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Short-Sighted Opposition to Rapid Transit

July 29, 1988

I arrived home last night at 11:30 from the 18th meeting of the Citizens' Advisory Panel on Solutions to Valley Transportation. That is a big mouthful, but it does not compare to the work each and every one of the original 32 panel members was assigned when they accepted this thankless task.

No one can deny the congestion, the gridlock, the frustration we all face daily. No one will deny that it will grow worse with each passing week. Yet those few hundreds (I'll even grant thousands) protesting rapid transit in their neighborhood are determined to force the remaining million residents to suffer.

They refuse to accept the fact that we are only considering high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment, which means high speed, rider convenience and comfort, and a far preferable alternative to inching along the Ventura Freeway breathing thousands of other cars' exhaust fumes--and potential accidents and violence.

They refuse to listen to the fact that the vast majority of the panel has insisted upon absolute and completely acceptable mitigation measures for any route that was or is being considered.

When I accepted the appointment to the panel, I had preconceived notions. There is not one of us who didn't. As I stated numerous times, I was willing to throw all of them out, to start fresh, to consider all viable alternatives. I have done so, and I think the majority of the panel has also opened their minds to new alternatives.

But I and many other members truly resent an unruly, discourteous and downright unreasonable few telling us that we are "shameful," "prejudiced," "unwilling to listen," or "doing an immoral act," when in fact we are striving to resolve their problems in a manner equitable to all.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have given up an average of 10 hours every week for the last 3 1/2 months, and that excludes the time that I spent before being appointed to the panel. My husband and daughter, my home and my business have all been adversely affected by this commitment.

So be it. It was time I willingly spent because I feel that we must address not only our own needs, but those of our sons and daughters, and their children.

I greatly regret that some people feel they may be affected because the route that is selected passes through their neighborhood.

But any route that is chosen, aimed at easing an impossible traffic situation in the Valley, will have some opponents. Should we allow the very few to determine the destiny, the life style, the ability of all of us to continue living and working in the Valley for generations to come? I think not.

The panel can only recommend. I hoped for a broad consensus, but 18 weeks of meetings have taught me that this is not possible. Because of this, I , along with the majority of the panel, took the position of complete mitigation for those affected by the route that the LACTC will ultimately choose.

It has been disturbing and degrading to all who had to silently listen to the few hoot, howl and harass an earnest, time-consuming and heart-wrenching attempt by the members of the citizens panel to arrive at a solution which would give the most benefit with the least drawbacks to everyone.

I may be damned by many for writing this letter. I may lose a lot of money in my real estate career. But I could not live with my conscience were I to back off and allow a few to foil the needs of the many.



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