What exactly is it that makes this such a danger to Sierra Madre and all of the other communities located along the 210 Freeway? Simply put, connecting the 710 to the 210 would funnel vast quantities of highly toxic diesel truck traffic from the ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles and right into our neighborhoods. And as anyone who is aware of just how bad things are in the 710 Corridor now in this regard, imagine how it will be once the connector is finished. The combined freeways would become the one major conduit connecting these ports to the inland distribution centers of the hundreds billions of dollars in cheap imported goods being shipped into the United States every month. The effects here would be environmentally catastrophic.
In case you are wondering why Metro, Caltrans and the subservient politicians that enable them have suddenly decided that connecting the 710 to the 210 is such a burning priority in these cash-strapped times, the reasons could very well be economic. Those nations currently holding trillions of dollars in U.S. debt want more efficient and cost effective ways of getting their products into the still quite lucrative American market. The result being that their enabling debtors in Washington DC and Sacramento can't move fast enough in the effort to please them.
Could this be possible contributing factor to why Sacramento can find it in their hearts to take away billions of dollars in school funding, yet still come up with the money to build a 710-210 connector tunnel? I suspect so. It is just a matter of figuring out who these people really work for. Certainly it appears that would not be us.
Then there are those who just don't want to see their neighborhoods destroyed so that the freeway extension can be built. The frontline cities in the fight to stop this ruinous boondoggle have very immediate reasons for their opposition, and that is saving their homes and neighborhoods. And as two articles currently up on the Pasadena Star News website show, people are very angry.
Tempers flare in Pasadena over 710 (click here) - Angered residents filled the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple Wednesday evening to voice their opposition to a proposed 710 Freeway route that would carve through the upscale San Rafael neighborhood. The residents jeered a battery of Metropolitan Transit Authority consultants dispatched by the agency to allay fears that the state has immediate plans to transform a portion of their neighborhood into six lanes of asphalt highway.
As the crowd grew agitated, a Metro consultant said they needed to keep quiet or leave. Long-time San Rafael resident nancy Youngblut wanted to turn the request into a political statement. She's right. If you want to save your home, we should get up and walk out now," Youngblut said.
It is rather telling that the somewhat less than courageous folks running Metro did not attend this particular meeting, choosing instead to pay consultants to do that dirty work for them. And what was the message their mercenary test-crash dummies delivered for them?
Metro officials insisted Wednesday that no definite plans for finishing the freeway are being hatched, but the agency is pressing forward with schematics and is bust eliminating the less likely route alternatives, officials said.
In other words, they are working hard to find out which possible routes will cause the greatest amounts of political difficulty for them, which will by inference then indicate where they can possibly get away with building the 710-210 Connector. By floating the idea that surface routes through politically potent places like San Rafael are a possibility, Metro can then propose the 710 Tunnel as the compromise solution to everyone's concern. There is a definite "divide and conquer" aspect in this, and people need to recognize it.
When State Assembly candidate and longtime Pasadena City Councilmember Chris Holden stated that he is opposed to building "surface routes" connecting the 710 with the 210, he also by inference lent his support to the Metro's so-called "710 Solution." Which is, and always has been, building the tunnel.
And where exactly are the courageous politicians that purport to run Pasadena on these matters? According to another Star News article today entitled "Pasadena residents express strong opposition to 710 plan" (click here), the answer is running away as fast as their feet can take them.
Many accused the council of shying away from the issue and asked for an official opinion against the proposals, citing the South Pasadena City Council's firm stance as an example.
"In South Pasadena the city councilmen are behind (the residents) 100 percent, they were fighting together on one side against the 710 issue," said San Rafael resident Ronda Dagher. "I think it would make a big difference ... we elect them to protect us, to protect our interests."
Too bad the Pasadena City Council can't do the Metro two-step and send in consultants to take their seats when any 710-210 Connector questions come up.
One thing that we can definitely do now is make certain to vote for candidates this fall that openly oppose the building of the 710-210 Connector in any form, be it tunnel, surface route or suspended from dirigibles. So far we do know that Assembly candidate Chris Holden supports construction of the environmentally ruinous the 710 tunnel, while his opponent, Donna Lowe, has clearly stated that she opposes building the 710-210 Connector, and in any form.
Now we need to find out where the rest of the candidates stand. Be sure to hold their feet to the fire every time you get the chance.
Services for Lee Cline
Services for Lee Cline will be held Saturday at 11 AM at the Arcadia Congregational Church. The address is 2607 S. Santa Anita Avenue in Arcadia.
Lee is one of the great heroes of Sierra Madre, and his tireless work both as a member of the City Council and resident must be recognized. Our City is a much better place because Lee Cline cared. He will be deeply missed.