Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Menlo Park Wants To Decide For California Whether We Have HSR

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

Menlo Park and Atherton, two of the most affluent cities in the entire state, apparently believe it is their right to make decisions for the other 36 million people in California. At a study session last night in Menlo Park city officials and residents spouted off reasons why HSR was a bad idea for California as justification for their lawsuit and resolution against the project. While one might understand the city's desire to mitigate the impact of HSR on their landscape, the tone of the debate made it clear that HSR's impact on Menlo Park wasn't the issue. Instead the forum was a chance for HSR's few opponents in this state to push their anti-HSR arguments to the media in hopes that they could use Menlo Park residents for their own purposes.

The San Mateo County Times article on the session noted that Menlo Park and Atherton are the ONLY two cities along the proposed route that oppose the project. All others support it. Further, as Rod Diridon noted, the cities along the Altamont route oppose HSR as well - yet Menlo Park wants to saddle them with a line they don't want. Cities like Fremont and Livermore are more middle- and working-class, but the wealthy residents of Menlo Park and Atherton are quite happy to override their objections to keep the trains out of their own backyard.

Menlo Park in particular also seems interested in ignoring the fundamental reality that they are, and have always been, a railroad city. The tracks that currently carry Caltrain cars have been there since before the city was founded. Caltrain runs nearly 100 trains through Menlo Park and Atherton every day. But city staff and elected officials behave as if that doesn't exist:

The staff's consistent point has been that the train should not run through the heart of a residential city, splitting east from west and forcing the removal of old-growth trees and perhaps even city and private property.

That was the argument of Elizabeth Blois, who spoke for members of the Felton Gables Homeowners Association on Tuesday in pleading for the rail association to consider the impact on their homes.

Someone should inform city staff of Caltrain's existence. The other part of this argument should be turned around on Menlo Park - if preserving a residential city is their concern, why do they support dangerous at-grade crossings? Why do they support pollution-spewing diesel trains? The loss of a small part of city and private property seems a small price to pay for safety and clean air.

Blois and others who made similar comments revealed their true motives - classic, dictionary-definition NIMBYism. Not in their backyard - but it's apparently OK to force it onto someone else, someone poorer.

Menlo Park and Atherton also are taking a stand for global warming and against carbon reduction. They are telling Californians that the property and aesthetic values of a small group of people is more important than solving our climate and energy crises. The 160,000 construction jobs and 450,000 long-term jobs that HSR would create don't faze a community that enjoys a unique level of economic security, towns that can afford to reject a green dividend.

Some of the other comments at the meeting were of the usual, uninformed HSR denier sort:

Other arguments from the public were more far-reaching. Jerry Carlson, vice mayor of Atherton, said the high-speed rail project as a whole is a waste of transit resources.

"I think a much better approach would have been to put that money into regional plans," he said.

Now, perhaps I'm missing something, but a train that whisks passengers from SF to SJ in 20 minutes sounds like a regional plan. A train that gets commuters from Anaheim to LA in 30 minutes is a regional plan.

Atherton resident Jack Ringham said the project would probably run far over budget, take years longer than predicted and attract far fewer riders annually than the 117 million the rail authority's consultants predict.

We dealt with Ringham's nonsensical claims back in June - anyone who thinks ridership on HSR will not be high is just demonstrating their lack of knowledge about passenger rail.

Vice Mayor Heyward Robinson conceded the city may not be able to stop the project altogether. If that's the case, he said, it should work with the rail authority to get key concessions. For instance, he suggested the high-speed portion of the line could stop at San Jose, and those continuing to San Francisco could simply take Caltrain.

In other words, Robinson wants to break the entire project and force people to have slow commutes just because he wants to pretend his community is not the railroad town that it has always been.

Some HSR supporters showed up to fight the good fight:

Roxanne Rorhpaugh said "the time has passed'' for debates about the Pacheco vs. Altamont alignments. She said she's certain the train can come through Menlo Park without serious damage to nearby property, but even if there were damage, "It's 12 houses versus 117 million" riders. "Do the math."

Amen to that. Menlo Park is trying to dictate terms to the rest of the state, claiming that the interests of 12 million-dollar homes are more important than fighting high gas prices, global warming, and the energy crisis. Menlo Park's neighbors Palo Alto and Redwood City aren't opposed to the train yet they too have wealthy homeowners who live near the tracks, and Redwood City in particular has a downtown that will be rather directly affected by the trains.

