Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Election 2014: Shriver, Kuehl clash over Westside subway during supervisor debate

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Two of the leading candidates seeking to replace Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky offered different approaches to the planned $6.3 billion Purple Line subway extension to Westwood.

Former State Senator Sheila Kuehl said she wants to work with Beverly Hills officials opposed to tunneling underneath Beverly Hills High School to find “a third way.”

“Perhaps moving the route so that it goes under the high school but not under the buildings,” Kuehl said.

“There is no room left to think this through,” rival candidate Bobby Shriver said. He warned any talk of rerouting the subway could jeopardize federal funding.

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“That’s a significant danger to the financing process,” Shriver said during a debate at Leo Baeck Temple Sunday. “These things can be delicate.”

Yaroslavsky travels to Washington this month in an effort to secure funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority project. Last month, a superior court judge rejected a lawsuit by the city and school district that argued the tunneling plan was unsafe.

Another candidate, West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran, also said the subway route is a done deal. “The decision has been made.”

Duran suggested Kuehl, whose position won her the endorsement of the Beverly Hills Courier, should stand up to opponents of the route.

“One of the difficult things that any elected official has to face is having the inner strength or backbone to say ‘No.’”

“I offered to bring people together,” Kuehl said, adding that her concerns about the route are not enough for her to oppose the current plan.

“Of course I’m not going to stand in the way of the Purple Line,” she said. “I love public transit.”

A fourth candidate, former Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley-Ulich, said she was open to more public input on the plan. “I think you have to be open."

Conley-Ulich wondered if predictions of a big earthquake should change the MTA’s subway plans entirely.

“Maybe we should build them above the freeways.”

RELATED: KPCC's MyBallot: Voters guide for the 2014 primary elections

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