Tag Archives: OC Blog

Speeding Our Way to Nonsense on the 241

Julia- photo moved below the fold
(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC)

This is the latest part of my special report on the proposed extension of the 241 Toll Road to San Onofre State Beach (aka Trestles). If you'd like, you can find the other stories in the “Speeding Our Way to Trestles” series on here. As the debate heats up over Trestles and the 241, I'd like to go in depth and examine all the issues involved… And I'd love for you to come along for the ride as we explore what can be done to relieve traffic in South Orange County AND Save Trestles Beach. Enjoy! : )

There are just some things in life we can always count on. Death. Taxes. Another season of “Cops” on Fox. Thousands more poor souls being told that they have no talent on “American Idol” on Fox. Now for me, the one thing in life I can ALWAYS seem to count on these days is complete and utter garbage from Red County/OC Blog on the proposed 241 Extension to Trestles.

So what nonsense is being spun to death at OC Blogland today? Theodore Judah is claiming that some new screed from the San Diego Business Journal is evidence that the evil “eco-extremists” are stonewalling traffic relief for San Diego. Huh?!

Follow me after the flip as I take out my handy dandy facts once more to debunk the right-wing spin on the toll road to Trestles…

So why is the San Diego Business Journal screaming? Apparently because the “eco-extremists” are making it difficult for them to make that ever-so-important commute from the golf course at Rancho Santa Fe to the yacht in Newport:

Eco-extremists have blocked the forward progress of the toll road at each and every twist and turn of the approval process. They’ve spent a decade keeping the route from becoming a reality.

The issue is an important one … because it pits the self-appointed guardians of the ecology against the rest of us, who are trying to muddle through.

Uh-huh. So what is pitting the “self-appointed guardians of the ecology” against the wise wizards of capitalism and captains of industry?

They argue that construction and placement of the highway so close to the ocean could disrupt wave patterns by changing the underlying contours of the beaches, and hence, ruin the surfing along a long stretch of the beach. […]

There’s no proof of this, of course. Just speculation.

The latest obstruction comes attached to a defense authorization bill now before Congress that would force the Transportation Corridor Agencies, sponsor of the road, to submit its blueprints before the California Coastal Commission, among other state regulators, for OKs.

Oh, no! The Davis Amendment is what's stopping progress on the 241 Extension?! Wait a minute! So state law is what's impeding the 241 Extension?

Let's remember what the Davis Amendment is all about. All the House Armed Services Committee voted to approve was an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that requires TCA to comply with state law in extending the 241 Toll Road. That's all. As my fabulous Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez explains:

What concerns me is that the SR241 be constructed with the same care and attention as […] other projects. As the law stands now, it permits the “recipient of the easement to construct, operate and maintain [the highway], notwithstanding any provision of state law to the contrary.” If the Davis amendment is adopted it means that the impact on the environment will be fully reviewed, and labor will be paid according to prevailing wage law.

I have been told that those involved with the construction of SR241 have observed every state law that applies. If that is the case, then the Davis amendment will have no effect. There is a concern that future state laws will prevent construction of the road for one reason or the other. I share that concern. I remain vigilant so that Orange County can determine which roads are built in our community. Our democratic process will lead to the best solution.

So what's so bad about our democratic process? What's so terrible about obeying the law? Oh wait, is it possibly because TCA knows that their proposed extension violates state law?

I guess they're still afraid of Section 30231 of Article 5 of the Coastal Act

The biological productivity and the quality of coastal waters, streams, wetlands, estuaries, and lakes appropriate to maintain optimum populations of marine organisms and for the protection of human health shall be maintained and, where feasible, restored through, among other means, minimizing adverse effects of waste water discharges and entrainment, controlling runoff, preventing depletion of ground water supplies and substantial interference with surface water flow, encouraging waste water reclamation, maintaining natural vegetation buffer areas that protect riparian habitats, and minimizing alteration of natural streams.

