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October 30, 2006

Comments

larry gilbert

Good afternoon Jubal.

In reading your Register Guest Column it appears that Dave Mootchnik and yourself are in agreement. In your bottom line it reads: "the current Measure M is not perfect..." Matt. We are in agreement on that statement.
Let's wait to see the outcome of Proposition 1A next week before committing to a 30 year, $11.86 billion dollar tax. If 1A passes than billions of dollars of our fuel taxes will be protected for use in addressing the needs of our system of roads.

Even OCTA admits that they started this process early anticipating that they might need to "tweak" the proposal more than once to obtain taxpayer approval. Supervisor Bill Campbell acknowledged that fact in our La Habra debate.
Let's send OCTA a message. This plan is flawed and needs to be sent back to the drawing board.
Larry Gilbert

Screech

Jubal, you are so wrong about Measure M.

The new Measure M spends 25% on mass transit, which only serves 2.8% of OC residents. Hardly conservative principles.

It also spends 42% on freeways, but what they don't talk about is how much of that is mixed use lanes and how much was spent in the original Measure M on those giant carpool flyover ramps and on other HOV lanes? You can't find that figure in all the financial reports on the OCTA website, nor in the Measure M campaign literature, or that huge ad in the sample ballot. Your tax money at work. Sheesh.

Why?

They lumped it all together to hide the truth. They don't want us to know.

The facts are they could likely have done several times the freeway mixed use lane expansion they actually did, but instead they spent most of the money on the most expensive types of construction, those several mile long elevated ramps, which by their own data are only used by 8% of county residents.

Measure M is administered by OCTA, a troubled agency that is chock full of transit planners.

They love their buses, and they want to spend as much money as possible on them. They like HOV lanes better than they like mixed use lanes.

What we wanted when we passed Measure M in 1990 was freeways. What we got was mostly carpool lanes, buses, and planning for light rail which NO ONE wants or needs.

Measure M should be rejected, the OCTA has years more work to do before it expires. We should see if they expand freeways or spend the next 5 years on Metrolink, HOV lanes and Buses.

Maybe if they use diligence in the time remaining before the original Measure M expires they can get the freeways done, and we won't need a special tax to pay for transportation. We should be encouraging that. Diligence.

In 5 years when the current Measure M actually expires we can separate the bus and the freeway parts of OCTA into separate agencies, and they can both run initiatives to try to get funding. I would like that a lot better than a giant slush fund administered by a troubled transit agency.

We can't depend on them to build roads, they don't like them. Those particular bureaucrats should be working on their buses, using the money from the fares, not from general taxes that are paid by people who never set foot on those buses.

I didn't think any current Measure M dollars went into the bus system?

Screech

You can read about what they spent the money on. Look in your sample ballot, or on octa.net.

Sure, a minority of the money went for freeways. With those guys in charge that will continue. Vote no on Measure M.

calwatch

Actually, that's why I'm opposing Measure M. I ride the bus. None of the money is going for buses. Not enough money is going to signal synchronization or bus signal prioritization, which helps cars and buses. HOV lanes don't really help buses because they don't have stations on freeways, and buses don't like to weave back and forth from the carpool lane to the exit. Instead, through Measure M, we are subsidizing Metrolink to midnight and Irvine Great Park monorail boondoggles. What a waste.

I would prefer to see freeway improvements be paid for with HOT lanes similar to the 91 Express lanes. OCTA would be smart to try a quarter cent sales tax that will synchronize all major streets in Orange County, improve bus service by relieving overcrowding on major routes and adding more night and weekend service, and add mixed flow lanes to bottlenecks throughout the county. Dump the flyovers and Metrolink to midnight and we have a deal.

Screech

Calwatch, tell me why buses shouldn't be funded by fares?

You really think it makes sense for us to fund buses through a sales tax, people who never ever set foot on buses? Why is that reasonable again?

As to Measure M funding buses, you just have to look at page 21 of the Measure M assessment from the OCTA.net website to find that from 2005 and on the bus fare subsidy is coming from Measure M. Admittedly that might be only for seniors and the disabled, but the money goes to run the fixed route buses. It would shock the hell out of me that there wasn't lots more. Hidden, perhaps.

Furthermore, take a look at the letter you all received from Thomas McKiernan of the Auto Club (he is the chief proponent and is seemingly funding a large amount of the campaign) where he says:

"Since 1992 California's population has grown 16 percent but our transportation network has expanded barely 2%."

This all under Measure M. A 2% increase for a $5 1/2 billion dollar tax doesn't sound too effective to me.

Just vote NO on Measure M.
And all the bonds too.

larry gilbert

Screech. The proponents of extending Measure M realize that their Plan is in trouble. They have too many chiefs trying to please too many factions. It's like being in a candy store. They are attempting to offer "everything for everyone" rather than having a clear focus on transportation reality. We simply lack high density job centers to justify allocating 20 percent of $11.86 billion dollars for conections to a "light rail" system whatever name they choose to give it.
As an aside. The California General Election Officla voter Guide contains information on all of the statewide ballot measures. As controversial as some claim Prop 90 may be, there is only two and a quarter pages of text on this Measure while the Countywide Measure M contains, beyond the ballot arguments, an additional 33 pages. Larry. Who told you that life is about fairness. You of all people should know better. It may smell but it is legal!
Larry Gilbert

R. Chris

Screech and Gilbert
You've been very vocal against M telling us why its so bad and hell will break loose if its approved, but you still fail to offer any alternative.

