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Transportation Corridor Agencies' Claims in Times Ad Challenged

June 13, 1993

* I take issue with several claims made in the Transportation Corridor Agencies' (TCA) advertisement in The Times (June 7). TCA's statement that money for the construction of the San Joaquin, Foothill, and Eastern highways comes from tax-exempt bonds, is disingenuous, obscuring who ultimately pays.

This statement is akin to saying that money to pay for a house comes from a bank, without mentioning that the homeowner has to pay back the bank loan and interest through monthly payments over 30 years.

Homeowners in new developments in South County (Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, and unincorporated neighbors) should be aware that it is them who will bear the substantial cost of paying back the principal and interest on the over $1.1 billion in bonds floated for the San Joaquin Highway.

The TCA claims that "Mello-Roos" fees assessed against South County residents to pay back the bonds are not property taxes. But, when "community facilities district" fees--toll-road assessments, in essence--show up on your property tax bill and push your overall rate above the state-mandated 1% of assessed value, does it matter to the homeowner that TCA considers a substantial part of your bill to not be a property tax?

Keep in mind that, unlike property taxes, toll-road assessments may not be tax-deductible.

South County residents, please examine your property tax bill closely and you will know the unpleasant reality that TCA tries to obscure in their advertisement.

Inform your county supervisor or city council person about how TCA's proposed corridors directly affect your pocketbook in these tough economic times.

The toll roads are a done deal only if you and I allow them to be.

CLAUDIA L. SHAMBAUGH

Irvine

* The Transportation Corridor Agencies recently placed a large display ad in the Times purporting to place some "Facts" before the public.

Aside from the impropriety of using taxpayers' money for such a dubious purpose, the ad itself is so replete with false assertions and deliberately misleading statements that it would take a booklet to set the record straight.

My opposition goes back to the very beginning of the Corridor proposal, and I can respond with accuracy based on personal experience to two of their most egregious claims.

The ad states under Who's in Charge?, "the TCA makes its records available as provided by state law."

As a matter of fact, I have been trying to obtain certain information such as transcripts of meetings, logs of telephone calls, lists of citizens who have been threatened by the TCA.

All of this information is in the public domain and yet the Agency has flat out stonewalled every letter and phone call. I was finally told that I would have to hire an attorney!

Then the ad, under Who Authorized the Corridor?, states that "the plans for the Corridor were the subject of HUNDREDS of hours of public meetings and hearings."

I have attended almost every meeting since 1977, and what the TCA fails to mention is that at each and every meeting, citizen opposition was overwhelming while public support of any kind was nonexistent.

There is one exception; at a 1991 hearing (on the San Joaquin Hills Corridor) held in Santa Ana for final approval of the EIR, a claque was in attendance armed with posters, buttons and other paraphernalia.

These "bodies" were supplied under contract by the TCA from a consulting firm at a cost of at least $35,000 for this charade.

I am certain that hosts of other citizens will respond to the falsehoods contained in the ad.

THOMAS C. ROGERS

San Juan Capistrano

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