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BHUSD Urges Residents to Lobby Metro Board Members About Subway Route

The following is an annoucement released Tuesday from the Beverly Hills Unified School District concerning Metro's recent decision to route the Westside Subway Extension under Beverly Hills High School.

The following is an annoucement released Tuesday from the Beverly Hills Unified School District concerning Metro's recent decision to route the Westside Subway Extension under Beverly Hills High School.

Get involved! How do I get involved?

Here are some things you can do to stop Metro from tunneling under Beverly Hills High School:

  • Educate yourself on the issues;
  • Share your thoughts with friends and members of the community in person and online;
  • Attend Metro’s meetings;
  • Contact Metro Board Members to let your voice be heard by April 23;
  • Contact Representative Waxman and Senators Feinstein and Boxer;
  • Stay connected and check for more updates.

Metro is currently soliciting comments from the public about the Final Environmental Impact report for the Westside Subway Extension. Submit your comments to Metro by April 23, 2012 to make sure your voice is heard. Stay connected by liking us on Facebook and checking back here regularly for updates and more ways to help.

 A few key points to remember:

  • Both the City of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District have commissioned independent studies to evaluate Metro’s findings and perform their own research. Beverly Hills is asking the Metro Board to wait for their studies to be completed before approving the final EIR [Environmental Impact Report];
  • The studies have already shown that Metro’s findings and methodology were flawed at that there are significant safety concerns;
  • Beverly Hills supports the Westside subway, but has legitimate concerns about safety and the proposed location of the Century City station. Nowhere else in California does a subway run directly under permanent school buildings. Metro has other options for where to put the subway, but Beverly Hills High School has nowhere else to go;
  • We only have one chance to build this subway and get the decision right. The Metro Board must take a close look at Metro’s recommendations and make the right decision. Beverly Hills High School is an important community resource and there’s no need for Metro to rush to a decision.

Upcoming Meetings

MEETING ALERT: The next upcoming meeting is April 18 at 1 p.m. Mark your calendars!

The city of Beverly Hills announced that it will provide transportation to two Metro meetings being held April 18 and 26 in downtown Los Angeles, during which the Metro Board of Directors will discuss the Westside Subway Extension route.

Contact Metro by April 23rd, 2012

You can submit comments to Metro three different ways:

1. Send mail to David Mieger at Metro, One Gateway Plaza 99-22-5, Los Angeles, CA, 90012

2. Complete an online comment form at www.metro.net/westside

3. Send an email to WestsideExtension@metro.net

Sample comment:

Copy and paste this letter into your comment to Metro, or share your own thoughts.

Dear Metro:

The Final Environmental Impact Report for the Westside Subway Extension recommends a station in Century City at Constellation Avenue and Avenue of the Stars, which would require tunneling directly under Beverly Hills High School.

Please, do not tunnel under Beverly Hills High School. Beverly Hills is currently conducting its own studies and reviewing the Final EIR. Metro should put safety first and consider those studies before coming to a decision. We only have once chance to get this right and it appears that Metro is not making the best decision possible by recommending a subway tunnel underneath Beverly Hills High School. Please take a closer look and consider the independent studies commissioned by Beverly Hills.

The safety of our students, our community, and our future generations is too important to rush this decision. Constellation is not the only option!

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your name here]

Contact the Metro Board of Directors by April 23, 2012

Letters can be sent to the Board of Directors directly, or you can contact Board members individually.

Be sure to follow Beverly Hills Patch on Twitter and "Like" us on Facebook.

