In high-speed rail battle, Peninsula residents may have found their Goliath

• Citing potential common ground between Peninsula dwellers and Union Pacific, local residents plan to file an action to assure the railroad behemoth has a seat at the table in high-speed rail negotiations.

Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Russell Peterson as an Atherton resident. In fact, he lives in Menlo Park.

By Sean Howell

Those who would like to see the high-speed rail line run in a tunnel or a trench, rather than on a berm, as it passes through the Peninsula might have found an ally in the negotiating process -- in the form of, ironically, a major railroad company.

According to Menlo Park attorney Mike Brady, Union Pacific railroad retained an unusual set of rights when it sold the Caltrain corridor to the Peninsula Joint Powers Board, which represents Peninsula counties, in 1991. Among those rights is the right to "veto any other inter-city passenger service" running along the rail line, and to prevent any invasive construction in the right of way, according to Mr. Brady.

With Mountain View-based attorney Zachary Tyson, Mr. Brady plans to file a declaratory relief action in San Mateo County Superior Court on behalf of Menlo Park resident Russell Peterson. In the claim, Mr. Peterson asks the court to declare that the High-Speed Rail Authority cannot begin work on the project without Union Pacific's consent.

Residents who feel that neither the High-Speed Rail Authority nor the Joint Powers Board are looking out for their interests hold out hope that Union Pacific could disrupt potential plans for raised tracks, which many feel would have deleterious effects on local communities.

Mr. Brady and Mr. Tyson are working pro bono, according to Mr. Brady.

Unlikely Union

Peninsula residents and Union Pacific officials would make unlikely bedfellows, given that the three Peninsula counties — Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco — originally bought the rights to the rail corridor from Union Pacific.

But residents who are concerned about the potential impacts of the high-speed rail system on local jurisdictions have said they think the Caltrain board is more interested in securing benefits for its own system, such as electrification of the rail line, than it is in defending the interests of Peninsula communities.

It's not clear where Union Pacific stands on the prospect of high-speed rail, though it has said it doesn't intend to give up its right to veto the high-speed trains, according to Mr. Brady. He points out that a memorandum of understanding between the rail authority and the Caltrain board doesn't even mention Union Pacific, saying the railroad giant is "being completely ignored by the authority and the Joint Powers Board."

Judge Quentin Kopp, a member of the rail authority's board, bristled at that suggestion.

"Mike Brady apparently worries about Union Pacific, which itself manifestly refuses to join in his frivolous suit," Judge Kopp said. "To the contrary, Union Pacific representatives have in the last 30 days met with an authority member and the governor, as well as authority staff, on the subject of right of way use."

In response to a request for an interview, Caltrain said in a statement that "nothing has been done that would violate" Union Pacific's rights.

Mr. Brady agreed with that assessment. "They can plan all they want to, but they couldn't start the project until Union Pacific agrees," he said. "It's a waste of public funds for the Joint Powers Board and the High-Speed Rail Authority to be planning this project without Union Pacific's consent."

Common ground?

On the issue that looms largest in the minds of locals — whether the rail system would run underground, or on a berm — Peninsula residents and Union Pacific might find some common ground, Mr. Brady said.

For instance, running Caltrain and high-speed rail tracks through an underground tunnel, with Union Pacific freight running above ground, could be a win-win for both locals and the railroad giant, he said. Union Pacific wouldn't have to share the above-ground tracks, enabling it to run freight trains during the day. And Peninsula cities wouldn't have to confront a 15-foot-high berm bisecting their communities.

Perhaps Union Pacific would make the tunnel option, thought in many quarters to be prohibitively expensive, a condition for its consent to the high-speed rail system.

Mr. Brady admits it's all speculation at this point. He met with Union Pacific representatives, but didn't get any indication of the railroad's position, he said.

If Union Pacific is concerned about its rights when it comes to the rail corridor, why doesn't it file for declaratory relief itself?

"It's probably political," Mr. Brady said. "Maybe they have to be careful, who knows. I don't purport to answer for them ... What their ultimate position will be, I don't know."

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Posted by No standing
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm

It's very well-established that third parties cannot sue to enforce the rights in a contract to which they are not a party. Russell Peterson cannot step into the shoes of Union Pacific and force Caltrain or the PJPB or CHSRA to abide by the terms of the agreement between UPRR and the PJPB.

This lawsuit, far from being the "Goliath", is going to go nowhere fast.

