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

Monday, September 3, 2012

Walt’s Vision: Bring Monorails to Los Angeles Now!

An old article but one of interest. The only link still available is for the Monorail Society. There are also many articles on the Internet on the safety of monorails in earthquakes. I really do not understand why monorails have not been discussed for solving many of L.A.'s transportation problems. Couldn't they be put in the middle of our freeways and down the middle of wide streets? [posted by Peggy Drouet]


 (I tried to copy and paste, etc., etc., to copy the entire e-mail sent out, but couldn't do it, so I have retyped the important information below).

From: Sylvia Plummer <unitedagainst710@gmail.com>
Date: September 1, 2012 3:04:17 PM PDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: An email sent to residents in the East Arroyo Area - 5000 flyers distributed this week

Thanks to Sarah Gavit for connecting with Alix Reeves who runs the East Arroyo Neighborhood Watch (700 on her email list).

5000 Flyers - The flyer at the end of this letter has been distributed to the East Arroyo area, a segment of East Pasadena, the West Arroyo area (134 north to the 210), and northeast Pasadena  (north of 210 and 134, to mountain and east to Fair Oaks).  A flyer distribution house was used and targeted only single-family homes.  Thanks go to Sarah Gavit for this effort.

And Neighborhood Foothill Communities

Why Oppose the 710 Freeway Tunnel

•    Pasadena is not spared: The tunnel OPENS into the heart of Pasadena. Our city’s unique beauty, heritage and quality of life will be damaged forever. Some of our most beautiful neighborhoods and key assets (Old Pasadena, the Arroyo Seco/Rose Bowl area) will be significantly impacted. Property values will significantly decrease.

•    Pasadena will be a major truck route and freeway exchange: The 710 tunnel is not being built for commuters. It is intended to be a new truck route connecting the Ports of LA and Long Beach to the north I-5 and the 210 east and west. Pasadena will be a mega interchange connecting the 710, 134, 210 and 110 freeways. Estimated new traffic: 190,000+ vehicles a day, including 17,000+ trucks. Think parking lot. Construction is estimated to be 24/7, 5 years, and 750,000+ truck trips to remove debris and bring back fill material.

•    Poor design: Current baseline is for two 4.5 mile long tunnels (4 lanes each, 8 lanes total); no exits or ramps for the entire length; north opening shown at California Blvd., but may be further south for trucks to make the grade; only vents are at openings (e.g., near Old Pasadena); exhaust will be blown out into Pasadena and will “go where the wind blows.”

•    Health Hazards: Vehicle exhaust and diesel particles cannot be properly filtered. Significant smog and air pollution present health risks for tunnel drivers, Pasadena residents and the entire Foothill Basin. Huntington Hospital is at the exit. Seven schools are either at or near the exit. Many will probably have to relocated (e.g.. Sequoia, Maranatha, Waverly).

•    Noise: The tunnel will trumpet noise into Pasadena. Noise will significantly increase on all connecting freeways.

•    Safety Hazards: Because there are no exits, if a fire occurs, there is no easy way out of the tunnel, especially for the infirmed. The risk of death in a tunnel traffic accident is twice as high as on an open road. Water table and seismic stability concerns have not been addressed.

•    Cost: The tunnels are 1 mile longer than the Boston “Big Dig,” which cost $22 billion. MTA and SCAG estimates range from $5.6 to $12 billion. It has been suggested that the tunnel may be funded/built by a foreign country/company and will charge a large toll fee to recover costs. Travelers unwilling to pay the cost will empty onto local streets.

Better Alternatives

•    Rail: The age of building freeways is over. LA needs to move to green transportation such as freight rail and, for passengers, light rail and buses. Metro has NOT considered rail for cargo or completing a rail transit network.

What You Can Do

•    Attend key meetings (show our numbers)
•    Write authorities (Metro/Caltrans, Pasadena City Council, State Representatives). Get names/addresses at no710.com
•    Join the “No on 710 Group” and/or volunteer by sending an email to no710extension@aol.com
•    Oppose the I-710 South EIR/EIS (input ends 9/28/12)
•    Vote NO on Measure J on November ballot (extends Measure R sales tax, includes highway building funds)
•    Educate neighbors and friends
•    Put a “Stop 710 Freeway” sign in your yard.

