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People Power Forces LA City Council to Oppose 710 Freeway — for Now

Residents of Northeast LA generously gave thanks to Councilman Jose Huizar Tuesday and celebrated him as a hero for pushing through a resolution putting the City of Los Angeles on record as opposing the 710 Freeway extension through their neighborhoods from El Sereno to Garvanza .

They looked the other way at how he pulled the resolution off the table Friday and sent it back to committee solely to deny dozens of them the chance to protest to the Council on camera for the whole city to see.

They ignored how he held the public hearing off camera on Monday in the Transportation Committee because he added to the condemnation resolution the one route — the longest and potentially costliest tunnel in U.S. history.

They didn’t complain when they were only allowed 10 minutes for 10 people to speak at public comment on the resolution for one-minute each on Tuesday.

They only expressed gratitude even when he wrote in a loophole to opposition to the F-7 tunnel proposal by saying:

“When we do receive this information about whether the tunnel makes sense or not who’s to say that they are giving us the right information or whether they are doing the appropriate community outreach for the community to decide whether that makes sense or not.

“So we decided to add the F-7 one and to oppose that as well  to put the burden of proof on Caltrans and MTA to show us that it makes sense in the future. But for now it will be the City of Los Angeles’ position to oppose it.”

You could drive a truck, thousands of trucks, through the “Huizar Loophole” — which is exactly the goal of transportation officials and the vast transportation lobby that wants  the 710 Freeway extension they will spend billions of taxpayer dollars to build it so they can keep on trucking cargo from the ports instead of putting on rail which is vastly cleaner and cheaper.

The community went along with the gag but they were not fooled. They know no one in public office is to be trusted when it comes to protecting the quality of the lives of ordinary citizens when special interests in all their wide variety are the only real constituents they care about.

In just a few short weeks, residents across the 710 corridor through Pasadena, South Pasadena and LA have put together an extraordinary outreach effort across city, economic and racial lines.

They exposed just how flawed MTA’s outreach and planning has been, and forced them to kill seven ridiculous routes two months early. They held mass rallies and connected to communities all the way to Long Beach where the MTA wants to expand the 710 Freeway to 14 lanes.

Now, they have LA officially on board and on Wednesday they will put an MTA task force on the 710 to the test for honesty and competence.

In just a few short weeks, they have put Measure J — the extension to 2069 of 2008′s Measure R that is generating $40 billion to build the freeway extension, the subway-to-the-sea, the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass 405 HOV lane and other projects — in jeopardy.

What’s missing is a transit system that provides the connectivity and frequency of service that gets people from where they are to where they want to go. You don’t get that when the price of massive projects for special interests is endless cuts in bus lines and service and higher and higher fares.

Officials are hoping to weaken the movement by making concessions that can be revoked at any time.

This time it won’t work: These people aren’t NIMBYs opposing something in their neighborhoods; they are citizen warriors fighting for the quality of their lives and their health and they will win.

This entry was posted in 2012 Election, City Hall, Community Activists, Glendale-Burbank, Hot Topics, LA County, Los Angeles, Transportation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to People Power Forces LA City Council to Oppose 710 Freeway — for Now

  1. Wayne from Corruptopia says build the freeway! says:

    This is one time the bulldozers need to do their thing! Free the commuter Ron, FREE THE COMMUTER from his 5mph hellhole commute!

  2. Carlos Morales says:

    Ron,
    Thank you once again for putting it into prospective, this 710Fwy project has been the talk of the Northeast Comunity of El Sereno, the community most affected and least represented.

    This project basically pitted communities of Alhambra and South Pasadena fighting against each other and against El Sereno for decades. It is amazing to see a united front from these and neighboring communities in the Northeast to finally merge as one. A test of time, will, and determination by the little community of El Sereno, never giving up. ;)

  3. Teddy says:

    If you live in Sherman Oaks and the only job you can find is in Long Beach, Wayne,
    MOVE. Don’t commute. Move.

  4. Nina Royal says:

    The Sunland-Tujunga NC was at that meeting and is also on record with the MTA as opposing the extension. The MTA neglected to include the North Valley in its impact study. The approx. 60,000 additional vehicles on the 210 will negatively impact the air quality of S-T, that is known world wide as a haven for those persons with respiratory disease. They say there will not be any additional trucks. Would you believe them? Look at the gridlock that happened on Foothill Blvd. in S-T 2 weeks ago because of the big rig truck accident on the 210 at La Tuna Cyn. It’s a good indication of what will happen on a more continuing bases in S-T if that extension is allowed. BTW, I am the Safety Chair for the STNC, and I personally object to the extension because I too have respiratory disease, and S-T’s air quality is why I. and others like me, need to live here.

    • Liz of Highland Park says:

      Yay Sunland-Tujunga. Yay Nina. So glad to hear your united with us. Please join the Face Book group No 710 Freeway (if you haven’t already).

  5. Paula Shatsky says:

    Once again, on Ron Kaye is right on the money.

    As someone who took time off from work yesterday( self employed), I was somewhat annoyed that my public comment time was taken away from me. I did clap and cheer when the measure passed to reject the tunnel route. I did feel a sense of relief.. For a moment.

    However, no one trusts Huizar given is position two weeks ago. We are giving him time to put his money where his mouth is. We cannot afford to be naive about the loophole you so deftly pointed out in your column. We are by no means under any allusion that we are safe from the tunnel. I personally, because of this devastating experience, will be working to defeat Measure J, even if it has some positive aspects. I do not trust any of these politicians or bureaucrats with spending money now on projects, decades in advance of the money being funded. Based on the events of the past three months, this would be a collossal disaster.

  6. KS says:

    Hurray! It’s going down again.

    (How long until it comes back from the dead?)

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