Measure R Passes; Press Conf. Wed @ 9:45 am

It was close, but Measure R passes!

City of Los Angeles

November 5, 2008

Matt Szabo
(213) 978-XXXX


Measure R, which invests $40 billion in traffic relief and public transit, holds solid lead as final votes are tallied

Los Angeles — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, joined by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Assemblyman Mike Feuer, Councilmember Wendy Greuel and MTA Board Member Richard Katz, will hold a news conference to discuss the passage of the Measure R sales tax to fund mass transit, Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 9:45 AM at the Southwest corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Veteran Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024.

As of 3:30 a.m., the campaign is reporting an approval vote of 67.41% with 100% of precincts voting. It needs a 2/3 approval to pass and the campaign is confident that it has met the threshold to pass the proposed transit reform.

Measure R is a comprehensive plan to reduce traffic countywide, improve safety measures and enhance the quality of life in Los Angeles County. From the San Gabriel Valley to the Santa Monica Pier, the plan will finance new and existing transportation projects and programs that will lead to repaired streets and highways, new bus and rail lines, reduced air pollution, child asthma rates and lower commute times.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky
Assemblyman Mike Feuer
Councilmember Wendy Greuel
MTA Board Member Richard Katz

Discuss passage of Measure R

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
9:45 AM

Southwest corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Veteran Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024



Street Corner Rallies & Press Conference on Monday

Those of you, readers, in our Facebook group already have heard the news about the Yes on Measure R rallies going on, but we wanted to remind everyone to come out Sunday & Monday:

Measure R Rallies Continue Sunday & Monday: Volunteers Needed

We need Volunteers to join these Measure R mini-rallies.  People can just choose a site closest to them and join in.  Each site will have an anchor-person there with signs and banners.


Yes on Measure R mini- rallies on major street corners throughout LA County. Pre-Assigned Anchors will bring signs and materials, volunteers show up and help.

Remaining Times:

·    Sunday , Nov 2:  12 – 5 pm
·    Monday, Nov 3, 3 pm press conference/rally at Union Station, afterwards disperse to intersections until 7 p.m.

Locations for Rallies on Major Street Corners:

Bruin & Trojan Faceoff:  UCLA Bruins vs USC Trojans:
Wilshire & Westwood
Figueroa & Exposition

San Fernando Valley

Ventura Blvd & Sepulveda Blvd/405
Victory & Van Nuys

San Gabriel Valley :

Colorado Blvd & Fair Oaks Ave  in Pasadena
Rosemead & Garvey Ave in South El Monte

La Cienega Blvd. & Pico Blvd. in West LA
Santa Monica Bl & San Vicente Blvd

South Bay/Long Beach
Sepulveda Blvd & Hawthorne Blvd (Torrance)
Sepulveda & El Segundo Blvd in El Segundo

Downtown LA
Figueroa & Wilshire Blvd
Wilshire Blvd & Vermont Ave


Daily Breeze says “‘YES’ on MEASURE R: A lifeline for commuters”

‘YES’ on MEASURE R: A lifeline for commuters

Daily Breeze Editorial

Examining a ballot measure often goes like this: The main idea sounds good, but the more one studies the details, the more uneasy one becomes.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Measure R, however, is different. The main idea, raising Los Angeles County’s sales tax one-half cent to fund transportation improvements, does raise some red flags, especially during an economic downturn. But we think that the more voters examine MeasureR, the more they will be inclined to support it.

Over the course of its life — Measure R sunsets in 30 years — it would raise $40billion for transportation projects throughout the county, including the South Bay. A key theme running through Measure R is encouraging people to try alternatives to pollution-spewing single-passenger car trips. This would not only help the county cope with an expected population increase of 2million people by 2030, but it would help prevent many illnesses related to air pollution, including asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer. It would create 210,000 jobs, mostly in construction, to help boost the economy, creating an expanded transportation network that would drive future economic development.

Measure R offers direct benefits for the South Bay: the addition of a Green Line spur to Los Angeles International Airport and a Green Line extension to what’s really the heart of the South Bay, the South Bay Galleria. With the Green Line reaching LAX, the airport could then fund a people mover to whisk travelers from the LAX Green Line station to their terminals.

