Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Richard Trumka At Downtown Labor Rally; Will Tie Up Traffic
Labor unions and Democratic politicians will gather at noon on the south lawn of City Hall. Organizers say they'll draw 2,000 with the help of 50 buses, so unless you want to help the economy by listening to bromides, stay away from North Spring Street.
Featured speakers include Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO and who can give a pretty good meaty, red-faced, Midwestern labor leader stemwinder, as well as the mayor, Sen. Boxer and local labor fed leader Maria Elena Durazo. They'll call for jobs legislation, which is not forthcoming.
The mayor will get some help from Durazo, who will push for federal help to get the mayor's "30-10 Initiative" off the ground. That's the plan that would implement a dozen major transportation projects in 10 years instead of 30 as originally passed by Measure R, a half-cent sales tax increase approved by county voters in 2008. Projects include the Westside Subway Extension; a regional connector that will link several light rail lines passing through downtown; and the Crenshaw corridor transit project. By completing the projects in 10 years instead of 30, the plan would save money in the long run, say the mayor and the plan's backers. It would require a bit of front-loading financing from the feds.
Durazo says getting the Measure R projects going right away would create 166,000 construction jobs.
But Congress is pretty much finished for the year, so it's doubtful anything will happen.
So why are they doing this? There's actually a good reason: It's a dry run for labor's get-out-the-vote operation in advance of what will undoubtedly be a very tough election to get out the Democratic base, and particulary labor. Practice makes perfect, after all.
City News Service contributed to this report.