Friday, March 20, 2015

Sylvia Plummer and the Fight to Stop the 710 Tunnel

Draft EIR depiction of 710 Tunnel ventilation stacks, with sign added. (Credit: Joe Cano)

(Mod: Sylvia Plummer sends out these extraordinary e-mails detailing the latest in the fight against the 710 Tunnel. They are reasoned and deeply researched. And it occurred to me that maybe you've never seen her hard work in action before. So I've combined a few of the most recent. As I hope you are aware, Caltrans' so-called process on the 710 Tunnel has reached a critical stage. The fix has always been in on the tunnel, but those who favor it are still trying to convince people that all of this was the logical conclusion of a few hundred meetings that included actual resident input. Which it never was. They just want to leave you with the impression that the 710 Tunnel is the product of a public consensus, rather than a conclusion they came by while ignoring the public. Or at best treating us as little more than a marketing problem.)

Call to Action

We are asking everyone to write a letter to Caltrans and request/demand:

(1)  More time to review the SR-710 Draft EIR - At least 60 more days for a total of 180 days

(2)  More Public Hearings - At least two additional Public Hearings for a total of five.  The Public Hearings should take place on a Saturday.

Below this paragraph you will find a sample letter.  You may copy and use the same wording, modify or add to it.  We suggest you write your letter in a Word document then copy and paste your letter into the Caltrans online comment box.  (Caltrans is not accepting any letters by email.)  Save the Word document for your records and email a copy to the addresses shown below.

Jan SooHoo:  jan@soohoos.org
No 710 Action Committee:  no710extension@aol.com

Here's the link to Caltrans online Comment box (link).

Sample letter:

(date), 2015

Garrett Damrath, Chief Environmental Planner
Caltrans District 7, Division of Environmental Planning
100 South Main Street, MS-16
Los Angeles, CA 90012

SCH #: 1982092310
File: 07-LA-710 (SR 710)
Project: EFIS 0700000191 (EA: 187900)
State Route 710 North Study

Dear Mr. Damrath,

I am currently reviewing the SR-710 North Study Draft EIR which was released on March 6, 2015, with an 120-day public comment period ending on July 6, 2015.  I am requesting a 60-day extension and two additional Public Hearings.

I would like to submit comments on the DEIR in a timely manner. However, given the size of the entire document, 26,625 pages, the complexity of the DEIR documents and technical reports, and the timing of the DEIR release during the  busy spring and summer holidays, I am requesting an extension of the comment period by an additional 60 days for a total of 180 days. This time frame is consistent with other projects of this scope such as the I-710 Expansion and the High Desert Corridor.  The additional time would allow me to study the report further and to provide better, more informed comments.

To date, only two Public Hearings are scheduled; both are in April, one month after the release of the DEIR.  That is hardly enough time to read 26,625 pages and comment effectively at either Public Hearing.  The third Public Hearing has not been scheduled yet.  I am requesting at least two additional Saturday Public Hearings, one of which must be in Pasadena.

The Public Hearings should be scheduled closer to the end of the comment period and on a Saturday, in the ground zero cities of Pasadena and El Sereno.  The Public Hearing that is currently scheduled on a Tuesday night in Pasadena is absolutely unacceptable.  A weekday meeting held at 5 pm, will be very difficult for people to get to on the clogged 210 Freeway.  It does not make sense.  Remember, this Public Hearing is not just for the citizens of Pasadena, but for anyone in the 100-square mile study area.  Additionally, the Saturday Public Hearing scheduled for East L.A. College is one hour longer than the Tuesday night Public Hearing in Pasadena.  There needs to be parity in all meetings held.

Please contact me with your response by email at:  Your email address, Your Name, Your Address

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** The No710 Action Committee wants to keep track of all online comments.  Please remember to email a copy of your letter to:

Jan SooHoo:   jan@soohoos.org
No 710 Action Committee:  no710extension@aol.com

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For helpful instructions on how to respond to the Draft EIR go to No710.com and click on the green " DEIR-Info" button.

Please forward this message to your friends and neighbors.

1.  Save the Date - Not to be missed

Please plan to attend this very important meeting

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 6:30pm  (This date could change)

Pasadena City Council will meet at the Pasadena Convention Center to discuss and vote on:

1.  Pasadena's local preference as an Alternative for the SR-710 project
2.  Resolution opposing the SR-710 Tunnel(s)


Here's the link to news story: (Click).

