Truth in Advertising

Wow, that was fast, Snoble will leave the LACMTA! Was it su Topo’s nagging OR his fear of prosecution for using public funds to propagandize us in favor of Measure R or would the charge be simple malfeasance? See Progressive Railroading.com at http://www.progressiverailroading.com/news/article.asp?id=19101

I have often wondered why the BRU (Bus Riders Union) did not seize on this opportunity to pursue the issue. Likely, they were too busy licking their wounds after their last legal loss in court.

In response to the total inability of those in Snoble's administration to be able to take timely action, and as a farewell present to him and a welcome present to his successor, I lead with an edited picture showing how the “America's Best” signage must be modified so as to conform with truth in advertising concepts. The unearned, IMHO, honorific “America's Best” was an award for ONE YEAR ONLY, not an award in perpetuity! But everything about the LACMTA under Snoble screamed style over substance he, undoubtedly, still has his chest puffed out three years after the presentation of the title and more than one year after its' expiration.

Just below, I show a rapid bus which, with the help of Gnu's Gimp2, I have modified to show, and this is based on counting the passengers on these sparsely populated vehicles, exactly what the slogan for this malformed transportation concept should be, i.e., “Moving Fewer Faster” –-more expensively too.

Anyone who doubts my accuracy, should simply check the load factors and estimate the losses incurred by a 920 Line bus with only six (6) passengers moving between Westwood and Santa Monica in either direction, or a 720 bus off peak-hours or a 715 bus between Inglewood and the LAXCBC (LAX City Bus Center) at almost anytime.

In spite Snoble being praised by politicians after announcing his retirement, su Topo has another idea of how to commemorate his time in office. That is, to erect a memorial to him, a fountain which incorporates a cameo is what I feel is appropriate.

Executed by a sculptor who has a Picassoesque style and sited at the present downtown terminus of the 33 line, you know, 6th and Main Streets, the cameo would be face up in a basin that drains to the sewer system, that way rain and other liquids, e.g., coffee and etc., would have egress. All in all, this could prove to be a functional addition to the area.

Although this photo to which I link (below) shows a basin three times as high and four~five times the diameter of what your Mole envisions, it will give you an idea of the approximate scale. The cameo would be positioned face up at the bottom of the basin. See: http://photos.igougo.com/images/p83078-Naples-The_basin.jpg

The link which follows will display, in the lower right of the image, what I believe is a fitting style for the cameo: http://claybuttons.com/ButtonPages/FF.html

The plaque affixed to the basin should read:

"LACMTA Head - Roger Snoble 2001~2007

We have this man to thank for the current condition of mass transit in Los Angeles County.

He did the work of three men: Larry, Moe and Curley!"

I suggest that specifications be prepared and that a bidding process begun which will yield an outcome which is almost never possible for the LACMTA, viz., something which can be characterized as both functional and economical.

Now, when will the other shoe drop, the one called Solow?

The Mole reads the papers (and other things) so you don't have to

In contemplating group-think, which is prevalent at the LACMTA, Consider A&P Supermarkets which, at one time, was America's largest operator(1) [link in bibliography]. Today the much reduced organization has just 444 stores. Contrast it with Kroger which has 2477 stores. A&P is currently just under 18% of Kroger's size. Details at


Here is another analysis of how Zell convinced the Times employees to finance his takeover of the paper, before he fired them, that is(2).

Which paper is now, like the LACMTA charging us more and giving us less. Just one example and it is brief(3). Another $17.2 million is to be spent in “planning” for the subway to the sea. This time it will be collected by an engineering firm for an environmental impact report. Your Mole wonders why the original EIR could not simply be used as is or updated for a LOT LESS MONEY. Your Mole also wonders where Snoble will work post-LACMTA? The piece also says: “Officials doubt that that ground will be broken before 2013”. Talk about paralysis by analysis!

On page B5(ibidem) we find a paid Metro advertisement. Part of the ad announces a “Public Hearing On Bus Service” take place on February 11 [it is a Wednesday] at 5P.M. In Beverly Hills. If you want to find other locations and times, “Check http://www.metro.net/”.

This is in keeping with a long standing, if unwritten, LACMTA policy to schedule these hearing at times and venues that are inaccessible to the typical public transit user. BRU, wake up!

