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The Outlook for the MTA

November 26, 1995

It is distressing that an organization that provides a vital public service to more than 1 million transit riders every day should be in a position which merits editorial notice such as your "Make or Break: MTA Is at a Decisive Point" (Nov. 13).

We have no intention of pointing fingers; enough people have already taken on that assignment. However, if one were to try to find the "beginning of the end," one need only look back to the infamous "30-year plan" of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission.

Unfortunately, rather than totally scrap that design for disaster, the MTA tried to hedge with a "20-year plan" that is equally as unrealistic.

The crisis is now. People need public transit now. The only way to give the people what they need is by improving and increasing the levels and schedules of bus service.

EARL CLARK, General Chairman

United Transportation Union

Irwindale

*

Franklin White is being made a scapegoat at the MTA. For as long as I can remember and long before White arrived in Los Angeles, the MTA has been a political hotbed, and White's predecessor had some of the same problems and even more controversy.

I am convinced that anybody who is at the head of an effort to build transportation systems is targeted because it creates change, is unsettling to neighborhoods and politicians and involves enormous amounts of money.

The real question is why does Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan appear to be totally unable to work with African Americans? He has targeted one black city manager after another.

Whether Dick Riordan is a racist is not absolutely clear. What is clear is that he continues to attack extremely well-qualified African Americans with nationwide reputations and major successes at their prior assignments. The mayor should quickly move to correct the impression that he can't work with African American professionals. If it is wrong.

MELANIE E. LOMAX

Los Angeles

*

Mayor Richard Riordan should fire MTA chief Franklin E. White! He's created a subway system no one can find. After a business lunch with a friend of mine at the Los Angeles Athletic Club recently, I suggested he take the MTA's subway back to Union Station. He could then easily connect with his Amtrak train to Del Mar rather than taking a taxi. What a mistake!

We walked from the club over to Pershing Square, which is a short block. Then we spent five minutes trying to find the entrance to the subway. There are no signs! It's hidden away at the northeast corner. No one, including two cops, knew where the subway entrance was. What a joke! But it's not funny when you realize it's costing billions of taxpayer dollars.

MICHAEL GRACE

Los Angeles

*

The MTA's many problems are not just the result of a lack of oversight by its management ("Make or Break: MTA Is at a Decisive Point," editorial, Nov. 13).

The composition of its board of directors has resulted in parochial transit investments that benefit special interests, and not the countywide needs of taxpayers.

To correct these shortcomings, legislation needs to be introduced to reconstitute the MTA board to reflect the interests of the county's dispersed population and employment centers--its 88 cities and vast unincorporated communities. An 11-member board consisting of four City Council members representing the county's other 87 cities, the five county supervisors, one Los Angeles City Council member and the Mayor of Los Angeles would reflect the county's diverse needs.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

Supervisor, Fifth District

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