Tue, May

Kill the Transit Tax, Kill the Olympics


ALPERN AT LARGE-You know, it's indeed possible that there will be enough voters who won't remember (or care about) the current shenanigans and budget games in the City of LA--enough to allow a 2/3 vote to pass a new sales tax measure in November 2016.  Then again, maybe enough voters will remember, and the initiative will (like its predecessor Measure J) fail to reach the 2/3 mark and fail.  And then you can kiss a 2024 Olympics goodbye. 

For the City of Los Angeles to be prepared for any 2024 Olympics, we'll need a "Measure R-2" to ensure enough funds to create the long-sought LAX/Metro Rail link, as well as any other Measure R project like the Downtown Connector and the Wilshire Subway, to be expedited and completed.  Sidewalks and roads will need to be repaired, and the county will have to work together to make this 2024 Olympics tourist-friendly. 

And this will mean having the constituents--you know, the voters, the taxpayers, the citizenry--on board with their minds, hearts, and wallets open. 

Hence the slap in the face to the Neighborhoods Councils' Neighborhood Budget Advocates was either stupid or calculated on the part of Mayor Garcetti.  Not allowing the Neighborhood Councils access to budgetary issues affecting road repair and other City services? 

And you're going to ask Neighborhood Councils to support a "Measure R-2", Mr. Mayor? 

You're also going to ask Chambers of Commerce to support a "Measure R-2", Mr. Mayor--especially when City Hall just rammed a minimum wage hike (with a host of good intentions...but also with a host of horrific unintended consequences) without proper study down these Chambers' throats, and against their stated pleas? 

I'd say most of the taxpayers view Measure R-2 (which I'd love to support but which is becoming doggone hard to get behind at this time) as a way to build more rail and road projects, and to repair LA's infrastructure...and to prepare for the 2024 Olympics, to boot. 

But how many City of LA employees view Measure R-2 as a way to fund their next raise, coming after an obscene decade of giveaways between 2000-2010 for which Angelenos will suffer for decades? 

Did not Mayor Villaraigosa hamstring his own mayoral tenure by throwing out public sector union giveaways at the start of his first term? 

(And isn't Mayor Garcetti now repeating former Mayor Villaraigosa's errors?) 

Perhaps Mayor Garcetti and Council President Wesson are sick of hearing fellow CityWatch contributor Jack Humphreville complain about Downtown leadership shaking down and soaking taxpayers and ratepayers (but, then again, I repeat myself because ratepayers are just indirectly paying more taxes...and more taxes...and more taxes regardless of what they're called). 

And maybe voters and taxpayers are just too distracted by Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, the Kardashians, the Duggars, Caitlyn Jenner, Ashley Madison, world events, zombie series on TV,  and their personal lives. 

But November 2016 (it's just a little over a year away) will come around sooner or later, and then City Hall and the Mayor will need to convince the voters that a "Measure R-2" is a good thing.   

A necessary thing.  A long-overdue thing. 

And then it will be evident for all to see whether there are enough distracted voters who will pay even more for a "Measure R-2" to prepare for the 2024 Olympics.  Maybe they will have been distracted, and will be ready to vote for more taxes after all that's going on with budgetary and utility rate-related mischief. 

And maybe enough weren't distracted, and they won't have that frame of mind.  2/3 of the voters is a rather high threshold to overcome what's currently going on with our City's financial decision-making.

(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at  [email protected]   He also does regular commentary on the Mark Isler Radio Show on AM 870, and co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)




Vol 13 Issue 70

Pub: Aug 28, 2015

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