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MTA Funds for L.A. County

October 01, 1995

* Re "This Isn't the Time for Pigheadedness," editorial, Sept. 21:

How ironic that many members of the state Legislature who have criticized Los Angeles County for alleged excessive borrowing in the past should be so insistent that the Board of Supervisors now borrow an additional $100 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. And how hypocritical for The Times, which has voiced similar criticisms in the past, to urge us to accept the offer.

The county does not need to borrow more money. What it needs is the probation camp and disproportionate share hospital funding that had overwhelming support in Sacramento but fell victim to partisan squabbling at 4:30 a.m. on the final day of the legislative session. In addition, the county needs relief from exorbitant state-mandated welfare costs; but again, when duty called, the Legislature went AWOL. Our desire is for the state Legislature to repeal all unfunded mandates, and to implement the structural reforms proposed by Elizabeth Hill, the legislative analyst!

The money to repay the $100-million MTA loan would come from transit funds apportioned to the unincorporated areas of the county. Not only would it be unjust to saddle 1 million residents of our unincorporated areas alone with the burden of countywide expenditures, it would also divert funds from those who are most vulnerable and transit dependent, namely the poor, the elderly, students and the disabled.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

Supervisor, Fifth District

* Your editorial urging the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to take the $100-million transfer of funds was right on target. However, it makes no sense for the state Legislature to reconvene in a special session unless the Board of Supervisors accepts the transfer and takes steps to apply to the Commission on Mandates for general assistance relief. If the county had used its existing authority to apply for relief in 1994 and 1995, it already would have saved $140 million.

In addition, I'd like to point out that before the Legislature adjourned, two bills which would have given the Board of Supervisors the tools needed to raise a minimum of $370 annually for L.A. County were opposed by the governor and killed by Assembly Republicans. As long as they continue to block the Democrats' efforts to get additional funds for the county, little will be accomplished with a special session.

RICHARD KATZ

Assembly, D-Sylmar

* In the past, The Times was right on the mark in attacking the county's spending and borrowing practices. That's why it is incomprehensible to me, and I'm sure to your readers, that you are now urging the county to do what you previously assailed it for doing. With the county teetering on the brink of fiscal collapse, your editorial inexplicably lambastes the board for picking the worst time "to draw a line in the sand on budgetary matters." Demanding that the county "forget any effort to be tightfisted" and take the MTA loan, you proclaim, "Under the circumstances, no one appreciates the Board of Supervisors standing on principle in rejecting the $100 million."

Ralph Waldo Emerson derided foolish consistency as the "hobgoblin of little minds." What would he have said of the inconsistency represented by your editorial about-face?

ZEV YAROSLAVSKY

Supervisor, Third District

* Am I the only person in Los Angeles who sees a violation of Proposition 13 by the state Legislature's proposal to turn over $150 million of MTA funds to the L.A. County treasury?

The money of the MTA was voted on by citizens as a .5% addition to the sales tax, for upgrading the transportation system, not to bail out Los Angeles County for overspending for decades.

ALLAN SANFORD

Canoga Park

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