Vote No On Measure M, L.A. County’s Permanent Transit Tax (Pasadena Star News link): - If there is one unifying experience in Los Angeles County, it is being stuck in traffic. By now, you probably have seen your share of commercials promoting Measure M, the half-cent sales proposal, as the reprieve we’ve all been waiting for.
Promising to reduce traffic by 15 percent, the measure is the third in the last eight years to be pitched to L.A. County residents as a much-needed investment in infrastructure and mobility.
While there’s no disputing the need for infrastructure investments, the recent history of transit proposals gives this editorial board pause.
In 2008, voters approved Measure R, a half-percent sales tax that promised traffic relief and 21,000 new jobs. It provided a 30-year sunset, assuring voters the tax was temporary and politicians would be held accountable for their promises.
Just four years later, the proponents returned with Measure J, asking voters to extend Measure R by 30 years. Voters rejected the bait-and-switch, and as things stand, Measure R is still set to expire in 2039 as originally promised.
Now, voters are asked to approve another tax hike via Measure M, which calls for not only an additional half-percent sales tax but an extension of Measure R. If approved, both taxes would become permanent and could only be undone by ballot initiative, an unlikely prospect.
That is why it’s important to back a tax proposal of this sort only if one can confidently say Measure M is the best we can do.
To the credit of proponents, there’s much to like about Measure M.
The measure, which would raise more than $860 million a year, is the product of meaningful outreach and cooperation throughout Los Angeles County. In meeting with many of the chief proponents, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Metro chief Phil Washington, we have been impressed by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of their plan.
However, we are reluctant to support the measure for very practical reasons.
For one, the measure calls for a new permanent tax, and makes permanent a tax previously sold to the public as temporary. Voters deserve to know taxes sold as temporary will remain temporary.
Despite the many promises, this measure will not reduce traffic by 15 percent. The basis of the claim originates from a Metro-commissioned study that indicated traffic in 2057 may be 15 percent lower than it would be if Measure M isn’t passed. Practically speaking, for decades, the chief beneficiaries of the measure will be those employed to work on Metro projects, rather than average people who thought they had voted for traffic relief.
A vote against Measure M doesn’t mean the rejection of any credible, carefully targeted proposal that would bring tangible benefits to the public.
In a time of changing technologies and shifting preferences on transportation, we would like to see a sunset date in place. But we also believe taxpayers should have the certainty that the projects being promised today will not only someday be completed but be the best possible use of taxpayer dollars.
At this time, we cannot support Measure M. We recommend a “no” vote.
California poll: Trump’s numbers dropping into ‘uncharted territory’ (The Mercury News link): Donald Trump is careening toward a historically poor showing in California, a prospect that has left several GOP congressmen fearful for their seats and Democrats hopeful they can regain a supermajority in the Legislature.
According to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, in just one month Democrat Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump has soared from 16 to 26 points as the brash billionaire’s campaign has imploded amid allegations that he’s a serial groper. He now has the support of only 28 percent of likely California voters, the poll found.
Less than two weeks before Election Day, the biggest question in California is whether Trump’s dismal showing drags down several Republican congressmen if unenthusiastic GOP voters decided not to cast votes. Just several weeks ago, the congressmen appeared to be defending safe seats.
Only 46 percent of Republicans are more excited than usual to cast ballots in the presidential election. That’s down from 70 percent four years ago and 11 points less than the 57 percent of Democrats who told PPIC survey takers that they were more excited than usual to vote.
A staggering 50 percent of Republicans say they now have an unfavorable view of their party, and 60 percent were unsatisfied with their choices for president, the poll found.
Mod: The GOP's California death spiral continues.