Metro records statements, arguments on 710 gap

During a Metro-sponsored meeting at the Alhambra library on Wednesday, Alhambra resident Frank Pulciano expressed his frustration over the 710 Freeway gap, which has been a source of contention for over 60 years. "Let's get this done before I die," he said, giving the crowd a wink. The audience, which had been quiet and attentive throughout the meeting, responded with laughter and applause.

Pulciano was among the 50 or so residents from the San Gabriel Valley who came to discuss the fate of the 4.5-mile gap in the 710. The meeting was held to scope a potential project that would close the gap, to discuss what it would entail, and to take statements from residents and have them documented for Metro's environmental review process. A court reporter was on hand to put all the statements on record. 

The topics discussed ranged from traffic congestion to transparency among the authorities involved, as well as the gap's impact on children’s health.

Adele Andrade-Stadler, president of the Alhambra Unified School District, said that the 710 gap has redirected traffic onto Alhambra's surface streets, which has become a health hazard to students heading to school. She noted that traffic patterns have coincided with school schedules: gridlock would start in the morning, when parents are walking their children to school, and pick up again at 2 p.m., when students are let out of class. 

"Students are breathing in this polluted air," Andrade-Stadler said. "Many residents know of the black soot on our window sills."

As the meeting progressed, the forum took on the tone of a debate—point was met with counter-point.

Leland Dolley, former City Attorney of Alhambra, and a supporter of the gap closure, argued that the projected cost of a tunnel option has been exaggerated. He referred to a report done by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), which projected that the total costs would be around $4.6 billion, in contrast to the $11 billion that has been brought up in discussions. Sam Burgess, a resident of South Pasadena, rebutted by saying that the $4.6 billion is only meant to cover the cost of digging. The full scope of the project, according to Burgess, would be more than double that amount.

Janet Urban, a former Alhambra resident who currently resides in South Pasadena, said that the traffic congestion in Alhambra is largely due to the city's rapid development, not because of the 710 gap.

"When I come down here, I'll look across the street and see six-story condominiums," Urban said, arguing that traffic will likely increase as more buildings and businesses are being put up.

Gary Frueholz, a member of Alhambra's planning commission, countered by saying that the population in Alhambra has actually decreased by 3 percent in the past 10 years, referring to the figures in the 2010 Census report.

While the rift between the two sides of the 710 debate was apparent, attendees shared a common weariness over the lack of a decision. "Look at all the freeways being constructed around us, and you're saying that we can't solve 4.5 miles?" said Al Diaz, an Alhambra resident.

Garrett Damrath, senior environmental planner at Caltrans, was quoted in an earlier article saying that the environmental review process could take three to four years to complete. If the review determines that the gap needs to be closed, Metro could use the $780 million provided by Measure R to work on the gap closure. Measure R was approved by voters in 2008 to use a half-cent sales tax increase to produce funds for transportation projects.

Metro will be accepting statements about the 710 up until April 14. People who want to contribute to the environment review process will have several options to do so:

1. Attend any of the four remaining meetings that will be held in Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena, and Los Angeles. A listing of times and locations can be found at the Metro site.

2. Join the "virtual meeting" that will be held online on March 21 starting at 6 p.m. There will be a section in which attendees can type in their statements. The meeting can be accessed through www.metro.net/sr710conversations. Visitors must do a free registration before they can access the meeting.

3.  Send a statement in the form of a letter. The letter must include the person's name and address, along with the date it was written. These should be sent to:

  • Ron Kosinski
  • Deputy District Director
  • Caltrans District 7
  • 100 Main St
  • Los Angeles, CA 90012

12 thoughts on “Metro records statements, arguments on 710 gap”

  1. DB- PS the point is YOU need to get the docs directly from the city of Alhambra yourself so all your doubts are completely extinguished. (or is that counter productive to your Doubting Thomas act?) Step up and be a man about it – you know all of the links and info Anonymous 3000 gave you are valid.

    My question is what’s your angle that you don’t want the readers to hear the truth?

  2. Alhambra lobbyists…a lucrative racket

    Follow the money folks, and then you will see the bigger picture.

    DB (web Link for Alhambra Vender Master Report? …Seriously?)- Alhambra has nothing to gain by posting online info about whose pockets our tax dollars line – If you are serious and actually care about the truth, you can get it yourself through the freedom of info act from the City of Alhambra – it’s time consuming but eye opening.

