Measure J is the latest sleight-of-hand trick that L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and local Assembly-man Mike Feuer have come up with to give MTA a blank check to the tune of $90 billion over 60 years, and taxing those yet to be born.
Measure J burdens us with higher sales taxes until 2069. It extends Measure R, passed four years ago with many promises–all broken. This is a tax on your children, grandchildren and on your great grandchildren for transportation projects that will likely be obsolete or not meet their needs. How could any logical voter, especially one who resides in Beverly Hills, owns real estate or businesses here, seriously consider voting for J, giving a blank check to the very agency that the Beverly Hills Unified School District and the City of Beverly Hills are suing for using its tax monies to run roughshod over this community?
Before you take a vote on Measure J let’s review how Metro has treated this community.
The facts are well known and not up for debate. They form the basis of our collective lawsuits against Metro. The fact is the residents of Beverly Hills value the education of their children. The Beverly Hills High School, built in 1929, must be renewed and must grow. If not, it cannot serve future generations.
Metro could easily run the subway right under Santa Monica Boulevard like Metro originally said and not hurt anyone. But Metro would rather spend an extra $100 million to take care of a couple of developer friends who bundle and give large political donations,and enrich them with a vanity station. Instead of the Santa Monica route, Metro’s tunnels will run down the very heart of our tight campus, directly under our major instructional buildings, and endanger our children, our staff and financially our bond measure. (Who will buy bonds from a school district whose principal campus is endangered?)
When this community came together to protest Metro’s plan, Metro spent millions of taxpayer money to create a seismic bogeyman. They found “faults” that thorough trenching proved did not exist. They located other faults where the city of Los Angeles said there were none.
Yes, “junk science” and dubious experts were put up as irrefutable evidence in numerous dog-and-pony shows at the Metro “Taj Mahal” downtown. The fact is Metro has not just wasted its own pool of money; it has wasted ours.
Metro is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, and nobody can guarantee our students’ safety on that campus if two electrified, oxygenated tubes are running through a methane field while 2500 staff and students reside above. If you vote “yes” on Measure J, you will be granting Metro an extension of the war-fund it is using to wage war on Beverly Hills. A “yes” vote on Measure J is a vote against Beverly Hills–plain and simple.
Metro desperately wants Measure J. Why? Because Villaraigosa and Yaroslavsky are searching for their legacy as their time in public office comes to an end.
Their grandiose rail projects are all way over budget. Not one gets you to any airport in the Los Angeles area–not LAX, not Burbank, not Long Beach, not Ontario. How do you spend $90 billion and not even go to an airport?
When Measure R was put to the voters in 2008 and barely passed, the duo promised billions in matching federal funds. No matter how many times the mayor of L.A. goes to D.C. and lobbies furiously up and down the halls of Congress, he cannot find more federal funds for these projects. Metro wants $50 billion more in local funding to deliver less than what was originally promised.
The program is not moving forward. It is not moving anywhere.That is the legacy these politicians face without Measure J.
Who wins if Measure J passes? JMB, Century Plaza, Westfield, Parsons Brinkerhoff, AEG, and any other friend of Villaraigosa or Yaroslavsky who feed at the public trough.
Who loses if Measure J passes? We do. The black community loses. The Latino community loses. The San Fernando Valley. The San Gabriel Valley. In fact, the entire county of Los Angeles loses. We will be stuck forever with one plan and no more money–and that plan fails utterly to provide for regional and local transportation needs.
“No On J” is sending a message to the powers that be that corporate welfare, crony capitalism and back room deals are not acceptable.
On Nov. 6 please vote “No on Measure J.” If Metro comes back with a fair plan that truly addresses our need for transportation, we will be among the first to vote for it. This is not it.
Lisa Korbatov is a member of the Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education.
SOURCE: Lisa Korbatov