Re "Transit and the greater good," Column, June 8
Hector Tobar's one-sided view of Beverly Hills and the subway is unfair. The Beverly Hills City Council unanimously endorsed the Westside extension; that is, until the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority switched from a Century City station on Santa Monica Boulevard to Constellation Avenue.
The Santa Monica station had been planned for years. Then Metro's switch of one block — catering to the wishes of Century City developers — shifted the route under a public high school, potentially jeopardizing the safety of 80-year-old buildings and more than 2,000 students and teachers.
Accidents and construction defects have been rampant with Metro, and Beverly Hills is supposed to trust its kids to Metro's supposed expertise?
I find it hypocritical that opponents of the critically needed Westside subway extension are crying wolf about how tunneling beneath a high school will release dangerous underground fumes and gases. But what about the noxious gases already being released at ground level?
As a veteran high school sports official, I've refereed dozens of football, lacrosse and softball games on Beverly Hills High School's athletic fields, which are adjacent to a working oil well (conveniently hidden by decorative camouflage). The student athletes, coaches and other officials always comment about the terrible smell and how breathing the fumes can't be healthy.
Why aren't the subway tunneling opponents doing anything about this existing danger?
Gary Van Zandt
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