Tag Archives: gas prices

L.A.’s Mass Transit Mess: How Metro Wasted An Hour Of My Life

I’m heartened by the fact that there’s a sharp and pronounced move toward mass transit nationwide (the ridership levels are the highest since 1957) in the wake of $4 gasoline.  So heartened, in fact, that I wanted to join the movement.  My current commute to work is a straight line, rare in Los Angeles, where I could conceivably take Santa Monica Boulevard all the way from my house to the office.  I calculated the options for bus service, and figured I could save $2 a day and a gallon of gas worth of carbon emissions (L.A. buses are, for the most part, clean-air vehicles) without an appreciable increase in my commute time.  I went on the Metro website and located the proper bus route, and made out this morning to catch my ride.

It never showed up.  The bus route initially offered on the site was inaccurate, and a separate bus didn’t pick up at the stop offered.  There was no corroborating information at the bus stop, and after about a half-hour I just walked home and got in the car.

I believe I’ve remedied the situation and now see a way clear to using the proper transit system.  But the arduousness of the task is the real point.  At a time when gridlock is literally making Angelenos insane, and the reduction of just a tiny percentage of cars on the road would alleviate it, at a time when gas is so expensive that violence is breaking out as gas pumps and fuel thieves are resorting to siphoning gas out of engines, the structure of mass transit in the nation’s second-largest city is a total embarrassment.  I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford the high cost of gasoline and don’t need to use public transit; furthermore, I am able to stagger my schedule and the commute is not even that taxing.  But I want to ride clean, out of a sense of social responsibility and simple peace of mind.  Somehow the entire Northeast corridor can be lined with all sorts of rail systems and we can’t get a bus to stop every few blocks on a major artery serving multiple communities (Santa Monica, West LA, Beverly Hills,  West Hollywood, Hollywood, Los Feliz).  The city of Los Angeles actually has more density per mile than Portland, Oregon, which has an excellent public transit system.  There’s no ingenuity put into transit, or resources for that matter, and the overlapping jurisdictions of public officials just dissolve any policy prescription into a squabble among supervisors and city councilmen and the like.  They don’t even bother to update the signs; guess it’s too costly.

On the other hand, there’s a freeway in Marina del Rey that’s 2 miles long.  It’s probably the most unused freeway in America.  But it had a federal stamp of approval and was an accomplishment local pols could point to, so up it goes.

What character remains in L.A. is being crushed by endless parades of cars and the honking of horns.  The society has become hyper-local out of necessity (and actually the best transit systems, like the Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica, serve a small, local area).  But that could all change so easily, with a little personal responsibility and a bus that runs on time.

Odds & Ends April 22

The eyes of the nation are upon Pennsylvaia, but there's still a lot going on right here in California.  So, here are a few stories of note:

  • (SacBee) Remember that big plan to privatize the lottery that was going to bring in billions upon billions of dollars? Well, it turns out that potential bidders don't really like the way our lottery works, and want us to make some changes before they'll pony up. Of course, that requires a vote of the people, so it might be a while before Arnold's billions come rolling in.
  • (LA Times) A federal court is hearing a class action lawsuit against the VA alleging gross incompetence. Over 120 veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan commit suicide, while the backlog for services grows.  Good to see that the Bush Administartion supports the troops on TV, too bad they don't do it in real life.
  • (SF Chron) The fight between CNA and SEIU continues in court today, with SEIU arguing that CNA's restraining order violated the rules against SLAPP suits, thus infringing their first amendment rights.
  • The board (CCCC) that regulates salaries for elected officials meets at 10AM in Van Nuys. A note to you legislators out there, don't expect big pay hikes today. (h/t CapAlert)
  • Arnold has now dropped over $1.25 million into the redistricting initiative, and is hosting a fundraiser tonight. And, of course, he convinced his good friend “independent” Michael Bloomberg to drop $250K in as well. And oh, by the way, he still clings to the notion that McCain can win California. I think he should have a chat with Maria.
  • (SR P-D) Gas is expensive. Thanks for the insight there. I couldn't tell that by looking out the window, I need the media to confirm it for me. Incidentally, McCain's Dole-retread idea of pausing the gas tax would be disastrous for our infrastructure needs, and it's not clear that the oil companies would even pass the savings on to the consumer. Obama calls him out on it.

What else is going on?

Gas is Expensive, And it’s Chevron’s Fault

(Oops! Forgot the Field poll link (PDF) – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

And I don’t disagree.  I just heard a new Cheveron Ad, and they were super-psyched about finding some new oil field that will allow us to continue to pollute for generations to come. Yay!!  Well, Field Research has just released one of their awesome Field polls, this time on how gas prices are affecting ordinary Californians.  Apparently, 70% of Californians see gas prices as a “serious” situation (either very serious or somewhat serious), with the amount of people saying “Very serious” up to 35% from 32% in August 2005.

And I’m not going to quibble with that.  Adjustment to a new price condition is ahrd.  DUde, I saw $4 regular gas for the first time yesterday. $4.09.9 to be exact. Yowsers! (I won’t go to that station, it’s an outlier b.c of it’s convenience to the highway.  But, folks, yeah, you are going to have to adjust to these new conditions.

If you look at this cool graph (right) from the Department of Energy, you’ll see that, oh, um, yeah we are the green line on the bottom $4 cheaper than European prices.  Don’t you think they are hurt by these energy prices too?  Well, instead of just blaming Chevron (and ya, i’m cool with that as well), what else can we do to make our economy more competitive in a market that is just going to have expensive gas prices? How about adding more rail services and other public transportation? Increasing the CAFE standards? Taxing gas hogs?

Look, gas ain’t going to get a whole lot cheaper, so how about spending a little more effort to address conservation and replacement technologies? And sure, keep blaming Chevron…they can handle it.

California Blog Roundup, 4/26/06

Today’s Blog Roundup is on the flip. Teasers: Feingold in LA, CA-11, CA-50, CA-36, gas gouging, a little on the Dem Gov Primary, and a lot of neat stuff in “Other”.

Feingold Blogger Lunch

OK, first of all, some Los Angeles bloggers got to lunch with Russ Feingold yesterday. Here are their reports:


  • Progressive 11th attended the Tracy Candidates’ Forum and reports back. Prog11 supports McNerney, near as I can tell, but assuming his report of Filson’s attitude toward the grassroots is correct, it isn’t very happy-making. More important, those grassroots are the people you need to run through brick walls for you in the general, so you might not want to dump on them in the primary.
  • Jerry McNerney was interviewd on the Quake today.



    Marcy Winograd, the primary challenger to Jane Harman in CA-36, introduced herself at MyDD (and yes, we need to send them an email). The comments are interesting. Down with Tyranny is all for Marcy.

Black Gold! Texas Tea!

Dem Gov Primary