… And I can see why. ELEVEN THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES WOULD LOSE THEIR HABITAT FOREVER IF THE TOLL ROAD IS BUILT THROUGH SAN ONOFRE STATE BEACH. San Mateo Creek has been named as one of the nation's most imperiled waterways thanks to the threat of a toll road to run alongside it. This is pristine coastal wilderness that would be destroyed forever if the toll road were to be placed in San Onofre. That's why it's illegal under the Coastal Act.

So why would TCA want to violate state law to build a toll road to Trestles? I don't know. I just know that TCA is attempting to evade the law by pressuring Congressional Republicans to kill the Davis Amendment that would simply require them to obey state law.

OK, then. Why is state law so important? Why should TCA be forced to comply with state environmental law, and find another location to extend the 241 Toll Road? Let's see. Trestles is one of the last best surf spots in California. San Mateo Creek (the watershed that empties into Trestles) is the last unspoiled waterway in California.

Oh, so the environment doesn't really matter here. Well, how about this? EXTENDING THE 241 TO TRESTLES WOULD DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO EASE CONGESTION IN SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY. That's right. I-5 would still be congested, and people will still be stuck in grueling traffic.

So why even go there? We know there are better options available. We know we need a comprehensive solution to congestion, just as OCTA suggested earlier this year. Let's expand Metrolink commuter rail service in South Orange County, and let's add more express bus lines to connect commuters to Metrolink. Let's make our communities throughout Orange County “smart communities” that easily connect to reliable commuter rail lines. And yes, in the mean time, let's extend the 241 to the 5 and the 73 in Laguna Niguel. This alignment would actually connect the 241 to the business centers in Irvine, South Coast Metro, and beyond where people actually need to go.

So enough of the crazy nonsense of OC Blog and the San Diego Business Journal. The 241 can be extended without destroying our natural resources, and without violating state law. Traffic congestion can be relieved in a comprehensive manner that doesn't rely upon more and more roads that hurt us in the long term. We need common sense, which is why our tax dollars need not be wasted on any more of this Toll Road to Trestles Boondoggle.

Calitics Is #5 Most Influential Blog in California!

(H/T to The Liberal OC and OC Blog for this!) : )

Take a look at this! Blognetnews.com has released its first list of “California’s Most Influential Political Blogs”, and Calitics has been rated #5! Oh my goodness, we made the Top 5! I guess people are actually paying attention to what we have to say about advancing progressive values in California. This is just terrific.

But you know what’s also terrific? Many of our fantastic friends in the California (and especially Orange County!) blogosphere also made the Top 20 list! The Liberal OC hit #14! California Progress Report hit #10! Orange Juice hit #6! Total Buzz hit #3! And yes, my favorite local right-wing blog, OC Blog, hit #1. Congratulations to my conservative friends at Red County/OC Blog for being the #1 most influential political blog in California!

So what else can I say? Well, I can start by thanking all of you who faithfully read our fine blog. And thanks to all of you who constantly share your point of view with us in the comments. And thanks to all my fantastic colleagues who contribute to the blog with all their informative and insightful stories. And most of all, thanks to our fearless leader Brian for heading up one of the best blogs on the web… Which now also happens to be one of the five most influential blogs in the state! : )

Left, Right, and Center ALL AGREE: Janet Nguyen Needs to Come Clean

(Also see OC Blog and The Liberal OC)

Why is Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen evading the law? This is a question that all of us are asking. This is a question that bloggers on the left, right, and center are all asking. This is a question that Janet Nguyen is forcing us to ask so long as she refuses to file a report on those secret campaign contributions that violated Orange County’s campaign finance law. And so long as Janet Nguyen does not file this report, we will all be counting the days that she has not filed.

Even though Martin Wisckol began reporting on this matter at The OC Register’s Total Buzz blog, Janet Nguyen has not taken notice, and she has not reported. Even though Mike Lawson has begun counting the days that Janet Nguyen has evaded county law at The Liberal OC, Janet Nguyen has not taken notice, and she has not reported. Even though Matt Cunningham has spoken out about this at OC Blog, Janet Nguyen has not taken notice, and she has not reported. Oh yes, and even though we at Calitics have turned our eyes to Orange County for this, Janet Nguyen has not taken notice, and she has not reported. So what will it take for Janet Nguyen to report these contributions? How many more days must we count?

