The Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose Measure J, a tax measure on the Nov. 6 ballot aimed at accelerating transit projects, including the Westside Subway Extension, which involves tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.
Board Vice President Jake Manaster and member Noah Margo had voted against a resolution in September opposing Measure J under the premise that it was inappropriate for BHUSD to endorse or oppose ballot measures. However, both went with the majority on the latest Measure J vote to create a strong consensus on the issue.
A vote in favor of Measure J would support extending by 30 years the half-cent sales tax dedicated to transportation that voters approved in 2008. The tax is scheduled to end in 2039.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa strongly supports the tax extension, saying it will accelerate major transit projects that will create thousands of construction jobs and eventually ease traffic.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, the Board Chairman of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, strongly opposes the tax extension. He argues the measure will tie up money for transit projects that might be necessary in the future.
The Beverly Hills school district adamantly opposes the Westside Subway Extension and has sued Metro to block the project as long as it involves tunneling under the high school. District board members say tunneling will interfere with BHUSD's plans for renovations at the school and any other future building modernizations.
Board President Brian Goldberg said Metro "has repeatedly refused to hear our valid concerns about locating the subway under instructional buildings at Beverly Hills High School, and have shown a complete disregard for the will of the people of Beverly Hills on this matter."
"We took this action to send the message that Metro has to clean up and change the way it does business and listen to the citizens impacted by its decisions," Goldberg said.
Metro officials say the route below the school would be geologically safe and would support a subway stop to the west that would serve the most riders in the area.