Mark Craig April 04, 2012 at 10:22 PM
And George, I see you read the story "City Should Work On Image to Lure Shoppers" yet you're comments here indicate you would like the exact opposite. Will you explain that to us, please?
George Vreeland Hill April 04, 2012 at 11:17 PM
To Mark Craig: My comments on the story about image and luring shoppers was about Louis Vuitton. It has nothing to do with Metro's plans for a tunnel under BHHS. George
LAofAnaheim April 05, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Can we disclose how much centurycitysubway.org is paid by BHUSD to advocate for Santa Monica boulevard? That would be a great article worth reading! I may submit that comment to the LA Times; because apparently the Patch and Courier won't reveal the truth.
George Vreeland Hill April 05, 2012 at 03:11 AM
I wonder if LAofAnaheim works for Metro or has a friend or relative who does. I believe the Patch and Courier do tell the truth. George Vreeland Hill
Tom Pease April 05, 2012 at 04:59 AM
@laofananaheim Thanks for being really condescending! Yes, there's the 720, which I could walk to. But since my destination was Charleville and Beverly that really wouldn't help. On Friday when I went to buy my bus pass the next 704 to Santa Monica was in 55 minutes after having walked from Palm. I ended up walking to Wilshire and Beverly and taking the 720, after being passed by two that were only going to Westwood. Total travel time? 3 and 1/2 hours. I pay better than $1000 per year for that EZ pass and have been a Metro rider since I moved here in the 80's. Any "anger" I'm "creating" is based upon actual use.
Mark Elliot April 05, 2012 at 05:40 AM
It should be noted that our parking operations budget is looking at a deficit of $20-40 million (both figures have been used) with our City Council this past January approving $5 million from the general fund to start addressing the problem. Needless to say, that money - and that $5 million - doesn't come from parking revenues. It comes from services from what's looking like a hollow city: grand city structures but fewer employees there than ever. Much is outsourced. And we can expect more of the same to pay for 'free' parking. But we're still waiting on that bike rack, though, any bike rack.
Mark Elliot April 05, 2012 at 05:47 AM
For the record, Beverly Hills Unified is tapping into its facilities construction bond money to fight the fight (not exactly the BH voters' intent when they approved the financing). And it probably goes without saying that 1100 feet in and of itself is manageable, but locating the station on Santa Monica boulevard would put those folks in the residential areas south of Olympic, who may already be at the 1/4 mile walking distance (about 1300 feet), nearly a half-mile from the station. That makes a bus connection or a drive-and-park option a necessity.
WM GOLDSTEIN April 05, 2012 at 06:00 AM
I served on the BH General Plan Update, a 2-year process involving several hundred locals. And after two years of often rancorous discussion and study, the committee in charge of our local transportation policy & practices concluded that without rapid transit in the mix, Beverly Hills is doomed to endless gridlock.
Mark Elliot April 05, 2012 at 06:47 AM
Regarding the question about the centurycitysubway.org site, back in March of 2011 the board OK'd $50k payable to Sitrick, the PR firm evidently behind the site. The domain was purchased that month according to Whois records. Laurie Lande wrote in BH Patch in March of 2011: "Sitrick was hired by the district's law firm, Best Best & Krieger...Both Sitrick and BB&K are being paid out of $400,000 in general funds that the board has allocated for lobbying on the Century City station." (She was quoting board member Goldberg.) FWIW, the district keeps a purchase order for Sitrick open, evidently funding the effort on a rolling basis.
Laurie Lande April 05, 2012 at 06:55 AM
@Mark and @ LAAnaheim Thank you Mark for noting that Patch HAS covered the taxpayer dollars that BHUSD is spending on legal fees and lobbying for the subway route, including the costs of Sitrick. I have also covered the $15k spent each month by BHUSD on Washington DC lobbyist Venable. The LA Times has written very littlle about the subway route or the related lobbying so please do request LAT coverage.
LAofAnaheim April 05, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Wow George Ireland....so I speak the truth and apparently I work with Metro or know a family who does? Not true George. I do not work for Metro or have family who do. I am an ardent supporter of reasonable mass transit expansion. I ride Metro and Big Blue Bus all the time so I know the city's routes a lot better than the average Angeleno. It's 100% true centurycitysubway.org is a paid advocacy group of the BHUSD and Beverly Hills City Council. (http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/04/rancor_rules_the_day_at_purple_line_open_house_in_bev_hills.php). You're being pandered too by the Courier and Patch who are spreading incoherent messages by centurycitysubway and Lisa K. at BHUSD. Please understand that.
Mark Craig April 05, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Maybe it's the "truth" in your skewed world, George, but it seems one-sided if you actually look at what you're reading.
Simon April 05, 2012 at 06:54 PM
