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The Perversion of Democracy, Part One: Derail Measure J, the 60-Year Transit Tax — It’s Highway Robbery

Let me be the first to formally oppose what is now Measure J on the ballot in November, the sequel to 2008′s Measure R that was supposed to raise $40 million from a 1/2 percent sales tax increase for highway and transit projects over the next 30 years.

We can only guesstimate what Measure J will bring into the Metropolitan Transit Authority coffers over an additional 30 years — until 2069 — but we do know they say they will borrow against both measures and spend the money as fast as they can so they  complete the promised projects faster unless they choose to fund different projects.

But first a diversion into the corrupted form of democracy that we call Los Angeles, greater Los Angeles in this particular case since we are being robbed — not just of our money but of our hopes and dreams of a sustainable society that honors the spectacular beauty and environment of Southern California and gives everyone of us an honest shot at a decent life for ourselves and our kids.

I went searching for how much money was poured into the campaign for Measure R four years ago. I looked on the county’s LA Vote site and the states’s Cal-access and FPPC sites.  I reached out to Common Cause, the experts in campaign financing.

Nada — nothing at all except information on candidates, nothing on county ballot measures.

So I called the Registrar-Recorder’s office in Norwalk at after long computerized info messages got to a clerk who was totally committed to help, to doing his job. He checked with his supervisor and reported:

“Right now, we don’t have to put information on contributions and spending on county ballot measures on our website. The law doesn’t require, the county’s law, so we don’t do it.   But you can come to Norwalk and look at our records.”

He was able to share that “Yes on Measure R” reported raising $102,718 from Jan. 1, 2008 to Sept. 30, $1.625,000 from Oct. 1-18 and $2,,148,481 more through the end of the year — nearly $4 million in total — versus nothing from opponents. That doesn’t included the millions the MTA spent — sometimes in violation of the law — on its informational campaign.

This is important to know because in the 2008 election that carried Barack Obama into the White House, nearly 75 percent of LA County voters cast ballots — 3 million out of 4.1 registered voters — and MTA’s Measure R got 67.93 percent when it needed 66.67 percent approval. That is a margin of victory of roughly 39,000 votes out of 3 million although supporters call it an overwhelming victory since “68 percent want this.”

Nothing was ever said about lobbyist-transportation expert-former Democratic Assembly Leader Richard Katz’s ingenious idea to take the 30 years of sales tax revenue, bond it and spent it now — 30/10 or Move America Forward as it was called, the justification for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s numerous trips to Washington to lobby and party with beautiful and important people.

This time, the turnout will be nothing like that. Romney-Ryan is spending a billion to suppress the votes of everyone but their supporters and Obama-Biden is spending nearly as much energize disaffected Democrats, Latinos and even blacks and everybody knows the outcome in California. So why bother to vote?

Measure J will almost certainly fail and probably bring down Gov. Jerry Brown’s soak-the-rich-pick-the-pocket-of-the-poor’s tax hike scheme with it, at least in LA County where they need a huge majority.

But back to Measure J or Measure R2 and what’s wrong with taking out a 60-year mortgage that your great-grandchildren will have pay for and live with in a Blade Runner city of untold millions broiling in 100-degree global warming temperatures most of the year with quotas on how much water they can use unless they are rich and can pay the premium.

What’s wrong with it is this: It is not a transit transportation system. It is a boondoggle for contractors, consultants, construction workers (most of them from other counties) and a vast array of green-washing environmental green-washers, naive biking advocates and various labor and other non-profits and front groups posing as something they are not.

Even the most ardent advocates can do no better than to call it the framework of a transportation system for the future.

It’s about destroying neighborhoods in Arroyo Seco with a spectacularly expensive and destructive 710 Freeway from the harbors to the 210 in Pasadena; about a $1 billion per mile subway-to-the-sea to justify skyscraper development from Hollywood to Century City to Westwood and Santa Monica, about running trains at grade through South LA without even stopping at Leimert Park, the soul of the community.

Wake up, you little people out there.

