Breaking News: Expo Board Backs Route Down Right of Way and Colorado (Updated Below)

expo_map.jpgPhoto: Friends 4 Expo

I just got off the phone with Darrell Clarke who confirmed our suspicions, the Expo Construction Authority Board of Directors has authorized the staff to move forward with the studies for Phase II with the "LRT-2" alignment down the existing right-of-way and then Colorado straight to Santa Monica.

There was a couple of minor changes to the resolution posted with the Board’s agenda.  Following the testimony of 53 speakers representing supporters, opponents, people worried about the rail yard, people trying to preserve Bergamont Station, the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition and a couple of Midnight Ridazz, and some of the opponents of Phase I; the Board asked the staff to take a second look at the issues in question.  Those include the fate of the bikeway, and location of the rail yard and stations in Santa Monica.  That report will be presented at their June board meeting.

This move is hardly the end of the road for Phase II, heck we’re not even at the end of the road for Phase I which is already under construction.  During his public comment, Damien Goodmon threatened to file a federal Environmental Justice lawsuit three weeks from tomorrow.

Thanks also to Ingrid Peterson who kept me in the loop during the meeting.

UPDATE: Just got an email from Damien Goodmon that explains the
potential Environmental Justice lawsuit in better context.  First, his
comment about the lawsuit came at the end of a statement pleading for
Measure R and stimulus funds to go towards grade separating between
Dorsey High School and USC.  Second, the suit only has to do with Phase
I of the project.

  • Marcotico

    Dan, First, if you truly believe that, and you can organize your community around that principle then more power to you. If you’re looking for an “answer” to your question than look to your community members. I’m not the grand pooh-bah of what is and what isn’t environmental justice. However, there are methods to establishing what is and isn’t environmental justice. I know there is discrimination against GLBT communities, however the question is: Is there a history in transportation planning of discriminatory practices and policies that benefits other communities while negatively affecting the gay community of West Hollywood? In fact the opposite is probably true. Due to being politically mobilized the West Hollywood community, and a lot of work by you, was responsible for including the whole 2nd line as part of the subway to the sea into Metro’s recent analysis.

    Now the real question: Do you really believe in your question or are you looking for a “gotcha”? A more appropriate analogy was if a light rail was being planned for Santa Monica Blvd, and Metro decided that pedestrian crossing issues didn’t really need to be addressed, because there aren’t enough children in the area (you know, because its all gays). Now that would be something similar (not the same of course) and would be environmentally unjust.

    Again, in your last paragraph you mention bigotry. This is not about bigotry. Bigotry is an attitude. The analogy you describe is one action. If over the last 50 years everytime a transportation policy was made the technical analysis negatively effected the gay community then yes, that would be the problem we are talking about here. Environmental injustice is a systemic problem. You don’t look at one decision and cry environmental injustice, you look at the history of decisions, and you look closely at the processes that led to those decisions. Then you make the case.

    I’m not trying to demonize you, I’m just arguing that if we really want to be just we can’t look at only the nuts and bolts.

  • Marcotico,

    I thought your answer to my question was very well expressed and gave me something to think about. I do not feel demonized by your answer at all. Thank you.

  • Spokker

    “By your logic, a San Jose Metro agency can build an 8 mile long light rail project that is at-grade 4 of the miles at-grade in a black/poor community and totally grade separated in 4 of the miles in a white community without being guilty of engaging in environmental racism, because at-grade rail exists in white affluent communities in San Francisco.”

    If the poor communities are less dense and have less traffic on its streets, then yeah, I would be fine with that. The environmental review documents would show how they came to their conclusions.

    Since people cannot be trusted, pump the raw data into a computer and it will decide which streets should be grade separated and which are not.

  • Spokker

    “But basing the decision solely on the value of land, given the make up of the city (white areas = expensive land; black areas = cheap land) automatically placed the black community at a disadvantage.”

    Perhaps if gangs stopped treating the inner city as its warzone playground, land values would be higher.

    If I were to go to Compton and get killed or robbed, I think a lot of people would blame me for being there. Why can’t I enjoy a day out in South LA, eat some food, go to see Watts Towers, etc.?

    Instability can kill economic growth, and that’s what it’s doing in the inner city. Most people in South LA are good, honest people, but when people see this, http://www.cityrating.com/citycrime.asp?city=Compton&state=CA they aren’t coming to the inner city to spend some dough.

  • @Marcotico and Damien G.: I have not personally experienced racism, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it exists. However, I don’t see how the examples you presented are racist, without a lot of hand-waving on your part.

    @Damien G.: I am not claiming that you should stop with the rhetoric on racism because it makes me uncomfortable. I am claiming that you should stop with the rhetoric on racism because it is misleading. It gives the impression that at-grade light rail, when built in neighborhoods that have plurality minority constituents, is necessarily racist. Plenty of places on FixExpo.org make this insinuation. (Here, for example: http://www.expocommunities.com/info/environmental_justice.pdf, which states that the MTA is racist.) The issue is not race. The issue is money, and the non-race-related ways that agencies determine where and how these projects should be built.

    I fully accept that race is an issue and should not be ignored. However, to claim that pursuing infrastructure projects based on technical merits alone actually contributes to environmental racism does not ring true to me.

    I’m having trouble imagining a data-driven system that would incorporate race to your satisfaction.

    Would you have the agencies use some sort of quantitative weighting factor which they’d then multiply by their data to balance out the socioeconomic issues already existing in the system? There’s more intense traffic and density along the Wilshire corridor than along the Exposition corridor, so we should fully grade separate the purple line and not the expo line. Oh, but wait, we need to take into account that there are more minority residents along the Exposition corridor, so let’s multiply our traffic index along that corridor by 1.5. We don’t have enough money to grade-separate both so. . .

    What I describe above is blatantly racist, as it is using race as a factor in determining distribution of public funds. But it is racist in the same way that affirmative action is racist: in the interest of trying to be a quick fix for a deeply embedded socioeconomic situation, influenced by the racism of decades past. But I hope the point I am making is apparent: it’s economic status, not race, that is the basis of any environmental injustice claim here.

    ——–
    Damien G:

    If the policy for determining grade separations is based solely on traffic (technical data), and traffic is worse in white communities than in communities of color, then the policy directly or indirectly will result in more grade separations in white communities than in communities of color.
    ——–

    That’s a pretty big leap between correlation and causality. If the goal is to alleviate traffic, then an agency should take steps to alleviate traffic where it is the worst. The agency is not being racist for following traffic data and attacking the problem where it is most needed. The socioeconomic factors that result in majority-minority neighborhoods being of lower economic status are many. But there is no “race” or “economic status” determinant in the list of factors MTA considers when deciding where and how to build a line.

    ———-
    For example, a city needs to acquire property to build a junk yard. The value of land in white communities is greater than in black communities. So it may seem logical for the city to chose the cheaper site in the black community to save taxpayer dollars. But basing the decision solely on the value of land, given the make up of the city (white areas = expensive land; black areas = cheap land) automatically placed the black community at a disadvantage. These communities of color also, very often lack equally sufficient political leadership and access to legal resources to combat the city.
    ———-

    Again, these decisions are driven by economics, not race. The fact that race is often entangled with socioeconomic status is a real issue and should be addressed. But stating that is different from calling an action racist when the decision is based on sound economics, and not at all motivated by any knowledge of the predominant race of the community.

    *Sigh*

    Anyway, back to the issue I’m most interested in.

