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710 Freeway: Rights and Wrongs on the Route

January 13, 1994

As a member of the 710 Mitigation Advisory Committee, a former mayor and councilman in the city of Alhambra, my solution to the problem is very simple. Just issue different color automotive license plates for people of South Pasadena. If they are found on any other cities' streets or freeways, they would be arrested. The rest of us would, of course, agree not to drive on their streets and not to push for the completion of the freeway. South Pasadena then would not be disturbed.

I am, of course, being facetious to show the absurdity of the argument that South Pasadena has some divine right that the rest of us do not possess. After attending many meetings regarding this problem, I am convinced that no more than 200 zealots are truly against the freeway completion. The rest of the people in South Pasadena just go along with the party line that the city of South Pasadena will be destroyed if a freeway is built through their city.

No other city in Southern California has been destroyed by a freeway through it. Just look at South Pasadena neighbors La Canada-Flintridge, Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, Los Angeles, San Gabriel, Arcadia, etc., etc., etc.

Our wise forefathers recognized the problem that a few negative people could usurp the rights of many, so they gave government the right of condemnation (i.e. the right of the taking of private property for public use by the payment of just compensation). Without that right, can you imagine what our society would be like? There would be no streets, schools, libraries, hospitals, parks, etc. No matter what the project is, someone is going to be against it as someone is always inconvenienced.

The Times wrongly hints that a partial solution is possible by extending the freeway a quarter-mile to Mission Road in Alhambra as proposed by South Pasadena's so-called "Low Build" proposal. This extension of a quarter-mile would only divert the problem not only to Alhambra residential areas, but to El Sereno's as well (the very area South Pasadena claims it wants to help). The effect on El Sereno residential areas would be devastating.

A solution much more to the liking of Alhambra and El Sereno would be the extension of the freeway to Huntington Drive. South Pasadena, of course, would never accept this because the traffic would now dump at its doorstep instead of Alhambra's.

Read the Mitigation Report. You would find that the freeway through South Pasadena would only temporarily affect the few in the Freeway Right of Way, but would also be a real benefit not only to South Pasadena neighbors, but the majority of the people in South Pasadena as well.

MICHAEL J. MESSINA

Alhambra

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