BHUSD Increases Efforts to Oppose Subway Route

The school district votes to hire a law firm and will also likely retain a lobbyist as the MTA plans more forums on the Westside Subway Extension.

The Beverly Hills Unified School District's effort to oppose a is kicking into gear just as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans additional public forums on the topic.

The MTA will hold three “community update” meetings this month, including one Jan. 31 at the to discuss work on the final environmental impact report of two possible routes for the Westside Subway Extension. One route would entail tunneling under the high school and the Beverly Hills Unified School District office, while the one favored by the school district and city officials would go under Santa Monica Boulevard.

BHUSD officials and many residents feel that the MTA has unofficially decided in favor of the route under the high school because of an alleged fault line under Santa Monica Boulevard.

“The Beverly Hills board of education plans to continue to demonstrate that viable alternatives exist and hire our own experts to refute the false seismic claims being advanced by the MTA experts regarding tunneling under the original and locally preferred route, Santa Monica Boulevard,” board Vice President Brian Goldberg said last week in an e-mail to constituents.

As part of these efforts, the BHUSD board voted 5-0 on Thursday to hire national law firm Alston + Bird to oppose any decision to tunnel under the high school. Alston + Bird specializes in environmental and land development law, as well as public policy issues, according to its website. The firm has nine offices, including locations in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

The board is also likely to hire a lobbying firm, President Lisa Korbatov told Patch in an e-mail. Under consideration is Englander Knabe & Allen, the same firm behind efforts to put —a two-hour free parking proposal—on the March ballot. Englander has offices in Los Angeles and also Sacramento, where BHUSD wants state officials to become involved.

Meanwhile, the subway issue is becoming front and center in the upcoming City Council elections. All three candidates running for council seats oppose the proposal to tunnel under the high school. Two of the three— and Councilwoman —specifically mentioned the issue at their Jan. 9 campaign launches.

Patch urges readers to attend one or more of the three upcoming MTA community update meetings. The first is Jan. 24 at LACMA West on the fifth floor, according to the MTA's website. The next meeting will be Jan. 26 on the third floor of Westwood United Methodist Church, 10497 Wilshire Blvd. The last one will be Jan. 31 at the Roxbury Community Center. 

The meetings begin at 6 p.m., with the public comment period from 7:15-8 p.m. Those planning to attend the Beverly Hills meeting are advised to get there early, as prior MTA meetings held at Roxbury were that an overflow room was needed.

Joel Epstein January 17, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Curbed LA said it best, "Subway Already Providing Jobs--for Lawyers."
joninla February 14, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Ms. Lande - The BHUSD is a part of the greater whole for governing at all levels. At the local level is where School and their related decision making is made, in the case, by the Beverly Hills Unifed School District. They are entrusted with handeling numerous issues in Education and the aspects related to providing Edcuation. There is no power, duty, authority or propriety for any School Board to place themselves as officials with power, rank, duty, voice or access to information or meetings at all. The individuals have the same aforementioned limited rights as every other individual person. To partake in any of our individual rights as citizens while conducting official BHUSD business/work or other obligations owed under oath of office for the School District is a dereliction of duty and a failure to provide, as sworn, to uphold to their full ability, the duties of School Board Members. Were Ms. Bruckner or any other elected or employed BHUSD incapable of seperating their professional duties from what is transpiring within the Transportation and Building & Safety departments of governement, set up to deal with those issue and by people who are experts in the field, they should be removed and seek employement elsewhere. The School District is misusing it's time, money, efforts & purpose on issues beyond their required obligation and are, by definition, not upholding their oath office.
joninla February 14, 2012 at 06:06 AM
One more point - as you appear affiliated with the BHUSD - I suggest you do a thorough review of your school systems Basic Civics educational requirements. If found satisfactory, I think you, Ms. Bruckner and any other BHUSD affiliated person take the BHHS Civics Course in full and not continue to take actions that a Basic Civics Course would teach you, is improper and a violation of the structure of local government.
joninla February 14, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Sadly, there is one profession in this Subway Mess that is being deprived of performing their professional services. As long as the city condones the activity of BHUSD Ms. Brucker and her actions, there is a chair in a Doctor of Psychiatry that is not being filled while a person, clearly in need of major medical attention of this kind, is roaming the streets of BH.
Marie Cunningham February 14, 2012 at 06:45 AM
@joninla Laurie Lande is reporting the story as it develops in Beverly Hills. Patch is not affiliated with one side or the other.


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