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July 25, 2006

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conservative voter

All you local electeds who voted in support of resos praising Measure M, know this...you voted for a major tax increase. Ya, I know, Measure M is important blah blah blah. Years out when you want to run for whatever; remember this post.

Jeff Flint

Lurk:

OC Tax and Reed Roylaty support Measure M.

Jeff

Lurk

Jeff, are you really sure? I had checked his website and found only this: http://www.octax.org/MeasureMComments.pdf.

This was a series of comments on M which Reed published in February to OCTA Chairman Brown. His final paragraph reads "In coming weeks, OCTax will determine its position on Renewed Measure M based on solutions to the foregoing concerns. We look forward to working with you to try to bring Measure M into conformity with OCTax’s Mission Statement: to make taxes and tax-supported programs “fair, understandable, cost-effective, and good for business.”

That doesn't sound like an endorsement to me.

Jeff Flint

I am 100% sure. The vote at OC Tax o support M was in June, I believe, after Reed was satisfied that all the issues he raised had been addressed.

Reed is on vacation this week but his chairman attended the Measure M launch event today.

I have personally attended a dozen Measure M campaign meetings in which Reed spoke in favor of M.

Jeff

Jeff Flint

PS - To answer another of your questions, Supervisor Campbell was out of town today, but he dialed in for the Measure M vote. Otherwise, Chris Norby chaired the BOS meeting today.

I also heard Mark Leyes is leading the California effort for Hillary Clinton. Not confirmed by anyone, but why would Lurk care....

El Canon

You mean one of the blogpen would post something not knowing its validity?

Say it ain't so.

Meg Waters

The committee representatives speaking at todays' press conference included:

Lucy Dunn -- OC Business Council
Curt PRingle, Mayor of Anaheim
First District Supervisor Lou Correa
Fourth District Supervisor Chris Norby
Fifth District Supervisor Tom Wilson
Phil Anthony, Chair Orange County Taxpayers Association
Denise Welsh, OC AARP
HAmid BAhadori, Auto Club of Southern California
Gary Brown, OC Coast Keepers
Wayne Quint, Deputy Sherriffs Association
Jim Adams, BUiding Trades Union

Chairman Campbell voted for the measure via conference call. When it went before all 34 cities, only 4 council members in all, voted no.

As you can see -- its a very broad coalition. And to correct an earlier statement it is not a vote for a huge tax increase, it is a vote for continuing a tax that is already in place to provide infrastructure that we need and we'll never get as long as Sacramento is in charge of our transportation future.. The Measure M funds are already allocated to projects that are available for review (and have been for some time). For example, $1.6 billion will be spent improving the 91 Freeway. But there are many projects all over the county. There is also public oversight and a sunset date -- LA County has a similar tax, but it is permanent.

Meg Waters

PS -- Frank Ury fron Mission Viejo was supposed to be there to speak but unfortunately he had an emergency gall bladder surgery and couldn't make it. I'm pleased to report he is fine now and resting comfortably at Mission Hospital (if you want to send a card :) )

Others in attendance but not speaking included Sen. John Lewis, Matt Holder, Tom Phelps, Jerry Amante, and several others ...

conservative voter

I'm sure anyone running against those in the affirmative will be quick to point out the difference. Thanks Meg. Who is paying you?

calwatch

The key to opposing Measure M is to focus like a laser on the Metrolink expenditure and the rather pitiful Metrolink ridership within Orange County. When that is brought up, many drivers (most of whom have never taken the Metrolink) will scream.

CRA and I vote

I don't think Mark Leyes voted for it. He is a good hire for Harman.

Meg Waters

Conservative voter -- I work for the campaign

Art Pedroza

Do we have any assurances that this money won't be wasted - again - on idiotic light rail schemes? Absent such a guarantee, I won't be voting to renew Measure M.

Jeff Flint

Yes, Art, you do. ou can actually read the plan and see there is not Centerline in there.

Art Pedroza

Jeff,

But does the measure specifically prevent expenditures of funds on light rail? That is what I and others are looking for.

JozefColomy

I could be mistaken, but it seems to me that anyone who opposes Measure M can do so by not purchasing as much. Or purchasing more on the internet and less in stores here in Orange County...

I mean, if you feel that a 1/2 cent to the dollar sales tax is a massive burden, there are ways to get around it. Now, I know opposition to this Measure is not based on the amount of the tax, but the principle of another tax, but I think the Howard Jarvis-types should focus the anti-taxation campaigns on larger-scope tax-issues, like the impending Gasoline or Tobacco tax raises.

Jeff Flint

Calwatch:

Annual Metrolink ridership is well over 3 million passengers per year. In terms of freeway capacity, it is the equivalent of an additional freeway lane during peak traffic periods. Ridership goes up every year. The transit part of the Measure M renewal, while the smallest part, is a very efficient expenditure of transit funds. THe metrolink piece expands an existing service within currentright-or-way, so there is no or very little ROW acquistion cost. The local transit connections portion is a competitive program where cities compete to build systems within their jurisdiction to move people to and from their train stations to jobs and population centers. That portion has strict control language attached to it to prohibit the funds from being used to build a new, parallel system that could turn into a countywide light rail system. We are talking systems like something to move people from John Wayne Airport to the nearest train station, or from the Anaheim station to the resort area.

