Monday, August 31, 2009

Media News Group Launches Another Anti-HSR Editorial Attack

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

One of the most reliably anti-HSR voices in the state is the Media News Group, publisher of several major newspapers (including the San Jose Mercury News). During the 2008 campaign they were among the most die-hard HSR deniers. Now that a judge has issued a mixed decision in the Atherton v. CHSRA lawsuit, MNG is taking advantage of the situation to yet again try and kill high speed rail:

OFTEN THERE IS a wide gap separating a concept from reality. Such is the case with California's high-speed rail project. Conceptually, fast, comfortable, fuel-efficient, intercity, passenger rail transportation makes a lot of sense as fuel prices rise and reductions in carbon dioxide emissions are mandated.

However, there are a number of inconvenient realities that come between California's dream of high-speed rail service and actually constructing it.

The latest roadblock is a court ruling that the High Speed Rail Authority's environmental impact report is "inadequate." The court's conclusion is hardly surprising considering that the EIR failed to address Union Pacific's decision not to allow the trains to run along its tracks from Gilroy to San Jose.

It never ceases to amaze me how usual standards of journalistic practice, such as they are, don't apply at all to the editorial page. The judge most assuredly did NOT rule that the EIR as a whole was "inadequate." He ruled that three specific parts of it were inadequate, but that the overwhelming majority of the contested portions were perfectly adequate, including the basic elements of the choice of the Pacheco Pass over the Altamont Pass for the HSR route. This inconvenient truth doesn't stop the MNG editorialists from plowing ahead with further bits of disinformation:

When the high-speed rail project was first proposed, supporters assumed it would use the Union Pacific's tracks. Without Union Pacific's right of way, an alternate route would have to be considered, affecting the Monterey Highway or requiring the taking of additional private property.

The ignorance here is astounding. UP's tracks were NEVER going to be used, at least not in any plans I've seen over the last two years. I can't speak for the CHSRA, but this HSR supporter never expected to use UP's ROW either. Ever since I became familiar with the situation in May 2008, I understood the plan was to use land next to UP's ROW, but not the ROW itself. Additional private property may have to be taken, but as southern Santa Clara County region is much less built up than the Peninsula, this should not require much if any loss of housing.

As a result of the court's ruling, the rail project is likely to be considerably delayed as a new EIR is written and the additional time and costs of buying land or battling Union Pacific in court are considered.

This is blind speculation almost entirely lacking in evidence. We have no indication what remedy the judge will order. A new EIR does not seem likely, and although it is a possibility, MNG has no basis whatsoever to assume it is a definite outcome. The time and cost of dealing with UP is certainly a consideration, but as I explained yesterday federal assistance can expedite this process.

Alternate routes, such as one over the Altamont Pass, which some rail advocates favor, are even more costly and also would require a new EIR.

Well, at least they got that one right. Altamont is dead. Will groups like the Planning and Conservation League finally accept that reality and devote their efforts to actually supporting HSR?

Voters approved a $9.95 billion rail bond measure last November. The rest of the money is supposed to come from the federal government and investors. Delays can only increase the costs and discourage investors.

But that is hardly the only problem with the high-speed rail project. The business plan is inadequate. There is no accurate estimate of ridership, fares, operational costs and investor interest. Also, the $40 billion cost estimate is dubious.

I see MNG decided to rehash a bunch of the old discredited HSR denier nonsense for good measure. I suppose this means that once we've discredited this editorial we can expect its claims to keep reappearing in MNG editorials for years to come?

With so many other greater capital project needs such as fixing the Delta, highway repair and school renovations that require large amounts of funding, California should sidetrack its highly questionable high-speed rail project.

This is the new line of attack against HSR, and we heard it in Menlo Park last week: that HSR isn't worth the money given all the other priorities.

The fact is we need to and can do all of these things. HSR is necessary to this state's future. To sacrifice it because we're too cheap to find money to pay for our other priorities would have been like refusing to build the Golden Gate Bridge during the Depression. That move, funded by local bonds issued in the depth of the Depression, worked out pretty damn well for California. So too will HSR. MNG will never admit it, and that's fine. We didn't need them in the campaign to pass Prop 1A, and we don't need them in the campaign to ensure that the will of the voters is respected and the HSR project built.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Robert, we just can't build bridges or railroads like we used too. Just look at the new Bay Bridge with its staggering cost-overruns. It's been a 20 year process, and it's still not done. You can thank many of the same people who are screwing up HSR in California.

