By Ken Alpern, September 18, 2014
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-Keeping my ears close to the ground, and trying hard to stay close to the grassroots, I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who sees BOTH progress and betrayal by the civic leaders who are using the former and ongoing grassroots efforts of Friends4Expo Transit, The Transit Coalition, SoCATA and other non-profit entities to further causes and ends that had NOTHING to do with the goal of increased mobility created by transportation spending.
So a few reminders are in order to the politicians, developers, advocates (of which I am one) and other folks who truly believe that our latest half-cent sales tax (Measure R) needs to be extended, expanded or elaborated to finish our cause of transportation, transit and mobility for 21st Century LA County:
1) After seeing the enabling of developers and planners and all those "fighting for a cause", but who really are just trying to enrich themselves, we're seeing "going green" becoming too much about the green dollar, not the green environment. We do NOT have to pass the next transportation measure.
2) After being warned repeatedly about our drought and our need to conserve water, electricity, etc., we're seeing too much emphasis about new housing and densification that makes no environmental sense. We do NOT have to pass the next transportation measure.
3) After fighting and paying for a bicycle lane, sharrow and other grid for bicyclists, we're not hearing enough about bicyclist responsibilities and motorists' rights. BOTH bicyclists and motorists have rights and responsibilities and should learn how to share the roads. "Adrenaline junkie" bicyclists that don't obey stop signs and stop lights and cause near-accidents and terrify motorists need the police to ticket them. We do NOT have to pass the next transportation measure.
4) While the LA City Council talks taxes, bonds and other payment methods to shake down homeowners, property owners and the rest of us to pay for roads and sidewalks, NO ONE there is talking about thinking outside the box and focusing on cost-effective measures, perhaps the rubber sidewalk alternative and keeping our budget focused on making our road/sidewalk repairs as low-cost as possible. We do NOT have to pass the next transportation measure.
5) Meanwhile, I hope that at least one mayoral or city councilmember rep is telling the DWP unions, police unions (or any other taxpayer-funded unions) that NO ONE WILL GET A RAISE until we can get our roads, sidewalks and water pipes repaired. We do NOT have to pass the next transportation measure.
6) We also did NOT ask to destroy single-family homes and tracts, which now apparently are beginning to attract millennials as they get older and want families of their own. Transit-oriented, multi-unit and affordable housing is great...but it doesn't have to be for everyone, and single-family homeowners aren't deserving of being overly-taxed or pushed out of Los Angeles--especially since they're paying for much of these measures. We do NOT have to pass the next transportation measure.
7) Finally, those who will continue to use cars--and, in particular, those who truly MUST use their cars--to access our growing light rail/subway system to use parking are helping to PAY for our transportation measures just like everyone else, and they deserve to not be demonized. No one deserves to be demonized, or told to pay up and get nothing in return. We do NOT have to pass the next transportation measure.
It would be really GREAT if we had a transportation measure that was transparent and really created a mobility, economic and transportation backbone for Los Angeles County in 2016.
But we do NOT have to pass that next transportation measure.