Viewpoint - October 6, 2010

Letter: Not 'no,' but 'hell no'

On quick read, Steve Schmidt's guest opinion last week on high-speed rail seems reasonable, but the opinions are belied by demonstrable facts. Steve says, "I encourage the council to use a rational and realistic approach ... to be positive, creative. ..."

For about two years the council has been rational, realistic, positive and creative to no avail. Two years ago commissioner Rod Diridon stood in the Menlo Park City Council chambers and said the high-speed rail authority would do nothing that Menlo Park does not want.

Since then, current Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline has headed the Peninsula Cities Consortium, which has met, talked and "negotiated" with the high-speed-rail board in good faith, but with absolutely zero effect. Even after losing the first lawsuit, the rail authority has completely ignored the desires of the citizens.

Mr. Diridon's words have been proven disingenuous and the rail authority's current plan under its chief executive, Roelof van Ark, continues the agency's disdain for the needs of our community by reaffirming its original position of two years ago. I believe it is its intent to drive the easiest, cheapest elevated rail structure possible through the center of our town, the wishes of citizens be damned. Steve Schmidt's continued optimism is poorly placed. The only realistic recourse left for us now is to say, not "no," but "hell no."

Don Barnby, Spruce Avenue, Menlo Park


Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 7, 2010 at 6:19 am

The HSR initiative should be put on the ballot again. The people of California were deceived. The HSR authority deliberately salted the numbers by grossly exagerating ridership numbers, grossly underestimating O&M costs, and grossly underestimating procurement costs.

The Acela operates in the highest density are of the United States and it is losing money hand over fist. How do you expect CA to make money when the population density is far less?

The money would be far better spent on regional transit. CalTrain should be electrified. Highway 101 is at saturation levels. If we add any more cars to the freeway we will have total gridlock. This is why we need to have more people riding Caltrain to SF. Caltain electrification will go a long way towards alleviating the gridlock.

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