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Biking, the 710, and development: Your candidates on the issues

Wondering who to vote for next week? Here is a breakdown of Alhambra's candidates for U.S. Congress, California State Assembly, and City Council. Learn more about each candidate and where they stand on local issues by clicking their names below.

U.S. Congress: Judy Chu vs Jack OrswellAlhambra City Council: Stephen Sham vs Eric SunadaCalifornia State Assembly: Ed Chau



Editor's note: All quotes taken from Alhambra Source interviews. Alhambra Source also invited Chau’s opponent, Esthela Torres Siegrist, for an interview.

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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11 thoughts on “Biking, the 710, and development: Your candidates on the issues”

  1. Judy Chu now wants her constituents to believe this:
    “I have not taken a position on it. I still have a responsibility to listen to both Alhambra and South Pasadena, both of which have their strong feelings about this. So I am waiting for the Environmental Impact Report so that I can take a serious look as to what the impact of the tunnel will be.”

    However, in 2010 her stance on the 710 was this:
    “The Environmental Impact Report will advance this project, and reflects the overwhelming position of the San Gabriel Valley cities that recognize, as I do, that completing the 710 gap is the highest highway priority for the two million residents of this region. We simply cannot delay progress on this project.”
    Source: Letter from Congresswoman Judy Chu to Metro Board. April 21, 2010

    Which is it, Ms. Chu? If you have legitimately changed your mind, your constituents need to hear why. You are leaving the impression that your reasoning is one of political prudence rather than a sincere opinion based on what is best for those you represent.

    1. Jan, Judy Chu represents many people, not just you.

      Could it be that Judy also represents people who support the 710 completion?

      Maybe it’s more wise to vote by politician’s actions rather than what they say (contradictory or not).

  2. I am sooo sick and tired of these negative “campaigns” paid for and organized by OUTSIDE GROUPS WHOSE ONLY INTEREST IS TO FATTEN THEIR WALLETS. Great that Sumada made this information available to us. Sham is what he is – a SHAM! Supported by developers eyeing to build more and more high density condos in what once was considered a “bedroom community” where people wanted to have their families in a friendly neighborhood area, instead of in a high-rise expensive community(?). Sham writes that he supports bike paths, blah, blah, blah – but San Gabriel has already signed on as a regional bicycle path community, but the OLD FASHION Alhambra City Council has done NOTHING to work with San Gabriel in this situation, perhaps thinking bicycle paths might disrupt the building of more and more high-density condos. And why are so many money PACs so involved in Sham’s campaign? Leaves one with the impression of a sell-out (Sham) to the influx of more and more development. Sham also argues why the 710 should be built, but he lacks to mention that Alhambra suffers more and more from heavy traffic DUE TO HEAVIER DEVELOPMENT OF HIGH-RISE EXPENSIVE CONDOS – we in Alhambra are fast on the way to the “haves” and the “have-nots” with Sham and the rest of the city council. I’m still hoping there are enough potential candidates out there like ERIC SUNADA in hopes of forming a coalition to get rid of ALL THE PRESENT CITY COUNCIL-MEMBERS – I WILL SUPPORT THIS 100%

  3. Chau is the only one who gives a direct answer instead of waffling on the issues.

    “Waiting on the environmental impact study” is NOT a sign of leadership.

    Saying your against the tunnel idea and then think we need some kind of computerized system to route traffic is NOT a solution either.

    1. As a child in another part of the region when the 60fwy was proposed and built, it was purported to improve air quality and decrease traffic congestion on the Eastside of the Los Angeles river. All it did was ghettoize the working poor from the Westside, eliminate the last vestiges of public transportation (streetcars), and necessitate the construction of 10 foot concrete walls around the remaining residents and schools on the eastside. The tunnel may not require a wall but it is analogous of skirting or better said burying the real issue that more freeways and cars on our highways is no way to preserve communities where human being reside and their residents actually want to work with one another in addressing the challenges of urban growth in the twenty-first century.

    2. @Joesph: I disagree. True leadership includes knowing when more detail is needed before making a decision. Major infrastructure projects such as the 710 gap plan shouldn’t be built based on assumptions, conjecture, or emotion. Or, stated another way, blindly supporting the tunnel without more detail isn’t leadership.

      In fact we require our leaders – by law – to wait for the environmental reports to be completed before making a decision to take action. The purpose of the environmental impact study/report is to give the decision makers (Metro, Caltrans, and the Federal Department of Transportation) sufficient detail to make an informed decision on undertaking or funding a project.

      Metro and Caltrans readily admit they don’t have all details and they (and their contractors) made a lot of assumptions when completing preliminary studies. While reasonable to make, those assumptions are not factual and need to be replaced by evidence gathered during the more thorough study the agencies are currently completing.

      And while the City Council members, including Stephen Sham, aren’t decision makers for the 710 project or required to wait for the environmental reports to be completed it’s still prudent for them to wait before deciding on our behalf to aggressively support the tunnel. There’s a good chance such an uninformed decision may come back to bite us in the long-run.

