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Oops, there goes the rest of your income tax rebate — Antonio joins the orchestrated chorus for transportation tax hike

Buoyed by polling data that shows just how gullible the public is, the mayor has jumped into the well-orchestrated campaign to build momentum for a third half-cent sales tax to support public transit projects.

We’ve seen what a great job they’ve done with the previous two half-cent taxes: Congestion gets worse and worse. And the middle of a recession when people are losing their homes and their jobs and can’t afford $5 a gallon for gas or the soaring cost of food staples is a pretty poor time to add yet another tax on top of all the other fee and rate hikes already in place.

Of course, contractors and their agents will donate millions to the campaign — a small price to pay for billions in return.

That the mayor chose the subway to reveal he’s aboard this gravy train is interesting. My understanding has been they’ve come up with relatively small projects in every part of L.A. County to sucker the public in and then plan to use the money freed up elsewhere in the Metro budget to fund the “subway to the sea” — which is the real goal.

And that’s the problem. Subways are great but we can’t afford that now when there’s so many other needs to make this a great city. The Orange Line Busway in the Valley was
cheaper and faster to get running and ridership wildly exceeds all expectations.

Combining affordable solutions with tougher regulations on rush-hour truck traffic and requirements that large employers stagger working hours would get relief now and cost a lot less.

But solving the problem of congestion isn’t the goal; making the insiders richer is. 

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13 Responses to Oops, there goes the rest of your income tax rebate — Antonio joins the orchestrated chorus for transportation tax hike

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, you’re totally wrong on this one, and I urge you to read Sheila Kuehl’s editorial in the Times today about why we need BOTH the subway “to the sea” AND the Expo Line Phase II, which continues the Phase I almost completed, and will make it more functional as a city-wide corridor from downtown to the ocean, with your Orange and other lines connecting from the valley and outlying areas.
    Your valley-centric provincialism is showing here again: much of the traffic coming into “metro LA” is from your Valley areas, whether south on the 405/ Sepulveda, the 101, and every single north-south boulevard or canyon in between: From Beverly Glen to Coldwater, Benedict, Laurel, ALL are gridlocked from YOUR valley commuters. As Kuehl points out, other than downtown and Santa Monica, the Westside is the biggest job magnet, primarily for people from YOUR valley (and the Westside also carries the commuters to Santa Monica, which has created many jobs but no affordable housing). So you people always claiming you have a right to clog our streets but not contribute to the solutions is very selfish.
    “We can’t afford this subway right now?” We can’t afford NOT to build it. Meanwhile, because the same types of NIMBYs killed it two decades ago with the help of Zev and Waxman, when it would have been much cheaper, surface traffic is horrendous, yet the same NIMBYs fight and sue the city over even the Pico-Olympic (partial) one-way plan, while screaming about traffic.
    NO, the problem isn’t Century City redevelopment — these same NIMBYs fought to keep things as they were there, with a bankrupt Schubert Theatre, cinemas, bank and cafe, in prime L A real estate, just so their surrounding area would have NO traffic at all. Oblivious to killing business opportunities: MGM decided to keep its Home Entertainment Div. in Santa Monica instead of moving that to the new MGM Headquarters in CC, specifically because it was a growing, successful division and they were fed up by NIMBY HOAs, while Santa Monica was happy for their business. (So these WLA NIMBYs get the through-traffic anyway, but we don’t have the tax revenue.)
    This is a major shame, since CC is true “smart growth,” with transit built into the planning phase — DASH buses serve the area, going around to the mall and residences and Westwood Village, while the MTA plans a subway stop there. (The Expo is further South, largely along “Exposition Blvd.,” but being stymied and stalled by local HOAs, again.) By building combined office/ retail/ residential spaces like this, car trips are minimized and single-family areas preserved.
    NO, I’m not some spokesman for the Mayor’s or Weiss’s office, I’m a local who is fed up with the misperceptions being put forth by the active, mostly senior citizen, activists who oppose everything and then decry traffic and blame those officials who are working hard at solutions. And YOU, Ron, are taking their falsehoods as gospel, doing our city and the westside NO favors.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The above nonsense would not have had to be written if the secession had been permitted to succeed. Then the Valley would have had a life.
    As it is, we are being sucked dry of our monies while being blamed for breaking the city’s budget. What budget? Every year the code is SPEND!!!!!! Ron, you have zeroed in on the problem. The problem is the machine running LA.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m sick of the debate over the Subway to the Sea. This is an unfinished project. Unfortunately for all Los Angeles area residents, a federal ban was placed on tunneling and construction on the Wilshire subway was halted. The reality is that the Wilshire corridor has a subway. And it needs to be built out and completed. There are no realistic alternatives. While the cost is high, the benefits will still be tremendous for the entire region.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Ron. The City Council was in line first to help devour those federal “incentive” checks — remember that in April or May the Council voted to add a “per plastic bag” surcharge at any markets within the City of Los Angeles?! I believe that is to go into effective July 1.

