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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

South Pasadena Council votes to support Measure J 


By Lauren Gold, SGVN
Updated:   10/25/2012 09:06:22 PM PDT
 SOUTH PASADENA - The City Council this week took an official stance in support of Measure J, despite opposition from many other 710 protesters to the extension of Measure R's half-cent sales tax.
The resolution passed unanimously at a special council meeting Tuesday, just two weeks before the measure is up for vote.

South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti said he and other city leaders opposed to the 710 Freeway extension agree that Measure J is worth a vote because it will provide needed funds for public transportation.

"There are concerns of course with the measure ... but those aside and weighing the pros and cons I really support this effort by Metro to really invest in our transportation infrastructure future for a 21st century transportation system," Cacciotti said.

In recent weeks, members of groups such as the No 710 Action Committee and No 710 on Avenue 64 have taken a stance against the measure, claiming that voting for it would mean supporting the extension project, which is under an environmental impact review.

Among the five remaining options under consideration by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are light rail, bus, traffic management technology, "no build" and a twin-bore underground freeway tunnel.

Opponents to the measure have called it a "blank check" for Metro, an agency they say can't be trusted.

No 710 Action Committee member Bill Sherman said he thinks South Pasadena's decision to support it was the "politically correct" option, keeping alliances with members of the Metro board who also oppose the 710 extension.

Although Cacciotti agreed that there's "no guarantee" about where the money will go, he's confident that attitudes are changing on the Metro board toward a more transit-oriented transportation future.

"I think the trend is now people are realizing we can't just keep building freeways," Cacciotti said.
South Pasadena is not the lone freeway fighter to advocate for Measure J, as the Glendale and La Canada Flintridge councils both passed resolutions this month in support of Metro's ballot initiative.
Ann Wilson, with La Canada Flintridge, said Mayor Stephen A. Del Guercio sent a letter to Metro last week supporting the tax, but opposing the 710 extension.

Wilson agreed with Cacciotti that the measure would benefit important transit projects, and supporting it "doesn't have to be" a vote of support for the 710.

"It's unusual for a city council to endorse any kind of tax measure but recognizing the opportunity to support these worthwhile transportation projects we felt it was important to do that," Wilson said. "The city's position all along has been to resolve transportation issues in the region, and you can't have resolution if you're not building transportation."


Here's what they're not telling you about Measure J
 Posted by Sunyoung Yang on No on Measure J Facebook page

Quoting Serena Lin--a former lawyer and writer--"Here's what they're not telling you about Measure J. First off, it's carefully worded to allow a fiscally irresponsible agency, the MTA, to privately benefit corporations that will build rail while at the same time taking money that SHOULD be budgeted for all the bus riders (esp. low-income and working class people of color) who have commutes of over 2 hours to get to work where rail will not be built (and it is not intended to get them there). If you don't already know, it's because they haven't been honest. The truth is that the MTA expanded rail which served a higher-income demographic and less people of color at the cost of bus services. They CUT bus services instead, even after bus users who voted for Measure R thought that it would improve their transportation. And let's be frank that low-income folks need buses and rail the most! People ask -- but why shouldn't we give money to transportation? We need to give money, but to allow operation of bus and rail services, which the MTA doesn't prioritize. What's far worse is that I watched as many community groups in Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, Downtown, South LA, have asked the Measure's backers to develop responsibly, to understand that you cannot give money to rail transportation (where land gets snapped up in poor communities) without thinking about the FACT that it leads to gentrification (not the good kind, but the kind that drives out poor people) because land values rise. The backers of the bill work with luxury housing developers who want to hide the link between these loose transportation bills and what is the studied impact of displacement of low-impact people of color. It's a necessary side-effect in their opinion, so people are being pushed out of the inner city. The MTA knows that this is a problem, but they refuse to address it in implementation. So, with a lot of these propositions, there is simply no excuse, they just hope that voters don't care about civil rights and they piss me off because they make people think it's environmentalists vs. civil rights and community -- many of these folks are environmentalists who never really were conscientious about race and its legacy in America in the first place. So I and many others are fighting against a trend that someday we will have these clean, energy-efficient cities, and many of the poor folk are living in the outer-ring exurbs, with junky cars, with high gas costs, having to commute into the same cities they were crowded into because of the color of their skin, or their accents -- then at that point the Right to the City will be for the privileged, and not for us. Also, many groups won't speak up against this bill because even though they don't like that this bill shows no understanding of the affordable housing issue in LA, they do agree that MTA needs money. It does, but you can't keep throwing money at a broken system."
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2012-5:35 pm


On our front page, we reprint a telling piece from the LA Weekly about our City Council’s recent “non-action” in “not opposing” the most recent sales tax hike from the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The LA Weekly, the largest “alternative” newspaper in the county, features some excellent reporters. Their “hard news” stories are usually very, very good. This is one of them. We believe this article “tells it like it is” and we concur in its reporting. Their analysis, reporting and verdict are pretty hard to argue with.

