Sunday, March 11, 2012

Metro Board Report for February 2012

Since there was nothing earthshaking at the February meetings (which is also why I procrastinated until mere days before the March meetings to file this report), we present a special edition of the Metro Board Report entitled Quotes Of The Month (and other misconceptions) ...
  • During public comment on the Regional Connector EIR approval, the downtown business owners still insisted on a 5th/Flower Station (uhh, no, we've been down that road with you before, remember?), one resident of Little Tokyo wants a shuttle bus instead, an attorney claimed the Planning & Programming Committee couldn't move the approval to the Board because the comment period didn't end for another five days (but it did end before the Board meeting itself the following week), and one hotel owner wanted easements moved to prevent clauses in his contracts with clients from being invoked (oh, so it's Metro's fault you have these kinds of clauses?).
  • Mel Wilson, chairing the Finance, Budget & Audit Committee, first asked to "go back to" a non-existent slide on sales tax revenue, then when advised by Metro's Chief Financial Officer Terry Matsumoto that said slide only appears in his presentation once per quarter because that is how often the State Board of Equalization provides the accounting data with meaningful information, asked: "What does 'meaningful' mean?"
  • Later that same meeting while the committee was considering hiring a firm to consult on debt financing capital projects, Mel said "I don't mean to be dense." No comment.
  • (Mel also, at the Executive Management Committee, thought the Blue Line had higher ridership than the subway.)
  • Zev Yaroslavsky, at the Executive Management Committee meeting, responding to Chief Communications Officer Matt Raymond's report on the fare gate locking test that there are still unresolved issues with Metrolink fare media: "I don't want Metrolink to be the tail wagging the dog." (By the way, Raymond's report made it sound as if 20% of Metro Red Line passengers are fare evaders; it took until the Sheriff's Department presentation on the locking test at the Operations Committee meeting the next day to learn it was closer to 4%.)
  • Sun Youngyang, of the Bus Riders Union, trying to stop the Operations Committee from approving the Title VI audits: "The FTA isn't going to approve of your methodology." It turned out the FTA was "satisfied and impressed" by the review, according to Metro's Civil Rights Compliance Officer Dan Levy ... it was the BRU who wanted systemwide impacts included, not the feds. At the full Board meeting, the BRU's Barbara Lott-Holland made the further misstatement that service cancellations had to be withdrawn if there were any discriminatory impacts at all (and had to be reminded that FTA guidelines say otherwise). Damien Goodmon not only agreed with the BRU but said the Crenshaw/LAX EIR needed to be withdrawn on the same basis because of the at-grade vs. tunneling issue.
  • And gadfly Arnold Sachs, upon being told by Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa that the "F*ck U" shirt he was wearing was considered offensive: "What? It's my alma mater!"
Next Metro Board Committee Meetings: Wednesday and Thursday, March 14 & 15
Next Metro Board Meeting: Thursday, March 22