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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
710 Freeway Coalition faces growing efforts against linking the route to 210
Just as Los Angeles County transportation officials embark on an
environmental study of options for closing the freeway gap between
Alhambra and Pasadena, the lobbying group that supports the
controversial tunnel option finds itself trying to regain its footing in
an uphill public relations battle.
After more than two decades
of lobbying for a connection between the Long Beach (710) and Foothill
(210) freeways, Nat Read retired in September and passed leadership of
his group, the 710 Freeway Coalition, to Harry Baldwin, a former mayor
of San Gabriel who works out of his home.
Paul Talbot, city manager for Monterey Park, said that with Read out of
the picture, the 710 Freeway Coalition was essentially starting over.
we had a relationship with Read Communications for many years,” he
said. “Now Harry just took it over, so it's early, but they're trying
Together with his daughter, Kendall Flint, and her
communications firm, Flint Strategies, Baldwin is trying to continue
Read's advocacy, but they now face an opposing lobby that in the last
year has grown in size, organizing power and fervor.
The No 710 Action Committee, which wants to see the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
summarily shut down any effort to extend the freeway, claims about 60
volunteers, many of whom have a personal real estate and quality-of-life
stake in the outcome. They organize, exert political pressure on local
elected representatives and make their voices heard at public hearings.
hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours. Everybody is on a committee,
and we have meetings,” said committee member Joanne Nuckols.
to that the mass of elected officials in Glendale, Pasadena, South
Pasadena, Sierra Madre, La Cañada Flintridge and Los Angeles who have
all issued public statements opposing the 710 Freeway extension. State
and federal representatives have also come down against the tunnel
Nuckols said the No 710 Action Committee doesn't
receive financial support from the cities, but their staff members, as
well as attorneys at the Natural Resource Defense Council, have provided
“We're just working on a shoestring and the
donations from our people,” she said. “[Passion] is what's in the end is
going to win this thing.”
On the pro-tunnel side, Baldwin and
Flint have the support of Alhambra, Monterey Park, Rosemead and San
Gabriel, which have all signed one-year, $6,000 contracts with Flint
Strategies to lead the 710 Freeway Coalition. San Marino officials will
likely vote to come onboard on Feb. 13, according to City Manager John
In the past, Read Communications was receiving roughly
$36,000 a year from Alhambra alone, according to Deputy City Manager
Alhambra has paid $1.5 million to former city
attorney Leland Dolley over the last six years, but that has been for
advocacy on a range of transportation issues, which may include the 710
Freeway issue, Keating said.
Flint said the coalition also
receives support — be it financial or manpower — from a number of
unions, including the Iron Workers Local 433 and 416, Bricklayers Local
4, Electrical Workers Local 11, Boilermakers Local 92 and Plasterers
But Hart Keeble, business manager for the Ironworkers
Local 416, said the union's support has been limited to putting together
mailings and attending meetings. And Jay Rojo, office manager for
Boilermakers 92, said the union had provided only a “moral support”
donation of $120 a year to the coalition for the last 15 years — or a
Representatives for the other unions could not be reached for comment.
the same time, Baldwin said that because he's working out of his home —
and Flint from her business — the 710 Freeway Coalition has very little
overhead. Support funds are used to put together monthly newsletters
and ensure that the coalition has representatives at MTA open houses,
informational meetings and board meetings when the project is on the
Besides, Flint said, the purpose of the new coalition
wasn't to advocate for any specific outcome, but simply to complete the
MTA environmental review process, which is evaluating five options for
alleviating traffic in the area, including the freeway tunnel.
“Let's at least let [the EIR] finish the process,” Flint said. “This initiative is only to have the conversation.”
however, said the group supports the tunnel option “because we feel
that's the one thing that addresses the transportation needs not only in
our area, but all of Southern California.”