Note that check meto.net really means that one must navigate that mess to find the proper page. N.B. There was lots of space to provide details of ALL the meetings, accessible or not. The length of the ad was 27cm5mm (I know, I know) of which 3cm was white space at the end and 6cm was wasted at the top for a picture of a smiling woman holding a TAP (Transit Access Pass) [sic] pass , no doubt, happy to be paid several hundred full fares for posing. So 9/26.5, which is –percentage wise, one third of the space as calculated by scilab 5(4), was actually available had they foregone picture and used the white space to inform us. Anyway, here is the complete list complements of su Topo:

4 Feb. [Wed] 18:30 6262 Van Nuys BL, Van Nuys
9 Feb. [Mon] 18:00 3449 Santa Anita AV 3rd FL, El Monde
9 Feb. [Mon] 18:00 801 Carson St., Carson
11 Feb. [Wed] 17:00 325 S La Cienaga BL, Beverly Hills
11 Feb. [Wed] 17:30 9240 Firestone BL, Downey

I estimate that the five lines above would easily fit in about 1cm, i.e., one third of the white space which they wasted.

I tried to find the meeting list on-line. I typed metro.net into the Internet Explorer URL block. When the home page appeared I studied each category. Finding nothing about meetings, I typed “Public Meeting” into their search field.

Lots of things appeared but NOT the February 2009 series of meetings. I added 2009 to my query which became “Public Meeting 2009” (without quotes). The first ten (10) returns did not contain anything relevant. I can see that they were aiming for the riders who had a surfeit of patience, this requirement was beginning to exclude me. Remember, all they had to do (if they really wanted attendees) was to publish the full path to the list! Finally, I added February to the search argument, which now read “Public Meeting 2009 February“ and viola, I found the link: http://www.metro.net/riding_metro/special_services/proposed_changes.htm With the LACMTA, expect little, you will never be disappointed!

I want to make a suggestion to the LACMTA. As the cigar makers had someone read to them, the agency should hire someone who can read to read about transportation during coffee breaks and lunch. The the staff could learn things like: “Bus services, ... were made slower and more unattractive by traffic congestion, and this pushed an even greater number of people into using their cars.”(5)

Ear to the Rail

Louis Braille's birthday: In the first link below, we can read about M. Braille's school, the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris which was the world's first school for the blind(1). Then, please, read about the difficulty of becoming literate, in Braille, as explained by a former member of the British government(2). Then, take a look at the Braille alphabet at (3)
(1) http://www.afb.org/braillebug/louis_braille_bio.asp

(2) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/magazine/7807217.stm

(3) http://www.afb.org/braillebug/braille_print.asp

La Taupe does have political opinions, which he won't detail here. However he will recommend that you read the following Glen Greenwald opinion pieces at salon.com, and then form your own opinion about our country's role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It seems many in the U.S. have their opinions ignored.


There are times when one must focus on the really important things in life. One writer, at Salon.com, knows this. http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/12/20/pie_love/

However, try as we might, we cannot escape the realities imposed by the state of our economy. Listen to Now's “Credit and Credibility” report at http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/446/index.html

Also, Marketplace simplifies CDOs ( Colateralized Debt Obligations) at http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/10/03/cdo/

Cosmological Corner

Here is an artist’s depiction of our home galaxy. One can interpret “Sun” to mean you are here.

And here: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/2455/milky-way-spins-faster-has-more-mass-thought is a piece that tells why we are bigger and maybe better than our neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, shown here: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080124.html Which galaxy is quoted as being 200,000 light years in diameter, as opposed to the Milky Way which was previously thought to be half the size (100,000 LY in diameter) of Andromeda.
The page, (link below), has more information, but make no mistake we are still number 2 to Andromeda, although dimensions are not clearly stated. So, my guess is that we are, based upon the 50% more mass point, now 150,000 LY in diameter.

However, the BBC says “roughly the same size as Andromeda …”. Please read: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7813635.stm

Captured here in a YouTube video, is the kind of Metro driver which we see all too often these days. This driver is someone that shouldn’t be in the service industry because of his aggressive personality some of his actions are not documented only reffered to in the video. The passenger has plenty of nerve,confronting an angry driver and filming the whole thing.

