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Measure R: An undecided voter e-mails

October 30, 2008 |  4:00 pm


I've been receiving a steady stream of e-mail all day responding to my piece in today's Calendar section on Measure R, which would raise the sales tax by a half-cent in L.A. County to pay for transit improvements. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the notes have come from readers hoping that the measure will pass -- and who are optimistic about what a comprehensive public-transportation network would mean for urbanism and walkability in Los Angeles.

But I was frankly more intrigued by an e-mail from a reader named Daniel Fink, because it seems to offer a glimpse inside the mind of a voter who is genuinely ambivalent, even conflicted, about Measure R. (His note also displays the utter cynicism about public officials that likely will color election results next week all around the country.) Fink, who gave me permission to use his name and quote from his e-mail, writes:

I still haven't decided if I'm voting yes or no on R. I like the idea of better public transit in LA. When we travel -- London, Paris, Berlin, Prague -- we don't have a car in the cities. We take the subways most of the time, rarely a taxi.

My concern is that my hard earned tax dollars will be wasted .... And that the system will be poorly designed and won't go to and from where people live and want to go.

By the same clowns who built the Green Line but stopped it 1.5 miles short of LAX. WHAT where they thinking? (IF they were thinking!)

By the same clowns who think an at-grade crossing is okay right in front of a busy high school and near several elementary schools, as with the Expo Line.

Who think that Venice Boulevard is too narrow for the Expo Line, but the even narrower Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica is wide enough? How can this be?

Those are my concerns.

I have a feeling lots of other voters feel the same way. And that could spell trouble for a measure that needs two-thirds approval to pass.

-- Christopher Hawthorne

Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times