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Prop. A and MTA Subway Funds

October 25, 1998

* Re "No on Proposition A," editorial, Oct. 20: Finally, someone with sense and chutzpah tells Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky that his sledgehammer approach to solving MTA problems is shortsighted, vindictive and not in the interests of the city and county.

Having recently returned from vacation in the Big Apple, my wife and I commented about the efficiency of both the subway and bus system not only in New York but other major metropolitan areas. Why can't we overcome the political turmoil and inefficiencies in administration to build a transit system that will truly serve the needs of citizens as we enter the next century?

Until leaders like Yaroslavsky put their own political futures aside for the benefits of the community at large, Los Angeles will always have a third-rate mass transit system. A no vote on Proposition A is a vote for common sense!

LEO WEILMANN

Woodland Hills

* Your editorial opposing Proposition A--the MTA reform initiative which I wrote and qualified for next month's ballot--flies directly in the face of years of Times reporting that has exhaustively detailed the waste, mismanagement and outright corruption which has afflicted the agency and compromised its mission to provide cost-effective regional public transportation in our county.

After readily conceding that Proposition A would increase citizen oversight, end costly and deadly subway construction disasters, save impacted merchants from subway-spawned financial ruin and assist bus riders, The Times nevertheless rejects the measure. Why? Because "miracles do sometimes happen," and the MTA "just might get its finances in order."

After 23 years of public service dedicated to budget and fiscal responsibility, I would respectfully submit that betting on miracles and long shots is an exceedingly poor way to manage the public's business--just ask Orange County.

The current subway project is costing $300 million per mile to build. This project is financially unsustainable and is destined to lead the MTA over the financial precipice. Why we would want to keep open the bankruptcy option is beyond me. There are far less expensive options, such as light rail and bus transit ways, that are far more appropriate for Los Angeles.

ZEV YAROSLAVSKY

L.A. County Supervisor

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