Please, please I beg of you, give us some insight as to how we can solve our transportation problems and how we can pay for it? Its completely disingenuous to say M doesn't go towards roads and highways when, in fact, the bulk goes to fixing local roads and our highway system.

The plan clearly spells out how the money will be spent, where highway widening occurs and whether an HOV lane is added. The plan clearly states that final plans must be approved by YOUR Local Community - so you actually have a say in what's done; should you chose to participate rather than throw your grenades from the sidelines...

Oh yeah and transit - OCTA has some of the highest bus ridership in the Country. Maybe YOU don't ride the bus and don't want to even think that there are people in the County who can't afford a car, but they do exist.

Oh and by the way, you claim we didn't get any freeways in the original M but you're wrong. Measure M paid for the El Toro Y improvements, the I-5 through Anaheim, SR-22 and these aren't just carpool lanes

Do you actually think the State or Federal Government will kick in dollars?

I don't want to be stuck in traffic for the rest of my life and have OC turn into LA where you barely move any day, any time. Please drive the 405 around LAX and tell me its a-ok.

So please gentlemen, please, if Measure M is wrong, wrong, wrong, what should we do?

Tell me how you'll expand our freeways without eminent domain. Tell me how the people coming in to the County will get around 20 years from now. Tell me how to fix potholes and streets in need of repair and where we'll get the money.

Larry-its quite telling that I posed the same question to you on your blog and you failed to answer.

Art Pedroza

This conservative voted no on Measure M. It is inded a flawed measure, the current measure still has some years to go before it expires, and as Larry mentioned, Prop 1-A is going to help with our transportation issues. Why the rush to pass this tax? Just say no to Measure M!

Screech

R. Chris, we should all vote no on the current Measure M renewal because:

  1. The old Measure M is nowhere near expiring.
  2. The old and the new Measure M spend a lot of money on transit, but they promote the measure as if it's for roads. OCTA wants to build train systems with our money, and I think those should be paid for with fares, as buses should.
  3. We have prop 1A on the ballot next week that will prevent diversion of road taxes to welfare, WIC and healthcare for illegal aliens, which is likely what is happening now. If that passes there may be money for roads without extending this particular tax another 30 years. And we have years to go before M expires.
  4. The state is supposed to kick in, I would prefer seeing to it that it does. Like it should. Like it undoubtedly does in other counties. The state keeps the money they owe us because we have this.
  5. An 11 billion dollar tax is a heck of a lot of money, and unlike some of the pro-tax democrats that are pro Measure M I don't vote taxes on myself until absolutely necessary. As far as this is concerned that is 2011. Not now.

calwatch

Everyone pays sales taxes, including non-drivers. Thus, sales taxes should be balanced between roads, transit, and non-automobile facilities like bike paths and sidewalks. Gas tax increases should go for roads. I agree that Prop M money is wasted on Metrolink, but cutting bus service is not an option (see Los Angeles County for what happens when you gut buses to fund rail, and you get a consent decree forcing you to run buses. Not good.)

larry gilbert

R. Chris.

If you check out the list of representatives on the OCTA board, or the citizens advisory board, you will not find my name included. That said, why are you asking me for my transportation suggestions? OCTA was aware of my objections before the final plan was drawn. If they truly wanted to have my input they could have called me beyond my one visit to their HQ where they tried to convince me to accept their plan as drafted rather than accepting any comments from me.

Get real. Will my recommendation response to you today cancel the vote of Nov 7th? The voters have received the facts, or spin as I would label it, and will let their feelings known at the ballot box.

After Measure M fails next week,and OCTA goes back to the drawing board, than perhaps I will offer some ideas on the blog.
Think about this. Part of the problem goes beyond the present Plan. The solution may entail removal and replacement of some of the Planners whose transit driven Agenda is out of touch with reality.
Larry

Screech

Larry, or as I have suggested before we need a transit agency funded by fares, and a roads agency funded by fuel taxes. That would solve the whole problem, the only mass transit that could be built would be self supporting by it's users.

There are lots of schemes that have not worked, but clinging to stuff that has failed hoping if you shove enough money at it you will somehow succeed is ridiculous.

Mass transit in our suburban area can only survive with huge subsidies. They charge you a few dollars to ride the Metrolink (I think, I haven't ever been on one) but the cost to run it is much more than you pay.

Naturally the riders like Calwatch like that. If they had to pay the full cost of their chosen method of transportation they might rethink their support.

calwatch

Except this leads into a never ending circle. How do you pay for the freeways and roads already built for sales tax? etc. I am not a fan of Metrolink, as noted before, their fares are too high and they do too little per dollar to reduce congestion and air pollution. Having said that, it would be interesting to see an all roads measure for the June 2008 go around of Measure M. That one will most likely fail as well, but at least the DHS crowd and folks like Screech can't complain that an all roads measure failed. (The reason it would fail is the two-thirds requirement, and an all-roads Measure M would result in opposition from environmentalists, liberals, transit riders, people who depend on bus riders, etc. which make up more than one third of the OC electorate.)

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