The MTA, which is paying for a lot of this nonsense by slashing bus services to the transit dependent,  has set aside $10 million for a perverted marketing campaign to deceive you  and the profiteers and phony do-gooders will sell you hard with millions more to lure with with false promises a better world tomorrow.


This entry was posted in 2012 Election, 2013 Election, 2013 LA Elections, City Hall, Community Activists, Hot Topics, LA County, Los Angeles, Transportation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to The Perversion of Democracy, Part One: Derail Measure J, the 60-Year Transit Tax — It’s Highway Robbery

  1. Wayne from Corruptopia says VOTE NO ON J, NO ON ALL TAXES AND INCUMBANTS!!!! says:

    Bond measures ARE ALL NO VOTES TOO!!! OBAMA IS AN INCUMBANT–VOTE HIM OUT!! Notice today how Mayor Riordan (the only true mayor of Los Angeles we have) took on the union-paid off mayor Villar and today DEMANDED THE PENSIONS BE SLASHED OR HIS GROUP WILL SPONSOR A BALLOT MEASURE TO DO IT—you know LIKE SAN DIEGO JUST DID! Riordan came DANGEROUSLY CLOSE today to outright ADMITTING WHO IS BUYING ALL THESE LOCAL ELECTIONS (but he stepped back as he was backing a group WHO CERTAINLY DOES THEIR SHARE OF ELECTION BUYING!)
    Too bad L.A. has no newspapers or local AM Talk shows to discuss this, huh? It would be the talk of the town.

  2. JOHN WALSH says:


  3. Teddy says:

    Thank you, Ron, for following up on what is really happening in CA and LA.

    Wayne and you knew Riorden.
    I wish you could have known our real last Mayor. Mayor Sam Yorty.

    He was a real citizen of LA and cared about it like no one else has since he retired. That was in the sixties. Tom Bradley and Riordan then Villar.
    He is no longer alive, but I believe his spirit is and is why
    we have a real man like Ron Kaye to be our guiding spirit with his true reports
    of what is happening now.

    We do need to get out the vote and start cleaning up this city. And if anyone
    is interested in helping, why not run against your local encumbent? You will help
    us clean house but you do not need to make it a career, you can decide when
    it is time to give some one else a chance.

    • Sierra says:

      Of course there are other points of view on the Mayor.

      Sam Yorty was known as “Traveling Sam” and turned out to be a mediocre or worse mayor in his last terms. He also took advantage of the last of the worst of white flight and racism when Mayor Tom Bradley first challenged him.

      In terms of Mayors, I would hold Tom Bradley in high regard in the changes he brought to Los Angeles to bring in diversity and still push for progress for all.

      Of course, I would compare Villaraigosa to Yorty in each of their propensities to travel on the taxpayer’s dime and failing to focus on problems facing the City.

      In terms of Riordan and even Mayor Hahn, although they had good ideas, they both had their share of corruption, notably Hahn’s “pay to play” scandal with his commissioners.

  4. teddy says:

    I forgot:


    Thank you.

  5. KS says:

    I don’t have children, but I will not put others’ grandchildren in debt for a broken political machine’s folly:

    NO ON R, NO ON J.

  6. ex valley says:

    Your political contortions amuse me. You people want to do the right thing and vote “no” on all tax measures so you don’t saddle the next generations with this much more debt. But then you turn around and vote straight democratic. Are not the democratic politicians the ones pushing all these tax measures? Which party has elevated Villar to be the convention chairman? Which party brought you the two worthless congresscritters, berman/Sherman?
    And a bonus question- name the party that will endorse garcetti as your next mayor?

  7. anonymous says:

    Ron, every now and then, you make a statement
    that reads as if it were written
    by the Politburo’s propaganda department…
    “Romney-Ryan is spending a billion to suppress the votes of
    everyone but their supporters….”

  8. MissAnthrope says:

    “… but we do know they say they will borrow against both measures and spend the money as fast as they can so they complete the promised projects faster unless they choose to fund different projects.”

    UNLESS THEY CHOOSE TO FUND DIFFERENT PROJECTS. That’s one helluvah a big but!