CHSRA is taking on water even faster than I expected. At best, they might be able to build a few small sections over a painfully drawn-out schedule, but it's clear that the full system just isn't going to happen. The planning has been awful, and you should blame the frauds who conceived such a disastrous routing and financing scheme.

jim said...

The editorials from the right are simply doing what they do best, tear down the opposition any way they can at any cost.

This is an ideological fight aimed at trying to defeat the Obama administration at every turn.

It doesn't matter if its HSR, health care reform, arra funds, or anything else. The monied right uses the media that they own, to convince the uneducated and paranoid followers, using fear and hyperbole to bring down their opposition.
It may not exactly be death threats and kidnapping, but is just as effective.

Thats what this is, and that's all that this is. They started the minute Obama won the election and they won't stop until he's out of office.

Its legal but despicable. One can argue it is an american way of doing things, but that depends on what kind of american one is.

Personally Im sick to death of loudmouth fat fuck hillbillies and the wealthy blue bloods who abuse them. Pretty sick relationship.

QV said...

Anon 11:47, I agree with you. California is almost bankrupt and has a poor financing system for public transit infrastructure.

However, the cost overruns on the Bay Bridge were mainly a result of escalating costs of steel and other construction materials, and calls for a major re-design of the bridge.

Many shovel-ready projects have actually saved money in recent months because of decreases in the prices of construction materials. And if communities and CAHSR cooperate on design work sooner rather than later, potential cost overruns may be avoided. This point was emphasized at the Menlo Park meeting.

Rafael said...

@ jim -

language, Timothy.

Anonymous said...

San Jose Mercury ran a report with the same misleading & negative interpretation of the Judge's ruling the night of the Menlo Park HSR hearing.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 11:47pm, QV -

o woe is me. The state of California's tax base declined precipitously, which is a problem in the short and medium term. However, the state is still the 7th largest economy in the world. In the long term, California will do just fine.

The core problem here is that CHSRA is a little too independent, so they got cocky and underestimated - or at least downplayed - the difficulties of turning lines on maps into deeds to real estate or air rights above it. The judge called them on that and rightly so.

However, there is almost always a solution, you just have to look harder for one and be prepared to spend a little more to get a little less than you had wanted.

More on that in the specific context of San Jose and the Bay Area later today.

YESonHSR said...

True Jim very True!!! far right owners now even own the SF Examiner and every day has some mud to throw at the President..And in SF where 76% voted for him and HSR!!

jim said...

@anon. It's been a 20 year process, and it's still not done. You can thank many of the same people who are screwing up HSR in California.

The bay bridge project has been run amazing well. It seems to have taken a long time because it took so long to decide what to do, how to do it, and to satisfy local concerns, but the construction project has gone right on schedule to my knowledge including the bridge closures, detours and construction of the temporary island approach.

When the truck burned down ( actually melted ) a section of freeway in Oakland a few years ago, it was up and running again, better than new, in record time, and to my knowledge, in southern california after northridge, caltrans had the 10 back up and running pretty quick considering the damage.
my point being that the state, and caltrans along with the private contractors with whom it does business, does get results and there's no reason to think the hsr construction will be any different.

CHSRA is taking on water even faster than I expected. At best, they might be able to build a few small sections over a painfully drawn-out schedule,

actually high speed rail has the support of californians. Its just the usual suspects, and the lawyers who love them, who are trying to drag out the process, hoping to kill it on ideological terms.

You can delay the project, but can't trick people into believing for its for any other reason than your own ideology.

Morris Brown said...

Being a perfect gentleman, I was not going to bring up the Media news article. Needless to say, I enjoyed reading it very much.

Why anyone would say an article like this is from the right and its purpose is to "throw mud" at the President or otherwise attack him is just nonsense. this is not about the President, this is about the HSR project as being implemented in California.

The media news group has opposed the project well before Obama was elected to office. They also own the SJ Mercury, which has constantly advocated in favor of the project.

It is true that we will learn what the remedy for the ruling on the lawsuit will be, only after the judge makes his ruling.

Robert writes:


As a result of the court's ruling, the rail project is likely to be considerably delayed as a new EIR is written and the additional time and costs of buying land or battling Union Pacific in court are considered.

