To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tunnel Visions- Corridor of Shame 

[More history of the tunnel saga -- http://chipjacobs.com/articles/transportation/tunnels-of-vision-corridor-of-shame/ -- read the article for whose idea the tunnel was. Still to discover--the next step--who got the 710 extension on Measure R so that Metro money rather than Caltrans money could be spent on a further tunnel study ]

Caltrans may dig deep to find a way out of its 710 Freeway extension debacle
May 22, 2003
By Chip Jacobs
Years from today, if the Long Beach (710) Freeway extension gets built and weary adversaries can forgive and forget amid the inaugural-day hoopla, they may agree that a single helicopter ride revived a juggernaut going nowhere.
It was in April 2002 that Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Roger Snoble and other public officials were taking a cloud-level look at the northbound movement of goods through area gridlock when the copter flew over the spot where the freeway system’s missing link was supposed to be — during the Nixon administration.
Snoble, a trained urban geographer, quickly grasped why the connector has been bogged down in the courts and file drawers as one of the nation’s most epic public works impasses. To clear the roadway’s path for the concrete pourers, row after row of houses in tightly bunched neighborhoods that thousands call home would have to be bulldozed into oblivion.
Freeway warriors on both sides of a the great 710-extension fight that has been waged in trials, on the street, through elections and inside cyberspace believe that neighborhood demolition would be a media spectacle hard to imagine. Shortly after his aerial tour, Snoble met with California Department of Transportation Director Jeff Morales to discuss the 710’s future, both of the men relatively new to their jobs. Morales was blunt.
“He asked,” Snoble recalled, “if we could be involved in getting this thing done or deciding whether it was a dead issue.”
Pondering that challenge, Snoble huddled with his engineers at MTA headquarters. What they concluded was nothing short of dramatic. The extension did not have to be a trenched artery with decked “cut-and-cover” tunnels over interchanges — a design that South Pasadena and others believe would shear communities in two. A pair of tunnels burrowed deep under the same path, relying on advanced mining and building techniques applied around the globe, could give opposing partisans what they each wanted but never could nail down.
Instead of clogging Alhambra surface streets by the tens of thousands every day, motorists finally could traverse the 4.5-mile breach between the Long Beach and Foothill (210) Freeway 160-feet or more below grade. Diverting that north-south traffic underground would spare roughly 80 percent of the 1,142 homes and properties that would be destroyed or relocated under Caltrans’ current plans. As the proverbial cherry, many tenants in state-owned properties along the route in northeastern Los Angeles, South Pasadena and Pasadena would be freed up to purchase their dwellings. Sale proceeds would help finance the highway’s construction.
“When I first looked at the drawings, I said why do cut-and-cover, it’s crazy,” Snoble said. “Things are different these days. I asked the experts on staff to see if there were any (technical) showstoppers to the tunnel. They said it was very feasible.”
During the last five months, Snoble has outlined his $1.4-billion idea as a preliminary “paper-napkin” concept to various city councils and others, mostly to mixed reactions. But just the fact it was trotted out was a significant step behind a captivating question.
Did Caltrans allow the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority to present the tunnel-scheme as a piece of engineering bravura that could untie the stalemate, an admission the 710-gap closure as presently conceived is dead or both?
The answer may be unknowable. The evidence isn’t. Ten key officeholders and observers contacted by the Weekly say that the legal, financial and community obstacles blocking construction has led top Caltrans officials to privately conclude the estimated $1.1-billion trenched-roadway is virtually un-buildable. This thinking has purportedly been laid out in an “exit strategy” white paper, the existence of which has taken on the murmurings of urban myth.
A new way
Caltrans’ formal position is that they support exploration of the tunnel, but remain firmly committed to the “Depressed Meridian Variation,” as approved by the federal government in 1998. Anything other than that would require extensive new studies, hearings and public endorsements that Pasadena City Councilman Steve Madison likened to “proposing a whole new freeway.” To bolster their case, freeway supporters note that Caltrans this year is seeking more than $40 million from MTA for design work for the Meridian way.
Even so, Doug Failing, the Caltrans director in charge of the 710-area, said Morales told him what he told Snoble and the region’s top planning executive: craft a consensus solution.
“The problem is that because the issue has been polarized for 40 years, no transportation improvements have been done,” Failing said. “The tunnel concept is an interesting idea, but our question to Roger [Snoble] and the region is whether the region supports it.”
Alternatives to the Meridian route, named for one of the streets it follows, have leaked out. Members of the pro-extension 710 Freeway Coalition, for example, grew alarmed last year when they saw documents discussing options and asked Assemblywoman Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, to flesh it out.
“It seemed Caltrans was trying to get out of building the 710,” said Chu, adding she believes a tunnel would a “far better, more humane” solution than a surface path. “I talked directly to Jeff Morales and he vehemently denied there was an exit strategy.” The man who chairs that coalition, public relations handler Nat Read, refused to reveal details about that nail-biting document. Today, he might be one of the last optimists for the Meridian route being dug.
“People ask me if the fight is over and I say no,” Read said. “We are so much further ahead than we were three years ago” because of so many pro-freeway state lawmakers. “It’s still South Pasadena against the region.”
Whether the tunnel is an exit strategy, pragmatism or a red herring, something is clearly happening. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, has requested $3 million in federal funds for a tunnel development study and $5 million to examine its environmental impacts. In an interview, Schiff said Snoble and the head of the Southern California Association of Government (SCAG) approached him about the tunneling alternative in the hope that “the elusive common ground might be underground.”
Initially, both sides of the freeway war were doubtful about the subterranean option, Schiff said. The anti-extension crowd worried the tunnel idea was a “bait-and-switch” ploy that Caltrans could use to secure funding for the surface route. Freeway advocates viewed it as a possible filibuster. (Caltrans had rejected a tunnel during late 1980s mitigation studies, where old-style tunnel techniques drove cost estimates to $3 billion to $4 billion.)
“The intriguing thing is that while both sides were skeptical, they were both very interested,” Schiff said. “And Caltrans was ready to throw up its hands there wasn’t community support” for its approved plan. “The budget picture is so bad that finding big transit dollars for projects with litigation and controversy is just not appetizing.” Dollars and suits
For the foreseeable future, the county’s number one uncompleted highway project has a courtroom zip code. South Pasadena’s flagship lawsuit charging that Caltrans’ plans shortchanged them on environmental and historic-preservation safeguards remains on hold in federal court. Attached to that suit is a stiff injunction against significant freeway work.
A related state lawsuit is gearing up for trial in downtown Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, a 1997 class-action, environmental-justice case brought on behalf of El Sereno residents alleging that Caltrans denied them the same trenched design being planned for wealthier, whiter Pasadena and South Pasadena is also pending in federal court. No hearing date is set.
Interestingly, the city of Alhambra tried to intervene in the case. The grounds: Caltrans was not pursuing the spur as vigorously as it should be, and was floating less ambitious plans, such as a truncated extension between Valley Boulevard and Huntington Drive. The district court rejected Alhambra’s bid. The city is appealing.
“Thirty years of studying something and not moving it off the plate is not good public policy,” said Lee Dolley, the former Alhambra city attorney who still represents the city in private practice. “The fact this is a state-adopted route means people shouldn’t be sitting on their hands. If the tunnel is something that everyone can rally around, we think they should do it. But make no mistake. We will push for a freeway.” Many wonder if there will be any money to push back. State and federal budgets are smeared in red ink that will likely last for years. At the California Transportation Commission, bankrolling the extension is off its radar screens. Federal interstate funds doled out by the commission would probably finance 90 percent of the pathway.