      Nobody really knows whether congestion will be relieved on Alhambra streets. The environmental studies currently underway are supposed to give more clear guidance as to the impacts on our city streets from the various options. Until then, we don’t know the tunnel will relieve congestion. Saying otherwise is wishful thinking.

      Also, if the tunnel is a tollway, and those tolls are set too high we should expect to see higher traffic volumes and worse congestion than today, since a lot of people will avoid the toll road to save a few dollars. In their 2006 technical feasibility report, Caltrans and Metro estimated that $3 tolls will cause 20% of drivers to avoid the tunnel (called the diversion rate), while $5 tolls will cause a %30 diversion rate. See Route 710 Tunnel Technical Feasibilty Assessment Report, Table 10-3, Page 10-128. The issue is that nobody knows what the tolls will cost. That will likely depend on the project cost, which nobody knows either.

      I spoke at length with a traffic modeler and another Metro staff member at one of the 710 open houses. They acknowledged a few things:
      1) Metro and Caltrans are only attempting to relieve congestion on freeways, not surface streets through Alhambra. That’s why the maps they distribute focus on a ring of freeways that go from Pasadena to Glendale to Alhambra. The missing arc is the 710 gap. The tunnel can be built even if the traffic models show an increase in traffic volume on Alhambra streets if it decreases freeway traffic. They’ll be satisfied if the models show that traffic will stay the same but, like us, prefer to see a decrease. The only real difference for them is that a decrease in the models would make the tunnel an easier sell and avoid a political landmine.
      2) Traffic models thus far have been limited to estimates. We won’t have a more comprehensive understanding of the traffic impacts until the environmental impact report/study are completed next February. The feasibility study I linked also makes the same point: “The traffic analysis performed at this conceptual stage is not intended to be a detailed travel demand forecasting effort, or a traffic/transportation impact analysis typically performed during the environmental phase of projects.”
      3) A significant portion of the traffic is headed to Huntington so they can then travel toward Arcadia. However, Metro won’t build a tunnel exit for Huntington because it would create too much traffic and congestion on that street. Apparently, the most heavily trafficked streets are on a diagonal – like Huntington – because there aren’t usually any other alternative routes traveling in the same direction. So, those people are still expected to drive through Alhambra.
      4) Models have been wrong in the past and could be wrong again. We won’t know until the future arrives.

      I’m voting for Eric Sunada. I think he’s more focused on quality of life of all Alhambra residents, rather than only a few residents and businesses.

      1. Mr. Montes de Oca


        Thanks for your comments. They are always well-researched an unemotional. Perhaps you can run for Alhambra City Council next time around and join Eric!

        Did you know the our city government spent over $100,000 to put up the poles and banners on Fremont?

      2. @Mr. Montes de Oca, thanks for the kind words; however, I prefer to vote for Elizabeth Salinas in the next election. We live in the same district and I think she’d make a better council member than me.

  4. Thanks for your comments.  Here's a quick summary of who's behind the attack pieces.  There's much more that we're not able to fit in this forum, so please contact us.  Outside forces that want to control Alhambra are pouring money into the city council race. A recent mailer attacking my position on the 710, which is the same as Congresswoman Judy Chu's position, was sent out by the political action committee, Taxpayers for Quality Leadership.  The Long Beach-based company responsible for running it, Crummitt and Associates, has been found guilty of campaign violations by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.  They have done their dirty work in Duarte, Torrance, and Walnut where they were credited with creating one of “the ugliest races in city history” earlier this year.   They have often represented real estate interests.  The PAC has nothing to do with the 710, and only my opponent benefits from this mailer.


    The principal donors to this PAC's efforts to attack me do not reside in Alhambra.  One is West Covina resident, David Hsu, who owns a tourist operator and promotion company in Monterey Park.  Mr. Hsu is also a major contributor to city council candidates in Monterey Park.  Another backer is Long Beach resident, Robert Kudler (owner of Kudco Diversified), who has been repeatedly fined by the FPPC for numerous campaign violations.  Special interest money and hired guns do not belong in our local elections.  We deserve better.


    We are a grassroots campaign funded and implemented entirely by community volunteers from all backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and cultures (we speak fourteen different languages fluently).  We do not accept money from developers, special interests, or city contractors.  We are bound by our common goal to make Alhambra a better place to live and work for everyone.

  5. @ Gale Ruben – Here is a link for Taxpayers for Fair Elections

    Not sure if this is the same group responsible for the negative flyer.

    There was an interesting article in the Pasadena Star News yesterday regarding this race.

    I hope Sunada wins.

  6. Shame on the Sham campaign for going negative!! I received a terrible mailer about the 710 that was an attempt to misrepresent his opponent’s position. I hate dirty politics and it does not belong in Alhambra. The address return was from some organization in Long Beach. The name was Taxpayers for fair elections. Can anyone find out who paid for this and post?