Is it okay if a million people have to suffer a little bit so that a few thousand can keep thing the way they are? This is the situation with the 710 Freeway. The people of South Pasadena have successfully blocked completing the freeway for more than 40 years. The people of Alhambra have had to bare the brunt of the burden. But the residents of Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, La Canada and many other cities in the San Gabriel Valley have had their commutes lengthened and the traffic increased a little in their neighborhoods so that South Pasadena can keep thing the way they were.
A special interest group with a lot to gain or lose can concentrate its effort on influencing the media and the politicians while a million people who suffer in the margin are not heard. A picture of a family who will “lose there house” makes good media but it is hard to picture the suffering of the million people whose daily commute is 5 minutes longer because the 710 freeway was never completed. This is one of the flaws of our democracy.