Candidates, Elected Officials and
Community Leaders who
Oppose the SR-710 Extension

LA Mayor

Eric Garcetti

Question to candidate from LA Times:
1. Do you believe Metro should try again to win an extension of Measure R, similar to the Measure J ballot proposal that failed in November? (Measure R includes money for the 710 "gap closure")

Question to candidate from LA Times:
8. Should more toll lanes be placed on Los Angeles freeway carpool lanes?

Question to candidate from LA Times:
9. For decades transit officials have debated an extension of the 710 Freeway through South Pasadena. Should it be built, and if so, how?

  1. Quote: I am opposed to the 710 extension being built

Source: Where they stand: Eric Garcetti - Data Desk - Los Angeles Times

United States Congress

Adam Schiff, Incumbent U.S. Representative for California's 28th Congressional District District Map (PDF)

Quote: "The environmental review process Metro is engaged in has been excessively focused on the tunnel option. I have expressed my concern over Metro's apparent rush to judgment on a tunnel option many times, but without success. This has only confirmed what many in the community suspected, that Metro was once again starting with the conclusion it wished to reach and working backwards.

I urge Metro to give full and serious consideration as to how funds for a tunnel project could be better spent. I suspect that for less than the actual cost of a tunnel, Metro would have the funds necessary to undertake all of the remaining options under consideration -- combined. These options, transportation system management, bus rapid transit and light-rail would help move people in an environmentally friendly manner without disrupting our long-established neighborhoods.

We can and we must pursue better options than constructing a tunnel for meeting our future transportation needs. I look forward to continuing our work on this vital issue, and appreciate your consideration of my thoughts on the way forward.

Source: Letter to Metro Board on 710 Options. September 20, 2012

Jack Orswell, Candidate California's 27th Congressional District. District Map (PDF)

Quote: "I am against the construction of the 710 tunnel as the connector solution between Los Angeles and Pasadena for several reasons: Cost, time to construct, disruption of traffic during construction, and when completed, it would make a non-stop truck route between the Long Beach and San Pedro ports and the 210, 5 and 15 freeways.

Commuters coming from the 710 and 10 freeways who live in Alhambra, South Pasadena, San Marino, San Gabriel and most of Pasadena will not use the tunnel, because there are no exits.

Because of the cost, estimated to be $5 billion to $10 billion, it most likely will be a public-private partnership with a toll. Unless the toll is reasonable and the tunnel can significantly reduce the commute time, commuters will continue to use surface streets and avoid the toll.

The 210 freeway is currently heavily congested from 5am-10am and 4-7pm, without the connection. With the connection of the tunnel to the eastbound 210, two additional lanes of traffic will converge at the same point with the southbound 210 connector, forcing eight lanes of eastbound traffic to merge into five. Traffic will back up inside the tunnel, increasing exposure to exhaust fumes inside the tunnel.

The proposed 710 tunnel is about 4-1/2 miles, with no exits or exhaust ports. Because there are no access points other than the two ends, how do first responders conduct firefighting and rescue operations should an accident or fire occur in the middle of the tunnel, two miles from an entrance?

Having lived in the San Gabriel Valley most of my life, I understand that a solution to closing the gap between the 10 and 210 freeways has been needed for decades. I favor an improved traffic management system, the widening of the streets, and the completion of the Alameda

Corridor East, which will remove the delays on major roads caused by railroad trains. These street and transit improvements can take place in the next few years, unlike the tunnel which is estimated to take at least 10-12 years to complete. We need real solutions to problems that impact our daily lives, and that will only come with leadership, not politics.

Source: http://www.jackorswell.com/us710 July 15, 2014. Jack Orswell's Candidate website, Issues page.

And

Quote: "The tunnel is not a good idea for several reasons. The construction costs, the delays over a 10-12 year period. It's not going to solve the problem. It may create worse problems, and we're going to spend $10 billion to find out. And if it's a toll — and it has to be a toll because there isn't enough federal money for it — people may pay a toll one time and see they're stuck just like everybody else. So why pay the toll?

Let’s improve the traffic management systems along Fremont, Garfield, Atlantic, San Gabriel Boulevard. Let’s give motorists alternatives on free-flowing streets with computerized systems that could be put in place for millions of dollars instead of billions of dollars, and could be installed in the next few years instead of 10-12 years."

Source: Biking, the 710, and development: Your candidates on the issues. Alhambra Source. October 28, 2014.

State Senate

Anthony Portantino, Candidate California State Senator 25th District District Map (PDF)

Quote:  "When you have a project of this magnitude, with this many unanswered questions, manipulations and false information, one has to wonder why decision makers aren't immediately putting a halt to this insanity. It's a fraud being perpetrated upon the taxpayers of California at the expense of taxpayers and the quality of life of those neighborhoods in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley which will be devastated by a project that is unwelcome and disastrous."