“We are having statewide fiscal issues right now, and even if we weren’t the question is whether it’s a high priority for MTA,” said commission Deputy Director David Brewer. “It’s almost ironic there is all this local controversy about the project, but nobody has asked about the money.”
County transit agencies, under local-control legislation by former state Sen. Quentin Kopp, I-South San Francisco, act as both bankers and arbiters for Caltrans projects within their jurisdictions. Even though the gap-closure is a state project, the MTA controls 75 percent of the money. And, because of the lawsuits and community opposition, the spur isn’t part of the nearly $2 billion worth of freeway improvements currently underway. It sits instead on a lengthy wish list of un-funded ideas in the MTA’s long-range plan.
After sizing up the project’s uncertain future, Gov. Gray Davis was said to be considering in late 2001 or early 2002 announcing the he was withdrawing his support for the cut-and-cover route, but backed off for unknown reasons. A confidante to Davis said the governor told him three years ago it was “highly unlikely” the Meridian pathway would ever be built. This source believes the tunnel is either the grand solution or the Caltrans escape hatch from a surface route too unpopular to ever be jack hammered.
Another longtime observer, Antonio Rossman, South Pasadena’s private attorney, says it’s only a matter of time.
“Caltrans has been looking for a way out,” he said. “Can they do that and make peace with the labor unions and Alhambra? That’s the question.”
A spokesman for Davis said the governor is waiting to see what freeway choice the community backs.
Digging deep
MTA’s vision is for twin tunnels built in each direction 160 to 180 feet below ground level. Each would hold three mixed-flow lanes and one for carpools. Going subterranean would “significantly” reduce construction impacts, noise and car-generated pollution and eyesore aesthetics of freeway concrete, according to an MTA fact sheet. Officials have tinkered with charging $1 per vehicle using the route during rush hour — a sure-to-be-provocative idea that would generate $12.5 million a year.
Urban road tunnels measuring a half-mile long and longer are in place in 15 cities around the globe, including Boston, Paris, Rome, Munich, Moscow, Hong Kong and Singapore. For the 710-gap, a “closed-face” tunneling machine would be used to excavate. A serrated, disc-shaped shield connected to slurry pipes would first trowel the earth. A pumping system would then cement the tunnel wall in place, preventing the structural problems experienced along the Metro Red Line subway route in Hollywood in the mid ’90s.
Each tunnel would have a 55-foot diameter, roughly two-and-a-half times larger than a subway tube. The tunnels would need numerous connecting passages for emergencies and a latticework of vents and circulators to expel dangerous automotive fumes and smoke.
At $1.4 billion or more, the tunnel alternative could end up being much costlier than a trenched roadway — a differential that Schiff said wouldn’t be as large as some believe.
Engineers would have to grapple with water-table problems near the Pasadena/South Pasadena border, as well as seismic considerations from the Raymond Fault, a slip-strike fault that runs east to west, roughly paralleling Pasadena’s share of the Harbor (110) Freeway. The city of Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco Master Plan identified the Raymond Fault as one of three faults capable of producing intense shaking. So did a March 2000 geo-technical study that Caltrans commissioned about the cut-and-cover tunnels.
MTA officials, though, contend that modern tunnels are designed robustly enough to survive strong earthquakes and hairy building conditions. A 2.5-mile segment of the Red Line, they point out, was dug through the Santa Monica Mountains without incident. Still, the underground roadway would be nearly double that length, and longer than anything like it in the western United States. Given the economic benefit of a connector — MTA estimates lost time at $261 million a year — USC professor and transit expert James Moore considers the tunnel worth exploring.
“We’ve managed to squander considerably more on considerably less,” he said. “Investments in road tend to pay off. If I were the head of Caltrans, I’d have to ask myself if this could ever get built” as presently conceived. “There has been precious little progress.”
A lot to manage
Whatever happens to the Meridian route, nobody is going to walk away from doing something about depressed traffic speeds or the 1,320 annual tons of car-generated smog by the missing Long Beach Freeway-Foothill (210) Freeway link. Turf and political angles also hover, as do the Southland’s effort to meet the federal Clean Air Act.
“If we are going to modify our changed course, it must be done in the regional transportation plan,” said Mark Pisano, SCAG executive director. “It’s not a unilateral Caltrans decision.”
Much of the debate, said both Snoble and Pisano, hinges on what happens with the 587 properties Caltrans already owns and the 555 parcels it will need to acquire along the corridor. This is where an underground pathway sports gigantic advantages. Less demolition means less uproar.
Stymied from highway building, Caltrans has been forced into being a long-term property manager on the houses it bought decades ago via eminent domain. The agency, which acknowledges playing landlord is not its forte, has been hammered in recent years for slapdash, oft-inconsistent policies.
As the Weekly has reported, Caltrans rentals have tumbled into a state of perpetual neglect that has triggered audits, lawsuits, health code violations, a rent-increase controversy, bizarre crimes and cries of Caltrans being a state slumlord. A quarter of the department’s parcels are either too shabby to rent, languish as weed-strewn lots or aren’t needed. Tenants who complain say there are often harassed or receive eviction notices.
Reacting to those stories and her own findings, Assemblywoman Carol Liu, D-La Canada-Flintridge, is planning to hold a local public hearing this summer about the housing situation. Suzanne Reed, Liu’s chief of staff, said a number of state lawmakers have expressed growing interest about yanking property responsibility out of Caltrans’ hands.
Silver bullet
A deal for a palatable extension will certainly save the small cities along the route from spending on outside help to ply their interests.
Alhambra, which gets clobbered daily by the traffic that pours onto Valley Boulevard from the current northern terminus of the 710, has spent between $1.5 million to $2 million since the late 1980s on lawyers, lobbyists and consultants.
One of those on the Alhambra payroll was Richard Alatorre, the former Los Angeles City Councilman whose district included El Sereno. He had a one-year, $50,000 contract for assisting city’s the freeway litigation — a pact that ended about two-and-a-half years ago. It was about that same time that Alatorre, once one of the most powerful Latino politicians in the state, pled guilty to felony tax evasion for accepting $42,000 illegally given to him to steer his official decision-making.
When the conviction was disclosed in 2001, the Compton Community College District and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power scrapped their consulting contracts with him. Alatorre by then had left office and was on probation. But Dolley, Alhambra’s attorney, said Alatorre’s criminal record was unrelated to the decision not to renew him.
“The contract simply ran out,” Dolley said. Because of federal rules for pending litigation, Dolley said he could not detail what role Alatorre played. For its part, South Pasadena has spent $3.1 million on outside assistance on freeway matters since 1989. Lumped in there is a $5,000-a-month consulting contract awarded last summer to former ranking state Assemblyman Mike Roos. He proffers advice on the 710 and a few other issues.
South Pasadena mayor Mike Cacciotti, himself a former Caltrans deputy attorney, said the city is taking a “wait-and-see approach” about what the tunnel studies turn up. He doesn’t believe the economics or legal situation will ever allow the surface-route to happen.
Cacciotti thinks the transit equivalent of a Middle East peace pact could flower if the underground path is solidified, noting that elected officials along the route are talking more today about a solution than they ever have. “If there’s an alternative that could address all the cities concerns, this may be the silver bullet.” . Since the construction, rats unloosed by a hole in the wall the contractor didn’t patch have been scampering through her kitchen. She called Pasadena officials, who in turn alerted Calt
Posted by the Caltrans Tenants Association I believe in 2002-2003 -- http://www.caltranstenants.com/news2.html

