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Beverly Hills school board opposes tax measure for transit projects

October 11, 2012 | 11:24 am

Beverly Hills High
Saying Measure J will only accelerate plans to tunnel underneath Beverly Hills High School, the school district’s Board of Education on Thursday said they unanimously voted to oppose the November ballot measure that is heavily backed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Measure J is the proposed 30-year extension to Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects that voters approved in 2008. Measure R lasts 30 years and Measure J, if passed, would extend the tax another three decades beyond that.

Villaraigosa has strongly pushed Measure J as a way to accelerate several transit projects in the county by bonding against future tax revenues. Those projects include the $5.6-billion Westside Subway Extension and a downtown rail connector.

The Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education has strongly opposed plans for the route of the Westside Subway Extension that includes a segment that would require tunneling underneath the high school and have taken their fight with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to court.

The board’s president, Brian D. Goldberg, said in a news release the “Metro Board of Directors has repeatedly refused to hear our valid concerns about locating the subway under instructional buildings at Beverly Hills High School, and have shown a complete disregard for the will of the people of Beverly Hills on this matter.”

“We took this action to send the message that Metro has to clean up and change the way it does business and listen to the citizens impacted by its decisions,” Goldberg said.

It is unclear how much support the residents of Beverly Hills will offer to Measure J, but they voted overwhelmingly to pass Measure R. Metro officials said that 74.76% of those residents who voted on Measure R voted to pass it.

The release from the school district directly stated that the proposed route for the Westside Subway Extension was the primary reason they were opposed to Measure J.

Metro officials have repeatedly said, and offered their own evidence, that tunneling underneath the high school would be safe and is the best route for the subway.

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: Students standing on the lawn in front of Beverly Hills High School last year. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

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