Beverly Hills Officials Continue to Clash Over Westside Subway
When it comes to the proposed Westside subway extension, the Beverly Hills City Council and board members of the Beverly Hills Unified School District haven't always gotten along -- regularly clashing over how to best stop a subway route from going underneath the Beverly Hills High School campus.
The two sides appeared to call a truce in the middle of this year, but now it seems they're back to feuding again.
"You have pursued an uninterrupted course of meddling, holding clandestine, covert meetings with MTA decision-makers and you have even ridiculed some [school] board members," Beverly Hills Unified board president Lisa Korbatov told City Council members at a recent meeting, which was reported by the Beverly Hills Patch.
In an L.A. Weekly cover story, "Beverly Hills Versus the Westside Subway," we investigated how Century City developers and businesses interests, with the strong support from Metro board member and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, are pushing a route that would force the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to tunnel underneath the Beverly Hills High School campus.
The route would probably cause a lawsuit brought by the Beverly Hills Unified School District, which could easily be avoided if Metro went with a different route that stops at Santa Monica Boulevard rather than sleepy Constellation Boulevard.
Metro board members, which include Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, will probably vote on the official route sometime this year.
So Beverly Hills Unified School board officials are probably getting antsy -- no major politician in the Los Angeles area has publicly supported their position that the subway route should NOT go underneath the high school campus.
A tunnel under the campus would make things very difficult and super expensive to construct new school buildings.
The Beverly Hills City Council members, in particular Willie Brien and Barry Brucker, have tried to use their political connections to convince Metro board members to vote on a different route. But now Korbatov has had enough, saying there needs to be more transparency in that process.
"It is time to stop these stealth meetings," Korbatov recently told the City Council, which, the Beverly Hills Patch reported, received a "thunderous round of applause and cheers" in the council chambers.
Brucker shot back: "We're trying to see if we can succeed by downing them in honey versus throwing vinegar in their face."
With time running out, Beverly Hills officials are clearly not unified. When taking on deep-pocketed developers and major politicians, the political situation in Beverly Hills to stop the tunneling under the high school campus is far from a dream scenario.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.