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Your money or your life

feuer.jpgOnce upon a time I delighted in giving Mike Feuer a hard time.

He asked for it by always reminding everybody he went to Harvard and acted like that proved he was smarter than them as if being smart was the most important quality in a person, as if going to Harvard meant you were better than getting an AA degree from Pierce College.

Maybe losing the election for City Attorney to fellow Harvard grad Rocky Delgadillo chastened Mike but I’ve found myself liking him a lot in my last few encounters and that made his earnestness more appealing.

So I’m not giving Mike a hard time personally over his latest email blast to constituents where he boasts of all the bills he has introduced — 22 in all. Think about it: 22 bills times 120 members is potentially, 2,640 new laws. God help us!

There’s so many laws on the books already that nobody knows what’s right or wrong anymore. I’ve long argued there ought to be a law: No new law can be passed without repealing an old law. I don’t have a clue as to how many laws there are on the books in L.A., California and  Washington but I’ll to bet the number runs into the millions.

Enough already, let’s cap the number until all reasonable people can tell what’s legal and what’s illegal. It makes you wonder how God boiled it down to Ten Commandments, obviously he hadn’t created lawyers when He set down His law.

But the real point of this screed is the four bills Feuer is so proud of that he highlights them in the preamble to his promo of his legislative record. All deal with transportation issues. All seek higher taxes. All give loosely defined authority to local agencies to spend the money the way they want.

One bill would let the Metropolitan Transportation Authority  put a third half-cent sales tax measure on the county ballot to raise an estimated $30 billion over 30 years to spend on a long-term transportation plan the agency has yet to disclose. In order words, Mike wants to grant authority to a sight-unseen plan that he is in no position to vouch for.

Bill No.2 would give the MTA the power to put on the county ballot a carbon emissions fee that would actually add to the $4 a gallon price people are paying at the pump or increase the vehicle registration fee. This is supposed to help reduce air pollution and save the planet from greenhouse gases by raising $400-$600 million a year or about $50 for every man, woman and child in Los Angeles County.

The really diabolical measure is the third one. It would put on the ballot a measure that would reduce the safeguards afforded the public through Proposition 13 by allowing these transportation measures to only need 55 percent support instead of a two-thirds majority. That’s what happened with schools so every bond measure passes, sending property taxes soaring to build hundreds of new schools that do just as poor a job educating children as the old schools did.

Finally, there’s a measure that would let local government create their own transportation districts to fund local initiatives which presumably means rich communities would get improvements than poorer communities and the authority of the MTA to guide policy would be undermined, which could be a good thing depending on your point of view.

So what’s wrong with this, apart from the fact that the state has consistently looted money for transportation and spend it elsewhere?

Everything.

Taken as a whole, these bills amount to a license to steal.

Government has long squandered the public’s tax money which in the case of L.A. has meant spending billions on a subway and rail system that carries relatively few passengers because the trains don’t go to where people want to go. Meanwhile, the bus system is inadequate and faces endless strings of cuts

Then, there’s the problem of how the money will be spent now. The most efficient transit project done yet was the Orange Line across the Valley which was built under budget and completed in a couple of years and carries two or three times the anticipated ridership.

Cheaper, better — that’s what people need. But what they get are costly rail systems that take too long and don’t deliver the same level of efficiency or traffic.. In fact, the only thing that’s every really worked in public transit in L.A. was when in the mid-1980s they cut bus fares in half and ridership doubled.

We’re not going to get fast relief from congestion under any of these measures. We’re going to get taxed to death and many of us will be dead before we ever the projects all that money builds.

The middle of a recession with the cost of gas destroying many family’s budget is not the time to be taking more money out of their pockets and putting into the hands of bureaucrats and contractors who are executing plans devised for purely for the short-term political advantage of the elected officials.

C’mon Mike, use your smarts and desire to make things better for real people and come up with legtislation that fulfills your ideals rather than slavishly carrying the water for a sytem that hasn’t and can’t deliver without massive reforms of the political system itself.

.

Assemblyman Mike Feuer’s email blast to constituents of the 42nd District:

 

Welcome to my spring legislative update, (otherwise known as Mike’s newsletter, the sequel! 

As I enter my second year in the State Assembly, I have introduced a package of legislation, detailed below, aimed at the issues that most directly impact our quality of life.  For example, I introduced transportation measures that, with voter approval, would provide local jurisdictions, such as the City of Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority with the ability to raise revenue to fund local transportation projects.  My office can provide you with additional information or answer any questions you may have on the bills I am authoring, as well any other legislation that may be of interest to you. 

As always, please contact my office at (310) 285-5490 or (818) 902-0521 if we may be of any assistance…

As Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Transportation, in an extremely challenging fiscal year, I have been exploring innovative funding options to alleviate congestion and improve air quality in Los Angeles. As everyone knows, we experience some of the worst traffic in the nation, and with projected population growth of an additional 3 million people over the next 30 years, it will only get worse, unless we take action now. Meanwhile, there is a $16 billion deficit in the state’s budget, and getting funds from the federal government is uncertain. As a result of these factors, I have proposed legislation that would give local communities control of their own transportation futures. I am very pleased that the transportation bills below are supported by the MTA, as well as the Cities of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.   

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5 Responses to Your money or your life

  1. Westsider says:

    I live in Mike Feur’s old council district. I’d like to drive to his district office and thank him for all the traffic improvements he oversaw while on the City Council, except I can’t get out of my driveway because of the gridlock.

  2. Michele says:

    Once again, proof that a Harvard degree can’t buy common sense.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Make no mistake, Mike Feuer has common sense. That, I can assure you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Comparing him to affirmative-action Rocky as fellow Harvard grads is unfair — it’s just a fact that any Hispanic from the West Coast has a much better chance of getting in and passing, than a “nice Jewish boy.” Apart from that, I agree that Democrats spend too much time coming up with useless and even counter-productive bills, taxing people for things that have “environment” or “children” in them, but are usually boondoggles.
    The politicians believed that when Prop S passed recently, it showed that people are in a tax-happy mood. But where are the cops and firefighters that were promised? Where are they from all the raised trash tax fees (which also just hit homeowners), and the raise to come? There was a battle over that to keep Bernie Parks and his Council Budget Committee from just swiping the trash tax into the ineptly mismanaged General Fund — will that be an annual battle, which is what happens when taxes are raised without the 2/3 majority needed to designate them for a specific cause?
    Would Feuer’s taxes achieve the same? WHAT oversight would there be, that the gas tax would go toward the subway, and not be mismanaged like the “surplus gas tax” that was stolen by Sacramento? Too many issues of mistrust here. It’s also unfair to have all voters vote on taxes that hit only homeowners and owners of property in general, since that’s letting a majority vote on taxes for a minority — taxation without representation.
    (LOOK OUT for Janice Hahn’s proposed “property tax for gangs,” which she’s intent on putting on the next ballot. Meanwhile Fox 11 just exposed tonight, that her office in the recent past hired gangbangers still playing both sides — but she also has no specific plan for a program, just “trust us, we’ll come up with a good way to spend your money.”)
    With the middle class in net exodus, and all city net growth coming from immigration of poor from Latin America and their huge birthrate, limiting that population would be the logical first place to start. NOT taxing the same old sitting ducks, and making noises about abolishing Prop 13.

  5. I’m incredibly happy to find out that there’s still a little fantastic content to find online. I’ve gotten sick of google delivering me junk.

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