This is blind speculation almost entirely lacking in evidence. We have no indication what remedy the judge will order. A new EIR does not seem likely, and although it is a possibility


Well, again we will only know when the judge's ruling is issued, but
almost certainly


the judge is going to require a new program level EIR for the Bay Area. That will mean a delay.

Robert your posting really is contradictory.

You write:



The latest roadblock is a court ruling that the High Speed Rail Authority's environmental impact report is "inadequate." The court's conclusion is hardly surprising considering that the EIR failed to address Union Pacific's decision not to allow the trains to run along its tracks from Gilroy to San Jose.


yet you state


A new EIR does not seem likely, and although it is a possibility
would not be necessary.


How in the world do you make the EIR "adequate", without doing a new EIR? What other remedy is there? This is the way CEQA works.

I have written several times, that the Authority had done a terrible job of planning this project.

Now a couple of Cities with an environmental group and others, have been able to take the Authority on, and get a ruling exposing just how poor some of this work has been done.

As the Judge said, why wasn't the EIR re-circulated, when the UP sent out its letter last year, telling the Authority its ROW was not to be used.

Monica said...

Here they go again.... For those of you who read the Samuelson hack job on HSR, check out this revision at the St. Louis Urban Workshop: http://www.stlurbanworkshop.com/2009/08/newsweeks-high-speed-boondoggle-by.html

Morris Brown said...

Jim says:

The Bay bridge project has been run amazingly well !!!???

Cost from 2 billions to now around 7 billions? That is run well!

Really

jim said...

@morris, again, yes, the construction of the project has been run amazingly well.

the political delays prior to construction combined with a sharp increase in materials costs, had nothing to do with how well the construction has gone.

jim said...

Its most likely that the contractors who build hsr will do a fine job. any cost overruns due to materials cost increases can not be avoided in any project.
cost overruns caused by political wrangling are the fault of those who purposely delay the project.

You can't delay a project and then turn around and complain about delays and overruns.

Anonymous said...

How in the world do you make the EIR "adequate", without doing a new EIR?

It's done all the time, with a supplemental EIR or an addendum. Read up on CEQA.

Anonymous said...

The cost of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge has increased over 500% of the original estimate to build a new eastern span. It's only half of the total span, yet this dramatic escalation is most definitely not due to the increased cost of steel and other construction materials. What's the total value of steel being used anyway? A few hundred million dollars, absolute tops. Definitely nowhere close to $7 billion. The cost of materials is a very small fraction of the total bridge cost.

When China decides to build a bridge, they don't experience these massive cost-overruns. Even in France, they know how to build a bridge. Le Viaduc de Millau puts the Bay Bridge's planning to absolute shame.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4091813.stm

Here's a much more grandiose bridge that was completed in less than four years and cost $524 million. This better bridge is 1/13th the cost the new Bay Bridge!! And we wonder why CHSRA is such a mess???

The bridge planning from Caltrans and MTC has been abysmal. The same inept transportation leadership brought us the BART-SFO disaster and the decades-old Translink implementation, and taxpayers will soon experience such emerging disasters as the Central Subway, the Oakland Airport Connector, and the biggest money-pit of them all: BART-to-San-Jose (or maybe just to a closed auto plant or a flea market).

If we want a transportation revolution, it's time to clean house, and that starts with Kopp, Diridon, Heminger, Morshed, and all the other incompetent public officials. They are a plague to getting anything done effectively.

jim said...

@ anon,

the personal political vendetta against politicians who made you mad is getting old. did they say something to you personally that pissed you of or what?

jim said...

and again, the construction has gone very well, in spite of the politics. China and france have pwerful central governments and a populace who sees the benefits of infrastructure so of course they have an easier time of it.
California projects are subject to a never ending parade of oppostion that has to be worked through. Its the political process of working through that opposition that takes up time and drives up cost.

the construction however, has gone like clockwork, in a safe and efficient manner

mike said...

How in the world do you make the EIR "adequate", without doing a new EIR?

Amend the current one? I thought that would be obvious. Whether you want to call the amended EIR a "new" one or a "revised" one is an exercise in semantics.

Regardless, unless the judge issues an injunction that stops all work completely (unlikely), CHSRA will just proceed with the much of the underlying project level EIR work while revising the program level EIR. In fact, some of the project level EIR work would be used to shore up the program level EIR.

At the end of the day, the only real "winner" in all of this is UPRR, whose negotiating position to get an even better deal has been strengthened. That and maybe the CHSRA EIR consultants, who now get to rack up even more billable hours implementing whatever changes the judge wants them to make.

