BEVERLY HILLS (CBS) — “Methane gas, toxic chemicals and teenagers don’t mix.”
That’s the dramatic opening to a fiery 5-minute video from the Parent Teacher Council in Beverly Hills opposing Metro plans to build a subway to the sea directly under Beverly Hills High School.
The video titled “No Subway Under BHHS” — which was made with the help of parents who work in the movie industry — features students walking the school’s hallways interwoven with images of a gas valve and several giant exploding fireballs.
Both parents and the City Council have roundly criticized the proposal from Metro to build a station along Constellation Boulevard due to what Rep. Henry Waxman cited as “possible safety risks involved with tunneling under Beverly Hills High School”.
Metro spokesman Marc Littman dismissed the PTA video as little more than scaremongering.
“It’s just unfortunate that they did a video with a fireball and all the special effects,” he said. “It is safe to tunnel..we’re 50 to 70 feet underground, we have subway tunnels under schools, hospitals, residences and businesses throughout the Los Angeles area, including methane gas area downtown and elsewhere.”
Littman cited the research of what he called some of the “top tunneling experts in the world” as well as seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones from Cal Tech as supporting Metro’s endorsement of the proposal.
But Jennifer Terrell-Schwartz, president of the 1,000-member Beverly Hills Parent Teacher Association Council, told KNX 1070 NEWRADIO that she stands by the claims made in the video.
“There are several tangles of abandoned oil wells under the campus, and Metro and its consultants aren’t even sure where all the old abandoned and unmapped oil wells are,” said Terrell-Schwartz. “Bottom line is, we had to be dramatic to reach the attention because Metro’s just not listening to us.”
Terrell-Schwartz and other opponents of tunneling under Constellation Boulevard have proposed that Metro instead tunnel along Santa Monica Boulevard, which would be less than a mile away from the 2,300-student school and only a block away from the proposed station at Constellation.
The Metro Board is scheduled to hold a special hearing on the subway plans and tunneling under Beverly Hills on May 17.