension of the Gold Line using Measure R money. Looks good to the voters, especially since there is a point of contention about said agency reneging on a campaign commitment to build the line out to Claremont. Now Tony V. has another political point scored as having moved the Los Angeles River project along. But more money is needed to build transit projects and this requires another ballot initiative. Would it be very smart for the MTA to publicize such a deal in advance of an election, especially since votes are needed from the San Gabriel Valley? I don't think so, and I don't think such a process as I've described would be unheard of in politics. As voters, we screw ourselves when we lose interest in the political process. Even if Measure R is extended, a Phase II consideration by the MTA wouldn't happen until 2050. Now that's a choice, isn't it?

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