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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

People Power Forces LA City Council to Oppose 710 Freeway — for Now

Residents of Northeast LA generously gave thanks to Councilman Jose Huizar Tuesday and celebrated him as a hero for pushing through a resolution putting the City of Los Angeles on record as opposing the 710 Freeway extension through their neighborhoods from El Sereno to Garvanza .

They looked the other way at how he pulled the resolution off the table Friday and sent it back to committee solely to deny dozens of them the chance to protest to the Council on camera for the whole city to see.

They ignored how he held the public hearing off camera on Monday in the Transportation Committee because he added to the condemnation resolution the one route — the longest and potentially costliest tunnel in U.S. history.

They didn’t complain when they were only allowed 10 minutes for 10 people to speak at public comment on the resolution for one-minute each on Tuesday.

They only expressed gratitude even when he wrote in a loophole to opposition to the F-7 tunnel proposal by saying:

“When we do receive this information about whether the tunnel makes sense or not who’s to say that they are giving us the right information or whether they are doing the appropriate community outreach for the community to decide whether that makes sense or not.

“So we decided to add the F-7 one and to oppose that as well  to put the burden of proof on Caltrans and MTA to show us that it makes sense in the future. But for now it will be the City of Los Angeles’ position to oppose it.”

You could drive a truck, thousands of trucks, through the “Huizar Loophole” — which is exactly the goal of transportation officials and the vast transportation lobby that wants  the 710 Freeway extension they will spend billions of taxpayer dollars to build it so they can keep on trucking cargo from the ports instead of putting on rail which is vastly cleaner and cheaper.

The community went along with the gag but they were not fooled. They know no one in public office is to be trusted when it comes to protecting the quality of the lives of ordinary citizens when special interests in all their wide variety are the only real constituents they care about.

In just a few short weeks, residents across the 710 corridor through Pasadena, South Pasadena and LA have put together an extraordinary outreach effort across city, economic and racial lines.

They exposed just how flawed MTA’s outreach and planning has been, and forced them to kill seven ridiculous routes two months early. They held mass rallies and connected to communities all the way to Long Beach where the MTA wants to expand the 710 Freeway to 14 lanes.

Now, they have LA officially on board and on Wednesday they will put an MTA task force on the 710 to the test for honesty and competence.

In just a few short weeks, they have put Measure J — the extension to 2069 of 2008′s Measure R that is generating $40 billion to build the freeway extension, the subway-to-the-sea, the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass 405 HOV lane and other projects — in jeopardy.

What’s missing is a transit system that provides the connectivity and frequency of service that gets people from where they are to where they want to go. You don’t get that when the price of massive projects for special interests is endless cuts in bus lines and service and higher and higher fares.
Officials are hoping to weaken the movement by making concessions that can be revoked at any time.

This time it won’t work: These people aren’t NIMBYs opposing something in their neighborhoods; they are citizen warriors fighting for the quality of their lives and their health and they will win.

4 Responses to People Power Forces LA City Council to Oppose 710 Freeway — for Now

  1. Wayne from Corruptopia says build the freeway! says:
    This is one time the bulldozers need to do their thing! Free the commuter Ron, FREE THE COMMUTER from his 5mph hellhole commute!
  2. Carlos Morales says:
    Thank you once again for putting it into prospective, this 710Fwy project has been the talk of the Northeast Comunity of El Sereno, the community most affected and least represented.
    This project basically pitted communities of Alhambra and South Pasadena fighting against each other and against El Sereno for decades. It is amazing to see a united front from these and neighboring communities in the Northeast to finally merge as one. A test of time, will, and determination by the little community of El Sereno, never giving up. ;)
  3. Teddy says:
    If you live in Sherman Oaks and the only job you can find is in Long Beach, Wayne,
    MOVE. Don’t commute. Move.
  4. Nina Royal says:
    The Sunland-Tujunga NC was at that meeting and is also on record with the MTA as opposing the extension. The MTA neglected to include the North Valley in its impact study. The approx. 60,000 additional vehicles on the 210 will negatively impact the air quality of S-T, that is known world wide as a haven for those persons with respiratory disease. They say there will not be any additional trucks. Would you believe them? Look at the gridlock that happened on Foothill Blvd. in S-T 2 weeks ago because of the big rig truck accident on the 210 at La Tuna Cyn. It’s a good indication of what will happen on a more continuing bases in S-T if that extension is allowed. BTW, I am the Safety Chair for the STNC, and I personally object to the extension because I too have respiratory disease, and S-T’s air quality is why I. and others like me, need to live here.
Pasadena's Public Health Department and the 710 (plan F-7) Tunnel route

From Carla Riggs (Click on the attachment to see the report)
Subject: Health Risk Assessment of 710
Date: Aug 29, 2012 1:15 PM
  Kind of hard to swallow (no pun intended!) when you read this, and realize just how bad the environment may become here.


