On July 16th, in the wake of the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial, BRU Organizer Ronald Collins wrote an essay. He wanted to express how the Zimmerman trial had affected him on a personal and professional level, as a grassroots organizer, and as a young, black man.
In June 2013, the first section of the Wilshire Bus-Only Lanes opened. For bus riders this means decreased wait times and decrease in overall travel time which will not only improve the mobility of 80,000 bus riders traversing the corridor but help attract new riders and decrease the number of cars on our streets. This is the first step in our new No Cars in LA campaign.
As Brazil has tried to ready itself for several world class events including next year's World Cup and hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the country has been rattled by a wave of protests. The original protests were sparked by increases in bus fares, but as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters, tens of thousands have taken to the streets.
Yesterday, in between yawns and "oh, was there some kind of election in the news that I missed?" 8 candidates ran in the "fight for the soul-less city" mayor race. Meanwhile, on the same day, in Venezuela, a true champion of the people, the amazing Hugo Chavez, died.
FIGHT FOR THE SOUL OF THE CITIES OFFERS OUR BEST HOPE
The Bus Riders Union and the Community Rights Campaign were able to see an early screening of the new documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal, an American political prisoner currently serving a life sentence for an alleged murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Incarcerated since 1981, in a trial that was plagued with blatant judicial disregard, Mumia was originally sentenced to death and that was successfully appealed in 2011 and commuted to a life sentence.
Leaders and organizers from the Labor Community Strategy Center, the Bus Riders Union, and the Community Rights Campaign reached out to the 2013 Los Angeles mayoral candidates. The letter outlines a series of priorites for the next mayor and urges the candidates to adopt our Fight for the Soul of the City proposal.
It is January, which means that after two months of nominations, it is time to elect the 2013 Bus Riders Union Planning Committee. Made up of 5 volunteer members and 4 staff members, the Planning Committee (PC) is the decision making body for the Bus Riders Union. An introduction to the 10 volunteer members running for PC this year.
The bid by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to extend an existing transportation sales tax until 2069 failed to meet the necessary 2/3 threshold, delivering a setback to the Mayor's gentrifying and polluting vision for transportation expansion
The MTA claims that Measure J will help the environment. But did you know that the MTA has made a deal with the devil, that at least 20 percent of the Measure J funds will go to freeway expansion? How in the world can we combat greenhouse gases and air toxins by expanding the freeways again and again? When will we restrict auto use? But what if the MTA is really a rail construction agency?
LA Metro's rail expansion plan under Measure J and R can lead to less transit ridership with continued hikes in fares and bus service cuts. As voters are asked once again tomorrow to extend a regressive sales tax measure funneling another $90 billion, will LA Metro's rail expansion plan deliver skyrocketing transit ridership for the region and reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution as touted by it's proponents? Our answer is "no" based on history and experience of the last 20 years of rail experiment.
In November, LA County MTA will ask voters to tax themselves again with a proposal to extend a 1/2 cent sales tax until 2069. In 2009, they raised the sales tax with big promises to improve transit, but in fact what they gave bus riders was a hefty fare increase and major cuts in our bus service.
Challenging how rail expansion is used to displace and gentrify our neighborhoods, the Bus Riders union marched with the Right to the City Coalition to call for return of the land to the control of the community.
We want to send a message to the President asking him to intervene and
send a strong message to LA Metro and all federally funded agencies
about the importance of Civil Rights. We are gathering with Bus Riders Union friends and allies all over the country to send an email to President Obama. He needs to hear from you.
Joined by 30 organizations from across LA, the BRU launched a national campaign with a rally calling on President Obama to enforce civil rights law and order the restoration of one million hours of bus service in LA. The campaign's public challenge to Obama and Mayor Villaraigosa was to side with a pro-civil rights, working class, environmental justice, bus-centered transit vision over a corporatist, gentrifying rail-centered vision of LA.
In the tradition of Rosa Parks and the Freedom Riders, LA's buses are once again a frontline battleground for the future of civil rights. On July 25, 11am at City Hall, the Bus Riders Union is launching a national campaign calling on President Obama to stand for the civil rights of Black and Latino transit riders in Los Angeles by restoring one million hours of bus service in LA and restoring the public's right to sue for civil rights.
The Bus Riders Union and civil rights groups on Tuesday held a press conference to sharply denounce the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) failure to find Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) in violation of federal civil rights laws, and failure to restore 1 million hours of previously cut service. Despite overwhelming evidence showing that the agency knowingly discriminated against bus riders of color when approving the elimination of nearly one million hours of bus service between 2007 and 2011, the FTA issued a ruling with stern words but no remedies. Transit riders are urging President Obama to intervene, calling it a test of his administration's commitment to civil rights.
Please click here to send an email today to FTA Chief Peter Rogoff urging his agency not to backpedal on civil rights. The Bus Riders Union learned yesterday that the Federal Transit Administration appears poised to play along with Metro’s effort to whitewash the evidence of racial discrimination in years of bus service cuts. We must send a strong message to FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff that those who stand for civil rights around the country won’t stand for this.