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October 18th – Measure M Discussion Panel

Measure M: Yes or No on Sales Tax Measure for LA Transit?

Co-Sponsored by Metrans and PELA.

This November, among the many referenda that Californians will vote on, Angelenos get to vote yes or no on whether to grant a permanent, 1/2-cent sales tax to support transit and transportation projects throughout southern California. Debate about Measure M has become pretty hot.  The Mayor of Beverly Hills has called Measure M the “Forever Tax.” But previously passed Prop A and C are permanent, and those found support among LA County voters.  Measure M pushes the sales taxes in LA County upwards of 10 percent, and in a region with high housing and cost of living, and relatively low wage growth, that increase is sure to be felt. Nonetheless, the measure boasts some impressive endorsements, from the LA Times and myriad urban advocacy organizations like the LA Bike Coalition.

How should YOU vote?


SchweitzerLisa Schweitzer is Associate Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. She specializes in urban studies, and, in particular, analyses of social justice, environment and transport. Her work has appeared in multiple popular and scholarly outlets, and her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. She maintains a blog about sustainable urbanism at




Laura Nelson photoLaura J. Nelson is a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, covering transportation and mobility issues in California. Her work focuses on the decisions and issues that affect how people move from Point A to Point B, from the expansion of rail transit to the growth of Uber, Lyft and Waze. In 2016, Nelson shared in the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news reporting for The Times’ coverage of the San Bernardino shooting.

Nelson is a volunteer vice president and teacher for the California Scholastic Press Association, a non-profit journalism workshop for high school students. She grew up in suburban Kansas City and graduated from USC.

sw photoStephanie Wiggins, is Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). With more than 20 years of experience in transportation, Stephanie plays an integral part in making it easier for the residents of LA County to get from A to B. Most recently, Stephanie served as the Executive Director of Vendor/Contract Management for Metro, where she greatly expanded Metro’s utilization of Small and Disadvantaged Businesses. Previously, Stephanie was the Executive Officer and Project Director of Metro’s Congestion Reduction Program. There, she launched the I-10 and I-110 ExpressLanes program, which improved travel times and travel reliability on two of Los Angeles County’s most congested freeway corridors. Before coming to Metro, Stephanie served as Regional Programs Director for the Riverside County Transportation Commission, where she oversaw transit, commuter rail, rideshare, goods movement, and rail capital projects. Stephanie is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Congestion Pricing and Research and Technology Coordinating Committees, and serves as a Board member of Women’s Transportation Seminar-Los Angeles Chapter. She has a BA degree from Whittier College and an MBA from the University of Southern California.


CityBeatDamien Goodman, is the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Crenshaw Subway Coalition (“CSC”), and it’s successor organization the Citizens’ Campaign to Fix the Expo Rail Line.  At 21, Mr. Goodmon was named to the national staff of the Wesley Clark for President 2004 campaign, where among other duties he was responsible for supervising the development of over 400 student-community groups across the U.S. as the National Student Coordinator.  After the 2004 election, Mr. Goodmon served as the Senior Communications Advisor and National Spokesman for, a media campaign and grassroots network of activists organized to oppose the nomination of John Roberts to the United States Supreme Court.  Mr. Goodmon has also been a guest lecturer on issues of transportation, environmental justice and social activism at USC and UCLA. He is a lead subject of the award-winning documentary Beyond the Echo of the Drum, which premiered to standing room only audiences at the prestigious 2013 Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner in France.  Damien Goodmon is a graduate of Loyola High School and studied at the University of Washington, where he was a player on the nationally ranked Huskies football team.



Jeffrey SellersPoir 245researches urban, environmental and social policies and their politics around the world. His research agenda centers around the “bottom-up” perspective of cities and communities on politics, policy-making and institutions.  His main current book project, entitled Multilevel Democracy, analyzes how local institutions shape policy-making and governance in twenty-one developed democracies.    He has also organized and led the largest collaborative international study of metropolitan politics and governance.  The recently published third volume from this research program, entitled Inequality and Governance in the Metropolis, analyzes policies toward spatial inequality across the metropolitan regions of eleven developed and developing countries.  Other projects analyze the governance of urbanization in China, India and Africa, the effects of globalization on territorial identity, and the politics of disadvantaged neighborhoods in Los Angeles.


mdphilliMark Phillips’ research focuses on tax policy and tax administration. He has published on tax compliance, audit strategy, tax holidays, and optimal income tax rates.  His dissertation examined the determinants of individual income tax compliance and was named runner-up for the National Tax Association’s Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award.  During graduate school Dr. Phillips worked as an economist in the Office of Research at the Internal Revenue Service.  He has presented his research at various academic and government institutions in the US and internationally.



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