    I’ll ask again, because all this philosophizing of what is racist and what is not is getting tiring:

    If you are going to get the money from Measure R, which projects should take the hit, in your opinion, so that Expo 1 can be grade separated? $400 M is enough to essentially kill a capital project if you take it away, so which other project should be stopped in order to make an improvement to Expo?

    I’d love to see Expo grade separated in the way for which you are advocating. I think ALL light rail lines should be built in a similar fashion. But the reason they aren’t built that way is not because public agencies are racist. It is because there is not enough money to cover the needs of the region, and the agencies do the best they can with the resources they are given.

  • Are there funds to upgrade “connecting” service to Union Station for HSR? Could some of those funds be used to finish the Downtown Regional Connector and possibly grade separate more of Expo East of Crenshaw, particularly that segment it will run jointly with the Blue Line?

  • There is a grade crossing policy. The policy said that there were to be at-grade crossings in the one non-EJ community, which is in Culver City.

    The policy was overriden through a political process, and grade separations were added.

    I’m sorry, but it’s just too convenient for me to believe that there is no coincidence between the fact that the same people who argue there is no environmental injustice issue in Expo Phase 1 continue to ignore this MAJOR POINT!

  • David Galvan:

    I am claiming that you should stop with the rhetoric on racism because it is misleading. It gives the impression that at-grade light rail, when built in neighborhoods that have plurality minority constituents, is necessarily racist.
    ———————

    Actually, if you ever attended any of the Expo meetings or for that matter, any other issue regarding the allocation of taxpayers resources and public services in South LA, you’d very quickly understand that the implication is that the project is being built to a low and insufficient standard. You’d understand that this is the norm in our parts.

    How many times do you think an agency or the government in general can claim “There’s not enough money” to do things right in black/brown/poor communities, before people begin to even think the processes, policies and budgets are the product of institutional discrimination?

    Modern racism and injustice rarely comes in a white cape David.

    ————
    David Galvan:

    (Here, for example: http://www.expocommunities.com/info/environmental_justice.pdf, which states that the MTA is racist.)
    ————

    No. The flyer quite clearly states, “MTA Expo Phase 1 is Environmental Racism.” Boy you link to it and still you quote it incorrectly. How many times do you think you can make these type of mistakes without me and others thinking these “misstatements” aren’t intentional?

    ————
    David Galvan:

    The issue is not race. The issue is money, and the non-race-related ways that agencies determine where and how these projects should be built.
    ————

    The issue is not about “money” it’s about priorities and political power. If the issue were just about money there wouldn’t even be grade separations in Culver City. There wouldn’t even be an Expo Rail Line; it would be a busway…if that!

    ———-
    David Galvan:

    But there is no “race” or “economic status” determinant in the list of factors MTA considers when deciding where and how to build a line.
    ———-

    Actually MTA is required to consider race and economic status in their planning process for projects receiving federal funds. Look up Executive Order 12898, which again is linked to in the post above, and excerpts of which are in the document that YOU linked to.

    ———-
    David Galvan:

    What I describe above is blatantly racist, as it is using race as a factor in determining distribution of public funds. But it is racist in the same way that affirmative action is racist: in the interest of trying to be a quick fix for a deeply embedded socioeconomic situation, influenced by the racism of decades past. But I hope the point I am making is apparent: it’s economic status, not race, that is the basis of any environmental injustice claim here.
    ———-

    First, I can’t tell you how utterly unsurprised I am that you take that view with respect to affirmative action. LOL!

    Second, Robert Bullard, the father of the environmental justice movement was asked whether EJ was based primarily on class or race. The man who has spent the past 30-plus years studying this issue said the empirical data unequivocally shows it’s based primarily on race, not economic status. [There go those pesky facts again.]

    Finally, I think what Marcotico has explained, much better than me, is that the data only goes so far, and the criteria used often has unintended or intended consequences. So the suggestion is that at some point and at the end of the process, the agency has to step back to ask three questions:

    1) Did we afford adequate opportunity to comment and provide similar weight to the concerns of Environmental Justice communities as we did non-EJ communities?

    2) Does the end project place adverse impacts/hazards in EJ communities?

    3) Are the adverse impacts/hazards disproportionately placed in EJ communities, compared to non-EJ communities?

    What the EJ Executive Order states is that when adverse impacts/hazards or disproportionately adverse impacts/hazards are created the agency must correct them. In other words: THEY MUST FIX EXPO!

    Your recent post was real eliminating. You have not once claimed that Phase 1 doesn’t have a disproportionately adverse impact on South LA compared to Culver City, nor have you claimed that the process didn’t favor Culver City. Instead your claiming, quite clearly, that you don’t like the agency evaluating environmental justice in this or any other project. It’s clear that you don’t like the presence of the law.

    If you think environmental justice is too much of an “inconvenience,” I suggest you petition Obama to overturn the executive order.

    ———–
    David Galvan:

    I’ll ask again, because all this philosophizing of what is racist and what is not is getting tiring:

    If you are going to get the money from Measure R, which projects should take the hit, in your opinion, so that Expo 1 can be grade separated?
    ———–

    There’s a more elaborate response to that question, where I delve the true cost of building Expo Phase 1 through South LA primarily at-grade, and how it has effected funding to other projects in the pipeline, but let me stick to the big point, which is that this question of “Where is the money going to come from” is never posed when MTA runs over-budget or mismanages funds. It is only posed, all too conveniently, when a community, in this case, South LA, requests a sufficient project.

    Did you ask what project is going to take a hit or request the project be scaled back to a temporary termini or through the removal of grade separations when $222 million dollars was added to Phase 1 in 2007? Surely it came to the detriment of another project somewhere, did it not?

    Phase 2 budget went from $800 million to $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion. Did you criticize this increase, and claim that the additional $600 million for the project will come at the detriment of other projects in the county? Again, I don’t think you did.

    If you’re not concerned about the issue of limited resources, and allocating too much funding to the project at the detriment of others when MTA voluntarily increases project budgets, you can’t be considered about it when a community request additional resources against MTA’s will for a sufficiently mitigated project. It’s a two-way street.

    ———
    Spokker:

    Perhaps if gangs stopped treating the inner city as its warzone playground, land values would be higher.
    ———

    Every now and then people’s true feelings come out.

  • Gokhan

    So, Damien, you are basing your case entirely about the grade separations in Culver City. Let’s talk about the actual technical facts about these crossings.

    (1) In Culver City one and only grade separation was added on the existing Southern Pacific right-of-way. Tne right-of-way was otherwise not altered. This new grade separation is the Washington/National grade separation.

    (2) The Venice/Robertson Station had to be put south of Venice in order to allow both the right-of-way and Venice/Sepulveda routes for Phase 2, on which the elimination process was only finished on April 2, 2009.

    (3) The Venice/Robertson Station had to be put south of Venice in order to allow future Venice and/or Culver Blvd extensions.

    (4) With the Venice/Robertson Station south of Venice, Washington/National has to be grade separated.

    (5) Even without the station, the trains would block both Washington and National simultaneously, which is not a preferred geometry according to the Metro grade-crossing policy. So, even without the Venice/Robertson Station, the Washington/National grade separation would be desirable.

    (6) In Expo Line in South LA and in other projects, grade-separation structures are built to grade-separate adjacent or nearby crossings simultaneously. There is no example of a major intersection being grade-separated and another major intersection only six-hundred-feet-away being left at-grade. Such poor design practice is not used anywhere in Los Angeles in any light-rail project.

