Hating on Metro Part of the Curriculum at Beverly Hills High School

In August of 2012, Beverly Hills Highlights, the award-winning student newspaper at Beverly Hills High School, editorialized that the crusade run by the school district’s Board of Directors (BHUSD) against the subway was an expensive waste of time. After reading such a sober and well-thought-out argument, the school district leaders couldn’t help but reconsider their decision-making procedures. After all, if the students, the very people they professed to serve, were so disillusioned as to rebuke the Board publicly, the Board needed to change its ways.

I’m only kidding. They acted like spoiled children, bullied their employees, and threatened to cut funding for the newspaper staff to take a trip that would further their journalism careers.

There was one lesson learned from the editorial debacle: it’s bad for the image of school district leadership to be lectured on their fever dreams by their students.

Two years later, attacking the regionally popular-everywhere-except BHUSD and Beverly Hills Courier editorial pages Westside Subway Extension is now part of the curriculum. Witness “Why We Fight,” a film series (only the first is available online at the moment) produced by students as part of a class but starring Lewis Hall, a Governing Board Member of the BHUSD, with facts provided by Hall and Tim Buresh, a consultant for the District.

The students did a great job with the presentation of the video. The graphics are clear and easy to follow. The video is clear and well-edited. Good job.

The adults didn’t do as well.

For example, about two minutes in, Hall correctly states that public school construction needs to be approved by the state Board of Architects but then goes off on a strange tangent about how the state has never approved school construction on top of a subway line. Of course, because there aren’t many subways in California, nobody has ever applied for construction on top of a subway, a safe practice regularly performed throughout the country and the industrialized world.

Moments later, Hall bemoans that the subway will revoke the school’s sovereignty to decide its construction plans. Which he does not seem to see as contradicting his previous statement that the school has to ask the Boards of Architects before they could do construction.

The video is full of these sorts of partial-truths stretched into conspiracy. It’s the kind of performance that we’ve grown used to seeing from School District leadership. But, just as when the earnest creationists insert pseudo-science into school textbooks, everyone is a loser when one drags the kids into their political arguments and teaches them spin as though it is truth.

  • Fakey McFakename

    I think it would be fun if a Streetsblog reader who pays property taxes in BH sued the School District for illegal use of bond funds (the same claim that the anti-HSR folks are making for the state HSR bond).

  • Keith

    Supposedly those bond funds were returned/repaid.

  • davistrain

    “Why We Fight” sounds like a World War II morale-building film (our side produces “morale building films”, the other guys produce “scurrilous propaganda”)

  • Fakey McFakename

    I thought their theory was that since they expected to prevail and get an order for Metro to pay their costs, they’d be repaid, not that they had already been repaid.

  • momoneyhohuny

    Was there ever an original purple line route? Why do they say that they switched the route?

  • Actually it was a series done mostly by Frank Capra to counter Walt Disney’s friend Leni Reifenstahl


  • davistrain

    But as I recall, Disney did produce “Donald Duck in NutziLand” featuring the music of Spike Jones.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Actually, they are “information films”!

  • davistrain

    Thanks for supplying the correct term. I was reminded of another “us and them” comparison: WE are “progressive elements, marching forward, shoulder to shoulder.” THEY are “an unholy alliance.”

  • Kenny Easwaran

    In earlier documents, there was a Santa Monica Blvd location under consideration as well, and many people thought it would be chosen both because the line is straighter and it would make for better connection with buses. From BHUSD perspective, it would also avoid tunneling under the school.

    But it turned out there was an earthquake fault at the SMB location, and the Constellation location also better serves Century City. So they have to tunnel under the school in a way that wasn’t announced quite as definitively and clearly as the BHUSD people claim it should have been initially.

  • He was the only Hollywood film-maker who would even speak to Riefenstahl when she came to Los Angeles after Kristallnacht:

  • Alicia

    Also see “Education For Death”, which still had some goofy satirical elements but was overall a lot more serious.


Five Things I’m Thinking About Transportation

When I last took a paternity leave, I returned with a brief column on some stories I would never get to flesh out that occured during my time off. Sometime after that, Steve Hymon started running an occasional “5 Things I’m Thinking About Transportation” series. I’ve rarely done it, but if it’s good enough for […]