* Los Angeles City Council member Zev Yaroslavsky, a career politician, decrying the influence of lobbyists on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in commentaries like the one that appeared in The Times (Jan. 16) is the pot calling the kettle black.
It is not just the MTA that is floundering due to inaction, poor decision-making and questionable ethics. It has largely been while Zev Yaroslavsky has been at the helm of one of the City Council’s most important committees--the Finance and Revenue Committee--that Los Angeles has seen the decline of its once nationally respected police force, the rapid rise of gangs and the overall deterioration of the city.
Mr. Yaroslavsky writes, “The board of the MTA is practically paralyzed by lobbyists.” Interesting stuff coming from one of the leaders in campaign donation-gathering on the Los Angeles City Council.
Indeed, Mr. Yaroslavsky, who recently announced his intention to seek election to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, has been reported to have almost $230,000 that he is carrying over from earlier election campaign accounts to help fund his latest bid for higher office.
One look at his previous campaign financial records would clearly show that the money comes from special interests, not the general public. Is it any wonder, then, that Yaroslavsky’s own City Council district is one of the most overdeveloped and crime-ridden districts in the city?
The real problem with government--be it the MTA, the City Council or the county of Los Angeles--is that career politicians have practically offered themselves for sale to the lobbyist with the biggest checkbook. We need elected leaders who are not captives of special-interest groups, who will put the needs of the public above the needs of their political careers.
Until then, career politicians like Zev Yaroslavsky will continue to make decisions that result in cost overruns, increased crime, sloppy workmanship and a pervasive distrust of government.
Wallace has announced his intention to run for the County Board of Supervisors.