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2.  Media Bashes 710 Alternatives…the Transit Ones Anyway

Here's an article worth reading from StreetBlog LA written by Damien Newton that tells it like it is.

The things that Damien discusses are just the tip of the iceberg. $40 million of the taxpayers' Measure R dollars went toward producing 26,625 pages and the public will have no better understanding of the project than they did when it began.

*A report with a Metro logo on it dismisses a light rail proposal because it would be too noisy, pollute too much, be too noisy and too ugly*.

"It’s always good to see the media jump on a story. Those six giant exhaust stacks planned for Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena? Eh, who cares? That the tunnel would increase the number of cars on the freeway and local streets, as we’ve just seen happen on the Westside? That’s just a theory. What about what happens if there’s a crash or other disaster in the tunnel? It’s “addressed in the report.”

Read the entire article as well as the comments, here's the link.

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3.  SR-710 Debate on KPCC Airtalk

Last Monday March 9, 2015, KPCC Airtalk had a segment about this SR-710 project.  Mayor Pro Tem Donald Voss of La Canada Flintridge and Barbara Messina of Alhambra were guests.   It wasn't even a close match.  Voss was in command of the Draft EIR -- at much as someone could be only two days after its release -- and offered reasoned, logical responses to the questions posed to him. Messina, on the other hand offered no facts from the DEIR/EIS, and stated that the air coming out of the ventilation towers would be "virgin air".

Please take the time and listen to this 23 minute program.  It is a MUST for anyone following this SR-710 project and everyone who thought the Draft EIR/EIS would be a valuable, responsible document.

Here's the link to listen to this 23 minute debate - (click on blue bar "Listen to this Story")

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4.  NO SR-710 Petition

We are currently at 2420 signatures.  If we hit 2,500 during the Draft EIR comment period, it will trigger notifications to Jerry Brown, the California Transportation Commission and the others on the list.

Let's see if we can do it.

We need you to sign the petition if you have not done so.  Ask your family, friends and neighbors...  all they need is an email account.

Here's a direct link to the petition (click):

-----------------------------------
5.  Cleveland's Highway Revolt

"1969 marked the year of strong opposition within cities to urban highways. In Cleveland, they are referred to as the highway revolts."

"Such pressure led to a pledge in April 1970 by (Republican) Governor James A. Rhodes, then locked in a primary fight for a seat in the U.S. Senate, that he would never force a highway on a community that did not want it."

"It does show the strengths that can be found when likeminded communities find common cause to question a decision that was made for them."

We need to see this happening here in Los Angeles County.

Read article here:

 Scientists warn G20 that $60 trillion infrastructure plan is "doubling down on a dangerous vision"

"Governments have tended to support monster projects that may sound impressive but don't always meet economic or social goals."

"Studies show that for the past 70 years, nine out of ten infrastructure projects have experienced cost overruns, delays, and benefit shortfalls," argues the letter's authors, who adds that "this process is beset with other problems like corruption, cost overruns, fiscal accountability, and human rights abuses."

"The G20 infrastructure framework relies heavily on public-private partnerships (PPPs) to build these mega projects. PPPs are not a responsible way to finance or operate infrastructure assets vital to public services when they aggressively downsize the workforce, defer necessary maintenance, and transfer high level risk to local or national governments."

Does it sound like the SR710 Tunnels project?? Link to article here.

Where is the SR710 Study Cost Benefit Analysis?

SR710 Study missing report that Metro does not want the public to see. Metro & Caltrans cannot justify the $5.5 billion cost to build a tunnel.

Link to YouTube video here.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

51 comments:

  1. Long overdue, let's get going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Going to need to set you right on top of one of those ventilation stacks. So you get a better view of the construction.

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    2. 6:27, yes. live next to the ventilation shaft. That way you can be immersed in Heavy Metal and I don't mean Metallica.

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    3. 6:27, the increased cancer rates around the tunnel openings, acknowledged by one and all as scientific fact, what about those? Just the cost of doing business?

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    4. "If you built it, they will come." The more accessible and connected we make the 210 freeway to other freeways, the more traffic we will come. It wasn't too long ago that the 210 freeway was never congested. Now, its becoming too crowded and well on its way to being like the 405. If you make the 710 connection, it will be absolute gridlock along with all the smog that goes with it.

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    5. True. Once they connected the 210 to the 15 it was jammed immediately.

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  2. One of the worst ideas ever pushed on us locals. They have ruined old town but the 710 will be the finish of Pasadena as we know it.

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    Replies
    1. Traffic is so bad, can't drive there anymore anyway. Maybe we should just turn Pasadena into one huge parking lot.

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    2. Turn it into a truck stop.

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  3. Where is the Change.org link that you can sign? It does not come up with what you have above.

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    Replies
    1. Worked for me, 7:30. Maybe try again?

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  4. https://www.change.org/p/remove-the-f7-x-tunnel-alternative-from-sr-710-north-eir-eis-in-favor-of-better-more-fiscally-and-environmentally-responsible-solutions

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  5. Great article Tattler. Thanks. I especially appreciate the links to the petition, to the KPCC discussion, and the inspiring graphics.

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  6. Whatever happened to the light rail idea? Too much good sense?

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  7. I think the tunnel is a good idea. The traffic is already here and smogging the air. At least now it will get scrubbed.

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    Replies
    1. You need to think this through a little. The purpose of the tunnel is to get trucking through the 710 corridor and out to the big warehousing and distribution centers to the east of here. You are talking a huge increase in diesel truck traffic. Have you ridden on the 210 at rush hour lately? I am on it every night. Think what it will be like if you put all of that 710 traffic on it. Scrubbers just aren't going to cut it.

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    2. The 210 is so crowded now that there is no time you can arrange to be on the freeway to miss the traffic.
      Back in the day, it was possible to organize schedules for freeway travel that meant less time in traffic. Not possible anymore.

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    3. Everybody, please sign the petition!

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    4. I just did. Preserving the San Gabriel Valley is part of preserving Sierra Madre.

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    5. Diesel truck exhaust is the worst and there is no technology that can remove the ultra fine particles from the air.

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    6. This tunnel will turn the San Gabriel Valley into asthma alley.

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  8. I love the tunnel -just make it longer and use it to transport something we actually need - WATER !
    Amazing that our urgent need is for water infrastructure and these fools give us road tunnels and Bullet trains !
    And even in Sierra Madre- major repaving work ,but no repairs to leaking water mains. Do not give the Government your money -they waste it.

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    Replies
    1. A tunnel from the ocean pumping in desalinated water. Now that is forward looking!

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    2. Under the Freedom of Information Act!

      I obtained city documents from Elaine Aguilar!

      Based upon the water documents provided me! there are no leaky water mains in our town!

      Elaine Angular documents provided me state that the city of Sierra Madre pumps and bills for more water than the entire city of sierra madre uses!

      HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

      HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

      City hall has raised the cost of water services under false pretenses and states that they will fix 200+ broken leaky water mains!

      Four written complaints were filed with the The District Attorney. They chose not to protect the residence of Sierra Madre or take any further action! WHY

      If any of these statements are not true, please provide the correct or fabricated documents for the entire residents review!

      WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO HIRE THESE CITY EMPLOYEES?

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  9. Yes the meeting date has changedMarch 20, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    Caltrans has extended the standard 45-day public review and comment period to 120-days, and will hold three public hearings.
    http://www.metro.net/projects/sr-710-conversations/

    The EIR/EIS amounts to two volumes at 2,200 pages and a total of more than 26,000 pages when counting the technical studies, should be the basis of public commentary. The public has until July 4, 2015 to respond to it with comments, per the information on the Metro site.
    http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/draft_eir-eis/

    There are three public hearings scheduled for the 710 extension study. On Saturday April 11, 10 am to 4 pm at East Los Angeles College, there is a public meeting. On Tuesday April 14, the Pasadena City Council will meet at 6pm to 9pm p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center to discuss the 710 extension. A third meeting is TBD.

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    Replies
    1. As good as this news is, I fear it is just more "process." They bend a little, but in the end the story is they did everything to sccommodate but now that time is over and the tunnel is approved. Chris Holden is a tunnel supporter, yet he was one of those who pushed for this.

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    2. Good to see Caltrans employees read and post on The Tattler!

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    3. You'd hope they'd be smarter.

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    4. Your tax dollars at rest.

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  10. LWV-PA is holding a separate discussion forum with reps from South Pasadena, Duarte, Alhambra and Glendale
    7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. on Monday, MARCH 30, 2015
    at Cal State L.A. Golden Eagle Ballroom, 3rd Floor
    More info and register here
    http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eaoi6woe09e262a3&llr=r8xpj8dab

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport. True. Nobody is watching.

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    2. If nobody is watching then it is not democracy.

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  11. That tunnel digger looks like something out of the movie Dune.

