Culver City Observer -

$350 Million Saves 15 Minutes


September 18, 2014

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer columnist

I didn’t know and nobody told me about the law which took effect on Jan. 1, 2013 and set a 2018 target date for public employees to pay half their retirement costs.

Please raise your hand if you frequently take the Metro Rail or AMTRAK in and out of Union Station. Boy oh boy, do I have good news for you and the other travelers. To save 15 to 20 minutes either leaving or arriving at Union Station, the Los Angeles transportation officials will soon start making track improvements. The cost is just $350 million more. I really don’t believe the lifestyle I enjoyed as of six years ago will ever return. $350 million to save 15 minutes seems like a waste of money.

Can it be true? Underwater explorer Barry Clifford recently announced in Haiti that he believed he found the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus’ flagship on his first voyage to the New World. The ship was badly damaged on Christmas Day, 1492, and is resting today in Haiti in 20 feet of water.

Well, well, well – as an exercise in financial planning I could sell my condo here in culver city and buy in Bakersfield – yes, I said Bakersfield – a four- bedroom, two-bath, 1,547 square foot residence with granite countertops, two-car garage, tile flooring, covered patio, and also buy in Georgia a 1,750 square foot brick ranch house with three bedrooms, two baths, and a yard so big it would take me two days to mow the lawn. Not too shabby, to pick up two properties free and clear, rent one out and become a citizen of a low tax state. The thought sounds interesting and, on paper, very exciting.

And then there is Alberta Martin who recently died at age 97 in Enterprise, Alabama as one of the last widows of a Confederate veteran of the Civil War.

There is talk from Adelanto, a city of almost 31,000 in San Bernardino County’s high desert area that is proposing to build a 3,280-bed jail and lease it to Los Angeles County for 20 years at a rate of $88 per bed per day or about $104 million a year. I just wonder if they plan to open several prisons in that city for federal and State of California inmates . . . ?

More than 10% of the adults in the United States use glucosamine for their arthritic knees. According to an article in “Arthritis and Rheumatology,” researchers tested 201 volunteers, average age 52. An MRI scan was also used and they found no significant difference in cartilage deterioration between the placebo and glucosamine.

From the “Can it be true?” file – with costs and prices going up, my budget has been revised so many times I used two reams of paper and a large box of erasers. Almost every day I wake up and ask myself, “What’s happening in Sacramento?” For all my Navy friends, how hear this. In April, 2012 EPA sent a letter of noncompliance to the California Dept. of Public Health because our state failed to spend $455 million to be used to improve drinking water quality in small rural communities with contaminated wells. According to a federal survey the Golden State, over the next 20 years, needs $44.5 billion to fix aging water systems. Texas needs $34 billon and New York about $22 billion. In our state the biggest need was for repairing and upgrading water transmission and distribution lines. Wait until this November’s ballot when Sacramento wants us to approve billions in water bonds when they had all this “free money” available over two years ago. To some, $455 million is small potatoes but to me it’s big money.

For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at by placing Rubenstein in that website's search box.


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