Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 22, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 22, 2012 


Landmark Gold Line Bridge Features Distinctive Design by Award-
winning Public Artist Andrew Leicester

MONROVIA, Calif.— The 
Metro Gold Line Foothill 
Extension Construction 
Authority (Construction 
Authority) marked the 
completion of the landmark 
Gold Line Bridge 
by giving guests a once-
in-a-lifetime opportunity 
to walk across the largest, 
single public art/transit infrastructure 
project in California, 
the 584-linear foot 
sculpture that will serve as 
the Gateway to the San Gabriel 

The Gold Line Bridge 
spans the eastbound lanes 
of the I-210 freeway northeast 
of Los Angeles and is 
the most visible element of 
the 11.5-mile Metro Gold 
Line Foothill Extension light rail project the Construction 
Authority is building between Pasadena 
and Azusa. 

The Construction Authority completed the first 
ever artist-designed transit bridge in California, on 
time and on budget; and celebrated this milestone 
with a Dec. 15 ceremony honoring the men and 
women who designed and built the bridge. During 
the event, the more than 350 guests were given an 
opportunity to walk across the bridge before the 
tracks are laid.

"The bridge is absolutely beautiful, " commented 
U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano during the 
Completion Ceremony on Saturday. "I really have 
to thank the Construction Authority because they 
decided to make this a significant work of art. I believe 
this will be an icon of the San Gabriel Valley."

Designed by award-winning artist Andrew Leicester, 
the Gold Line Bridge is anchored by two, 25-
foot ‘baskets’ that pay tribute to the indigenous 
peoples of the San Gabriel Valley and the oversize 
iconic roadside traditions of nearby Route 66. The 
distinctive bridge has a serpentine main underbelly 
featuring casted grooves and hatch marks that simulate 
the patterns found on the Western Diamondback 
snake, metaphorically referencing the spine of 
the transit system.

“The Construction Authority is proud to have created 
a functional piece of art that will inspire travelers 
and commuters for generations to come,” said Doug 
Tessitor, Construction Authority board chair and 
Glendora council member. “The Gold Line Bridge 
is representative of the rich and proud heritage of 
our region, and it will serve as a landmark for the 
San Gabriel Valley.”

The project is the first to incorporate such intricate 
design, structural and architectural elements into 
transit infrastructure. The Construction Authority 
the design process 
for the dual-track 
bridge, making it 
possible for the art 
to lead the design 
and engineering. 
This groundbreaking 
resulted in the creation 
of a sculptural 
light rail bridge 
built for the same 
cost ($18.6 million) 
as was originally estimated 
for a typical 
light rail structure.

The Construction 
Authority brought 
the artist on early 
to lead the design 
process, before the 
design-build team 
was selected - the 
first time such an 
approach has been 
used on a Caltrans 
infrastructure project. In 2009, the agency issued a 
national call for artists. A committee of community 
stakeholders then selected Leicester from a group 
of 15 highly qualified public artists. Leicester spent 
several months developing design concepts for the 
bridge in advance of the architects, engineers and 
builders beginning their work.

As the design concept adviser, Leicester worked 
alongside Los Angeles-based design consultant, 
AECOM, and the bridge’s builder, Skanska USA, to 
ensure the final design and construction were true 
to the overall vision.

"Ninety-two percent of the materials and products 
used on the bridge were from local sources," commented 
U.S. Representative Judy Chu, during her 
remarks at the ceremony. "That meant jobs for the 
area, and we are very pleased that the leaders of this 
project saw that this whole region could be involved 
and benefit from its construction."

Legal Insights by Noah Green1 

1 Noah Green lives in Sierra Madre and works as an attorney handling business litigation at the Ryan Law Firm in 
Pasadena, CA. He can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at (626) 568-8808.


Having lived in 
Newtown, Connecticut 
from 1992-1996 and 
having spent my 
senior year in college 
researching and writing 
about gun control, I feel 
both compelled and 
able to speak out about 
last week’s shooting. 
For years I made this 
cause my own, feeling it was unfair for those of 
us who do not own guns to live in fear and at the 
mercy of those who do. Aside from the fear of 
prison, the only thing stopping those with guns 
from slaughtering the innocent is their own self-
control and morality. When individuals who 
own guns lose self-control, morality, or even the 
rationality to fear prison, the end result for the 
rest of us is death. We witnessed this not only last 
week on a vast scale but indeed suffer through it 
on smaller scale every single day in the form of a 
steady drip-drip-drip of gun violence.

Perhaps it is because I grew up in a city, but I just 
do not understand those who claim that there 
is a genuine need for individuals to own guns. 
What good do they do? Indeed, their intended 
purpose is to kill. Why should we be surprised 
when they are used as intended?

Some may argue that the “rights” of hunters and 
sportsmen who enjoy shooting should not be 
infringed. But does the right of this small and 
otherwise unburdened minority outweigh the 
rights of everyone else to be free from the fear 
and risk of undeserved death? I for one do not 
think so.

