Richards Fires Back at Parochialism in Sales Tax Debate

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The Southern California Transit Advocates’ Kymberleigh Richards penned an op/ed for today’s Daily News that punches a hole in the argument that Metro’s sales tax proposal is unfair to some parts of the county because funds aren’t distributed based on residential population.  To wit:

I do not disagree with Antonovich that the North
County is a growth area. But I also see that the people who live there
largely work "down under" … downtown Los Angeles, the San Fernando
Valley, Century City and the Westside.

This is already proven by the high demand for both
Metrolink and commuter bus service to those areas from the North
County. A rail line through the Sepulveda Pass, as proposed in the
sales-tax measure, would connect the Metrolink service from the North
County with the Westside, and provide real relief to the supervisor’s
constituents who are at present stuck on the 405, either in their cars
or in those commuter buses.

Similar scenarios exist from the San Gabriel
Valley and the Eastside. People who live in those regions and work
downtown, in the Miracle Mile, or on the Westside are the real reason
the subway extension is needed. Those people are already forced to
choose between being stuck in traffic in their own cars or being stuck
in traffic on a Metro Rapid bus on Wilshire.

Zev Yaroslavsky has tried to make this argument in the past, but his reliance on numbers he made up on the spot made his argument less than confusing.  In her piece today, Richards clearly makes the case that spending money equally in legislative districts makes a lot less sense than spending funds where people commute.  To read the rest of Richards’ op/ed click here.

  • Hear, hear.

    This is a wonderful essay by Kymberleigh Richards. Rail lines to Century City, Santa Monica and LAX will benefit the entire county, not just the “westside”.

    Equity isn’t just about where people live, it’s also about where people are going. Ridership, which should be the main determining figure for how dollars are spent, incorporates both the nighttime living population and daytime working population.

  • This piece is bitterseet for Kymberleigh as she duid it know it would be her last op-ed edited by Chris Weinkopf, who as of today leaves the Daily News as editor of the editorial pages

    http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2008/07/no_more_jeans_or_weinkopf.php

    Once the measure is finally on the ballot we proponents PDQ need to mobilize and start advocating. There are 74 days until Nov. 4th. I’m sure this blog and others will have details on how to be involved at the appropriate time.

  • Carlos Tower

    Why is it that everyone thinks the SGV or the San Fernando Valley oppose the Subway to the Sea? It seems to me that no one opposes it as it had the easiest time of making it on the transit list on the sales tax bill.

    No one ever argues that the subway extension is unnecessary, its that the westsiders argue that all other lines are unnecessary and that’s why there is such a fight to get an equitable bill on the ballot.

    I guarantee that if everyone in the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys have to drive to downtown to use this subway to the westside, they’ll just stay in their cars until they get to work. For all those who say the Valley commuters have metrolink, I argue that it is one of the worst transit services in southern california.

    Either way I grow tired of this debate about equity where both sides seem to think that equity throughout the county means rationalizing the construction of a transit rail on one side and not the other. It seems to me that equity means building both.

    I have a lot of concerns about the sales tax, none of which concern the actual transit list. The pols have done the job they were elected to do, if it is on the ballot I will not hesitate to vote for. I just hope the gold line extension doesn’t have to wait the ten years for the subway to the sea to be built before it breaks ground. That is just a waste of time and efficiency.

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