Oh, and on the left side panel, under the TransitTV screen, one can see one of the infamous “whois” bumper stickers, one which is pretty well defaced. This video is NOT for CHILDREN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuypO_ZcRoM

The Mole Rides Again so that you don't have to wonder if the last voice you hear will be that of your seatbeltless bus driver as he is ejected through the windshield

Montreal is a city with great transportation: Société de transport de Montréal (So-sea-a-tay) Click www.stm.info/ Click Entrez, then, if you wish, select English on the top right of the page. Please consider taking a look at the system map, it may take a few minutes “fetch” time, but interesting, you can see a larger view by clicking on the Adobe pdf viewer’s (su Topo uses Adobe Reader 9) plus (+) sign. Too, LACMTA staff who are able to read, take special note of this, click on the “Metro Map” to see how it is properly done. Montreal’s population is 1,583,590 about 41% of the population of the City of Los Angeles –3,849,378. Bigger doesn’t mean better, does it?
The “System Map” is interactive , e.g., click on a Centre-ville (downtown) staion such as Sherbrooke, provides a wealth of information which tourists AND residents need to navigate any city.

For an overview of the city, see: http://wiki.worldflicks.org/montreal.html and

Then see Habitat for Humanity at http://wiki.worldflicks.org/habitat_67.html , architecture which matches my affinity for René Descartes,

Descartes is well known for:
Cogito Ergo Sum”. [I think, therefore I am.]
Discours de la Méthode (1637)

Then let’s ride the Metro (which to much of the world means subway). Note the better Transit TV and the bus reference mentioned, for a smoother trip. Also, the stations have brighter lights. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzENIIB4rSU

It is just past one PM, two women wait nearby me at the LAX CBC (City Bus Center). They are mixed in among men who sell bus tokens for a dollar and sometimes transfers –also a dollar. They each have laminated pages in looseleaf binders and are discussing their day's earnings. I as I learn more I substitute “take”for “earnings”. It seems the laminated sheets document a “Save the Children” appeal. One talks about a good day in which she received more than $400! They work the airport areas where all have access. We ride the same bus and when a passenger needs change for $10, they jump at the chance to reduce some of the $1 bills. Your Mole recommends that you organize your contributions by sending, even a small, check to recognized charities. When people handle money without supervision there will be. ah..., loses.

2009-01-22: I am aboard bus number 5168 being driven by operator 25019. He is NOT wearing his seatbelt and has the steering wheel cocked at, what to me is a strange, angle. That is, one that offers little mechanical advantage. He talks on his cell phone: “I just wanted to hear your voice”. Then, he takes both hands off the wheel in order to rummage though his lunch box.

I envision him flying through the windshield, followed by a number of passengers, still fumbling for his lunch.

I help a Bostonian become familiar with local transportation, or rather lack of it after sundown. I say it's not the “T” (the Metropolitan Boston Transportation Authority)!

Mixed signals. Why would there be benches, shown above, at the place where there is no longer a bus stop? Duh, they only told us to take down the sign. The benches signal that there is a "reason" for
them to be there, such as, sitting down to wait for buses which stopped at this location for years.

Pictured below is the “new” Mariposa Green Line Station line 232 bus stop. It is quite a distance from the old one which was located on the corner of Mariposa and Nash in El Segundo. Starting from the old location, Lance Armstrong might be able to bike to the new stop quickly enough to catch a bus, but few of us on foot could do it. Note that in the picture a bus is at the stop.

Fare Box Score Box

Bus numbers of buses with Out of Order Fare Boxes:

Numbers of Buses Defaced by WhoIs stickers: 9287; 6327; 6386; 5170; 9544; 6356; 5170; 1294: 9280UR;

UR = Ugly Residue of a former, likely whois sticker.
+UR = whois sticker and the ugly residue left after passengers? partly remove the sticker.


Clicking a photo will often, well, … sometimes, present you with an enlargement.


(1) Gonzales, Laurence. “Mob Mentality”. National Geographic Adventure. Oct. 2008:p28

(2) Gross, Daniel. The Road to Zell How the Tribune deal went so bad, so fast. Posted Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008, at 2:06 PM ET accessed 2009-01-19 16:40 http://www.slate.com/id/2206353/

(3) Hymon, Steve. “California Briefing”. Los Angeles Times 23 Jan. 2009:B2

(4) The open source platform for numerical computation - scilab http://www.scilab.org/

(5) Inwood. Stephen. A History of London. MacMillan, 1998.

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