There have been a series of articles regarding RTD expenditures for meetings and travel expenses. I want to set the record straight--I am a member of the board of directors. However, I am a volunteer--a nonpaid employee. My expense reports and receipts are filed and accounted for.
I did not travel to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Paris or Rome. In fact, I did not travel outside of the United States at taxpayers' expense!
I am fiscally responsible. In fact, I am a penny pincher. Since 1984 I traveled four times to Washington, D.C. for the Rapid Transit District to meet with members of Congress, Ralph Stanley, UMTA's administrator, and staff members to gain support for Metro Rail and bus operations. I believe the trips were worthwhile and have proven to be beneficial. The cost of travel to and from Washington, D.C., saved RTD $1,890 by my use of economy fares, as compared to the regular coach fare. . . . In January, 1985, one trip cost $576 at a time when the average Washington, D.C., flight was $914. The stopover trips not only saved RTD a total of $1,890, but also afforded me an opportunity to review and study the light-rail and bus operation system in New Jersey, the bus operation as well as the heavy-rail system in New York, and bus operations in Detroit. In addition, I observed the bus system in St. Paul, Minn.
I have been trained as a systems engineer. . . . My background and training have allowed me to assist other RTD officials in management, as well as design and plans for construction of the proposed Metro Rail. . . .
I served as a member of the California Senate from 1974-78. I actively participated in the legislation which created the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. . . . I have always had an interest in providing the best possible transportation for all.
My role has been to provide the best bus transportation at the lowest possible fare. . . . I believe the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission should provide additional funding to hold the line on fare increases. I believe we should get a better control on absenteeism and save money for the district.
For many years the federal government has granted millions of dollars to New York, Chicago, San Francisco and many other transit-dependent communities for construction of a rail system, and nothing to Los Angeles. I don't see anything wrong with asking for some of our tax dollars back to help us plan for our future transportation system.