Let’s not be taken for a ride with Measure R
By Michael D. Antonovich
Measure R is “Robin Hood in reverse.” It takes from the poor and gives to the rich. Taxpayers from the San Fernando Valley are being rolled by the downtown and West L.A. special interests to fund their costly multibillion-dollar “subway to the sea.” We should reject this 30-year, unbalanced sales tax scam and demand a better proposal that serves not only the Valley but the entire county.
From a countywide perspective, the San Fernando Valley is the largest job center with 18 percent of the county’s employment, has 15 percent of the county’s population, but will get less than 5 percent of the county’s Measure R funding over 30 years for your vital transportation needs.
Measure R is charading as some lofty solution to the transportation problems of Los Angeles County, and that San Fernando Valley tax dollars should go to the Westside because that’s where all the traffic and jobs are. This claim is utterly false. Strip away all the “feel-good” aspects of Measure R and you will find a cynical tax redistribution scam that transfers sales tax revenues from the San Fernando Valley into Mayor Villaraigosa’s Westside subway to the sea legacy project.
Of the $7.5 billion in Measure R transportation project funding proposed for the city of Los Angeles, only 13 percent is allocated for the San Fernando Valley. However, 37 percent of all Los Angeles city residents and 40 percent of all Los Angeles city jobs are located in the Valley.
Measure R shortchanges the San Fernando Valley $2 billion of its own tax dollars over the next 30 years. We need those dollars to extend the Red Line to Bob Hope Airport, to build the Orange and Gold Line transit connector through Glendale and the Burbank Media Center and to convert the Orange Line to light rail as originally promised, among other projects. This $2 billion would have stayed in the San Fernando Valley if Mayor Villaraigosa and his MTA appointees had not voted down my MTA motion to protect the Valley’s fair share of its own tax dollars. Mayor Villaraigosa and Measure R proponents are cynically counting on your desperation to do something, even voting for a backroom, politically-driven, half-baked proposal that ignores the many real transportation needs of the San Fernando Valley taxpayers for the next 30 years.
For the San Fernando Valley, Measure R is not “transit sacrifice,” as the Daily News characterized it in its recent endorsement. It is highway robbery.
Michael D. Antonovich represents the 5th Supervisorial District for the Los Angeles County.