They understand the need to build a sustainable 21st century future that allows all Californians to share in our prosperity, allows all Californians to travel around their state. It's a shame that Menlo Park and Atherton prefer to make the state bend to the will of a few wealthy individuals. If that's not aristocracy I don't know what is.


Anonymous said...

Menlo Park commissioned a grade crossing study in 2003. The preferred design put the railway about 8 feet up to allow the streets to dip only slightly to pass under the railroad. It assumed a four-track railway. It also looked at the construction shoo-fly, or bypass track.

The alternative did not require the demolition of any buildings AT ALL and also suggested that many of the major trees could be relocated.

I don't know where the claim that homes and businesses will be taken comes from, except thin air.

Anonymous said...

This post seems to imply that Menlo Park Nimbyism is a driving force behind an east bay route. Fremont and Pleasanton may be less affluent communities than Menlo Park, but that is not where the impetus for that routing came from.

What’s more, you seem to selectively mention the pro-Pacheco HSR supporter who was quoted in the article, but fail to bring up the attendance of the project director for the California Rail Foundation.

Rod Diridon… came to the study session to lay out the arguments in favor of the project. He was countered by Dan McNamara, project director for the California Rail Foundation, which opposes Measure 1A.
McNamara contended the Peninsula is the wrong route for the train. Far better, he said, would be a route approaching the Bay Area through the East Bay via the Altamont Pass.
He noted that millions more people live along the Altamont corridor than the Pacheco corridor

I know we have all heard this before, and I know that some people think that it is time to unite behind this project no matter what the flaws, but please, in the future, please try not to accidentally omit or trivialize the opinions of Altamont supporters.

Anonymous said...

Super Nimbys!!! have the train stop in San Jose then let them use Caltrain the rest of the way!! This is their Vice Mayor??!!!

Marine Layer said...

Out of curiosity I attended the study session last night. One of the commenters asked for a show of hands from those whose property fronted the tracks. It looked like about a third of the assembled audience raised their hands.

Several other commenters were fiscal conservative types. There were few in support of HSR. There were repeated comments about the Altamont alignment and requests to terminate the line in San Jose instead of bringing it up the Peninsula.

What surprised me (but shouldn't have) was the demographics. As I looked around, I noticed that other than the children who were brought to the session by their parents, I may have been the youngest person there and I'm 32! For the record, I support the project, warts and all.

Tony D. said...

Welcome to the fight! Not in the Islands yet Brah! Robert, I challenge the MP/Atherton NIMBY's to answer the question posed time and time again: you currently have Caltrain service in your B.Y.; loud, lumbering, smog belching, and (sadly at times) auto/people smashing...wouldn't they rather have quiter, fast, eco-friendly, and grade-separated (fenced off) high-speed rail and Caltrain? For the life of me I don't understand why they would prefer the status quo.

Unknown said...

@ Marine Layer,

I was at the meeting, and I am a 19 year old student at Stanford who got on his bike to come see what he thought would be a productive workshop on addressing concerns of high speed rail in the Caltrain corridor. I can say with certainty I was the youngest voting age attendee, and probably the only one under 30. I left after the presentation, mostly out of disbelief at the lack of respect people had for Rod Diridon and the amount of misinformation (or just poor information) that both sides were throwing back and forth. As a resident of Palo Alto (and San Diego), I didn't really think I had a right to speak, but in retrospect I wish I had to counter what I heard.

Most of the people there were in attendance to voice opposition, and that is usually how city council meetings go. But the way people are fighting this is just dirty. The California Rail Foundation seized upon the NIMBY-ism to promote Altamont. Honestly, that issue needs to die. We are honestly watching this project, the most important transportation infrastructure project since the Interstate Highway System, because of contentions over a routing choice that, in terms of the state as a whole and the populations that the route will serve, affects a small amount of people (1 million).

The City of Menlo Park has decided, with Atherton and others who have it in for the project for whatever reason, that the EIR/EIS that decided on Pacheco was "rigged." Why is this a city council that thinks they know enough to decide that an environmental document certified by five state and federal agencies is simply false? They are in no way qualified to make such statements. Further, the Vice Mayor of Atherton's comments that the project is a waste of money is a personal opinion being presented publicly as one of the city. That is an unfair use of his public sway.

