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Massive Transit
LA Times writer Steven Hymon takes stock of our LA pols' "Do as I say, not as I drive" efforts to clean up the air in Los Angeles:

Q: What is Jaime de la Vega, the deputy mayor in charge of transportation and mass transit policy, doing to help Los Angeles reduce greenhouse gases?

A: Driving around town in a shiny Hummer H3, which sure looks a lot more comfy than a seat on the bus.

The 5,850-pound H3 is actually the runt of the Hummer litter — the other models are larger. It gets 16 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway and belches an estimated 10.6 tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year, according to government estimates.

The Environmental Protection Agency gave the H3 an air pollution score of 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.

Of course, De la Vega has every right to buy whichever vehicle he chooses and, in this case, he has forgone a taxpayer-subsidized vehicle. And, in fact, there are many types of SUVs and regular cars that guzzle more gas.

But … please.

The Hummer has come to represent excessive consumption, and what message does it send, particularly when working for someone who is positioning himself politically as Mr. Clean?

De la Vega declined to comment.

Of course, as deputy mayor in charge of mass transit policy, De la Vega could take mass transit to work. Hint: Try the trip planner at

Q: How are some other city officials working on climate change?

A: Driving big SUVs.

Villaraigosa often tootles around town in a city-owned GMC Yukon that, like the Hummer H3, gets bad mileage. City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo also uses a city-owned Yukon, the perfect truck to navigate Los Angeles' frequent blizzards. Also driving city-owned SUVs that drink gas in the same manner that Homer Simpson quaffs beer are council members Tony Cardenas (2002 Chevy Tahoe) and Dennis Zine (2005 Mercury Mountaineer).

There is good news. Four council members are trying to control their emissions — Wendy Greuel, Janice Hahn, Jan Perry and Bill Rosendahl all drive hybrids owned by the city.

Council President Eric Garcetti whizzes around in an electric-powered Toyota RAV that the city owns. The tree-hugger actually kicked the gasoline habit back in 1998 after purchasing an electric car.

Here's my own policy: if you drive a Honda Civic or a city bus, I'll go out of my way to let you in. If you drive a Hummer, you're gonna wait.

Is her ass so fat she can't fit it in a regular car?

By the way, about the dumb $100 gas rebate they're talking about, that would be about half of what I spend in gas a year driving a Honda Insight hybrid, at last year's prices. I guess I could pay up to $300 in gas this year, if gas prices keep soaring. I'll try not to grouse too much.

Posted by aalkon at May 2, 2006 9:52 AM

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At least they're paying for their own gas.

Have you seen the Ford F650 "pickup trucks"?

Nice of them to put the high-mileage T-Rex out there too...

Posted by: Radwaste at May 2, 2006 3:33 PM

Personally, I love mass transit. I take it across the bay every morning to go to work. No fighting Tampa Bay's traffic. I get to read or just snooze and not have to worry about a thing. Great way to travel, really.

Posted by: Patrick at May 3, 2006 3:24 AM

Great photo. I have a shot of a cute Fiat 500 in front of a news stand and also an obscene Hummer in Paris. With gas at $6 a gallon here, it's just stupid.
Drop me a line if you'd like to include the photos in your blog.

Posted by: Don at May 3, 2006 6:54 AM

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