LOS ANGELES, October 31, 2012 – City Councilman Chris Holden is playing “the possum game” on the residents of Pasadena, San Rafael and in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. As we all know, possums have limited defenses against their predators. Their best and most prominent type of defense mechanism is to act as if they are dead., hoping that whatever is attacking them will simply go away and leave them alone.
Pasadena City Council Chris Holden, a Democrat candidate who is running for the new 41st district Assembly race, is indeed playing possum in regards to his neglected constituents, especially regarding the matter of the expansion of the 710 Freeway.
Those most affected by the potential expansion of the freeway—the residents of Pasadena, San Rafael, and in the San Gabriel valley—are both frustrated at the soaring potential costs of construction and over the safety measures taken to both create and to operate said expansion. The frustrations have gone unheard. As the questions have come forth, questions that include concerns about the cost to the cities and the costs to the state to build and operate the freeway, councilman Holden has adopted the possum defense, refusing to give clear answers or to take a stance one way or the other—until after the upcoming election.
This is a poor strategy to take in these disenchanted times. Many loyal Democrats and decline-to-state voters in Southern California are beginning to cross party lines on matters that impact their lives, including this issue regarding a potential freeway—or in some scenarios, a long extended tunnel—through their neighborhoods. Holden’s actions have led many to form the NO 710 Action Committee, with growing membership from the afore-mentioned areas. His actions are also causing him to lose ground to his rival for the new 41st District, Republican candidate Donna Lowe. Republican candidate for Congress’ 27th District, Jack Orswell, has also declared his support for the Committee.
The No 710 Committee wants openness and transparency regarding building within their communities. They seek to promote solutions that are environmentally and fiscally sound, to reduce health risks associated with the proposed expansion, to reduce congestion and to eliminate public dependence on fossil fuels. Ironically, these were once solutions that were proposed solely by Democrats. With Holden too busy playing possum, and with people tired of partisan politics not bringing them positivity and prosperity, others from across the aisle have picked up the ball, and they are running with it to secure victory for themselves and their constituency.
Councilman Holden is so busy playing dead that he is not listening to his constituents. They would tell him why they believe that he expansion of the 710 is a very poor idea, primarily (and not surprisingly in these tough economic times) because of the cost. The NO 710 Action Committee website claims that the cost that government sources have quoted project costs ranging between one and fourteen billion dollars to build a tunnel rather than construct a freeway. However, the Boston Globe has estimated that the project will ultimately cost $22 billion, including interest, an amount that would not be paid off until twenty-six years from now. and that it will not be paid off until 2038.
Chris Holden, a longtime proponent of the 710 Expansion (an expansion that has never been popular with the people of the various cities that it would need to pass through) with monetary interests in the Los Angeles/Long Beach Ports, has succeeded in angering people from both sides of the aisle, a bad thing to do in the current economic climate—especially for waffling politicians who specialize in possum playing.
Nor are the members of the committee the only voices opposed to the career politician and possum player. California residents Tom Savio stated in The Pasadena Star-News: “…I am a life-long Democrat; I have never voted Republican –until now. I am voting for Donna Lowe over Chris Holden in the 41st Assembly District race because Lowe has steadfastly stood with the homeowners of Pasadena against the I-710 Tunnel to Nowhere - I mean Alhambra. Whereas, Holden, crony of the freeway contractors and unions, will not take a stand on the 710 Tunnel until after the election. Of course, the downside if Holden loses is Pasadena homeowners will still be stuck with him on our City Council!”
Holden may indeed be playing possum, but the predators do not seem to be fooled. In the end, playing possum regarding this issue just may cost him his political life.
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