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.