Editorial: Solis, Garcetti, Metro – Don’t Reward Eagle Rock BRT Bullies’ Trumpian Tantrum

Metro is refining plans for Bus Rapid Transit between Pasadena and North Hollywood - image via Metro report
Metro is refining plans for Bus Rapid Transit between Pasadena and North Hollywood - image via Metro report

There are some new developments in Metro’s planning process for the North Hollywood-to-Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit.

Readers unfamiliar with this planned project: see earlier SBLA coverage on the route, on the deceptive NIMBY backlash, and on last Saturday’s meeting in Eagle Rock. See also mainsteam media coverage at KPCC, CBS, LAist, and the L.A. TimesBurbank Leader.

This week:

Metro's planned NoHo-Pasadena BRT route
Metro’s planned NoHo-Pasadena BRT route

But that’s not what I want to editorialize about today.

What I want to do is to call on our elected leaders to not pander to the lying bullies attacking this project. Specifically, I want to urge L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the rest of the Metro board to show leadership, steer the input process to civility, and get this needed project built.

The Eagle Rock NIMBY backlash against BRT, a lot like its precedents at Fix the City and Keep L.A. Moving, has been positively Trumpian in its lies and hostility.

I can listen to honest Eagle Rock homeowner concerns – things like “I drive all the time, so I won’t support taking parking or travel lanes away for a bus project I personally don’t see myself using” or “my wealth is tied up in the home I own, so I am worried that this bus project could impact my property values” or even “I didn’t pay much attention to this project earlier because I didn’t think I would ride transit.”

In the face of these types of concerns, I think that there could be an honest negotiation process to plan a smart project that would balance concerns with benefits and craft a worthwhile project.

If I were king, there would be bus-only lanes all over – but in working democratic processes we make compromises. For example, on Wilshire, Metro Rapid bus service zooms on its own dedicated lane through much of the city, then slows considerably in Beverly Hills and in L.A. neighborhoods further west. Maybe dedicated bus lanes would be only be politically feasible for certain portions of the 18-mile Pasadena-to-North Hollywood route.

But it’s pretty much impossible to have any discussion in the flames of the scorched-earth campaign Eagle Rock 411 is inflicting on Eagle Rock.

Like Trump, Eagle Rock 411 folks push easily disprovable outright lies. “Metro did not reach out to Eagle Rock’s Chamber of Commerce,” they claimed. Except when they did, in 2016, and here are the receipts.

Their campaign statements are misleading. ER411’s petition says it wants to “Support Mass Public Transit on the 134 Freeway” and that ER411 does not “oppose BRT service for Eagle Rock.” They just want the buses to get away from their Colorado Boulevard. They want hellish freeway-adjacent BRT stations somewhere out of the way, in places where Eagle Rock residents can’t and won’t walk. (See Equitable Eagle Rock’s excellent page, BRT on the 134 is a Bad Idea.)

ER411’s hyperbole imagines that BRT has the power to generate six-story housing all along Colorado Boulevard, while simultaneously displacing low-income residents, whose existence they only acknowledge when it serves their NIMBY nativism.

Echoing Trump’s ridiculous racist call for heroic congresswomen to leave the U.S., on Saturday BRT foes shouted, “We’re not Glendale or Pasadena! Go live there if that’s what you want!” and “go back to Burbank!”

Well, Supervisor Solis and Mayor Garcetti – also Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and Mayor Ara Najarian – please don’t pander to these bullies.

Don’t swallow their lies. Don’t reward their hostility and xenophobia.

You all showed great leadership in crafting a broad consensus in support of Measure M’s vision for a more balanced, more equitable transportation system that gives Angelenos more choices. That leadership is needed right now. Don’t let a handful of lying bullies take choices away from Eagle Rock.

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