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My Sunday Column: Unraveling Measure J — Will It Actually Build the Transit System We Want?

Even if the outcome of nearly every race in California from president on down is certain, your vote still matters when it comes to ballot measures, most of which can go either way: death penalty, three-strikes law, competing soak-the-rich tax-increase schemes and L.A. County Measure J, which more than any other actually has a direct impact on the quality of all our lives.

My own view is that extending the one-half percent sales tax through 2069 just four years after we agreed to pay the Measure R transit tax for 30 years without knowing they would burn our money in just 10 years by borrowing against future revenue is premature and unnecessary.

Worst of all, it’s just lines on a map — not a transit system, which requires high frequency of service and good connectivity to get you from where you are to where you want to go. That isn’t happening now with a million hours of bus services being cut and fares rising, making life even harder for the transit-dependent and the working poor.

Yet a lot of people I respect, like Ara Najarian — a Glendale city councilman and member of the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority — tell me I’m dead wrong.

“I was on the ballot pamphlet as an opponent of Measure R,” Najarian told me last week. “But in the last three years I’ve seen how that money is being put to good use, scrutinized. There’s no graft, no payoffs, no bribery.

“What I’ve seen at the board level, I’ve seen a lot of rancor, and a lot of argument and discussion. Everyone is watching their neighbors’ projects to make sure that no one takes advantage of the funding they’ve been allocated. That’s what the fights are about.”

Say it ain’t so, amigo, I said, putting Najarian on the defensive on his beliefs as a moderate Republican in smaller government and lower taxes.


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2 Responses to My Sunday Column: Unraveling Measure J — Will It Actually Build the Transit System We Want?

  1. Teddy says:

    It is a real dilemma. Some people who work in Pasadena from
    other parts of the county feel that the passion of keeping old
    Pasadena is selfish. They feel that because they pay ther taxes, too,
    they should have a direct route.

    Our LA County is much too large, we are thinking of it as a large city.
    We are many cities and in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, that is how it is.

    If you decide to stay at your old address and take a job that is “out of town”,
    it is up to you to find the best way, not expect everyone else to accomodate

  2. JOHN WALSH says:

    I once respected Ara Najarian.That was before the cover-up surrounding the killing of wheelchair bound Brenda Carter at the Hollywood Highland Red Line Station. And I
    am in possession of government documents that prove the cover-up.
    How does Najarian know there isn’t graft and bribery at MTA when the position of Inspector General has been un-filled for almost 4 years while the unappointed Inspector-General’s budget has been slashed?

    As for Measure J, look at these numbers: The price tag for the Hurricane Sandy clean-
    up is estimated at $60 Billion…to be footed by the USA . The price of Measure J is $90 Billion….to be footed by Los Angeles shoppers starting 26 years from now.By the time Measure J would be phased out , the First Family’s Sasha and Malia will be well into their sixties!
    And what do we the voters get out of Meaure J?
    A few light rail lines a few years earlier. Right now MTA is ignoring the outstanding $1Billion in deferred Rail maintenance …which was the fundamental cause of the death on the escalator because the elevator was out of order usual. Throw in another $300 million of deferred bus maintenance.
    And since the price of gas has fallen $.50 a gallon in the past 2 weeks, rail riders. Are already returning to their cars because the dream of the bus rider is not better bus service; the dream of the bus rider is….a car ,like everyone else!

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