    Leland Dolley: $928,789.09

    apVenMst
    Vender Master Report
    CITY Of ALHAMBRA
    Page: 1
    Number: 02696
    Customer number: C-17255
    Type R Status A
    Last name: LELAND C DOLLEY A LAW CORP
    Address, 1219 MORNINGSIDE DR STE113
    City: MANHATTAN BEACH
    $928,789.09

    While you’re at it check out what the lobbyist Nat Read made:

    Nat Read: $147,984.00 (purchased) 18,498.00 (on-order)

    Then you can probably multiply that, times the multiple cities (and other pro-freeway sources) purchasing his services, multiplied again by the DECADES he has been working as a pro-freeway lobbyist to come up with a more accurate assessment of the money Nat and others make off of lobbying for a tunnel that will never be built. Keep in mind; it is with our tax dollars that he and the others have made such a good living.

    Nat’s other “city” clients? See – http://natread.com/clientlist – includes the City of Monterey Park and City of San Marino etc. etc.
    San Marino, BTW, didn’t want the freeway in their city, so they shoved it into South Pasadena.

    Lobbyist behavior sounds a little like how the mob “protection” works doesn’t it? Don’t want a freeway in your city? Pay a lobbyist and he’ll keep it out – don’t pay him, and he’ll lobby for it to go through your city.

    Nat Read:
    Vendor Master Report
    CITY OF ALHAMBRA
    Type: R Status: A
    Number: 01059 Customer number: C-D6959
    Last Name: READ COMMUNICATIONS
    Address: 100 E CORSON ST #200
    City: PASADENA
    Country: USA
    $147,984.00 (purchased) 18,498.00 (on-order)

    It’s a real racket for these guys and companies like Parsons Brinckerhoff.
    FYI – Boston’s Notorious “Big Dig” Parsons Brinckerhoff proj- $22 billion final cost. It was originally estimated to be only 2.8 billion IN 1982 DOLLARS(!) just like the current false “estimate” for the SR-710 cargo tunnel of 2.81 billion from the METRO staff 2/11 http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2011/02_February/20110224RBMItem2.pdf-
    This shows anyone with logic that these low ball numbers including the SCAG quote above of only a paltry $4.6 billon is also grossly below the already proven cost of the $22 billion Boston Big Dig, which will not be paid off until the year 2038 if it doesn’t fail before then, like the other toll roads in Orange County, Canada, and Australia etc. Those experiments have gone under and pushed the burden set up by partnerships between governments and the private sector directly back on to taxpayers. (Google: “failure of toll roads” – it will open your eyes!)

    Yes folks, the Big Dig project too was underbid at 2.8 B 29 years ago so they could take tax dollars to get it started, then magically… the crooks involved end up lining their pockets with $22 billion! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Dig

    Taken for a Ride: Parsons Brinckerhoff Expose
    http://www.publicpurpose.com/ut-pblie.htm
    Or Disaster Examples
    http://www.nashtu.us/download/HR%202104%20-%20Disaster%20Examples.pdf

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

    1. Read and Dolley – are both currently (2011) being paid by Alhambra to lobby for the 710 freeway/tunnel.

      Link for 2.81 billion grossly low ball estimate quote from the METRO staff 2/11:
      http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2011/02_February/20110224RBMItem2.pdf
      This links works if you make sure that there is no “-” after “.pdf” at the end.
      (Copy and paste it into address bar w/o “-“)

    2. @anon: I am not sure what sort of report you are citing, but you should cite using the official name used by the city. The city clerk does not use that term.

      “I am not aware of any Vendor Master Report that the City maintains. Could you please elaborate on what you are looking for?

      Thanks,

      Lauren Myles, ” Alhambra City Clerk

      I do not have time to research this further but I will continue to insist that all sides back their assertions and cite to verifiable sources. So far, the folks in opposition do not look too good.

      BTW: If you’re looking to put documents online, I recommend Google Docs. You can even embed documents like I do on Alhambra123.org.

      1. DB – Either you are joking (if this is so, stop wasting my time) or it sounds like they are giving you the runaround.

        Just ask for the vendor reports on:

        Last name: LELAND C DOLLEY A LAW CORP

        &
        Last Name: READ COMMUNICATIONS

        I already gave you all of the info you need.

  3. Years ago I was told by one of the lobbyists who was being paid to promote the 710 freeway extension that he knew he was lying about the “facts” but that he was being “paid to lie”. I looked at him astonished and asked him what kind of person would due such a thing, the lobbyist replied, “one who is putting his kid though college”.

    So anything that comes out of the mouth of one of these lobbyists to me is tainted by the knowledge that not only are they paid to lie, they appear to have no moral compunction about lying to promote a cargo freeway for the ports.