Instead, Mr. Brady and Mr. Tyson are going to waste the court's time, and San Mateo County taxpayers are going to wind up paying for Brady and Tyson to clog up the court with a frivolous lawsuit. Way to go.

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Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm

The excellent Caltrain HSR Compatibilty blog has an interesting and thought-provoking analysis of this latest NIMBY strategy to block HSR:

Web Link

As you will have seen from reading the above, the plot thickens ...

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Posted by CHOO CHOO
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm

It is going to be goverment owned and operated railways that will get America out of this ditch and a lot of people are going to be unhappy, but more will be happier.
To get back on its feet, America is going to have to take away a lot of rights from the rich and it already has become a different country/world everywhere you go.

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Union Pacific did the same thing to Beverly Hills 50 years ago and prevented it did no good for the residents who had to hear that loud one engine locomotive run once a day, anytime it wished and it played havoc with the lives of everyone who lived there.
Be careful what you wish for.

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2009 at 4:55 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Excuse that sloppy comment.Three phones came at me and I did not make a point that was too clear.....The calls were barely better.

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Posted by clear thinker
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Hey Choo Choo. Nice Socialistic perspective! The rich have rights to have what they have, and not have the government just take it away, [portion removed; see terms of use]. You said: "It is going to be goverment owned and operated railways that will get America out of this ditch." Are you serious? A government operated railroad? Operated by the same people who have done so well with Social Security and Cash for Clunkers? And the Post Office? (These same comparisons will also be made in discussions about our health care reforms, God help us!) This HSR is the dumbest of all ideas, endorsed by the short sighted voters of this otherwise great state. How anybody could get mesmerised into thinking that will be anything but a $$$$ drain into perpetuity defies logic. This will be the biggest subsidy this state has ever had, and once it is in place, it is there forever. Meantime, once everybody who voted for this intitiative comes out of the ether, they will still be too self-righteous or emberrassed to blame themselves. They will continue to wonder why the state is always out of money, and thier lawmakers can't pass a budget. If people stop voting for these frivilous spending initiatives, we wouldn't have these problems. Somebody needs to try to stop this lunacy! Wake up, Choo Choo. You will suffer along with the rest of us, even once you discover that you were wrong. Then what will you complain about? It will be too late!

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Posted by Railsmart
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Have you ever heard of Amtrak? Government run and never in the black? Passenger service is not viable as there is no profit. Fact of life....government cannot run business as they are aware when they are in the red they can tax their way out.

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Posted by Clear Thinker Knows!
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 7, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Clear Thinker is absolutely correct. Interesting fact from the Tax Foundation, a VERY objective source. The top 1% of taxpayers now officially paid 40.4% of total federal income taxes.(latest figures from 2007) This is the highest percentage in modern history, compare that number to 20 years ago (1987) and it was 24.8%. In addition, for you non-believers, you would think these high achievers would earn more than 40% of the income, WRONG, these top 1% only earned 22.8% of the total adjusted gross income. Lastly, the top 1% of taxpayers, which is approx. 1.4 Million people paid a larger share of the income tax burden than the bottom 95% of taxpayers, which is approximately 134 Million people!
So, those of you Robin Hood types out there, when are you going to stop robbing from the "rich" (by the way in this study, you needed to make $410K to be considered "rich") and start holding yourselves accountable, work hard, stop the envy and exercise some fiscal responsibility!!?? Again, look it up: Tax Foundation.

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Posted by i pay my share...
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Aug 7, 2009 at 11:08 pm

I do not doubt that high income people pay more than their share of INCOME tax, but there are many other kinds of taxes than just income and they sure add up, sales, RE, SSI, Medi-whatever, tariffs, etc etc. By most economist's reckoning, these taxes are either flatish or regressive in nature. In addition, the code greatly favors wealthy thru it's much lower taxation on capital gains than on wage income. And certainly, not least, the arcane rules of the code include devices such as trusts, stepped up basis, exchanges, etc, etc, permit considerable income and wealth to escape taxation altogether.

Less you think I'm closet communist, I am a refugee from communism, but I remain utterly eternally grateful to my adopted land. My taxes are quite large, but I think about the generations of future Americans I help educate, the public infrastructure, the soldiers pay and care, etc etc.