[Unhappiness with Caltrans as a landlord seems to have been going on for a very long time. The following site is current and very interesting: http://www.caltranstenants.com/index.html ]

There is a lot of tenant and Caltrans activity at this time and we will try to update you to the best of our ability regarding the information we have at hand.

As you know, we called a meeting of the Caltrans Tenants of the 710 Corridor for July 23 at the home of Lyn Miller. We had about 30 tenants and Suzanne Reed representing Assemblywoman Carol Liu, Susan McIntyre from Senator Jack Scott's office and Betty Ho, Deputy to Mayor Bogaard, City of Pasadena attending. Our pass-outs to tenants included: 1. A very hard-hitting and direct letter from Carol Liu to Jeff Morales, Director of the Department of Transportation on all of our issues. 2. Our list of proposed items to be presented to Caltrans regarding the rent increases. 3. The City of Pasadena letter regarding maintenance issues Pasadena would assist us with. 4. A "how to" packet on letters to the editor and samples. It proved to be a very spirited meeting with plans and strategy set for the corridor forum meeting planned for El Sereno on Saturday, July 27 at noon.

Well over 100 tenants attended the corridor meeting in El Sereno. Two representatives of Caltrans spoke as well as the representatives of the corridor's elected officials. It included a panel of tenants who spoke on some of our main concerns. Some tenants were allowed to express their concerns. The forum gained a lot of attention. Doug Failing, the new Director for District 7 was in the audience as were other Caltrans representatives. The commonality of all the elected representatives remarks was the call for a moratorium on the rent increases until there could be some dialogue on the troubled process. Carol Liu called for a cost of living rental increase of 3%. Remarks by Suzanne Reed, representing Carol Liu and Lyn Miller, Chairman of the Caltrans Tenants of the 710 Corridor are available on our website. Please read them and note how strong they were on our behalf. Our organization sent out Press Advisories and made remark copies available.

Through our organization, we were able to make contact with the Los Angeles Times. They agreed to cover our story and a very good in-depth and balanced story was in the Times the Sunday after the meeting. We continue to work with the reporter and expect follow up stories on current events as they develop, which are every day.

We understand that Caltrans held many meetings at District 7 on Monday morning over our issues. We have heard that there could be a moratorium on the rent increases until issues can be resolved. However, that is not substantiated at this date.

This is what we do know. Caltrans posted "3 day pay or quit" and a "30 day eviction notice" on tenant doors on Tuesday. According to Tony Harris, Deputy Director under Jeff Morales, Caltrans intends to initiate legal proceedings against those who received notices this week. He says there are nine. The issues are either nonpayment of rent or failure to sign a lease agreement. Two of the tenants receiving these notices include one that was bypassed in the appeal process, has documented rat infestation and severe maintenance problems that include a nonfunctioning kitchen. They are expected to pay a rent increase with these circumstances. They wrote a letter to the Governor and Carol Liu got a temporary hold on his increase that has now been rescinded. The second includes a tenant that holds a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU). This is a legal and binding agreement between the tenant and Caltrans. They are trying to force her to sign a new rental agreement that takes away her rights under the MOU. This tenant has been in so called "good faith" negotiations for over 5 months trying to resolve this issue with 4 other MOU holders. It might be noted this tenant spoke as our Chairman at last Saturday's forum, was quoted in the paper and received her eviction notice this last Tuesday….3 days later. This appears is to be retaliatory action!

This is a very serious situation for these tenants and we expect more notices to come.

This is what we are doing. Carol Liu has promised to personally contact Jeff Morales on our behalf when he returns to the office early next week. Suzanne Reed, Chief of Staff for Liu, has promised to contact the other elected officials and representatives asking them to intercede on behalf of the tenants ASAP.

As Caltrans is accountable to the legislature and its legislators, we want them to have every opportunity to serve their constituents in our time of crisis. They can and should make the difference on these ongoing slumlord tactics and bring Caltrans to the negotiating table to resolve their continuing unjust actions.

The LA Times reporter continues to be very much involved and is interviewing some of the eviction notice holders over the coming days. We expect a follow up article.

We are working with our elected representatives and the press at this time. We think it is our best shot at some kind of immediate relief and future resolution. We will schedule a meeting when we have any information and are ready for other actions.

