OCTA Board funding for Anaheim monorail & Santa Ana streetcar studies

In the Nov 7, 2006 General Election we were asked to extend Measure M tax for an additional 30 years. In the Ballot booklet the ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE M reads in part: “Vote YES to improve traffic flow, fix potholes, resurface streets and synchronize traffic signals, reduce gridlock and improve police fire and paramedic response times, provide transit services for seniors and disabled persons and to keep oily roadway runoff from our beaches.”

Fix potholes. I seem to recall numerous posts by members of the Orange Juice family with photos of the streets in Santa Ana and follow up reports on the multimillion cost for repairing same.

What triggered this post is the story in the Local section of Thursday, May 15th’s OC Register whose headline reads: “OCTA finances studies of monorail, streetcar plans.”
In the Register story it states that in addition to $5 million being given to the City of Irvine, the OCTA Board has just approved another $15 million for studies that include the cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana.

Hmm. I recall our having knocked the “Centerline” off the proposed tracks of that misguided effort that cost taxpayers a chunk of change but that’s now old news.

Back to the story which reads in part that “Anaheim has considered building a monorail from the Disneyland area to the proposed Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center; east of Angel Stadium in the Platinum Triangle.” Reading further the city of Santa Ana received $6 million that ” will allow it to move forward on the centerpiece of its plan: a streetcar through downtown.”

As a co-author of the opposition to the 30 year extension of Measure M I have retained numerous files which include “Schedule A Contributors through 9-30-06.” While this million dollar plus listing is not the final it surely gives readers some insight into the major players who stand to gain from our fill ups at the pump.

Let’s begin with Walt Disney (Anaheim) who contributed $49,900 which was matched by William Lyon & Affiliated Entities, Centex Homes South Coast, CH2M Hill. Inc. and John Laing Homes. Property Managers Sares-Regis Group added an even $50,000. Raising the bar we find Lennar Platinum Trianglel, LLC and Heritage Fields El Toro LLC at $99,000 each. At $99,800 we find contributions listed from The Irvine Company and developer RMV Entitlement. Moving to the next level we find the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians at an even $100,000 followed by the OC Business Council at $163,800 to the leader in donations, as of Sept 30, the Auto Club at $203,773.

At a time when we cringe at the major increase in price per gallon of fuel, which has probably doubled since the Nov 2006 election, we would hope that the first priority of the OCTA Board would be to address the major issues which they themselves raised such as ending future gridlock, fixing potholes and synchronizing lights, rather than catering to local special interests who funded Measure M extension whose funds come from California residents more so than out of town tourists who may visit for a few days. In one campaign mailer the headline reads: “Mobility is Critical to Our Quality of Life.”

Juice readers. If you served on the OCTA Board where would you place your priorities?

About Larry Gilbert