Why won’t Janet Nguyen come clean? Why won’t she report these contributions, and report of her returning this money? Who were the donors who gave to her legal defense fund? When did these donors give? And just how much did these donors give? So long as Janet Nguyen does not obey the law and report these contributions, she only invites us all to ask these questions, and she invites us to count the days that she has not reported.

What excuse does Janet Nguyen have? Why can’t she fill out the paperwork about the three donors to her legal defense fund? Why can’t she follow county law? As she is now a county lawmaker, she should be setting a good example. She needs to file a report. And until she reports, we will be counting the days.

So if Janet Nguyen can’t even follow one county ordinance on campaign contributions, then how can we trust her with this and other laws? This is why left, right, and center all agree that Janet Nguyen needs to come clean. We have waited 53 days, and Janet Nguyen still has not complied with the law. And until she complies, we will be counting the days.

Assembly Approves Marriage Equality (Again)

(Now with video. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)


But anyways, as I was starting to feel happy that the Assembly approved legislation that would allow me to find the hubby of my dreams, Chuckie just had to piss me off by saying this. Whatever. All I say to him, and to others who oppose equal rights for all, is that allowing all loving couples to make lasting commitments for life strengthens marriage. Discrimination doesn’t.

Families worrying about what to eat weakens families, and marriages at that. Families worrying about where to live weakens families, and marriages at that. Families worrying about health care weakens families, and marriages at that. If Chuckie DeVore really cares about families and marriages, then maybe he should do something about what families are actually worried about.

But enough of Chuckie, let’s get back to the good news of today! Fortunately, most Assembly Members don’t share the same distorted views as Chuckie. They recognize that the institution of marriage is only strengthened when the state does not discriminate over which loving couples can get married and which ones can’t. Thank goodness they did the right thing today. : )

Scandalicious Saturday Night Open Thread Spectacular!

It’s over! It’s over! It’s finally over! The Liberal OC has the last word on the crazy rumor about the Nancy Pelosi fundraiser, and the Republican spinners at OC Blog have clearly failed in their attempt to create civil unrest among Orange County Democrats. Horray, the non-scandal has died! ; )

OK, and now for more scandaliciousness… Bill O’Reilly now claims that the liberals have declared war on the white, male Christians! Cheese louise, when will these crazy right-wing folks learn to stop stirring up s**t over non-scandals?!

So what “scandals” are happening in your neck of the woods? What non-issues are the Republicans trying to stir up in your area? And is Bill O’Reilly crazy, or is he just talking nonsense? Go ahead. Make my day. Fire away! : )

CA-47: The Truth About Loretta Sanchez & That Fundraiser

OK, so you’ve probably seen this by now. Or perhaps, you’ve seen this. Wherever you saw Matt Cunningham’s post about the cancelled Nancy Pelosi fundraiser in Orange County, don’t believe it.

Yes, the fundraiser was cancelled. But no, Loretta Sanchez didn’t “put the kibosh” on a chance to raise money for the Democratic Party of Orange County. No, Loretta Sanchez isn’t against a stronger, better-funded DPOC. No, the Democratic Party is not weak and incompetent.

Follow me after the flip to get to the truth of this matter…

Here’s what Matt Cunningham said on OC Blog and FlashReport

… Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s ego got in the way.

Sanchez adopted a proprietary view of the dollars the Pelosi/DPOC event would raise. Rather than seeing a stronger, better-funded DPOC as a benefit to her continued representation of the 47th Congressional District, in Loretta’s view the fund raiser would take money away from her.

And here’s why this is completely wrong. The fundraiser actually was for the DCCC, not the DPOC. The fundraiser was on April 29 in Newport Beach, even though many OC Democrats were still in San Diego for the state Democratic Convention. And even though the individuals that scheduled the dinner promised that Loretta Sanchez was already on board with the fundraiser, they did NOT contact her to make sure that she was actually available for this fundraiser.