    Also, note that the realignment of National Blvd at Hayden Ave had to be done because of the new LRT bridge and ramp.

    Therefore, Damien my dear friend, unfortunately you have no case. This whole “racism lawsuit” you are basing upon a single grade-separation structure at Washington/National will be thrown out as soon as you file it.

  • Spokker

    “Every now and then people’s true feelings come out.”

    Haha, you are completely full of shit and are not actually interested in having a discussion about the inner city, race and how transportation fits into that. All you want to do is paint people as racists in order to get your way. You may be an intelligent man, but you are petty.

  • Spokker

    “There is a grade crossing policy. The policy said that there were to be at-grade crossings in the one non-EJ community, which is in Culver City.”

    How much cost did it add to the project. Are grade separations less expensive than trenching the entire line?

  • Spokker

    Here’s a question that will no doubt be painted as racist by FixExpo supporters:

    Because of environmental racism in the past, is it preferable or right to overbuild mass transit in the inner city, even if traffic patterns, demand and geography don’t warrant it?

    Should we change the way we make mass transit decisions by counting up the number of black people in the neighborhood and if it exceeds a certain threshold, we build a subway or below grade solution?

    I have said both harsh things about the inner city and “affluent” enclaves such as certain cities on the Bay Area Peninsula. Both places have their good points and bad points. In the Bay Area Peninsula the attitude is, “You can’t come here, you can’t live here, we don’t want you.” In South LA the attitude is, “You shouldn’t go there.”

    I think both attitudes are wrong. I have no idea how to fix it for I am just a simply mutt.

  • Note please Mr. Goodmon never answered any of my simple, direct questions. It is the Cheviot Hills folks who make claims about involvement in South L.A. and it is a fair question to ask what their role is.

    I hope readers of this blog also note Goodmon’s attacks on my character and SO.CA.TA in deciding how to evaluate his claims and motives. It isn’t racist to disagree with the so-called Fix Expo campaign–its goals, claims and methods. How sad that my right to think for myself and reach my own conclusions should result in being demonized with slurs. And that a group that is transparent with all its positions reached in public meetings should be attacked by entities whose structure and internal workings are clouded in secrecy. And that Mr. Goodmon who not so long ago denounced the playing of the race card by the Bus Riders Union now does it himself so vigorously.

    Mr. Goodmon, have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

  • ————
    David Galvan:

    (Here, for example: http://www.expocommunities.com/info/environmental_justice.pdf, which states that the MTA is racist.)
    ————

    Damien G.:

    No. The flyer quite clearly states, “MTA Expo Phase 1 is Environmental Racism.” Boy you link to it and still you quote it incorrectly. How many times do you think you can make these type of mistakes without me and others thinking these “misstatements” aren’t intentional?

    ————

    I had to stare at my screen for a few seconds before I understood what you were implying. I was thinking: “Is he actually saying that I said his flyer stated that MTA is racist, and then countered by quoting the title of the flyer, which states that MTA is involved in racism?”

    Now I think I see: You take issue with my claim that you are calling the MTA racist. You want me to use your semantics and say that you are calling them ENVIRONMENTALLY racist.

    Now, why would you quibble about the semantics? Environmental Racism is just a qualification of racism, so why should you deride me for using the more general term? Do you not like the negative connotation of the lone term “racism”? Then perhaps you should not be using it, even encapsulated in conglomerations like “environmental racism” or “soft racism”. Oh, but wait, then you wouldn’t be able to call people or agencies racist without actually having to admit you’ve called them racist. “We don’t claim the MTA is racist! We claim it’s ENVIRONMENTALLY RACIST.” You get all the argumentative benefit of attaching the term “racist” to your opponent, while feigning that you’ve taken the high ground and denying that you’ve accused something of “true” racism. What an insidious political ploy.

    Look: racist means taking an action or making a statement that discriminates based on race. Put whatever other word in front of it you want. I’d go ahead and go back and put “environmental” in my post if I could edit it. It doesn’t matter. Your response here is another blatant red herring.

  • Marcotico

    David,

    “Now, why would you quibble about the semantics? Environmental Racism is just a qualification of racism, so why should you deride me for using the more general term?”

    That is not entirely accurate. Environmental racism, or environmental justice as it is known is not a qualification of racism. In fact as you noted the difficulty is that EJ affects poor communities, and often times those poor communities are made of people of color. Environmental Justice has a professional definition in planning practice. If you want to learn about it you can download the following manual: Effective Methods for Environmental Justice Assessment from the Transportation Research Board website for free. http://www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?ID=4143

  • ———-
    Damien G:

    Actually MTA is required to consider race and economic status in their planning process for projects receiving federal funds. Look up Executive Order 12898, which again is linked to in the post above, and excerpts of which are in the document that YOU linked to.
    ———-

    This is surreal. Are you trying to hold an actual conversation or just win an argument? Quit twisting my words. I know about the environmental justice requirement. I’m not claiming that the MTA shouldn’t follow the laws of equality because they are inconvenient. I simply stated that, when deciding on when and how to build a project, the MTA is using traffic studies and ridership projections to motivate its mode planning for new projects, not race. All executive Order 12898 requires is that the resulting system be equitable and not proportionally detrimental to those of minority or lower income status, so yes it must consider race from that standpoint. But it’s designing the system to benefit humans that will be using it, not just to benefit white humans or black humans.

    Yeesh. You spend an awful lot of text responding to arguments that no one is making.

  • ——-
    Marcotico:

    That is not entirely accurate. Environmental racism, or environmental justice as it is known is not a qualification of racism. In fact as you noted the difficulty is that EJ affects poor communities, and often times those poor communities are made of people of color. Environmental Justice has a professional definition in planning practice. If you want to learn about it you can download the following manual: Effective Methods for Environmental Justice Assessment from the Transportation Research Board website for free.
    ——-

    First of all, environmental justice is the movement to REVERSE environmental racism. They are not the same thing.

    Second, here is the suggested definition of Environmental Racism from Wikipedia, which cites Bullard, Robert D. Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of Color as its source:

    “Environmental racism refers to intentional or unintentional racial discrimination in the enforcement of environmental rules and regulations, the intentional or unintentional targeting of minority communities[1] for the siting of polluting industries, or the exclusion of minority groups from public and private boards, commissions, and regulatory bodies.”

    Now look at the definition of “racism” from Webster’s Dictionary:

    “racial prejudice or discrimination.”

    In other words: environmental racism is racism, just in the context of urban planning. I stand by my statement that Environmental Racism is essentially just a qualification of the term racism.

    By the way: on page 2 of the manual you linked, the definition of Environmental Justice:

    “In this guidebook, environmental justice is defined as “the fair treatment of all people in terms of
    the distribution of benefits and costs arising from transportation projects, programs, and
    policies.””

  • ————
    Damien G:

    Your recent post was real eliminating. You have not once claimed that Phase 1 doesn’t have a disproportionately adverse impact on South LA compared to Culver City, nor have you claimed that the process didn’t favor Culver City. Instead your claiming, quite clearly, that you don’t like the agency evaluating environmental justice in this or any other project. It’s clear that you don’t like the presence of the law.

    If you think environmental justice is too much of an “inconvenience,” I suggest you petition Obama to overturn the executive order.
    ————

    First off, I must compliment you on your consistency in twisting my words and responding to things I didn’t say. I especially like that you put “inconvenience” in quotes, as if I had ever stated that I thought environmental justice is an inconvenience. I didn’t.