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    Replies
    1. And the banner looks like something out of Nightmare on Elm Street XIV

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    2. Pasadena: The Plague Years

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  12. Ya gotta love a tunnel in earthquake territory.
    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=4146

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  13. I heard the debate on KPCC, and you are right on! Dennis Voss was so professional - a real credit to the voters of La Canada Flintridge to have elected him, and Barbara Messina did not make much sense! When I first moved here 28 years ago, I thought it was completely ridiculous that you couldn't drive straight between the 110 and the 210. Now I get it. Please sign the petition!

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  14. No one seems to be talking about the elephant in the room—namely, the project is nothing more than rapacious, unadulterated capitalism in action.

    The biggest beneficiaries will be the major infrastructure contractors who will build and maintain the system, the multinational corporations that want to move their goods more quickly and cheaply through SVG, and the huge corporations that do the shipping.

    The resulting profits will, of course, be privatized into the coffers of the few, while the costs—building, maintaining, increases in pollution, decrease in quality of life etc—will be externalized to the taxpayers, you and me.

    Perhaps we she simply recognize that the overlords will always have the political muscle to extract huge amounts of tax dollars and, rather than try to prevent it, try to get them to pursue worthwhile projects, such as building a water pipeline to the water-rich eastern US. At least we'll get a tangible benefit.

    Alternatively and, yes, cynically, we can simply pay them off, much like paying a racketeer protection money. It'll be cheaper to just pay them the huge profits they would have made rather than paying for the much, much greater cost of the entire project. They're going to get the tax dollars one way or another anyway.

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    Replies
    1. 12:15 makes an incredibly important point. Couple years ago I wrote a column for the PSN called "Economic imperialism and the 710 tunnel." Here's the key point:

      "One little piece of information in particular jumped out at me. A SCAG memo to its Plans Programs Technical Advisory Committee, written by a regional planner named Nancy Pfeffer and dated Feb. 17, 2005, revealed the following: Then-Gov. Schwarzenegger was "criticized by government and business leaders in Asia for allowing congestion at the San Pedro Bay Ports to impede the flow of goods from Asia to U.S. markets. On his return he tasked BT&H Sec'y Sunne Wright McPeak with developing a strategy on this issue."

      A strategy was developed, of course, and along with it came a renewed urgency to build the 710 Tunnel. Obviously "The Gap" was creating inconveniences for the concerned foreign economic powers and, given the vast quantities of American debt they hold, their demands do carry some weight. Both in Sacramento and Washington, which has also expressed buoyant support for the 710 Tunnel."

      http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/opinion/20130115/john-crawford-economic-imperialism-and-the-710-tunnel

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    2. Jeez, 12:15, great ideas - just vote the jerks a tax to leave us alone. Or force them to switch to some kind of redo of the great Roman aqueducts.

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    3. "...impede the flow of goods..."
      Maddening when that consideration trumps health and safety.

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    4. Check out the Metro blurb above - "address the demands of commerce"
      Quite an euphemism.

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    5. Address the demands of a hostile foriegn economic power that holds a mountain of American debt.

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    6. LA County is being colonized. Hong Kong circa 1900.

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  15. Eye-opening youtube video!
    Know what something costs before you start spending money. Huh.

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    Replies
    1. Caltrans and Metro don't care. Somebody will give them more.

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    2. Bureacracies are sustainable because of taxpayer money. Take them out of the taxpayer funded hothouse and they wither up and die in no time.

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  16. March 20, 2015 at 8:55 AM, your Pasadena City Council date information is wrong. The Pasadena City Council will meet on Monday, April 13 @ 6:30pm, at the Pasadena Convention Center Ballroom. This meeting is NOT part of the Caltrans Public Hearings.

    The Pasadena City Council will meet to discuss and vote on:

    1. Pasadena's local preference as an Alternative for the SR-710 project
    2. Resolution opposing the SR-710 Tunnel(s)

    We need all you Sierra Madre Tattler readers to come to the meeting and support the City of Pasadena residents that oppose the 710 tunnel(s) toll way.

    Here is the press release from the City of Pasadena, which includes the meeting time.

    http://cityofpasadena.net/EkContent.aspx?theme=Navy&id=8589939766&bid=2970&style=news

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  17. I would like to give credit to Joe Cano from El Sereno for the Welcome to Pasadena sign with skull and cross bones graphics, which is a classic.

    Also thanks to John Crawford for his support in opposing the 710 Tunnel(s) Toll Way.

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    Replies
    1. Updating that credit now. Thanks Sylvia for all that you do.

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