4 EXPO TRANSIT NEWSLETTER - September 2002
* MTA Board to vote on Preliminary Engineering contract
* Expo community meeting at Dorsey High, September 28!
* Other Expo events
* Meeting with government officials
* Friends 4 Expo wins award
* MTA BOARD TO VOTE ON PRELIMINARY ENGINEERING CONTRACT
Exposition light rail is on the eve of its next milestone: MTA Board approval of the contract for Preliminary Engineering from downtown to Venice/Robertson. The MTA Planning and Programming Committee will consider it this Wednesday, September 18, at 1:00 p.m. The full MTA Board will meet the following week, Thursday, September 26, at 9:30 a.m. Both are in the MTA headquarters building downtown. Come show your support at these meetings! From the P&PC agenda:
* EXPO COMMUNITY MEETING AT DORSEY HIGH, SEPTEMBER 28!
Saturday, September 28, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, the next general meeting of Friends 4 Expo will be held at Dorsey High School's auditorium, 3537 Farmdale Ave., Los Angeles (corner of Rodeo and Farmdale, east of La Brea and west of Crenshaw).
Beginning this fall and continuing into 2003, the MTA will hold planning meetings in local communities as they complete Preliminary Engineering work and the Final Environmental Impact Report on the proposed Expo route as far as Venice/Robertson. As a volunteer citizens group, one of our goals is to help facilitate public involvement in the planning process.
This meeting will provide a unique opportunity -- particularly for those who live, go to school or work close to the right-of-way -- to become informed about Expo, to voice their concerns, and to learn how they can participate in the upcoming MTA planning meetings. We urge everyone who can to attend, and to take advantage of this important head start on the planning process!
Even if you can't attend the Sept. 28 meeting, you can help: 1) Forward this newsletter to others who might be interested, or send us their email addresses; 2) Help get the word out to community groups, neighborhood councils, churches, etc. (we can provide leaflets for distribution); or 3) Help us get media coverage -- newspaper or radio announcements, news reports, etc.
Also, if you would like to be placed on the MTA's Notification List (regular mail) for planning meetings in your area, send us your name and address and we will forward your contact information to them. Email us at: email@example.com, write to P.O. Box 64943, L.A. 90064, or phone 310-393-9025.
* OTHER EXPO EVENTS
In the past months Friends 4 Expo has helped organize other community meetings and transit forums. The Mar Vista Community Council (Mar Vista's neighborhood council) held an Intermodal Transit Forum featuring speakers from Smart Growth, Friends 4 Expo, and the MTA, and drew an estimated crowd of 150 participants. A Transportation Update held by the VenMar Neighborhood Association attracted 100 people to hear speakers from Friends 4 Expo, LADOT, and Caltrans.
We've found that events like these -- where people come together to explore options and express their opinions, both pro and con -- are helpful, informative, and even fun (really!). More are in the planning stages: an "Expo Expo" is being organized in Santa Monica, and other locations along the Expo route are being discussed for future community outreach events.
* MEETING WITH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
In his book, The Democracy Owner's Manual, author Jim Shultz urges us all to be "lobbyists" -- connecting with our elected officials with letters, phone calls, and office visits. In the past year we've been doing just that, as we take up the challenging task of assuring that federal and state funds come through to complete Exposition light rail. Throughout the spring and summer Friends 4 Expo members personally met with as many as 40 officials or their staffs, including City Councilmembers Mark Ridley-Thomas and Jan Perry, Congresswoman Diane Watson, and Congressman Henry Waxman.
Two of our activists even traveled to Washington D.C. where, as part of a larger group of Los Angeles commerce and transit advocates, they participated in a mind-boggling 20 meetings in 4 days. To learn more, and to support a follow-up trip to Washington, D.C. next month, click: home.earthlink.net/~transitcoalition/Tc-dc.html.
The coming year will be especially critical, because TEA-21 (the federal transportation act for the 21st century) is set to expire in September 2003, and regions all over the country will be competing fiercely for federal transportation funds in the "TEA-3" reauthorization. We are encouraging all of our Southern California elected officials speak with one voice, to *insist* that Los Angeles gets its fair share of transportation funding, including enough for Expo light rail to be built all the way to Santa Monica.
* FRIENDS 4 EXPO WINS AWARD
The Westside Urban Forum honored Friends 4 Expo as a recipient of its 2002 Westside Prize, awarded to projects which demonstrate "excellence in innovation, city making and community building." Friends 4 Expo was specifically recognized for its grassroots organizing efforts that contributed to the current political and community support for the Exposition Light Rail line. Congratulations to all of us -- and especially to everyone on this list, who came out to a meeting, made a phone call, or sent a letter or fax at a critical time!
To learn more about the Expo Line, visit our website: friends4expo.org. If you've received this newsletter as a forward and would like to be placed on our email list -- or, if you would like to be removed -- email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who would like to attend a steering committee meeting, to become involved in planning events, meeting elected officials, or other volunteer opportunities, please contact us!
Dorsey High, site of our next general meeting on Sept. 28 (see story above) is one of L.A.'s historically significant high schools, and is currently home to some of the most innovative secondary education programs in the city. To learn more about Dorsey, visit their website: www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Dorsey_HS .
"Within the neighborhoods, the towns, the local communities of America are the stirrings of a new movement of citizens acting together to solve community problems." -- Final Report of the National Commission on Civic Renewal, 1998