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

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Comments to 710 Freeway Gap Opinion Piece by Gloria Molina and Ed Chau

First the opinion piece:

Close the 710 Freeway gap by building the tunnel: Gloria Molina and Ed Chau


By Gloria Molina and Ed Chau, February 20, 2014

 It is time to end the debate and close the gap by building the 710 Freeway tunnel. It is also time for 710 Freeway opponents to stop their misinformation campaign.


A tunnel will not cause more pollution or disrupt life for local residents. In fact, it will do the opposite.

Currently, with the 710 gap, drivers of roughly 200,000 vehicles have no choice but to use major traffic arteries in place of a completed freeway — along Valley Boulevard, Fremont Avenue, Fair Oaks Avenue, Arroyo Parkway and Sierra Madre Boulevard. This is exactly why the 710 Freeway practically grinds to a halt during rush hour well before drivers reach the Valley Boulevard exit.

So, for any commuter using the 710 Freeway, the gap already disrupts life in Alhambra and Southeast Los Angeles. Local roads in these neighborhoods already suffer severe damage due to overuse.
These residents were promised decades ago that this fix was a stop-gap measure. Opponents need to quit trying to stop the gap from being closed.

These same naysayers also erroneously claim that a tunnel will worsen air quality. They conveniently ignore how air quality is already horrendous in Southeast L.A. — especially for its children, where 12 out of every 100 children develop asthma.

There is a direct connection between asthma in Southeast L.A. and the pollution caused by cars and trucks forced to stand idle along an incomplete 710 Freeway. It’s all the more true since commuters must use the streets as de facto “streetways.”

The pollution that 710 tunnel opponents don’t want is already in the air, being breathed by Southeast L.A. families — who don’t have the extra time and resources to devote to NIMBYism.

 A tunnel will include massive air filtration systems. The air emitted from these vents will be much cleaner — and strictly monitored — unlike current emissions from the nearby streetways.
Closing the 710 gap will remove about 2,200 pounds of air pollutants each day. That equals 803,000 pounds of air pollutants each year.

Perhaps that’s why 63 percent of San Gabriel Valley residents support 710 Freeway completion. So do the cities of Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Marino, Rosemead and San Gabriel, and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

Numerous school districts, elected officials, labor groups, and business associations from these areas all agree that we can’t wait any more for a long overdue solution to this problem. Even Pasadena residents voted in favor of closing the 710 gap!

Moreover, the residents of L.A. County have spoken. An overwhelming majority of county voters approved Measure R with the SR-710 North Tunnel as a named project.

A tunnel will reduce both arterial and freeway congestion by 20 percent. It will remove more than 75,000 daily trips from local streets and reduce regional cut-through traffic. Plus it will eliminate congestion at 22 percent of the intersections studied.

Fear mongers claim truck traffic from the ports into the San Gabriel Valley will increase if we close the 710 gap. They conveniently ignore that nearby corridors are currently being improved to accommodate existing and future heavy truck port traffic. And the tunnel approval can be conditioned to restrict trucks of certain size and weight.

When the 405 Freeway was constructed through Beverly Hills and Brentwood, residents voiced similar complaints. But could you imagine the Westside without the kind of connectivity that the 405 Freeway provides — with Sepulveda Boulevard as your only commuting option?

This is what San Gabriel Valley residents — especially in El Sereno and Alhambra — have dealt with every day, for decades.

Traffic congestion in the San Gabriel Valley is quickly rivaling the Westside. And because of the 710 Freeway intimidation campaign, help — like commuters in traffic — is stuck.

And if opponents have their way, this will never change. They’ve opposed every option before them — a freeway above ground, below ground and at street level.

The only option acceptable to the local “Party of No” is the status quo. I’d stand with them if the proposal was the one presented in the 1970s — homes seized and razed for yet another freeway.
But that is not the case today.

We will not fall prey to misinformation and intimidation. The facts are clear — a tunnel will reduce pollution and improve mobility.