Upcoming Events*

*See www.no710.com for a complete list and to verify dates, times, and locations, which frequently change.
Please send your letters before Thursday, the agenda is posted on Thursday by 6pm.

 From: Carla Riggs <Carlita9@Charter.net> [Edit Address Book]
To: undisclosed-recipients@null, null@null
Subject: Important Vote Coming for City Council Members ~ email them now
Date: Sep 3, 2012 9:38 AM
Attachments: 19July2012 City Attorney Opinion.pdf

I want to remind you of a letter that Weston DeWalt sent to the Pasadena City Council, Transportation Director and City Manager on August 31.  It is important that we email them as well.  We want the City Council to oppose the SR710 F-7 tunnel now, not later.   It is important that they take action as soon as possible.  We want to see this as an agenda item for the September 10, City Council Meeting.  Let them know you have read Weston's letter.  Let them know if you are planning to attend the September 10th meeting. 

If you do not live in Pasadena, only email Pasadena City Council Member Chris Holden, who is running as a candidate in November for State Assembly to represent Assembly District 41:  jmcintyre@cityofpasadena.net

For those that live in Pasadena, give your Pasadena address under your signature. You can copy and paste the email addresses below:

 jacquerobinson@cityofpasadena.net, mmcaustin@cityofpasadena.net, jmcintyre@cityofpasadena.net, gmasuda@cityofpasadena.net, vgordo@cityofpasadena.net, smadison@cityofpasadena.net, ttornek@cityofpasadena.net, "Bogaard, Bill" <bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net>, "Beck, Michael" <mbeck@cityofpasadena.net>, "Dock, Fred" <fdock@cityofpasadena.net>

Please send your letters before Thursday, the agenda is posted on Thursday by 6pm.

For your reference I am including the letter sent by Weston.
Pasadena's City Attorney's opinion regarding Measure A can be found on page 4.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Weston DeWalt
Date: Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 3:19 PM
Subject: Measure A & Proposed F-7 Tunnel - For Immediate Distribution
Cc: jacquerobinson@cityofpasadena.net, mmcaustin@cityofpasadena.net, jmcintyre@cityofpasadena.net, gmasuda@cityofpasadena.net, vgordo@cityofpasadena.net, smadison@cityofpasadena.net, ttornek@cityofpasadena.net, "Bogaard, Bill" <bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net>, "Beck, Michael" <mbeck@cityofpasadena.net>, "Dock, Fred" <fdock@cityofpasadena.net>

In recent days I have received a number of emails and phone calls from Pasadena, South Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge and Los Angeles residents asking why the Pasadena City Council continues to delay consideration of an Agenda action item that would call for opposition to the F-7 tunnel that remains on the Metro/Caltrans list of proposed 710 extension routes.To address this lingering question I have composed this email and would appreciate your distributing it to your lists of concerned citizens at  your earliest convenience.

Measure A (2001) & Its Contemporary Relevance

The history of Measure A - which was steered onto a 2001 City of Pasadena ballot by a paid political operative for the City of Alhambra - is fairly well told in the Pasadena City Attorney's analysis of the Measure, which she offered on 18 December 2000. (See Attachment F: http://bit.ly/S5zHr6). On its face, Measure A would appear to constrain the Pasadena City Council - even all these years later- from considering opposition to any 710 extension. And so the Pasadena City Attorney said when - on 19 July 2012 - she offered her opinion that nothing in Measure A "specifies that it is limited to certain proposed [710] extension routes or means of achieving the  completion, even if unknown at the time of the passage of Measure A.  "She goes on her opinion to offer that it appears that "the City is still prohibited  from taking actions that are contrary to a policy favoring completion of the 710 Freeway extension." (See the full text of this opinion in the attached document: 19 July 2012 City Attorney Opinion.)

This opinion of the City Attorney was openly challenged by many Pasadena residents who argued that the specific language of Measure A and the language of City Ordinance #6851, which resulted from its passage, did not preclude the City Council's considering opposition to the proposed H-2 and F-5 routes, because those routes did not connect the I-10 to I-210 but connected the I-10 to the 134. Additionally, the City Attorney - on 3 August 2012 - was sent an email by Pasadena resident and attorney Howard Rosenblatt who directed her attention to a Supreme Court decision that he thought she should have considered before offering her opinion of 19 July. In that email he offered that implicit in the language of Measure A (2001) was the notion that an extension of the 710 through Pasadena would be achieved by closing the 710 "gap" with a uncovered route that had been publicly promoted at the time of Measure A's passage and was the only proposed 710 extension route in the minds of Pasadena residents when they considered Measure A. (Note: It would be years later before a tunnel option would be formally considered by Metro/Caltrans.)

