Skip to content

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

Steve Bannon Would Love to Team Up With Chuck Schumer on Infrastructure

asdf

Imagine all the Trump signs marking projects that get tax breaks from the infrastructure plan Steve Bannon is pushing for. Schumer photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls/Wikimedia Commons; Bannon photo: Don Irvine/Wikimedia Commons

We mentioned it briefly last week, but Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s comments to the Hollywood Reporter about infrastructure are worth a closer look. It helps explain why Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are making a grave mistake when they line up to help Trump implement this plan.

Bannon is the propagandist who entered the Trump campaign team after turning Breitbart into the world’s leading “news” source for white supremacists. In the Hollywood Reporter article, he refers to cities as “the metrosexual bubble” and lashes out at his enemies list, which includes “globalists,” liberals, elites, centrists, and Megyn Kelly.

Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan is the central piece of what Bannon calls his “economic nationalist” (read: white nationalist) agenda:

Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement. It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.

Policywise, Bannon seems to have no idea what he’s talking about. The references to “ship yards” and “iron works” don’t make much sense. We’re talking about a plan to build roads, water systems, and electrical grids.

There’s a good reason a propagandist wouldn’t want to talk about the actual infrastructure policy that Trump’s team has floated. The construction industry is at nearly full employment right now, and Trump’s plan won’t have much if any stimulative effect.

Read more…

No Comments

This Week in Livable Streets

sblog_calendarThursday is Thanksgiving, just a few events this week. If you are thankful for Streetsblog L.A., if you have benefited personally or professionally from our coverage of bicycling, walking and transit, please make a donation to sustain our work. 

Did we miss anything? Is there something we should list on future calendars? Email joe [at] streetsblog.org.

Streetsblog.net
View Comments

Advocates of Color are Elevating a Different Perspective on Safe Streets

Last week, advocates convened in Atlanta for the Untokening, a gathering for people who’ve felt isolated or tokenized within the safe streets movement, and an opportunity to put their perspectives front and center.

Stefani Cox, who attended, posted this report on the Better Bike Share Blog:

According to one attendee, about two-thirds of the Untokening participants were people of color, and the event had over 100 estimated attendees.

A Streetsblog article published before the event underscored the importance of the Untokening in a professional world where discussions on biking, walking, and transit in low-income communities of color are often derailed or misunderstood. Even well-meaning colleagues can sometimes fail to give equity conversations the space and time needed to be meaningful.

Read more…

No Comments

Today’s Headlines

  • Maps, Data On Where Measure M Won Most Heavily (LAT)
  • Carnage: Two Pedestrians Killed By Echo Park Car Crash (LAT)
    …Monterey Park Pedestrian Killed In Sidewalk Car Crash (SGV Tribune)
  • Metrolink Train Hits, Injures Pedestrian In Claremont (SGV Tribune)
  • LAFD Puts Out Fire At Union Station (LAT)
  • L.A. County Builds Ten Multi-Family Homes For Every One It Demolishes (Better Institutions)
  • 71 Freeway In Pomona To Be Widened With Measure M Funding (SGV Tribune)
  • West Hollywood Adds Hydrogen Powered Cars To City Fleet (WeHoVille)
  • State Widens Exide Clean-Up Lead Testing (LAT)
  • Conservation Groups Purchase Land For 101 Freeway Wildlife Overpass In Agoura Hills (KPCC)

Get National Headlines At Streetsblog USA
Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA

14 Comments

Koretz Takes Credit for Expo Line, While Spreading Blame for Its Flaws

Missing sidewalk xxx

Missing sidewalk west of Palms Expo Line Station. Photo by Jonathan Weiss

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz’ website includes photos of the councilmember celebrating the Expo Line’s opening. The site touts Koretz’ time on the Expo Construction Authority Board: “Councilmember Koretz served first as an alternate board member and then as a full board member of this body until 2015. He served on this body through the completion of Phase 1 of this project and through most of the construction for Phase 2, much of which travels through Council District 5.”

But what Paul Koretz has delivered is the worst section of the Expo Line.

Koretz’ section has a mile-long gap in the bike path. Koretz’ section has kids walking in the street because of a missing sidewalk between the Palms Station and Lycée Français High School. Koretz’ section has an at-grade crossing at Overland Avenue that is worsening gridlock and leading to crashes that prompted neighbors to create a “Stop the Wrecks on Overland” Facebook page.

Koretz takes no responsibility for Expo’s flaws – flaws that were clear when he was a member of the Expo Board. At last night’s Cheviot Hills Homeowners Association meeting, he said “we kind of knew this would be a disaster.” For that, Kortez blames his predecessor. “Unfortunately, my election was kind of being too late to the party. The previous councilmember really was there when all of the negotiations were happening. And … at least regarding the Expo, I don’t think he did enough to protect the community.”

But Councilmember Koretz shouldn’t get off the hook so easily: he could have resisted widening Overland and he could have pushed for grade separation. Indeed, before he took office, the city of Los Angeles Department of Transportation wrote to Expo opposing the misguided widening – which was designed to dodge Metro’s grade crossing policy that required grade separation based on the per-lane traffic count without widening. Councilmember Koretz could have tried to stop it. He didn’t.

Now, Councilmember Koretz is claiming credit ($300,000 of taxpayer money credit) for reducing wheel squeal noise as the train passes Cheviot Hills. Read more…

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

AZ Rep Ruben Gallego to Dems: Don’t Enable Trump’s Infrastructure Surge

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi may be ready to bend over backward to work with Donald Trump on “infrastructure,” but you can count Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego out.

Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego says Democrats must resist Trump's corrupt infrastructure plan. Photo: Wikipedia

Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego says Democrats must resist Trump’s infrastructure plan and the potential for corruption that it entails. Photo: Wikipedia

Trump has proposed spending $1 trillion on infrastructure. It’s barely even an outline at this point, but it is based on tax incentives and privatization schemes that could lead to a lot of new toll roads and would subsidize a lot of infrastructure that would be built anyway. Even industry reps like state DOTs and toll road groups have questioned the soundness of the proposal. Trump’s opaque personal finances also open the door to massive corruption and cronyism via infrastructure spending.

And we haven’t even got to the fact that Trump is filling his White House with an assortment of white supremacists, authoritarians, and Islamophobes. Nevertheless, top Democrats like Pelosi and Schumer have already pledged to work with Trump on his infrastructure plan.

One person who’s thrilled with these leading Democrats is Trump’s chief advisor, Steve Bannon, the notorious white nationalist who ran Breitbart before joining the Trump campaign this summer. Bannon recently said the infrastructure plan would be “as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan Revolution” for “an economic nationalist movement.”

Thankfully, not every Democrat in Congress is ready to start enabling Trump by working with him under the broad heading of “infrastructure.”

Read more…

3 Comments

LACBC 2015 Bike Count Results: Observed Bicycling Down Slightly

Bicycling was slightly down in 2015 according to LACBC bike counts. Image via LACBC

Bicycling was slightly down in 2015 according to LACBC bike counts. Image via LACBC

Yesterday, the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition released its 2015 counts of people walking and bicycling. The LACBC has an excellent summary page with highlights and charts where the report is available to download.

One unwelcome trend that LACBC found (roughly corresponding to the red on above graph) was that bike ridership declined nine percent from 2014 to 2015. These counts are a snapshot, with some variability, so data is not conclusive. The overall 2010 to 2015 trend is upward.

It is difficult to determine what causes a down-tick in a single year’s data. The bicycle coalition suggests it is, in part, attributable to LADOT’s slackening in implementation of new bicycle facilities. After adding lots of new bike lanes from fiscal year 2011-2014, LADOT backed off on bikeway mileage in FY2015. This unfortunate trend worsened in 2016.

There are other possible factors. Read more…

Streetsblog.net
View Comments

America’s Electoral Systems Are Stacked Against Cities. What Comes Next?

The 2016 election, more than any in recent history, divided Americans by geography. Hillary Clinton is expected to finish with around 2 million more votes than Donald Trump. But her base was concentrated along the coasts and in urban areas, a distribution of votes that could not deliver the Electoral College.

We just had a huge culture war and cities lost. Photo: Twin City Sidewalks

People who live in cities won the popular vote but lost the election. Photo: Twin City Sidewalks

Rural states and the Midwest delivered a enormous blow to the ascendant politics of major urban areas. Bill Lindeke at Twin City Sidewalks, says the outcome has to be understood in terms of laws and institutions that are systemically biased against the people who live in cities:

Both the Senate and the Electoral College are weighted against urban areas, as are many state governments such as, most famously, New York. State gerrymandering is relentless in its minimization of urban influence. And the dismantling of the Voter Rights Act of 1964 means that it is again open season for restrictive voting laws, reducing the voices of people of color and the young, in particular, and amplifying the votes of older rural America in the most callous possible way. None of these democratic structures are easy to reform, and when it comes to voter turnout, especially for congressional elections, the United States lies at the bottom of the list of Global North nations.

Lindeke tries to imagine how a federal government that owes its ascendance almost entirely to rural and suburban people will shape urban policy. He envisions a scenario where cities are stripped of federal resources like community development block grants, university funding, and transit support.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
View Comments

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi Are Falling for Infrastructure Propaganda

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have bought into an exaggerated narrative about America's infrastructure needs, and that is leading them to dangerous conclusions. NASA/Bill Ingalls, via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Schumer_at_the_Intrepid_Museum.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>; Pelosi photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nancy_Pelosi.jpeg">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have followed along with an exaggerated narrative about America’s infrastructure needs, and that is leading them to dangerous conclusions. Pelosi photo: Wikimedia Commons; Trump photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr; Schumer photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls, via Wikimedia Commons

We’re going to see a lot of stories about Donald Trump and infrastructure in the next few months, and this reporting will be heavily influenced by a message that has been honed and perfected by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It will be important to see through these arguments and view the Trump infrastructure plan with clear eyes.

Already, leading Congressional Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are failing to do that. They are saying they want to work with Trump on “infrastructure,” reflecting a common viewpoint that infrastructure is a bipartisan issue.

This situation is dangerous for several reasons, including the likelihood that the transportation components of Trump’s infrastructure plan will be heavily tilted toward roads, as well as the broader implications of handing Trump’s overtly bigoted and notoriously corrupt inner circle a large pool of new financial resources, which can be used to reward cronies and punish adversaries.

America does have very real infrastructure needs, and there’s a lot of truth to the general sentiment that things like roads, transit networks, and water systems are in need of repair. But these needs tend to arise as much from the way public agencies spend the funds at their disposal — allocating too much to road expansion, not enough to maintenance, for instance — as they do from a lack of funding.

Key to the view that Schumer and Pelosi espouse is the messaging of the American Society of Civil Engineers, whose infrastructure “Report Card” claims the U.S. needs to spend trillions of dollars more on infrastructure. The ASCE report card is widely repeated in media reports, and Hillary Clinton even linked to the document in her infrastructure platform.

Read more…

No Comments

Today’s Headlines

Get National Headlines At Streetsblog USA
Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA