The unelected bureaucracies that keep us stuck in traffic

By Jackie Lavalleye : californiapolicycenter – excerpt

Inadequate roads are leaving Californians stuck in traffic. According to a 2016 study by Inrix, a data company that specializes in traffic-related analytics, Los Angeles, California has the worst traffic in the United States. San Francisco takes the number three spot, and San Diego comes in number 14. In all, 17 California cities rank among the 100 most congested cities in America.

Traffic congestion has many negative effects on cities and people, including reduced economic growth as well as adverse health effects for the people sitting in traffic. So who is responsible for our terrible traffic? A group of little-known public agencies have a federal mandate to plan and implement transportation-related projects – but they aren’t getting the job done for Golden State commuters.

In 1962, the federal government created Metropolitan Planning Organizations, usually called “Associations of Governments”, as part of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962. The purpose of these agencies is to bring together elected officials from various cities and counties within a metropolitan region for the purposes of planning regional transportation efforts. Further, the intention of this Act was to increase collaboration and cooperation among local governments within a region.

The boards of these organizations are not directly elected. Instead, local elected officials from member cities are appointed to serve on their boards. Day to day decisions are made by unelected bureaucrats.

Legally, many of the Associations of Governments in California are enforced by a Joint Powers Agreement. Per Nolo’s plain-english law dictionary, a Joint Powers Agreement is a “contract between a city and a county and a special district in which the city or county agrees to perform services, cooperate with, or lend its powers to, the special district.”… (more)

More data on the process that was used by the people who took over control of our lives may be found in the fourty year plan that was written and published by some familiar names and organizations that have taken control of our lives. Read the plan and see who has been involved from the start and how they planned and executed the disaster we are living in now, and what may be done about it. http://livablecity.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/tlc_path.pdf

Employers warned to offer commuter benefit to workers in Bay Area

By Denis Cuff : eastbaytimes – excerpt

80 Shuttle buses staging on 24th street twice a day idling, spewing out toxic air and running loud engines for air-conditioners are not tenable for residents on the narrow residential neighborhood. This is not a green commuter solution.

An air pollution rule requires large Bay Area employers to offer incentives or pre-tax benefits to workers to take van pools, car pools, public transit, or bicycles to work.

Air pollution regulators are warning thousands of Bay Area employers they could be fined for failing to comply with a rule requiring them to offer a commuter benefit to employees who get to work via van pool, bus, train or bike.

Under the 2014 rule made permanent last year, employers with 50 or more full-time workers must offer them a benefit encouraging commute methods that reduce gridlock and air pollution.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has estimated that about 8,000 employers are covered by the rule, but only about 4,200 have registered with the air district and demonstrated they offered a benefit, officials said Tuesday…

The benefit can save employees several hundred dollars a year, as well as lower payroll taxes for employers, according to the air district and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Continued noncompliance could result in companies being cited and fined, said Tom Flannigan, an air district spokesman.

“Our first option will be working with companies to get them to comply,” he said, “but companies at some point could be cited for violations just like businesses that pollute.”

Companies can register at 511.org, and find more out more information about it at http://511.org/employers/commuter/news... (more)

REPEAL THIS LAW – “Employers also can offer workers a free or subsidized bus or shuttle service such as buses offered to Google workers.”

 

Does this look like the source of the problem we are having with commuter shuttles to anyone else?

It is time to fix the shuttle bus problem by repealing this law or re-writing the rules to allow for more local control over the shuttle option. If the point of this program is to clean the air, and the idling shuttle buses are adding to the problem, this is not the solution to the clean air problem.

California gas tax increase is now law. What it costs you and what it fixes

By Jim Miller :  sacbee – excerpt

SF Bay Bridge has one of the most hated commutes, but will get worse as gas taxes are pumped into road diets and bike lanes on access streets in SOMA street “improvements”.
Big companies are losing patience and expanding elsewhere. Photo by Zrants

Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law billions of dollars in higher fuel taxes and vehicle fees, the state will have an estimated $52 billion more money to help cover the state’s transportation needs for the next decade

California Republicans accuse Democrats of diverting road repair funds

By Mike Luery : kcra – excerpt (including video)

Some of the many potholes in a single block of Carolina St, in San Francisco by Zrants. Join the international movement and “Adopt a Pothole” if you care about them.

$15 million spending measure pulled after controversy

California’s crumbling roads are supposed to get billions of dollars in repairs under Senate Bill 1. It raises taxes by 12 cents a gallon for gasoline and 20 cents a gallon more for diesel in order to fund road and bridge repairs across the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed for the bill to pass the Legislature two weeks ago, hasn’t even signed the $52 billion road repair bill.

The bill was controversial before it passed. But, new discussions beginning in the Senate are raising concerns as some lawmakers look to allocate $15 million to non-transportation projects…

Meanwhile, Republicans are accusing Brown of illegal vote trading after some lawmakers were promised millions of dollars in special project spending in their districts to help enlist their support for the gas tax.

But, Brown said deal making is all part of the political process.

“When somebody says, ‘Here, here’s $10,000, I want your vote,’ you’ve got bribery. It’s illegal,” Brown said. “When someone says, ‘You know, I think this bill will be better if you included these projects, these ideas or these rules,’ we listen because that’s democracy.”… (more)

Thanks Governor Brown for the lesson in diplomacy. It is still scratch my back and I will scratch yours. In this case, we suggest you follow the meaning and intent of the law if you sign it and apply ALL the funds to road and bridge repair.
We are already hearing that the $52 billion is insufficient so there is no legitimate reason to spend any of that on non-road repairs.
Keep in mind that potholes are most dangerous for pedestrians and two-wheelers and probably do more damage to public and emergency vehicles than other conditions on the road.
Where are the studies on accidents caused by potholes? Where are the estimates on costs to public services?

Broken promises with SB-1

By Richard Eber : capoliticalreview. – excerpt

At first glance State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) would not seem to be a candidate for a yet to be written chapter for the sequel to Profiles in Courage.  Prior to taking office, Glazer spent his career as a lobbyist, consultant, fixer, and campaign manager, in the sleazy world of Sacramento politics.

Few people took much notice when Jerry Brown’s campaign manager in 2010 pledged when elected that he would ignore the special interests that previously employed him.  After less than two years in office, Glazer has made good on this promise while confounded his critics by not following the Democratic Party line in every instance.

Last week he further committed “progressive” treason (beyond opposing public transit worker strikes) by casting a vote against the passage of SB-1 which is the 52.5 billion dollar tax increase pushed by Governor Brown to pay for California’s deteriorating transportation system.  By raising the gasoline tax and increasing vehicle registration fees, Brown claims there will be enough funds allocated to get the job done.

Glazer, whose district is considered moderate by Bay Area standards, said that it was unnecessary to raise taxes rather than re-directing spending from the costly high-speed rail project and other questionable expenditures.

Glazer’s opposition to SB-1 might have worked if all Republican’s in the Senate opposed it because a two thirds vote was required to pass the measure.  This did not happen as Governor Brown enticed, or should we say bribed Republican Senator Anthony Canella (R-Ceres) to support SB-1 with 450 million in perks promised for his district.

Cannella does not care about the ire of the GOP as he is termed out in 2018 for his Senate seat.  No one would be surprised if Governor Brown gives him an appointment to a high paying state commission for his parting gift when leaving office.  That’s how things work in Sacramento… (more)

If you appreciate Senator Glazer’s no vote on SB-1, let him know: http://sd07.senate.ca.gov/contact

 

Nearly $1 billion in side deals for California gas tax approved

by Kate Murphy of bayareanewsgroup : eastbaytimes – excerpt (video linked)

SACRAMENTO — Nearly $1 billion in controversial side deals that may have persuaded key California lawmakers to get behind a controversial gas tax this month cleared the Legislature Monday.

In the lead-up to the April 6 gas-tax vote, funding for a handful of transportation projects surfaced in a separate bill, Senate Bill 132. The projects will benefit the districts represented by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced; Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Corona, and Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside.

All four lawmakers voted in favor of the gas tax — which passed narrowly, without a vote to spare.

Also part of the deal — and passed Monday — was Senate Bill 496, by Cannella, that would protect architects, engineers and other “design professionals” against legal claims made by public agencies. Cannella is an engineer.

