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Rally Supports Completion of Long Beach Freeway


A congested Alhambra intersection was the setting Friday for a skirmish in the long-running public relations war over the controversial Long Beach (710) Freeway completion project.

Western San Gabriel Valley officials, including a U.S. congressman and a state legislator, called for federal and state transportation officials to finish the freeway.

"No one here is advocating the construction of a new freeway, " said Alhambra Mayor Talmage V. Burke above the sounds of traffic and car horns blaring in support. "We just want to complete what we started 30 years ago."

Similar messages came from Rep. Matthew G. Martinez and Assemblyman Xavier Becerra, both Monterey Park Democrats, and Monterey Park Mayor Samuel Kiang. The three addressed scores of freeway supporters, who were carrying banners, balloons and placards that said: "Finish the Long Beach Freeway!"

But opponents of the bitterly contested project were also on hand to counter the officials' latest public relations attempt at winning converts for the 6.2-mile extension between the San Bernardino Freeway in Los Angeles and the Foothill Freeway in Pasadena.

"They're so uninformed," South Pasadena Councilwoman Evelyn Fierro said of those who were asserting that completing the freeway gap would solve congestion and air pollution problems.

Fierro and others had staged their own news conference to decry plans to complete the roadway last month. The proposed route would pass through South Pasadena.

Martinez dismissed the opponents' comments, saying: "It's absolutely asinine for the city of South Pasadena to continue to protest this."

Burke added: "I don't think the opposition is a problem anymore. The fight is pretty well over with."

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