    I’ve never claimed that I thought Environmental Racism or Racism or Soft Racism or Rocky Road Vanilla Swirl Racism didn’t exist, nor did I ever state “quite clearly” that I don’t like the MTA evaluating environmental justice on its projects.

    NOR did I ever suggest that I didn’t like the presence of law.

    The fact is that I simply disagree with you. I don’t think the Expo situation is a race issue. I’ve already stated I’d love for the line to be grade separated as your group advocates. You are claiming that the reason MTA won’t do it is because they are being Environmentally Racist. I am saying they are not, any more than they were being environmentally racist when they didn’t grade-separate the orange line or large sections of the gold line.

    But fine: you say that MTA needs to take a step back and re-evaluate whether they have distributed grade separations equitably across Expo phase 1.

    In response to an earlier post of yours, I will go ahead and say now that Dana Gabbard’s suspicions about your funding sources and his questions about your positions on several issues that he’s posted on this board are not “pretty darn racist” either. I can’t speak to what other statements you claim he’s made, but given how I’ve seen you twist my words on this message board to make it seem like I was saying things I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you managed to make something Dana did say sound racist in retrospect, even if it was not Dana’s intent.

    (Whew! When Expo finally does get built, I wonder how many riders will realize how much heated discussion it generated.)

    As for Culver City:
    I haven’t responded about that because, frankly, I don’t know the details of why MTA decided to acquiesce to their demands and build a grade separation while they are giving south L.A. a harder time. But so far you’ve made it seem like you think the only reason is that MTA is environmentally racist, so it does whatever the Culver City (56% white, 23% Latino) wants, while ignoring the requests from the plurality or majority minority communities. Forgive me if I think that’s a bit misleading, but Gokhan’s explanations seem a lot more plausible.

  • ————
    Damien G:

    . . .

    Phase 2 budget went from $800 million to $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion. Did you criticize this increase, and claim that the additional $600 million for the project will come at the detriment of other projects in the county? Again, I don’t think you did.

    If you’re not concerned about the issue of limited resources, and allocating too much funding to the project at the detriment of others when MTA voluntarily increases project budgets, you can’t be considered about it when a community request additional resources against MTA’s will for a sufficiently mitigated project. It’s a two-way street.
    ———

    First off, I wasn’t even paying attention to L.A. public transit projects back when those changes to Expo were taking place, so don’t try to imply I’m being hypocritical for only questioning when the funding increase is based on community request instead of poor planning or budget overruns.

    Second: Whether or not I or other citizens questioned where the money would come from in those cases is completely irrelevant to my question, which you didn’t answer. I asked the question of what projects, in your opinion, the Measure R money you are requesting should come from. You responded by saying I didn’t ask that question in other situations. That’s not an answer.

    I take your point: If these projects can go hundreds of millions over budget as their design and construction progresses and is better understood, or when unforeseen circumstances arise (via poor planning or otherwise), why can’t they go hundreds of millions over budget to make the project better? The real answer to that is those unforeseen budget overruns will likely happen no matter what the requested project is; with or without grade separation. Or are you going to claim there’s no chance that the $400 Million you list on FixExpo WOULDN’T be enough to do the full grade separation?

    Still, I’m not going to let you off that easy. You really didn’t answer my question. Let’s pretend you are in charge of MTA. Let’s also pretend you are being FORCED to grade separate Expo 1 in the manner suggested on the FixExpo website. You have been granted no stimulus money (at least, none that you can use on Expo), and your only leeway is to take money from other MTA projects.

    Which one is it going to be? Come on, now. Don’t duck this question. I want you to recognize that you can’t get something for nothing. This is your opinion I’m asking for.

    I’ll go ahead and say that I think grade-separating the Expo line this way is more important than fast-tracking the Foothill Gold line extension.

  • For background, Dana Gabbard, Hank Fung and Kymberleigh Richards have had issues with anything that dared to call on the masses to rock the boat at MTA proposed by me and several other transit advocates. Their response to Get LA Moving was similarly vitriolic, so I am not at all surprised by their response to the far more controversial effort to Fix Expo. I don’t understand their personal animosity of fellow transit advocates who seek to see MTA create better projects and get MTA to improve their practices in the only two ways possible: through grassroots mobilization and litigation. And frankly, I’m not too inclined to waste my time attempting to figure them out.

    With respect to points raised. Dana Gabbard has rather clearly stated in many forums that the goal of NFSR’s involvement in Phase 1 is to kill the project.

    What Gabbard has never said, however, is where such a statement is made.

    Gabbard has never responded to very logical statement by the NFSR President regarding NFSR’s advocacy for grade separation in Phase 1 as reported last summer on a blog he religiously reads: “The group, she said, wants to make sure the right precedents are set on Phase 1 of the project so that crossings are properly built on Phase 2, should the existing right of way be used for the second phase.” A statement that of course would prove to be true given Friends 4 Expo and Yaroslavsky’s statement that Phase 2 must be built just as poorly as Phase 1…or more accurately the South LA portion of Phase 1.

    Gabbard and many others have also ignored the fact that NFSR has said they will support a below grade Expo through their community, and publicly expressed support for the Subway to the Sea. (I suppose the next thing out of their mouths will be that NFSR supports the Subway to the Sea because they want to see that project killed. LOL!)

    Let me explain to those who don’t already know, how this works.

    They’re losing on the facts – no one thinks these at-grade crossings make sense and there is no logical defense for them, so they have to demonize the spokesperson in an attempt to remain credible.

    How else could they justify defending the indefensible? They have no logical argument.

    They said there wasn’t the money to add grade separations to Expo Phase 1 without killing the project. Then MTA went ahead and appropriated $222 million more to the project, $218 million from the very source Fix Expo requested MTA could use to add more grade separations (Prop 1B).

    They claimed any change at the Farmdale crossing would kill the project. Then a change was mandated by the CPUC and MTA concocted a way to build the project and still implement the change, in the exact type of manner Fix Expo said they could (minimum operable segment between Downtown to Crenshaw station)

    Now the direct and often repeated insinuation is that South LA people couldn’t possibly think that this project is being built insufficiently and that resources exist to build it right. No, we’re simply under the influence of some outside forces or ignorant and under the spell of some charismatic speaker.

    The insinuation is that I, a noted transit advocate and user living without a car, couldn’t possibly want and believe Expo can be fixed, so I must be trying to further some political career that this supposedly is supposed to be a springboard to (if people only knew how comical that statement is).

    The emperor has NO CLOTHES so they’re busy lying, spinning and demonizing. Some people, like Gohkan, I don’t even read or respond to their posts they just clearly lie and their response is forever changing. First, the claim I was involved because Leimert Park activists forced me to. Then the claim was I’m involved because I’m a subway fanatic. Then the claim was that I am running for office. Now the claim is I’m being financed by Westsiders. It’s called the “crap against the wall” tactic: throw everything up there until something sticks and stinks up the joint enough.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not going to respond to every ridiculous insinuation posted in every forum. And I’m not going to constantly respond to questions that have been previously answered and are readily available, like my position on the Farmdale closure and the at-grade crossings in Phase 2. But these questions aren’t inquiries they’re further attempts to spread innuendo.

    I’m going to stick to the facts, and let these people continue their smear campaign, so clear thinking people can see just how low the other side will go in their defense of these insufficiently planned projects.