It is important for you to carefully consider the ramifications of Caltrans slumlord actions. We cannot advise you on legal action, if you come to that point. We can suggest resources and get you in contact with people who may be able to help you. Some tenants have the resolve and the will to fight for what they know is an unjust and immoral rent increase by Caltrans. They are prepared to bring forth the facts of their circumstances in proof of slumlord behavior by Caltrans. Including major maintenance issues, violations of Caltrans own policies, fraudulent appeal procedures, etc. They are prepared to hire attorneys if necessary. They are prepared to refuse to pay this rent increase due today. Others cannot or will not and we understand. That's what makes us a democracy. But you need to consider the following as well………

These may be rented houses we live in, but we consider them our homes. Many of us have lived in the corridor for 10, 20 even 30 years. We are a neighborhood. We have a right to a safe and healthy home with reasonable rent rates and increases. Caltrans is a state agency that should be held up to a higher standard than the private sector. They are paid by us and work for us. As Suzanne Reed said in her remarks last Saturday, "Caltrans needs to understand - because you have might, does not make you right."

This is what you can do. If you have ANY information regarding any of the above, please get in touch with us. We need testimony as to your treatment from Caltrans.

We need letters to the Editor. We need calls to the media. We need volunteers for immediate projects like walkers to get notices to tenants. We need your eyes and ears as to Caltrans activities. We need to know if you are a tenant who has just received an eviction notice. We have a website that can provide you information. Do you have suggestions for it? There are a few of us doing a lot. We need your help.

This is a time for you to make a stand for your home, your rights, and your neighborhood! Be strong! We are in this together!

A Call for the Activation of the El Sereno Relationship Networks (LA RED)
Against the 710 Tunnel and For Health, Housing and Humanity

Contact Roberto Flores at laredsereno@gmail.com. Post by Pasadena Weekly (no date) --

• Considering that the current result of the Eastside Café consultation or Consulta through which over
500 El Sereno residents overwhelmingly expressed that the community wants positive community use of surplus lands and homes that were, over the last 50 years, obtained by the California TransportationSystem (Caltrans) through odious and often racist eminent domain, and
• Considering that Caltrans is the largest landlord in El Sereno by far, in custody of over 300 houses
and has a well documented history of irresponsible and inferior maintenance, empty, dirty and rat infested lots and are known for allowing homes to deteriorate and dilapidate so much so that they are known throughout El Sereno as “the slumlord,” and
• Considering that Caltrans has in the last several years shown a pattern of evicting tenants for
numerous reasons but especially of those that qualify for low and middle income housing in accordance to the Roberti Bill, as well as tenants that under this economic crisis can not afford the relatively high rents and
• Considering that Caltrans has also shown a vindictive pattern of evicting tenants that stand up
and stand out for the housing right of others as in the case of Don Jones, who Caltrans has attempted to evict 2 previous times and has failed and is today trying to evict him again, and
• Considering that Caltrans, the MTA together with multi-national corporate interest are planning to
develop a 4.5 mile tunnel that would according to scientific studies, potentially require the destruction of 200 homes in El Sereno, greatly increase the contamination of our air and reduce the quality of life and our life expectancy particularly of El Sereno residence by increasing the incidence of asthma, hardening of the arteries and increasing the incidence of cancers (Inhaling a Heart Attack, LA Times, June 23, 2009; We Call This Cancer Alley, Environmental Health Perspectives, vol117, No.5 May 2009; Black Lung Lofts, Many children being raised in L.A.'s hip, new freeway-adjacent housing are damaged for life, Comments, By Patrick Range McDonald Saturday, Mar 6
2010) and
• Considering that we in El Sereno have a rich and vast network of social relations and of groups,
circles and collectives that can unite to take responsibility for our community, for our children, for our future, we propose the following:
Proposal (The Call)
• We propose that we, the people of El Sereno, all races and ethnic groups, formalize our relations into a red (Spanish for network) of families, conmadres, compadres, vecinos, places of worship, sports teams, equipos deportivos, small businesses, union and not-yet-union workers, negociantes, amas de casa, punks, MEChA, Wilson High School Students, environmental organizations, gardens, student groups, cultural workers and circles, education workers, clases de Ingles, Jr. High School Students, Teacher groups, Parent Teacher Associations, senior citizens and residents, to oppose the further degradation of our community and
• We propose that together we build alternatives to the current top-down governance structures and
alternatives to fossil fuel and all carbon based options, such as the tunnel, that we develop and select clean alternative technology, that we convert empty dirty lots under Caltrans custody into spaces of good positive land use for food sovereignty, cultural and artistic spaces, community based education and that we build our community’s availability of affordable housing, that all Caltrans houses be rebuilt, maintained and rented at affordable housing rates, that we come together and develop our capacity to stop any evictions based on lack of money because of loss of jobs during this economic crisis. In short we propose that we, the people’s socially networked society continue the process of developing the community’s ability to determine its own destiny, together with, connected to and in support of other communities, and
• We propose that we start this process by having social events (ENREDADAS) or Mixers with
music and art and food-- speaking and conversing about our situation, so that we can agree, create
consensus and lock hands and move together as a Red/Network, and
• We propose that the mixers’ main objectives be to inform ourselves on these issues and raise funds
for a 710 Corridor Eviction Fund, inspire others to live in resistance of what is bad and in pursuit of what is good for us, and
• We propose that these initial EnRedadas or Social Network Mixers take place on the 24th of April,
August 14th and October 16th, and in addition
• We propose that these social network events be only the initial inspiration to thousands of small and
large transformative projects and millions of individual acts so that we may exist in opposition to all that offends us and in support and pursuit of all that dignifies us. So,
We invite all El Sereno Residents to acknowledge their existence in and contributions to the LA RED. We feel it is time that the People’s Independent Network or LA RED, analyze its own situation, take responsibility for its own community, and act on its own behalf in terms of housing and health as human rights. We call for the dignifying of mother earth as our environment, food sovereignty, dignified jobs, education and a self-sustainable moral economy. We call on the El Sereno community to look at our differences as rich contributions and to focus on uniting on a richly diverse but cohesive self-determination for El Sereno.
All three initial EnRedadas will take place at the El Sereno Los Angeles Christian Presbyterian Church,
2241 No. Eastern Ave, L.A. 90032. The following are the dates and an incomplete list of participants:
April 24th, Domingo 7, Las Cafeteras, La Santa Cecilia, The Gardeners?
August 14th, Quinto Sol, Zocalo Zue, No Que No, Jazilla
October 16th, Quetzal, Buyepongo, Fandango Para La Humanidad , La Unidad y La Dignidad

Pasadena quality of life index shows two cities within one

By Brian Charles, SGVN -- http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_21412860/pasadena-qualify-life-index-shows-two-cities-within?source=rss_viewed

PASADENA - The city released its quality of life index report on Monday pointing out examples of the disparate lives of Pasadena residents.

