Commissions, committees and boards, oh my!

Cities are chalk full of boards, committees and commissions. Transportation, park, trails, business, water, etc., etc., etc.

Most of the positions are filled by volunteers, community people interested in public service or the specific subject the commission relates too.

Other commissions, most notably Planning, are more involved. There are many applicants and a number of City Council members have used the position as a spring board and/or learning experience before running for council.

But in some places, the abundance of such committees may make it difficult to fill all the positions.

In Glendora, that is one of the issues they faced recently as numerous commissions and committees didn’t have new applicants or enough to fill all its vacancies, forcing the city to extend its application period.

The city had 17 vacancies across seven city advisory groups.

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Hanks as the new Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Chairman?

While Keith Hanks is running for reelection this March on the Azusa City Council, he is also hoping for another election in the coming weeks.

Hanks sits on the board for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension that is now chaired by La Verne Mayor Jon Blickenstaff. Blickenstaff is leaving the La Verne council at the end of his term this year.

When the board is restructured, Hanks has his fingers crossed in hopes of becoming the new chair, or at least the vice chair, told me today (Wednesday).

I can’t say I would blame the board for the decision. Hanks has a firm grasp on engineering and transportation issues. The man just gets excited about things like this and you always want that out of a representative.

In terms of engineering, I would probably be described as a novice and I would take that as a compliment.

But when Hanks, who works in the public works department for the city of Los Angeles and focuses on sewer systems, was explaining to me different parts of how sewers work, not only was it interesting, but I understood.

It takes someone who really knows what they are talking about to not only taking something like how sewers work and make it interesting, but to also allow a Lehman like myself to understand the basics of some complex issues.

‘Vote down taxes’

Here’s one opinion on the recent tax hikes. This letter ran on the Opinion Page today:
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Vote down tax hikes

Every day you read or hear about tax increases. The economy is horrible and people are having extreme difficulties paying mortgages, bills, food and the worst: the cost of gasoline.

Now our local, state and federal governments all want to increase taxes. Are they for real?

You don’t hear our politicians saying they will take a cut in pay. You do not see our politicians giving up their cars, drivers or staff paid by us. They don’t work everyday and yet they take long vacations.

Their answer to everything is increase taxes.

Let them put all these proposed increases on the ballot. I urge everyone to vote “no.”

It is time the politicians and big government spend within the budget and we should hold them accountable.

We in the San Gabriel “Forgotten” Valley need to come together and vote “no” on the MTA tax. We will not get our fair share. The mayor of Los Angeles only has one thought in mind and it is not us. In fact, he is probably one of the worst when it comes to spending taxpayers money. Just look at all the trips he has taken.

Let us all wake up and stop listening to the politicians. They need to spend wisely and stop using us as scapegoats.

Gil Dominguez

West Covina

Gas prices are up, and so is Metrolink ridership

Yesterday was Dump the Pump Day, and Los Angeles commuters were encouraged to take public transportation over their cars. The Los Angeles Times reported that this week, Metrolink ridership hit an all-time high.

Metrolink recorded its highest number of riders for a single day.
More than 50,000 people boarded its trains Tuesday.
By Joanna Lin and Francisco Vara-Orta, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
June 20, 2008

Commuter rail ridership broke an all-time record this week, and Caltrans reported a dip in freeway traffic as commuters across California struggled with record gasoline prices.

Metrolink recorded its highest number of riders in a single day Tuesday — 50,232 — a 15.6% increase over the volume on the Tuesday of the same week last year. Metro Rail ridership has also risen, shooting up 6% last month over May 2007, with the downtown L.A.-to-Pasadena Gold Line setting an all-time ridership record, said Dave Sotero, a Metro spokesman.

SGV roads get dumped on by MTA*****UPDATE

Anytime the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) gets involved, El Monte and the rest of the San Gabriel Valley gets “dumped on.”

Well, that’s what El Monte Councilmembers Pat Wallach and Art Barrios think.

El Monte has been asked to participate in a conversation about the possibility of converting the 210 and 10 HOV lanes into toll roads. The idea did resonate well with some of the El Monte council members. At a special meeting on Monday, council members expressed their disgust for the plan — and for MTA.

Councilman Juventino Gomez said that he predicts that should toll roads be implemented, that it will only mean more traffic within El Monte’s major roadways.

“We’ve got to really think about this,” Gomez said. “This could be much more costly in a lot of ways. There will be increased truck traffic … and our police department will have to be busier.”

But most of the venom shot at MTA came from Wallach and Barrios.

“Whenever MTA gets involved, the SGV gets dumped on. We don’t have any benefits if this goes through,” Barrios said.

Wallach couldn’t agree more.

“We always get dumped on here in the San Gabriel Valley. MTA seems to not be thinking about the other valley,” Wallach said.

Incidentally, both Wallach and Barrios were chosen as the El Monte delegates to discuss this plan with the San Gabriel Valley Legislative Caucus on Saturday. (Not with the MTA, as I previosuly posted.)

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will be at the City of West Covina’s Council Chambers, 1444 West Garvey Ave.

Reporter Dan Abendschein will be covering the event, so look for a story about it in Sunday’s newspaper.