  5. David says:

    I agree we need transportation improvements in the worst way in Los Angeles. I will not vote for this however. I have lost all faith in our elected (and appointed) officials to use any tax money they receive in an effective and efficient manner. The long-term transportation plan being voted on Thursday still represents a patchwork of transportation projects that do not form an intelligent system.

  6. AnonymouslyYours says:

    Anonymous 2:59, If that’s true, then we’re being double bagged, and double baggers are only good on the baseball diamond.
    Plastic bags are recycleable and can be put in the blue cans, which we pay for, and then we’ll have to pay another penny a bag for not having to carry out our groceries individually.
    Sounds fair to me. I love paying three, four, five times for the same thing.
    The markets can switch to paper bags with handles, which are far better. I never liked the plastic bags; they collapse when they’re put down and everything spills out.
    Once people figure out they’re paying for plastic bags, they say ‘screw that’ and ask for paper or bring their own cloth bags.

  7. anonymous says:

    I believe that “anonymous 1:06 pm is missing the point here. Whether you are ‘for’ or ‘against’ the subway to the sea, Villar and his band of merry thieves have squandered the biggest tax revenue in the history of Los Angeles, and now want to HIKE the sales tax to pay for a project that should have come out of the gasoline tax revenue. Instead, they robbed Peter to pay for the illegals by putting the gas tax money into the General Fund…to line their pockets with gold and enrich the lives of the 5M illegals living in this city.
    The have done ‘jack squat’ for the CITIZENS of this city! I have been dodging the same potholes on the Westside for 3 years now! They even want us to pay half the cost of fixing the cracked CITY sidewalks if we choose to sell. They have absconded with and squandered our treasure. They have displaced American workers and replaced the English language…we are a Mexican kleptocracy now.
    Never before in the history of this city have we had such draconian tax burdens placed upon us…AND THEY ARE NOT FINISHED YET!!!! There’s plenty more to come!!!
    Villar is jumping on the bandwagon now because of the exhorbitant gas prices…he thinks he can sell the idea to the public now that mass transportation is being more heavily utilized. BUT who’s to say if gas prices are going to stay up there for the long term. Personally, I think they will be down by the end of summer. It’s a bubble…
    And finally, who’s to say that anyone but the thousands of janitors and low skilled workers are going to use this proposed subway? I know that I would NEVER give up driving my own car no matter what! LA is sprawl…it’s NOT Manhattan or San Francisco…but Villar & Co. don’t get it! You can’t shove a square peg into a round hole!
    If and when this project gets off the ground..it will be 15 years before it’s finished; and by that time, L.A. will be a shadow of it’s former self! The middle class will be long gone and LA will be a ghost town of empty buildings and foreclosed homes. People are just walking away from their upside down mortgages and moving to more affordable states. Wait and see….

  8. anonymous says:

    I believe that “anonymous 1:06 pm is missing the point here. Whether you are ‘for’ or ‘against’ the subway to the sea, Villar and his band of merry thieves have squandered the biggest tax revenue in the history of Los Angeles, and now want to HIKE the sales tax to pay for a project that should have come out of the gasoline tax revenue. Instead, they robbed Peter to pay for the illegals by putting the gas tax money into the General Fund…to line their pockets with gold and enrich the lives of the 5M illegals living in this city.
    The have done ‘jack squat’ for the CITIZENS of this city! I have been dodging the same potholes on the Westside for 3 years now! They even want us to pay half the cost of fixing the cracked CITY sidewalks if we choose to sell. They have absconded with and squandered our treasure. They have displaced American workers and replaced the English language…we are a Mexican kleptocracy now.
    Never before in the history of this city have we had such draconian tax burdens placed upon us…AND THEY ARE NOT FINISHED YET!!!! There’s plenty more to come!!!
    Villar is jumping on the bandwagon now because of the exhorbitant gas prices…he thinks he can sell the idea to the public now that mass transportation is being more heavily utilized. BUT who’s to say if gas prices are going to stay up there for the long term. Personally, I think they will be down by the end of summer. It’s a bubble…
    And finally, who’s to say that anyone but the thousands of janitors and low skilled workers are going to use this proposed subway? I know that I would NEVER give up driving my own car no matter what! LA is sprawl…it’s NOT Manhattan or San Francisco…but Villar & Co. don’t get it! You can’t shove a square peg into a round hole!
    If and when this project gets off the ground..it will be 15 years before it’s finished; and by that time, L.A. will be a shadow of it’s former self! The middle class will be long gone and LA will be a ghost town of empty buildings and foreclosed homes. People are just walking away from their upside down mortgages and moving to more affordable states. Wait and see….