  9. Anonymous says:

    @anonymous 10:56 a.m. Suggest you read the article in LA Times by Michael Hiltzik, August 15, titled PAUL RYAN’S BUDGET PLAN WOULD DESTROY THE MIDDLE CLASS. Here is an excerpt:

    “Yet all the discussion has overlooked the real damage the Ryan budget would do to an important segment of the American public. We’re not talking about the very poor and the near poor. Their lives would be made immeasurably worse, to be sure, by a budget that would shrink Medicaid and force cutbacks in food stamp, educational and law enforcement services, among so many other things. Ryan at least pays lip service to maintaining the national safety net, ineffective as his proposals to do so may be.

    But the middle class would be destroyed. The Ryan budget’s impact on middle-income Americans comes in many forms, some of them exceedingly disingenuous. Let’s look at a few”.

    Unless you are a 1%er, what is there to cheer about Romney & Ryan.

    • ex valley says:

      Considering that the middle class flight from CA had accelerated tremendously the last few years, this article is irrelevant.

      Ever wondered why the state budget situation is getting worse and worse? Maybe that is because the taxpayers (middle class typically) are leaving.
      THAt would be an interesting article to see in the la times but I’m not holding my breath. Like I said you guys amuse me.

    • anonymous says:

      and suddenly… the LA Times, aka LA Slime,
      is an example of Truth in Journalism….?
      is an example of Investigative Journalism…?
      ah, how quickly you forget the examples
      Ron has given you that expose the LA Times as a
      Propaganda Sheet for Oppressive LA Power Structure…

    • LA Moderator says:

      Yeah…I read Hiltzik’s hit piece…if I’m really bored enough to retort on their blog, I’ll pick it apart there, but for now, its a destraction…

      (Like bothering to find balance in Maddow & Matthews…)

  10. Anonymous says:

    You must find balance in Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

    • LA Moderator says:

      Ahh, but you see, let’s not chew on the bones Ron throws out to either side, and find balance in between…

      I’m curiously looking at how Charlie Munger’s latticework of models can sidestep the Loolapalooza Effect, whereby ‘Social Proof’ would seem to push folks to either extreme. I’m thinking that this topic is important enough to stay in the middle lanes, so that if there’s a wreck ahead of us, we can slide either way, and keeping moving (dare I say it) forward….

      • Sierra says:

        I’m not sure where Charlie Munger comes into this, unless you are speaking of his daughter, Molly Munger.

        While I’m not in favor of Molly Munger’s initiative, I have respect for her determination (she even won the support of the Howard Jarvis group) in pursuing having her initiative at the top of the ballot which would have dramatically increase the chances of passing.

        Of course her pursuit exposed the corruption in California by showing how individual counties held on to her initiative to make sure Gov. Brown’s initiative would be date stamped first.

        Munger’s push to correct this also exposed the corruption of our Courts.

        So from an economics point of view, I can agree to vote “No” on both initiatives, I would give Molly Munger high marks.

      • Kk says:

        Come on,, LA Moderator, you simply can’t need this much attention….or you are smoking really good medical stuff. You aren’t being erudite ; you’re being annoying.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Would help if you wrote in the accepted 8th grade english than in a purple haze.

  12. anonymous says:

    since you did mention “Richard Katz’s ingenious idea”…
    ever wonder if Katz regrets his decision to not contest…
    “give-up(sell-out)-without a fight”…the 1998
    dirty-29 votes-election-defeat by Richard Alarcon…?
    and what would you say now…? just wondering…

