HomeCommunity NewsBarger Promises to “Partner With City”

Barger Promises to “Partner With City”

KATHRYN BARGER

Saying her life has now come “full circle,” Los Angeles County Supervisor and San Marino resident Kathryn Barger addressed a full house of more than 120 attendees at Tuesday night’s meeting of the San Marino City Club.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be standing before you as a county supervisor,” said Barger, who grew up less than a mile away from the San Marino Center, where the event took place. “I moved to Adair Street when I was five and graduated from San Marino High School.” She then personally greeted a half dozen or her former neighbors and classmates who were in attendance.

But it would not be an accurate portrayal of the meeting to say the audience was completely collegial. Barger immediately sunk her teeth into one of the meatier issues in town: Metro’s offer of $32 million to the City of San Marino for projects that will improve the flow of traffic through town.

Many residents are skeptical that Metro intends to use Huntington Drive as a main source of circulation in lieu of the 710 extension, which they claim is a dead issue. As a supervisor, Barger is also a member of the Metro board of directors.

“I was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors right after they decided what they were going to do with the money,” said Barger, who took office in December 2016. “But this has to be from the bottom up,” she said. “The residents need to tell them what to do. This cannot be Metro telling people what they have to do with the money.”

On May 24, 2017, Metro—the Metropolitan Transportation Authority—voted to cease efforts to fund a five-mile, $3.2-billion tunnel that was proposed to run through El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena to connect the 710 and 210 freeways. In exchange, the board earmarked $700 million to help increase circulation in surrounding communities. Though Metro claims San Marino will have authority over where the money will be spent, many residents—some of whom were in attendance on Tuesday evening—feel Huntington Drive will be turned into “a freeway.”

Barger promised to partner with with the city to ensure the funding is spent wisely.

“The money has to be used to address congestion and the movement of vehicles,” Barger said. “I make this commitment to work with you, but we have an obligation to vet how we address congestion in this area.”

Barger said that a proposed plan to synchronize the traffic lights along Huntington Drive could help the city as “Waze has become a weapon, diverting traffic to save two minutes.”

Waze is a navigation application that automatically directs drivers to what it has computed to be the fastest route between two locations. Many feel it has negatively affected traffic flow through San Marino.

“There are projects you could benefit from,” said Barger. “If the city chooses to leave things the way they are the traffic will move to the side streets. There is nothing in stone. St this point it is all conceptual. I promise to partner with the city.”

Barger also addressed her work with the homeless and mentally ill, the need for mass transit and her appreciation for parklands. But when the question and answer segment arrived, attendees wanted more answers on Metro’s proposals.

Before signing off, Barger thanked her predecessor, Mike Antonovich, who served in her position for 36 years before term limits ended his service.

“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here right now,” she said.

Barger also lamented that the nation has regressed towards “a lawless society.”

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