Any normal city would worship this project as a way to A) upgrade the existing commuter rail system, B) grade separate rail crossings, and C) bring new commerce to their city through better connections with the state as a whole. Cities in San Diego have tried to sway the CHSRA to send the train through them for these reasons. Certainly, the upgraded infrastructure alone at little cost to the city is enough reason to support the project. I feel it is fortunate as a commuter that Menlo Park and Atherton haven't gone so far as to try to remove Caltrain from their city. These two cities scare me quite a bit in their arrogance, and I am ashamed that they can't consider the state as a whole and the needs of future generations.

Anonymous said...

Well the rich nimbys got to horrible a 100 foot railroad thats been there 100 years is going to ruin their lives!
You know people hate rich spoiled crybabies..Ask Paris! What they really need is to have the spotlight that uppty town and show everyone what there up to..that should wonders for the City reputation!!

Anonymous said...

Michaels post is outstanding!!

Spokker said...

The fact that Menlo Park and Atherton are fighting for what's in their own best interest is not surprising. Rich, white NIMBY or not, I understand why they are the way they are.

The residents of Menlo Park and Atherton probably didn't become residents of Menlo Park and Atherton by standing idly by and not fighting for what they believe in. I'm sure they worked hard for what they have and you're seeing that passion even in their opposition.

It's a good thing they are rich too. These are the people who actually pay taxes. They might even pay for the subsidized portion of your Caltrain ticket.

But I think it all comes down to what one person in attendance said, "It's 12 houses versus 117 million riders. Do the math."

If prop 1A passes, there will no doubt be a good fight from those in Menlo Park and Atherton. There will no doubt be costs and delays associated with that fight, but in the end as long as the bond measure passes high speed rail in California will go forward.

I admire their persistence and thank them for their tax dollars.

無名 - wu ming said...

the fact that it irritates people in atherton is a feature, not a bug.

if those people were for the HSR project, it'd seriously make me wonder what we'd done wrong. they're communities defined by their opposition to anything that helps anyone else, populated by the wealthy that found even the remote possibility that they'd rub elbows with the hoi polloi in pacific heights so offensive that they'd drive an hour to get away from it.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 4:48pm -

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Menlo Park and Atherton residents' primary complaint is the construction of a berm that will raise all four tracks some 10 feet above ground. This creates a visual barrier and exacerbates noise pollution. Inevitably, it also increases the earthquake risk to both Caltrain and HSR.

However, a berm and the shoofly tracks required for Caltrain service to continue during construction are actually expensive solutions. They would not even have been considered if these mostly residential peninsula cities hadn't insisted on keeping every single one of their existing grade crossings open.

Had they instead agreed to make do with just one motor vehicle underpass each, the tracks could remain at grade and the money saved put toward sound walls and pedestrian and/or bicycle over-/underpasses. With additional local money, it would even be possible to create a box tunnel structure with a linear park on top, something that would increase local property values in the long run.

The alternative they have proposed, a trench, is almost certainly also beyond the budget for this section of the network - the cross traffic volumes do not justify such a gold-plated solution. Moreover, storm drains and sewer lines would have to be re-routed to run underneath the tracks, possibly increasing the risk of minor flooding after winter storms.

As for Altamont Pass, any serious proposal would have to run around the South Bay anyhow. The idea that northern Santa Clara county should not have an HSR station makes as little sense as terminating the line there and using Caltrain to get to San Francisco. IFF HSR is to be built at all, every train needs to stop in both SF and San Jose (or at least in Santa Clara), anything else is half-bakery.

Altamont vs. Pacheco therefore has no direct bearing on the situation along the SF peninsula, except perhaps in what the decision-making process revealed about the way the Authority has operated to date.

Even so, HSR is too important a project for California voters to postpone or shoot down. If individual members of the Authority's board need to be replaced at some point, so be it. The project as such needs to go ahead. I hope voters elsewhere in the state will take a longer and broader view than the narrow-minded NIMBYs of Atherton and Menlo Park.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Redwood City native and I have to counter your assertion that wealthy homeowners in my city live along the Caltrain tracks.
They don't. If they did, I'm sure they'd be complaining, too.

