Metro Board Hearing Set; Beverly Hills Hires Attorney

The Gilchrist & Rutter law firm will represent Beverly Hills at a May 17 Metro board hearing as the city attempts to stop the Westside Subway Extension from going under BHHS.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors has set the public hearing requested by Beverly Hills regarding the Westside Subway Extension for 1:30 p.m. May 17.

Beverly Hills has hired attorney Robert McMurry of Gilchrist & Rutter to represent the city in its objection to Metro's plan to tunnel under Beverly Hills High School as part of the subway extension.

"The purpose of this hearing is to introduce evidence, including oral testimony, regarding the reasonableness of the Metro proposals," according to a Beverly Hills press release.

Metro's proposed plan would extend its Purple Line to stops in Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and the Veterans Administration Medical Center west of the 405 Freeway. The subway line currently starts at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and ends at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue.

The Metro board on April 26 certified the environmental documents for the extension and approved construction plans for the line up to La Cienega Boulevard. The board  on the route west of La Cienega until after the . 

The Beverly Hills City Council, Beverly Hills Unified School District and many residents are to dig a tunnel for the subway under BHHS to reach a station at Constellation Boulevard/Avenue of the Stars in Century City, citing  related to the  below the school. 

The public hearing will be held at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Boardroom at One Gateway Plaza in downtown Los Angeles.

