Beverly Hills Is at It Again

We just came across an item in the Canyon News, a small local newspaper, reporting that the City of Beverly Hills is about to allocate $350,000 to fight the proposed extension of the Los Angeles subway under it. Daniel Antolin, City Eyeing $350,000 For Subway Fight, Canyon News, July 7, 2011. The money is planned to be spent on “legal services, public relations and consulting firms, in addition to experts in the field of tunneling and geotechnics.” It appears that the good folks in Beverly Hills go first class in every way, even when it comes to crying NIMBY!

This caper has precipitated some nostalgia on our part. Being a fully credentialled old geezer, your faithful servant remembers a similar donnybrook way back when CalTrans (or the State Division of Highways as it was then known) had a grandiose master plan whereby there would be a freeway crossing the Los Angeles basin every five miles or so, and one of those routes would be known as the Beverly Hills Freeway.

Of course, then as now, the Beverly Hillies took a dim view of such doings, particularly when it appeared that in a stunning display of foolhardiness CalTrans’ route of choice would run through the sacred soil north of Sunset Boulevard, an area where God would live if he could only afford it, probably somewhere like “No way!” said the local folks, and that was that. The freeway route started shifting south, so that by the time it came to a stop, you could practically chuck rocks from it onto the right of way of the Santa Monica freeway, whereupon CalTrans acknowledged reality and canceled the Beverly Hills Freeway.

You can read all about it in M.L. Gunzburg, Transportation Problems of the Megalopolitan, 12 UCLA L. Rev. 800 (1965).

While there is something about Beverly Hills that inspires snide commentary, we wish to assure our readers that for all its ostentatiousness we actually like that community. Our warm feelings go back to 1955 when your faithful servant came back to his car (a 1952 Chrysler convertible) that he had foolishly parked in front of a Beverly Hills parking meter without taking the trouble to insert the required nickel (yes, a nickel) into it, only to discover that instead of a parking ticket, his windshield was adorned with a printed note from the BHPD, welcoming us to Beverly Hills, and politely suggesting that next time we decide to park at a metered space in that lovely community, it might be a good idea to insert the aforementioned nickel into the meter. So how can you possibly dislike a classy community like that?