The area along the train tracks is mostly commercial or light industrial, and the small pockets of residential properties are home to the poorest of Redwood City's residents.

Much of the rail line between the multi-million dollar homes of Atherton and its less-posh nieghbor, Redwood City, runs through a very rough and low-income portion of unincorporated San Mateo County called North Fair Oaks.

If you haven't heard protests from those residents, it's probably because no one's listening to them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon @ 10:43

While i completely agree with your premise about poorer people living near the tracks in RWC, and have brought up the arrogance of the Menlo Park residence who kick and stomp about construction through the wealthy downtown along Caltrain and not utter a single word about the potential impact of further widening hwy 101 which also passes through Menlo, albeit the poor part of Menlo. However I am reasonably confident that most of the corridor through RWC is wide enough (100') and very little property will be affected. The story is much different in Menlo-Atherton where huge mansion yards of up to 3 or 4 acres crowd right up to the tracks. These homes will only need to sell a few feet off their yards, someone might lose a pool, but I think that is a small price to pay for HSR.

Spokker said...

I'd cut them some slack. I don't think the Menlo Park opposition in and of itself will have a discernable effect on this project. The High Speed Rail Authority is patronizing them as they should.

Keep in mind that these people do pay a lot of taxes in California, unless they're crooked. They are often forced to foot the bill for projects they have little say on.

While I believe the high speed train is desperately needed in California, let's not make believe that California doesn't waste a lot of money on nonsense.

I don't agree with their opposition, but I understand. And in the end Menlo Park is not deciding the fate of HSR in California. The voters are.

Anonymous said...

I dont cut them ANY slack..its not like a virgin 100 foot Railroad is being ripped thru town. I had to put up with 7 years of the Central
freeway by my house.I lived!!now there's cars driving 24 hours down the street.Whats clean quite trains
compared to that?

Anonymous said...

I live a mile and a half from the tracks on a 1/4 acre lot and ride cal train often. I believe McNamara is right for the following reasons:

First HSR will neither serve peninsula residents or businesses, nor add value to the peninsula at all. In fact if it stops at any peninsula cities, it wiil not save more than 5 minutes between SF and SJ, compared to existing bullet trains.but would reduce commuter ridership on caltrain that does serve us.

Second, the impact of the 15 ft (at last count) elevation berm wide enough for four tracks through Atherton, Menlo Park, and much of Palo Alto residential and light business areas that depend on local rail would be much greater than just 12 properties. The required widening of the right of way plus the impact of two years of construction would destroy many small businesses as it did in Redwood City during the Jefferson St. grade separation.

Third, the commenter who said that it was not necessary to raise the tracks has it almost right. Grade separation for three tracks can be accomplished within the existing ROW at three of the crossings in Menlo Park, as well as probably all new ones in Palo Alto, Mountainview and Watkins Ave. in Atherton without requiring additional space for shoo fly track. But Caltrain and its consultants in order to ride the HSR gravy train have steadfastly refused to seriously consider anything other than 4 tracks and the "Great Wall" that is planned.

Finally, in spite of the mindless rants about rich NIMBYs and high paid consultants etc. those of us tax payers who have looked carefully at the numbers know that the cost, ridership and revenue claims by the HSR lobby do not stand scrutiny.

Voters should take a good look at who the real advocates and beneficiaries of HSR are. I have and must conclude I am not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2:23

I'm so sick of this shit! Just like every republican suddenly became a feminist last week, how did everyone in Menlo-Atherton suddenly become a transportation expert?

And just how pray-tell do you KNOW for a fact Anon that the numbers do not stand scrutiny? What specific scrutiny have you personally or anyone given them? Could you provide a citation or reference? Could you elaborate on what exactly "dosen't stand up to scrutiny" specifically means? Are you calling them liars or implying that they are intentionally lying? If that is true why don't you alert the relevant authorities rather than bitching on a pro-HSR blog?

HSR isn't being built to exclusively serve the peninsula as you selfishly note, it is being built to serve the state of California of which Menlo Park and Atherton are parts. Furthermore HSR DOES serve the peninsula! I personally look forward to riding my bike to the Palo Alto station and us both being wisked off to other parts of the state. In the time it would take to clear security at SFO.