Complicating matters, an increasing number of Pasadena residents don't have a high school diploma, which concerns Pasadena Public Health Director Dr. Eric Walsh.

"Not finishing high school shortens your life expectancy and decreases your chance at full employment," Walsh said Monday.

The Pasadena Public Health Department's 75-page report details a stark contrast in the living conditions of the city's residents as well as those living in adjacent Altadena.

In Pasadena, 13.7 percent, or 18,282 people live below the Federal poverty threshold, the report said.

Residents in the 91103 zip code earned a median income of $44,358, while their neighbors to the immediate south in 91105 earned a median income of $91,587, according to the report.

The report released Monday contains many of the themes voiced by activists and community organizers in Pasadena - the city is actually two cities, one rich and one poor.

Economics, according to the report, is driving many of the issues related to what Walsh and his department call "downstream health."

Poor job prospects and poor education drive poor decisions and lack of opportunity, all of which conspire to harm personal health, according to Walsh.

Jobs play a crucial role in fixing what ails Pasadena and Altadena, according

to Flintridge Foundation Director of Community Organizing Brian Biery.
"Addressing the income disparity requires looking at the local economy and making sure employment is available to all in the community," Biery said.

Walsh said the city is working on the initial framework of a comprehensive jobs program, but didn't provide details of the plan.

The report shows that 22 percent of Pasadena residents are obese. Part of the problem is what Walsh and other health professionals term "food islands," places where fresh fruit and vegetables are scarce.

 Pasadena's income disparity has contributed to the so-called "food islands," places where residents are more likely to find a liquor store than a supermarket, according to the report.

The solution to the food island phenomenon is not complicated, Walsh said.

"We can do something like urban agriculture, where we bring all the produce from urban farms in Pasadena together and redistribute the food," he said.
Improving the collective health of Pasadena residents is not a task to be tackled solely by the public health department.

"Public health is not something one agency can do," Walsh said.

Walsh said the police department, the public and private schools and the nonprofit agencies scattered across the city must play a role in closing the income disparity and improving health.

L.A. joins list of cities opposing 710 Freeway extension

(From Glendale News-Press -- http://www.glendalenewspress.com/news/tn-818-0828-la-joins-list-of-cities-opposing-710-freeway-extension,0,851957.story

August 28, 2012 | 2:51 p.m

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday joined several other cities in voting unanimously to oppose a tunnel extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway through Pasadena.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials last week narrowed the scope of possible routes for closing the so-called “710 gap” between Alhambra and Pasadena from 12 to just five — one of them an extension of the 710 Freeway to the Foothill (210) Freeway.

MTA officials have maintained that they have not settled on any one option, but critics say the agency favors the tunnel because it could better accommodate truck traffic carrying cargo up from local Southland ports.

Unlike the MTA and California Department of Transportation, “we as a city and any other public agency should not take for granted the communities that would be impacted the most,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, whose district includes Highland Park and other Los Angeles areas that would be impacted by the project.

South Pasadena, Glendale, Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge have also opposed some of the alternative routes on the grounds that they would add to air pollution and increased congestion. Alhambra and San Marino have come out in favor of extending the freeway as a way to ease spillover traffic from the 710 Freeway terminus.

The 4.5-mile tunnel is one of five alternatives environmental surveyors are looking at. An environmental impact report is expected to be released in the winter of 2014.

In addition to the tunnel transportation, officials will continue to study a light-rail line from the East Los Angeles Civic Center to the Gold Line’s Fillmore Station; a rapid bus route from Alhambra to Pasadena; improvements such as ride-sharing, traffic signal coordination and increasing transit services; and a “no-build” alternative.

Moments after the vote, residents clad in red shirts who opposed the tunnel shouted “hip hip hooray” as they clamored out of City Council Chambers.

One of them, Marie Salas, of El Sereno, said she lives in one of the homes purchased by the state and owned by Caltrans in anticipation of the freeway’s extension. In the past she has been outspoken about the state’s management of the rental properties.

A recent state audit revealed Caltrans failed to collect $22 million in potential rental income in the last 4 1/2 years, overspent millions in repairs and improperly allowed state workers to live in 15 homes at reduced rental rates.

“I’m happy the [tunnel] was included in the resolution,” Salas said. “But the fight is not over.”

In a statement, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) said the Los Angeles City Council vote underscored the growing wind against extending the 710 Freeway.

“There have been more than enough legitimate public policy concerns raised about the viability of the 710 tunnel and the Los Angeles City Council stepped up and unanimously said ‘No tunnel,’” he said.

Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian, who is a member of the MTA board of directors, called the vote in Los Angeles “fantastic news.”

Najarian has publicly opposed the tunnel in the past, on Tuesday saying it was “merely designed to be a freight conduit” from the Port of Los Angeles to transport goods.

“For a long time, I felt like the lone voice on the MTA board,” he said. “It’s a testament to the organization and commitment of the neighborhood councils, the residents, in general, and the affected cities to stand up and make their position clear."
-- Adolfo Flores and Mark Kellam, Times Community News

LA Council opposed to 710 expansion

Posted by Daily Breeze -- http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_21418254/la-council-opposed-710-expansion

City News Service
Updated:   08/28/2012 01:04:20 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES — The City Council went on record today opposing any extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway that would cut through Los Angeles, adopting a resolution saying such a project would do "irreparable damage" to neighborhoods.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been considering a series of options for alleviating traffic in the area where the 710 Freeway ends, just north of the San Bernardino (10) Freeway near Alhambra and the University Hills area.

City Councilman Jose Huizar initially introduced a resolution opposing five proposed routes for extending the 710 Freeway, writing in the document that "an above-ground extension of the 710 North would do irreparable damage to the communities of El Sereno, Eagle Rock, Garvanza, Mt. Washington, Highland Park, Hermon and Glassell Park."

The resolution was amended Monday by the council's Transportation Committee to include opposition to a proposed tunnel connecting the 710 Freeway to the Foothill (210) Freeway.

Last week, Metro officials removed the five original proposed routes mentioned in Huizar's motion from the table, although the tunnel is still among the options being considered. Also still being considered are a light rail line from East Los Angeles to South Pasadena and a bus rapid transit line from East Los Angeles to Pasadena.

The City Council unanimously adopted the resolution opposing any freeway extensions that cut through the city.