Carol Spencer May 04, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Will the results of the trenching be released prior to the hearing?
Steve in Rancho Park May 04, 2012 at 12:32 AM
By far, one of the worst PR moves by a City Council and School District could make as well as a waste of money.
Simon May 04, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Hopefully, Beverly Hills officials will also listen and not just talk (or scream).
centurycitysubway.org May 04, 2012 at 01:31 AM
There won't be much time do anything since the Metro board apparently only budgeted 4 hours for the "public hearing."
Carol Spencer May 04, 2012 at 02:10 AM
How much time do you require?
Joe Parker May 04, 2012 at 02:31 AM
WHAT?! Sorry, I didn't mean to scream.
Joe Parker May 04, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Shouldn't that have been a question to ask BEFORE budgeting the time?
White City May 04, 2012 at 03:38 AM
So what exactly is BH/BHUSD's objection? It seems to shift frequently as they try to find the argument with the most traction. Here are some of the things we've heard: - The act of tunneling under a school is unsafe - Terrorists may use the subway in their quest to damage the high school - We need to be able to build an underground parking lot - SM blvd alignment will generate greater ridership - We don't have enough information on fault lines in the region - The latest (really a return to an old classic): tunneling through the oil/methane-rich areas below BHHS is unsafe The problem I have is with the increasing use of the words "evidence" (as above) and "science" (Brucker comments last week) on the part of BH/BHUSD in this disagreement. The scientific method is based on objective collection and interpretation of data, with a willingness beforehand to accept whatever conclusion is made most plausible by their analysis. What they're doing is the opposite: they have a desired outcome (no subway under BHHS), and are gathering only the information that makes that outcome most defensible. That's the reason behind the shifting arguments and please, please, don't appeal to science.
Joe Parker May 04, 2012 at 04:52 AM
I tend to agree with you, White City. Metro's "science" was gathered for a desired outcome - to move the Century City station from SM Blvd. to Constellation. And what BHUSD has revealed, at no surprise, is that this so-called science is flawed. However, the work that BHUSD conducted on their campus could legitimately be classified as science. They had a number of outside, and unpaid paleoseismologists (notably from CGS and USGS) who not only looked at the work, but recommended more investigations which were conducted by BHUSD. This all took time which Metro, especially Zev Yaroslavsky, objected to. Instead of waiting for the CGS and USGS reports (which will come) Zev and the Metro's Planning Commission recommended approving the Final EIR. This would have happened if the City of Beverly Hills attorney, Larry Wiener, had not found a public code allowing the City to have a public hearing first. Some information from the work done on the Beverly Hills High School campus has been revealed and it seems that the West Beverly Hills Lineament that Metro's consultants concluded from their "science" is active is... well, not active. This opens up a lot of questions - the main one is what "science" of Metro's IS legitimate?
Steve in Rancho Park May 04, 2012 at 06:11 AM
@Joe Parker - I’m still trying to put a finger on you. Everyone understands where CCS.org, Lisa, and the rest of the BHUSD is coming from. But – You – not sure of your true agenda. Where do you live? It seems that your responses are too quick and structured… Sorry for calling you out, but you seem too buttoned up to be a volunteer associated with BHUDS or the BH City Council. That’s a compliment. Maybe you could get a better position at Padilla or O’Dwyer. Really – are you a resident of BH and do your kids goto BHHS?
Joe Parker May 04, 2012 at 06:25 AM
My agenda, Steve, is to reveal and argue for the truth. Period. Why would anything else matter?
Minoter May 04, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Oh oh. I just looked up my address in Westwood on ZIMAS. It's a methane gas designated area. And we used to get little Standard Oil checks from the extractions under our homes years ago. Does that mean we, too, are at risk of blowing up just like BHHS?
centurycitysubway.org May 04, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Minotar: There is a distinction between your home and a facility that houses more 2000+ kids on a daily basis.
Joe Parker May 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Will Metro tunnel under your house?
Carol Spencer May 04, 2012 at 05:04 PM
After seeing Mr Brucker in the BH PTA video, his creditability sunk in my estimation. Was the video science? or just seeking a desired outcome? If the land beneath the BHHS is so volatile why does anyone send their children to school at this location? Or is this just a ploy to achieve BH desire of NO Subway at any lengths?
Carol Spencer May 04, 2012 at 05:13 PM
To centurycitysubway.org - In LA it is extremely difficult to build a fully enclosed basement due to methane gas - this is due to rules & regulations, then the costs for ventilation -reason why you see condos & apartments with visible ventilation. Only the large buildings budget for ventilation. I wonder if BHUSD will have the funding after they pay the lobbyists, attorneys, etc to build an underground parking structure yet alone repair/rebuild their schools.
JT May 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM
The immediate winners in this mess are the geologists (paleoseismologists) who at long last get to do some really interesting studies, which unfortunately should have been done years ago before all the urban development. In the long run, the general public benefits because we finally learn more about the two fault zones in question, and as a result there is a better basis to make decisions on where structures are built. Irrespective of the exact position and recency of activity of these two faults, we have known for decades that the area along them bears a relatively high hazard for fault rupture. Seems more straightforward to simply locate the subway station away from the high hazard zone. And where the route must cross these zones, put it at roughly right-angles so the potential rupture zone is minimized, and also engineer the crossing zone for the displacement that will eventually occur - the traditional approach... Although a rupture along either of these faults may not occur in our lifetime, wouldn't we be viewed better for taking a more positive approach with respect to safety?
Carol Spencer May 04, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Mayor Brucker, please accept my apology for confusing your name with Timothy Buresch, one of the experts who was shown in the BH PTA explosive video. You Mayor Brucker have always conducted yourself and the City Council on the high level that was asked for at the last METRO meeting by Pam O'Connor.
Joe Parker May 04, 2012 at 06:52 PM
JT - If we took "a more positive approach with respect to safety," we would be considering the San Andreas Fault, which is long overdue to rupture. This will be a major earthquake, at least ten times the power any of us have ever felt. This I'm certain we will experience in our lifetime. Wouldn't it make sense to look at the soil conditions of the two Century City station sites? When the San Andreas last ruptured, the soil liquified in places and trees sank. Constellation is landfill and sand, notoriously poor soil conditions for building. Something Metro should consider besides the pockets of methane gas. btw - I suspect that USGS and CGS will report that the WBHL doesn't exist at the high school or on Santa Monica Blvd. If the Newport-Inglewood Fault extends this far north, then the lineament is further east. There is no WBHL fault zone at the high school or on Santa Monica Blvd. If so, why did they okay building a 39 story building on Santa Monica Blvd.?