Source: Portantino Demands that State Transportation Officials Stop 710 Extension. Pasadena Now, August 22, 2012.

Carol Liu, California State Senator, 25th District District Map (PDF)

Quote: To summarize, the tunnel option is not feasible, not now, not ever, for several reasons. It is too expensive, it is too disruptive, it does not solve the problem of growing truck traffic, it would open at an already congested and unacceptable operating level, and it would divert money from many more worthy transportation projects that have broad-based public support.

Source: Letter to Metro Board (PDF). September 25th, 2012

 

State Assemblymembers

Laura Friedman, Glendale City Councilmember, Candidate Assemblymember 43rd District District Map

Quote: Glendale Councilwoman Laura Friedman said she is against the freeway extension, saying that recent estimates have the project costing around $8 billion. Like Bullock, Friedman was in support of light-rail systems, and she added that the region should start hauling freight by rail to reduce the number of vehicles traveling on the freeways.

"[The tunnel] brings more traffic and more smog, and it really does the opposite of what we're trying to do by getting people out of their cars and into alternative transportation," Friedman said.

Source: League of Women Voters forum hosts 6 Assembly hopefuls. Los Angeles Times. Anthony Clark Carpio. May 6, 2016

Mike Gatto, Assemblymember 43rd District District Map

Quote:  "A recent article ("Leader: Stop 710-gap plans," Aug. 23) implied my support of the 710 extension. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been, and continue to be, opposed to the extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway in any form."

Source: Gatto does not support 710 extension.  La Cañada Flintridge Valley Sun.  Opinion Page.  August 29, 2012

Jimmy Gomez, Assemblymember 51st District District Map

Quote:  "I have consistently opposed the extension of the 710 freeway via a surface route or a tunnel. The proposed “solutions” do nothing to solve our long-term regional transportation problem. These solutions will only have a devastating impact on the communities of Northeast Los Angeles. I will work endlessly to make sure this does not happen."

Source: Submitted to No 710 Action Committee by Frank Torres, Campaign Manager, Jimmy Gomez for Assembly. October 12, 2012

County Supervisors

Darrell Park, Candidate Los Angeles County Supervisor 5th District District Map

Question to candidates at debate. Larry Mantle reads listener's questions from Tom and Dorothy. "Both ask whether you support construction of the tunnel to join the 710 and 210 freeways?"

Darrell Park:

It's a $15 billion dollar death trap. 

Larry Mantle:

What do you really think. (audience laughter)

Darrell Park:

I lived in a small condo for 10 years on the planned route of the road, and then the tunnel. It does not make sense. Monetarily, I will tell you as a White House Office management and budget employee for 10 years, this is a joke of a project. This is worse than a bridge to nowhere. This is the worst of the worst spending, and it's not even safe. There's too much pollution and guaranteed an engine fire will happen. And when that does, everybody in that tunnel is going to die, Including the first responders that come, 

Larry Mantle:

What's your, What's your alternative?

Darrell Park:

So what's causing that traffic? Is truck traffic from the ports. They don't want to spend the money put that on rail because roads are free and rails cost them money. They just have to put it on the rails and then everybody's happy.

Source: Submitted to No 710 Action Committee by Frank Torres, Campaign Manager, Jimmy Gomez for Assembly. October 12, 2012

City Councils

Alhambra

Mark Nisall, Candidate Councilmember 3rd District District Map

Council candidates Mark Nisall and Ken Toh, running for the seats in districts 3 and 4 respectively, both said they started out supporting the tunnel but changed their opinions after learning more about the project’s cost, which has been estimated at $5 billion-$10 billion, and a 10- to 15-year construction estimate.

Nisall and Toh both said the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Nisall said he supports increased light-rail options, adding rapid bus lines, improving traffic signal synchronization and the construction of an above-ground north-south boulevard that lines up with the 710 terminus. Toh said he supports increased light-rail and rapid bus lines.

Nisall also is concerned with the potential environmental impacts that boring a tunnel below people’s homes may have.

Quote:  “I couldn’t support it after looking at the cost, the time it would take to construct and the environmental dangers ahead,” he said.

Nisall said his position isn’t making him any friends, but he’s hoping voters will take time to consider the alternatives to the tunnel and, ultimately, not just make their council decisions based on the 710.

Source: Is Alhambra ready to elect councilmembers who oppose the 710 Freeway tunnel?. Pasadena Star-News. Christopher Yee. September 23, 2016.

Ken Toh, Candidate Councilmember 4th District District Map

Council candidates Mark Nisall and Ken Toh, running for the seats in districts 3 and 4 respectively, both said they started out supporting the tunnel but changed their opinions after learning more about the project’s cost, which has been estimated at $5 billion-$10 billion, and a 10- to 15-year construction estimate.