For those of you who believe that guns are 
valuable tools of self-defense, I urge you to 
actually do the research on this point - they are 
not. For every person who successfully fends 
off a would-be attacker with a firearm, there are 
literally hundreds of innocent people that are 
shot. Gun owners’ fantasy about using their guns 
for self-defense is just that - fantasy. I invite the 
gun lobby to provide empirical evidence (rather 
than a few unverified anecdotes) demonstrating 
that a substantial number of guns are successfully 
used each year in self-defense. Or just ask 
yourself how many people you know (other than 
characters in TV shows) who have scared off or 
shot an attacker with their gun? 

Some may say that having a gun in the house 
makes them feel safer at night just knowing that 
it is there in case they need it. Guess what - it is 
again hundreds of times more likely to that the gun 
in your home will be used against a member of 
your family in a heated argument or accidentally 
discharged by a child who finds it. These gun 
owners are fooling themselves and the rest of us 
must pay the price. 

Gun supporters love to point out the fact that 
many of these mass-shooters are themselves shot 
by bystanders carrying guns. They miss the point 
entirely. In each of these cases the murderer has 
already gone on his shooting spree by the time 
they are shot. The idea is to prevent the shooting 
spree before it starts.

Others like to argue that “if you outlaw guns only 
outlaws will have guns,” that the current supply of 
firearms will last for decades or that guns will still 
be available on the black market even if they are 
illegalized. The core of this argument requires 
one to believe that if a perfect solution cannot 
be found, one should not even attempt a good 
or partial solution. Those who adopt this logic 
must also cease trimming their finger nails (alas, 
they will only grow back). If a drastic reduction 
of guns on the streets results in a substantial 
reduction - but not complete - elimination of 
gun-related deaths, I will take it. 

Aside from the policy, logic, and moral 
arguments listed above, there are of course those 
who say that the “right to bear arms” is legally 
protected by the Second Amendment. Those 
same gun supporters ignore the first clause of 
the amendment, which ties that right to the need 
to maintain a “well regulated militia.” For more 
than 130 years the Supreme Court found that the 
two clauses, separated by a mere comma, were 
intertwined and co-dependent. More recently, 
the justices who gave us Bush v. Gore and host 
of other conservative opinions discovered a 
new meaning in the text and ruled that the 
amendment gives individuals the right to bear 
arms regardless of any state right to maintain 
a militia, thus making many gun control laws 
already on the books arguably unconstitutional 
and making the legal battle for gun control even 
harder. Nor are the judges alone. For decades 
the gun lobby has been one of the most powerful 
forces preventing even reasonable and minimal 
gun control legislation from seeing the light of 
day in Congress or the states. Perhaps most 
importantly, public opinion – though riled 
from time to time by outrageous stories like 
Columbine – typically moves on and shows no 
appetite for demanding meaningful change. 

But then Newtown happened, and just maybe 
the dynamic started to change when the victims 
became young children. Perhaps the public has 
finally taken notice. I will probably wind up 
feeling like a fool again, but the sentiments that 
I have seen expressed by my fellow citizens over 
the last few days have given me new hope. After 
giving up on gun control for 15 years, I see a light. 
If the groundswell is strong enough perhaps our 
society can mature and advance to the level of 
our brethren in the United Kingdom or Australia, 
where guns licenses and firearms are few and far 
between, and handed out only to those with a 
“genuine need” above and beyond “self-defense.” 
If this means we need to overrule the Supreme 
Court by amending the Constitution, so be it. 
It has already been amended 27 other times in 
our nation’s history over issues as insignificant 
as congressional salaries. The time to end the 
bloodshed and drastically limit or altogether 
eliminate guns from a society which has clearly 
proven that it is not capable of handling them 
safely is an idea whose time has come. 

U.S. Representatives Grace Napolitano and Judy Chu Officially Open the Bridge 
at the Gold Line Bridge Completion

CHRISTMAS By Christoper Nyerges

[Nyerges is the author of “Self-Sufficient Home,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” and 
other books. He can be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or www.]


 A few months back, when they began announcing the Cleopatra Exhibition at 
the Science Center, my daughter said it was a Must to attend. She really is into Egypt 
and Ancient History and thought it would be a great opportunity, so we went last 

 The Cleopatra Exhibition is at 
the Science Center and tickets can be 
purchased on line. I believe the afternoon 
times may be preferable. When we went 
in the morning, there were several classes 
on field trips so it was a little hectic.

 However, just going to the Science 
Center for everything else would be well 
worth it. Parking is $10 cash only. Admission to the Center 
itself is free. However special exhibitions like Cleopatra require 
a paid ticket. I also went on line and learned there is no fee for 
the Endeavor only, but you need a ticket for admission.

 The California Science Center is the West Coast’s largest 
hands-on science center. We went to the Endeavor first, located 
on the second floor. Then we had to go up to the third floor for 
Cleopatra. There were so many displays and simulators along 
the way. I kept telling my husband I wanted to return with our 
11 and 13 year old grandchildren. They certainly would want to 
try out all the simulators and are old enough to enjoy the vast 
amount of knowledge provided.