I think what you meant to say is that HSR won't serve YOU. And therefore you won't support it.

Anonymous said...

Well it is your right to vote no..
but its another story when a group of people are going to try and destroy a great statewide project with some selfcenter lawsuite because its not"OK" with them

Anonymous said...

The fact that Menlo Park and Atherton are fighting for what's in their own best interest is not surprising.

I don't think anyone can tell a reasonable story in which HSR is not in Menlo Park's or Atherton's best interest. Even if they never use the high speed train itself (highly unlikely - there will be a stop within 5 miles whether it's RWC or PA), they're basically, for free, getting an upgrade of Caltrain to rapid-transit level service. This will certainly have a net positive effect on property values.

The only Menlo Park/Atherton residents for whom HSR is not in their best interest are those living directly adjacent to the Caltrain ROW (though even for them, the benefits may eventually outweigh the costs). As michael noted, those people showed up in disproportionate numbers at the meeting. Which is what we would expect.

Scott said...

Let's put a personal face on this situation. I live in Menlo Park next to the train tracks. My house is a small house built in 1945 on less than a quarter of an acre. If HSR comes to my neighborhood I will almost certainly lose my home. So when you advocate for this proposal, keep in mind that it will have a very high personal cost for some people and perhaps consider expressing a bit of sympathy rather than calling us fools or NIMBY deniers.

I am also a fan of rail transit. My family uses it daily to get up and down the SF peninsula. Up to this point, Caltrain has been a pretty good neighbor. The noise of the trains does not bother us. We intentionally bought our house near the Atherton train station so we could easily walk to transit.

We were disappointed when they closed our closest station (Atherton) a few years back for weekday travel in order to put in the baby bullets, but we've made the adjustment to our schedules so we can walk the extra 20 minutes to the Menlo Park station.

The HSR proposal will do nothing to improve our local routes. It won't stop in our community. It won't stop at the other end of my commute (Sunnyvale). Menlo Park does not stand to benefit from this proposal.

If we want people to get out of their cars and use the train for daily travel, HSR is not the way to accomplish that. Better local and regional transit with substantially improved connectivity between systems and cross peninsula routes is what we really need.

Anonymous said...


I agree with your last paragraph. Why not put together a bond proposal to improve local transit. HSR is a statewide project and not designed to get you to Sunnyvale.

Caltrain isn't going anywhere, and in fact will see great benifit from this project in conjunction with HSR. They are even talking about being able to reopen weekday Atherton station service once the ROW is improved.

In the mean time might I suggest you invest in a bike to shorten that 20 min walk to a 2-5 min ride!

Robert Cruickshank said...


Californians need to separate what is good for Scott in Menlo Park with what is good for the entire state. If we decided that any project that negatively impacted a single person somewhere could not be built, then we would be living in caves.

Your last two paragraphs do not make sense. HSR will absolutely improve local routes by providing faster Caltrain service - grade separations have that rather tangible benefit.

Further, your notion that the only form of travel Menlo Park residents ever engage in is riding Caltrain to Sunnyvale is nonsense. You could take a Caltrain to Palo Alto station and get to SF, San Jose, and yes Los Angeles more easily, quickly, and cheaply than you can by driving or training to SFO or SJC.

Which leads me to the ultimate point - you and your fellow HSR deniers are trying to ghettoize rail transit. In your last paragraph you suggest that HSR will not get people out of their cars. That is nonsense. HSR provides a form of rail transit where none currently exists - intercity, interregion.

Your whole picture is one where Menlo Park residents never leave the Peninsula. You and I both know that's absurd. Menlo Park residents will benefit from this project as much as anyone else. If you don't think so, you don't understand HSR.

Of course you've also ignored the environmental, climate, and economic benefits of HSR. Does Menlo Park believe its aesthetic values are more important than cleaning the air? Than growing our economy? Than keeping SF Bay from rising?

I agree with anon and Scott that we need to spend more money on rail in the SF Bay Area and in SoCal. But you're not only wrong but foolish to assume this is some zero sum game.

Because if you really want that kind of money, the Central Valley, San Diego, and others are going to demand something in return. HSR is that "something" - while also providing faster trains for the metro areas.

Anonymous said...

