The Valley is an Island.


LA Weekly has an article which discusses how a half cent sales tax increase, to support public transportation projects, which may be built in sections of Los Angeles, other than the San Fernando Valley, is angering the San Fernando Valley.

If the sales tax is approved this month for placement on the November ballot by the state Legislature and Arnold Schwarzenegger — and that question is up in the air as chaos unfolds over the budget in Sacramento — and if voters approve it this fall, the new sales tax would raise $40 billion over 30 years.

Most of the grandest projects would serve the Westside and South Los Angeles: $1 billion to build the Expo light-rail line from downtown to Santa Monica; $235 million for the vaguely defined Crenshaw Transit Corridor; nearly $1 billion to partially build a Subway to the Sea.

Opposition comes from such SFV power brokers as the DAILY NEWS and the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association.

The Valley’s history of getting shortchanged is also coloring its leaders’ suspicions — again. Until this spring, Ron Kaye was editor of the Valley-based Daily News, who often focused his editorials on a downtown-centric City Hall that chronically drains the outlying areas to spend the money elsewhere.

The last time Valley residents backed a similar sales-tax increase, in fact, City Hall politicians promised sweeping transit fixes for the Valley. Instead, Kaye says, “At the Daily News, there was a tabulation that the Valley had paid $2 billion to $3 billion [toward local transit projects] and had gotten a $300 million busway” for its troubles. That busway, the Orange Line, is already groaning at full capacity.

What is all the “anger” really about? Power. Small fry papers and homeowners associations need a rallying point to bring people together and “defeat” projects that would ultimately benefit all of greater Los Angeles. These local entities survive and thrive on NIMBY political provincialism which pits one section of the city against another.

The garishly prosperous neighborhood of Sherman Oaks is one of the least suffering areas of Los Angeles in terms of health care, housing, education and conveniences. Yes, it sits under the same blanket of smog that chokes East Los Angeles, but imagine that there is actually resentment here that a crummy half cent tax might allow Los Angeles to finally build a real train from downtown to the ocean.


“They promise the Valley great transit lines, and then they build them in other areas,” says Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association and a former leader of the Valley secession movement. “Unless you have a Valley government, we get nothing. We get crumbs. This is just another indication of it.”

Oh, the horror of it! Yes, we need to take the Valley out of Los Angeles and pull away further from the rest of the city and stop robbing the good folks of Encino, Sherman Oaks and Studio City by funding projects that might reduce the number of cars sitting on the 101 and 405. Stop that sales tax because the wheels of my car never travel south of Mullholland…..

4 thoughts on “The Valley is an Island.

  1. Los Angeles’s transportation system is a joke. No amount of new government money is going to fix the transportation system in L.A.. 50 years of poor planning have dug a hole too deep to get out of. Maybe the new subway line will be as useless as the stupid train here. JOKE!

  2. The Valley is very well served by public transport. Believe it or not, my husband actually doesn’t drive and manages to get around via MTA pretty successfully. My worry is this half-cent sales tax hike will be used for something other than tranportation.

  3. The Valley got one end of LA’s first subway, and one end of the I-405 corridor in the proposed sales tax. It would have gotten rail instead of the Orange Line busway but for NIMBYism.

    For more on the sales tax projects see the second and third posts at LA Visions.

  4. they conveniently ignore the less affluent areas of the sfv–van nuys, pacoima, panorama city–that also pay their fair share in taxes and are getting the shaft in terms of return on their tax dollars n the form of transportation in this instance. how about some kind of mass transit line running parallel along the 405 to alleviate congestion? they point the finger at the daily news, but that bleeding heart liberal rag the la weekly runs stories about ‘fighting the power’ all the time. so they can do it, but it’s not okay for the residents of sherman oaks and encino to do it? great blog, by the way…

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