LA Weekly has an article which discusses how a half cent sales tax increase, to support public transportation projects, which may be built in sections of Los Angeles, other than the San Fernando Valley, is angering the San Fernando Valley.
If the sales tax is approved this month for placement on the November ballot by the state Legislature and Arnold Schwarzenegger — and that question is up in the air as chaos unfolds over the budget in Sacramento — and if voters approve it this fall, the new sales tax would raise $40 billion over 30 years.
Most of the grandest projects would serve the Westside and South Los Angeles: $1 billion to build the Expo light-rail line from downtown to Santa Monica; $235 million for the vaguely defined Crenshaw Transit Corridor; nearly $1 billion to partially build a Subway to the Sea.
Opposition comes from such SFV power brokers as the DAILY NEWS and the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association.
The Valley’s history of getting shortchanged is also coloring its leaders’ suspicions — again. Until this spring, Ron Kaye was editor of the Valley-based Daily News, who often focused his editorials on a downtown-centric City Hall that chronically drains the outlying areas to spend the money elsewhere.
The last time Valley residents backed a similar sales-tax increase, in fact, City Hall politicians promised sweeping transit fixes for the Valley. Instead, Kaye says, “At the Daily News, there was a tabulation that the Valley had paid $2 billion to $3 billion [toward local transit projects] and had gotten a $300 million busway” for its troubles. That busway, the Orange Line, is already groaning at full capacity.
What is all the “anger” really about? Power. Small fry papers and homeowners associations need a rallying point to bring people together and “defeat” projects that would ultimately benefit all of greater Los Angeles. These local entities survive and thrive on NIMBY political provincialism which pits one section of the city against another.
The garishly prosperous neighborhood of Sherman Oaks is one of the least suffering areas of Los Angeles in terms of health care, housing, education and conveniences. Yes, it sits under the same blanket of smog that chokes East Los Angeles, but imagine that there is actually resentment here that a crummy half cent tax might allow Los Angeles to finally build a real train from downtown to the ocean.
“They promise the Valley great transit lines, and then they build them in other areas,” says Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association and a former leader of the Valley secession movement. “Unless you have a Valley government, we get nothing. We get crumbs. This is just another indication of it.”
Oh, the horror of it! Yes, we need to take the Valley out of Los Angeles and pull away further from the rest of the city and stop robbing the good folks of Encino, Sherman Oaks and Studio City by funding projects that might reduce the number of cars sitting on the 101 and 405. Stop that sales tax because the wheels of my car never travel south of Mullholland…..