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Posted by not digging it
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2009 at 11:13 pm

HSR is going to get whom out of what ditch? Will it fix our economy by plunging us into such a deep well of debt that we will be numb to any thoughts of recovery? Will it help the burdening us with heavy energy-hungry trains? Will it solve the unemployment situation by creating jobs? What sort of jobs? Laying track? Collecting tickets on trains? Let's step away from the fantasy for a moment and try to be clear on this.

Some of you HSR proponents seem more excited about sticking it to the "rich" than about providing the best public transit options to the masses. (Any reasonable analysis would show that HSR isn't much of a solution to our public transit deficit.)

No, I'm afraid the only ditch I see is the one that the HSR supporters are trying to dig for all of us. And anyone who would advocate taking away "a lot of rights" from any group of residents needs a refresher course in U.S. civics. Ninth grade dropout, maybe?

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Posted by Clear thinker
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2009 at 7:58 am

To "I pay my share": About the only one of your tax analogies I agree with is SSI. There should be no cap, with the caveat that it only gets paid out to LEGAL residents, who also pay into the system in the first place. Sales tax is paid by everybody, and you can bet that those with more $$$$ buy more things, therefore pay more in sales tax. But be careful. The geniuses in Sacto want to start charging sales tax on services and labor. If that happens, watch this slow economy come to a screeching halt. In fact, the only ones who will able to accomodate that will be the "rich", however you define that. The "poor" will not be able to afford some of their already marginal joys in life, like the dentist, auto mechanic, hair stylists, handyman--choose whatever service you want. You might want to become proactive with your legislative representatives, before you find yourself wandering around one day mumbling "What happened?".

While you are talking to your reps, you might also want to mention that they should PERMANENTLY extend the "death tax" limits. In 2011, they are scheduled to roll back to a $1,000,000 exemption, before a 55% rate kicks in. I believe the limit is now $5,000,000, but feel free to correct me on that number. That would mean that the government will get more than your family would. Try handing down the family business or farm to them, when they would probably have to sell it all, including your family heirlooms, just to pay the estate taxes. $1mil might be alot in Keokuck, Iowa, but even the "poor" here in California have a tough time getting by on that kind retirement fund.

And while you are talking to your Congressional reps, find out why they are so neglegent to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for this coutry...........ow! I'm getting a headache. This could go on and on and on.......

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Posted by Wakeup
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2009 at 11:43 am

This is for the future not for 75 year old WOOFS that O so many of you people are..and conserative ones at that..SO stop trying to do justic to your arrogant self centerd lives and think of us that will be alive for the next 40-50years!..and this our nation that is fast becoming 2 place when iot comes to trasportation

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Posted by lyqwyd
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2009 at 2:32 pm

income tax is essentially irrelevant to the truly wealthy, capital gains is much more important, which is currently at 15%, the same is what people pay in income tax if they make less than $34,000, except that you can make millions in capital gains and still only pay 15%. I also ask, of these 1% top tax payers, what percentage of total wealth do they possess?

As far as the estate tax goes, the limit should be brought down to $1 million, the rate should be bumped up to 80% and then we should get rid of income tax all together. I'd much rather pay to die than pay to live.

The estate tax is the best way to prevent dynasties from existing. Dynasties are only for the benefit of a small group of people and serve no benefit to the country.

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Posted by Clear thinker
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Hey, lyqwyd, since when is $1mil or even $5mil a dynasty? You know how long that will last if a family member goes into long term care, or even moderate assisted living? Besides, why does anybody even have to justify it? If somebody has the ability to build a dynasty out of those amounts, good for them! What is their incentive to build a business WHICH WILL CREATE JOBS, if they know they can't pass it along to their heirs? And by the way, where do you think the largest contributors to charities and humanitarian causes get their money? From the government coffers after your Socialist friends confiscate it? Right, they have sure demonstrated the ability to effectively budget money. Woops, sorry I suggest that, because your answer will probably be "yes".

People work hard to get what they have, only to have some socialists, most of whom have never even held a private sector job, much less run their own business, decide that we need to give it to people who should not even be here, and those who are born into welfare and entitlements, and are unmotivated enough to enjoy that lifestyle, yet are decimating our health and education systems. Oh, yeah, that's where we should place our future!

Oh, and Wakeup, you have the my demographic all wrong. You have grossly overestimated my age group. Also, I don't have anywhere near the bank account which would allow me to fit into your "arrogant self centered" category, as you so eloquently put it. In fact, I doubt the change in the estate tax would ever affect me personally. I am just willing to look at the big picture, rather than my own "arrogant self centered life", like you are doing. But thank you for noticing that I am a fiscal conservative. I consider that a compliment. No other way works. Anybody with a work ethic, and is willing to work hard to build something for their family, will recognize that. Hmmmm, maybe that explains why have the perspective you do.

