By Hillel Aron
The Bus Riders Union put on one of their famous street-theater gigs the other day at Vermont Ave. and Wilshire Blvd. to protest Measure J, a proposed sales tax extension on the Los Angeles ballot that would tax all L.A. County consumers until the year 2069.
The performance featured the "Legion of Doom" made up of Rail Dracula, the Highway Hurricane and the Measure J Monster, who fought and presumably were defeated by Superpasajera, the bus-riding masked hero.
On a more serious note, two priests spoke against
Measure J: Father Bill Delaney of St. Agnes Catholic Church and Father David Nations of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.
"The potentially devastating impacts of Measure J -- combined with the MTA's record of shamelessly ignoring the needs and concerns of working class Latinos and blacks as it advances a corporate-driven agenda -- has moved leaders of major churches to speak out," said the Bus Riders Union in a press release.
Denny Zane, a leading advocate for the 2008 countywide sales tax hike approved by voters -- and a key force behind this proposed 30-year extension of that tax hike just four years later, finds the Bus Riders Union's position galling.
Zane says that both Measure R from 2008 and the proposed Measure J on the November 6, 2012 ballot send 20 percent of the tax hike into the bus system.
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"All around the country, bus systems had major dramatic cutbacks," Zane says.
But Measure J opponents point out that to the millions of bus riders, 20 percent of this latest tax hike is chicken feed.
The vast majority of the millions of mass transit users in Los Angeles and its suburbs use the bus -- not the subways and light rail. But, they note, under Measure J, the subways and rail get the lion's share of this proposed sales tax hike to 2069.