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Opinion

Readers React: Beverly Hills’ legal fight against the Purple Line extension isn’t over yet

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Students from Beverly Hills schools rally at Will Rogers Memorial Park on Oct. 12 to voice their opposition to the Purple Line route under Beverly Hills High School.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: How disappointing to see The Times Editorial Board take the side of self-serving public officials over the Beverly Hills High School students who recently walked out of their classes over the health and safety risks of the Metro Purple Line extension underneath their school.

The editorial is wrong that the district is losing its battle in court.

In 2016, a federal judge determined that the Federal Transit Administration failed to perform a thorough scientific analysis of the environmental impacts of the tunnel or properly consider alternative routes; he ordered the agency to conduct a supplemental environmental review. We believe that review is also flawed because, among other reasons, it relied on pretextual bases in declining to adopt an alternative alignment and construction staging area that would not interfere at all with Beverly Hills High School.

Accordingly, the Beverly Hills Unified School District filed a suit earlier this year challenging the subway alignment and the location of the construction staging area. This federal case is still proceeding, and last month the judge called for court disclosures that we believe will confirm Metro ignored more reasonable routes and staging area locations.

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It is a shame that the editorial board could not support local high school students fighting for their health and safety by exercising their free speech rights.

Lisa Korbatov and Michael Bregy, Beverly Hills

Korbatov is president of the Beverly Hills Board of Education; Bregy is superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District.

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To the editor: As a senior at Beverly Hills High School, I completely disagree with my peers who walked out of their classes on Oct. 12.

I support people who seek justice after they have been wronged, but what the protesting students are fighting for is silly. Metro has proven time and again that tunneling underneath campus is safe, yet the students choose to ignore basic facts at the encouragement of the district.

What needs to be stressed is that this was not a student-led walkout. This was the district using its students as a propaganda tool to promote its own agenda of moving the Purple Line elsewhere.

What the protesting students do not understand is how vital Metro is to Los Angeles. There are people in Southern California who do not have access to personal transportation and for whom Metro provides a valuable service. This is not an issue for these kids.

Most Beverly Hills students live in a bubble, and when my government teacher read your editorial aloud in class on Oct. 12, I could almost hear the bubble popping. So, I thank you.

Emilie Gibbons, Beverly Hills

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