A report from Weston DeWalt on Pasadena's Public Health Department and the 710 (plan F-7) Tunnel route.

On - 27 August - at the Main Library/Pasadena - there was a celebration of the 120th anniversary of the City of Pasadena's Public Health Department (PHD) during which Mayor Bogaard and the Public Health Department Director, Dr. Eric Walsh addressed a crowd of 100+ and discussed the just released 2012 Pasadena/Altadena Quality of Life Index. (See attachment.) Among those attending were Councilmembers Jacque Robinson and Terry Tornek, representatives from various City departments, City Manager Michael Beck and representatives from various community institutions and organizations, including Huntington Hospital whose very physical plant would be threatened if the decision were made to build out the F-7 tunnel now under consideration by Metro/Caltrans.

Mayor Bogaard pointed out that the PHD was one of only three City sponsored public health departments in California, was highly complimentary of the department's many accomplishments over the years and pointed out that the City was going to take more into account the impact upon public health when considering actions the City might take.

You will note that on p.26 of the Quality of Life Index it is reported that: 

Some of the worst contributors to air pollution are fuel emissions from cars, trucks, trains, buses, and stationary sources such as refineries and factories. At the Port of Los Angeles for example, many of the engines that support ships, trucks, trains, and cargo equipment at the port are fueled by diesel, and consequently pollute the air with diesel exhaust. Research has shown that diesel exhaust is responsible for an estimated 70% of cancer risk due to air pollution, and is further associated with asthma. Low-income and minority residents tend to be disproportionately affected by poor air quality, as many live along rail corridors, freeways, factories, and refineries where air quality is at its worst. And though effects are greatest near the ports, the pollution emitted can be measured throughout the Los Angeles County Basin and beyond.

This awareness on the part of the PHD is most encouraging.

At the conclusion of the celebration I introduced myself to Dr. Walsh with whom I have recently exchanged emails about the hope of Pasadena residents that his department might be tasked by City Council to assess the risks that could come to Pasadena residents in the event that any 710 extension routes might be built out within the limits of Pasadena. Upon introducing myself, I reminded Dr. Walsh of our exchange about possible 710 extensions, and he readily offered that "we've got you on that" and said his department was simply waiting to see if a Pasadena route would be among those to be included in the Caltrans/Metro final list of route candidates.

As public health risk assessment is included in the mandate of the PHD, I remain hopeful that the City - should a Pasadena route be among the finalist - will task the PHD to conduct or cause to be conducted a comprehensive and objective consideration of the public health hazards that would come to Pasadena both during the construction and after the completion of any 710 extension route within the limits of our City. I am encouraged by Dr. Walsh's dedication to the PHD objectives. 

Weston DeWalt

Gatto does not support 710 extension

La Canada Valley Sun
August 29, 2012 | 12:07 p.m. -- http://www.lacanadaonline.com/opinion/tsn-vsl-0830-gatto-does-not-support-710-extension,0,6738968.story

A recent article (“Leader: Stop 710-gap plans,” Aug. 23) implied my support of the 710 extension. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been, and continue to be, opposed to the extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway in any form. In fact, one of the reasons I co-authored SB 204 is that it would finally end the speculation about an above-ground route and also distribute needed alternative transit resources to surrounding communities.

SB 204 would force Caltrans to sell the homes along the old proposed 710 route and use the proceeds for good things in the surrounding communities, in consultation with local leaders.
I try to be a problem-solver and it is my hope that this proposal would solve three problems. It would end a state transportation agency’s foray into local real estate and thus end any mismanagement there. Second, as noted above, it would finally and conclusively end any speculation about an above-ground 710 route. Finally, it would use the proceeds — millions of dollars — to do some good locally, like improving those hair-raising exits along the Pasadena (110) Freeway and erecting much-needed sound walls along the Foothill (210) Freeway.

Unfortunately, the article on SB 204 contained a very misleading juxtaposition that led some to misinterpret my position on the 710 itself. Although the newspaper has taken steps to try to clear things up, I have received many emails and phone calls from my friends in our neighborhoods who are wondering if I have changed my long-held position of being against the 710 extension in any form.

The answer is, of course, “no.” I remain against tearing up our neighborhoods.

I also believe that we need deeds, not just words. The bill I co-authored, which would start using Caltrans funds for positive local projects, is the first such deed. As always, I welcome your ideas and thoughts for others.

Assemblymember Mike Gatto

[I can't find the August 23 article, but found this at the bottom of an August 22 article in the Las Canada Valley Sun:

FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article mistakenly suggested Assemblyman Mike Gatto and state Sen. Carol Liu favor an extension of the 710 to the Foothill (210) Freeway. They oppose an extension.]