  13. Wayne in Ventura subbing for vacationing Ron (8/16/12) as my post awaits moderation. says:

    First off regarding Teddy; SAM YORTY WAS A GREAT MAYOR AND GREATER PERSON! A young guy named WALLY GEORGE worked with Sam on a T.V. show and you should know how terrific Wally was on the air! On the Council we had Ernani Bernardi, a former Big Band famous musician turned politician. We had B-1 Bob Dornan bringing the jobs to California to build nice bombers and high paying wage jobs. We had Senator Hayakawa and Gov. Reagan.
    Now lets look at today’s “leaders”: Mayor Villar, Councilclown Zine, Congresswoman Sanchez (2 of them no less from the same daddy!), Senators Boxer and Finestupid; Gov. Brown, Part II, and on the air we are represented by Peter Tilden WHO WORSHIPS COUNCILCLOWN ZINE on the air 5 days a week! THIS IS HOW FAR WE HAVE FALLEN IN THIS CIVILIZATION! Not a single VOICE for WE the RATEPAYERS AND TAXPAYERS! We’re the VICTIMS WITHOUT RIGHTS HERE!
    But a ray of hope comes now and then; JAN BREWER! She told Obama she wont give Driver’s Licenses to the Dreamers! And in Pennsylvania they passed a law to help stop the Deceased, Pets, and Illegal Aliens and Felons from voting (which make up 60% of the electorate in 2008.) If the actual votes of Citizen voters were counted, Obama would lose by 30%!!!
    Next example: I was at a local Post Office I’ve went to for 10 years, and the next day mail “cut off” time is 3:45 pm (it changes around that hour.) I got there with my stuff in hand at 3:40. THE CLOWN AT THE WINDOW WOULD NOT LET ME GET MY MAIL IN WITHOUT FIRST WAITING IN LINE, WHICH OF COURSE HAD 8 OTHERS IN IT! The Supervisor confirmed this! If you miss this cut off, then you have to ship it fed ex which COSTS NOW MORE THAN DOUBLE THE POSTAL RATE!!
    The Post Office has to allow the Express mailers to cut the line if they are ready to go and under the deadline. BUT NOT TODAY! Why did this happen? BECAUSE THEY GOT THEIR PENSIONS AND JOB SECURITY AND THE REST OF US CAN GO STRAIGHT TO HELL, thats why! It’s the ability to tell you to go to hell that gets them up to go to work every day.
    The Point here—-DO YOU WANT TO EVER GIVE MORE TAX INCREASES OR BOND MONEY TO THESE PUBLIC AGENCY BASTARDS? That’s the main reason to vote NO, or HELL NO on their schemes. Remember that this summer in Oxnard, CA
    The only thing the extra tax $$$ will go for ARE SALARIES, PENSIONS, AND FREEBEES to the LAZIEST HOGS AND PIGS WORKING ON THE PUBLIC DOLE.

    • Mike says:

      Wow! ….When I came upon this site I was looking for additional impartial analysis on how I might vote on Measure J. ~

      This rant by Wane in Ventura, was the answer I guess I needed.
      Sometimes you find your answer in mysterious ways.

      I will vote YES on Measure J

  14. Sierra says:

    The majority of transit users use the bus. But as Ron Kaye (and John Walsh and the Bus Rider’s Union) has pointed out, bus service has been a sacrificial lamb in order to reward the special interests in building subways and extending freeways.

    A fraction of the wasted billions could be used to dramatically improve bus transportation, decrease its costs, and cost effectively serve those who most need and most use public transportation.

  15. David says:

    MissAnthrope says:
    August 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm
    Well they are. Get caught up. See what’s going on in the cradle of our democracy, Philadelphia, and the entire state of Pennsylvania.

    A new voter I.D. law kicking 100,000 voters off the voter rolls was passed and signed by the governor, and the leading Republican state congressman is caught on tape saying: With the passage of this law, we have insured the election of Mitt Romney.

    Don’t believe me? Google it. Or go to Rachael Maddow or Chris Matthews transcripts.

    Miss Anthrope,

    Did you just offer Rachael Maddow and Chris Matthews up as sources for the truth? Really? Wow. That’s pretty scary. I feel very sorry for you. Really. I do.

    • ex valley says:

      Welcome to groupthink. Oh LA voters. Getting their information from MessNBC and la times. these sources count on the fact that most Americans are as dumb as a box of rocks, so that if they tell a lie big enough clueless idiots will believe them. What Messnbc, la times, democratic party, current administration – they all never seem to think that Americans can do their own research and come up with their own opinions.

      • LA Moderator says:

        And yes, thanks…that was why I was fascinated on stumbling onto Molly’s dad…

        In a nutshell, if you have a bunch of sources which seem authoritative, even if they’re equally wrong, there’s a tendancy to follow along all the faster.

