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City Sues FTA to Block Subway Funding

A federal lawsuit is Beverly Hills officials' latest attempt to stop Metro from going under BHHS.

The city filed a lawsuit Friday against the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in an effort to prevent Metro from tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.

The lawsuit alleges that the FTA’s decision to make the Westside Subway Extension eligible for funding from Washington violated federal laws. City officials seek to make the federal government withhold funding for the project until an adequate environmental impact statement can be prepared.

The suit filed in federal court contends that the FTA relied on the same flawed Environmental Impact Statement and environmental approval process that the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) used when it approved the subway route under Beverly Hills High School.

“The Beverly Hills City Council has been very clear about its opposition to any tunnel beneath Beverly Hills High School,” City Attorney Laurence Wiener said in a statement. “The City has consistently exercised every opportunity available to legally challenge Metro in this regard.” 

Last year the city filed a lawsuit in state court challenging Metro’s failure to adequately provide that hearing and Metro’s failure to properly comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

The city council voted 5-0 Feb. 5 to add an additional $250,000 from Beverly Hills' budget surplus to the $1 million already allocated to fight the subway route under the high school.  

The Beverly Hills Unified School District has filed a similar lawsuit against the FTA. If both suits prevail, federal funding would be unavailable for the estimated $5.6 billion project. 

