Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CEQA Attorney happy to take NIMBY money

This is the first in what will be a series of humorous articles in transportation and real estate in Los Angeles.  None of the quotes are real.

Neighbors for Smart Rail suffered a setback today when Judge Thomas McKnew gave an intial recommendation to dismiss their lawsuit against phase II of the Expo light rail project.  This is a huge setback for the group, which opposes the light rail line from Downtown LA to Santa Monica, as the group believes it might impact resident's ability to access the freeway to sit in congested traffic to Downtown LA or Santa Monica.

NSFR's Attorney John Bowman was more optimistic about how he would fare in the case: "I'm getting paid either way. Sure, attacking a sustainability transit project based on its impacts to is a bastardization of the spirit and letter of CEQA. Sure, Expo Phase II anticipated lawsuits and knew they had to do a bulletproof analysis of environmental impacts and mitigation measures. I don't think there's necessarily a strong case here, but I'll gladly take their money. Plus, the weaker the case, the more they have to pay me to develop a challenge which won't get laughed out of court."

Regardless of the outcome, Bowman anticipates future business from the NSFR group. "This group has a thirst for lawsuits. They also seem to be very concerned about kids mixing with vehicles in the neighborhood. Any judge will realize that light rail vehicles have professionally trained drivers and can only have pedestrian conflicts within its right-of-way. Automobiles, however, which encompass the vast majority of vehicle traffic in the neighborhood can deviate from the roadway and impact pedestrians in the clear zone.  That seems a lot less safe.  I think I can convince them to launch a case to ban vehicles from the neighborhood using an arcane 19th century California law governing carriageways near schoolhouses. Of course, that would require a lot of legal research and preparation of briefing documents, but I think they're willing to pay me for it.  Work is slow for lawyers right now, and NSFR helps keep my firm in business."

Neighbors for Smart Rail representative Terri Tippet was upset at the setback but took it as a sign that the group needed to raise more money to challenge the project.  "If we throw enough money at it, maybe it will go away," said Tippet.  "We've raised over $65,000 so far and we'll raise whatever we need to take this to the Appellate Court and California Supreme Court."

Reminder: This is the first in what will be a series of humorous articles in transportation and real estate in Los Angeles.  None of the quotes are real.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Email the Metro Board of Directors to express your support for the Wilshire bus-only lane

Want to express your support for the Wilshire BRT project, but too busy or too delayed on the bus to find all of the relevant email addresses?  Below, you will find email links for the Metro Board Members and maps that show the areas they represent.  Sending them an email is as easy as clicking the link, signing the email and clicking send (it will use your default email program).   Gmail users: here are instructions on how to set up Gmail as your default email program.
Subject: I Support the Wilshire Bus-Only Lane INCLUDING Comstock to Selby through Westwood
Supervisor Molina
I support the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit Project in its entirety.  This project will provide congestion relief for transit riders from all over the region.  Excluding the portion of Wilshire between Comstock and Selby will cause more congestion for myself and other bus riders who create minimal traffic and environmental impacts as we travel around the county.  It will also set a dangerous precedent for future projects which have regional mobility and sustainability benefits.  I urge you to vote yes on Alternative A.
This text will pop up in your email program.  You might want to sign your name at the end of the message.
This will also BCC wilshirebrt@gmail.com to keep track of comments.

If you'd like to email all Board Members at once, you can do so here (or Outlook users can click here). 

Metro Board of Directors
LA County Supervisors Representatives
Gloria Molina - First Supervisorial District
Mark Ridley-Thomas - Second Supervisorial District
Zev YaroslavskyThird Supervisorial District
Don Knabe - Board Chair - Fourth Supervisorial District
Michael D. AntonovichSecond Vice Chair - Fifth Supervisorial District

Los Angeles City Representatives
Antonio R. Villaraigosa - First Vice Chair, LACMTA
Mayor, City of Los Angeles
José Huizar - City Council Member, Los Angeles
Richard KatzAppointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles
Rita RobinsonAppointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles

Representatives from other Cities

Diane DuBois
City Council Member, Lakewood

John Fasana
City Council Member, Duarte

Ara Najarian
Mayor, City of Glendale

Pam O’Connor
City Council Member, Santa Monica

Also check out the letter at meekadjustments.blogspot.com