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Not So Fast, Metro! Beverly Hills School District Files Lawsuit Against Westside Subway Approval
Are you sitting down? Because you don't really need to be--this isn't exactly the kind of power move that will surprise anyone: The Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block Metro from putting the Westside Subway under Beverly Hills High School. OMG, right?
So what's the beef? Well, legally speaking, BHUSD is telling Metro (tsk, tsk) they weren't holding their horses when they were supposed to:
According to the lawsuit, Metro failed to comply with CEQA “due to a rush�?to�?judgment” in locating the Westside Subway Extension station in Century City at Constellation Boulevard. The lawsuit alleges that the Metro Board made its decision without considering the full and complete information about alternatives needed to adequately make an informed choice.
Which is, of course, why during the final stages of the review process, the BHHS PTA opted to scare the pants off everyone with their special effects-enhanced apocalyptic video version of the horrors that await the tunneling beneath their hallowed halls.
That video was largely dismissed by Metro and local leaders (um, outside of the City of Beverly Hills, of course) as "fearmongering."
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, levies that Metro was in cahoots from the get-go to put the Constellation Station (say that 10 times fast!) where they wanted it, and that they had no intention of hearing alternatives. BHUSD Board of Education Brian Goldberg says Metro engaged in a "biased and flawed process."
From the suit: "Metro appeared to have selected the Constellation alternative more than a year and a half earlier and all of the reports Metro has prepared and issued since appeared to be a slanted, post hoc rationalization for that decision.”
All these pretty pointed accusations aside, the BHUSD wants us all to know they are so very, very supportive of the Westside Subway extension, it's just that, well, you know, it shouldn't have to go underneath BHHS and be so very scary for the public. The BHUSD's attorney, Kevin Brogan, says really, this pesky lawsuit is only popping up because Metro "forced" it to. And, says Brogan:
“The BHUSD supports the Westside Subway Extension and did not want to file this lawsuit. But Metro’s purported consideration of the Santa Monica Boulevard station location was nothing more than lip service, and its headlong rush to approve the alignment before all studies were finalized left BHUSD no choice."
It's almost humorous to hear Metro--who notoriously take forever to get the wheels in motion for a big transit project--being accused of taking things too fast. (Point of reference: We were talking about Westside Subway community meetings in Beverly Hills in 2007.)
Last week, Los Angeles transportation officials released a report that indicated a subway built under Beverly Hills High School with a Century City stop at Constellation Blvd. and Avenue of the Stars would be safe, and it recommended that the MTA Board of Directors move forward with the project.
This lawsuit could potentially hold up progress on the Westside Subway, yet again. Really, Beverly Hills? Are you that worried about the unwashed masses (not to mention tourists with cashola to spend in your spendy shops, and people who live and work and spend money in your community) will whoosh beneath your famous high school? It's all pretty much as silly as this video, spoofing the very same NIMBYs who got all litigious yesterday.