As readers of The Courier know, this newspaper has been in the forefront of uncovering back-room deals, political shenanigans, bad science and the whole panoply of events surrounding Metro’s “bait and switch” to put a tunnel right underneath the main instructional buildings of Beverly Hills High School. We have reported what the evidence shows is the origin of the route under Beverly High (a fundraiser for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in Chicago hosted by JMB Realty, owner of the property that will most benefit from the under-the-high-school route – a story first reported by LA Weekly), the history of the “bait and switch” where one route was presented to Beverly Hills (under Santa Monica Boulevard) but another selected. We also followed closely the stall tactics of councilmembers Barry Brucker, Willie Brien and Julian Gold as they grudgingly and reluctantly joined efforts of the Beverly Hills Unified School District board of trustees to move the tunnel back to Santa Monica where it belongs.

We have reported extensively on the science – how Metro “barely scratched the surface” to find “earthquake faults, which were no where to be found when the district hired its own experts who dug massive trenches in keeping with proper science. We have reported then-Mayor Barry Brucker’s rude dismissals by Villaraigosa and our own L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s “in your face” to Beverly Hills, “If you don’t like it, sue us.”

What we have struggled with, most of all, is the perception crafted and exploited by Metro that Beverly Hills is an elitist, exclusionary City.  Metro’s PR firms have spread that tale far and wide. The Courier believed at all times and believes now that this perception is wrong, is unfair and is simply untrue.

This entire debate is on the ballot on Nov. 6 as Metro tries with its “Measure J” to get all the citizens of Los Angeles County to promise them more than $60 billion more for whatever-Los Angeles-wants. No specifics. No timelines. No budgets. Just a “blank check” to spend as they please. Given the way Metro is structured – with the largest block of “directors” appointed by Los Angeles – that means all the money goes to Los Angeles. This is why so many other communities and virtually every ethnic group in Los Angeles is rising in opposition. Metro abuses the people. That is the simple fact. It abuses the black community; it abuses the Latino/Eastside community; it abuses the San Gabriel Valley; it short-changes Long Beach. Instead of serving all of us, it serves just a few. That’s why the LA Weekly calls out Beverly Hills’ City Council for refusing to back its own school district and the minority communities of Los Angeles it terms “the Rainbow Coalition.”

Measure J gives more money to Metro to tunnel under our high school. Why in the world would our own City Council not oppose that? If our City Council majority truly serves our community, faithfulness to that duty would demand it speak against abusing our only high school.  They failed, so, following the evidence, whom do they really serve?

Not one of us enjoys the pejoratives used to criticize Beverly Hills. Even if we ignore those charges as untrue, they still hurt. They hurt both because they are untrue and because of this community’s deep-seated sense of social justice.  Unfortunately, our current Mayor Willie Brien, joined by Brucker and councilmember Julian Gold, refused to go on record in solidarity with our own school district, our own children, and the minority communities of Los Angeles. We regret that Councilmember Lili Bosse signed onto the resolution, despite her strong opposition to Measure J. Only councilmember John Mirisch stood in solidarity with our principles, our schools, and our minority community neighbors.  We commend him for it.

It is simply true that Brien, Brucker and Gold just reinforced nearly every negative stereotype of Beverly Hills. The minority groups came respectfully to our City Council and were rejected. Brien, Brucker and Gold refused to stand in solidarity with “the little guy” and simply blocked making a statement in support of the people. They sided with “the rich and powerful”  –Los Angeles’ interests exemplified by Villaraigosa and Yaroslavsky.

Will it matter in the end? Probably not. It is a mark against them (and us)? Unfortunately, yes.
Our citizens and our City have proven time and again that as a community we really do stand in solidarity with “the little guy” and disadvantaged minorities. Too bad Mayor Brien and his sidekicks turned their backs on them.
The Courier knows for a fact that this City is better than that. We wish our council majority were, too.