Let’s stand up for what is right. Close the gap. Build the 710 Freeway tunnel.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina represents the First District. Assemblyman Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, represents the 49th Assembly District.



It seems that Ms. Molina is trying to disseminate disinformation. Where do I begin
1. If the tunnel is built, there is no technology available today to clean out ALL the particulate matter; at the south end of the tunnel, the concentrated bad air pollutants are going to blow right into Alhambra.
2. Worried about car emissions and your children? Mark Keppel High School shares a fence with the 10 freeway. Do you think the pollutants can't get over the fence?
What has Alhambra done about this?
3. You think that the710 is not all about port traffic? Then read this article by Dr. Estrada. The 710 gateway has ALWAYS been about the ports. http://www.kcet.org/socal/depa...
4. You think boring a tunnel is the way to go? Well, the people in Seattle may disagree based on all the problems they are having. http://streetsblog.net/2014/02...


It is telling that the SGV Tribune posted this in the Opinion section so they can wave off any liability for the countless points of payola slant and misinformation in Ms. Molina's statement.
To discredit this Opinion we could simply note that Ms. Molina was an opponent of Measure R when it was being considered. Or we could go to the actual text of the Measure R voter guide where a 710 Tunnel project is never named as a project "that voters supported".

If one looks at the text in the 2008 voter guide, (remember, Ms. Molina, the Internet makes this very easy to fact check), voters were publicly sold and supported Light Rail Expansion with Airport Connections, Sychronizing Traffic Signals, Repairing Potholes, Adding Clean-Fuel Buses and Easing Traffic. These are the projects these voters and communty members she villifies want and expect her and the Metro Board to faithfully deliver as promised. The opposition to the 710 Tunnel Project is to hold Ms. Molina and the Metro Board, which is only a public agency, accountable to voters and our government.

With the little time Gloria Molina has left in her tenure, she should deliver on what was promised in Measure R and not shill for a breathlessly expensive project that will suck the air and funds from these promised projects and leave the grandchildren and great grandchildren of her community constituents burdened with debt for decades.


 You don’t have to be an engineer to know that adding road capacity increases vehicle usage and congestion. We saw what happened when the 210 was extended east to the 15. The only way to reduce congestion and clean the air in the LA basin is to REDUCE THE USE OF VEHICLES. Not only will the 710 tunnel not result in less vehicles and cleaner air, it will blow the vehicle exhaust out of the ends of the tunnel which means at the north, the Huntington Hospital and Sequoyah School and, at the south, the border between El Sereno and Alhambra near many residential neighborhoods. I wonder how many residents in these neighborhoods know the danger to their health this poses? Since CALTRANS has no money to build the tunnels it’s being promoted as a public-private partnership, the cost of the 710 tunnel will be supported by tolls estimated at $8-$12 per trip. I wonder how many “supporters of the tunnel” would be willing to pay this toll or are even aware of it? The 4.9 mile long tunnels will have no exits. Molina leaves out the fact that there are other alternatives on the table, so she has already made up her mind. The people want light rail to move people, cargo rail to move goods and these kind of investments. Go to NO710.com and get the facts.


 Would just like to add I attended the Metro SR710 Stakeholders Outreach Advisory Committee meeting attended by elected officials. The representative from Rosemead & councilperson from Monterey Park were wailing about how their cities have suffered all these years because the gap has not been closed. If you know your geography, the construction for a tunnel is at the doorstep of El Sereno, my town. Monterey Park is maybe less than 10 miles away. Here we have politicians that have no concern for the welfare of a small neighboring town with a majority Mexican American population.


It's a shame that "news" sources give space to pieces which are propaganda with no factual foundation. For brevity, please review comments by Sylvia Plummer, Joe Cano and Charles Miller-their comments include many of the pertinent facts.

A new article was uncovered today exposing the true purpose of the 710 extension http://www.dailynews.com/busin...

It is clear that the extension is serving special interests intent on increasing truck traffic through our communities, which will be destroyed along with the health and well being of the residents. The 710 corridor is considered the dirtiest freeway in the country and if this project is completed, we will all be victims of it.


