Several Spanish-speaking residents of the Gardner/Willow Glen neighborhood in San José are circulating a petition asking the California High Speed Rail Authority to extend the comment deadline for the SJ-Merced project level EIR/EIS:
A group of Willow Glen residents who say Spanish-speakers were not properly notified of community meetings about the high-speed rail slated to cut through their neighborhood has been going door to door collecting signatures to temporarily stop the plan from moving forward.
"The Spanish-speaking community knows nothing about this; they have been neglected," said Dee Urista, who lives in the Gardner neighborhood, where there is a high number of Spanish-speaking residents....
She and others in her neighborhood say they were never notified of the community meetings in Spanish and haven't had the opportunity to submit their concerns about the project, which is slated to bring California's 800-mile high-speed rail line through the Gardner neighborhood.
The deadline for submitting questions for the environmental impact report is set to close April 10.
The CHSRA's public outreach manager claims they have offered translation services and a phone number for Spanish-language residents. I am sure they feel they've done the right thing on outreach, and I don't see any cause for claims that they deliberately tried to cut out Spanish-speaking residents, but the CHSRA should grant both requests - extend the comment time AND hold a bilingual meeting in San José.
The CHSRA extended the comment period for an entire month along the Peninsula, which was also the right move. The Authority needs to emphasize openness and public outreach to the entire state, and in California that's just not possible without Spanish language outreach.
Further, the Willow Glen neighborhood's request is reasonable. They're not coming at this from a NIMBY position (at least not as quoted in the article) and it would go a long way toward building goodwill in that community for the CHSRA to hold a Spanish language scoping meeting.