Attorney Rosenblatt went on in his email to say:

As stated by Justice Scalia in his concurring opinion in Green v. Bock Laundry Machine Co., 490 US 504, 528 (1989), the meaning of a statute should be determined by the meaning most in accord with its context and the meaning most likely to have been understood by, inter alia, the citizens subject to it (i.e. the voters).  Accordingly, to suggest that Section 1 of Measure A should be interpreted in any other fashion (i.e. that the voters favored a 710 completion policy regardless of which route it took ... is not only ludicrous, but is contrary to the context in which Measure A was presented [given that] ... at the time Measure A was presented and voted upon there existed only one [proposed] route through Pasadena for the 710 extension).

A City Attorney Reversal

After considerable public pressure was placed upon the Pasadena City Attorney, Mayor Bill Bogaard and members of the Pasadena City Council, Fred Dock, the Director of Pasadena's Department of Transportation - on 13 August 2012 - sent a Memorandum to Mayor Bogaard and members of the City Council (See" http://bit.ly/OD3ekY) offering:

The City Attorney believes that Measure A does not prevent the City from taking positions in opposition to non-freeway alternatives or on proposed new freeways that would connect 1-10 to SR-134 (F-5), or that would connect 1-10 to SR-2 (F-2) as those freeways would not connect 1-10 with 1-210, as referenced in Measure A.

While this dramatic reversal by the City Attorney was welcome news to a substantial number of Pasadena residents, they were left to wonder what the reasoning was behind her change of mind and where her revised opinion might be found. After all, her emphatic 19 July opinion - that the City Council could not oppose any proposed 710 extension routes - was readily placed on the City of Pasadena's website for all to see, but now there was nothing. Subsequently, Public Records Act requests were submitted to City Manager Michael Beck, asking that access be given to the revised opinion. Those requests were denied and what is contained in the City Attorney's revised opinion remains unknown.

Without access to the City Attorney's revised 19 July opinion, Pasadena residents are left to ponder how Fred Dock - in the above referenced Memorandum - came to say:

Finally, if the City Council wished to take a position on the freeway tunnel route connecting to the current 710 stub in Pasadena (F-7), an argument could be made that
the City Council is precluded from doing so because of language in Measure A and case authority which suggests that initiative measures are to be interpreted broadly.

"Could be made"? - If the City Attorney - in her revised opinion - made the argument that City Council is absolutely precluded from considering opposition to the F-7 tunnel, the residents of Pasadena are entitled to know the extent and wording of that argument and - specifically - why it is thought that the Supreme Court case cited by Pasadena attorney Rosenblatt has no relevance.

The City's unwillingness to release the City Attorney's revised opinion is a source of continuing frustration for many Pasadena residents who believe that publicly and privately offered comments by City Councilmembers and Mayor Bogaard strongly suggest that - if the City Council were given the opportunity to oppose the F-7 tunnel - a majority of its members would vote to do just that.
So what is one to do?

Independent sources, whom I consider to be unimpeachable, have recently told me of their putting this very question to both Councilmember Holden and City Manager Michael Beck. According to those sources, City Manager Beck offered that he thought consideration was being given to the City Attorney's seeking a judicial declaration that could conceivably result in the Pasadena City Council being allowed to consider opposition to the F-7 route. Councilmember Holden's response was described as being little more than a suggestion that, as a private citizen, the questioner had the right to file a law suit to challenge the City Attorney's opinion. The questioner offered that it should not be the responsibility of a private citizen to solve this lingering problem, but that of the City of Pasadena.

The offered "solutions" by City Manager Beck and Councilmember Holden could - and likely would - consume a great deal of time to put into play and considerably delay possible opposition to the F-7 for some time. And that, some suspect, is likely behind their suggestions.