Please take a look at the first post in this thread. Menlo Park paid for a four-track, grade separation study, meaning they had control over it, and the answer was that no homes or businesses would need to be taken to build a four-track grade separations along all of Caltrain in Menlo Park.

City of Menlo Park, Report to City Council on Menlo Park Grade Separation & New Station (in same location) Feasibility Study, June 5, 2003. BKF Engineers, 43 11x17 pages.

Can we stop making up stories about houses being torn down? If someone is telling you that's the plan, they're instilling fear in their neighbors to further their own goals. Think about that one.

Anonymous said...

Scott ..if you lose your house to this project then you deserve a great settlement and a heart felt thank you. Its another "group' in Menlo Park thats bringing down the lighting bolts. I think you know who they are.

When my Grandmothers house and 1000more were ripped up to ram I77 thru town ..the county cops just NAILED the eviction notice to the door..did not get anything cause they said it was low value property
that was the thats somthing to scream about ..not 10 foot of your yard behind a 120 old railroad.

Spokker said...

"In fact if it stops at any peninsula cities, it wiil not save more than 5 minutes between SF and SJ, compared to existing bullet trains.but would reduce commuter ridership on caltrain that does serve us."

How would it reduce commuter ridership on Caltrain? Because a portion of the Caltrain riders switched to HSR?

The other HSR opponents are saying that nobody is going to ride this train...

Why would Caltrain riders switch to HSR just to save 5 minutes on their commute, as you say? They would most certainly have to pay more on top of that.

If anything Caltrain ridership will go up because it too will benefit from improved service and speeds.

Brandon in California said...

I am sorry to hear that. I once had to move because my landlord decided to renovate the apartment building. Another time, I had to move because the house was sold.

I was not compensated in either instance for the disruption to my life. But hey, that is one of the cons of being a renter and a month to month lease.

You, on the other hand, say you're an owner. So, at least you'll be compensated the fair market value of your home and may in fact get relocation expenses.

And, since you live by the RR tracks now, well, you will likely relocate to someplace better suited for human habitation

Anonymous said...


I don't understand how you can write this:

The HSR proposal will do nothing to improve our local routes. It won't stop in our community. It won't stop at the other end of my commute (Sunnyvale). Menlo Park does not stand to benefit from this proposal.

Under the HSR proposal, Caltrain will become a 4-track, electrified, grade-separated railroad with positive control signaling (allowing not just HSR, but Caltrain itself to operate above 79 mph). They can finally run true local and express service (like on the Northeast Corridor or Metro-North/LIRR). Speed, train frequency, reliability, safety - you will see large improvements along all of these dimensions. This will benefit anyone who lives within a few miles of a Caltrain station, not just those who live near HSR stations.

Anonymous said...

As we all know, HSR is planned to go through a lot of towns, and that means there's a lot of potential NIMBY's out there.

It's actually a good thing that Menlo Park and Atherton are being proactive about fighting out the ROW planning now rather than later. Because eventually a deal will get made and it won't be them holding up the project in 2020 ... it will be Fresno or Modesto or somebody else.

Bay Area Resident said...

I plan to join the lawsuit to fight this boondoggle in my backyard also. The state of CA has a lot of nerve putting a 220MPH HSR through every quaint town on the SF peninsula where all the Silicon Valley executives live in their 2 million dollar homes. We will fight this with every bone in our body.

You are free to build HSR, and I would have supported it, but NOT if it has to go RIGHT THROUGH EVERY QUAINT DOWNTOWN ON THE SF PENINSULA. High speed rails are not supposed to be built right in the middle of residential areas.

Ask yourselves this- would YOU want to be living a block away from this thing? Well would you? Because caltrain is smack dab in the middle of residential-ville, all along the ENTIRE PENINSULA.

Rod Diridon- YOU SUCK

Bay Area Resident said...

By the way its not just menlo park and Atherton. I live in Willow Glen San Jose. The train tracks are 2 blocks away, no big deal. Caltrain slows to a crawl through here. Living next to the tracks and downtown is (was) perceived as desirable. This monster electric train blows that nonsense. This train goes through residential areas in not just Atherton and MP, but Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale- everywhere. What kind of a knumbskull envisions a 220MPH electric train in the middle of a densely populated residential area of 6 million people? Next I will work with Silicon Valley companies to sue this.