POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink): "Why most of the freight engines that Metrolink is leasing to improve safety are sitting idle" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Why most of the freight engines that Metrolink is leasing to improve safety are sitting idle" - From the LAT:

After last year's fatal collision with a utility truck near Oxnard, the Metrolink commuter railroad faced a serious safety issue. The cab car at the front of the ill-fated train did not meet design standards — a flaw that might have caused the derailment, which killed the engineer and injured 28 passengers.As a hedge against a similar incident, Metrolink officials decided to place locomotives at both ends of trains until the railroad could solve problems with its new Hyundai Rotem cab cars — passenger coaches with an engineer's position.

In October, Metrolink officials signed an $18-million-a-year lease with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. for 40 freight engines. They hoped to put the locomotives into operation within weeks of their delivery. Since then, most of the powerful freight engines have sat idle in Metrolink yards at a cost of $500 each per day, and many passengers still ride in the Hyundai cab cars.

"Safety concerns shaped the Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotive lease," said Art Leahy, the commuter line's chief executive. "But implementation has been difficult. Safety has been increased but not as much as expected."


Questions about the slow pace of deployment have been raised by .................


L.A. CITY HALL: Homelessness, funding strategies?: Editorial, "Garcetti's proposed spending on the homeless is reasonable. But his funding plan is wishful thinking." ....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Garcetti's proposed spending on the homeless is reasonable. But his funding plan is wishful thinking." - From the LAT:

It’s one thing for elected officials to declare war, essentially, on homelessness in Los Angeles, as they did at the beginning of the year, unveiling sweeping strategies to combat this intractable problem. It’s another thing to find the money to put those plans into effect. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed budget, the first since the city’s Comprehensive Homeless Strategy was approved, sets aside $138 million for services and housing for homeless people. That’s four times what the city budget allocated last year for homelessness services. And it would be a welcome infusion of funding in a county of 44,000 homeless people, 26,000 of them in the city of LA. But as the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee began reviewing the mayor’s budget for the city this past week , they should keep this in mind: half of the proposed funding to fight homelessness depends on money from sources that have yet to materialize.


Garcetti has touted new sources of revenue before that did not come to fruition . . . . . . . .

What we hope, in this situation, is that Garcetti and the council members will ................


LOCAL GOVERNMENT (San Diego): San Diego County, proposed ballot measure, transit tax increase: "San Diego County is divided over proposed half-cent tax for transportation projects" ....

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (San Diego County, San Diego Association of Governments, proposed ballot measure, transit tax increase)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "San Diego County is divided over proposed half-cent tax for transportation projects" - From the LAT:

A battle is raging over one of the most fundamental aspects of San Diego County's future: how folks get around. Will commuters overwhelmingly continue to drive their cars to work, as they've done for decades? Or will lawmakers fashion a public transportation system — consisting largely of bus, trolley and train lines — that's efficient and sexy enough to appeal to millennials and perhaps their parents?

In the latest clash, green groups have joined Republicans to oppose a countywide, half-cent sales tax that would provide millions of dollars for public transit and bike lanes but also lock in money for specific highway projects. With billions in transportation spending hanging in the balance, environmentalists have doubled down on their envisioned moratorium against expanding freeways. They're betting that public support will dramatically shift in favor of mass transit in coming years.

"Sprawl development isn't going to work anymore," said Nicole Capretz, executive director of the San Diego nonprofit Climate Action Campaign. "It used to be that one or two organizations would care about freeway expansion. Now you have critical mass, where we all understand that it's a huge driver of a lot of our problems," she said.

Conservatives are against the proposed levy because they either oppose new taxes or believe this one doesn't devote enough funding to roads and highways. "It's not enough on the things that touch most people, which is freeways and interchanges," said Tony Krvaric, chairman of the county's Republican Party. "We have a standing rule against any tax increase," he added. "So we start in opposition."

The proposal has strong support from some of the region's Democratic elected officials ..................


POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: California Coastal Commission, Banning Ranch project: "Coastal Commission staff recommends green light for modified Banning Ranch project" ....  

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (California Coastal Commission, staff recommendation, approval of Banning Ranch project)....

* Orange County Register:  "Coastal Commission staff recommends green light for modified Banning Ranch project" - From the Register:

California Coastal Commission staff are recommending approval of a modified version of a developer’s proposal to build houses, shops and a hotel at Banning Ranch, the largest privately owned, undeveloped parcel of land in Southern California. That’s a turnaround from October, when staff recommended commissioners reject the plan put forth by a group of companies under the banner Newport Banning Ranch LLC to put 1,375 houses and condos, a hotel and shops on the land, an aging oil field.

A staff report released Friday ahead of a May 12 hearing about the 401-acre property recommend commissioners give a conditional yes to a revised plan that would put nearly 900 houses and condos, a 75-room hotel and about 45,000 square feet of shops on about 90 acres. That’s fewer residences and less retail than previously proposed for the land, an ecosystem that supports everything from burrowing owls to San Diego fairy shrimp and the California gnatcatcher.

Under the new plan ...................


L.A. CITY HALL: Mayor Eric Garcetti, landlord: "Mayor Eric Garcetti picks up an investment property in Mid-Wilshire" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Mayor Eric Garcetti picks up an investment property in Mid-Wilshire" - From the LAT:

Mayor Eric Garcetti and his wife, Amy Wakeland, have bought a home in the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles for $1.6 million and put it up for lease at $5,000 a month.

Set up from the street on a corner lot, the home centers on an English Country-style main house built in 1939. Two separate apartments and a two-car garage also reside on the property. The recently renovated main house has a classic yet contemporary look. White-walled interiors include a formal living room with rolled ceilings and a decorative blue-tiled fireplace, and an updated kitchen with a colorful backsplash. A dining room sits off the kitchen area. Large picture windows brighten the master suite, one of three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Outdoors, there’s a wood deck and enclosed garden.

The two apartments were recently remodeled and have wood floors, updated appliances and a separate garage. Each unit is listed for lease at $2,000 a month.

The property came to market in March for $1.549 million and sold for $51,000 over the asking price ................