In Councilmember Holden's case, it is not hard to imagine why he might want to delay the need to cast a vote and clearly declare his position on the proposed F-7 route. Running as he is as a candidate for State Assembly to represent Assembly District 41, Councilmember Holden has been endorsed by labor unions whose members would benefit from the construction of a 710 extension as well as by former Councilmember Paul Little who is the CEO of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce whose Board of Directors supports a 710 extension. On the other hand, Councilember Holden would like the votes of La Canada Flintridge residents, many of whom have been very vocal in their opposition to any 710 extension. Understandably, a delay in resolving the Measure A situation until after election day would be of some benefit.  

But what motive might City Manager Beck have for seemingly being in no hurry to get the matter of Measure A's contemporary relevance to the F-7 question resolved?  Possible answers to that question abound. One of the prevailing theories is that - if the City Council were to oppose the proposed F-7 tunnel at this stage in the process - the growing swell of anti-710 forces would begin to demand that  - following the example of the City of South Pasadena in years past - the City of Pasadena begin to conduct necessary research, to file relevant and justifiable lawsuits and take whatever additional steps it could to deter Metro/Caltrans from further considering the F-7 tunnel route. Taking such actions would require the expenditure of considerable sums of money, and, if the City were to refrain from taking action with the explanation that it has limited funds, it would then have to answer questions like: How can the City refuse to come to the aid of its residents, when - just months ago - it provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for the drafting of an EIR in support of the "possibility" that an NFL team "might" want to use the Rose Bowl as a temporary venue?

Whether this scenario has any resemblance to the undisclosed reality behind what appears to be a coordinated effort to delay the City's taking any decisive action on the matter of Measure A's relevance to the F-7 tunnel question is beyond me. But it is one of the more generous speculations stirring in the public mind, and one that I think is deserving of some consideration.

If, in fact, the City is purposely delaying the taking of actions to resolve the Measure A  / F-7 tunnel situation, there is a growing concern that the City could possibly be found in violation of its own Municipal Code, which calls for it to "avoid any action which could be construed by an objective person to create the appearance of impeding governmental responsiveness or efficiency" (See: http://bit.ly/PVnUpR) - and could leave itself open to a critical finding by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Public Integrity Division that, in turn, could lead to Pasadena residents taking legal action against the City.

Whatever the City is to do, it is my opinion that those residents of Pasadena who are concerned about the possibility of a mammoth tunnel being bored under our City and its resulting impact on Pasadena and its neighboring communities should continue their insistence that the City Manager, the City Attorney, Mayor Bogaard and members of City Council act expeditiously in order to resolve the outstanding Measure A question.

FYI: The next Pasadena City Council is scheduled for 10 September.

Weston DeWalt
Pasadena, California USA

 Posted by Gloria Castro, Sept. 3, 2012 on No On Measure J Facebook page
In June, 2012, Metro staff recommended, in the attached document, to the Board that Measure J's language (form of the resolution) would be "almost identical" to Measure R passed in 2008." (see p. 3: www.metro.net/board/Items/2012/06_June/20120620EMACItem35.pdf)

The 2008 Measure's heading was "Traffic Relief. Rail Extensions. Reduce Foreign Oil Dependence." The bullet points were as follows: Synchronize traffic signals, Repair potholes, Extend light rail with airport connections, Improve freeway traffic flow, Keep senior/student/disabled fares low, Provide clean-fuel buses, Expand subway/Metrolink/bus service, Dedicate millions for community traffic relief." Measure R was supported by the likes of the American Lung Association, and the Coalition for Clean Air. It was opposed by the Glendora City Council, and the cities of Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Duarte, Irwindale, La Puente, Monrovia, Pomona, San Dimas, South Pasadena, West Covina.

2012 Measure J's heading reads: "Accelerating Traffic Relief, Job Creation."

Bullet points: To advance Los Angeles County's traffic relief, economic growth/ job creation, by accelerating construction of light rail/ subway/ airport connections within five years not twenty; funding countywide freeway traffic flow/ safety /bridge improvements, pothole repair; keeping senior/ student/ disabled fares low; Shall Los Angeles County's voter-approved one-half cent traffic relief sales tax continue, without tax rate increase, for another 30 years or until voters decide to end it, with audits/ keeping funds local?

What happened to the clean-fuel buses and expanding Metro's subway and bus services? rhetorical...

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