    Because everyone, even the detractors, recognize that every second used to talk about this hogwash is a lost opportunity to talk about the hazards of street-level rail, how MTA evaluates traffic impacts in their grade crossing policy, or whether Expo Phase 1 violates the environmental justice laws.

  • “These type of communities are easily influenced by charismatic speakers”

    Mr. Goodmon is putting words in my mouth. I was referring to the sad history of South L.A. politics being dominated by leaders who have chanted racism but in the end seem more about themself than the community. The horrifying King Hospital fiasco is an example of this–pointless rallies as patients died.

    I found a link to the L.A. Times’ 2007 profile of Eddie Jones and Najee Ali who aspire to be power brokers that illustrates the point. You find zero in the piece about any ideals either promotes–both are basically utterly about themselves and media exposure. The actual issues are secondary. I see Mr. Goodmon in this lamentable tradition.

    http://xml.latimes.com/news/la-me-oldactivist,1,3621924,full.story

  • This latest brick by Mr. Goodmon (brick is my term for his lengthy diatribes) is full of accusations and such. David Galvan has been trying to refute this sort of nonsense point by point. God bless Mr. Glavan for being willing to do so. Frankly I lack the patience.

    And in the end Mr. Goodmon rants and yells but can’t answer a few simple questions, or be up front about the intent of Neighbors For Smart Rail — it is insulting to ramble about what they have said. Their intent has been clear for years. And I still bet many in South L.A. wouldn’t be happy about a bunch of westsiders poking their nose into South L.A. solely because of a desire to “set precedents”. And what does that involvement constitute? A fair question, not an evil insinuation despite Mr. Goodmon’s claim that my query can only be motivated by racism.

    I’ll let who I am what I do speak for itself. It is a public process that is playing out. Goodmon talks of filing a lawsuit. Well, we’ll see how that works out.

  • Lol, I really can’t believe this shit is still going on. I think I quit transit blogging (and following LA transit) almost a year ago now because of nonsense like this. I probably would have shot myself in the face by now if I paid more attention.

    Jesus Christ L.A. is a wasteland. I was just up in San Francisco for the first time in 8 years and boy was it an eye opener. I have no idea how many people are killed by trains up there nor do I care because I know people who are killed by trains are people who are on train tracks when trains are coming. But damn if it isn’t nice to see light rail running at-grade, perfectly integrated into the densely populated urban environment, no gates, no bells, no mother fucking cry-baby trenches.

    My favorite was the J-Church passing by Mission Delores Park, a park filled to the brim with people, and one can imagine many small children. The train passes by the park at-grade with no barriers of any kind, it approaches an auto intersection at Church/20th and there are no gates, bells, lights… just stop signs for the cars. Pedestrians like me could walk right over the tracks and practice what they learned in kindergarten, look both ways before you cross the street. A glance at Google Maps reveals a number of school along the tracks, including a large high school at Church/18th. This high school, Mission High School, according to Wikipedia is 39% latino, 21% black, 21% asian, and 6% white. Of course, the Downtown section of the J-Church line is underground. I’m assuming that was a decision they came with racial demographics in mind.

    Google Map

    See you all in hell. Oh wait, we already live here.

  • ————
    Spokker:

    Haha, you are completely full of shit and are not actually interested in having a discussion about the inner city, race and how transportation fits into that. All you want to do is paint people as racists in order to get your way. You may be an intelligent man, but you are petty.
    ————

    Real classy. The irony is that your statement in response to the placement of hazardous materials was actually more classy.

    ————
    David Galvan:

    I haven’t responded about that because, frankly, I don’t know the details of why MTA decided to acquiesce to their demands and build a grade separation while they are giving south L.A. a harder time. But so far you’ve made it seem like you think the only reason is that MTA is environmentally racist, so it does whatever the Culver City (56% white, 23% Latino) wants, while ignoring the requests from the plurality or majority minority communities.
    ————

    You refuse to acknowledge Marcotico explanation and my explanation of how environmental injustice is, has been, and can be created, so I’m not at all surprised you’re making statements like “you think the only reason is that MTA is environmentally racist.”

    Since you want to continue doing such, let’s just agree to disagree on this whole E.J. issue David.

    ———-
    David Galvan:

    Don’t duck this question. I want you to recognize that you can’t get something for nothing.
    ———-

    I’m not ducking the question, I’m calling the premise of your question bogus. Understand the difference.

    Let me help you out here: if I don’t accept an insinuation by you that pigs fly, when you ask me what color their wings are, I’m not going to give you a color. I’m going to tell you that they have no wings, because pigs don’t fly! That’s not “ducking a question.” It’s pointing out that your question has no logical basis.

    Again, I’m saying MTA would not need to rob/delay other projects, and using as an example past appropriation of additional funds in the past did not require such actions.

    Furthermore, I have pointing out the fact that the disadvantage of grade separating Expo Phase 1 in South LA will actually cost MTA far more than the $400 million necessary to build the South LA trench.

    ————
    David Galvan:

    First off, I must compliment you on your consistency in twisting my words and responding to things I didn’t say. I especially like that you put “inconvenience” in quotes, as if I had ever stated that I thought environmental justice is an inconvenience. I didn’t.
    ————

    Forgive me inferring that your previous statement (below), meant you had issue with race being considered when planning rail lines, which IS the purpose and mandate of environmental justice laws:

    I’m having trouble imagining a data-driven system that would incorporate race to your satisfaction.

    [….]

    What I describe above is blatantly racist, as it is using race as a factor in determining distribution of public funds. But it is racist in the same way that affirmative action is racist: in the interest of trying to be a quick fix for a deeply embedded socioeconomic situation, influenced by the racism of decades past. But I hope the point I am making is apparent: it’s economic status, not race, that is the basis of any environmental injustice claim here.

  • Gokhan

    Damien, I see that you have conveniently ignored my post no. 59 above, which lists the technical facts, which, incidentally, are the only technical facts posted on this thread; yet, you did bother to mention “some people, like Gokhan.”

  • ————
    Dana Gabbard:

    Their intent has been clear for years. And I still bet many in South L.A. wouldn’t be happy about a bunch of westsiders poking their nose into South L.A. solely because of a desire to “set precedents”.
    ————

    Oh please. First off, unlike you or and others, my roots and the roots of other board members in our community are well established. We don’t need you telling us what our people are or are not “happy” about.

    Second, the type of interference we, and any other community, don’t like is negative interference – the type which attempts to overrule the consensus position of the community.

    Please don’t conveniently ignore that after dozens of media reports stating community concerns and over 500 mostly black and brown residents (including dozens of HOA and block club presidents and VPs) packed Dorsey HS requesting a grade separation just 90 days earlier, that So.CA.TA, Transit Coalition, Friends 4 Expo and Light Rail for Cheviot all went to the Expo Authority board meeting microphone in February 2008 and requested the Farmdale at-grade application be pursued, and attempts to take it off the table and begin evaluation of a grade separated option be ignored.

    And please don’t pretend like you and others in your group weren’t emailing the CPUC requesting that they overrule these people and approve Farmdale at-grade.

    What amazing nerve of you…I’m sorry, my tolerance for B.S. from you and others, Dana, has it’s limits.

    And how does one even stroke their keys to suggest that an entity serious about Fixing Expo, would not desire other organizations request politicians/MTA do exactly what WE – THE SOUTH LA COMMUNITY – long ago began requesting and have a mandate from our homeowners associations, block clubs and neighborhood councils to seek…especially when the politicians/agency that needs to be persuaded is not solely composed of public officials elected by us.

