An Open Letter to
the Los Angeles City Council,
Mayor Villaraigosa,
Frank & Jamie McCourt,
and the people of Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved spending $70,000

to cover the costs of a free shuttle service from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.

There are deficiencies in our public transportation system that make it difficult for people with disabilities to get around town.

For example, while riding on public buses, people using wheelchairs and scooters are often endangered because bus drivers do not always assist them with the wheelchair tie downs that secure their wheelchairs during transit.

I understand that Councilman Rosendahl asked why the Dodgers would not pick up any of the shuttle service cost.  The Los Angeles Times reported these comments from Dodgers’ senior vice president Howard Sunkin – “We’re not in the public transit business.  Government is in the public transit business.”

Even though the Council ultimately decided that they would spend $70,000 to enable the shuttle service to Dodger Stadium, certainly they ought to have insisted, as part of the deal, that there would be some contribution from the Dodger organization.

Frank and Jamie McCourt profit from this gift.  The public is short-changed.

In my view, this $70,000 “surplus” could have been better spent improving our public transportation system for people with disabilities who must rely on public transit to get to doctors appointments, physical therapy sessions, social events, school and their jobs.

At the very least, the City Council could have insisted that the Dodgers contribute something to the deal.  For example, people with disabilities using wheelchairs and scooters, along with their families, could have been primary amongst the shuttle riders, with the Dodgers giving them a “two for one” ticket deal, or a discount on Dodger Dogs, or something worthy in exchange for the city’s gift.

I propose that the Council re-open negotiations with Frank and Jamie McCourt in order to re-cast this plan so that it especially benefits those who have the greatest difficulty getting around town, let alone the means to afford a Dodger game.

There is so much that we ought to do to further enable people with disabilities an easier use of our public transportation system.

David Griffin
Complete Access, Inc.

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