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Sybil Goldrich February 16, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Willie Brien is suddenly against tunneling under BHHS? Why so late? Where was his active support when it made a bigger difference? My concern is that if he is elected again, he'll just change his mind again and let Metro have its way.
JenniX February 16, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Thanks so much. And good work on helping the rest of us believe that maybe Beverly Hills really is a city populated entirely with self-centered douchebags.
cutop February 16, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Mayor Brien has always been against tunneling under BHHS. If you believe otherwise, please provide a reliable source stating as such. (Pro-tip: The Beverly Hills Courier is not a reliable source of information.)
Barry Brucker February 16, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Oh Sybil, it is unfortunate that Clif Smith and the Courier newspaper are treating this community like gullible fools. If you believe everything that Smith writes then we are in for sorry times in BH. Case in point: A couple days ago the Courier headline read: "WILL COURIER, FAMILIES FORCE BEVERLY HILLS CITY COUNCIL MAJORITY TO SUE METRO?" all knowing that we were a day away from our law firm completing the detailed suit against the Metro/FTA. Then his e-blast last night following the suit being filed read "COURIER CORRECT! MAYOR BRIEN GIVES IN/CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS SUES FEDS ON METRO TUNNELS". Here are the facts: 1. The City had hired two top NEPA law firms months ago to initiate a suit against Metro/FTA. 2. Mayor Brien has mentioned this at virtually every debate forum and coffee 3. Smith knew this fact yet timed his misleading headline to confuse the community into thinking that his e-blast headline was the trigger to innitiate this suit. If one is wondering why Smith through his gutter ball journalism is so vigorously attacking Mayor Brien here is the reason... Two years ago he told both Mayor Brien and myself (BH Mayor '11) that if we DIDN'T vote for his favored Rose Bowl Float ($300,000) and if we DID vote for the "TASTE" event sponsored by the LATimes (resulting in a $28K donation to BHEF) that he would "punish" us in his paper. FACT: Clif Smith cannot bully Mayor Willie Brien and it simply kills him so his only resort is his toxic pen.
George Vreeland Hill February 16, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Why should Metro get away with things? They could not pull another lie over on the voters and now they want federal funding. Good thing BH is on top of things. We must stop Metro at all costs.
cutop February 16, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Well said, Mayor Brucker. Let us not forget how bitter Mr. Smith was when you awarded some advertising dollars to Patch and didn't pay the Courier all of the money they were demanding... trying to extort from the city council in exchange for good press.
Andrea Fine February 16, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Councilmember Brucker, Thanks for the explanation about Cliff Smith and why he is so obsessed about trashing everything Beverly Hills and those who run this City. Not so bad to hear that the City just realized a 10 Million surplus and gave millions to save our schools. My girlfriend who sits on the Board of BHEF knows all to well the pressure tactics the Courier used on them for advertisements and exclusives. Anyone who can stand up to this bully will get my vote in the upcoming election.
Sybil Goldrich February 16, 2013 at 08:06 PM
My comments have nothing to do with the Courier or petty grievances about advertising. At the beginning of this issue I implored you, Barry, to insure that the City Council would actively assert a position against tunneling under Beverly High. We talked about this at my front door. The Board of Education took the lead with no help from you or Brien and it is only now that Brien is coming on board. I hope it's not too late. And I think that Brien has lost his credibility by not coming out against the BHHS tunnel sooner. We all want a subway - and we have Santa Monica Boulevard for it - and now we have to save BHHS and our city.
Anita Friedman February 16, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Let's just take a moment and clarify something. If you're questioning Mayor Brien's credibility, you must be one of the few who believe the lies Clif Smith presents to gullible Beverly Hills residents to further his own agenda. No candidate running for City Council is more upstanding and honest than Willie Brien.
Bledsoe February 17, 2013 at 02:38 AM
This is typical. Sybil regurgitates Courier bile. Then when shown she is misinformed, turns to a new argument, also flawed, that the City didn't stand up with the School Board. But oh, that's not true either. Hope Sybil will return with a new bit of Clif Smith Bile that can be overturned. It is really sad that members of the Beverly Hills community, generally well educated, prefer to believe the worst, the biggest lie, rather than apply rational thought and experience to things. As far as I can tell, Willie Brien is the only person running who has been on the board of education and the city council. He makes good choices. The schools were good when he was on the board. The city is doing really well. What planet do these people live on?
robert February 20, 2013 at 02:15 AM
These people are an embarrassment to the rest of the county. This purple line should had broken ground back in the 70's when it was suppose to. Its time for this madness to stop and face the fact that we need more transit through the county with a growing population. This will create thousands of jobs and help people gain permanent jobs with more reliable transit. It has been proven over and over than tunnels actually make the ground stronger and more firm. It will actually make the foundation even stronger. I find it funny that a place where they drill oil is complaining about a subway that has no real basses for opposition, just whining. These same people who are having a fit don't know what its like to sit at a bus stop having to see two buses pass u up, making you late for work. People who take transit comes from all backgrounds of life. They are business men and women, they are the food servers in the drive thru, they are your maids, babysitters, waiters, hotel workers, maintenance workers, college students. And for the city of Beverly Hills who drive their luxury cars to where they wanna go with no problem, who is spending millions of dollars on a lawsuit which could be used for educational purposes, to disenfranchise your fellow Americans of billions of dollars that will provide the opportunity to have better transportation which would make life easier for them, well, its a shame.
Sybil Goldrich February 20, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Robert: If you read my remarks carefully, I am in favor of a subway for and through Beverly Hills. The issue is where to put it. Santa Monica Boulevard is the more prudent and certainly less expensive route and the one originally agreed upon with Metro. Under Beverly High became an issue once the Century City builders got into the mix. There would be no problem if Metro went under Santa Monica Boulevard as originally planned.
robert February 20, 2013 at 07:39 AM
OK Sybil, but why sue to block the outright funding of the project? For what? I really don't understand the problem with a tunnel under the school. When it was proposed, the following was said: - Oh please don't, we want to build an underground parking lot. Thats much safer than a tunnel. And forget about the fact that there is already an oil drill on the property. -Oh please don't, if you do, there might be a terrorist attack (as if BHHS is such a terrorist destination of all places.) -Oh please no, If you do, are children will be able to feel the train go bye and possibly hear it (LOL, at this point the argument gets desperate and frivolous) Do people have any idea what the redline goes under already? Ever been to New York City? It would be impossible to feel or hear anything period and no, it wont affect the structure in any way because it will be way to far in the ground. Like I said, ever been to New York City? You wouldn't believe what the subways go under there. Oh and like I said, the foundation will actually be stronger.
centurycitysubway.org February 20, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Robert: Your comments are not factual and are completely erroneous. The BHUSD position on the routing of the subway has been consistent and clear from the beginning. Please visit www.centurycitysubway.org to learn the true facts.
cutop February 21, 2013 at 07:35 AM
Not just facts. "True facts." "True facts" brought to you as only as a PR shill can. Robert, you're on the right track to the facts. Don't believe the PR hype. Know this: before the terrorist attacks, the noisy classrooms, the underground parking lots, the earthquake faults, the unmapped oil wells, and the methane gas, there were the Southwest Beverly Hills Homeowners Association lamenting about their property values. When that didn't fly – why everyone quickly called them NIMBYs - then, and only then, did the dialogue switch to be about the safety of children. In fact, if you check back in the record last year, you will see that Beverly Hills proposed three alternate routes to Constellation... under the guise that they were meant to avoid going under the high school. However, curiously, through a serious of sinuous Three-Stooges-plumbing like turns, wouldn't you know if all three routes also avoided going under any home in the Southwest.
centurycitysubway.org February 21, 2013 at 06:30 PM
The fact remains unchanged that a subway station at Santa Monica Blvd and Ave of the Stars would be cheaper, faster and have higher ridership than one located at Constellation. It also wouldn't require tunneling under BHHS, which is the main issue. Perhaps you can take a few moments to educate yourself about the true issues and stop the political spin. Visit http://centurycitysubway.org/common-questions/
cutop February 21, 2013 at 06:58 PM
irony [ahy-ruh-nee, ahy-er-] noun 1. When a PR shill tells people to stop the political spin.
centurycitysubway.org February 21, 2013 at 07:05 PM
ob·fus·cate (bf-skt, b-fskt) tr.v. ob·fus·cat·ed, ob·fus·cat·ing, ob·fus·cates 1. To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand: "A great effort was made . . . to obscure or obfuscate the truth" (Robert Conquest). 2. What an anonymous shill who goes by the name "cutop" does to prevent an honest discussion of the facts and issues related to the unnecessary routing of the subway under BHHS.
cutop February 21, 2013 at 07:14 PM
"To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand" While I've maintained that this whole fight was, is, and will be about a perceived loss in property values for the Southwest homeowners, you have... let's see... You have switched the rationale for not tunneling under BHHS from earthquake safety to methane gas to sinkholes to terrorist attacks to unmapped oil wells to a six-story underground parking lot to... I don't know... weapons of mass destruction. I'm sure the high school will greet us a liberators. If anyone is guilty of obfuscation, it is you.
Charlie Salazar February 21, 2013 at 10:16 PM
+1
Charles Ritchey March 01, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Hey Charlie, You apparently haven't lived in a location where tunneling is occuring. I lived in Hollywood when they were building the Red Line. The ground collapsed during construction of the Metro Subway out there and there was a sinkhole at Hollywood & Highland. Not exactly safe.

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