    The more people/organization get on board, the greater our chance of actually Fixing Expo.

    And as I said in my first post in this thread, the absence of any of the above organization even requesting discretionary funding (that if it doesn’t go to MTA, will go to other agencies in the state or nation) be pursued to Fix Expo SPEAKS VOLUMES!

    You won’t even stand up and ASK that more money that otherwise would not go to MTA, being brought to the project to make it a better transit project!

    I wish that you would grow up and recognize as I did long ago, that there are ways of building these projects that don’t require ripping communities in half and that the process of doing such yield BETTER TRANSIT PROJECTS.

    And it is simply stupid to suggest a person with strong political roots like my family, would see the path toward political office is by going in the “DO NOT ENTER” territory, including the call for resignations, recalls and investigations by the F.B.I. Like nearly everything else you say about this subject and so many others Dana, you’re just stirring hornets nests trying to tear people down and denigrate important discussions.

  • I pretty disgusted with the alt transit world right now. I’m not leaving, but these attacks on Goodmon’s character are complete bullshit. I’ve met people in the alt transit world and well, meet Goodmon and go to one of Dana’s SOCATA meetings (where people curse at people) and then you get back to me.

    I am a lost for words at the nastiness that has been put upon Goodmon and I’m waiting for the same assholes to treat others who “block” progress the same. I doubt I will see the same kind of treatment.

    All of you are such cowards, hiding behind your little keyboards and my opinion is that this has nothing to do with anything but traditional LA style racism. How dare any community that has less economically speak up and even more outrageous how dare anyone black say anything and acknowledge that they are doing it for brown, white and black people, how dare we (black people) anyone even say this in this 1950s racist backwards city.

    Some of you are sick jerks.

    And Dana don’t try to act like are concerned with black people being taken advantage of you don’t care and we all know it. How are you going to compare Goodmon to Ali? Because he’s black? If you don’t want to be called a racist, don’t say racist things and that won’t happen.

    More later. I’m just in shock right now. This is giving me flashbacks of the LAist Watts Neighborhood Project comments.

    You know what I think I’ll do I’ll put up some video of a SOCATA meeting and some video of Goodmon and we can see whose behavior seem batshit crazy and who seems sane.

    Browne

  • ——–
    Damien G.:

    Since you want to continue doing such, let’s just agree to disagree on this whole E.J. issue David.
    ——–

    Fair enough.

    ——–
    Damien G.:

    Again, I’m saying MTA would not need to rob/delay other projects, and using as an example past appropriation of additional funds in the past did not require such actions.
    ——–

    Well I, for one, hope you’re right about that. Your points about MTA saying it doesn’t have the money and then coming up with it when it has to are sound, but I wonder how deep that well of “oh look, here’s some!” emergency money goes? It has to come from something, after all. This is another slippery slope issue: ie.: “If they can find an extra $222 million then they should be able to find an extra $400 M. If they can find an extra $400 M, then they should be able to find an extra $800 M!” etc. It’s not like that money comes out of thin air, and MTA is not running a surplus. SOMETHING else will not get funded as a result. I don’t know what those things are, but that’s why I wanted to broach that topic.

    ——–
    Damien G.:

    Furthermore, I have pointing out the fact that the disadvantage of grade separating Expo Phase 1 in South LA will actually cost MTA far more than the $400 million necessary to build the South LA trench.
    ——–

    I’d love to see the math on this. If this could be shown convincingly, I think it would trump EJ or any other arguments I’ve seen for grade separating more of Expo 1. But I also would guess that, if this argument could have been made convincingly, you would have made it at an Expo meeting already, and it doesn’t seem to have worked thus far. . . Like I said, I’d love to see a faster-running, safer, quieter Expo line. The only real issue I have with your tactics is the EJ stuff which I consider hyperbolic (in this case). But yes, we’ll agree to disagree.

    ——–
    Damien G.:

    Forgive me inferring that your previous statement (below), meant you had issue with race being considered when planning rail lines, which IS the purpose and mandate of environmental justice laws:
    ——–

    My point there was that it’s problematic to incorporate race into planning of rail lines, because the primary drivers should be improving mobility and throughput of passengers and minimal impact to the surrounding traffic environment. I recognize that MTA must review the resulting system to make sure its not inequitable to the minority community, but that’s not the driver of the plan to build a transit project. You seemed to be implying that I was opposing EJ law because it was inconvenient to abide by. But I’ll drop my issues with your semantics. I’ve wasted enough text space with that already.

  • “where people curse at people”.

    Browne, how much community activism have you been involved with? Things can get out of hand sometimes at the Advocates meeting but I doubt any of it will be a shocking revelation.

    BTW, is your video of Mr. Goodmon from the time he used foul crude language at a public meeting attacking Metro staff? I think even some supporters might be dismayed at that display.

    Mr. Goodmon has actively rewritten history and distored facts to suit him. But somehow anyone who even raises a question is to be denounced and shouted down?

    Your fabulous alt transit world blog world is utterly disconnected from reality. Goodmon bamboozles folks to show up at a meeting or two and claims to lead a movement. Please. Goodmon and Ali both exploit and are examples of a dysfunctional political culture in South L.A. Pure and simple.

    Browne this sort of bullshit identity politics is why the far left has become a relic. From a look at your blog you seem part and parcel of the dead end progressives a la Eric Mann. Scream racist all you want.

    My opinion is just that–my opinion. And I am amazed how much is ascribed to me regarding Expo. I really have been more involved with other stuff–it has been people along the alignment who have been the real champions.

    As I said before, this is a public process. We’ll see what outcome Mr. Goodmon has if he follows through on the lawsuit he spoke of recently.

    If nothing else, this has been a lively thread. This is my last posting on it.

  • Spokker

    You see, black people, they design light rail like this. Doo-doo-da-doo-doo-doo. But see, white people, they design light rail like this. Dee-dee-dee-deee-deee.

  • Hank Fung

    I’m with Fred on this one. This conversation is getting frustrating on all sides.

    For the record, the primary reason I opposed the Get LA Moving plan was that it was extremely ambitious and failed to grasp the amount of taxes that would need to be sucked out of the pockets of Angelenos for this. Look, I am definitely an incrementalist on this one. I don’t think building several hundred miles of rail is worth my tax dollars, when we have so many other needs to take care of. It doesn’t make me any less of a transit advocate than I am a citizen of this region, when we have so many other concerns that we need to be aware of.

    As far as Expo, I question some of the cost assumptions on constructing a trench west of Vermont Avenue, with my engineering expertise on other trenches and grade separations throughout Southern California. That’s all. SO.CA.TA’s position on Farmdale can be read here at http://socata.net/expofarmdale2008.html, and every single public statement we’ve made since 2007 is at http://socata.net/statements.html

    I will say that SO.CA.TA is completely transparent. Anyone can walk in and sit down on the second Saturday of the month. Members, guests, etc. all sit down and we have a lively discussion on the issues. Yes, members sometimes go on long diatribes, and there’s some folks who are broken records that we just ignore. But try doing the same thing at a BRU meeting. The minutes of our meetings are public record and are distributed to everyone the next month. The last year, I can report quite candidly that we have had zero funding from any corporation or foundation. Aside from an APTA grant specifically for advocacy on the Wilshire corridor, we are 100% supported by member donations. Sometimes things get ugly, but we’ve hung around for almost 20 years… more than any other advocacy organization out there. I encourage anyone to visit the meeting for themselves and judge whether this is one where you want to spend your dues on.

