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EDITORIAL : FREE RIDE; TOO BAD TAXPAYERS DON'T GET THE SAME BENEFITS AS PUBLIC EMPLOYEES.

HOW'S this for efficiency: Giving thousands of Los Angeles city and county employees subsidies for driving to work alone?

Or this: Creating a system designed to worsen freeway congestion, create major traffic jams downtown, hinder business and contribute to air pollution?

Life in L.A. would be so much more wonderful for everyone if we all were public employees.

That way, we all could enjoy the perks, like the $70 monthly transportation subsidy graciously bestowed on all 6,200 downtown Los Angeles County employees.

The subsidy supposedly was created to encourage car pooling and reduce smog in the downtown area.

But it is paid regardless of how the 6,200 county employees get to work.

The city went one better. City rules for subsidizing its 4,000 downtown workers actually encourage driving to work alone since users of van pools and mass transit get a lower subsidy.

In the private sector, the rules are stricter. Private companies only reward employees who car pool or take mass transit, and private companies must comply with air quality standards.

But the rules obviously aren't the same for working stiffs who are thrilled just to have a job and for city unions who believe a job is just the beginning of a free ride.

Taxpayers are socked with paying for that free ride and the costly ride-sharing programs that aren't working.

And if that's not enough, city and county services that should be easily accessible and conveniently located out in the neighborhoods are concentrated in downtown, forcing regular citizens to pay even more money out of pocket to get downtown to get to those services and employees.

And once you're there, you will be slugged in the wallet for a parking space - if you can find one that isn't reserved for government workers.

Los Angeles residents are paying dearly for city and county workers to drive as far away from them as possible and be less responsive to their needs.

It's time our local government officials come clean. The City Council and the county Supervisors should tell taxpayers what it's really costing them in dollars and lost services to provide perks to public employees.

We think it's time to clear the air.
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Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 24, 1998
Words:368
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