To answer the OC Tax question again, Reed Royalty looked very closely at this piece, as did Chris Norby, and were satisfied that the transit program was well-designed, as was obviously the freeways, street and roads pieces. That is why many of the leading opponents of Centerline support the extenstion of Measure M.

Jeff

Lurk

Calwatch is right on target. No matter how it's spun, Metrolink is a failure. While I think the 3M passengers per year figure is high, it's still just a drop in the bucket compared to other large commuter rail systems in the country. Both the Long Island Railroad and Chicago's Metra carry over 80 million riders per year. By it own stats, Metrolink only recovers 54% of its costs from the farebox. I understand the subsidy required PER ride is at least $5.25.

As many like to say, the idea that Metrolink is somehow the County's backbone is really misleading. With a daily ridership of about 12-15k bodies (a very generous estimate), the representation of it removing all of ONE freeway lane may be reasonable, but for its overall costs and VERY limited service (only 13 stations in the OC and 19 total trains/day per their '04 numbers), it's a waste of time and money. ONE lane doesn't justify this white elephant. Metrolink is a monument to conventional thinking since it exists only to service Los Angeles as a transit hub.

I can not find any figures to indicate how many people actually use it to commute within the OC, but I'll bet they're miniscule. One can argue then that M is subsidizing out-of-County commuting, and that's not its supposed focus.

Metrolink exists for the sake of saying we have multiple transit options and because the track happened to be there for longer distance travel. It's simply not cost-effective and a waste of resource. Its costs would be much better applied to roads and freeways.

M will channel 25% (say $2.75-3 billion thru 2041) to mass transit -- that's too much for just 3 million train riders a year.

conservative voter

I've seen enough campaigns to know anyone who voted for this will be accused of raising taxes.

tylerh

Lurk said: M will channel 25% (say $2.75-3 billion thru 2041) to mass transit -- that's too much for just 3 million train riders a year.

Being that I'm too lazy to actually read the material: is that 25% for all mass transit, which would include buses, or trains only?

I'm also confused by this: One can argue then that M is subsidizing out-of-County commuting, and that's not its supposed focus.

Then why was the 5 improved all the way to the county line? My understanding is that getting long-distance commmuters off the freeway is really quite effective at reducing local freeway traffic problems.

My numbers are old, but as of the early 90s the typical trip on an LA free way was supposedly eight (8) miles. So enticing a commuter with a 60 mile trek onto a train would, by this simplistic argument, be the equivalent of getting seven average drivers off the freeway. Put another way, getting a San Clemente lawyer who works downtown onto the Metrolink is one less car that goes through the El Toro Y and the Orange Crush and the 91 split.

Jeff Flint

Lurk:

Re Metrolink...the point is to move it to greater capacity. The limitations on how many it can carry are based on frequency of trains and service hours. So while I doubt it would ever carry 80 million people, the comparison to Chicago or Long Island are not fair.

BY the way, the Metrolink piece is about $1 billion. So compare that cost, within existing right of way, to what it would cost, today, to gain similar capacity on I-% throughout the whole county.

The old Measure M did a great job expanding the 5 freeway. But if you tried to do that again, or even add just one lane in each direction, can you estimate how much the right-of-way acquisition, and the number of parcels taken by eminent domain, would be. And that is before you get to design and construction costs. I don't know what the number would be, but I don't think I am off base to say that the cost would be much, much more than the Metrolink costs.

So for a $1 billion investment in expansion of Metrolink service, in the world we live today, you can get much more trip capacity than you can in a freeway that has already seen a major widening like I-5. In that context, the Metrolink investment is the most efficent use of the money for commutes in this direction.

Jeff

Measure M Conservative

Jeff,

I agree with you on this one. I realize Measure M is still a tax. But something needs to be done to make mass transit a more viable reality in OC. The population continues to grow and asphalt will not continue to carry the load at even present levels unless there is a good reason to take alternative methods of transport.

As the price of gas continues to climb (and it will), Metrolink and other forms of mass transit will start to look more attractive. And that will cause greater ridership.

mvactivist

The new tax (not an extension - read the ordinance) will support the continued waste and fraud being committed by OCTA. Some examples of their poor use of public funds:

1) Centerline - and the Project S and V allocation of more than $1.2B to a similar project, yet undescribed. OCTA claim that the new tax specifys how our money will be spent, but try and find any specifics in these two boondoggles.

2) Metrolink. This costs the taxpayers more than $5 for every ride taken, despite the average income of the riders being in excess of $70/year. Metrolink moves less than 1/2 of one percent of person miles per day traveled in Orange County. Who thinks this is a good use of our money? The riders who are taking our tax money and OCTA, but likely no one else.

3) HOV lanes. OCTA builds grand and extemely costly flyover ranps and HOV lanes to serve a small percentage of the drivers. Many studies show that more cars would move past any given point on a freeway if the HOV lanes were usable by all. New Jersey abandoned its HOV lanes, why shouldn't OC do the same.

There are many more example of OCTA waste that will be made public as the campaign against the new tax gets into high gear.

Measure M Conservative

MV Activist, who is going to support the opposition campaign?

As far as waste. I'm sure there was opposition to the Interstate Highway System. I'm sure there are people who said the same things about the most significant and dare I say best investment this country ever made.

Fortunately, the logical amongst that group had the vision to overlook that group and build it.

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