Re: Carol Cormaci’s April 7 Piece of Mind column, “Do not yield in 710 fight”: With the state of California almost bankrupt, I find it hard to believe Caltrans is still attempting to spend billions on the 710 extension.
How much is the “series of public meetings” costing? These are our tax dollars. Does Caltrans actually think that the communities impacted the most will change their minds because of panels of suits and glossy charts?
Our current overburdened freeway system will collapse under the expected increase in truck traffic through our communities.
California attempts to lead the nation in environmental concerns, yet the state is caving in to the demands of special interest groups, i.e. many unions and towns not close to the route, while ignoring the quality of life in the cities surrounding the 710 and the 210 freeways. It is always the same old story – follow the money. Shame!
Caltrans should consider rail system instead of 710 extension
Before Metro & Caltrans spend more millions on yet another environmental impact report for the 710 extension, might I suggest they invest some time (rather than more millions) on a Common Sense Report? They shouldn't require high-priced consultants to consider some basic issues:
1) Does a 4.5-mile tunnel through an earthquake zone make even basic sense? Even Caltech experts say we are way past due for a large earthquake. I am certain the engineers believe that proper construction can avert a “cave-in,” but how about during the years of construction?
2) Just imagine an overturned truck blocking a 4.5-mile tunnel with thousands of cars and trucks stuck inside for hours. Will the EIR even consider the particulate buildup to which people who are trapped inside the tunnel will be exposed? Just imagine the chaos such an accident could create at either end of the “tunnel!” La Cañada, Pasadena, Alhambra and beyond could all be landlocked for hours.
3) The entities proposing the “tunnel” are the same who designed the ludicrous transition of the 210 at the 134. How do MTA & Caltrans propose to manage the transition of even more cars and trucks to and from the 210/134 to a newextension?
4) Given that the major push on the 710 extension appears to be driven by the desire to enlarge L.A.'s port in Long Beach, how can (another) expensive EIR possibly accurately consider the additional truck traffic impact on surrounding freeways when they have no way of knowing how large the port will grow?
MTA and Caltrans have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars over the last 25 years studying ways and impacts to continue beating this long-dead horse! Long before their proposed “tunnel” could even been completed, it will be obsolete.
I would hope that MTA and Caltrans would use the funds provided by taxpayers more wisely by considering a more 21st century approach, such as a rail system that could accommodate a larger port and transport cargo to a distribution area for trucks that would minimize already crowded freeway use. These folks need to stop wasting our money and start thinking outside the box and into the future.
In defense of City Hall
I am a longtime resident of this city. After reading James Stoker’s letter [“City limiting input from working residents,” Our Readers Write, April 7], I felt I must respond.
Mr. Stoker complained about our city not having weekend hours. I challenge him to find any local city with weekend hours. Glendale, Pasadena, San Marino, Arcadia and even cities like Los Angeles and Beverly Hills do not have weekend hours.
Some of these cities are closed Fridays or alternate Fridays. We are fortunate to have a City Hall that is open every Friday. Residents of many other cities are not as lucky.
Unfortunately, the city of Bell scandal has tainted all public employees. Mr. Stoker has used this as a soapbox to tar the employees of our city. He stated that there was a $500 “bonus” for every Association member and “four free lunches at the city’s expense.” What he does not mention is that the $500 “bonus” is actually deferred compensation for the employee’s retirement, which wasstated in the memorandum of understanding (MOU).
Most people do not realize that many public employees do not pay into Social Security, which means the pensions they receive from their public jobs are their retirement.
The “four free lunches” (one this MOU period), are only during negotiations. The last MOU period before negotiations this year was in 2007. The MOU states that these meals are provided to members using their “personal meal-time break” and that members are “required to conduct such activities on their own time, not regularly assigned work hours…”
These free lunches are not lavishly catered events, but meals ordered from small local businesses, keeping taxpayer money in our own city and supporting small businesses.
Lastly, private sector jobs do not suffer the scrutiny of government jobs, whose salaries are made public. We have a great community and a City Hall that cares. Let’s not forget that.
Mary Jo Hanold
La Cañada Flintridge
The writer is a clerk-typist for the city of La Cañada Flintridge Planning Department.