Wrong way

first_imgBut fares account for a tiny part of the agency’s revenue stream – just $279 million of more than $3 billion in the current fiscal year – and the long-term cost of such a hike could be catastrophic to ridership. Indeed, the agency gets nearly two-thirds of its revenue from sales taxes. Increasing costs for consumers means a revenue bump for Metro – not to mention even more incentive for the public to look for cheaper commuting alternatives. Right now, a Metro day pass costs $3, less than a gallon of gas, and is a pretty good deal. But at $5 in July and $8 by 2009, which is the proposal, a day pass isn’t much of a savings, if any at all. Is this the future the agency board really wants for L.A.? Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has proposed a much more modest fare increase, as well as other revenue-gathering suggestions. That’s part of the answer, but it’s just the beginning. The real solution is for California to make a substantial investment in practical public-transportation projects. And not just in overpriced Westside subways. Freeways will always be a part of California’s landscape. But they do not have the ability to serve as the backbone of the state’s transportation system throughout the 21st century. And until elected officials and policymakers understand that, they will continue to go the wrong way.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SOUTHERN California sits at a figurative crossroads for public transportation. Gas prices are soaring, a traffic-weary populace is clamoring for alternatives to the daily commutes, and the state has billions of transportation dollars to spend. It’s the perfect time for elected officials to set a sound agenda for public-transportation projects over the next two decades. So why are policy leaders running off in the other direction? Instead of blazing the way toward innovative ways of moving people around, elected officials from the governor down to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board seem intent on placing barriers to a transportation revolution. On Thursday, the Metro board will consider a fare increase over the next couple of years so steep that it is sure to drive down ridership. Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – the self-professed green governor – has proposed stealing $1.3 billion from a fund for public transportation. He is focusing on fixing freeways, which, while important, is not the answer to the state’s transportation crisis. Nor is it very green. Metro officials are legitimately worried about the expected gap of $1.8 billion between revenues and costs. Even while investing in new buses, the agency was barred by a court consent decree from raising fares for more than a decade. last_img read more

Harassment policy governing public servants does not apply to the PMO

first_imgOTTAWA – The Prime Minister’s Office has called in an independent investigator to look into unspecified allegations against a senior staffer, but the workplace harassment policy that governs all federal public servants does not technically apply to PMO employees.“That said, we are absolutely informed by it,” Kate Purchase, communications director for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said Thursday.News of the policy vacuum comes after Claude-Eric Gagne, Trudeau’s deputy director of operations, confirmed he is on a leave of absence during an independent investigation regarding allegations that came to the attention of the PMO.In a statement late Wednesday, Gagne said he challenges the veracity of the allegations but is co-operating fully with the third-party investigator, who has given him the opportunity to explain his side.“I hope that the process will succeed as soon as possible.”Gagne said he would not comment any further to avoid undermining the process he has agreed to participate in.He has been on leave since Nov. 1, within a day of the PMO becoming aware of the allegations.Purchase also said she could not comment on the nature of the allegations.Calling in a third party to examine allegations of workplace harassment is one of the steps that can come into play under the policy governing those who work for the federal government — including ministerial staff.The accompanying guidelines spell out in great detail what happens next, including the need for an independent investigator to be provided with a written mandate, assess the credibility of witnesses and submit a final report.The policy also allows for the occasional need to hire an investigator from outside the public service, which is what Purchase said the PMO has done.At the moment, that Treasury Board policy does not officially apply to those who work in the PMO. But that is about to change.The Liberal government introduced legislation last month aimed at giving workers and their employers a clear course of action to better deal with allegations of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment.Purchase confirmed the legislation proposed in Bill C-65, which has yet to be debated in the House of Commons, would apply to PMO staffers too.Departmental officials have said it could take at least a year before all the rules come into effect.For now, Purchase said that in addition to modelling their response on the Treasury Board policy, the PMO tells all its employees the minute they are offered a job that they need to follow the open and accountable government document Trudeau issued when the Liberals took office in 2015.That document does not specifically mention workplace harassment, but does spell out the conduct expected of his ministers and their staff.“As public office holders, exempt staff members are expected to act with honesty and uphold the highest ethical standards so that public trust in integrity, objectivity and impartiality of the government is conserved and enhanced,” the 107-page document said.“Specifically, exempt staff members must . . . in the conduct of their personal affairs, including their use of social media, conduct themselves in a manner that does not bring the Minister’s office into disrepute,” it said.TVA, the French-language television network which first reported news of the investigation into Gagne, said the allegations involve inappropriate behaviour.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitterlast_img read more