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Posted by not digging it
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 8, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Props to any 75-year-olds that have figured out to post on these boards. You're ahead of the curve, and I hope I am still that open to learning new technologies when I reach that age.

Speaking of new technologies, trains are the antithesis thereof. They WERE a solution -- in the 19th century. But I sure hope that the best and the brightest of the millennials are looking forward, not backward, to innovative approaches that will meet today's needs. If this HSR gets built, in 2050 our kids won't be cheering "yay! we have trains!" No, they're more likely to ask us to tell them the story of how the disastrous HSR bonds sealed the fate of the late great state of California, whose lands were subsequently split among Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona.

By the way, am I the only person here who finds it highly amusing that socialists are lauding an effort that would serve primarily to enrich a few extremely wealthy capitalists?

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Posted by Clear thinker
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm

"By the way, am I the only person here who finds it highly amusing that socialists are lauding an effort that would serve primarily to enrich a few extremely wealthy capitalists?"

Well put, not digging it. My guess is that they may just be closet capitalists who have a niche that will benefit greatly from all this nonsense. After all, logic is certainly dictating thes backward ideas.

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Posted by Clear thinker
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Sorry, I was interrupted on this end. My last sentence should have read: After all, logic is cerainly NOT dictating these backward ideas.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 10, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Clear Thinker you are spot on!

We need to rid the Menlo Park City Council of the Politburo mentality and the best way to start is to vote our Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline from office in the November 2010 election.

These Slocum acolytes are dull and unimaginative except when they dream up ways to waste our hard earned dollars. We still have El Camino looking like the Bowery.

We are fortunate that we had Nicholas Jellins, Lee Duboc and Mickie Winkler to approve the construction of the Rosewood Hotel when the "Social-Lites" were out of power. You can bet your bottom dollar that the current council would have disapproved the Rosewood Hotel project 4-1 with John Boyle, as usual, being the only voice of sanity.

Heyward Robinson, Richard Cline, Andy Cohen, and Kelly Fergusson can kiss my grits!

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Hank, Boyle has sold you out on the HSR. No business plan, no budget, no way to pay for it, no problem for Boyle. You cry foul on fiscal responsibility, of which you have proven no experience, and your own boy turns away on a potential $50B drag...

The foursome you stamp on have challenged the concept and the plan from the get go.

Your hypocrisy knows no bounds...

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 10, 2009 at 4:06 pm

[Portion removed] The Feckless Four (Heyward, Richard, Andy, & Kelly) all wanted the HSR. They just did not want it to go through the prosperous sections of Menlo Park. They wanted it to come across the Dumbarton Bridge and only go through the poor part of Menlo Park so that it would only adversely affect the minorities.

I disagree with John Boyle on HSR. I think it is fiscally reckless to fund a $50B project when we are running multi-billion dollar deficits. We can not afford HSR.

I also agree with John Boyle on almost everything else as contrasted with my disagreement with the Feck Four on most issues.

[Portion removed]

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 11, 2009 at 1:19 am

The lack of accurate information from Hank should alarm everyone albeit not surprise anyone. Cowards name call from the sidelines. Have the courage to respect people. I have dozens of links and posts in this forum that prove out that the four you ridicule hyave stood against this project on both sides of town. You are just worth mt time to repeat it again.

And trust me, you brush off $50B as if it were an inconvenience. It should be enough for you to reconsider any candidate. But idealogues don't think, they foment...

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 11, 2009 at 11:56 am


$50B may be an inconvenience to liberals who think that the Heavens are raining down money on California. But in truth it is a financial catastrophe that will burden future generations resulting in a degraded standard of living. This is because large portions of Californians income will be confiscated in the form of huge tax increases to pay for this folly. This will significantly decrease disposable income for future generations.

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Posted by Liberal Against HSR
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Good grief, Hank.
Be careful who you are bashing with your comments.
I'm a registered Democrat. I have some pretty liberal views on certain topics. But I am also staunchly AGAINST the California HSR. And I am against HSR for the very same fiscal reasons you list.

But, Hank, really .... enough with the bashing! You are NOT making friends with that kind of behavior. And you cause a loss of respect for those of us fighting against CA HSR when you bash entire segments of our society like "liberals".

