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Commentary: BHUSD Supports 'Coalition to Defeat Measure J'

The coalition is comprised of the Bus Riders Union, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, the No 710 Action Committee, Congress of Racial Equality-CA and La Basta of East Los Angeles.

The following is an email written Tuesday, Oct. 16, by Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education member Lewis Hall.

Yesterday, I visited the African-American Cultural Center in the Crenshaw area where people representing groups from all over Los Angeles were meeting to oppose Measure J. Today I attended their press conference. In case you don't know, this is a ballot measure that will extend our sales taxes a half cent for another 30 years, to 2069. The school board unanimously voted on a resolution to oppose this measure, but because of Ed Code we cannot join the coalition, only individually support them. In other words, I can't speak for the Board, but I can for myself, which I'm doing here. 

This is an important vote, and you need to decide for yourselves the wisdom of extending a sales tax out to 2069. I doubt if I'll be around then, but my children will be and hopefully I'll have some grandchildren around then too and even their children. The decision we make today will affect them.

Do you want the current Metro Board to spend your children's money? I've attended MTA board meetings, and what I've learned, along with talking with others across the city, has made me very uncomfortable. 

To help you with your decision, here is a link to this past weekend's Los Angeles Times editorial. Okay, I can hear you now, "What? This is actually in favor of the measure!" Yes, but I hope you read it carefully, especially the sentence, "A new US Department of Transportation program allows municipalities to borrow money for transportation projects, which could be repaid with Measure J funds." And then later, at the end of the article, "If Angelenos of the future decide they don't want to continue paying the half-cent sales tax, they can vote to sunset it." Seriously? How exactly will our children pay back this loan if they choose to abolish this tax? And Metro has every intention of using Measure J to borrow money for their projects, many ill-conceived. One project we all know about—their plan to tunnel under our high school.

An Orange County Register editorial that came out yesterday against Measure J is worth reading. This article makes a lot more sense than the LA Times editorial.

You might hear more from me about this as we get closer to the election, but I wanted to send this out in case some of you are planning on using mail-in ballots to vote now. I hope you vote...NO ON MEASURE J.

Lewis Hall
BHUSD School Board Member 

Do you support or oppose Measure J? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

AJ Willmer October 18, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I support Measure J, just as I supported Measure R before it. "Measure J wouldn't increase anybody's taxes, but it would extend the tax approved under Measure R for another 30 years — from its current expiration date of 2039 to 2069. That would allow transit managers to borrow money on the bond market in the near future to be repaid from anticipated tax revenues that would roll in after 2039, which should allow them to accelerate construction on a list of up to 15 projects that were already in the works thanks to Measure R. What this means is that, ideally, the projects could be completed in a matter of years rather than decades. The projects slated for acceleration include an extension of the Gold Line light rail eastward, the Westside subway, an extension of the Green Line to L.A. International Airport, improvements to the 5 Freeway in northern L.A. County, ramp and interchange improvements on the 405, 110 and 91 freeways, and sound-wall construction countywide."
Gabriel Strachota October 18, 2012 at 02:59 AM
For more info visit: www.NoOnMeasureJ.net
LAofAnaheim October 18, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Whoever votes no on J should not be allowed to complain about traffic on Wilshire boulevard in 2022. Also, this ridiculous arguement that passing Measure J cuts bus service is dumbfounded. The reason there was bus cuts since '06 was 1) the Consent Decree ended, which artificially increased bus service and 2) cuts in state transportation funding, so the 15% that Measure R/J dedicates helped backfill transit money that would have been lost. If you think bus cuts are worse now, imagine if you didn't have the 15% from Measure R.

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