Nisall and Toh both said the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Nisall said he supports increased light-rail options, adding rapid bus lines, improving traffic signal synchronization and the construction of an above-ground north-south boulevard that lines up with the 710 terminus. Toh said he supports increased light-rail and rapid bus lines.

Source: Is Alhambra ready to elect councilmembers who oppose the 710 Freeway tunnel?. Pasadena Star-News. Christopher Yee. September 23, 2016.

Also see Ken Toh's investigation of the cover-up of an arson fire by the Alhambra fire department and city government.

Alhambra Arson Foul Play? LA Weekly. Chris Vogel. July 7, 2011.

and

Ken Toh Exposed a Cover-up at the Alhambra Fire Department. Now He's Running for City Council. LA Weekly. Jason McGahan. September 26, 2016.

Glendale

Ara Najarian, Metro Board Member & Council member, City of Glendale

Quote: "The purpose of this letter is to reiterate the position of the City of Glendale vis-a-vis the SR710 gap closure project. The City of Glendale remains consistent with Resolution No. 09-111 as approved by the Glendale City Council on July 28, 2009, which addresses the tunnel feasibility specifically and the general subject of "gap closure" alternatives for the SR 710 freeway from I-10 to SR 134/I-210. On behalf of my colleagues and the citizens of Glendale I want to reiterate our opposition to the SR 710 tunnel alternative or any "gap closure" alternative that has or could be developed.  I would like to express our opposition as well to the continued effort and expenditure of tax payer monies in exploring, studying or developing any type of "gap closure" project. We do not believe that any type of "gap closure" alternative is in the best interest of the City or the region. We would like to express our belief and desire to instead look at other alternatives to addressing the concerns of mobility, congestion and the movement of freight from our ports. These alternatives would include the expansion of mass transit systems, upgrades and improvements to existing infrastructure and limiting the long distance movement of cargo/freight from our ports to only rail.  

Again, the position of the City of Glendale is clear in this matter and we remain opposed to any other gap closure alternatives."

Source: Letter from Ara Najarian to Doug Failing of Metro. October 8, 2010

Paula Devine, Glendale Mayor

Quote: "  "[The community] has reinforced my opposition to the tunnel," said Devine."

Source:  City Ramps Up Anti-710 Advocacy - Crescenta Valley Weekly | Crescenta Valley Weekly Crescenta Valley Weekly. January 29th, 2015.

Vartan Gharpetian, Glendale City Councilmember

Question to candidate from CV Weekly: "Has the release of the 710 EIR changed or affirmed your position on the project?"

Quote: "It has affirmed my position to strongly oppose the project."

Source: Meet the Candidates – Glendale City Council. Robin Goldsworthy. March 26th, 2015.

La Cañada Flintridge

Stephen Del Guercio (ret.), Laura Olhasso (ret.), Dave Spence, Don Voss (ret.) Councilmembers City of La Cañada Flintridge Flintridge

Don Voss, along with Dave Spence, Stephen Del Guercio, and Laura Olhasso, members of  La Cañada Flintridge Flintridge City Council, participated in a unanimous decision to adopt Resolution 10-12.

Quote from Resolution 12-12:  "NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of La Cañada Flintridge Flintridge opposes any approval or expenditure of funds related to the proposed SR-710 tunnel project and the state adopted surface alternative, neither of which have passed CEQA review, and finds that both alternatives are ineffective, 20th-century solutions for the existing regional congestion problems, which require 21st-century solutions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of La Cañada Flintridge Flintridge calls on Metro, Caltrans and SCAG to find other new, effective alternatives to these projects, including those alternatives using rail as the mode of transportation, which will truly solve the region's congestion problems.
PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 29th Day of March, 2010."

Source: City of La Cañada Flintridge Flintridge website. March 28, 2010

Los Angeles City

Josef Bray Ali, L.A. City Council Candidate District 1, Primary Election on March 7, 2017, District Map

Quote: "No on 710 - our region must invest in new ways of moving people and goods instead of doubling down on freeway expansions that disrupt neighborhoods."

I am running for City Council with the promise of expanding transit options available to all. Los Angeles has committed to providing improved public transportation with the Mobility Plan, voters passed Measure M to invest in expanding our transit system and decrease travel times and vehicle miles traveled. Public transit opportunities, plus the rise of ride-sharing technologies encourage Angelenos to consider how to adapt our infrastructure to the new century."

Source: Josef Bray-Ali for City Council Candidate District 1. 2016.