  9. KK says:

    Everytime I read about the need for raising money for mass tranportation projects, I am generally see an expensive full or half page ad exhorting me to “go metro.” Let me tell ya, that ad space ain’t cheap. I know. I am in the business. And, just today, in the LA Times, I read about DOT giving a $325,000 grant to do a beautification at Spring ( & Hill?). I mean, I love the art (which only has to be hosed down to be cleaned!!!), but why is DOT dollars involved in street beautification? It is like the 30 million dollars coming from the state sale of bonds for affordable housing going to beautify the the street next to Live LA. And, Our mayor raises money for his re-election outside the state. Is this a Jon Stewart skit?

  10. Anonymous says:

    9:11, It’s you who are confused and have no idea what you’re talking about. The gas tax you claim was put into the city general fund, was in fact taken by the STATE’s General Fund, last year AND this: Last year, $1.2 Billion, and this year, $800 Million. When Arnold blithely included this as part of his current budget proposal, the Daily News’ article on the budget didn’t so much as mention it, while at least the Times’ David Zahniser did, but no other media or community groups have picked up on it. You’re utterly confused.
    As for this Mayor squandering a large surplus from the artificial real estate boom — you can thank your most spendthrift friends on the City Council for that, the Janice Hahns/Alarcons/ Cardenas’, Jan Perry’s redevelopment of her downtown district (which will hopefully be a good long-term investment), buildings like the Police HQ and Children’s Museum, funds for the L A River, which were long in the pipeline, etc. etc. Any of which seem sensible alone, but there was never a prioritized city-wide budget.
    As for the local spending on illegals and welfare programs, that was all set in motion under Jimmy Hahn — do you see anyone MORE intent on that sort of thing than Janice Hahn, the moving force behind trying to impose a “living wage” ordinance on LAX-area hotels for their workers, including a large illegal workforce. Unfortunately, the wasteful policies that have hit the Council and Mayor in the face have been going on for well over a decade. Of course they should all have been putting away money for a “rainy day” instead of spending like drunken sailors, and now taxing us to get out of it — but the handful of “progressives” who’ve led the way there have been able to play socio-economic politics to force their way.
    And when some have done the sensible thing, and brought in solid companies for their long-term tax base, they’ve often been opposed as “selling out to developers,” in a can’t-win scenario. So now, the city’s greenlighting projects like NoHo and others from Hollywood to Downtown to make up for it, in a slow economy. There’s been no consistent, city-wide plan or vision, but there are also Attack-and-Stop-Anything Homeowner groups, the Entitlement People, and regional oppositionists (like Valley-ites who contribute a large measure of westside/ downtown traffic, but begrudge money for the subway and Expo Line).
    To those who think the Valley should secede and stiff the westside for transportation and infrastructure costs: I say, fine with me — other than hiking in the S. M. Mountains or the theme parks, everything “L A” from shopping meccas to neighborhoods to the ocean, is south of Mulholland. My only condition is, that you do the same. Those who secede and still drive into OUR city, must do as they do in London and other European cities — even Manhattan has bridge and toll fees: charge outsiders a daily or annual fee to drive in ($10/ $1000 respectively is the norm), applied towards roads, air quality improvements, etc. That will get our mass transit built in no time.

  11. From Eagle Rock says:

    I read a posting on this or MSSC blog that captured the scene and bears repeating; it was about Mayor Tony’s strategy to build up a big war chest to scare away challegers to his second term:
    To scare away challengers for mayor- the other alternative is to do a good job as mayor
    That option is one he’s completely unable to pursue. The Mayor’s people hope that they can keep that fact buried with all the distortions they can afford to spew. In this case, truth is the Mayor’s enemy.

  12. spiffy says:

    Let’s see, prices for basic commodities are sky high so the mayor wants to raise our sales tax on soap, shoes, and eating out just to make us suffer more?
    Will the streets in NoHo get paved off of this sales tax? HA! I doubt it.
    Remember The Misery Index? That’s when you add the unemployment rate to the rate of inflation.
    You’ll be glad to know that nationwide this index was lower under Democrats Kennedy and Clinton than it was under most Republican presidents.
    But does the mayor want to buck this proud history of Democratic economic leadership and prove that he has completely forgotten his humble roots? Has he been wealthy for so long that he’s forgotten what it is to shop at the 99 cent store? Is he a Democrat anymore or is he on the way out of the party to become a Lieberman Independent?
    What shall we call it when you add the rate of inflation to the unemployment rate PLUS add another sales tax?
    The “Misery Loves Company” Index?
    The “Spend Your Weekends Watching TV and Clipping Coupons Since You Can’t Afford Anything Else” Index?
    The “We Can’t Afford a Puppy Anymore” Index?
    Truly, this is a terrible idea.
    I say, tax the rich. They use far more resources than the rest of us. If they use it all up, they can pay higher taxes on it.

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