Basically, this fundraiser was just a disaster waiting to happen. So you don’t believe me? Believe Wylie Aitken. He knows what he’s talking about when he talks about Loretta. Wylie Aitken has been with her since the beginning as a campaign adviser to Loretta. But of course, he also knows what he’s talking about when he talks about the Democratic Party. He has always been a good friend of the DPOC. Read what he said to Total Buzz about that fundraiser.

The cancellation of the event had little or nothing to do with Loretta Sanchez.

The event would have been primarily for the DCCC. Well-intentioned individuals scheduled the evening without making sure Loretta would be available as well as many others within the Democratic donor community.

Loretta did what she should do — in addition to scheduling problems, to give her honest assessment to the Speaker, as to whether the event was properly planned and would be a success.

So there you have it! OK, so you’re still not believing me? Believe Mike Lawson at The Liberal OC. Here’s what he was told about that fundraiser:

The DPOC (with the help of “local Democratic insider”) solicited Pelosi for this dinner. One of the selling points was that Loretta was already onboard.

After Pelosi accepted the invitation she spoke with Sanchez, who hadn’t heard of the event. Once Loretta looked into the benefit, she noticed that there were some people (like the friend of “local Democratic insider”) that were angling to make some good money off of the event; Sanchez, who was never officially onboard with this benefit, backed out. And so did Pelosi.

Maybe Matt Cunningham was right when he said that “ego” stood in the way of this event, but it wasn’t Loretta’s this time. Perhaps the “local Democratic insider” shouldn’t have guaranteed Loretta’s attendance.

So do you believe us now? Oh yes, and look who’s supporting that fundraiser for Loretta this month. So, there! Loretta still cares about us in Orange County. The Democratic Party here is doing a great job in building the party in Orange County. Everyone is doing great, and we’re all looking forward to that fundraiser at Joe Dunn’s house on the 16th.

So much for that rumor! Cheese louise, the OC Republican insiders at OC Blog can’t even come up with a credible runor against us! I guess if this is the worst they can throw at us, then we’re doing a great job here! : )

Who’s Slowing Who Down? Who’s Making Who Look Bad?

OK, I just saw this latest piece of folly from every one’s favorite Republican Insider, Jubal/Matt Cunningham of Red County/OC Blog:

The Los Angeles Times published a truly remarkable article today: “MTA Fears A Bottleneck At OC Line.”

Basically, Metropolitan Transportation Authority is complaining the Orange County Transportation Authority‘s ongoing program of freeway widening is making MTA look bad. OCTA’s freeway-centered investment collides with MTA’s lightrail-centered priorities at the LA-OC county line in the form of traffic bottlenecks. It’s a vivid illustration of the different outcomes of the two agencies priorities.

OCTA has funneled its money into transportation modes the vast majority of people actually use: freeway and roads. As a result, our freeways move faster than those in Los Angeles. The MTA, by contrast, has prioritized its money into modes of public transit that far fewer people use, i.e. light rail. Or as OCTA Director Jerry Amante put it:

“We build lanes, not trains.”

And we’re supposed to be proud of that? OK, so widened freeways may be useful in relieving traffic in the short-term. As long as we have all these cars on the road, we have to have something for them to drive on. But really, wouldn’t some long-term solutions also help here?

Follow me after the flip for more as I explain why OCTA shouldn’t exactly be gloating over this…

So why should LA County MTA not feel so bad about not keeping up with the freeway expansion happening across the county line in Orange County? Perhaps because MTA has surpassed all the other transportation agencies in Southern California in mass transit? After all, MTA was named “America’s Best Public Transportation System” due to record high ridership, very high commuter satisfaction, and the amazing success of the Orange Line rapid bus service in the San Fernando Valley. MTA should really be proud of the high quality of transit service that they offer to Los Angeles County.