  • What I find so interesting about the constant reference by you to this Dana is two things:

    First, Gabbard wasn’t there.

    Second, I was there, and I sure the heck was pissed. What is always edited out when I respond to this accusation, particularly on the Transit Coalition forum is that my rant was not directed at MTA staff (who completely and totally need to be cursed at by the way for their disrespectful public relations treatment of South LA) it was directed at Darrell Clarke, who just minutes earlier assaulted Colleen Mason Heller in the presence of no less than three witnesses.

    And second the rant consisted of me saying: “And why is spending more money to save lives not WORTH IT?! You knew there were problems in Phase 1 and you sat there and did nothing! So whatever the f— happens is not my fault – it’s your f—ing fault and his f—ing fault [pointing to Rick Thorpe].” I think I also went on to say something to the effect that Clarke could “Give a s— who dies just as long as the f—ing thing is built.”

    Me and a whole bunch of other well-mannered men believe me cursing at Clarke was rather tame given the circumstances. If Heller’s husband were there, I think it’s safe to say folk would have went to jail that night.

    Again, Gabbard has oh so conveniently ignored the context of the situation to spin what occurred into some type of character attack on me, when in actuality the whole ordeal is a reflection of the total lack of character of Clarke.

  • I want to know from Fred and Hank are your comments directed towards Dana, Scott, John and others because they are the ones that started in on Goodmon first (and wouldn’t let it go,) because I would hope that you wouldn’t have an issue with Goodmon defending himself against obvious bullshit that wasn’t stopping.

    I mean it’s odd that none of the transit regulars (with the glaring exception of Marcotico) has anything to say about “this is all too much” until Goodmon defends himself. No one says anything of this being way too much and being too much about race until on day five Goodmon comes in.

    Insane accusations were flying around on day one of this post.

    What about the “black people can’t live near trains” bullshit, do either of you have a problem with that, is that bothering either of you or is it Goodmon that is bothering you guys?

    Browne

  • Hank Fung

    They were anti-Damien, but they didn’t inject the racial angle. Spokker injected the racial angle with his comments… although I don’t feel they were racist, they were pretty insensitive IMNSHO.

    But calling Dana Gabbard a racist is beyond the pale. Gokhan snuck in that comment about MLK there which was a bit of a nonsequitur but that is where the race angle starts to get played. Dana asked his two questions (which incidentally were never answered) and kept it on the level.

  • “My favorite was the J-Church passing by Mission Delores Park, a park filled to the brim with people, and one can imagine many small children. The train passes by the park at-grade with no barriers of any kind, it approaches an auto intersection at Church/20th and there are no gates, bells, lights… just stop signs for the cars. Pedestrians like me could walk right over the tracks and practice what they learned in kindergarten, look both ways before you cross the street. A glance at Google Maps reveals a number of school along the tracks, including a large high school at Church/18th. This high school, Mission High School, according to Wikipedia is 39% latino, 21% black, 21% asian, and 6% white. Of course, the Downtown section of the J-Church line is underground. I’m assuming that was a decision they came with racial demographics in mind.”

    —————–

    Fred,

    We need your voice of reason back in this debate. Please pick up your blogging keyboard again.

  • Browne: Damien is a big boy and can take care of himself. And the fact that people disagree with him based on comments he made at a public meeting, and then make their own comments about it on this internet forum, does not mean that some atrocity has been committed. Relax.

    Hank: Spokker didn’t inject the racial material into this discussion. If anyone wants to know how this discussion developed, they can simply scroll up and see for themselves.

    It seems a tad silly to be pointing fingers about who said what first and who “started it”.

  • Gokhan

    Damien: ‘And second the rant consisted of me saying: “And why is spending more money to save lives not WORTH IT?! You knew there were problems in Phase 1 and you sat there and did nothing! So whatever the f— happens is not my fault – it’s your f—ing fault and his f—ing fault [pointing to Rick Thorpe].” I think I also went on to say something to the effect that Clarke could “Give a s— who dies just as long as the f—ing thing is built.”‘

    It’s clear that you don’t have the capacity and knowledge to reply to my technical facts that clearly show why the Washington/National grade separation, the only grade-separation structure in Culver City, on which your alleged “nuclear attack” on April 24 will be based on.

    Then, let me correct your version of the event above:

    I was the person who was standing closest to Damien and Darrell when that incident happened, immediately next to them, listening to the conversation. It started because Damien accused Darrell of killing children. Then Darrell asked Damien “Why are you accusing me of killing children?” The incident ended with a Damien completely turned into a red-hot devil (or at least pretending to have turned into a devil), pressing his nose against Darrell’s nose, and saying to him “F… you!” several times as loudly as possible to the point his lungs were about to explode. To me this was something only a teenager gangster could do. Now, you get the picture. Damien is either far from being mature or a very good actor, or perhaps more likely both.

    After the incident, Darrell, who is a totally devoted environmentalist and intellectual, was in total shock and completely speechless and very unhappy, quite understandably of course.

  • Gokhan

    Someone made a comment that my mention of Dr. King in my Expo meeting report was perhaps out of line. Let me then clarify this:

    Damien based his public comments almost entirely on Martin Luther King. That’s why I noted it in my report.

    Martin Luther King is someone who I truly appreciate. He is just not a Black activist but a true leader of everyone. His philosophy is based on peace; yet, Damien kept mentioning his “nuclear war” on April 24. The most important point is that only because you’re Black doesn’t give you the right to make a mockery of Martin Lutery King. Only because you’re Black doesn’t give you the right to spin him around. Only because you’re Black doesn’t give you the right to accuse people who don’t agree with you with racism. I was very offended by this and I thought it was very disrespectful to Martin Luther King and highly irrelevant in the context of Expo.

    Anyone with a little common sense, regardless of being Black or White, can see this. In fact I think this is exactly what happened last Saturday. People were not sucked into this game and mockery and I heard the march and rally was a flop.

    So will be the nuclear attack of April 24 — merely a flop.

  • I want to know from Fred and Hank are your comments directed towards Dana, Scott, John and others because they are the ones that started in on Goodmon first (and wouldn’t let it go,) because I would hope that you wouldn’t have an issue with Goodmon defending himself against obvious bullshit that wasn’t stopping.

    My comments were directed at the fact that this argument is still going on. It “started” a long time before this blog post. It’s no secret who’s “side” I’m on, if that’s what you’re wondering. If the thesis of Damien’s campaign is that the current alignment of the Expo Line Phase 1 is “environmental racism” and the only possible and acceptable solution to grant “environmental justice” is to put it underground, then I literally could not disagree more.

    I mean it’s odd that none of the transit regulars (with the glaring exception of Marcotico) has anything to say about “this is all too much” until Goodmon defends himself. No one says anything of this being way too much and being too much about race until on day five Goodmon comes in.

    I check the transit blogs about once a week if that because they make me want to vomit. But like I said before, this argument is nothing new. This shit was going on well over a year ago, check the MetroRider archives to see the same fucking arguments verbatim. And hate of Damien on the internet is nothing new and not limited to transit circles, check the architecture blog CurbedLA if you want to see a lot more random people spewing hate.

    What about the “black people can’t live near trains” bullshit, do either of you have a problem with that, is that bothering either of you or is it Goodmon that is bothering you guys?