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2009 at 7:42 pm

You can all throw around names of communists, liberals, socialists, and start throwing in that those making too much paying more, and all the panicky arguments against government.
The FACT is, we are NOT going to get out of this Depression unless we, the country, function in a way to permit a radical change to start 5 years ago.
Reading about autos which will be getting 268 mpg is a GRIMM story and meant to rattle the cages of those who think we are going to get the auto industry back on its feet. Wrong. Never going to happen.The costs for fixing all of our highways is going to be ludicrously more expensive expecially since that is four years coming and we have no usable highway systems.
I am one of those you would call rich in the higher 1% and frankly, I did not need the money when I discovered real reasons beyond making more money. Money is fine, but what it does to those who do not have it, is horrifyingly selfish on those who do not have a teeny little bit of "communal" caring and give away that which is just racking up money in failed banks or THAT world of money.
The entire argument against HSR is just selfish. How much money can a person or a family spend? I admit to looking for ways to put my money where it will do immediate good, and spend most of my time going to organizations and they are better organized but without the capital to save lives, improve medical, as opposed to those who go around the U.S. screaming GREEN...Bull.
I am against greed which is America's greatest motivator. People think it gives power. It is lost as easily.
There IS no other way out for America except for the building of a high speed train system which made us, a basically lazy country, not pay attention to its leaders, and permitting the way it still is struggling along finding fault of one party against the other.
That is why I travel and help those who have been stomped on or ignored as part of a world community and returning to hear about the fights of illegals using up all our medical insurance. The entire scenario as read above to the point of anger, does no good.
There HAS to be a change. The ONLY thing which I see can do it no matter how much I am taxed, is going to be through HIGH SPEED TRANSPORTATION because WE HAVE NOTHING LEFT. It is just a bluff to think otherwise. My children both agree and disagree, but see the point and they are educated and made to work while going to college and my late wife enjoyed her bijoux until she found that humans were more important.Not a martyr, but am still young enough to be with a special woman and we are over the spending, having houses, and mixing with people with not much character. The less affluent are far more interesting when they ares bright, driven, real, and not into the "American Dream" which became so distorted, that it is an embarrassment to see what our educational system has become and children being educated by computers and being almost dead ringers of one another in terms of character. The first line people who think like me and others is "if you don't like it, leave". We do, all of the time.The only thing with a great growth potential here in the U.S. is ignorance.
The American Dream today is a '59 Cadillac with "wings" that gets 300 miles a gallon and with 8 speakers.

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Posted by Bianca
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm

"running Caltrain and high-speed rail tracks through an underground tunnel, with Union Pacific freight running above ground, could be a win-win for both locals and the railroad giant, he said. Union Pacific wouldn't have to share the above-ground tracks, enabling it to run freight trains during the day."

What? The lawsuit wants freight trains to run ALL DAY LONG? Are they nuts? How is that a win for the community? Freight trains are so loud.

So instead of the suicide-by-train being Caltrain's problem, it will be UPRR's instead?

Freight trains can be *really* long. How does that help the community to have traffic backed up waiting for an endless freight train to pass?

We could get grade separations, which would put an end to the loud horns, and pedestrians on the tracks. But this lawsuit wants instead to make the taxpayers spend untold billions on a tunnel, *and* have freight trains running during the day as well as at night?

That seems like the worst of all possible outcomes. Truly.

The whole reason the dreaded berms were designed so massively is to accomodate three freight trains a day. If UPRR were to abandon its right to those three trains, we could have much smaller, less imposing grade separations.

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Posted by train supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 12, 2009 at 9:42 am

Trains - commuter, freight, and high-speed rail - are a good thing. I support rail of all kinds.

If you are worried about noise, then steps to lessen noise from elevated tracks (quieter electric trains, sound walls) should be the focus.

As for undergrounding - It does not take a lot of expensive analysis to come to the conclusion that a relatively shallow underground tunnel will face too many problems from the water table, creeks, and underground utilities, to be practical. It will be too expensive.

But if a majority of us in Palo Alto and Menlo Park want the trains underground, then then we should vote to tax ourselves and pay for the undergrounding portion of the cost (that is over and beyond what it would cost fed/state gov't to elevate the trains). Simple.

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 12, 2009 at 1:42 pm

$50B is good? With federal subsidies thereafter?