Huizar said Metro "should not take for granted the communities that would be impacted the most."
ed to 710 expansion

L.A. City Council Votes to Oppose All Proposed 710 Routes 

By David Fonseca, La Canada Flintridge Patch --  http://lacanadaflintridge.patch.com/articles/city-council-votes-to-oppose-all-proposed-710-routes

Citing "horrible" outreach efforts on the part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar on Tuesday urged the council to support a resolution opposing all currently proposed plans to extend the 710 Freeway through Northeast Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley.

The council heard the message sent by Huizar—as well as the dozens of Highland Park, El Sereno and South Pasadena residents who attended Tuesday's meeting—and unanimously supported the resolution.

Introduced by Huizar on August 17, the anti-710 motion originally only opposed five of the six above and below ground routes Metro is currently considering. Those include routes H-2, an above ground highway that would run along Avenue 64 in Garvanza, and F-5, a tunnel that would be built below the neighborhood. Another proposed tunnel, F-2, would be built below the neighborhoods of Glassell Park and Mount Washington.

On Monday, Huizar expanded his motion in Transportation Committee to include route F-7, a tunnel that would run parrallel to Huntington Drive below South Pasadena and El Sereno—an option he had yet to take a stand on.

"What's different about resolution today is that we added F7. Originally we had proposed to oppose the illogical routes that made no sense, but we had been told anecdotally that the tunnel route may actually help El Sereno, the community that had been most impacted, since right now the 710 ends at Valley Boulevard and a lot of that traffic goes onto small streets. Soto and Huntington are used as alternatives right now, so you do have added traffic. They are impacted there," Huizar said. "As we heard about horrible outreach that Metro did. I started to have some doubts about whether we could get that appropriate information as to whether the tunnel was the right thing to do."
Huizar said that Tuesday's resolution was meant to place the burden on Metro and Caltrans to prove that a tunnel below El Sereno would be beneficial to commuters and residents.
Doug Failing, Executive Director of Highway Projects for Metro, has lauded Metro's outreach efforts, noting the numerous community meetings held in local communities regarding the 710 in the last year-and-a-half.

Janet Dodson, of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, said Huizar's decision to add route F-7 to the resolution was a "big deal."

"We didn't expect it, and he did it," Dodson said. "We were trying to figure out why he hadn't taken a stance against the F-7, and there was no good reason. He did the right thing."

Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council President Michael Larsen told Eagle Rock Patch that he's "proud of Huizar's bold opposition" to the 710 freeway's extension. The Councilmember's decision seems to be based on what the people want, Larsen said, adding that Huizar's stance is a major boost to the anti-710 movement and a feather in his political cap.

Huizar's motion goes one step further than the one taken by Metro staff Friday, August 24, when they urged the MTA board to take all currently proposed surface routes off the table. Metro will consider the staff recommendation on 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 29 at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the Board Room.

Metro has been considering the proposed routes while they prepare to commence a lengthy environmental impact study, which would allow them to build the project. In the past, the agencies' efforts to extend the SR-710 by surface route have been thwarted by the Federal Highway Administration, which has prompted Metro and Caltrans to consider several above and underground options in this latest round.

Metro and Caltrans say the 710 extension would alleviate traffic in neighborhoods, and point to voters' passage of Measure R in 2008, which authorized $40 Billion in funds for traffic projects in L.A. County, as proof of broader support for their efforts.
A strong contingent of 710 opponents attended Tuesday's meeting to criticize Metro's efforts and to urge the city council to stand with the cities of South Pasadana, Glendale and La Cañada in officially opposing the 710 extension.

"This massive, polluting, overpriced, five-mile toll tunnel filled with trucks will not reduce congestion or pollution and it will not bring jobs to Los Angeles," Dodson said during the public comment period.

Richard Schneider, of the South Pasadena City Council, said his city's fight against the 710 had long been a "lonely battle," and urged the Los Angeles City Council to join the effort.

"It's been a lonely fight over the decades, but times are changing. We now have allies in the city of Glendale and the city of La Cañada and many communities of Los Angeles," Schneider said. "We've always had it in El Sereno, but now we have it in Highland Park, Garvanza, Glassell Park, Eagle Rock and Mount Washington. We hope in the near future we will have the official support of the Citty of Los Angeles, as well."

Portantino Lauds Council Vote on 710 Resolution

Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of a resolution opposing all tunnel alternatives and several highway alternatives.

Homeowners Cheer ‘Historic’ Vote Against 710 Freeway Extension

From CBS Los Angeles -- http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/08/28/homeowners-cheer-historic-vote-against-710-freeway-extension/

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Residents in Eagle Rock, Highland Park and other cities hailed a vote by the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday to oppose any extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway a “very historic moment”.

KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports the City Council unanimously adopted a resolution opposing any freeway extensions that cut through the city.

“This is a very historic moment,” homeowner John Schafer said. “This is the first time the city of Los Angeles has gone on record opposing all 710 Freeway extensions, so we think this is great for the city of Los Angeles and great for the entire region.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been considering a series of options for alleviating traffic in the area where the 710 Freeway ends just north of the San Bernardino (10) Freeway near Alhambra and the University Hills area.

City Councilman Jose Huizar initially introduced a resolution opposing five proposed routes for extending the 710 Freeway, writing in the document that “an above-ground extension of the 710 North would do irreparable damage to the communities of El Sereno, Eagle Rock, Garvanza, Mt. Washington, Highland Park, Hermon and Glassell Park.”

The resolution was amended Monday by the council’s Transportation Committee to include opposition to a proposed tunnel connecting the 710 Freeway to the Foothill (210) Freeway.
Huizar said the vote sends a clear signal to Metro and Caltrans about just how involved residents are in the political process.

“We believe that relief is necessary for the congestion; the overflow of cars into Alhambra and El Serreno when the 710 ends at Valley, but there are other alternatives, and those alternatives include improving public transportation,” said Huizar.

Last week, Metro officials removed the five original proposed routes mentioned in Huizar’s motion from the table, although the tunnel is still among the options being considered.
Also still being considered are a light rail line from East Los Angeles to South Pasadena and a bus rapid transit line from East Los Angeles to Pasadena.

L.A. City Council joins opposition to 710 Freeway extension

From the Los Angeles Times ( http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/08/los-angeles-joins-opposition-to-710-freeway-extension.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lanowblog+%28L.A.+Now%29

The Los Angeles City Council joined a chorus of voices opposing plans to extend the 710 Freeway north on Tuesday, unanimously adopting a resolution opposing any above-ground freeway or tunnel that would cut through the city.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority on Thursday narrowed the 12 alternatives down to five and decided to cease exploration of any above-ground extension, but a tunnel connecting the 710 Freeway to the 210 Freeway is still on the table.

