County employees to get discounts on hybrids

The county Board of Supervisors arranged a tempting program Tuesday to encourage county employees to go green: discounts ranging from $800 to $1,438 off a new Toyota Prius. Almost makes you want to join the ranks of the roughly 100,000 people employed by L.A. County, doesn’t it?

The staff report says Longo Toyota agreed to a deal with the county to give county employees a discount on three hybrid cars: the Prius, the Camry and the Highlander. The report doesn’t say where the dealership is, but we do have a Longo Toyota in El Monte. The supes also gave authority to the Internal Services Director to add on any other dealerships that want a piece of that 100,000 customer base.

It’s all designed “to lessen the environmental impact of County of Los Angeles employees work commute,” the report says. “Longo Toyota was selected as the initial dealership based upon their award in 2006 of the County’s solicitation for hybrid vehicles.”

The discount is also open to immediate family members of the employees, the report says. Right before the board approved the employee discount program, Supervisor Yvonne Burke asked for a report back about whether the program could also be extended to county retirees, contractors and subcontractors. Nuts that still doesn’t include me.

Not everyone likes this latest effort by the county to go green in any way they can. Arnold Sachs, who usually comments on and often criticizes multiple items at every board meeting, is worried about how the rest of us will get our own hybrids.

I’m very concerned about you offering incentives to county employees, especially with a limited product (like) fuel-efficient cars, he said. The cost of the vehicles is rising because of the inability of the manufacturers to meet the needed quantities of people that are going to buy the vehicles … I don’t mind (county employees) driving fuel-efficient vehicles, mind you, but if it’s going to create more of a hardship for the public as a whole … who gets the car first?

Sachs had his own suggestion for, er, “helping” county employees find greener ways to commute.

I’ll tell you an incentive, he said. Take away their parking privileges and put them on the bus!