The Ara Najarian campaign traveled north of the Emerald Isle on Sunday, February 24 to the City of La Canada Flintridge to fundraise, but, more significantly, to reaffirm to the leaders of the Foothill communities, who were in attendance, that Ara was strongly opposed to the creation of a 710 tunnel.
In attendance were former Assembly Member Anthony Portantino, former Assembly Member and member of the California Transportation Commission Dario Frommer, State Senator Carol Liu, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogard, La Canada Mayor Stephen Del Guercio, South Pasadena Mayor Richard Schneider, La Canada councilmember Don Voss, Montebello City Councilman Jack Hadjinian, Sierra Madre City Councilmember John Harabedian, South Pasadena Councilmember Michael Cacciotti and Pasadena Unified School Board Member Ramon Miramontes.
This overwhelming regional support demonstrates the greatly positive regional impact that Ara’s reelection to both the MTA Board, on March 7, and Glendale City Council, on April 2, will have.
“We’re going to win this fight. We’re going to get on the MTA Board in March… I’m going to get reelected to Glendale City Council and continue to fight for the City of Glendale and the region we all live in to bring smart, sensible transportation alternatives to the region so our kids can grow up with healthy lives and healthy lungs and we’ll all be much better off.”
For every story there is a protagonist and an antagonist, in this case the antagonists are working vehemently against are for petty political reasons.
“I do these things because I think it is the right thing to do, it is the proper thing to do, and I don’t like to back down from bullies, I don’t like to back down from people who have more stripes on their shoulders or more millions in their war chest.”
Ara went on to state his reasons for opposing the construction of a tunnel connecting the 710 to the 210 freeway, which increase pollution in Glendale and all Foothill communities.
“I am opposed to this tunnel and they didn’t like that. They think the way to solve the problem here is a tunnel and poof and all their traffic on the local streets in Alhambra, in Monterey Park, in Temple City is just going to disappear and everything is going to be wonderful. Well, they’re wrong. They’ve been sold a wrong bill of goods. There are large forces and powerful people behind that tunnel and they’re just not thinking it through.”
While Ara has made much progress on the issue of the 710 tunnel as a member of the MTA Board, he has done a great deal for Glendale residents in his eight years of service on the City Council and his two years as Mayor.
“Glendale is becoming a better city, day by day. We are a safe city, we’re opening up new parks, our budget is balanced, we have some pension reform, which is helping with some of the long-term financial issues, we get along fairly well on the City Council, and we’re trying to be leaders in the region.”
Ara has not only worked to oppose the environmentally unfriendly 710 tunnel, but he has actively promoted environmentally safer alternatives.
“There are other ways we can make the traffic better. We have four other alternatives like light rail, bus rapid transit, traffic demand management, and a no build alternative. We owe it to the residents of LA County and the resident of this [Glendale and Foothill communities] region to fully explore other ways and other alternatives before we rubber stamp the idea of a 5-mile tunnel. And that’s why they want to kick me of the MTA Board. And I’m not going to let them do it. I’m fighting with an army.”
On March 7th the City Selection Committee will meet to decide whether or not Councilman Najarian’s nomination to the MTA Board will be confirmed.