But what do I know about this? What does some “crazy environazi, anti-car zealot” from Orange County know about how successful MTA has been with its transit lines in Los Angeles? Well, I actually use the subway and the bus whenever I’m in Los Angeles, and boy is it great! I can take the Red Line from Downtown LA to Hollywood, and I never have to wait too long for a train as there’s one about every 10 minutes. I can take the 720 Rapid Bus down Wilshire Blvd. from Koreatown to Santa Monica, and I can be at the pier in about 45 minutes. That actually isn’t bad when compared to the nasty congestion often seen on the freeways (with OR without widening). And even late at night, I’m never stranded as there are now 24-hour bus routes throughout LA. Just look at the MTA system map, and try to tell me that Los Angeles County’s transit agency isn’t doing a terrific job of moving people.

Obviously, LA County has figured out the secret to success in not just relieving traffic, but also reducing air pollution and doing something to stop the climate catastrophe. We all know that our vehicles emit much of the carbon dioxide that’s causing climate change. So what can we do about it? Well, how about riding the clean, efficient local mass transit service?! And with all these people riding Metro buses and trains, LA County MTA really is doing its part to fight climate change. But of course, pollutions isn’t the only thing that’s reduced by all this mass transit service. We have to realize that more people using these buses and trains also means FEWER CARS ON THE STREETS AND FREEWAYS. And fewer cars on the streets and freeways means LESS TRAFFIC! If anything, LA County is really

Now compare and contrast what Los Angeles County is doing to Orange County’s preferred “traffic relief” plan. Now yes, we do have buses. And yes, there is Metrolink rail service to Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. However, our transit network in Orange County doesn’t really cover the whole region like what MTA is trying to do in LA County. Perhaps this is because our transportation “solutions” have been centered on expanding freeways and streets. And oh yes, let’s not forget the toll roads. Now don’t get me wrong, roads are important. And so long as we have all these cars on the road, we have to improve our roads to help people with their commutes. However, this is only a short-term solution.

Over the long term, we can’t sustain all these cars on all these roads. So long as we continue developing farther and farther away from urban cores, and all we do about this is build more roads that only spark more development, we’ll never see long-term traffic relief. This is why we need smarter development and smarter transportation planning. And when it comes to smarter transportation planning, Los Angeles County is doing this. If we want long-term traffic relief, environmental health, and an overall better community, we need to figure out how to take these cars off the road and get people moving in a more efficient manner.

This is why Jubal/Matt shouldn’t be gloating about temporary bottlenecks in South LA County. LA County MTA might have a temporary problem that they will have to solve by improving the 5 and 405, but they are implementing a long-term solution to their overall traffic problem by expanding bus and commuter rail options. Hopefully one day soon, more people here in Orange County will push OCTA to do the same.

Tonight’s Wild and Wonderful Open Thread

OK, so we had a busy day today chatting about some very important issues! We tackled immigration and whether children born in the US to undocumented immigrants should receive US citizenship. We talked about health care, and how private insurance really sucks. We talked about high-speed rail, and when we can actually expect a network that covers the entire state. Oh yes, and we also chatted about the big news of LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. Overall, I’d say that we talked about a whole lot of important issues today! : )

So what do you want to talk about now? What’s on your mind tonight? I’m still thinking about what happened at the Strawberry Festival. Oh yes, and I’m noticing the wild speculation about a possibly EXPENSIVE Republican Primary in AD 73. Oh, and I also still have Orange County property values on my mind. So what’s going on in your corner of California tonight? What do YOU want to talk about?

Go ahead. Make my day. Fire away! : )

When Do Immigrants Qualify as Humans?

If you haven’t yet seen Gila’s latest story at The Liberal OC, then you haven’t yet seen the best blog story of the day. Basically, Gila’s probing into the reason why anti-immigrant extremists are suddenly being nice to one undocumented immigrant who recently passed away. Now these people are the same ones who always love to dehumanize these human beings. They call them “illegal aliens”, and they talk about deporting them like I talk about killing cockroaches. It’s just downright disgusting.  So why the sudden change of heart? Follow me after the flip to find out…

So what’s the difference here? Well, he died honorably while serving his adopted country in Iraq. Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta died while fighting alongside his fellow troops in Falloujah. He was praised for his service, and he lauded as an immigrant who really cared about his adopted homeland. However, no one really wants to talk about how he got here.