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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Train supporter does not sound out of his mind to me even if you aren't thinking that. He/she is with all practicality resigned to see that there really is no other way.
So, let someone make a killing on ear plugs in private enterprise.
RAILROADS of all types mentioned my 'train supporter'is not a local monster being put on the drawing board, nor is 50 B going to even put a dent into how much more is going to be needed in CA alone.
This is NOT a problem for people who hate noise and are yelling the word of the year "bern" as "sidebar" was being shouted 10 plus years ago.
Somehow, most of you have forgotten that this is not a California complaint----it is our country's; therefore, the world's.Of course, there will be a LOT of jobs. Not easy ones, but constant work when we begin in all of the other states going to the East Coast and also leaving from Los Angeles and going to Dallas and its arms eventually spreading like those maps on planes with lines emanating from one particular airlines to "those" places which are now cluttered with foreclosure signs.
Of course the government is going to have to play a large part of it along with private enterprise and then the banks and then the stock market and then we get another shot for this country at having aL LIFE. Otherwise, I want all those people who hate noise to realize that they are going to be hearing a lot of it while digging and loud whistles blow night and day, and YES, our unemployment bottoms out and people are all working again in different departments. It will most certainly mean the Democrats will be around longer, but that was a given even if a canal were built across the country.
The loudest screaming is going to come from the comfortable. The less vociferous will be people who are not going to be dying in the Mid East but putting off college instead, and forming some kind of trade off from working in order to fund their educatins. A LOT better than dying for the "rich man's war" as everyone feels about it including my rich kids.

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Posted by not digging it
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 13, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Notice how the HSR supporters have an almost mystical, religious belief in the power of the train to solve all our problems, as if high speed rail represented divine intervention? It's "the only way," and don't expect them to explain how/why/how much. They hope that if they repeat the word "NIMBY" enough times that it will work as a magical incantation and make the opposition disappear. Aint going to happen.

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2009 at 9:11 pm

It wasn't that long ago that our railways initially were built crossing this country.....count the years "NOT DIGGING IT".
Start with 2009-1849...exactly 200..........then use your pedantic imagination (oxymoron) to see what has gone on in America in that period....many prayed.....My family worked just as most families including the majority of those Chinese (not Asians, not Orientals) and many colored (not Black, negroes) did all the dying" for us who did what we are trying to avoid I admit to wanting most of those who are being accused of usurping our medical system (what???) and even using the dark for our sporting entertainment, and the Asians for their exquisite minds, and the Mexicans from whom we keep kicking out of this place they lived and still have been hired and used and will until they turn. None of these cultures are stupid. Most of them have family love, work hard at jobs whites will not take, and are blamed for upsetting our health care systems.
No BIG INDUSTRY, and these people are bound to revolt, stop working for peanuts, get some pride back, and not spend weeks okaying SOTOMAYER....what crap!
I have German,French, English and Spanish blood and would more likely make sure that history does not repeat itself in the stock market where Victoria Hull, Hetty Green, and a handful of "sisters" found they had the power to make humongous change.
We have FANTASTIC women today who are not impersonatin men like Sarah Palin, but who are beyond the horrible examples of citizens who arrange "men's events" "save rotten houses and call them historical" and want to have a name which has some relation to some obscure figure in British or foreign aristocracy....until the genealogist comes to that point where being the "B....." word comes up..........Grow up. Money is now going to take a few hundred years to put you back into that lane where family name is of relevance.
This straying was intentional because the people who defy progress and recoupin our nation are complaining about NOISE and people who do not deserve health care. WRONG. All of us need to find a way to be a unified nation...NO MORE CARS, ROADS, PLANES....It will take three times as long and those who are unemployed, will not be able to feed their babies. All of you who feel governent CANNOT work in conjunction with big business, without leaders like we had in BUSH and who will ultimately pay for his crimes........are going to be too old to go back to school and their children will abhor the fake country we created which you deny and call me communistic for reminding you that the golden few who exist for entertainment, the grandness of the century's turn, your family Silver, and the cousins who died of pneumonia when they never mixed with the poor.
Gilded concubines........that is what the "grande" types are; and no amount of charitable acts is going to make you grande.
America has had its last BIG WAR. That money is meant to make you all begin to think and not about LEHMANS OR BEAR AND STEARNS.....
The most difficult start is to actually know that you like yourself.

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Posted by Clear thinker
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm

To R. Gordon: You sure know how to use non-sensical ramble. What the heck did you say??

