December 2, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

Dear Editor,

Rarely have I seen such arrogance displayed in the open. Councilmember Holbrook is quoted in your article, Replacing the City Manager, November 5-11, 2009, as saying, “as elected representatives, they (the City Council) know more about what qualities and traits the candidates will need . . . (I)t’s difficult to get quality candidates if the proceedings are under public scrutiny.”

If a “quality candidate” does not fare well under public scrutiny, who needs him or her?

Does winning an election suddenly confer absolute wisdom on these people? Maybe Holbrook is right; anyone who voted for him must not be too wise.

Robert Spies

Santa Monica

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Open Letter to City Council From the Pico Neighborhood Association

Regarding the proposed Expo Line maintenance yard to be sited in the Pico Neighborhood of Santa Monica at the previous Verizon site, adjacent to residences and Stewart St. Park, we have an objection which needs to be addressed.

Stewart St. Park is the site of a former landfill. As such, it is our understanding that methane gas from landfill decomposition currently seeps up and out of the park as well as laterally through underground services. Santa Monica prohibits barbeque fires in the park for fear of ground gas explosions. Methane gas, once vented, does not remain static, but moves with air currents. It is also highly flammable. Gas cannot release to the atmosphere from under asphalt and other surface coverings.

It is our understanding that underground services could channel gases and concentrate gases at or above the Lower Explosive Limits (5000ppm methane). The proposed maintenance yard could concentrate the gases under the surface coverings or under buildings, as they are currently designed to enclose the facilities to mitigate noise. It is possible that the yard will have many sources of ignition which could ignite underground concentrations of gases in buildings and various confined structures.

It is our understanding that the proposed Expo Line maintenance yard will be utilizing 750 volt power lines in its operations to run multiple trains into the station. These power lines can possibly occasionally spark. The Expo service fleet utilizes internal combustion engine and hybrid engine trucks, but no propane or LNG powered vehicles. Could this be because of the ignition hazard they would pose?

We are concerned that the combination of methane gas seepage and migration with high voltage electricity could pose a serious ignition and subsequent explosion hazard to nearby residents and park visitors as well as to Expo workers and riders and to passing motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, possibly causing immediate loss of life as well as property damage.

Is there the possibility that a high concentration of methane gas could come from the park, either above ground or below ground via service lines, to within close enough proximity of the high voltage lines in the maintenance yard, just a few feet away, that a spark produced from those lines could result in igniting that gas, resulting in an explosion?

What guarantee do we have that this does not pose a serious health and safety risk to adjacent residents, passing motorists, Expo riders, on site rail employees and park visitors?

Have any independent inspectors assessed the risk that this combination poses? Have any independent engineers or geologists performed borings to assess the amount of methane gas being produced by the now defunct landfill at Stewart Park? Has gas migration from the park been documented? Has OSHA assessed the safety of the situation? When can we have definitive answers from experts regarding these questions?

Can you prove and guarantee that this wouldn’t be dangerous? Will the Expo and Metro Authorities swear under penalty of perjury that the proximity of leaking methane gas is not a danger? Will the City of Santa Monica and the Expo Authority assume all liability should there be an explosion?

Until such time as this information is publicly available, we strongly urge you to relocate the Expo Line maintenance yard to preclude this life threatening safety risk to our community.

Thank you

The Pico Neighborhood Association Board of Directors

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