 On the way to the Endeavor, 
we saw a Mercury capsule. I 
remember the Space Program 
began in 1957 and still have the Life 
Magazine with the seven original 
astronauts. Then they narrowed it to 
three: Alan Shepherd, Gus Grissom 
and John Glenn. (I also have the 
magazine with their three pictures 
on the cover.) Alan Shepherd was 
actually the first American in space 
and he did a successful suborbital 
flight-I believe only 10 minutes or so. It 
was in May. In July, Gus Grissom went up 
in a suborbital flight. However, he almost 
drowned and his capsule went under. But 
they got to him in time. Then John Glenn 
was the first American to orbit the earth 
and he did that three times. So I was 
thrilled to see the Mercury capsule!

 We then proceeded to the 
Hanger where the Endeavor was. It was 
mindboggling to see it up close and think 
about its many journeys. Along three of 
the walls are posters of ALL the shuttles 
and of ALL their missions and crews! 
They also had simulators so you could 
really feel what it was like! 

 After the Endeavor, it was time 
for Cleopatra. That also was interesting. There were 16 stations and you were given a headset which was 
needed for the background information. There were artifacts to see and I enjoyed learning her family 
background, her rule as pharaoh, her relationships and children and her role in history. 

 If you enjoy Ancient History and Egypt, Cleopatra is a must. However, if there isn’t time, at least 
plan a trip to the Science Center with the children in the New Year. They’ll love it. For must info, go on 
line and type in California Science Center.

“What’s Going On?” 

News and Views from Joan Schmidt

 Sometimes we get so caught up in the problems of now and tomorrow 
that we simply disable ourselves to live in the moment and enjoy the 
miracle of life. I’d been so focused on solving my own and other people’s 
problems, of growing older, of seeing friends die, of financial problems, 
that I’d barely realized I’d fallen down the rabbit hole of not seeing the 
incredible that is before me. 

 After a late night meeting, I drove home, nearly midnight, through 
the Arroyo Seco and along the Rose Bowl. The coolness of the night was 
refreshing, invigorating. I breathed deep and found myself looking anew at the enchanting hillside 
landscape that has always been hidden in plain view. I realized I’d been looking but not seeing. A lone 
coyote runs along the road. Further along, a skunk hides from view by swiftly descending into a storm 
drain. A melodic bird sings. The landscape is alive and bright, and I marvel at the late-night runners 
still engaged in their exercises.


 Though my body aches with the scars of aging, I found that my mind was fresh, young, awakening 
again after a long sleep. I felt 17 again (or was it 14?) when I knew that I was immortal, eternal, a part 
of all things. I breathed deeply, and found great joy in the Eternal Now that was before me, the Eternal 
Now which always is. I experienced this same Eternal Now when running and motorcycling through 
the Arroyo Seco years ago, and when I would stand in the rain and feel its miracle. 

 I had been feeling anxious, worried, concerned, and though nothing had changed, I now felt free, 
hopeful, curious. I wanted to share, and I began to sing and think of poetry. But I quickly realized 
there is nothing that needs to be done. To experience the moment is sufficient, to go fully into the 
beauty of the moment, and to feel the past, and present, and future, all ripe with possibilities and 
discoveries, all in this moment. 

 I could now see the lights of the city and the peaks of the Angeles Forest with its occasional 
twinkling lights. I come by here every day, but somehow this was a new land, a magical land, the land 
of my mind. I began to wonder about the lot of man, working endlessly at jobs that are not enjoyed, 
to pursue more and better things, never defining real goals except maybe “retirement,” which is not 
a real goal. I felt sad, and a gust of wind sobered me up, telling me to be concerned about my own 
choices, to refine my own daily actions and not to dwell on whatever it is that other people do or do 
not. The wind freed me of yet another pointless anchor—the thinking about what “other people” do 
or don’t do. 

 Be here now. Wasn’t that the title of an old hippie book? Be here now. Easy to say, hard to do. 
But it has become the main dictum in my inner religion, and though I have no church, the Arroyo 
Seco is the closest I’ve found. It is my homeland, my place of work and dreams, my place of endless 
adventures and ongoing discoveries. It is my Walden Pond, my Field of Dreams, my Golden Pond. It 
is simultaneously nothing and everything. It is a vehicle through which I continually find myself, still 
that same Self, still in that same body (for now), still eager to learn and to grow. 

 I finally got home and stood outside looking at the stars, feeling the cool evening wind. It felt good 
to be “up,” and to know the fight is not over. I could feel the meaning of Bodhi-Dharma’s insightful 
words: “Fall down seven times, get up eight! Life starts from NOW.” 

 And I began to realize, isn’t that the Christmas message? To rise again from the darkness, to be 
reborn again from the depth of the winter, to rediscover our inner self and our neighbor in this 
darkest time of the 
year? I felt a deep 
inner appreciation 
for whatever it was 
that provided me 
with this insight, this 
knowledge that I am 
apart of everything 
and everyone. I 
realized then that 
to truly experience 
the real meaning 
of Christmas I 
needed to create the 
environment so that 
the Christ-within 
can be born again 
within my own soul.