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Organizer Defends Light Rail Forum

October 15, 1989

I am responding to the published letter from Lillian Laskin on Sept. 24.

The Exposition Light Rail Forum of Sept. 13, brought together a variety of opinions: the executive director of the L.A. County Transportation Commission who is the county's top rail builder, a homeowner association president opposed to the rail system, two affected L.A. City Councilmen, and transportation experts who are not on the payroll of rail advocates. What other responsible viewpoint could there be?

To Ms. Laskin, I would like to say that fewer than 25 hands out of over 500 people supported a rail system, not the 30% she states. When she criticized the Forum for not presenting a pro-rail speaker, is she ignoring the fact that both the executive director of the Transportation Commission and L.A. City Council's representative to the commission both spoke? If she did not hear a pro-rail presentation from them, maybe she should question them.

We are greatly concerned about L.A.'s traffic congestion and what solution there may be. To that end, we personally met with or interviewed by phone every transportation planner we found from USC, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. The six experts, to the person, stated the same message: Fixed rail is not the solution for this community. They explained that our homes and jobs are decentralized and scattered, that the commuting patterns of this area do not match the Exposition route; that the necessary high population density is not here. It was from these six experts that we invited two to speak at the forum.

For decades, urban and transportation experts, along with the federal government, have been collecting and analyzing data on urban rail systems throughout the country. Their conclusions are the same. Rail is not effective.

What we need is not another failed, exorbitant rail system. Rather, what we need is to pay attention to the ideas of the transportation experts who are independent of the rail developers.

Finally, Ms. Laskin's reference to "hysteria and intimidation" at the forum is inexplicable. Even the gentleman representing the Transportation Commission voluntarily told the organizers, the moderator Laura Lake, and the press how polite the audience was and how well organized the event was.

SUSAN BROWN

president, Cheviot Hills

Homeowners Assn.

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