California

A Devastating Verdict for California HSR

Like many other observers, we have found the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group to have made a convincing case for a fresh look at the feasibility of the California high-speed rail project. The group's report was issued as eleven House Democrats – eight from California – joined an earlier request from twelve Republican House members for an independent GAO investigation of the embattled project.   read more »

What Lies Ahead for Transportation in 2012?

As befits this time of year, our thoughts turn to the events that await us in the days ahead. Putting aside the major imponderable — the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections that inevitably will impact the federal transportation program —what can the transportation community expect in 2012? Will Congress muster the will to enact a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization? Or will the legislation fall victim to election year paralysis? What other significant transportation-related developments lie ahead in the new year?  read more »

The Troubled Future of the California High-Speed Rail Project

A congressional oversight hearing, focused on the concerns surrounding the troubled California high-speed rail project, cast new doubts on the likelihood of the project’s political survival.  read more »

Central Valley Noir: California's Changing Geography of Murder

Phillip Marlowe, Joe Friday, pack your bags. Your talents are needed elsewhere. The City of Angels is starting to live up to its namesake but the same cannot be said of the state’s agricultural communities.  read more »

California's Bullet Train in the Court of Public Opinion

A business plan released on November 1 by the the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), has placed the price tag for the LA-SF bullet train project at $98 billion--- trippling the $33 billion estimate provided in 2008 in the voter-approved Proposition 1A. At the same time, the date of project completion has been pushed back by 13 years -- from 2020 to 2033.  read more »

Blight Envy - How Development Works in LA

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I want to live in a blighted neighborhood. Well, actually, a community redevelopment area (CRA). They used to be one and the same, but no longer. Apparently you have to live or do business in a redevelopment area to get any “love” in Los Angeles … love being when the government takes your tax dollars and gives them to someone else no more needy.

Let me explain.  read more »

Transportation Infrastructure: Yankee Ingenuity Keeps California Moving

A friend was explaining some philosophy to me the other day and he used an analogy to make his point: If you can get a cannibal to use a knife and fork, is that progress? Of course, the answer is "no". So when I heard the next day that transportation infrastructure performance in the US improved significantly at the height of the worst recession since the great depression I had to ask: is that progress?  read more »

Fwd: California's Bullet Train --- On the Road to Bankruptcy

For California’s high-speed rail boosters including their chief cheerleader, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the month of May must have felt like a month from hell. First came a scathing report by California legislature’s fiscal watchdog, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), questioning the rail authority’s unrealistic cost estimates and its decision to build the first $5.5 billion segment in the sparsely populated Central Valley between Borden and Corcoran.  read more »

Hollywood Unions

If you work in L.A. in film, tv, radio, music, news, live or “new” media, there’s a very good chance you’re in a union.

That’s true if you’re an actor, camera operator, broadcaster, hair stylist, electrician, costume designer, truck driver, writer, production manager, art director or stunt man or woman.

It’s one of last industries in America with what’s called “union density,” in which collective bargaining determines wage scale, residuals, medical and pension coverage; and sets work rules and jurisdiction (who does what).  read more »

Los Angeles: Slowest Growth Since Late 1800s

Just released 2010 Census data indicates that the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County experienced their smallest numeric population growth since the 1890 to 1900 census period.  read more »