    FYI:
    LELAND DOLLEY, quoted in the above article promoting the freeway (which is intended as a trucking route for the Los Angeles & Long Beach ports), is a paid lobbyist. LELAND DOLLEY as “LELAND C DOLLEY A LAW CORP” MANHATTAN BEACH, CA was paid by the CITY Of ALHAMBRA as a lobbyist for the freeway (from Vender Master Report)

    $928,789.09

    1. @anon3000: Although he may be a lobbyist, Leland Dolley appears to have been truthful when he referred to the SCAG study and cost estimate (see my earlier comment).You and other opponents still have yet to provide a verifiable source backing your assertions that SCAG estimate is incomplete (cost of digging only), was suspiciously changed from $11 billion to a more palatable $4.6 billion, or that we have been lied to during these meetings and the information thus far provided to the communities. Valid questions also include whether Leland Dolley is still a lobbyist for the City of Alhambra and when the last time he lobbied on behalf of the city. Do you have a link to the Vendor Master Report or other information on where the rest of us may find it, such as the agency that prepared it, the date published, and a link?

      All I’m asking for is that everyone back up their assertions and make it easy for the rest of us to verify the source. Generic stories about an unnamed lobbyist admitting to lying do not qualify.

  4. @anon: Link please. I do not know the answer. That’s a big part of why I want all parties involved to make more information available. If you have a paper document and need it scanned, email me at: dan[AT]alhambra123.org. If someone said it at a meeting, provide that person’s name and organization. I am certain someone will give that person a call for clarification.

    1. In other words, everyone needs to back up their assertions with citations and reliable references so that the rest of us may fact-check and decide for ourselves. Failure to backup assertions will get that person ignored.

  5. So how does Southern California Council of Government (SCAG) explain that in 2007 at a SCAG RTP workshop they estimated the cost of the tunnel to be 11.8 billion?

    You just can’t trust the numbers that they are giving us.

  6. Years ago I was told by one of the lobbyists who was being paid to promote the 710 freeway extension that he knew he was lying about the “facts” but that he was being “paid to lie”. I looked at him astonished and asked him what kind of person would due such a thing, the lobbyist replied, “one who is putting his kid though college”.

    So anything that comes out of the mouth of one of these lobbyists to me is tainted by the knowledge that not only are they paid to lie, they appear to have no moral compunction about lying to promote a cargo freeway for the ports.

    FYI:
    LELAND DOLLEY, quoted in the above article promoting the freeway (which is intended as a trucking route for the Los Angeles & Long Beach ports), is a paid lobbyist. LELAND DOLLEY was paid by the CITY Of ALHAMBRA as a lobbyist for the freeway(from Vender Master Report)

    $928,789.09

    “LELAND C DOLLEY A LAW CORP” 1219 MORNINGSIDE DR, STE 113, MANHATTAN BEACH, CA

  7. The $4.6 Billion price tag for the project is contained in the Southern California Council of Government’s (SCAG) 2008 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Financial Plan Supplemental Report: Project List (PDF).

    Category: TOLL
    RPT ID: 1M0101
    Route #: 710
    Route Name: SR-710 (GAP CLOSURE)
    From: VALLEY BOULEVARD
    To: CALIFORNIA BL & PASADENA AVE
    Description: CONSTRUCT 4 TOLL LANES IN EACH DIRECTION IN TUNNEL TO COMPLETE THE 710 FREEWAY
    Project Completion: 2020
    Project cost ($1,000’s) $4,616,060

    The fact that the SCAG report identifies “project cost” strongly suggests that SCAG forecasts the overall cost to be $4.6 Billion. Otherwise, the description would state for digging only or SCAG would otherwise qualify its cost estimate.

    I looked for more documentation and a breakdown of the cost estimate but could not find one online. It is up to Mr. Burgess and the other anti-710 crowd to provide contrary evidence that SCAG’s cost estimate covers only digging and to produce evidence of reliable estimates that the project will cost $11 Billion.

    One complaint I do have for the project thus far is the lack of available information. Folks at the meetings I’ve attended as well as in the comments section of the Alhambra Source have cited studies or key supporting evidence but do not link or provide enough information to easily find their references. Case in point, Mr. Burgess’s argument regarding SCAG’s cost estimates. Metro/Caltrans is also guilty of this; its web site only provides the NOI and NOP.

    BTW: here are web sites for groups already in the ring.
    710 Opponents
    710 supporters
    Metro

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