Anonymous said...

Jim, your ignorance as a stool pigeon for corrupt Bay Area pols is staggering. You obviously haven't been following the news.

http://www.aisc.org/newsdetail.aspx?id=21398

The construction has not gone smoothly. In addition to the skyrocketing cost and delay, the project managers' latest problems are with the self-anchoring suspension tower. Because they only got one bid for the tower at twice their earlier estimate, they looked to cut some corners. They tried to outsource the steel fabrication to China and ended up with quality problems. Now, more cost and delay. Jim, I thought you were all about "buy American", yet your sycophancy for the current status quo clouds your principles.

QV said...

@ Anon 11:54

Regarding the Bay Bridge: If the politicians fight over the design, only to cancel it, re-start it, and reevaluate it over an 8-year time period, all the while keeping the contractors, engineering consultants, and a host of government agencies on the books, plus a 200% increase in the cost of steel and concrete, of course the project is going to go over budget.

AndyDuncan said...

@Mike Whether you want to call the amended EIR a "new" one or a "revised" one is an exercise in semantics.

That semantic issue directly affects the process by which the "New", "Subsequent", "Supplemental", or "Amended" EIR needs to be circulated and approved, so while it is semantics, it's not a trivial issue.

You're right though, we'll have to wait and see what the judge says.

mike said...

"New", "Subsequent", "Supplemental", or "Amended" EIR needs to be circulated and approved, so while it is semantics, it's not a trivial issue.


Fair enough. But keep in mind that Morris's original post implies that any change in the EIR - even a single word - constitutes a "new" EIR. There are definitions of "new" under which that is true, but clearly those aren't the relevant legal definitions.

Rafael said...

@ Jim, anon @ 2:16pm, QV -

your points are well taken. It's easy to claim that it's all the planner's fault and, Q. Kopp and Rod Diridon have been intimately involved with projects that ended up costing more and in some cases delivering less value (e.g. ridership) than was advertised: BART extension to SFO, new east span of Bay Bridge, VTA light rail in San Jose.

Personnel changes might placate opponents in terms of style, including public outreach, but at the end of the day the conflicts arise because of the substance of what is being proposed.

What the HSR planning process to date has shown is that ignoring or downplaying the brass tacks issues only makes them worse. Of course there's opposition, there always is to any infrastructure project of any size. The way to address it is to

a) explain that "no project" does not mean no change, it's just that other - often even more disruptive or expensive - projects will be kicked off instead. No project may also mean that certain existing services, e.g. Caltrain, may wither on the vine for lack of investment.

Rafael said...

@ Jim, anon @ 2:16pm, QV -

(part 2)

b) study not just general corridors but the implications of specific ROW alternatives within them at the program level to help avoid gotchas like Atherton vs. CHSRA.

In this day and age of instant news dissemination, Google maps, bloggers etc. it's impossible to hide the salami in voluminous tomes only bureaucrats can love. Someone somewhere is going to put 2 and 2 together and write about it.

In an ideal world, it would be possible to pick the lateral alignment of the route first and worry about the vertical alignment second. However, precisely because US railroads are mostly private companies that have to pay property taxes, legacy ROWs are often only as wide as they figure they need them to be to run slow, heavy freight trains.

That has invited encroachment and greatly complicates their use for HSR, which needs dedicated, relatively straight tracks with sufficient buffer space to address safety concerns incl. aerodynamic interactions, track fouling etc.

For that reason, it's necessary to look at the specific vertical alignment implications of any candidate lateral alignment under consideration. CHSRA actually did that in its study of e.g. where and roughly how tracks could possibly run between e.g. San Jose Diridon and Gilroy, but their documents were not detailed enough for the general public to understand all the ramifications.

If you're prepared to accept that HSR is a superior concept to ever-more highway lane-miles and airport runways, then new tracks are going to have to be built somewhere, so someone is going to be impacted. That's the nature of the beast, but it may well be easier for the general public to swallow the downsides of a particular solution if they understand why the alternatives would be even worse.

There's a huge information gap between what CHSRA has long since figured out and what Joe Average knows about HSR. In this phase of the project, it's CHSRA's job to provide a lot of education about the legal and to some extent, the technical nuts and bolts of this. Not everyone will understand or even care about that level of detail, but disclosure would at least re-assure them that it's not all some dastardly conspiracy.