        That’s why its important to have multiple source’s with different points of view…but also be able to qualitatively rank them.

        Oh, and btw, Charles Munger II is one of the backers of Prop 32…sorry if people find this annoying…I just love this kind of trivia.

        But I’m interested in all heck of what we can stitch together on these transportation issues, so I’m hoping we can focus on what we can do to keep things from getting worse.

  16. Vote blindly, then acquiesce in your own death says:

    Yes, Ron, why do Angelenos vote for their foes? I see no extreme to which the 1% will not go to rob the people blind. Yet, the people fully and completely supporting their tormentors.

    I’ve spoken against the insanity of the 30/10 since the day it was mentioned. You’ve explained the idiocy well.

    But it gets far worse. The politicos have turned to killing off Angelenos in order to continue to gravy train to the develoeprs, and this time it is serious. It isn’t only the Mexicans and Blacks that are being killed. (I’m being sarcastic — I’ve complained about the horrid treatment of minorities since the 1960′s). Now the politicos have turned to killing off the affluent White people in the Hills!

    I do not condone the killing of anyone of any race, creed, color, religion sexual orientation, but I do think that it is interesting that all the folks who live high in the Hills thought that only the riff-raff down in the Flats would die. Now, the corruption is killing them and guess what? They are protecting the criminals who are murdering their loved ones.

    In May 2005, LAFD Medical Director, Marc Ecstein, said that the City’s “lies” about emergency response time were causing “needless deaths.” Every year since then the city has told more lies about how the First Responder times were getting better, while each year the response times were slower and slower resulting in more and more deaths.

    In Jan 2011, based on a report filled with outrageous lies, Council President Eric Garcetti with the blessing of his friend Mayor Tony V said the First Responders were doing such a great job that LA could cut $200 Million from the LAFD budget. As a result more people died.

    After the flurry of newspaper articles in 2012, the story of the liars who are killing Angelenos by downsizing the LAFD melted away.

    HUNC’s PLUM committee, however, spent two months considering whether to pass a Motion for the HUNC Board to call for a Federal Grand Jury investigation into the downsizing of FS 82 by 75%, which serves the Flats and the Hills, and into the false data Garcetti used to justify the $200 M cut in the LAFD budget. The special investigator which the mayor hired, Godown, quit do to lack of cooperation, i.e. “cover-up.”

    The HUNC PLUM committee passed its motion to call for a Federal Grand Jury after hearing from firemen themselves, after reviewing data from Fix The City, Inc., and newspapers articles concerning the fraudulent response data.

    HUNC President, however, has taken it upon herself to refuse to agendize PLUM’s motion and her the Brown Act notice was silent that HUNC PLUM motion asked HUNC Board to call for a Federal Grand Jury. Instead, she wants to have a Town Hall run by people would be targets of a Grand Jury Investigation. ["Mr. Capone, would you lead an inquiry into why so many people are dying in Chicago?"]

    Now you know why LA is such a mess – extreme political cowardice.

    Every minute over 5 minutes that it takes paramedics tor each a cardiac arrest patient increases the likelihood of death by 10%. Much of the day, there is NO First Responder in FS 82 due to the downsizing which is a reflection of the deliberately falsified response data. With years of proof that even wealthy Angelenos living in the Hills are needlessly dying, the first impulse of HUNC is to protect the criminals.

    The problem is citywide, but particularly bad in the Hills for the simple reason that terrain makes response times in the Hills slower.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Paramedics need to be divorced from LAFD. Fighting fires and resuscitating heart patients require different skills and the quicker we understand this, a new system can be designed without paying billions into city services.

    • Vote blindly, then complain says:

      That is another issue. The danger we face today is the slow response times for both paramedics and fire fighters.

      Do you know how often your locate fire station has answer calls out-of-the area making it unavailable to respond?

      Do you know how often out-of-area First Responders are the ones to answer a call for your address?

      You cannot know because the city’s data is intentionally false.

      What part of “City lies are causing needless deaths” do people not understand?

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