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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Council Tables Discussion of Measure A, Repeal Issue Won't Be on November Ballot

Special election is tabled for more discussion at undetermined time


By Eddie Rivera, June 1, 2016


There will be no November special election to repeal Measure A after an hour-long Pasadena City Council public discussion resulted in the matter being tabled for another time, as yet unscheduled, effectively ending the idea.

The outcome was a blow to Mayor Terry Tornek, who wrote the recommendation for the proposed special election, which would have overturned the 2001 measure that supported plans to close the 710 Freeway gap via a surface route.

According to Tornek, the city’s “hands would be tied” and Pasadena would be unable to take any action against the proposed 710 tunnel project while Measure A was still in effect.

Councilmember Steve Madison disagreed. Madison, a longtime opponent of the 710 extension plan, pointed out that the Southern California Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) does not currently have the funds to complete such a project. In addition, Madison added, the upcoming R-2 Measure, which would make permanent a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects, does not include the 710 tunnel project.

Councilmember Victor Gordo explained that even though $800 million has already been budgeted for the 710 tunnel project, the project is estimated to cost $5-6 billion.

“Metro would have to  look for money to finish this,” he said. Gordo recommended that the council schedule a special election once Metro makes a formal move forward to attempt to complete the project. He also suggested a community education campaign to inform the community about the project, instead of an election in November.

“It would be dangerous to place this on the ballot,” Gordo added. “This is all academic without a move by Metro.”

But Mayor Tornek countered, “What good is an education campaign without a campaign? I want to be out front on this.”

“At this point, will people even care?,” asked Councilmember Andy Wilson, who echoed Gordo’s feelings about the matter being ‘academic.’ “I think we should do it,” said Wilson, meaning to oppose the project, “but I want to get a win.”

Council member Margaret McAustin admitted, “This is a different electorate now, than the one who voted for this measure.” She questioned whether an education campaign is something that the city could even spend money on.

City Attorney Michele Bagneris told the council that any education campaign would have to be ‘even-handed and informational’ and that the city ‘could not take sides,’” at which point Masuda joked, “I want a campaign, but not a balanced one.”

Council member requested that the council ask Metro CEO and Pasadena resident Phil Washington to come before the council and explain Metro’s goals for the 710 project. Kennedy concluded, “I just don’t see the urgency here yet.”

Madison also explained that Metro “took the 710 project off the table with regard to R-2, because they didn’t want to face all the politics that would create.” He added, “ I learned as a young lawyer not to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and I don’t want us to do that here.”

Council member Tyron Hampton, siding with the Mayor, continued to insist that “voices should be heard,” in asking for the November vote. Hampton, however, also sought reassurance from City Attorney Bagneris that the council could still oppose the 710 Tunnel project on environmental grounds at some later date.

In the end, only Hampton and Mayor Tornek voted for the special election, and the item was voted down, 6-2. The council will now embark on more discussion and the creation of a “long-term strategy.”