However, much of what I wrote apparently did not sit well with the Assistant Director of Communications for the Port of Long Beach, a gentleman named Art Wong. So much so that he wrote a series of carefully considered e-mails letting his objections be known to me, your selfless daily typer. His passion for his port in these notes is clear, as is his desire to guard their reputations. Here is how Art first made his umbrage evident:
Interesting column in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on the 710 extension. Especially your line about the ports: "And I certainly don't want this done so that cheaply made imported goods trucked out of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles can get to the shelves of big box retailers just a little more efficiently."
Most trucks moving goods from the ports head to distribution facilities in Carson, Ontario, Riverside, along the 710 freeway or the 610. I don't know of any distribution centers in Sierra Madre.
And then from the distribution facilities, the goods are transferred to other trucks that take them to our stores. Like Best Buy in Pasadena and Duarte, or the Home Depot, Target and Walmart stores in Duarte. But of course, those trucks use the 210 and the 605.
I don't imagine you're saying you don't want any (of) those trucks coming near Sierra Madre via the proposed 710 extension or otherwise.
That seemed just a little bit tart, at least in my opinion, and I thought that I needed to reply. Besides, who knows what else the Assistant Director of Communications for the Port of Long Beach might have to say? Obviously we had a live one here.
Interesting note. Explain to me then why Caltrans is pushing for additional lanes on the 710, including those designated as trucks only. If they are all using the 610, why would those extra lanes, or for that matter, a tunnel through Pasadena, be required?
Walmart has 12 distribution points in California alone. Woodland, Apple Valley, Hanford, Porterville, and Red Bluff could all conceivably be serviced by port traffic that would make use of a 710 tunnel. I believe that much of the traffic out of our two ports goes to other states as well.
The San Gabriel Valley is a real valley. It would fill up with the effluence of your many trucks should they somehow make use of a 710/210 connector. It is estimated by people who actually think rather than merely react to newspaper op-ed pieces that an additional 900,000 vehicles daily would be funneled onto the 210. A portion of that diesel trucks out of the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Enjoy your weekend.
Art reacted reasonably to my note, and took some pains to further explain his position. He also apologized for the slightly indecorous tone of his first e-mail, which shows that he values civility.
Let me begin by apologizing for my snippiness in my early email. You're welcome to your opinions.
There are two separate 710 projects. The 710 improvement project with the truck lanes goes from the ports only as far north as the 60 freeway. The extension through South Pasadena is something else. That began in the 1960s before the ports began moving lots of cargo. We're not involved, but I can only assume, it continues to be talked about to handle commuter traffic, like the cars spilling in Alhambra.
While the ports are involved in (the) project to improve the 710 south of the 60. The ports are not involved in the project through South Pasadena.
As for where the distribution centers will go, I live in the San Gabriel Valley. And the 210 has too many homes. And not the big undeveloped areas like Ontario, San Bernardino, and Riverside, which are filling up with warehouses. As far as I know, the regional plans are to funnel warehousing toward the Inland Empire.
However, even if the port-related trucks move throughout the region, we have enacted programs requiring trucking companies that work in the ports to use only clean, least polluting vehicles. Since 2008, the entire port-serving truck fleet has been replaced - all 11,000 vehicles - with 2007 or newer trucks that are 90% cleaner than older trucks.
That all seemed a little too pat for my tastes, so I thought I should continue the conversation. Here is what I wrote:
Just because these truck lanes only go to the 60 does not mean all of the trucks will exit at the 60. And with the 710 tunnel completed they would be even less likely to do so. I believe the diamond lanes end there as well.
I didn't say that the ports were involved in the 710 tunnel. However, the vast quantities of products that pass through those 2 ports are shipped all over the United States. Not just to the few locales you described in your first message. And certainly not to just the Inland Empire, though you certainly can get there on the 210.
I don't believe in green trucks. That, to me, is an oxymoron. There are few products today that don't describe themselves as green. Coal is green, condo developments are green, Caltrans even claimed that expanding the 710 to include more lanes would make the air cleaner. These are the kinds of things that people actually say. Even so-called clean trucks will age in time, and then they won't be so green anymore.
There are no exits in any of the plans for the 710 tunnel. It is for pass through traffic only. It is designed for things that are not stopping here. Like trucks taking products from the ports to Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and beyond.
Art didn't waste much time, or effort, replying to the points I made.
I'm not defending the tunnel or any 710 extension through South Pasadena. But it just isn't clear that it would be widely used by port trucks.
I sent Art an equally pithy reply:
Well, if very few trucks travel the surface streets of Pasadena to get to the 210 now, it is conceivable that more truck traffic would be going through that area when the tunnel is in place, right?
The Assistant Director of Communications for the Port of Long Beach, Art Wong, issued one more reply. In his opinion trucking out of his port would not contribute very much to 710 tunnel traffic.
I distinguish between the "port" trucking and the trucking that Southern California would need even without the ports. if you're saying that the tunnel would attract some truck traffic, of course. The tunnel/210 would be an alternative to the 10 and 60 going east, and in other directions, too.
It just isn't clear that a lot of those would be "port" trucks.
This is pretty much where the exchange broke off. I decided it would be futile to continue, and did not reply. It had become obvious Art wasn't much interested in talking about anything beyond that whatever is going to happen, it won't be the fault of the Port of Long Beach. Which is, I suppose, what they pay him to do.
Bob Matheson didn't support my candidacy for City Council in 2010
There is quite a series of letters written during the 2010 City Council election cycle to be found on Rooster Coburn's Sierra Madre News.net website [click here]. Not in the new version of the site, but in that part now designated as an "archive." And in amongst the fray is the following note from someone who would later go on to become one of our little city's more notorious residents.
(3/27/10) Hats off to (name deleted) for so accurately describing our town's Bully Pulpit! Two generations ago, "bully" was an adjective used to describe superb/wonderful. Now it describes some of our elected officials, they're arrogant bullies on the pulpit that is our City Council!
Remember when elected officials served as "humble servants" of their constituents? Well, there's nothing humble about the outrageous behavior exhibited in Council chambers by certain, seated members. Watch some of the meetings!! It's not difficult to identify the culprits, their demeanor is as embarrassing as it is inappropriate.
Now we have a clear choice in Sierra Madre, and a chance to clear the air (of) the foul behavior that has tainted the civility of our City Council. Voters can reject others of this ilk and elect three candidates who, I know, will put responsibility before rhetoric and character before character assassination.
I'm voting for Moran, Mosca and Walsh. Thank you all for running, and for giving us a chance to save Sierra Madre.
I wonder if Bob Matheson would consider coercing underaged boys into posing naked for the camera, or engaging in filmed sexual acts with older men for that matter, to be a form of bullying?