MTA officials have said they do not prefer a single option, but foes believe the tunnel is the favored option because it provides a route for trucks from the port of Los Angeles to move cargo inland.

The resolution comes a week after Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, (D-La Canada Flintridge) called for the freeway extension study to be halted altogether and two weeks after the Pasadena City Council called any surface or tunnel routes connecting the 710 and the 210 freeways "nonstarters."

The transit authority has sought for years to ease traffic congestion where the 710 freeway ends on Valley Boulevard in the El Sereno neighborhood, but any construction in that area would affect residents in several northeast Los Angeles communities that fall within Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar's district. The L.A. council also adopted a resolution in 2009 that opposed any tunnel that began or ended in El Sereno.

"You would disrupt some neighborhoods that have existed for generations," Huizar said. "I just think there are other alternatives, like multi-modal transportation."
Surveyors have proposed a 4.5-mile tunnel that would connect the 710 and 210 freeways as one of five alternatives. The MTA is also considering an expansion of the Gold Line that would connect Fillmore Station and the East L.A. Civic Center station, an expansion of bus service including dedicated lanes; enhancing coordination of traffic signals and existing transit services and a "no build" option. Huizar criticized the MTA for setting up "a process that creates more concern and alarm than anything." The transit authority began the environmental study process with more than 40 alternatives encompassing much of northeast Los Angeles, and narrowed the possible options to 12 earlier this year.

"We, as a city, and any other public agency should not take for granted the communities that would be impacted the most as Metro and Caltrans have," Huizar said.

South Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge and Glendale have also opposed any alternative involving construction of a freeway or tunnel, citing increased air pollution. But cities like Alhambra and San Marino say the extension will form an essential link in the regional transportation network.
The freeway and tunnel options have drawn heated opposition from community members. A cheer went up from the roughly 50 people who came to support the resolution after the vote, and many sported anti-710 freeway buttons and T-shirts. Marina Khubesrian, a South Pasadena councilwoman at the Tuesday meeting, called the tunnel option "insane."

The tunnel, she said, is "not in my backyard, it's not in yours, but I don't want anyone to sit there, with no access out for miles, breathing exhaust fumes."

Harry Knapp, a former mayor and council member of South Pasadena, said he supports low-impact measures such as traffic synchronization and the expansion of bus lines.

"Anything that doesn't have them plowing through neighborhoods," Knapp said.

An environmental report is expected to be released around winter 2014.

Los Angeles council opposes 710 extension thru LA

The Associated Press
Updated:   08/28/2012 01:42:05 PM PDT
From the Mercury News, San Jose, CA -- http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_21419085/los-angeles-council-opposes-710-extension-thru-la ; also published by KGET.com; also published by the Fresno Bee.

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles City Council has taken a position opposing any extension of Interstate 710 that would go through Los Angeles. City News Service says a council resolution approved Tuesday contends that any such project would do irreparable damage to neighborhoods.

The 710 freeway stretches from Long Beach to just north of Interstate 10, east of Los Angeles.
Residents of South Pasadena have waged a decades-long battle to block an extension through that city to connect with Interstate 210.

The Los Angeles resolution also opposes a proposal for a tunnel to close the 4 1-2 mile gap.

Los Angeles council unanimously opposes 710 extension options

LOS ANGELES - The L.A. City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution to oppose six routes for the 710 Freeway extension, including the F-7 tunnel option.
The council chambers were standing room only with anti-710 extension activists wearing red to signify their opposition to the freeway.

South Pasadena Councilman Richard Schneider said the L.A. council's decision was "wonderful" and added strength to the freeway fight South Pasadena has waged for decades.

 "Now we have got a solid block of cities that are all against the freeway," Schneider said.

Metro announced last week the top five freeway extension alternatives it will study for the project EIR, narrowed down from 12 possible transit alternatives to fill the 710 Freeway "gap" from Alhambra to Pasadena. Among the five remaining options are bus, light rail, "no build," traffic management systems and the F-7 underground tunnel connecting the 10 and 210 Freeways.

Metro is set to explain the final five alternatives and the narrowing-down process further at a meeting at its headquarters on Wednesday.
Los Angeles City Council Meeting Today

You could have watched it live on


(I didn't know this until right before the council meeting started so I didn't post the information earlier.)

 ITEM NO. (48) - 12-0002-S82
Resolution (Huizar - Reyes - Garcetti) relative to the City?s position in connection with the extension of SR-710 (North) along alternatives H-2, H-6, F-2, F-5, and F-6 and any above ground highway or freeway that would cut through the City of Los Angeles 


See this website Monday, August 20, 2012
Huizar Introduces 710 Resolution for more information.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Living in the Past

I've already harped on talked about the 710 freeway extension. I'm about to do so again. I will try to be entertaining (woohoo! cars! fumes! circus music!) but my feelings will not be hurt if you click away. Please come back tomorrow for silliness.

To recap: Caltrans, its proverbial finger on the proverbial pulse, thought now would be a good time to push ahead with an ancient plan.

OMG, we said, or letters to that effect.

Could we unite behind a presidential candidate? Could we unite over a sports team? Could we unite over so much as a flavor of ice cream? No.

However, nobody, but nobody wants a 710 freeway extension. We don't want it so fiercely that we are practically up in arms against it. Even local governments are involved in the fight.

For a moment it looked like Caltrans (finger to pulse) thought a tunnel under our communities might be some kind of cheery compromise, but yesterday the news broke: I first read it from Elise Kalfayan of Glendale's The Sunroom Desk. Lauren Gold also had the story at the Pasadena Star-News. The Los Angeles Transportation Committee, as Gold reports, "unanimously approved a resolution to oppose the F-7 tunnel route for the proposed 710 Freeway extension."

This is good.

Today at 10 am at City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street in Los Angeles, the LA City Council is scheduled to review and vote on a resolution opposing all six alternative freeway routes. You can go to this meeting. You are encouraged to show up and express your views. The more the merrier, and the better chance of showing Caltrans and the State of California that there are more forward-thinking ways to spend taxpayer money than on outdated concepts like freeways. The idea is so old fashioned that by the time a proposed 710 extension is finished, we'd be able to teleport goods from Long Beach to the Panama Canal.

If the resolution passes at today's City Council meeting, that doesn't guarantee that Caltrans will be stopped. Caltrans is like a chicken with its head cut off--it just keeps on running around in circles, even without a brain. The "No 710 Freeway Extension" group on Facebook grows every day. Feel free to join up.

