Bus Riders Union announces new coalition against MTA’s blank check sales tax Measure J
by Eric Romann on Wednesday, October 17, 2012
On Tuesday, October 16th, the Bus Riders Union, joined forces with community leaders from the Crenshaw district, Beverly Hills, East Los Angeles, Northeast LA, and the San Gabriel Valley - all of whom see Measure J as a shameless bid for a blank check by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a public agency completely out of touch with public needs. The new Coalition to Defeat Measure J launched with a press conference this morning at the Afiba Center on Crenshaw Boulevard in South Los Angeles.
Members of the new Coalition to Defeat Measure J draw a common conclusion based on common experiences with the agency. As Sunyoung Yang, Bus Riders Union Lead Organizer put it: "LA Metro cannot be trusted - especially given what they've done since the last sales tax in 2008. Measure J is nothing more than an open line of credit for crony capitalism - with powerful companies like JMB Realty, Westfield Corporation, and Parsons Brinckerhoff lining up to feed at the public trough."
New coalition insists proposal will accelerate fattening special interests and devastate diverse communities.
A few examples of the pattern by LA Metro that has affected neighborhoods all over the county
500,000 low income transit riders: "While it spent billions in new revenue on rail and freeway construction, the LA Metro Board laughed at pleas from Black, Latino, and low income bus riders to avoid devastating service cuts. In fact, it cut one million hours of bus service, the deepest cuts in the agency's history. The result: a civil rights investigation of LA Metro by the Obama Administration. Measure J would accelerate Metro's attack on the bus system and the civil rights of bus riders." -Rosa Miranda, Bus Riders Union.
Crenshaw District: "The MTA has continually refused to consider the request for a station at the African-American cultural hub of Leimert Park Village, and to underground the proposed Crenshaw-LAX Line for 11 blocks to protect our children's lives and preserve the last Black business corridor in Southern California. MTA's response has always been, "There's not enough money." Now with a new $90 billion tax they STILL say they don't have the money. We can't allow our South L.A. communities to get Jacked with Measure J." -Damien Goodmon, Chair of Crenshaw Subway Coalition & Fix Expo Campaign
Beverly Hills: "The LA Metro Board consciously put the financial interests of developers JMB and Westfield above the safety of our kids. It ignored the evidence presented by independent experts about the risks of building the West Side Subway extension directly under our high school. Measure J would accelerate a potential safety calamity for Beverly Hills students." Dr. Brian David Goldberg, PhD, President, Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education (for identification purposes only)
San Gabriel Valley and Northeast LA: "LA Metro has continually ignored concerns of residents from Pasadena, South Pasadena, El Sereno, Highland Park, La Canada Flintridge, and across Northeast LA and San Gabriel Valley about the proposed tunnel extension of the I-710. Measure J would accelerate Metro's $14 billion mega-project -- a boon for multinational shipping companies and big contractors with incalculable human and environmental costs for thousands of residents." - Gloria Castro-Trejo, Northeast LA Residents Against Measure J, Los Angeles.
Boyle Heights: "Boyle Heights says no to Measure J because the tax will only provide more opportunity for powerful developers to reap the benefits of the land the MTA has seized from our community. The MTA must return the land that they took from the community and no longer need. Community members sacrificed by giving up that land. What's happened in Boyle Heights is a classic of example of what MTA has done to communities all over the county. MTA should not get another dime of our money until they return land in Boyle Heights and across the city to real community control." -Alma Salcido, Union de Vecinos, Boyle Heights