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Politicians Catch Some Forum Flak

October 22, 1989

I strongly disagree with Susan Brown's perception of the Exposition Light Rail Forum held Sept. 13 at St. Timothy's Catholic Church (Times letters, Oct. 15).

Organizers of this staged event whipped the crowd into an anti-rail frenzy as they denounced the proposed rail line. The only person allowed to speak on its behalf was Neil Peterson, executive director of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. He was often interrupted and shouted down.

What really irked me was seeing political opportunists at the forum. There was City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, who has been under heavy criticism in the La Cienega/Airdrome community for supporting a large development. It appeared to me that the councilman was only too happy to divert negative attention away from this touchy issue onto light rail. Also using the Exposition Boulevard light-rail proposal as a political whipping boy was Laura Lake, who unsuccessfully challenged Yaroslavsky for his council seat.

And the so-called experts, like Marvin Wachs, with broken-record excuses why the light-rail line won't work, were ludicrous. Professor Wachs likes to use profit as a criterion for the success of the line. This is bunk. No transportation system pays for itself. The most inefficient transportation system in the United States is highways--and roads are subsidized more heavily than airlines and railroads combined.

FRANK L. BETTGER

Los Angeles

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