By Rick Orlov, October 6, 2013
Don’t look now but a new version of Measure J — the proposal that
would have extended the half-percent sales tax for transit projects —
could be making its way to the ballot.
Transportation Authority is contacting leaders of the various Councils
of Governments in the county and the officials in the 88 cities to weigh
in on what it would take for them to support a new version of the tax
Measure J was lost when it fell about 16,000 votes short
of the two-thirds it needed to be approved. It would have extended the
Measure R sales tax from 2039 until 2069.
Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had been one of the main
supporters of the proposal, arguing it would allow the MTA to use the
additional sales-tax money to issue bonds to pay for various projects.
Michael D. Antonovich said he wants all the Council of Governments and
local city officials to weigh in on specific programs they would want to
see in order to support the tax. Aides to Mayor Eric Garcetti said he
was studying the plans.
Garcetti is more clear about
another major project: He wants to see celebrity architect Frank Gehry
brought back on the Grand Avenue project.
The mayor spoke last week with Gehry, who was involved in the
original plans for the development but whose contract was dropped. “I
think he should stay involved, and I’ve pushed (developer) Related to
keep him involved,” Garcetti said.
The Grand Avenue project, which
envisions a mix of commercial and residential uses, is back in the
spotlight after Related offered new conception drawings. However, the
Grand Avenue authority has been unimpressed and granted a delay to
Related to come up with new plans.