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MTA Says Courier Story on Subway Expansion Was Misleading

The agency says a decision on the Purple Line route has not been made, contrary to a Beverly Hills Courier post that seems to imply a MTA report favors tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority is asking the Beverly Hills Courier to retract a story on its website that seems to imply that the agency has weighted a report in favor of routing the Purple Line subway expansion under Beverly Hills High School on its way to the proposed Century City station at Constellation Boulevard. The Constellation station is one of three proposed Century City stops.

"It won't be ready until the fall," David Sotero, senior public communications officer for the MTA, wrote about the final environmental impact report in a rebuttal to the Courier on the MTA's website. He reiterated that no decision has been made yet about the route of the subway.

The issue started when the Courier published an unsigned "exclusive" story saying it had a copy of a report that favored running the subway under the high school, a route that residents of the area have been protesting for some time. Although the story points out that the title of the document is "Final EIR," at the bottom of the story it says the report is not, in fact, the Final EIR.

The report is actually a series of PowerPoint slides that, according to the MTA rebuttal posted on its site, has been shown at several public meetings and forums and appeared on the MTA's website.

When Patch called the Courier about the MTA's rebuttal, an editorial employee who requested her name not be used refused to name the author of the story and insisted the paper would "stand by our story." The employee also said the MTA had not asked the paper to publish a retraction.

"Well, not to our face," the employee said.

After being questioned by Patch, the Courier published a comment on the MTA's position. The post says MTA Regional Communications Manager Jody Litvack released an email rebutting the original story, and the Courier has not received any request to retract the story. 

The MTA rebuttal on its website, written by Sotero, asks for a retraction.

Minoter May 01, 2011 at 02:38 PM
The fact that the Courier story remained authorless should probably point to the skills of the PR firm that BHUSD hired for $895/hr .
Carol Spencer May 02, 2011 at 12:13 AM
It is interesting that upon comparing the Beverly Hills Courier slides attributed to a presentation by Metro and actual Metro slide presentations on their website it appears that someone has done careful editing and compiling slides from many presentations. Not current information. Also, the information is not dated - rather compiled out of context to prove a point for the BHUSD It appears that the unknown writer wants to create an atmosphere of fear for Beverly Hills residents when that is not necessary. If anything residents to the west of Beverly Hills in Los Angeles should be fearful of the way the BHUSD lobbyists are jerking information around - Let us go forward and create a subway with stations located where they will serve all the people.
Simon May 02, 2011 at 06:31 AM
At least the Patch does real reporting, unlike the Courier (love their headline: "Courier Right, MTA Wrong" [is this kindergarten?])--something very fishy going on at the Courier, the BHUSD, and that PR firm.
Laurie Lande May 02, 2011 at 06:45 AM
The BHUSD and the PR firm had nothing to do with the story. BHUSD officials were surprised to see the story -- when I called for a comment, they said they knew nothing about the report.
Barbara Broide May 06, 2011 at 03:08 PM
I sent the following to the Courier: While safety concerns of BH and BHHS should be addressed by the MTA, it should be the goal of all westside residents to make certain that placement of the Century City station serves the GREATEST number of riders possible.We will be making a huge investment in the subway & unless the station reaches across Century City, we will not get the traffic relief we so desperately need. Placing the station on Santa Monica Bl. is folly when so many employees & residents are located much farther south into Century City. Placing the station on Constellation improves the reach into Century City & its workforce & residents.Westfield Mall will be as easily served from Constellation as from Santa Monica Blvd. The station needs to be in walking distance from the major destinations -- & that should include all the offices (including Fox Plaza & Fox Studios) which a Santa Monica Bl. location does not serve well. Do we want people to have convenient access to the subway or do we want to risk continued reliance on automobiles even after the subway has been built & seeking to put it & get the line built and running as soon as funding allows. Don't waste BHUSD, BH or MTA money on litigation.

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