Liu cruises to Senate victory

Carol Liu has represented La Cañada Flintridge for 20 years, first as a City Council member, then in the state Assembly and now as a state senator.

On Tuesday night Liu won the race to represent the city — and a Senate district stretching along the foothills from Burbank to San Bernardino County — for four more years. Liu topped GOP rival Gil Gonzales 62% to 38%.

At a Democratic victory party in Pasadena on Tuesday night, Liu said the victory gives her “the confidence to continue with my agenda, which has not changed since I was first elected.”

Her priorities, she said, are “education, environment and infrastructure.”

Gonzales praised his rival and said the run for office was a positive experience.

“This campaign was the hardest thing I've ever done, but also the most rewarding thing I've ever done,” he said. “We worked hard.

“I have to commend Sen. Liu in that it was a good campaign and it didn't get nasty.”

Local officials said they look forward to working with Liu on priorities such as blocking a proposal to extend the Long Beach (710) Freeway so that it connects with the Foothill (210) Freeway.

Liu has worked with the city for years in opposition to the proposal, which locals fear would bring truck traffic and toxic fumes to the city. Regional transportation officials are slated to complete an environmental study of the proposed extension and other transportation projects in 2014.

“Whatever we can do with fighting the 710 tunnel on the state level is important,” said La Cañada Flintridge City Councilwoman Laura Olhasso. Both Liu and Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) “came out against it, so the proof is in the pudding. I appreciate that they have taken a public position in opposition.”

Olhasso said she also hopes the new state Legislature can improve the state's budget so it does not present a burden to cities. City Councilman Donald Voss said he wants to see Sacramento offer more support for public schools, which have suffered from years of cuts.

He also wants to work with local officials on securing funds for the city's ambitious sound-wall project for the Foothill Freeway.

The city has drawn up plans to build the sound walls but has not found the funds for most of the work.

“There are transportation issues — the sound walls would be one — where we are looking to pursue any assistance we can get,” Voss said.

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