http://almanacnews.com/square/print/2009/03/04/will-locals-have-a-seat-at-the-table


Town Square

Will locals have a seat at the table?

Original post made on Mar 4, 2009

From the laying of the first tracks on the transcontinental rail line, the little folks have had a notoriously tough time getting The Railroad's attention.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments

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Posted by Rich Cline
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Sean, thanks for the article. Appreciate all your hard work getting the story together.

This is a complex issue and it is almost unfair to expect the article which is limited by space and time to be able to break down all the subtleties.

I did support the litigation under the premise that the city did not get an adequate response to miltiple letters sent in over the past several years. These questions related to impacts, alternatives, economics and actual rail usage. Until a week or two ago, we were only told that our letter was "lost" and had not been received (we sent multiple letters). I still feel that the decision to enter into a legal discussion was appropriate given the oversight. In this position as a councilmember, I don't feel I have the luxury to hope it works out or trust that more is coming from the rail authorities, regardless of my personal feelings about HSR.

And the litigation fulfills my need to get those answers before our agencies enter into long-term contracts that bind us all into this project. This was not anti-rail and it still is not anti-rail. HSR has many benefits that cannot be overlooked, but it must be done right because it will last for 100 years.

But by the same token, we are now a few months removed from a proposition that was passed by a majority of citizens of Menlo Park. Whether or not we think the state can afford it, or if the bonds can be priced adequately and soon enough or if privae funding can be achieved, it was approved.

This is why we have a parallel plan to work with our neighboring cities and find a way to create opportunities with the HSR and Caltrain and our communities. This is a key point. We are moving ahead in a positive fashion and we are looking forward.

I think these points can be lost in newspaper form, and I rambled to poor Sean for longer than I should have about all of this.

We have receieved an initial response from Judge Kopp relating to the "lost" letters. The city is reviewing this letter and we hope to have a quick response in return.

My take away point: This is not about anti-rail or anti-HSR, it is about representing the city in the most responsible way I see fit.