By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Of course, neither Goldberg nor Portillo are running for the school board, but both have confronted the question of what to do with Belmont now. Should the half-finished school be completed, despite the cost and uncertainty of a necessary environmental fix? At Belmont the risk comes from the shallow oil field directly beneath the school. Natural oil fields hazards include methane, which is explosive, and hydrogen sulfide, which is toxic. A barrier and venting system – reasonably straightforward technology – could eliminate nearly all of the risk, but no mitigation system of this scale has ever been attempted at a school.
In interviews with the L.A. Weekly, both Portillo and Goldberg said the school should be completed if it can be made safe at reasonable additional cost. This view is at odds with that of the current school board majority, which voted on January 25 to kill the project immediately, without further safety review.
In his anti-Goldberg flier, Portillo focuses on his opposition to the original project rather than his willingness to complete the school. For her part, Goldberg, has recently criticized the revamped and magnified Belmont project that emerged after she left the school board.
Goldberg also told the Weekly that, if elected to the Assembly, she would try to obtain state money to finish the safety review of Belmont – to take this political hot potato out of the school board’s hands. Behind the scenes, she has recently joined county Supervisor Gloria Molina, City Councilman Mike Hernandez and lobbyists for O’Melveny & Myers – which is being sued over its handling of Belmont – to build political support for pressuring the school board to reconsider Belmont. All told, the fate of the Belmont Learning Complex remains up in the air – as does the fate of any politician whose name can be associated with its scandalous legacy .
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