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Clinton Cameron Member, Bus Riders Union Los Angeles

I guess these limousine liberals would rather have bus riders spending hours stuck in traffic than speeding across town on rails. The "rapid bus" still takes more than an hour to travel from the downtown to the Westside, a trip the Red Line could make in less than half the time if it were extended past Western Avenue to the places people want to go, like LACMA/Miracle Mile, Fairfax/Farmer’s Market, Beverly Hills, Century City, UCLA/Westwood, West L.A./Federal Building, and Santa Monica. It’s time to ignore the Bus Riders Union and finish the job of building the Metro Rail system, approved by L.A. voters in the 1980s, including lines to the Eastside, Westside, South Bay and the Valley. Unfortunately, the BRU, NIMBY groups and the courts have thwarted the will of the people. This political gridlock will only help to ensure that LA continues its downward spiral while other cities modernize and prosper.

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Kirk D Schneider Whittier

My question is, what do your readers want, better mass transit for many people now or better mass transit for a few people later? Bus or rail? The folks who argue in favor of rail have never offered a coherent long-term plan for where L.A. should build tracks. Instead, they let fat-cat contractors corrupt spineless politicos into shortsighted, piece-by-piece proposals. The contractors want to build the rail system wrong now so they can be paid again tomorrow to rebuild it right.

The best solution is clear. First, solve the short-term problem. Put more busses on the streets now and let people ride for free. Efficient, free bus transport will significantly empty the streets of cars.

Second, for the middle term, develop a plan for where rails should be laid — probably a hub system like Tokyo’s efficient "spider web." Then build the pieces of that system according to intelligent adherence to the master plan, not according to whose pockets get fattest fastest.

Third, remember this: We live in the last days of a rapidly ending Ice Age. Ice is melting, the sea level is rising. In 500 years or so, most of Los Angeles will lie under water; the City of Industry will be beachfront property. The long-range solution is boats.

William Slattery Los Angeles

Thanks for shining a light on the Bus Riders Union. Just because an organization starts out great, doesn’t mean it should never be looked at again. I’ve worked for social-justice causes my whole adult life, so it has pissed me off no end being labeled a racist because I support light rail as a part of L.A.’s transit future. Between its weirdness about finances and mind-boggling salaries for its key people ("grassroots" my ass), grossly inflated membership numbers,and stunning instances of doublespeak (director Eric Mann’s public statement in November that the MTA had "met the criteria" of the federal agreement followed the next day by his admission that he really didn’t mean it), this is a group with very little credibility left. I hope the ACLU, the NAACP and Liberty Hill — organizations I deeply admire — will look at the BRU with fresh eyes. Until the BRU is able to make major changes in its goals, its rhetoric and its tactics, it does not deserve their support.

Karen Mathews Los Angeles



Marc Cooper’s story about Bush’s military escalation in Colombia [“Mission Creep,” Dissonance, March 29–April 4] posits an irrationality of purpose to the U.S. mission there. Looking at Colombia only, that would be true. However, the real goal is control of Venezuelan oil. Increased U.S. proximity to this huge energy source, in the minds of Oily Bubba and the Corporate Thieves, translates to guaranteed U.S. access. Never mind that the overall practice of oil dependence — no matter what the source — is itself irrational and doomed to war and other conflagration. Is the U.S. public ready to make the switch to renewable and sustainable? I think yes, and we deserve the courage of leadership not only to say so but to do so. Does anyone doubt we need a change of regimes here in order for that to happen?

—Larry A. Piltz Austin, Texas

I am writing in regards to Marc Cooper’s article "Mission Creep." Instead of advising people to throw out their V.I. Lenin and crack open some Freud, may I suggest that the cynical might pass along the relevant works of Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism and State and Revolution to the youth who may have to fight in these wars that you seem to think are just bad policy and not the need to dominate the markets of the world.

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