Beverly Hills Students Protest Subway Construction

Students from Beverly Hills staged a high-visibility "walkout" to protest L.A. Metro's extension of the Purple Line subway past Beverly Hills High School.
October 14, 2018, 1pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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On Friday, Laura J. Nelson writes, "hundreds of students as young as 8 left their Beverly Hills classrooms and rallied at a public park, protesting Metro's plans to tunnel beneath Beverly Hills High School." L.A. Metro is currently in the process of extending its Purple Line subway from its current terminus in Koreatown through Beverly Hills and into Westwood.

The decision to route through the affluent city has been controversial, with officials from the city and the school district opposing Metro in court for years. "Teenagers who have grown up watching the Beverly Hills Unified School District's fight against Metro said they feared that tunneling beneath the campus could spark a methane explosion because the soil is studded with abandoned oil wells and pockets of methane gas."

But Metro says those risks are overstated. "More than five years of environmental analysis have shown that the subway can be built without risking students’ health, Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said." LA Metro subway lines already run beneath several LA Unified School District campuses.

While the student rally was labeled a "walkout," Nelson writes, "students were required to submit permission slips and were bused to the park. High school organizers had help from district staff members who invited the younger students, lined up school buses and kept track of hundreds of permission slips, district officials said." Student organizers said their aim is to move the subway project, not kill it.

There's also a Trump connection here. Nelson reports, "Some in Beverly Hills have hoped that the ties between local officials and the Trump administration could help their cause. Trump's personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, is the founding partner in the law firm that represents the school district in the Metro lawsuit."
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Published on Friday, October 12, 2018 in The Los Angeles Times
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