Breaking: Mansoor to file legislation stopping OCTA’s plans to make us a Toll Lane County.


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I was just getting ready to write another Toll Lane piece.

This one was going to be called “Moving Target:  OCTA’s Ever-Shifting Rationales for Making the OC a Toll Lane County.”

Cuz that’s another interesting, entertaining and infuriating thing about this:  Every year, sometimes every month, the pro-Toll forces at OCTA, Caltrans, and the Pringle Ring (OC Tax, OCBC) have a new justification for why we need tolls, why tolls will be good, or why they’re inevitable, and why we don’t have a choice, and reasons why two new simple free lanes on the 405 is just impossible and a horrible idea.  And every time those arguments are answered, they come up with new ones.  You ever notice, in your own life, how people who are full of shit do that – keep coming up with new excuses and pretexts?

Also notice, in my title – I’m doing my best not to let the Toll Trolls divide and conquer us.  Never forget they’re STARTING with the 405 but they want to eventually do this to the whole County – they’ve said so themselves in incautious moments.  They want to make the OC a TOLL LANE COUNTY – even though we already tax ourselves for our own freeway improvements.

And this was to have been ready for Monday morning’s big meeting (advertised on our side bar.)  It seems that the politicians on the OCTA Board have developed a bit of cold feet over making such an unpopular decision as okaying toll lanes this year – for which we can only be thankful.  Their move looks an awful lot like last year’s – okay Alternative 1, which entails much of the same construction as either Alt 2 or 3 would, while keeping alive the possibility of adding tolls next year when nobody’s paying attention, and also spending OCTA money on Lucy Dunn-style “education” of the public about the Glory and Wonder of “managed lanes.”

But I’m not writing that story today, because there’s a new spanner in the works, which should set the Toll Trolls back on their hind legs.  Just out from Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) :

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 6, 2013

Contact: Saulo Londono, (714) 227-4009

MEDIA ADVISORY: ASM. MANSOOR PRESS CONFERENCE

 Assemblyman Allan Mansoor to Introduce Legislation to Stop Toll Lanes on the 405

Will hold press conference prior to Monday’s OCTA Board Meeting

Costa Mesa – Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) announces that he will be holding a press conference on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. outside of the OCTA headquarters in Orange, announcing his intention to introduce legislation to stop toll lanes on the 405.

The press conference will feature representatives from city councils along the 405 Improvement Corridor and will take place immediately prior to the OCTA board meeting where OCTA directors will vote on a proposal to implement toll lanes on the 405 freeway.

City council members from cities along the 405 Improvement Project including:

Mayor Jim Righeimer (Costa Mesa); Councilmember Diana Carey (Westminster); Mayor Matt Harper (Huntington Beach, OCTA Director); Mayor Gary Miller (Seal Beach, OCTA Director); Mayor Warren Kusumoto (Los Alamitos); Mayor Michael Vo (Fountain Valley); Mayor Tri Ta (Westminster)

WHAT: Press conference announcing legislation to stop toll lanes on the 405

WHERE:
Outside the Orange County Transportation Authority Headquarters
550 S. Main St.
Orange, CA

WHEN:
Monday, December 9, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.

Immediately before the OCTA board meeting where OCTA directors will vote on toll lanes for the 405.

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Vern again.  What will be the language of this bill?  Good question, I wanted to know too and I called.  It’s going to be worked out with the leaders of the Corridor Cities over the next month and then introduced in January.

Next question.  Will this cause the OCTA toll trolls to over-react Monday morning and quickly approve tolls while they still can?  Ha ha ha!  I can’t see how that would work.  The staff recommendation is already what I described above, Alt 1 plus education plus toll vote possibility next year;  I don’t see how they could suddenly and quickly change that recommendation on account of THIS development, along with coming up with a new phony reason for the change.  And the Board who will be making the decision is always happy to have an excuse not to.

Next question.  Will the bill pass?  We Democrats who fought hard for Phu Nguyen three years ago used to make fun of Allan and say he’d never get anything passed in the assembly, between being part of the (now SUPER-)minority, AND coming into this heavily Latino house with a reputation as an immigration hardliner – they will give him a BROOM CLOSET for an office, we used to snark.  Now here we are hoping he’s got the juice!  Has he passed ANY bills these three years, I asked his guy.  One.  In 2012.  It was a bill to get rid of the word “retarded” in California legislation.  Don’t laugh, that’s nice.  When Allan’s bill is done, we need to work to get DEMOCRAT votes.  Jose Solorio has been real strong on this issue and should be a great help lobbying his old (and future?) colleagues.  California’s Democratic legislators will be looking toward Sharon Quirk-Silva for a cue – remember, they used to kneejerk pick on the OC before we had her?  Poor Sharon will be getting lobbied intensely by both sides, we need her to be stronger than she was with Poseidon.  Word already is Tom Daly is hopelessly in the pockets of the Kleptocrats… (or maybe it’s just the building trade unions, who for NO APPARENT REASON are lobbying hard for toll lanes instead of Alt 2.  Hmmm…)

After all that, what if Jerry Brown vetoes the bill?  HE still likes to pick on our County and may have no problem with toll lanes.  But you know what?  How about if this bill passes, takes long enough before passing and getting vetoed that the Board postpones any final vote until after the June primary election, where we might have an initiative to prevent ANY OC toll lanes without a popular vote?  Just thinking out loud here…

Much more to come on this… I’m meeting with Allan soon, and I’ll be at the press conference Monday morning!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County. Performs regularly with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem, and at regular concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library.