Young Kim picks up the anti-Toll Lane torch for the OC. With exclusive video!


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Our toll lane fighters, left to right:  HB Mayor Jill Hardy,

Our toll lane fighters, left to right: HB Mayor Jill Hardy, CM Mayor Steve Mensinger, Assemblywoman Young Kim, Fountain Valley’s Mark McCurdy, Assemblyman Matt Harper, the MAN FROM ROSSMOOR, Westminster’s Diana Lee Carey, Costa Mesa’s Katrina Foley, FV Mayor Steve Nagel, Seal Beach’s Gary Miller also of the OCTA.

Well.  That I wasn’t expecting!   New Assemblyman Matt Harper, who represents at least half of the area that would be affected by the threatened 405 toll lanes, had been expected to bring back something like Allan Mansoor’s dismally failed bill of last year, which would have subjected toll lanes to a 2/3 approval vote of the people in the affected area. 

But as it turned out, the new bill is to be brought forward instead by new Assemblywoman Young Kim of Fullerton, nearly 20 miles north.  It fits because she’s on the Transportation Committee, and I also like that she’s outside of the “Corridor Cities,” given that we know the toll lane threat is going to spread from the 405 countywide.

But it’s painful to a Democrat who supported Kim’s opponent Sharon Quirk-Silva, as I can’t forget that SQS, along with our one other Democrat Tom Daly, despite all the lobbying they got from me and Diana Carey, let Allan’s bill quietly die in committee last year by boldly abstaining (so as not to piss off the dread Teamsters and Building Trades who see toll lanes as a makework slush fund.)

Will Young Kim’s bill have any better luck than Allan’s did, or will the general animosity of Sacramento’s Democratic majority to red OC, and their Union fealty, overcome their sense of justice?  And is there a chance in hell that Governor Brown would sign such a bill?  And is this bill at all different from Allan’s?

Well, I have an answer to that last question:  Allan’s bill would have applied to anywhere in California, while Young’s is specific only to the OC – justifiable because we are a self-taxing county, voluntarily paying for our own highway improvements with our Measure M and M2 sales taxes.

Also there’s this twist – the law allowing Caltrans to foist toll lanes on unwilling counties has sunsetted since last year, leaving the malignant agency high and dry and giving us a little bit of leverage.  (Do I have that right?)

Anyway I got up bright and early this morning to catch the modest but very well-done press conference announcing this legislation, and I got you-all some footage of it – well worth watching, only 12 minutes.  The four speakers, emcee Harper (this was in the parking lot of his Costa Mesa office in the shadow of the 405);  the fabled Diana Lee Carey of Westminster who has fought this fight longer than any of us by far;  the BEST OCTA board director Gary Miller of Seal Beach; and new star Young Kim.  They expertly hit every point I would have hit, I couldn’t have written their speeches better myself.  (Well, I might have had Matthew say “imperative” a little less.  And left out the favored Republican chestnut “RAM DOWN OUR THROATS” which Young Kim just couldn’t resist.)  NOW WATCH.

[More observations to come…]


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.