Now let’s take a look at that alphabet soup of eye-glazing local Los Angeles measures. They seem boring, but they are important to sort through. Here’s an easy rule of thumb: Anything the ultra-NIMBY Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association is against, you should be for. Likewise, whatever position the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (architects of Prop 13) takes, you should assume the opposite. Now, into the broth:
Prop. A is an easy yes. It’s a $.75-cent-a-week increase in property taxes to fund anti-gang after school programs. I think we can find it in our hearts, and pocketbooks, to say yes.
An affirmative ditto on Prop. B, which makes it easier to construct tens of thousands of low-income housing units. Not a bad idea in times of economic melt-down.
Voting yes on Proposition U, as you should, will reduce county tax rates on communications and utilities but will expand its base to include cell phones and other digital media, as it well should. The new revenue will be invested in more Sheriff deputies and in our libraries. An easy yes on U.
Then there’s the Big Kahuna among this year’s obscure local votes: Measure R. Anyone who votes against this measure should be sentenced to 10 years confinement on the 405 (or maybe something worse, as every rush hour on the San Diego Freeway seems a lifetime). By raising the county sales tax a half-cent for the next 30 years, billions of dollars would be generated to fund more subways, rail lines and mass commuter systems to reduce, um, traffic and smog. The usual suspects have lined up against this one: the suburban NIMBY tax-phobes and a smattering of parochial pols in the outlying parts of the county. Opposition from that first group derives from its class-based scorn for all things public – be it schools or subways. The resistance from the little-town pols is that the tax would fall unfairly on their constituents since the transit projects would more directly benefit L.A. urban smog dwellers rather those happy residents of such pastoral splendor as Long Beach and Pomona. Right. Sounds like a good argument, but it has a big hole in it. There’s a failure to recognize that these suburbs are, sorry to say, dependent on the overall socio-economic health of the urban core. They exist only because Los Angeles is at their center. Of the Big City strangles itself in ever-mounting traffic and smog, the ‘burbs will succumb with it. Life’s not fair. Yes on Measure R.
Correction: Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has not endorsed Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks for the Second District Board of Supervisors race. The Weekly regrets the error. This column has been amended to reflect the correction.