The measure would fund major South Bay ramp and interchange improvements to the 405, 105, 110 and 91 freeways. These upgrades, in turn, would improve the traffic flow on key arterials in the South Bay.

A transitway along Crenshaw Boulevard connecting a Westside light rail line with the Green Line would see its construction accelerated if Measure R passes.

The measure contains language that would send $227 million to the Gardena Municipal Bus Lines, Beach Cities Transit and Torrance Transit over the next 30 years. And it would maintain current Metro fares for seniors, students and the disabled through 2015.

Measure R also returns 15 percent of the funds collected to municipal governments and unincorporated areas to provide transportation-related improvements such as signal synchronization and bike routes. Indeed, during the first year, South Bay cities would get a combined total of $6.6 million for improvements. Some of this money could be pooled toward regional projects, such as using the Harbor Subdivision rail line for mass transit.

Don Szerlip, a former Redondo Beach city councilman and a member of the South Bay Metro Governance Council, argues that passage of the measure would help the South Bay finally get its fair share of transportation money. And unlike bond funding, all of the new revenues collected would go directly toward needed projects in a classic pay-as-you-go fashion.

We think the desperate need to improve transportation options in the county argues for the passage of Measure R. Voter approval, however, won’t be easy because that requires two-thirds of voters to say “Yes.”

But according to MTA board member Richard Katz, the measure should appeal to many voters because it would make such a difference in people’s lives — in the areas of health, economic development and, above all, reducing the daily misery of L.A. commuters.

The cost for the average person per year should be about $25. But that cost can be recouped many times over by people taking advantage of the expanding transportation options. Even if they use mass transit only a couple times per week, the savings in fuel and car maintenance costs will more than make up for the higher sales tax expenditure.

Even getting a relatively small percentage of drivers onto alternative transportation can make a huge difference during rush hour. We think this measure offers a unique opportunity to greatly improve the transportation system in all areas of the county, and that helps everyone. On Election Day, vote “Yes” on Measure R.


Daily News Endorses Measure R!

Big news, LA’s second largest newspaper, The Daily News, just endorsed Measure R!

Key highlights: “It makes better sense to put the transportation money where the problem is, and the Westside corridor – which is one of the major work centers for Southern California – is so bad it radiates traffic horror to every corner of the city almost every day. When crime is up in Pacoima, the LAPD doesn’t beef up patrols in Westchester just to be fair.”

LA Daily News editorial

Measure R flawed, but needed


Over a barrel. Under the gun. Between a rock and hard place. Back against the wall. In a corner.

There are dozens of clichés that describe where Los Angeles is when it comes to Measure R, the sales tax increase for transportation projects. Sadly, they are all apt.

Like it or not, we desperately need Measure R. For decades we have failed to make a serious investment in transportation, and now Angelenos are paying the price with long, costly commutes, millions of wasted hours, dirty air and an eroding quality of life. We’ve deferred making a real investment in the local transportation system – freeways and buses, road improvements and traffic signals – for so many years that the dribbles of funding from the state bonds or from federal transportation bills don’t even pay for emergencies.

We’re not thrilled with a tax during an economic downturn, and we don’t think voters will be either. But we’re recommending that voters make the tough, unpleasant and counterintuitive decision to support a sales tax hike of one-half of 1percent during tough times.

It’s a tough choice for a much-needed expense. There are many things to dislike about Measure R, starting with its long life span of 30 years. As well, sales taxes are inherently regressive, hitting those at the lower end of the economic spectrum the hardest. In this case, however, the lack of good public transportation costs poorer Angelenos a disproportionate amount already. For their benefit, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has thrown in a delay of planned fare increases to sweeten this tax.

A sales tax is also more honest than a parcel or bond that puts the tax burden only on property owners. In this case, two-thirds of the voters must decide that paying an extra 50 cents for every $100 in purchases is worth having a Westside subway, for getting the Valley’s Orange Line extension a few years earlier or for the many other projects to be funded by the measure. There’s also the upside of creating thousands of jobs to improve L.A.