Molina should close the gap in her face.

  Lies. This freeway is being completed so that commerce from the ports can flow east more easily. Commuters are not the real concern here. Anyone who believes that extending the 710 will improve air quality deserves Gloria Molina as their supervisor.


Shameful, shameful to see this happen to a once respected Latina politician. It is very clear a transportation consultant has written this little PR piece for Supervisor Molina. It contains the same dried out discredited propaganda the City Of Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, San Marino & Rosemead have been pushing. 'Close The Gap' is a made up group. If one were to read a pro 710 commentary by Barbara Messina in another SGV publication two years ago one could almost see the exact same verbiage from that article. This is a consultant written article, it names the same cities that have been conspiring with Metro & SCAG. The NO710 Action Committee which this piece attempts to discredit is in fact a coalition of 'real' informed citizens & not the creation of transportation consultants. We have close to 2,000 signatures on a No710 petition and climbing. What are the supporters numbers?, where are they at meetings?, all you see is consultants, Metro & Caltrans engineers. We have documented proof by way of Public Records Act from the City of Alhambra of payouts to the person that created this fictitious pro tunnel group. Disgraceful is all I can say. If the publisher would like to see documentation by way of Public Records Act request, our group has proof of $ paid out to consultants. We back up our claims, the supporters of this project cannot.

Here is the list of all those opposed to the 710 tunnel.

City of Glendale
City of La Cañada Flintridge
City of Los Angeles
City of Pasadena
(Western Routes)
City of Sierra Madre
City of South Pasadena
Crescenta Valley Town Council
Congressman Adam Schiff
State Senator Carol Liu
Assemblymember Mike Gatto
Assemblymember Anthony J. Portantino
Assemblymember Cameron Smyth
Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council
Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council
El Sereno Neighborhood Council
Glassell Park Neighborhood Council
Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council
Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council
Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council
Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council
Far North Glendale Homeowners Association
Glassell Park Improvements Association, Land Use Committee
Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council
Mount Washington Homeowners Alliance
San Rafael Neighborhoods Association
West Pasadena Residents Association
Caltrans Tenants Association
LA RED, El Sereno
The Eagle Rock Association (TERA)
Highland Park Heritage Trust
La Canada Unified School District
Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors
Sequoya School
Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the
 Heartland Institute, Environment America and Public Citizen in their Green
Scissors Reports of 2010 and 2011
California Public Interest Research Group
Environment Defense Fund
Natural Resources Defense Council
Trust for Public Land Plaintiffs Listed on Lawsuit
Resulting in Federal Injunction Against the Project
City of South Pasadena
Sierra Club
National Trust for Historic Preservation
South Pasadena Unified School District
South Pasadena Preservation Foundation
Pasadena Heritage
Los Angeles Conservancy
California Preservation Foundation & many more...

 For expert information, here is a link to a forum in which medical and geological engineering experts speak about the health issues the 710 extension will cause and about the precarious nature of tunneling through earthquake faults and aquifers .


I attended this Forum and the experts debunked Molina's misconceptions that the completion of the SR710 would decrease pollution and traffic. When our politicians feed us lies and expects us to be ignorant of the facts....think again. The communities that oppose the SR710 have done their homework and the SR710 will ruin the San Gabriel Valley. Ed Chau represents my city and before he was elected to office he was an unethical and not so successful attorney with no real political background other than serving on the Montebello School Board. We need qualified representatives that don't have a hidden agenda and who are not influenced by the lobbies and unions (Port of Los Angeles).


