A Tax Everyone Can Love!
Brentwood Beat by Jeff Hall
By Brentwood News November 2012 | November 21, 2012
Measure J, the ballot proposition that would have extended the Measure R
sales tax – facilitating the speeding up of much-needed public
transportation infrastructure – fell just short of the two-thirds vote
Opponents to Measure J included some citizens of
Beverly Hills who don’t want a subway tunnel built beneath Beverly Hills
High School. To demonstrate their ire, many opposed Measure J as a
form of protest.
Earlier, opponents to the Beverly Hills
section of the proposed subway route produced what I hear was a
“Hollywood quality” film depicting what it would be like if the subway
blew up one day (there are underground pockets of gas all across Los
Angeles, so this is a theoretical possibility). Students would be
burned to a crisp!
But what are the odds, really, that this would
ever happen? Metro, knowing the concerns of these protesters, would
surely go out of its way to minimize any risks.
It’s really hard
to get a two-thirds vote in favor of anything; surely the Beverly Hills
subway opponents contributed measurably to the Measure J’s defeat. So
now, even though 64% of LA County voters were in favor of Measure J,
everyone across the Westside will suffer the traffic consequences,
possibly for decades to come.
So much smoke is thrown up into the faces of voters when issues like this arise.
Think about the arguments we’ve all heard over the years:
• If Archer School was approved, Brentwood would surely be destroyed!
• If Playa Vista got approved, traffic on Lincoln would grind to a halt!
The one-way street idea creating thoroughfares from the Westside to
Downtown and back (Olympic heading west; Pico heading east) would kill
all the small businesses on these streets, we were told.
• FarmShop restaurant at the Country Mart would ruin the neighborhood.
• Same with the Munger Project.
• And, when Carmageddon took place, we were all surely gonna die!
my twenty-plus years of watching and reporting on these types of
situations, the dire consequences predicted never seem to occur. I’m
having a hard time thinking of a single instance when the predicted
catastrophe actually took place.
If anything, in order to gain
approval for a project, today’s developer has to throw in all kinds of
goodies – street widening, new stoplights, extra parking, etc. – that
the city simply can’t afford.
So, as a result of many of these projects, things actually get better, not worse.
School didn’t ruin Brentwood. The Archer kids add a lot to the
neighborhood.Carmageddon was a big fizzle. Traffic around Playa Vista
seems much better these days. Maybe the Olympic/Pico one-way street
idea would have improved business, not hurt it. FarmShop obviously
didn’t kill the neighborhood.
And if the Munger project goes
through in some form, maybe all the extra parking Charlie Munger is
willing to build will actually help reduce traffic in the area, since so
many cars on San Vicente will no longer have to circle around looking
for a parking spot.
People simply can’t predict with absolute
certainty how these things will play out. And yet they try to do it all
the time. The mailers we got during this last election cycle were
pretty laughable, as were all those TV ads that make the other side’s
cause or candidate look like something straight out of a Frankenstein
Maybe there should be some kind of a “B.S. Tax” that
would be levied against those using unverifiable – or even unknowable –
claims in their scare campaigns.
If campaign managers who simply
“make stuff up” in order to scare voters had to pay the proposed “B.S.
Tax,” just think of all the money that could be raised – we’d solve all
our fiscal problems overnight!
Not only could we build a
subway, we could equip each car with a lounge and a hot tub! Free
coffee in the morning – and champagne on our way home at night!
know, the B.S. Tax will never happen. I was just daydreaming for a
moment there. So back to reality. And traffic. Oh yes, lots and lots
of traffic. Measure J failed, remember?
That’s the real irony
here: By defeating projects that might actually help us, we remain stuck
with the status quo. Isn’t that the real doomsday scenario?