JUST THE FACTS--Don’t be fooled and fall for all the talk and commercials generating from City Hall about More Taxes and Fees and Bond Measures that are being proposed by city leaders to address Transportation, the Homeless Crisis, Lack of Affordable Housing, Crime and myriad other social issues facing the City of Los Angeles and our region of Southern California.
I will start with Transportation and the 7-day a week gridlock we face on our local streets and freeways. While we are glued to our cars, we are being pressed and encouraged to support a tax increase for the next 40 YEARS to address the freeway and roadway traffic gridlock in the region served by the Metropolitan Transit Authority.
The problem is not the lack of connecting roadways and freeways and surface streets for us to use in our travels. It is the over development of residential apartments and condos in and around every inch of land that is available.
The problem is that the rich developers want to chew up every inch of land to build apartments and condos at market rate prices. Nothing that is affordable for the middle class or senior population with many living on social security. When we examine our transportation gridlock, the answer is not more buses and trains to the rescue.
At the present time, how many of you ever ride the public transportation on a regular schedule? I bet few of you reading this article are regular public transit riders. I know this since I have used the Orange Line, Red Line and Blue Line on occasion. Many of the rides are reflective of our marijuana culture. I know this because every time I have ridden the public transit lines, the area has a distinct odor of Marijuana.
Many of the women I have spoken to state that they will never ride the public transit lines due to their fear of becoming the victim of a crime. So to conclude, spending our hard earned tax dollars on additional public transit lines will not reduce the congestion and gridlock on our roads. We are a car-oriented society and that is not going to change in the years ahead.
Remember that it was the politicians and city planners and auto industry that scrapped the Red Line and other public transit systems from our region many years ago and pushed us into those nice cars with all the comfort features we have come to enjoy. Galpin Motors would not be the world leader in Ford sales for over 25 years if we liked and used public transportation.
So, my recommendation is vote NO on any new tax proposal for more public transportation. Remember they want this tax to last the next 40 years. Our grandchildren’s children will be faced with this tax for many years to come.
When Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a Housing Emergency almost a year ago, it was because he was forced to do something since the situation was and remains out of control, while negatively impacting communities all around Los Angeles. Since that time, we have not seen anything significantly done to address the problem. The only remedy is the request for more money.
With an $8 BILLION DOLLAR-plus city budget, a few thousand dollars does little to correct the current situation. Recent reports by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority illustrate the growing homeless situation in and around Los Angeles County.
Across LA County, homelessness has increased 5.6 percent and this is on top of the 12.4 % from the previous two years. What is truly alarming is that homelessness has increased 36% in the San Fernando Valley. With a 2% vacancy rate across Los Angeles, finding housing … especially affordable housing … becomes more and more difficult. And finally, of the homeless population increase, 25% are seniors who have been unable to find housing.
My final review deals with the increasing crime trends in Los Angeles and surrounding communities. As the murders continue to increase along other violent crimes, neighborhoods buckle under to protect their families. There have been propositions that have contributed to cleaning out the prisons and putting the criminal element back on the streets. Prop 109 and Prop 47 are two of he measures that have been partly responsible for making our cities across California less safe. A new proposal by Governor Brown will continue the trend of putting more criminals on our streets. We have gone up and down with crime over the years. The recent trends show continued increases in crime.
If you care about your city and county and state, take the time to vote in this Tuesday in California’s Primary Election.
(Dennis P. Zine is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Vice-Chairman of the Elected Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission, a 12-year member of the Los Angeles City Council and a current LAPD Reserve Officer who serves as a member of the Fugitive Warrant Detail assigned out of Gang and Narcotics Division. He writes Just the Facts for CityWatch. You can contact him at [email protected].)