 VOTE them out. Do NOT VOTE to extend MEASURE R. THEIR money comes from YOUR pockets. They spend YOUR money like high-rollers in Vegas. They do not care about you and your family. They only care about enriching THEMSELVES and THEIR FAMILIES with YOUR money. The 710 TOLL TUNNEL is a smoke and mirrors game to keep funneling YOUR TAX DOLLARS into THEIR pockets. They are in the process of spending 780 MILLION dollars of YOUR MEASURE R tax money for Lobbyists and "studies" for the 710 TOLL TUNNEL, and WE the TAXPAYERS ARE FOOTING THE BILL. TAXPAYER funded studies have now earned us the privilege to pay tolls on the I-10. How is that working out for you? At the end of the day they will get into bed with outside interests in the form of what is called a Public Private Partnership, which means that the investor gets to collect the money (if any) from tolls, and WE get the privilege of breathing more toxins, in addition to the years of never ceasing construction, decline of our property values (people move out of construction zones and do not recover the former value of their investment) Sound good? Gloria thinks it's a great idea. How close does she live from this boondoggle? Not very close. What is good for you is not necessarily good for her. Do not ever VOTE for her again.


When Gloria talks about building and improving highways and roads, what she is really telling you is that YOU will NEVER be able to use another new or improved roadway unless YOU PAY for it. Every solution METRO arrives at is yet another way for them to get money out of your pockets and into their coffers. Can someone explain how this is not blatant Class Racism?
Well, Gloria and her family can afford to drive on the new and improved highways due to all of the TAXPAYERS that provide the cushy lifestyle she has become accustomed to. For me, it comes down to this: WE THE TAXPAYERS pay for the materials,worker salaries/pensions and benefits, and equipment, to build and maintain the roads. To now make us pay for driving on our property is the height of arrogance. Even truckers avoid TOLL ROADS/TOLL TUNNELS around the globe. But,Gloria, and the team of TAXPAYER FUNDED LOBBYISTS never reveal these findings in their extremely expensive "studies".


 Shared Misery and the 710 Tunnel: Screaming Molina Wants To Ruin Your Life, Too

Peggy Drouet: The comment I tried to post but which didn't get posted, at least yet:

To Gloria Molina and Ed Chau: I have observed those you refer to as “Naysayers” since Metro spent OUR tax money to lay out a detailed plan of how to destroy my 100-year-old neighborhood of houses that people have spent their money and their labor of love on for those 100 years to keep it as a neighborhood that Southern California could be proud of.  Hey, we need a route from the South 710 to the 134 to the 210. This neighborhood is in the way. So what if we destroy it. Who will care except for those people who live there? Destruction is our middle name, not retaining the good that we have.

Those “Naysavers” are the most dedicated, hardest-working people. They CHECK THEIR FACTS, look up thousands of references, and talk to people who are experts in their fields. They go to every Metro meeting and every meeting that Metro will be attending dealing with the 710 Gap. Most of these people hold down full-time jobs but they make time to do all of the above because it is important to them. They have made this almost their top life priority.

But what have you two done? Malign them: “they are misinformed” and  “they conveniently ignore how air quality is already horrendous in Southeast L.A..”  You say “it is time to end the debate.” No, Molina and Chau, we live in a democracy and we DEBATE, DEBATE, and then DEBATE some more. Politicians DO NOT tell us “to end the debate.”  “We will not be prey to misinformation and intimidation”: Now exactly who is trying to intimidate whom?

I find it so odd that you two did not even mention the pounds of pollution that Metro has removed from the air by starting building a public transportation system:  54,000,000 pounds per year—your 803,000 pounds is miniscule in comparison as to how many pounds of pollution that can be removed by extending our public transportation system.  Think of the pounds of pollution that would result from getting the students at Cal State LA and PCC off the streets of Alhambra by leaving their cars at home and hopping on the Gold Line. Oh, that’s right, NIMBY Alhambra is not making an extension of the Gold Line into Alhambra a priority.

The pollution affecting the children of Southeast L.A. is also affecting the children living near the 710 South and also everyone else living in the Los Angeles area. Air pollution does not lead only to asthma but also to lower birth weight, heart disease, and lung disease among many other complications including death and may be leading to a reduction in newborns’ brain size and to brain cancer. Any politician still advocating greater use of our freeways or making them easier to use by adding connectors or expanding the number of lanes is simply seriously ill-formed as to the effects of air pollution, and their having their heads in the sand will only cause more children and adults to come with serious air pollution-caused diseases.