Peralta came here illegally. Now he was fortunate enough to get his green card just before enlisting with the Marines. So how did someone who arrived here illegally manage to get a green card? Well, if he’s like all the other undocumented workers who get green cards, he paid a “licenciado” or “notario” to bribe people to forge legal documents and commit perjury in a court of law in order to obtain legal status from the US government. Or in other words, Peralta did what all those other “illegal aliens” do to “lie and cheat his way” into this country.

Now would I treat Peralta differently knowing all this? No, I wouldn’t. Peralta just did what he could to circumvent a very cumbersome and inhumane mountain of obstacles to fulfill his dream of being an American. And I’m glad that even right-wingers are commending Sgt. Peralta for his courageous service to his adopted homeland.

So why can’t these right-wingers treat all other undocumented workers with the same dignity that they’re willing to give to Sgt. Peralta? After all, they’re serving our country as well. They pay into Social Security without ever reaping any benefits. They clean up after us when we leave our ocean view hotel suites in Laguna Beach to go to that swanky Newport restaurant that’s teeming with undocumented busboys ready to serve us our food. They clean up after us when we trash Tomorrowland at Disneyland as we rush over to Disney’s California Adventure to make more messes to be cleaned by undocumented workers.

Basically, our economy depends on these immigrants. And these immigrants serve us in so many ways all the time. So why can’t we treat them as human beings? Must they die to earn any respect?

Mr. Republican Insider Does Us a Favor

And if you’re interested in reading some fine examples of Environmental Left blogging against the 241 in which the level of exaggeration, misinformation and confabulation is matched only by the certitude with which they are asserted, then visit anyone one of young Andrew Davey’s posts on his blog or lefty-blog Calitics. But he tries.

At first I saw Mr. Republican Insider’s latest diatribe against me and against this community, and I was pretty peeved. These folks at Red County/OC Blog can’t even offer up their own facts and engage in honest debate. I had once considered these folks to be rational individuals, and I used to like going there (believe it or not). Well, I guess I was wrong about that.

But then, I started thinking about this. I soon realized that Jubal/Matt Cunningham was actually doing us a favor. Follow me after the flip for more as I explain why we should be thanking Mr. Republican Insider for this…

It dawned on me last night: These folks really do reveal the emptiness of today’s “conservative” movement when they have nothing left but personal attacks and payola as policy. They don’t have any new ideas on how to govern. They don’t have any facts to back up their “vision” of what they want to see in government. They just seem to have lost their way. Now that I think of it, I’m starting to experience sorrow for people like Matt/Jubal. They must feel awfully terrible to be stuck in a “movement” that doesn’t know what it really stands for.

Matt/Jubal might be hurling attacks at me and at the site, but I know that’s not really what this is about. Now that I think of it, it’s about far more than just a toll road to Trestles or a failed war in the Middle East. It’s about the emptiness of today’s “conservatism”. They used to believe that government should stay out of people’s private lives. Now, they want to examine EVERYTHING we do in our homes and in our bedrooms. They used to believe in fiscal responsibility. Now, they don’t mind complete fiscal insanity. Is this what “conservatism” has become?

Maybe this is why even the traditional “Roosevelt Republicans”, “Eisenhower Republicans”, and “Goldwater Republicans” are leaving this party. Today’s Republicans just don’t stand for what people used to call “conservative”. The GOP truly has lost its way.

But in the meantime, look at what’s happened here. Look at all the activism happening here. Look at all the intelligent policy discussions that we have all the time. We progressives seem to have no problem coming up with great ideas, sound policy, and factual arguments to back them up. And yes, people are actually excited about what we have to say and about what we want to do.

I guess that’s why I should be thanking Mr. Republican Insider. He can call me whatever names he wants. I don’t care. I just like the fact that he’s only proving the point that today’s progressives are the ones with the sound policy and grassroots energy. : )