@Laurie: Your coverage has been very good and fair. Keep it up!
LAofAnaheim April 05, 2012 at 07:34 PM
....good to know. Now, please support the westside subway extension and don't join this crazy BHUSD/City Council crowd who are now proposing to use legal methods to stop the subway. Please help show reason! What's funny is that BHUSD is saying "subways and schools don't mix", but it's ok to drill under 60 story office buildings with adults and daycare centers? Please explain.
LAofAnaheim April 05, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Wow, a Beverly Hills funded report has the following conclusion about Santa Monica v. Constellation: Hey Patch, can you please detail this study? From the Shannon & Wilson report prepared for Beverly Hills: "In summary, we agree with the conclusions of the Fault Report that the Constellation Station location appears to be more favorable than the Santa Monica Boulevard location based on the exploration data that is interpreted to show no faulting in the station area." What's Beverly Hills arguement now?
LAofAnaheim April 05, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Link to the study commissioned by Beverly Hills that support's Metro's conclusion on Santa Monica boulevard being "too risky" and supports a station at Constellation, which obviously endless studies (just to satisfy centurycitysubway.org < a funded PR firm hired by BH city council and other council members). Otherwise, Santa Monica boulevard is dead in the water as a proposed alignment, if EVEN the Beverly Hills commission study cannot support it! http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/04/bev_hillsfunded_study_favors_tunneling_under_bh_high_city_still_lawyers_up_to_fight_it.php#reader_comments
Mark Craig April 05, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I LOVE IT!!!!!
Mark Elliot April 06, 2012 at 12:47 AM
We appreciate the coverage, Laurie. Unfortunately there aren't enough eyes on Beverly Hills, letting would-be scandals simmer until the lid blows off, like at BHUSD, when the LA Times does finally step in. Patch coverage is very welcome. It's really perplexing, our mobility priorities. The amount of money spent on the Metro fight in contrast to our inability (at Better Bike) to secure a single $200 sidewalk bike rack...despite nearly two years of asking.
Mark Elliot April 06, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Here's a funny: According to the official City of Beverly Hills Facebook page, we 'like' Metro! http://betterbike.org/2012/04/beverly-hills-likes-metro/
Joshua K April 06, 2012 at 01:44 AM
This is getting utterly ridiculous. As a resident of Beverly Hills and former BHHS student, I am deeply ashamed of my city right now - how are we fighting a subway TUNNEL 70 feet under the school when subway tunnels run under all KINDS of sensitive buildings in our own backyard, Los Angeles, and cities throughout our country. THE WORLD WILL NOT END BECAUSE OF THE SUBWAY. It's time to end the hysteria. All Beverly Hills politicians and Lisa Korbotov need to listen to SCIENCE AND FACTS, and stop pandering to irrational hysteria. It's time to improve mass transit in Beverly Hills and our entire region now!
LAofAnaheim April 06, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Yes Joshua! Spoken with complete reason! It's very embarassing to see people who do not see rationale and science as truth to advocate for something unsafe that even their own funded study found to be dangerous (http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/04/bev_hillsfunded_study_favors_tunneling_under_bh_high_city_still_lawyers_up_to_fight_it.php#reader_comments). Please attend a Metro meeting to help give reason to the unrationale.
John Mirisch April 06, 2012 at 03:35 AM
What science? What facts? Metro's? Interestingly, Metro's "science" and "facts" have been given an "incomplete" by at least two independent reports. How is this in any way the responsible way to handle literally billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars. This has nothing to do with irrational hysteria, but a government agency run amok and infrastructure improvements need to happen in conjunction to listening to the local residents, not ignoring them. There is a perfectly viable, less intrusive mass transit option which Metro is simply dismissing because it doesn't suit the internal politics of the organization, driven by ulterior motives and special interests. To me the word "irrational" is closely related to "inconsistent," "contradictory" and "hypocritical," two adjectives that can be used for much of Metro's "reasoning," as it applies to both Century City and other stations. It might be a good idea for you, JK, to get a dose of some of the counter-arguments and have a look at www.centurycitysubway.org.
John Mirisch April 06, 2012 at 03:49 AM
"Bev Hills funded study favors tunneling under BH High" is the lacurbed headline Diz is referring to. Well, that's not exactly what the study says, but it sure makes a great headline doesn't it? And you guys accuse the Courier of being "yellow"? Feel free to watch the replay of the Council meeting where the report is presented. The Shannon-Wilson experts suggest that Metro's reports are incomplete and not up to scratch. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the work of a government agency pushing through a multi-billion dollar public works project. In fact, the report, along with the prior Exponent report, calls Metro's credibility into serious question, especially considering the surety with which Metro has been making its pre-ordained claims. In fact, the Shannon-Wilson seismic expert suggested at Tuesday's Council meeting that Metro's "safety" concerns for the Santa Monica station may not be warranted, while the potential safety issues along Constellation, including the issue of methane, had not been adequately researched.
