Should Obama break South Pasadena?

Journalist Joe Mathews has become the latest advocate of a narrow SoCal position to argue that taking his side is somehow a test of whether President Barack Obama truly means to "get beyond old disputes and divides" and to "rebuild the country's infrastructure." What's the grand litmus test this time? The missing link on the 710 freeway through South Pasadena. Mathews hails from neighboring Pasadena and wants the link built. South Pas has a pretty good case that it's the kind of livable, transit-friendly community that should be nurtured, not destroyed by an interstate freeway intended specifically for big trucks. The feds deleted the route in 2003, but Mathews argues at Fox & Hounds that reviving it is a test of Obama's mettle.

For decades, South Pasadena has blocked this last bit of the interstate highway system with legal and other appeals. South Pasadenans know that the freeway would go through the center of their town, making it a much louder, less pleasant place. Of course, their actions have made other cities in the region louder, less pleasant places. The people of nearby Alhambra and Pasadena (disclosure: Pasadena's my hometown) have made clear they want the freeway to no avail.

This is a classic case of the needs of the few frustrating the needs of the many....fundamentally a federal issue, and Obama has a role to play in forcing this project forward.

Earlier Ron Kaye blogged that the solar measure on the upcoming Los Angeles ballot is, somehow, a test of whether "all that talk of change and citizen participation and democracy was just so much lip service" by Obama. Kaye is a leader of the measure's opposition.

Also blogged at Fox & Hounds: Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, asks what state budget crisis?

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