From downtown to the sea
Perry gives a light rail update
As the population of Los Angeles continues to flourish at an accelerated rate, the need for adequate transportation will remain a hot topic.
Councilmember Jan Perry (CD-9), the featured speaker for the Urban Issues Breakfast Forum, addressed the need for a viable public transit system.
Although the tentative completion date of the Expo Light Rail Line is scheduled for 2010, a sizable amount of dissention surrounds the issues of traffic congestion, noise pollution, and especially safety and other environmental concerns in the neighborhoods that the line will traverse on its way to the ocean. These include the areas governed by the Councilmembers Bernard Parks (CD-8), Herb Wesson (CD-10) and Perry.
Perry pointed out that the line itself will be built on the existing decades old Southern Pacific railway. Some of the primary concerns include safety particularly in the area around Dorsey High School, which to the line comes as close as 100 feet.
When Perry mentioned that the exorbitant increase to a construction budget already reaching $800 billion plus renders the possibility of a tunnel (which would significantly improve safety) out of the question, a member of the audience said that the proposed “subway to the sea” (an extension of the Red Line already in place) is predicated on tunneling. Perry then pointed out that approval for that venture is still pending (not to mention complicated by the prospect of drilling through large pockets of methane gas), with cost being a key worry.
Safety concerns will then be addressed by way of crossing gates, fences, and landscaping. Towards this end, Perry noted that the already in operation Gold Line has been in existence for four years, and by passes at least one school, South Pasadena’s S.E.E.D.S. School (research indicates that S.E.E.D.S. was a private school which closed as long as three years ago).
A logical offshoot of this discussion includes the possibility of minority job opportunities. Adrienne Sasser-Gardner, Jobs Program Manager for the joint venture design-building contractors, FCI/Fluor/Parsons (FFP), informed the crowd that 30 percent of the employment opportunities have been reserved for people determined to be “at risk.” Of these approximately 200 jobs, 30 percent have been earmarked for inhabitants of the Expo Corridor, which translates to 75 jobs for community residents.
The population explosion of Southern California and Los Angeles in particular, dictates that rail expansion is certain. An additional factor in the whole equation is the latest (2000) Census data that shows nearly 30 percent of the households along the “Exposition Corridor” do not have access to an automobile. This merely adds to the on going debate weighting community benefits versus tax payer costs and safety concerns affecting residents living in those same neighborhoods.
The Urban Issues Breakfast Forum will host scholar-activist-author Angela Y. Davis April 19 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. (the program starts promptly at 8 a.m.) at the California African American Museum, 600 State Park Drive, Exposition Park in Los Angeles. Priority admission and seating will be given to those who purchase Dr. Davis’ latest book, “The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues.” The book must be purchased at Eso Won Bookstore, at which time purchaser’s will be given a priority admission coupon.
A group called the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in county jails is calling on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to look into the feasibility of permanent civilian oversight of the county jails. A town hall meeting is set for today, March 14, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 1006 East 28th St., in Los Angeles. Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas reportedly will be in attendance.
Speaking Wednesday at a press conference at Crenshaw Boulevard near Stocker Street, community activists including Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyers Guild, actor Harry Lennix, (pictured) Rev. Meri Ka Ra of KRST Unity Center of African Spiritual Science, as well as writer and KPFK radio show host Michael Slate, accused the Los Angeles Police Department of utilizing illegal and intimidating tactics to prevent promotion of the premier of the movie “BA Speaks: Revolution-Nothing Less.”
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—For a fifth year in a row, Los Angeles had more energy-saving commercial buildings than anywhere else in the country, according to a ranking released today by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The buildings carry the “Energy Star” seal, which apply to energy efficient appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, but also to buildings such as schools, offices and retailers that typically use 35 percent less energy than a typical building and emit 35 less greenhouse gases.
The Lupus Foundation of America has sent out its Purple Bus to take awareness about one of the world’s more mysterious diseases to the Los Angeles-area public. Starting today, Jan. 10, the bus will be on tour in key locations until Sunday. The public is urged to come out and learn about the disease, which affects women of color primarily.