This blog and especially, Clem Tillier's Caltrain-HSR Compatibility Blog have sought to fill the gap to some extent, but it's really CHSRA's job to revamp its web site and provide reference information.

Rah-rah marketing incl. broadcast-quality eye candy videos of the HSR project plus disclosure of the general route plus publications of those copious tomes is no longer good enough in the project-level EIS/EIR phase.

It's time for CHSRA to spend some money on things like down-and-dirty Google Sketchup models and associated web pages elaborating the pros and cons for abutters, residents etc. for multiple lateral and vertical alternatives. That, coupled with moderated discussion threads, FAQs etc. would allow those who can't attend charettes to participate in the process and those who do to some homework first. If every one of these public meetings has to starts by explaining what HSR even is, it will be hard to obtain meaningful feedback from the community.

Without that, all you get is more lawsuits when John Q Public discovers that perhaps HSR means something different then he thought it did. That applies especially to construction-related impacts.

Morris Brown said...

Rafael writes:

"If every one of these public meetings has to starts by explaining what HSR even is, it will be hard to obtain meaningful feedback from the community."


Yes. And we don't need more meetings like the Eshoo gathering last week in Menlo Park, where questions are being answered only by a panel which is solely composed of Authority and CalTrain employees. It turned out better than I expected, but as described to me by another attendee, it was a "dishonest" town hall meeting.

The "teach-in" being sponsored by the PCC should be much better. Unless the agenda is changed there will be keynote addresses from Bob Doty from CalTrain and Gary Patton from PCL. There will be break out panels which should supposedly have different view points being expressed.

Rafael: I certinly don't control anything to do with the PCC; I'm just another attendee, but if you were willing to come, I'm quite certain you would be given a key role.

I note your comment about Conta Costa county. I don't know that the population center there being isolated really, under the present routing, was mentioned before. According to Wikipedia that county has over 1 million in population; more population than San Mateo county.

Finally on NPR today, a person interviewed from Atlanta stated they didn't think HSR was useful to Atlanta; that Atlanta was laid out for an automobile culture.

Our project here has LA, which is certainly automobile centric,at one end, and SF, which indeed would fit the "useful for rail transport" design.

Spokker said...

"Our project here has LA, which is certainly automobile centric"

We can change, man! We mean it this time! Just give us a chance, honey!

jim said...

meanwhle the project is moving. forward and as for the bay bridge, I see a bridge. where there was none and fretting over media hyped details is a waste of time. the project is getting done. Some people like to focus on anything negative they can as if it matters.

No one cares about diridon and kopp for gods sake get over it and move on.

Rafael said...

@ Morris Brown -

thx for the invite but I'll be in Berlin on that day so I can't make it. Sorry.

AndyDuncan said...

Our project here has LA, which is certainly automobile centric,at one end, and SF, which indeed would fit the "useful for rail transport" design.

True, but Angelinos have shown they will use rail if it's installed. The blue line has the second highest ridership of any LRT in the nation. Our one little subway, the red line, gets 144,400 riders/day (over twice the riders per mile of the BART system). And LA's bus system is the largest in the country and gets over 1 million riders per day. Even Metrolink serves more passengers than Caltrain (albeit over far more track).

On top of that, the wilshire subway is under planning and is anticipated to be one of, if not the busiest subways in the country, and it will go right to LAUS to connect to HSR. The bus lines along that route are already operating over capacity, and Metro is trying to get the state to let them run illegally long busses to meet demand.

LA may have a love affair with the car, but we're unfaithful as shit.

AndyDuncan said...

Oh, the Wilshire busses currently do 70,000 weekday boardings (about 17-20million/year). The subway will make the trip in less than half the time (while of course serving fewer stops).

jim said...

I still need the red line to go to palm springs.

Morris Brown said...

Anonymous at 11:36 posted

(Morris Brown's comment)
How in the world do you make the EIR "adequate", without doing a new EIR?


with a reply

It's done all the time, with a supplemental EIR or an addendum. Read up on

CEQA 15163


Well I am not a CEQA lawyer, but from an attorney who deals with CEQA every day the response to this is:


A supplement is only appropriate if an EIR has been certified and LATER found to require additional information. In this case, the EIR is being ordered decertified, and it will have to be revised to address the court's concerns before the Authority Board can again consider certification.


This should clarify what I understood to indeed be the case.
So, believe what you want, I stick to my original statement.