The gas tax will generate more than $5 billion per year for road repairs and local transit projects by indefinitely increasing gas and diesel taxes and hiking vehicle registration fees. The increases will cost the average driver roughly $10 per month or less, the state estimates…(more)

They just called it a pothole gas tax. There is no guarantee on what will happen to the funds raised by the tax, other than special interests will benefit from it. Potholes effect everyone negatively. Fixing them is the most democratic use of public funds. Fixing them would reduce the costs of public transit repairs and make biking and walking a lot safer. SFMTA is literally painting over potholes to create red lanes and bike paths, making them more hazardous with the slick paint.

If you want to do something positive about potholes, join the international “Adopt a Pothole” movement:
https://metermadness.wordpress.com/adopt-a-pothole/

Join the Campaign to Repeal the Car Tax

posted by Carl DeMaio : iheart – excerpt

STOP the Car Tax
With virtually no notice to the public, Democratic politicians in the California State Legislature crammed through a massive hike to the Car Tax and Gax Tax.Fortunately, former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio has unveiled a strategy for getting citizens involved in overturning these tax hikes! More on that in a bit, but first you need to understand how these tax hikes will cost YOU!

Car Tax: Pay More, Get Less!…“Politicians have been caught stealing gas tax monies and recent audits show billions in waste that should be going to road repairs,” notes Carl DeMaio. “The Car Tax and Gas Tax hike contains zero reforms of wasteful spending, meaning we are throwing good money after bad,” DeMaio warns…

The Gazelle Strategy to Repeal the Car Tax: Recalls!…

THE DEMAIO REPORT: Carl DeMaio provides investigative journalism and inside knowledge with an eye on solutions. The show focuses on the issues that matter most to you… (more)

RELATED:

Proposal to Divert Tax Monies Away from Roads Delayed After Public Criticism
Proposal Pulled From Committee Agenda for Further Discussion in the Future

Senator Jim Nielsen, 4/20/17
SACRAMENTO – Following public outcry over the diversion of the state’s massive $52 billion car and gas tax to pay for restroom repairs at state parks, the purchase of land for animal travel and grants to encourage people to visit parks, the majority led committee pulled the proposal off its agenda and promised to revisit the proposal at a later time, without giving a reason for deleting the diversion proposals off of Thursday’s agenda.

“We, the people, expect transparency and honesty from our government,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “The spending of our tax dollars should be done with great care and in the open to retain the trust of our constituents, and to keep government accountable. Without this trust, our democracy does not work.”

Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), said, “While the discussion of diverting road tax funds has been pulled from today’s budget hearing, it doesn’t mean the threat is gone. Sacramento Democrats aren’t being transparent about the true cost of the gas tax increase. It’s the largest gas tax increase in the state’s history, and it will automatically increase each year with no sunset date. Californians deserve better.”…

Despite the fact that the Governor has yet to sign Senate Bill 1, legislative Democrats proposed to steer tax dollars that will be collected in November on non-transportation proposals including:

  • $5 million for park restroom maintenance
  • $5 million to buy land for improved animal travel e.g. corridors
  • $5 million for grant programs to encourage people to visit parks

These proposals are not fixing our crumbling roads, highways and bridges. They will not get us to work or home any faster nor will they lower the cost of car repair as claimed…(more)

Today’s SB-1 as Amended

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1

If this is the Governor’s Pothole bill, it is badly labeled as most the money will not be going to potholes. Potholes look like an afterthought. Here is the law as amended today according to the official site. I dare you to find how much of this tax will go to fixing the potholes.

If you object to these new taxes being marketed as a pothole tax, without a clear description of how the money will be applied to fixing potholes, call the state reps and request a no vote on SB-1. Insist they give us the option of a “pothole only” tax: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/

RELATED:
Editorial: Gov. Brown’s roads taxes veer way off course  

Gov. Brown In Riverside Pushing For Gas Tax Hikes

losangeles.cbslocal – excerpt (video included)

Potholes on Carolina Street.

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) —Gov. Jerry Brown joined state and local representatives in Riverside Tuesday to push for a bill that would raise gasoline taxes and vehicle license fees to pay for road repairs.

The Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017 is expected to generate an estimated $5.2 billion a year.

Senate Bill 1 seeks to raise gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon, hike the vehicle registration fee to $48 a year on average and require drivers of electric vehicles to pay and extra $100 per year.

Senate Bill 1 seeks to raise gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon, hike the vehicle registration fee to $48 a year on average and require drivers of electric vehicles to pay and extra $100 per year.

The pump price hikes would cost drivers about $10 a month, according to the governor’s office…

President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said the bill will contain a lockbox that will make sure the money can only be spent on roads and bridges.

“All transportation dollars will be in that lockbox and used exclusively for our roads and for transportation,” de Leon said…(more)

As we know the two paragraphs are not the same. roads and bridges does not mean roads and transportation. We have been done this tax road before. It is still a crooked road full of false promises.

 

Update on CA AB342 (Speed Cams) and Please Support AB1094 Today!

Dear California NMA Members,

Thank you for all your emails and phone calls this past week to oppose AB 342 (speed cameras in CA).  Jay Beeber of Safe Streets L.A. told NMA yesterday that the bill has been tabled by the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee for now, but there is still a possibility that it can come back in April.  Keep the pressure on!  Beeber mentioned that phone calls and faxes get the most attention.  Call and write your elected Assembly representatives TODAY!
Here is a link to an L.A. Weekly article that appeared this morning featuring Beeber and AB 342.

Another bill that has the potential to be voted on a consent agenda this week in the Assembly is AB1094. Safer Streets L.A. (mentioned above), an organization dedicated to the adoption of scientifically sound and sensible transportation and traffic laws, strongly supports the passage of AB 1094. So does the National Motorists Association.

AB 1094 clarifies that violations of the traffic control signal at freeway on-ramp meters is properly cited under CVC 21455. By providing more specificity as to the requirement to heed the controls imposed at at freeway on-ramp meters and how this violation should be cited under the vehicle code, AB 1094 helps both law enforcement and the general public better understand their obligations and responsibilities with respect to this violation. This should help avoid unneeded confusion and provide savings in both time and resources. NMA and Safer Streets L.A. supports measures such as AB 1094 which provide greater clarity within the vehicle code.

You can send your letters to Nathan.Skadsen@asm.ca.gov who is the staff member for the bill’s author, Assemblymember Steven S. Choi. Or contact by mail or by phone: Capitol Office, Room 2016, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0068; (916) 319-2068
Copies should also be cc’d to the Transportation Committee analyst Victoria.Alvarez@asm.ca.gov.

If you would like to contact your own elected representatives, find he or she HERE.

Keep those phone calls, faxes, emails and letters going! Persistence makes a difference!

Thank you for your support!

RELATED:

Speed-Camera Tickets Could Be Legalized in California

By Dennis Romero : laweekly – excerpt

A new state legislative proposal would legalize cameras that issue speeding tickets, as part of a pilot program. Jay Beeber, an Angeleno who’s a longtime warrior against the perceived unfairness of the city’s parking tickets, has mounted a campaign against the speed-camera bill by Assemblyman David Chiu. Although the five-year pilot program would apply only to Chiu’s hometown of San Francisco and to San Jose, there’s fear that the bill, AB 342, eventually would open the floodgates to speed cameras statewide…

He argues it’s all about getting more money out of taxpayers without actually having to do the difficult and politically perilous job of raising taxes. Jay S. Carsman, a former Los Angeles Department of Transportation parking systems coordinator, who is credited with moving parking tickets from the courts to administrative hearings, has joined Beeber in the fight against the bill.

“Unfortunately, the unrelenting demands for substantial revenue growth, the blanket authority granted to each local agency to adjust their schedule of fines and late payment penalties, and the time limits and monetary demands placed upon motorists wishing to contest their [parking] citation(s) allied to a corrupted system of inflated fines and penalties and the routine denial of any meaningful justice to literally millions of California motorists,” he writes in a letter opposing the bill. ” … I urge you to not compound the mistakes we made with parking citations by adding any motor vehicle moving violations to a similar legal status.”… (more)