Pasadena Chamber member initiative poll results

October 25th, 2012 · 


In October, we asked the membership to give their preference on the items that are going before voters on November 6th. Here is how you and your fellow Pasadena Chamber members voted in our poll:


  • Support 33.9%
  • Oppose 66.1%
  • Support 34.4%
  • Oppose 42.6%
  • No Opinion 23%
  • Support 57.4%
  • Oppose 36.1%
  • No Opinion 6.6%
  • Support 50.8%
  • Oppose 37.7%
  • No Opinion 11.5%
  • Support 41.9%
  • Oppose 53.2%
  • No Opinion 4.8%
  • Support 77.4%
  • Oppose 16.1%
  • No Opinion 6.5%
  • Support 72.1%
  • Oppose 26.2%
  • No Opinion 1.6%
  • Support 36.7%
  • Oppose 53.3%
  • No Opinion 10%
  • Support 21.7%
  • Oppose 71.7%
  • No Opinion 6.7%
  • Support 51.7%
  • Oppose 38.3%
  • No Opinion 10%
  • Support 51.7%
  • Oppose 31.7%
  • No Opinion 16.7%
12. Los Angeles County Measure J – Accelerating Traffic Relief, Job Creation.
  • Support 56.5%
  • Oppose 27.4%
  • No Opinion 16.1%
13. Los Angeles County Measure B – Shall an ordinance be adopted requiring producers of adult films to obtain a County public health permit, to require adult film performers to use condoms?
  • Support 41.7%
  • Oppose 28.3%
  • No Opinion 30%
14. MEASURE A – ADVISORY VOTE ONLY Do you support seeking to change the California Constitution and the Los Angeles County Charter to make the position of Los Angeles County Assessor an appointed position instead of an elected position?
  • Support 16.9%
  • Oppose 55.0%
  • No Opinion 27.1%
Thank you to everyone who participated and shared your opinions for our poll. This is not a scientific poll and cannot be interpreted as an indicator of how these measures will actually fare with voters.

Council Votes to Take 'No Position' on 

Measure J 

 The decision follows a dozen public comments, more than two hours of council discussion and a half-hour recess.

By Marie Cunningham


 The City Council voted 4-1 at Tuesday's study session to take no position on Measure J, a Nov. 6 ballot initiative sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that would extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax until 2069 in an effort to expedite regional transit projects.

The decision came after a dozen public comments, more than two hours of council discussion and a half-hour recess during which Councilman Barry Brucker and Councilwoman Lili Bosse drafted a resolution on Measure J for the council to vote on. The wording of the resolution ended with the sentence, "The City Council and the City of Beverly Hills does not take a position in support of Measure J."

Mayor William Brien and Councilman Julian Gold joined Brucker and Bosse in voting for the resolution. Vice Mayor John Mirisch cast the dissenting vote.
"I think that not supporting something is not the same as opposing it," Mirisch said. "I think that's what we would have needed."

The discussion prior to the recess brought out many views from the council members. Gold was conflicted with the council taking a stance on a ballot initiative, and Bosse and Mirisch supported the idea of representing the community on the matter. Brucker said he wanted to have a resolution drafted before any vote was taken, while Mirisch said they could "simply say 'no.'"

Bosse suggested the council adopt the same language used by the Beverly Hills Unified School District in its resolution opposing Measure J, which passed unanimously at the Oct. 9 school board meeting. One project that would be expedited by Measure J is the Westside Subway Extension (WSE), an expansion of Metro's Purple Line subway, which calls for tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.

Both the district and the city have filed lawsuits against Metro in an effort to stop it from routing the WSE under BHHS, citing safety concerns and plans for future development at the campus. However, Brien sought to disentangle Measure J from the city and school board's pending litigation over the subway's placement.

"Metro has chosen the route. Measure J does not impact the route," Brien said. "Measure J is not a vote regarding the route. It's regarding accelerated funding for Metro projects throughout the entire county."

Representatives from the Beverly Hills PTA Council, Bus Riders Union, CORE California, Southwest Beverly Hills Homeowners Association and Beverly Hills Municipal League attended the meeting, along with some district parents and school board members, to request that the council take a stance against Measure J.

For some who spoke at the meeting, the conflict with Metro over the WSE remained raw.

"Before you take a vote on Measure J, you should review how Metro has treated this community," said PTA Council President Jennifer Terrell-Schwartz, referring to Metro's refusal to tunnel along Santa Monica Boulevard so the subway could avoid the BHHS campus. Metro contends that the safest way to pass through Beverly Hills en route to Century City is to go below BHHS, rather than Santa Monica Boulevard.

Board of Education member Lewis Hall, who said he was speaking as a private citizen and not a member of the school board, chastised the Metro Board of Directors for the way it has dealt with residents' concerns about the WSE.

"By saying no to Measure J, you are not taking a position against mass transit," he said. "What you are saying is that you are not ready to commit [billions] of your children's money to a Metro board that is arrogant, irresponsible, unreasonable and has demonstrated an utter lack of sensitivity to the community's needs."

Out of the 12 people who spoke during the public comment period, one came out in support of the measure.

"Measure J is not an issue of whether or not we should be tunneling under the high school," said A.J. Willmer, president of the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills. "Measure J is about whether we are going to affordably, for a generation or more, build this infrastructure cheaper and faster than we could without Measure J."