John Mirisch April 06, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Mark, the BHUSD scandal was not the result of anything done or not done by the LA Times. In fact, it was new school board members, including current Board President Brian Goldberg, who did not let the issue drop. As a former member of the FAC, I opposed Bond Measure E because of concerns related to accountability and transparency. Effectively, it was the Community which uncovered the situation and did not let it slide. I agree that we should be looking to spend more time and money on becoming more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, as well as giving more attention to the needs of seniors. There are many other issues worthy of our attention. The subway issue is being driven by the hostile actions from an outside, governmental agency. The amount of money being spent by BH is, however, dwarfed by the funds Metro expends. It would be great if the LA Times or somebody would do a full audit of Metro's expenditures. Not to mention, of course, a governance audit which could begin to look at ways to fix Metro's democratic deficiencies or to look at suggestions for a more transparent and democratic successor organization.
Mark Elliot April 06, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Thanks for the clarification, Councilman Mirisch - the LA Times was my frame of reference as I've attended only a few Facilities Advisory Committee meetings and only recently at that. Merit aside, the station issue sweeps aside any other issues that we should also be talking about, like Safe Routes to Schools and active mobility for students. We can tally up the costs for lobbyists and attorneys and websites and the like, but there are opportunity costs in focusing overwhelmingly on Metro. I doubt whether BH Unified or our Transportation division has even applied for the $45 million pot of Safe Routes grants offered by Caltrans (the app window closed a few days ago). I brought that grant opportunity to the attention of Transportation a couple of times (no response) but knew better that even to try at BH Unified. The one time I addressed the board about it at a meeting, I could hardly get their attention. Presumably it was focused on Metro. We should count as an additional cost that foregone opportunity to make school-proximate intersections safer, in my opinion.
Eric S April 06, 2012 at 07:10 PM
John Mirisch has obviously proven he knows nothing about subway tunnels, geology, geography, and anything to do with transportation priorities for our city. the city report itself recommends Constellation. There is an EARTHQUAKE FAULT directly along Santa Monica Blvd - you cannot build a subway station on an earthquake fault, genius. It's time to end this nonsense and fight for better transit and more complete streets in Beverly Hills.
John P Commuter April 12, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Please note centrurycity subway.org is not a grassroots organization. It is a disingenuous "astroturf" campaign created by BHUSD and implemented by the PR firm Sitrick & Company.
Joe Parker April 12, 2012 at 10:00 PM
This video gave me pause: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79w_161D-Wc&feature=share Watch it and then say you still don't understand the concern of BH citizens.
centurycitysubway.org April 12, 2012 at 11:48 PM
@ John P. Commuter The BHUSD has never hidden the fact that it created www.centurycitysubway.org or that it hired Sitrick And Company to help with its public relations efforts on this important issue. Please visit http://centurycitysubway.org/common-questions/ for more information.
John Mirisch April 13, 2012 at 02:40 AM
So you can't build a subway station (essentially an underground bunker) on an earthquake fault, but it's OK to build 40-story skyscrapers at the same location? And you can't tunnel under a cemetery but it's OK to tunnel under a school with real, live children? Not exactly. As we say in Sweden: "If you say A, you have to say B." Learn to say "B," Eric. Despite the spin funded by the special interests, we will fight for better transit, but we'll do so in a way that respects the principles of local control. Neither will Beverly Hills set policy to facilitate people going from one area of overdevelopment in LA to another. Any mass transit must actually also be accessible to and benefit our own residents. What's more -- and this may be hard for you to swallow, Eric -- we'll fight for better government, namely one which listens to the residents rather than special interests and well-heeled developers. The fact that LA is often unable to do so is one of the reasons we're facing the traffic and transit problems in the first place. And, no, the BH City report does not "recommend" Constellation. And neither does the BH City Council.

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