R. Zaften May 04, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Then I say spend some more of the school budget to hire more lawyers! Now's not the time to worry about tired associates. Now is the time to worry about the children! Some day they will thank us for this, and realize that the millions we spent fighting this were an investment in their safety and their future, whether or not we win this thing.
John Mirisch May 05, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Actually, R. U. Zaftig, let's spend more taxpayer dollars on making Metro even bigger! Let's give them even more money to play with choo-choos! Now's not the time to worry about future finances, let's spend it all now, because we know there will never be an improvement in today's technology. Surely, we live in the best of all possible worlds and Metro is the best of all possible bureaucratic governmental agencies. Let's not only extend Measure R forever, let's increase it! With another measly 3 cents sales tax on the dollar, just imagine what this very model of a modern major transit agency could do! Let's not stop there: how about increasing income tax for more transit funding. Let's think of the kids! They may not be able to afford anything, but at least they'll be able to hop on a sexy, shiny subway and get from Crenshaw and Wilshire to Leimert Park in style! Whoops, sorry, they won't be able to do that, but they will be able to hop on the subway at Barrington and Wilshire and take the train directly to Dodger Stadium. Oh, never mind... Anyway, I say give R. U. Zaftig Art Leahy's job when Leahy begins to enjoy his much-deserved retirement, watching the mighty Trojans add to their haul of national championships. It's clear (s)he understands good government, good planning and good transit. Good work and fight on!
John Mirisch May 05, 2012 at 02:43 PM
JT, if we have known about the fault rupture potential of Santa Monica Blvd. -- and I agree, we have -- then why didn't Metro mention this potential issue with one single syllable during the ten months of intensive meetings with the Beverly Hills Mass Transit Committee? There are two possible explanations: Metro staff is either extremely deceptive or extremely incompetent. If this is now going to be Christmas Eve for paleodseismologists, while we're at it, how about doing more detailed studies on the Puente Hills fault and its potentially devastating effects on the Southland, as well as other faults throughout the region? How about retooling development standards -- not just subway construction standards -- to take these dangers into account? I'm guessing, however, that any other comprehensive studies which could uncover potential fault dangers which could inconveniently hamper LA development will either never happen, be downplayed or suppressed. I had hoped to discuss these issues with the Professor Dolan in person, but audiences with the good Professor evidently need to be filtered through Metro, which flatly denied the request. You can read about my attempt to talk to Professor Dolan in the article "Jimbo and Me: In Search of the Elusive Professor Dolan": http://citywatchla.com/lead-stories/2815-jimbo-and-me--in-search-of-the-elusive-professor-dolan
Minoter May 05, 2012 at 03:22 PM
It's not Minotar., it's Minoter. That's the bull in your website. Between the PTA and BH resident Hill's exploding videos, the entertainment level is way up on this issue. Happy to see that arrogant Mirisch is back to his rants.
Joe Parker May 05, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Minoter: I don't find the concern for the safety of 2000+ students and teachers, and the well being of a school that will educate students for decades, having any entertainment level.
joninla May 06, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Good summary of the never ending saga of a small group of unstable and irrational people. The only point you haven't mentioned is that if any of the made up fear mongering about the stability of the school and its foundation being compromised by the underground methane had any validity, then the two round reinforce tunnels will provide an infinitely stronger sub-foundation protecting (not endangering) the school structure. Likewise, any methane floating around deep under the school will be sequestered under the same two round (the strongest shape for supporting weight) reinforced concrete tunnels and will protect the school from any methane from ever passing up through the ground and up into the school, with so much reinforced concrete in it's way.
JT May 07, 2012 at 08:52 PM
John; thanks for the link, sounds interesting. I guess I can imagine that the various experts have to tread carefully as they deal with political agendas. I do believe there can be much good information developed in this process; which will eventially help city planners with respect to public safety. Too bad things have to get so polarized. And it doesn't help matters that some pretty talented audio/video folks produced the 'explosive' video clip regarding BHHS. Informed folks might chuckle at the spoof, but some folks could take it seriously. I wonder if this effort could backfire if folks recognize that methane, faulting, and seismic shaking hazards exist at BHHS, regardless of where a tunnel may go? And we wind up with folks so freightened that they move away from BH? Joe: With respect to seismic shaking, and liquefaction, etc... this is normal stuff to deal with all over California. It doesn't matter where the station is, the designers can either find good soil conditions or improve conditions so the station won't be damaged when subjected to strong shaking. Of course, mitigating for fault rupture requires a different approach.
Joe Parker May 07, 2012 at 10:13 PM
@JT - The question that keeps running through my mind is how real is a rupture on Santa Monica Blvd. Dolan was unable to conclusively say that the SM fault fell within Alquist-Priolo criteria of active (within 11,000 years) from his trenching at the Veteran's Hospital site. How can he be sure it's active further east and this time without trenching?
JT May 11, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Adequate trenching sites are needed to prove it, one way or another. How many property owners are standing in line to offer acces, given the prospect of finding an active fault on their property. Not many I would guess. That's why the definition of AP zones isn't as complete as it could be.
JT May 11, 2012 at 04:25 AM
BHHS has taken a first step in a series of investigations that will be needed to adequately identify a variety of constraints that will need to be mitigated during design of the planned new facilities. Faulting is just one issue. Another is mitigation of gas migration. The good news is that the technology exists to protect the school buildings, just like many other structures in the area have done. The bad news is that it will be more costly than usual, but there isn't much choice.
joninla May 11, 2012 at 08:47 AM
The faux-concern for the safety of the 'BBHS CHILDREN' is as close to the old affage ... DON'T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER. The opposition to the tunnelling began years ago based on no information or knowledge but fester into a group of irrational activists who were so convinced years ago that the purely made up possible catastrophic results were initially just the imaginatios from a period of time when the plan was first proposed to the point in time when the first piece of actual information was documented and released. Since then the zelots with no life and suffering from paranoia have been seeking a disaster sceenario to fit their objection to the tunnel. For the idiots on the school board who are totally unaware they lack both the technical knowledge and skills as well as all objectivity as they plan to cause very dangerous to the school, students and the city. Worried about methane seeping up??? Well why on earth would you disturb let aloe dig up and expose methane that has remained safely sequestered benieth the same earth the BHUSD (non geo scientists) is plannning to dig up on their own. BHHS IS A MUCH GREATER RISK TO THE OLD SCHOOL STRUCTURE, THE STUDENTS SAFETY AND THE POTENTIAL REAL CONCERN AMATeur SCIENTISTS DIGGING UP A METHANE FIELD COULD CAUSE THE CATASTROPHIC EXPLOSION THEY HAVE FEAR MONGERED.


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