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June 16, 2006



I was at last Tuesday's Irvine City Council meeting (oh, what an ego-fest that was) and they unanimously passed a resolution supporting the renewal of Measure M.

Comrade Councilman Larry Agran gave a little speech about "anti-tax groups" gearing up to defeat M — mentioning the Orange County Register by name — and urged everyone present to not let them take this precious source of revenue away.

larry gilbert

You bet that Larry Agran wants to see an extension of Measure M. Irvine, along with other major cities like Anaheim and Santa Ana are circling the OCTA "lock box" that will contain around $1,000,000,000 that cities can receive if they tie their light rail into Metrolink stations. Twenty five percent of the proposed $11.8 billion is for "mass transit" while only 2 percent of OC workers use that form of transportation.

As to the "spin" of pointing out all that has been achieved, and having five more years to go, I would agree with OCTA in one respect. Promises Made, Promises Kept. Restated. "Mission Accomplished."

Larry Gilbert, who urges voters to simply say NO in Nov.

Mark Leyes

Jubal, I don't know how "high profile" I am, but I oppose Measure M "as written."

First of all, this is not an "extension" of anything .... since the original voter-approved Measure M sunsets after 20 years, this proposed tax is a NEW tax, creating a multi-billion dollar tax where none will exist. It's like if you pay off your mortgage and the bank keeps charging you anyway because you are used to making payments.

We are nearly seven years until the expiration of Measure M, so this run at the voters is meant as a preliminary to wear down us poor taxpayer advocates. Remember that the original M took three tries to pass. Why is it that when the voters turn down a tax, government won't take "no" for an answer (but don't even THINK about asking for reconsideration of a tax or govt. spending program!)?

And, of course, this early trial takes advantage of the notion that a "yes" vote does not "increase" taxes since it won't take effect until the current tax evaporates. Wasn't it Ronald Reagan who said that taxes SHOULD hurt?

Note also that the new Measure M is a THIRTY-year tax, vs. the original 20-year plan. I'll bet the only reason it's not a 100-year plan is that it wouldn't seem "temporary." But is a 50-year tax (20 + 30) really "temporary?"

When I queried OCTA's uber-priced consultant Monty Ward about the new draft he tried to assure me that there was NO "CenterLine" mass transit in the measure. (Some of believed that was the case in the original!) Any new measure should include clear language PROHIBITING OCTA from wasting any tax money on such a boondoggle without specific voter approval.

My attitude is that, until the bureaucrats and politicians who kept spending money on CenterLine pay taxpayers back the tens of millions of dollars wasted on that vanity (or, at least, apologize), then I am not prepared to even ASK the taxpayers to keep funding the organization.

Do we need funding for transportation improvements? Probably. Is this the right plan? Maybe. Do I ignore the shabby treatment that taxpayer advocates have received from OCTA over 16 years and now believe that they they have changed? Should I simply TRUST OCTA, as they seem to be asking?

I am one elected representative of the taxpayers that is NOT prepared to do so. As the WHO sing in their classic anthem -- I won't get fooled again.

Mark Leyes
Garden Grove City Council

Art Pedroza

Well said Mark! I don't trust the OCTA either. They wasted millions studying light rail, and got nowhere. And now they want more money? No thanks...

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