Friday, August 8, 2008

Back on Track in Los Angeles

Good news. The Los Angeles County Supervisors have had a change of heart. And it's conservative Republican Don Knabe, not short-sighted & petty Democratic Supervisor of Eastern LA County Gloria Molina, who blocked the measure the first time.

Don Knabe's office:

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe has announced that at the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors, he will enter a motion to reconsider the Board’s previous vote on the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) sales tax measure. Supervisor Knabe has also decided that at the time of the reconsideration he will change his vote from ‘no’ to ‘yes.’

Why, you might ask, did Supervisor Knabe have this change of heart. Was it because he realized that a far more solid rail transit system is critical for the Los Angeles area's future? Of course not. Here's the real reason:

This morning, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk informed the Board of Supervisors that the costs of a concurrent election, with the MTA sales tax appearing as a totally separate ballot in the November election, would cost taxpayers an additional $10.3 million.

The MTA had already justifiably planned to sue to get the measure on the ballot. And being a 'fiscal conservative,' Don Knabe just couldn't bear that.

Although I am against the sales tax plan, I cannot in good conscience burden County residents with over $10 million in higher election costs. The taxpayers will have to pay for these costs, and that is something I will not allow to happen. Additionally, the separate ballots, voter guides, and other resources needed to conduct a separate election on the same day as the Presidential Election could cause unnecessary confusion and challenges for voters. This upcoming election is the most important in many years, and voters deserve better than a potential disaster at their polling place.

Still, Supervisor Knabe deserves plaudits for allowing LA County to avoid the nonsensical additional expenses.

Of course, the supervisors approving putting it on the ballot is not enough, not by California's silly, silly standards. See, even though the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority covers LA County, and only LA County, and the proposed sales tax would affect only LA County, the entire state legislature in addition to the Board of Supervisors must approve the sales tax increase before it can even go on the ballot. And Assemblyman Mike Feuer(D-LA)'s not only still has to pass the Senate, it faces Governor Schwarzenegger's threat of blanket vetoes till the budget passes.

And after all that, the voters still have to approve it. Still, it's at least back on track.

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