Bianca said...

Morris Brown wrote:

And we don't need more meetings like the Eshoo gathering last week in Menlo Park, where questions are being answered only by a panel which is solely composed of Authority and CalTrain employees. It turned out better than I expected, but as described to me by another attendee, it was a "dishonest" town hall meeting.

Morris, given that Caltrain and CHSRA are the agencies involved in the HSR plan, I'd be interested to know who you would have wanted to see on the panel.

My understanding is that it was an opportunity for people to ask questions and get answers from the source.

I'm not surprised to hear that you felt it was "dishonest." Not because I agree with that description, but I heard a lot of muttering and grumbling behind me that indicated that people around me did not believe what the folks from Caltrain and CHSRA were saying. I was troubled by this, because it seemed to me that people had come with pre-formed views and were not willing to listen with an open mind.

The response that troubled me was Anna Eshoo's answer to Robert's question and her contention that nobody outright opposes HSR. That seemed uninformed at best and disingenuous at worst.

Morris Brown said...

Bianca:

The whole panel of experts was from CalTrain or the Authority.

Eshoo, admittedly, is not an expert. She certainly is a skilled politician.

Why wasn't at least one panelist, with a different view, say a Richard Tolmach, or Gary Patton invited. There are others, as evidenced by a few who write on this blog. I don't mean to offend by not naming others, but these two come to mind now. (Let me add, that they are both pro rail -- its this project to which they object.)

You saw almost no discussion of the lawsuit ruling --- deserved much more time, since it might well alter the project in the Bay Area and on into the central valley.

Spokker said...

"Our one little subway, the red line, gets 144,400 riders/day"

It did 162,000 in July 09. That's more than what it did in July 08 when gas was $4.50/gallon.

AndyDuncan said...

In this case, the EIR is being ordered decertified

The judge hasn't ruled on remediation yet, so how does your lawyer friend know this? Is s/he basing this on an interpretation of what the judge said?

(not trying to be snarky, actually curious as to what a real lawyer thinks of the judge's ruling)

Morris Brown said...

AndyDuncan:

I gather his statement was from his reading of the ruling.

That's all I know right now. Tomorrow the Authority is going to discuss stage 2 stimulus funding. It should be interesting if they decide to go ahead and apply for funds for the Bay Area.

The project level draft scoping document for SJ to Merced has been released and can be found at:

Draft Scoping

AndyDuncan said...

@Spokker: That's especially interesting in the context of system wide ridership which was down slightly compared to 08.

Metro rail ridership over the entire 71 mile system was 4222 passengers/mile, still more than BART and twice Muni Metro's ridership over an identical 71 miles.

As a proportion of population though, I think the SF Bay Area still has LA beat in terms of rail ridership. My point is just that LAs relatively small rail system is relatively quite popular.

Spokker said...

Yeah, it's a mystery to me why the Red Line is doing so well. I have some theories but I have to admit they are pretty stupid, so I'm just going to leave it at that.

jim said...

The red line is doing well because I'm telling everyone about it. All the tourists I send down to you guys after we are done with them, I let them know, "when you get to union station you can get the red line up to hollywood, right to the walk of fame and the chinese theatre." ( its stops right at that marriott - (I love that marriott) and I tell em there's a lot more cheap hotels up there and that there's nothing to see in downtown.

I'm sure that's why you've seen a surge in red line ridership. tell the mayor he can mail my check.

AndyDuncan said...

"when you get to union station you can get the red line up to hollywood, right to the walk of fame and the chinese theatre."

Where they will be immediately disappointed.

Oh well, at least they got to see the subway before their dreams were crushed.

jim said...

Where they will be immediately disappointed.

Oh well, at least they got to see the subway before their dreams were crushed.


perhaps I should add, "put on your dark sunglasses and a heavy dose of imagination and basque in the glamour"

Bianca said...

Why wasn't at least one panelist, with a different view, say a Richard Tolmach, or Gary Patton invited.

Morris, it's my understanding that the town hall meeting was organized by Anna Eshoo's office. That is certainly what her website implies.

As you will recall, Anna Eshoo wasn't prepared to acknowledge oppostion to HSR in California. The town hall was to give her constituents an opportunity to ask questions of the people who are drawing up plans that will affect her district. It's not clear to me why she would have, or even should have, thought to offer a seat on the panel to someone who opposes the project.