    I thought the “black people can’t live near trains” comment was a hilarious spot-on Onion-caliber satirical jab. What’s bothering me is that this ludicrous discussion is still going on and how it took the fun out of promoting transit use in L.A. because who the fuck wants to get involved in this nonsense. Stay in your cars folks lest you want to get involved in a goddamned RACE WAR over a stupid fucking train.

  • London is a multi-cultural city as diverse as Los Angeles and New York. When I was staying in Enfield, London in September I saw people of all races use a pedestrian underpass to avoid getting hit by a very busy at-grade rail line. I saw autos filled with people of all races stopping for a train-crossing gate without trying to outrun the train.

    How did I ever stay there for 10 days without witnessing a trail of death and destruction at this horrible, immoral, deadly, at-grade crossing?

    Santa Monica feels comfortable requesting an at-grade line. I refuse to believe that the residents near the Expo Line at any portion of it are less capable of living safely with some at grade rail than the residents of Santa Monica or Enfield.

    The argument about Expo that IS interesting to me is the one about the future performance of the line. If putting more of the line east of Crenshaw will help performance for this line and future branch lines possibly on Venice, Culver or La Cienega, then that is something to consider. Traffic considerations near busy arterials are important too. But David makes a good point. At some point, gold plating one rail line may end up shelving another line.

    The real issue here underlying all the shouting in this thread is that the neighborhoods along the Expo Line will get access to the growing rail system. Think of all the neighborhoods that would love to see rail but won’t ever get it. People along this line should be THANKING Metro for bringing more mobility to their neighborhood. The Expo Line is something for them to celebrate, not fear. How many neighborhoods around Southern California wish they were getting a rail line of their own, at grade or otherwise?

    By all means, the residents of this neighborhood should advocate for what’s best for their community. I do not criticize any neighborhood for that. In fact, I think it is great if there are neighborhood organizations formed that are organizing and campaigning for neighborhood improvements, including safety improvements.

    However, no one should be subjected to accusations of racism, hard or soft, just because they have a difference of opinion about this project. One cannot have it both ways and accuse someone of soft racism for having a different opinion, but then say they aren’t actually accusing anyone of racism for having a different opinion.

    I may be Caucasian, but I haven’t heard anyone say, “I hope lots of people of color get killed by this rail line” or “I hope accidents on this line send illegal immigrants back to Mexico.” We all know there are some Cheviot Hills residents hoping this line is sabotaged so they don’t have to worry about “those people” coming to and through their neighborhood. That’s real racism, in my book. I have read comments on blogs stating that spending money on transit is a waste because only “illegals” ride it.

    However, since we are discussing bigotry in terms of determining transportation planning, should we start discussing the impact of sexism, ageism, homophobia and religious zealotry in transportation planning as well? If so, my constitutional equality was just revoked by popular vote at the same time we elected our first African-American President (who I enthusiastically voted for). Therefore I have a steaming pile of bigotry I’d like to complain about too.

  • Transcommuter, who are you to demand who does what when you provide no such information?

    Dana- As a newspaperman who has worked extensively in NYC and L.A., I find your coded attempt to disparage Damien Goodmon reprehensible. “Whether that means they have some role or providing financial assistance to Goodmon’s crusade is unknown.” Such an allusion is an obvious attempt to make a connection. Where did you get such a idea that there might be? I am sure that your great girth has nothing to do with American motor vehicle companies making the cabin space and seats of SUVs larger to accommodate the collective obesity that seems to define the typical middle-class American, and yet my statement is no less pointless than your crass attempt to usurp Goodmon’s attempt to make folk understand that what is happening in west L.A. is NOT occurring in his nabe.

  • If anyone of you—especially the anonymous schmucks (what is it about Angelenos being so gutless that even on-line they cannot provide even a penumbra of personality?)—would like to ride the Gold Line with me to observe the various aspects of it with respect to at-grade, industrial and underground passings, I welcome it. I think it would open some eyes if folk would look at the way the Gold Line passes through the various sections, and the way the Expo Line is slated to do so as well as the way constabulary agencies treat the two distinct factions—factions that were created by redlining, I might add, as well as industrial zoning (Robert Moses’ work was not only prevalent in NYC, mind you; it was a model for most of America)—when they convene to voice their protests.

  • Dana, If three people about whom you read—in the laughing stock that is the L.A. Times, nationwide—are the definition of what you clearly imply is the monolithic Negro, then I suppose that we can figure people like you to be defined by Chris Farley, Jared Fogle and Rosie O’Donnel?

    Don’t get me started on the other apologetic and useless stooges in your group. You socata lot have done squat save prompt me to personally research via Metro the incorrect outbursts by one of your more loudmouthed boobs. As such, I find the patronising attitude as well as the political-painted statements to be highly questionable. Moreover, as transit advocates, what have YOU done? (Which is not to imply The Bus Bench are advocates; we are doing what should have been done long ago: prompting folk to get off their knees.)

  • Well, Fred, this is your baby- why not grow some balls and abort it then?

  • “What’s bothering me is that this ludicrous discussion is still going on and how it took the fun out of promoting transit use in L.A. because who the fuck wants to get involved in this nonsense.”

    Well, Fred, this is your baby- why not grow some balls and abort it then?

  • As far as I know, this ain’t my baby. I aborted my shit about a year ago now. My balls could use some growth though, I’ve never been content with their diminutive size.

  • Spokker

    “Then Darrell asked Damien “Why are you accusing me of killing children?” The incident ended with a Damien completely turned into a red-hot devil (or at least pretending to have turned into a devil), pressing his nose against Darrell’s nose, and saying to him “F… you!” several times as loudly as possible to the point his lungs were about to explode.”

    lol, you people are fucking insane.

  • Spokker

    Black, white, brown, who gives a shit anymore. The only colors that matter to me are the ones on that represent the rail lines on the map.

  • First off, let me thank you all for visiting Streetsblog and commenting/writing your opinions here. I was Downtown yesterday and I wasn’t able to keep up with the discussion and apparently there was a lot of it. This is now, by far, the largest thread in LA Streetsblog history.

    At first, I thought this was an interesting conversation of the role of race in transit planning and in the fight over Phase I of the Expo Line. However, at this point it seems that every post is either a personal attack or a response to a personal attack and it has long since passed the point of useful conversation. So I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I’m closing the comments section. Even that stupid Jack in the Box post never actually got closed.

    Normally, I would edit or delete a couple of posts in here, but since the ones that were over the line were usually is response to a post that has escalated the conversation. I’d have to go through with a flamethrower or just delete the whole thread to be anything resembling fair, so everyone will just have to live with what they wrote, no matter how ridiculous it makes them look.

    Lastly, part of what has gone on in this thread is my fault. My wife was leaving town for a week last Friday, and I rushed the post Thursday evening so we could spend some time together before she left. I didn’t think that the article would gain that much attention outside of the transit-lovers community and didn’t do my due diligence and talk to Goodmon before dropping in the one line about the lawsuit.

    By no means am I blaming Darrell for not giving me all the information, he did a great job summarizing the meeting, but I have DG’s phone number and I should have given him a ring before posting something.

    So, no more posting on Expo for now. But please, feel free to visit our many other threads and conversations while you’re here!

    P.S. – Hi, Fred!

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Hearings on Expo Phase II DEIR Begin Tomorrow

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The Exposition Construction Authority, the quasi independent agency charged with building the Expo Line, will hold three hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement tomorrow.  There will be two more hearings next week, and each provide an opportunity to make your voice heard on what kind of Expo Line you wish to see. The largest […]