Mixer: Smooth electric technology, bumpy LA roads

MixerBannerDave Zahniser reports for the Los Angeles Times. Alan Ohnsman is with the LA Bureau of Bloomberg News, who covers Tesla.

This week the LA City Council nixed their push for a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for more than 8,000 miles of much-needed street repairs.

City Council members Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino dropped their ballot measure proposal that would’ve raised the city sales tax rate to 9.5 percent to fund road and sidewalk repairs.

Their so-called ‘Save Our Streets’ proposal was nixed for a couple of reasons. First, timing. Raising taxes is hard in an off-year election, which is where this ballot measure would’ve gone. And, second, Mayor Eric Garcetti wasn’t on board, saying it wasn’t the right time.

It could be problematic for the mayor, because he campaigned (and has governed to an extent) on a ‘back-to-basics’ platform.

And if repairs are to be made on especially bad sidewalks at some point, there will have to be a city decision of who will pay. Property owners or the city. Or both. Which leaves all kinds of other questions unanswered.

Meanwhile, California-based Tesla Motor Company this week said the electric car company will remove patent protections on its electric vehicle technologies.

In a post on Tesla’s website, CEO Elon Musk wrote that Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use their technology.

Musk wrote that the company’s real competition is not other electric car companies, but the dominance of gasoline cars in the industry.

He says he hopes this move will promote an open technology platform and spur growth in sustainable transportation worldwide.

The big question is… will car companies take him up on it? Given some are already in the electric car business.