It’s true that much of the money will go to the so-called “subway to the sea” and other Westside projects. That’s what got L.A. County Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Gloria Molina working against the measure. They aren’t complaining about raising taxes on their constituents during tough times; they just want an equal share of the revenues – whether they need it or not. In fact, they’re supporting another sales tax in the spring that will give their regions more of the revenue from any sales tax. That’s pork-barrel spending at its worst.

It makes better sense to put the transportation money where the problem is, and the Westside corridor – which is one of the major work centers for Southern California – is so bad it radiates traffic horror to every corner of the city almost every day. When crime is up in Pacoima, the LAPD doesn’t beef up patrols in Westchester just to be fair. Besides, this money will go a long way toward transportation projects that improve things for everyone in the greater Los Angeles region.

We’ve reached the point where the leaks in Los Angeles County’s transportation system can no longer be ignored. We can’t count on the state or the feds to bail us out. We must make the hard choice. Will we let our transportation system deteriorate or will we make the sacrifice and invest in our future?

Appearance on KABC 790

Tonight I did an hour-long segment on voters should Measure R, on Talkradio 790 KABC-AM, with host John Phillips. John fostered a worthwhile debate (he opposes Measure R); special thanks to my colleague Rob Carpenter for his important role in helping frame the pro-Measure R arguements.

I don’t think it’s available online, but we are working on getting an MP3 of it.


Our “Yes on R” Op-Ed Runs in LA Business Journal

Breaking News: The Los Angeles Business Journal has just published t this op-ed on Measure R that we (Rob & David) wrote:

Measure R an important step in easing area transit issues


The transformation of Los Angeles’ transportation system from an abysmal failure to a stunning success will be enormously difficult. Yet it is absolutely unavoidable. Our quality of life, economy, environment and civic pride are all at stake. The fact is Los Angeles now has a profound choice between investing aggressively in congestion relief or surrendering to the cynicism, regionalism and defeatism that have crippled our county for decades. It’s that simple. Transforming Los Angeles is not just about supporting Measure R, Los Angeles County’s half-cent sales tax on the Nov. 4 ballot to generate $40 billion in new transportation funding, it’s about our values, priorities and future as Angelenos.

We experience the worst traffic and pollution in America, lose billions in economic productivity, and spend more time away from our family, friends and favorite hobbies – all because of gridlocked vehicles. We don’t currently have a built-out mass transit system, and traffic will dramatically worsen in the coming decades unless we reverse this disastrous trend – and reverse it now. Measure R is the first step in a gigantic leap Los Angeles must take to rescue itself. Unlikely allies, ranging from the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO, from the Valley Industry and Commerce Association to the League of Conservation Voters, recognize this crisis and support Measure R because they understand we need a strategy that will sustain Los Angeles for the next generation.

The reality is we must get serious about traffic relief. If we do, we will reinvent Los Angeles, ease congestion, bolster our economy and create jobs, and reduce carbon emissions. If we don’t, traffic will increase dramatically, our business climate and quality of life will continue to worsen, our air quality will deteriorate and we will remain the laughingstock of the nation. We have a choice between climbing out of our hole for the first time or asking for a bigger shovel to dig deeper. A choice between a healthy, successful future or an unhealthy, failed past.

Here’s how we start to solve this mess. Measure R specifically helps address this crisis by focusing on street improvements, rail expansion, traffic reduction, public transportation and quality-of-life improvements. For a half-cent sales tax increase, Measure R will:

• Generate between $32 billion and $40 billion in urgently needed funds over 30 years.

• Cost the average resident $25 per year.

• Stimulate our economy by creating 210,000 transportation jobs.

• Maintain local control over funds, to avoid raids by Sacramento, with such protections as an independent citizens oversight committee and yearly audits.

• Allocate 15 percent of the money to local cities for signal synchronization, street repair and other projects.