José Huizar, L.A. Councilmember District 14, District Map

Quote:  "In August 2012, I led the effort for the City Council to support a resolution to oppose all 710 Freeway extension options that negatively impact Northeast Los Angeles communities, as well as a tunnel option that would travel below El Sereno, also known as F-7. I opposed this based on Metro and Caltrans poor community outreach, where little focus has been placed on truly informing resident about the options before them and the impacts on their lives.
Providing the bare minimum of only 45 days for the public comment period is unacceptable. On behalf of the over 300 tenants that reside in the affected Caltrans properties within the community of El Sereno, I request that you demonstrate a true willingness to respect their concerns and allow for a vibrant public participation process by granting them the full 120 day extension."

Source: http://www.dot.ca.gov/docs/Reg_ASP/AttachmentCommentsHuizar.pdf. Department of Transportation, Attachment Comments, Affordable Sales Program: Caltrans SR-710 Surplus Properties Sales. July 11, 2014.

Pasadena

Steve Madison, Pasadena City Councilmember District 6, District Map

Quote: "Many of you have contacted me about the appalling 710 Freeway routes that METRO/Caltrans has proposed. As you know, back in 2000, I proposed and achieved passage of a resolution by the City Council opposing the completion of the 710 in Pasadena. Thereafter, in March 2001, the residents of Pasadena voted on a local ballot initiative reversing the Council’s resolution, and proposing instead that the policy of the City be to support the completion of the 710. At that time the a surface route along Pasadena Avenue was the option being proposed. Since then, Caltrans proposed a tunnel project and now METRO and Caltrans have proposed several options that would have a devastating impact on our neighborhoods and our quality on life in West Pasadena. Let me be clear: I vigorously oppose all of the METRO/Caltrans routes."

Source: District 6: Councilmember Steve Madison webpage. City of Pasadena website. July 19, 2012.

Terry Tornek, Pasadena Mayor

Quote: "As leaders of the cities that are most opposed to the tunnel proposal, I and the undersigned now encourage the board to separately instruct its staff and Caltrans to add the Beyond the 710 proposal to the current 710 north study. We see this as a path forward to ending the stalemate between those bearing the brunt of the 710 Freeway bottleneck traffic and those who fear the tunnel as an existential threat to their communities.

And this fear is justified. The tunnel presents significant health, financial, engineering, seismic, water, public safety, traffic and legal problems. Studies have shown that the tunnel would create cancer hotspots at the exhaust vents. Just as important, the massive, multi-year project would have little positive effect on traffic and commute times and in fact create new severe traffic congestion and thus air quality impacts in other areas.

Further, while the cost of the 4.5-mile tunnel is estimated between $5 billion and 10 billion, we all know that if it was ever built, the costs would most likely be much higher.

Source: ‘Beyond the 710’ has best plan to end Pasadena’s freeway stalemate: Terry Tornek. Pasadena Star-News. July 15, 2016.

South Pasadena

Bob Joe, South Pasadena City Councilmember

Quote: "No 710—surface or tunnel. When I was on the 710 Tunnel Technical Advisory Committee, I was very concerned with the potential health impacts from the emission ventilation towers and the very expensive cost estimate to do the tunnel. There are others alternatives to consider that are more viable and a lot less expensive to the tunnel options: expand the light rail line; improve the bus system; and distribute the containers from the ports by rail"

Source: Candidate Q&A: The 710 Freeway. South Pasadena Patch. November 2, 2011

Marina Khubesrian, M.D.  South Pasadena City Council Member

Quote: "To clarify, I am strongly opposed to a 710 tunnel in this region, and have compared it to an invasive, costly, and dangerous medical procedure that will make symptoms (more surface and truck traffic) worse. There should be no doubts as to my commitment to defeat attempts from CalTrans or Metro to shove a 710 tunnel freeway beneath our city."

Source: Metro Awards $37.3 Million for 710 Environmental Study (Response to reader comment). South Pasadena Patch. October 27, 2011

Diana Mahmud, South Pasadena City Council Member

Quote: "I will strongly oppose the 710 freeway extension in any form."

Source: Diana Mahmud for South Pasadena City Council. Candidate Statement, November 2013

Richard Schneider, M.D.  South Pasadena City Council Member

Quote: "My position is unequivocal, NO EXTENSION OF THE 710 IN ANY FORM! I have always opposed the freeway in any form for some of the following reasons: It will not solve the traffic problem in the corridor; it would, in fact, increase the traffic and pollution; it would be an environmental disaster for South Pasadena and our neighbors; it would produce serious health hazards for everyone, and for seniors and children in particular; the cost for construction, operation and maintenance are prohibitive.

Light rail for commuters and heavy rail for goods movement from the ports are more cost effective, efficient and environmentally responsible. For the billions a tunnel would cost, light rail lines could be constructed throughout L.A. County, providing seamless connectivity that commuters want."

Source: Candidate Q&A: The 710 Freeway. South Pasadena Patch. November 2, 2011

updated 10/12/2016