Before Next Week’s CPUC Hearings, a New Player Enters Expo Debate


The Expo Construction Authority must really be feeling the heat these days. 

KPFK’s Francisco Martinez reports that Dakota Communications, the same firm hired to promote the proposed Home Depot in Sunland-Tujunga and found itself in a spot of controversy when one of their strategy memos leaked to the press, has been hired to collect signatures outside of shopping areas in support of Phase 1 of the Expo Project.  Ironically, Martinez broke the story after being approached by a signature gatherer outside of a Home Depot.

The news of Dakota’s hiring was met with anger by opponents of the light rail line.  Fix Expo’s Damien Goodmon charges in the Bottleneck Blog that Dakota Communications’ "…specialty is to create false community support when the community is 100% opposed to something that is not safe."  For their part, the PR Firm claims their just trying to set the record straight on the benefits Light Rail would bring to the community.

Predictably, one’s views of whether or not the hiring of Dakota Communications is a big deal depends on what side of the Expo Line debate you find yourself.  Over at MetroRider, "Aaron" responds to Goodmon’s response by brushing off the news of Expo’s newest ally and focuses on attacking Goodmon and other Expo critics.  "Who needs the BRU, when we have someone willing to act as a voluntary spokesman for Cheviot Hills NIMBYs?"

This newest Expo mini-controversy arrives just before hearings are held by the Public Utilities Commission on whether or not to allow the Expo Line to be built with at-grade, aka street level, grade crossings by two South LA schools.  The re-scheduled hearings are a clear sign that the court ordered mediation efforts between opponents and the construction authority were not successful.  For a full listing of the new hearing schedule, read on after the jump.

From the California Public Utilities’ Commission:

Evidentiary Hearing – September 2 at 1:oo P.M. (through September 9 if necesary)
Commission Hearing Room
320 West 4th Street, Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Concurrent Opening Briefs September 22

Concurrent Reply Briefs October 8

Proposed Decision (PD) October 22

Comments on PD November 12

Reply Comments November 17

Commission Decision November 21


Up Next for Expo: Should Westwood Station Have Car Parking

Now that the Expo Construction Authority has the legal green light to begin construction of Phase II of the Expo Line, it can move on to other issues.  Responding to a motion at the February 5, 2010 meeting of the Expo Construction Authority by Zev Yaroslavsky, Expo staff have put together a presentation listing the […]

Expo Station Coming to Farmdale and Exposition?

Thanks for the overview, Curbed The strange saga of the Expo Light Rail Line continued yesterday when Judge Maribeth Bushey of the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed amendment to the environmental documents for the Expo Line Phase I that would allow the construction of a rail station at the intersection of Exposition Boulevard […]

Westsiders Vent at Last Night’s Expo Meeting

  Last night the Expo Construction Authority held a community meeting in the Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services Gymnasium, right in the heart of a community that has historically been opposed to construction of Phase II of the Expo Line.  As expected, it was hard to find a supporter of extending light rail […]

Government as Advocates: Expo Construction Authority Wants Your Comments to CPUC

The Expo Construction Authority is anxious to stop history from repeating itself. When clearances for the first phase of the Expo Line appeared all but certain, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), a regulatory agency which regulates privately owned public utilities in the state of California, including electric power, telecommunications, natural gas and water companies, […]