• Jump-start more than 25 projects, including current and future efforts like the Gold Line and Expo Line extensions, “subway to the sea” and desperately needed freeway improvements on the 5, 405, 110, 710 and 605 freeways

Measure R clearly is the most decisive and historic transportation effort in a generation. It fairly distributes revenues throughout the county based on commute patterns, job density, existing infrastructure needs and highly congested areas. No matter where Angelenos live, we will all benefit from this. East or west, north or south, we can all use the interconnectedness of the new and improved roads, highways, bridges and transit. The authors of this opinion piece live on the Eastside and Westside of the county, and our neighbors understand Angelenos everywhere benefit by having a more built-out system.

It is unquestionable, however, that more transportation money will be needed beyond Measure R to substantially complete and transform our system; nor is Measure R itself perfect. But we can’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. At a time when oil prices are outrageous, unemployment is high and our economy is suffering, Measure R provides energy independence, better transportation options, creates 200,000 jobs and reinvests billions in our local economy. In a county as diverse as it is large, Measure R is a giant leap forward in addressing all of our needs. It is a meaningful short- and long-term traffic relief and economic stimulus package.

Now is the time to take major steps to re-establish our transportation system. If Angelenos can overcome the cynicism, parochialism and defeatism of the failed past, we can create a dramatically brighter future for ourselves, our environment and our economy. We can reinvigorate Los Angeles, build a world-class transportation system and be a stunning model of reform.

Measure R can be the first step toward that reality.

Rob Carpenter and David Murphy are social entrepreneurs and co-founders of Building L.A.’s Future: Ending Gridlock in Los Angeles.

LA Times Endorsement of Measure R

The LA Times got it right in their editorial:

Editorial  (Los Angeles Times)
Yes on Measure R
It’s a tough time to seek a tax hike, but Measure R is worth it.
October 9, 2008

Los Angeles is as famous for its traffic congestion as it is for its sunsets and palm trees, and it has paid a steep price, in smog and gridlock, for its love affair with cars. Belated attempts to devise a functional public transit system have run up against a shortage of funding and a steep hike in construction costs, producing only a patchwork of street buses and light-rail lines, as well as a single dedicated busway and a single subway line — which don’t connect well with one another, not to mention with the parts of the county where they’re most needed. Measure R would help change that.

The measure would impose a sales tax increase of half a cent on the dollar in Los Angeles County, raising the rate to 8.75% (tying Alameda County for the highest sales tax rate in California). The money would pay for a wide range of transportation projects, including an extension of the subway toward the Westside, light-rail extensions through the San Gabriel Valley, dedicated busways in the San Fernando Valley and a host of highway improvements. Overall, 65% of the money would go to transit, 20% to highways and 15% to cities for such things as fixing potholes and synchronizing traffic signals.

The official opposition to Measure R comes mainly from politicians from far-flung parts of the county who claim that they wouldn’t get their fair share of the tax money; they tend to favor a regional distribution scheme in which funds would be split evenly. That’s not just parochial, it’s naive. A well-designed transportation network relieves bottlenecks in places where demand is greatest, and such high-density corridors aren’t evenly distributed on the map. The projects to be funded by Measure R have been well chosen to maximize efficiency and thus give taxpayers the best bang for their bucks regardless of where they live. County residents tend to commute far from their homes, and they would see a traffic benefit even if nothing is built in their neighborhoods; they’d also enjoy improvements in air quality.

Although big cities often use sales taxes to pay for transportation improvements, it’s not an ideal method. We’d rather see these projects funded by motorists, via higher vehicle registration fees or gas taxes. That would properly place the burden of relieving our traffic and smog problems on those who cause them. Sales taxes, by contrast, hurt low-income people the most and do nothing to discourage driving. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only politically tenable course. Tax increases require a two-thirds vote for approval, and polls show that the sales tax is the only funding source that comes close to reaching that level of public acceptance.

Measure R’s timing is problematic — voters will be understandably reluctant to approve a tax hike during an economic downturn. Yet, if it fails, it might be many years before another such measure comes along, during which gridlock and pollution will only worsen. L.A. County residents have a chance to turn our Third World transit network into something more befitting a world-class metropolitan area, and they should take it by approving Measure R.