Freeways have served their purpose, but here in the 21st century where you and I live they represent a disappearing, unenlightened age. They've already gone through Pasadena. They've already divided our city. They've already destroyed homes, businesses and neighborhoods. It's time to move on.
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Proposed 710 Freeway Extension will desecrate our Foothill neighborhoods

 Phyllis' LA Real Estate Blog, Posted by Phyllis Harb at 8/27/2012 2:05 AM

Councilman Najarian is correct in what he states. Be thankful he is knowledgeable about the reality of this disaster.
The 710 connector is being pushed, because the ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles are being greatly expanded. This is also happening on the East Coast. Southern California is a larger hub for the newer, larger ships being used in shipping products from Asia and other countries.
The trucks coming into/out of the port will increase by 25%. Read the rest here
It’s a stretch of road that has been overwhelmed with traffic for decades, in large part because of the huge container trucks that carry goods to and from the ports. The freeway has more traffic collisions than similar highways in other parts of the state, a problem made more dangerous by the close proximity of cars with the much-larger trucks.
The congestion has led to significant air pollution and health problems along the 710 corridor, because the large trucks are stuck idling sometimes for hours above homes and businesses. Soot and chemicals released by their engines clog the air in the neighborhoods, which have high levels of asthma and cancer.  Read the rest here
More information found at the No on 710 Action Committee website 
As a Realtor, I am in the home ownership business.  I believe one should own a home because it will improve the quality of one’s life.  If you believe that more trucks on our freeways will negatively impact our lives, health and the value of our homes, you need to make your feelings known.  Please take a moment to express the following:
I oppose the current plans for any expansion of the 710 freeway into the Pasadena/Foothills areas.  And I oppose any alternate highway routes utilizing the 110 freeway which will negatively impact homeowners in the Foothills, specifically Pasadena, Glendale, La Canada and Eagle Rock. Please consider utilizing the railroads for shipping freight from the Los Angeles docks. 
Your emails should be sent to Metroboard@wpra.net

YUCK, the TRUCKS: How People Power Is Killing 710 Freeway Extension and Winning the Fight for Sane Transit Solutions

On Tuesday at LA City Council Chamber before a sea of NO 710 red shirts, the spike likely will finally be driven into the money-sucking heart of a freeway nobody wants.
It has taken more than 50 years of community efforts and every time it appears dead, a new 710 Gap proposal comes to life just as it has once again in recent months.
What was different this time, why the extension from Alhambra to Pasadena, will finally be buried once and for all is the amazing efforts of ordinary people from the affluent San Rafael neighborhood and the guardians of Old Pasadena’s values to the historic Latino community of Garvanza in LA as well as Highland Park and El Sereno among other neighborhoods to the south.
Armed with research that exposed what this is all about — moving hundreds of trucks spewing exhaust fumes from the ports to the north and northwest, not relieving congestion for the residents and businesses in the region — community leaders along the 710 corridor pulled together, flexed their muscles in public meetings and rallies and showed just how weak and cynical the power structure.
All they want is people’s money to redistribute it to consultants, contractors, labor unions even if they destroy the quality of hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. Their greed has no respect for people, their money or the environment.
So in the face of a firestorm of negative publicity, MTA staff killed seven of the most obnoxious proposals for the 710 off the table and left one freeway extension plan — F-7 the staggeringly costly 4.5 mile tunnel from the 10 to the 210, the longest tunnel in America.
On Monday, an LA City Council committee unanimously added opposition to even that proposal to five other freeway plans already in its motion of condemnation.
The action sets the stage for the issue to be taken up at Tuesday’s full Council meeting he public’s money and they will take find out just how badly the downtown political machine wants another 30 years of taxes that would be mortgaged at a steep discount to and used now to make today’s crop of second-rate politicians look good and stay in office.
Getting the issue to the Council floor wasn’t easy.
The Pasadena City Council which called a special meeting, put the MTA on the carpet and let an overflow crowd of 500 tear apart the 710 plans before voting unanimously to oppose them.
The LA City Council reluctantly put a resolution of opposition on the calendar last Friday because Northeast LA (and now downtown) Councilman Jose Huizar feared his constituents were mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
But his superiors in high places ordered him to pull the resolution and send it back to the Transportation Committee that had waived it to allow them time to try to massage the message and to deny the dozens of community activists who had trekked to City Hall to be heard about what a horrorshow the 710 would mean to their community and the whole Arroyo Seco.
To Huizar’s credit or more likely the power structure’s realization that pushing the 710 extension could bring down Measure J, the sales tax extension to 2069, the committee added to its list of undesirables plan F-7, the only one the MTA ever took seriously. All the rest were nothing but distractions.
What the power structure wants is a toll road tunnel that will get cars off of other freeways to make room for the trucks from the ports or to speed the trucks to the 210 to go north or west to the 215 and regions far away. But they will not jeopardize tens of billions of dollars for the subway-to-the-sea and the skyscraper developments it will bring just to destroy the environment along the 710 corridor for the benefit of truckers.
Their miscalculation is these communities have gotten organized and know what they want.
In the techno-parlance of the MTA, they want “multi-modal” solutions to traffic congestion — rapid buses, jitneys, bike paths, anything that doesn’t poison the air and gets people from where they are to where they want to go.
It’s called a public transit SYSTEM — something the MTA still doesn’t understand.

Not another dime

 Voice of the People (The Sun, San Bernardino and the Inland Emprie)

For all those who seem to have their hearts in the right place but their heads in the sand regarding Gov. Brown's proposed tax hike - let's review: We should support this tax increase so the DMV can spend $44 million on a computer system that never worked; so Caltrans can spend tens of millions every year to maintain homes (purchased for the never-built 710 Freeway project) that are rented to state employees at discounted rates; to fund the $500 million spent on a computer system upgrade for California's courts that never worked; to support the corruption and government fraud we read about daily in the newspapers; to fund the parks department which hid millions while telling us they would have to close our parks because they didn't have enough money; to help support the lavish, early retirement of government employees, many in the six-figure range; to fund those using EBT cards on cruise ships and in casinos; to support Brown's pie-in-the-sky bullet train that the majority are no longer in favor of and has been shown to be supported by studies that overstate the benefits of the train.
The list seems endless. So, considering all this, perhaps the bleeding hearts can understand why many of us feel that giving more money to this government - local, state or federal - is like giving an alcoholic another drink and why we say not another dime.