Your editorial of Jan. 24 takes certain politicians to task for awakening an anti-Japan feeling in this community in connection with the controversy over the Green Line contract award to the Sumitomo Corp. In fact, you cite the "never again" comments that I made at a rally as an example.
First, I want to dispose of the "never again" comment. Your reporter did not quote the full sentence in which I uttered those words. In fact, the manner in which her story was written suggested that my comment had some reference to Pearl Harbor. Your critical editorial was apparently based on this.
Permit me to quote my remark in its entirety: "Never again, never again should the County Transportation Commission, or any agency of this county, ever make a decision in such a vacuum of information, a vacuum of integrity, a vacuum of honesty." Clearly, my statement was a reflection of the rotten decision-making process at the LACTC and nothing else.
The commission was forced to backtrack because its original decision was illogical, costly and wrong. Moreover, the public had figured this out and brought pressure to bear on it to reverse the decision.
The Green Line decision was wrong for several reasons. First, Sumitomo was not the low bidder, coming in over $5 million above its competition. Second, the cost of the automated technology exceeded original estimates by $75 million, prompting the LACTC staff to recommend abandoning the technology. Third, the particular automated technology proposed for the Green Line is untried and untested. Finally, the technology for this line would be incompatible with any other line in existence or being planned for the county's mass transit system.
These are the reasons the overwhelming majority of the public couldn't swallow the LACTC's decision--not Japan-bashing. It is an outrage that even a small number of citizens reacted in a xenophobic manner. However, it is equally regrettable that in voting to reverse their original bad decision, LACTC board members blamed anti-Japan bias for their predicament.
Councilman, Fifth District