A Tax Everyone Can Love!
By Jeff Hall | December 04, 2012
Measure J, the ballot proposition that would have extended the Measure R sales tax – facilitating the speeding up of much-needed public transportation infrastructure – fell just short of the two-thirds vote required.
Opponents to Measure J included some citizens of Beverly Hills who don’t want a subway tunnel built beneath Beverly Hills High School. To demonstrate their ire, many opposed Measure J as a form of protest.
Earlier, opponents to the Beverly Hills section of the proposed subway route produced what I hear was a “Hollywood quality” film depicting what it would be like if the subway blew up one day (there are underground pockets of gas all across Los Angeles, so this is a theoretical possibility). Students would be burned to a crisp!
But what are the odds, really, that this would ever happen? Metro, knowing the concerns of these protesters, would surely go out of its way to minimize any risks.
It’s really hard to get a two-thirds vote in favor of anything; surely the Beverly Hills subway opponents contributed measurably to the Measure J’s defeat. So now, even though 64% of LA County voters were in favor of Measure J, everyone across the Westside will suffer the traffic consequences, possibly for decades to come.
So much smoke is thrown up into the faces of voters when issues like this arise.
Think about the arguments we’ve all heard over the years:
• If Archer School was approved, Brentwood would surely be destroyed!
• If Playa Vista got approved, traffic on Lincoln would grind to a halt!
• The one-way street idea creating thoroughfares from the Westside to Downtown and back (Olympic heading west; Pico heading east) would kill all the small businesses on these streets, we were told.
• FarmShop restaurant at the Country Mart would ruin the neighborhood.
• Same with the Munger Project.
• And, when Carmageddon took place, we were all surely gonna die!
In my twenty-plus years of watching and reporting on these types of situations, the dire consequences predicted never seem to occur. I’m having a hard time thinking of a single instance when the predicted catastrophe actually took place.
If anything, in order to gain approval for a project, today’s developer has to throw in all kinds of goodies – street widening, new stoplights, extra parking, etc. – that the city simply can’t afford.
So, as a result of many of these projects, things actually get better, not worse.
Archer School didn’t ruin Brentwood. The Archer kids add a lot to the neighborhood.Carmageddon was a big fizzle. Traffic around Playa Vista seems much better these days. Maybe the Olympic/Pico one-way street idea would have improved business, not hurt it. FarmShop obviously didn’t kill the neighborhood.
And if the Munger project goes through in some form, maybe all the extra parking Charlie Munger is willing to build will actually help reduce traffic in the area, since so many cars on San Vicente will no longer have to circle around looking for a parking spot.
People simply can’t predict with absolute certainty how these things will play out. And yet they try to do it all the time. The mailers we got during this last election cycle were pretty laughable, as were all those TV ads that make the other side’s cause or candidate look like something straight out of a Frankenstein movie.
Maybe there should be some kind of a “B.S. Tax” that would be levied against those using unverifiable – or even unknowable – claims in their scare campaigns.
If campaign managers who simply “make stuff up” in order to scare voters had to pay the proposed “B.S. Tax,” just think of all the money that could be raised – we’d solve all our fiscal problems overnight!
Not only could we build a subway, we could equip each car with a lounge and a hot tub! Free coffee in the morning – and champagne on our way home at night!
I know, the B.S. Tax will never happen. I was just daydreaming for a moment there. So back to reality. And traffic. Oh yes, lots and lots of traffic. Measure J failed, remember?
That’s the real irony here: By defeating projects that might actually help us, we remain stuck with the status quo. Isn’t that the real doomsday scenario?
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