Train supporter: If it is determined that Menlo Park/Palo Alto residents really do not want the trains at any level, should you then "un-tax" yourselves? Simple!

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Posted by not digging it
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Aug 14, 2009 at 11:29 am

Thank you, R. Gordon, for your cogent explanation of the benefits of HSR and why you support it.

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Posted by dig it
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 17, 2009 at 8:06 am

Don't we already have bullet trains between San Jose and San Francisco? If that's not enough and HSR is to come to the peninsula, for gosh sakes let's do it right by putting it underground. The benefits of undergrounding this far outweigh the costs, which might not be so much higher than above ground option when you factor in that the real estate costs along the mid-peninsula corridor are among the highest in the world.
There are not technical problems with undergrounding. BART, the Chunnel are among examples of much more challenging situations. Most international major cities have undergrounded rail of various types. We have the opportunity to preserve or even enhance the above ground communities through which it would run. And the HSR could even travel at much higher speeds underground than above through the densely populated peninsula!

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm

BULLET TRAINS...WHIZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! cross country. Low maintenance, clean air. Employment for millions. Stanford is doing an electric car for 2011 which will cost 50,000 dollars for a two door or one built into the body of a Honda Civic.....Progress? NO,but private enterprise and the govt. is alread handing over a half billion to get the "idea" and its creators rolling....OH..they seem to forget the success IF it happens, still needs ROADS!
Planes are dinosaurs.GREEN is the colour of this Century...Sorry to be so late, folks!, but my plug shorted..Oh, by the way, did you know China is already the leading maker of autos in the world?
Been to Europe, or China or Japan or even to Canada and been on their bullet trains?.....Probably not. It is all going to be a question of money....and when money is involved, the rich get going..the other way. A decision has to be made and Baugher has thrown in his pitch and is working, and Stanford looks GREAT on paper and still the rich who live next door to the humongous empty and abandoned sites of HP are going to start the building with no mess because there is no oil in electricity.....
Frankly, the ROADS have to be fixed first....lotsa money. Then people will start working and paying for gas until the electric cars prove successful, but there will be a LOT of countries doing the same thing..No real need for Airplane industry....Call or email.
Those who hold their noses along with covering their ears when HSR is mentioned sounds like what we should have called the creator of all this mess, HRH DUBYA. I still have my clothes laid out for his beheading.

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Posted by PAT
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Any bets on this project being completed in 10 or 20 yrs!

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Posted by KAL TRAINS
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 20, 2009 at 8:52 pm


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Posted by Mike
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Why does the HSR have to run through the congested and densely populated peninsula area - why not up along 280? If its only going to be making 1-2 stops, if at all, between SJ and SF, wouldn't it make more sense to be running up along there than down below where human safety would be severely compromised (berm or no berm).

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2009 at 7:59 pm

The U.S. once was the place from which all ideas emerged and made us a rich and powerful country.
RAILROADS........THEN the split..........GOLD and CAPITALISM

IMMIGRANTS........THEN the growth.

FARMING....To then feed the millions.That was a NATURAL progression.
To fill in the country as if in a coloring book would include why we became great. So simple. Gold and the stock market. Immigrants and the middle class.
The main ingredient missing is POWER and GREED which led our VERY young country to be the masters of the world through WARS and eventually ULTIMATE POWER and the birth of super GREED.
It is all so simple, EXCEPT to see the U.S. as NUMBER 10 and not 1.
We will NEVER be NUMBER ONE again.
People do not like the noise.

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Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 26, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Hmmm. I'm not sure that R. GORDON's final conclusion, in terms of whether "not liking the noise" is good or bad, would be the same as mine. But I must say, his is a very astute, and thought-provoking, perspective. What compromise -- to ethics, to morality, to the desire for quality of life, to human decency in general -- must we be willing to make to be "number one" in the world?

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Posted by progress
a resident of Woodside School
on Sep 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm

you people are really amazing. have you ever been to europe? yes, it is possible to have a high speed train. in fact, it's quite useful. the same nimby's who kept bart off the penninsula because they didn't want people from oakland to take public transit to palo alto are now at it again - and gee, wasn't that a great decision? worse yet, it is messing with one of the only same ideas to come out of california in a long time. you think $3 is high for a gallon of gas? take a good look at the pump, that may be the cheapest you'll ever see it again. peak oil is coming, fusion will not save you, you are going to want that train!

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 2, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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