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Climate Change

Daily Breeze Joins the Anti-Feuer Editorial Movement

2:07 PM PDT on April 7, 2008

This Has Nothing to Do with Global Warming

Slightly closer to home than San Bernadino, the Daily Breeze also seems offended that Assemblyman Mike Feuer would make a link between global warming, air pollution and congestion and that he would actually try to do something about it.

Here's a novel way to combat global warming: Get Los Angeles County drivers to pay a new tax to combat traffic jams.

Confused? That would be the only reason to vote for Assembly Bill 2558. If the author, L.A. Democrat Mike Feuer, were serious about dealing with either issue he'd come up with a better plan than lumping them together.

Feuer was quoted in the Orange County Register as saying the people in the Los Angeles region have had it when it comes to traffic and air quality. Well, yes. But now he's talking about three problems: global climate, local traffic and air pollution.

The Breeze is acting like there's no relationship between these three things, even though it's pretty well documented that climate change is caused in part by the air pollution created by cars. I think their point is that it will take more than just LA to reverse climate change, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't do anything at all. That's the kind of thinking one would expect from the Washington Times, not a newspaper in Los Angeles.

Having denied the link between local congestion, air pollution and global warming, the Breeze continues by wondering how increasing transit would help solve global warming.

That's a tall order for the motorists of one county, even a big one like L.A., especially since the money would be used mostly for public transit. Whether or not you agree that a local tax is the way to try to change Earth's climate, we trust that you wouldn't spend the money this way.

Here's how the scheme, if approved, would work. The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority would impose a fee, either in the form of a gasoline tax of up to 3 percent or an annual car fee of up to $90, on top of existing fees. Two-thirds of the money would go to public transit, and the rest to "congestion management projects and programs."

There is a case to be made for public transit. Many workers would welcome having alternatives to single-driver commutes, though they need to be convenient and affordable. But such a tax in one county won't do much of anything

to combat global warming. And gas prices are already at record levels. Such price levels are hardest on the poor.

High gas prices certainly aren't as hard on "the poor" as high transit prices or reduction in transit services are. And I have bad news for the Breeze, gas prices are reaching record highs every week. A nine cent increase isn't going to even make much of a dent in total gas costs.

The Breeze closes with this gem:

We oppose AB 2558. Voters probably are much too smart to approve it, but there's no reason to take the risk. Thoughtful legislators should kill this bill before it gets anywhere.

If the Breeze really wants to be "thoughtful" maybe it could reccomend a better way to come up with the over $200 billion that Metro needs to do its planned expansion over the next 22 years besides user fees for people that use the network?  It seems to be a trend of these columns to oppose legislation needed to fund transit expansion, but none of them seem to have a better idea.

Photo:Fred Camino

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