As you probably know by now, we here at the California High Speed Rail blog are HUGE fans of Fiona Ma. She has taken the lead on high speed rail in the state legislature, and her trip on the record-breaking TGV journey in April 2007 was the turning point in public awareness for high speed rail in our state.
Fiona Ma is now ramping up her involvement in the campaign for Proposition 1A. This week she unveiled High Speed Rail For California. The website is a good overview of the HSR project, including a route map, a petition link, and perhaps most usefully a letter to the editor tool. We know that the Menlo Park NIMBYs have been taking a shotgun approach to LTEs, writing them to newspapers in far-flung places like Eureka. HSR supporters need to push back, especially in their local papers. Fiona Ma has given us a great tool to do that.
It's part of a wider project Fiona Ma is launching, California Rising, which describes itself as follows:
California Rising envisions a bright future for a growing, more diverse California: increased quality of life, better schools and affordable colleges, cleaner environment and the utilization of green technologies, accessible healthcare, modernization of our State's infrastructure, and an improved economic climate that creates high wage jobs.
Fiona Ma is reviving the Pat Brown vision for California. When Brown was governor in the late 1950s and the 1960s, he helped create the infrastructure that enabled California to become a global leader in innovation, where prosperity was broadly shared. Brown emphasized aqueducts, colleges, and freeways, but didn't focus much on rail. We've been living off those investments for nearly 50 years, and unless we renew them - in the context of 21st century needs - we're going to fall behind.
Fiona Ma gets that. Back in May I posted her remarks at the Ecocity 2008 conference where she explained that "it's now or never" - California must provide national leadership on sustainable transportation. It's worth putting that video up again:
Speaking of websites, you'll be soon seeing a few changes here. The pledge form is going to go away - we've had over 1200 people sign up using it and we're about to deploy some emails to those on the list informing them about various Prop 1A related activism opportunities. If you haven't filled out the form yet, go do it now!
In its place will go a kind of "greatest hits" - links to the best posts of the last six months, the posts that explain the value of HSR in the most clear and direct way.
After November 4 this site will move to its own URL, and a new blog software - either drupal or WordPress, I haven't yet decided which one. The reason I'm not doing it sooner is we have excellent search engine optimization (SEO) on this site - #3 on a google search for "california high speed rail" and the brilliant takedown of the Cox-Vranich study, Truth vs. Truthiness on Prop 1A is #4 for a "prop 1a" search. No need to mess with a good thing!