Next week the California High Speed Rail Authority and the Menlo Park City Council are going to hold a study session on Prop 1A and the HSR project. It will be in the council chambers at the Menlo Park Civic Center at 5pm on Tuesday, September 9. Expected to be in attendance are Rod Diridon, Dan Leavitt, and perhaps Quentin Kopp (his attendance is uncertain at this point). It should be a fascinating meeting, one I wish I could attend. Menlo Park has become known as a hotbed of anti-HSR activism, but perhaps the situation is more complicated than that.
Martin Engel is a persistent and vocal gadfly, and succeeded in swaying the councils of Menlo Park and Atherton to adopt a NIMBY position and sue the Authority to block the project. But is this NIMBYism representative of what Menlo Park residents actually believe, or did the squeaky wheel get the grease?
Comments should always be used with caution, but the comments on the Almanac article announcing the meeting suggest that there are plenty of Menlo Park residents who actively support high speed rail and oppose their city being party to the lawsuit. Some examples:
"We are already concerned that the study session may be "rigged" in favor of the train."
Typical comment. There is always a conspiracy going on when people show support for the HSR project. Martin, maybe you and your cronies should realize that a majority of people want this project to happen and that it is not always "rigged" as you mention.
Posted by Eric, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, 15 hours ago
Martin, how about the rigged closed session meeting for a vote your council had against the CAHSRA. Legal? I don't think so. Just shows the true colors of your city council.
Vote yes on prop 1A
Posted by Justin, a resident of the Atherton: Lloyden Park neighborhood, 15 hours ago
As neighbors on the peninsula we should be thrilled to have this type of transportation technology coming to our area! The economic and environmental benefits will be huge. In a day when gas prices are near $5.00 I'm bewildered by any one who could possibly argue against high speed rail in their area. It is truly a shame to see disagreement on this issue.
Posted by James W., a resident of the Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks neighborhood, 13 hours ago
Opposition to the train reminds me of the San Mateo county idiots who refused to support BART way back when; now we are stuck with Caltrain lumbering along.
Posted by Doug, a resident of the Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks neighborhood, 35 minutes ago
get real, if you did some reseach you would realize it is not more of the same. Maybe you should and wake up to the twenty first century! This state needs a project like this.
As for Ether, nice comment about "economic boondoggle". Not possible put together. Talk about contradictory. Yes this project will have a great economic impact on the state at the right time and no, it is not a boondoggle. Gee, let's keep the same way of thinking about transportation as you have so we and our children can really fall behind the rest of the world. No thanks. Time to get out of you caves.
Build the train already!
Posted by dave, a resident of the Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres neighborhood, 19 minutes ago
yes Martin, bonds are a way of borrowing money. But unlike a mortgage, the money is not borrowed all at once. It will be spread out over ten years. But you also turn facts around about the train making a profit. All high speed trains around the world are making profits in the billion of dollars, yes billion dollars a year that pay for the money borrowed to build it, maintenance and have money left over to expand the entire system. Don't give us the amtrak never making a profit arguement. Different all together because it is a slow form of transport and can't compare. HSR is fast.
The child like drama you create in this city is really pathethic and embarrasing. Really giving us a bad name. Time to stop. People do support this bond proposal.
Posted by Thomas, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, 0 minutes ago
Obviously this is a contentious issue within Menlo Park. But the fact that there are vocal supporters of high speed rail there and in Atherton just goes to show how isolated the HSR deniers and NIMBYs really are. Far from being concerned about their city's supposed doom that will result from HSR, many residents actively support the project and want their community to help build it instead of trying to stop it.
It's a welcome development, if not surprising. The numerous benefits of HSR are self-evident, even to residents of Menlo Park and Atherton. Whether it's high speed connections to SF and LA, or cleaner and safer train operation within their communities, or the economic stimulus HSR will provide, or the significant environmental benefits, these residents see the need to support Prop 1A. The same thing is already happening around our state. Californians, like many Peninsula residents, are eager to vote for Prop 1A and move our state into the 21st century.