Tuesday, July 21, 2009

HSR Meeting In Menlo Park, Saturday 7/25

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

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo is hosting a high speed rail "town meeting" this Saturday in Menlo Park. State Senator Joe Simitian will be there, and has the details on his site:

You are invited to join Joe at a town hall meeting on high-speed rail hosted by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. The event will give participants an opportunity to receive the latest information on California’s high-speed rail project and to get questions answered. A live webcast will also allow you to watch the town hall from home.

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting on High-Speed Rail hosted by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

WHEN: Saturday, July 25 at 2:00 PM

WHERE: Menlo Park City Council Chambers
701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, CA

Live webcast at http://eshoo.house.gov/

This town hall is open to the public, and no RSVP is necessary. For more information, call Joe’s district office at (650) 688-6384 or (408) 277-9460.

I will be there. Will you? We need to ensure that there are HSR supporters at this meeting, people who want the HSR/Caltrain project to be built the right way, a way that maximizes the operational capability of the line, a way that is financially responsible, and a way that is properly integrated with the surrounding urban landscape.


Bay Area Resident said...

You and the HSR wonks who read this blog will be there Robert? HO HO HO. Well that should be fun.

nonimbys said...

ARE you BAR?? then it will be fun..bringing 5 star food?

Bay Area Resident said...

nope can't attend a saturday weekday session. Besides, I am more concerned with the San Jose - Merced line, I try to avoid the peninsula meetings which tend to be full of old coots worried about their property values and real estate agents. Seriously I'll bet the average age at this meeting will be about 68.

Bay Area Resident said...

Hey by the way, did they get that "reevaluate Altamont" statement out of the budget that the governor just signed?

Observer said...

Did the governor sign it? I just saw an add on TV where he's saying he won't sign it. Is that an old add or something?

And did they get that high speed rail language removed?

Robert Cruickshank said...

No idea on the "HSR killer" budget item. We haven't actually seen the budget bills yet, so it's still unclear whether that's in there or not.

Show Me The Money said...

I don't see this thing happening with the state of the State as it is.
And if they start building it, it will not be finished.
I guess they'll build a line from Bakersfield to Somewhere-In-The-Middle-of-a-Cotton-Field-In-Tulare-County.
Enjoy the ride and bring me back some cotton, or at least some strawberries. I'm sure there will be a fresh produce shack at the end of the line.

Bay Area Resident said...

The budget has been signed by the Governor but will be voted on by the legislature now. At this point the vote is pretty much assured. So the budget is documented, it is just a question of whether that provision for HSR is in there or not.

Personally, I don't really care. Altamont doesn't do anything for anybody except 3 puny peninsula towns. The south bay doesn't win with Altamont and neither does San Mateo.

Jarrett Mullen said...

I will try and be there as long as there are no work surprises.

dave said...

Anaheim has a design for their HSR station (ARTIC) already.


Anonymous said...


You can drive to SJ --- take CalTrain to the Menlo Park station and a very short walk (5 minutes) to the City Council chambers. Enjoy the ambiance of the City.

James said...

The walk would be even shorter if the tracks were elevated. And the shopping plaza, city hall, park, and neighborhood would all be connected at ground level.

Spokker said...

"Anaheim has a design for their HSR station (ARTIC) already."

On Wednesday, July 29th there will be presentations at 3PM and 6PM at the Anaheim Convention Center on the Fixed-Guideway project that would link ARTIC to the Disneyland Resort Area. I'm going to advocate for a light rail alignment, though they will probably pick monorail because it's "sexier," even if light rail is far more versatile.

"Enjoy the ambiance of the City."

I walked through Menlo Park and there's nothing special about it.

Brandon in California said...

Monorail sexier than light-rail!? I don't live in that world.

But yes, I believe monorail is proposed. It is to Disneyland, after all.

Brandon in California said...

But to Congresswoman Eschoo... noteable is that a US Congresswoman is hosting the event as it's not a Federal project.

And, where are her transportation politics?

Spokker said...

"But yes, I believe monorail is proposed. It is to Disneyland, after all."

Disney hasn't built a foot of monorail track since the 80s. Even Disneyland has lost faith in the monorail. I wrote about it here.

The greatest reason to build the link to the resort area as light rail is the possibility of linking up to future light rail lines, such as a Metro line on the Santa Ana branch or Centerline, if it is ever resurrected. The second best reason is that with monorails you're stuck with aerial alignments. Light rail can run at-grade, in the street or in a tunnel.

Rafael said...

@ spokker -

IMHO, the biggest advantage of conventional technology would be the option of extending service to Long Beach and/or John Wayne Airport one day in the distant future. Not easy or cheap to do, mind you, but possible.

Cp. e.g. the new Leslys express trams in Lyon, France that will finally provide a fast rail link between that city's airport and the downtown area.

NONIMBYS said...

BAR is right about this meeting!!
Eschoo/simitian are just putting this on to let these Nimbys cry and vent AGAIN..nothing has changed in the last several weeks so really there is no need for this "SHOW"

Rafael said...

@ Brandon in San Diego -

you asked about Rep. Eshoo's transportation politics. Note how her web site talks about BART (not in her district) but not Caltrain nor HSR (which are). That suggests she still has a steep learning curve ahead of her on the local issues.

It's probably a safe bet that she supports HSR because SVLG does and, that she wants federal HSR funds to go to California. However, her congressional district includes Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

Anonymous said...


Your comments about Rep. Eshoo are on target. BTW, she has a home in the Menlo Park, Park Forest area and that home is about 500 feet from the tracks. However, she is very rarely in the Bay Area.

Her strong support for the HSR project is without question. Her staff has been lobbying council members, county supervisors and other representative and community leaders. Their prime message has been, "do not voice any opposition to this project"; "that will cost California stimulus funds."

She has had a secure seat for years in the strongly Democratic district. It is highly un-likely that even the fierce opposition that is now apparent to this project in her district, will change her position. Unfortunate from my point of view.

The same might be about a changing position from Senator Simitian might also be applied, but Senator Simitian has in the last few months really gotten to a much fuller understanding of the project. I wouldn't expect him to actively oppose the project either, but he has shown that he is going to try his best to make the Authority "do it right". If that is tunneling or a new route, then I would expect him to use his position to try and make that happen.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 10:07

And what if "doing it right" is a fully grade separated above-ground ROW?

Unknown said...


10 or so NIMBY's = fierce opposition?

hohoho said...


Here you go. A deal with the devil to pay for california's high speed rail(and all the other lavish california spending)

Hey, you borrow your pants off, you might as well use your exposed bottom to pay it back. Now bend over.

Rafael said...

@ hohoho -

CHSRA has requested $139 million for FY 2010 from CA state lawmakers. The budget deficit for this year is on the order of $26300 million, about 200x greater.

I'm not in favor of offshore drilling either, but the state's tax base is very narrow and overexposed to capital gains/losses. Last year's meltdown on Wall Street basically pulled the rug out from an already rickety fiscal contraption in Sacramento.

However, voters emphatically rejected tax hikes in the special election earlier this year. Don't blame HSR for their shortsightedness or the idiocy of the constitution's 2/3 rule.

Matt said...

Good. Local oil should be tapped. Just as long as they clean up when they are done, and make fines very steep for spills, so that they do not happen. And the state gets 1.8 billion for raising a finger. Nice!

Anonymous said...

I think the state should raise money by charging a high fee to everyone who moves here starting January 1st, 2010. If there are another 20 million people moving here in the next 20 years, they will need to pay their way to offset the damage they will do to the state. It will make people think twice before moving here, especially the trashy losers who come here from the other parts of the country to leech off the system. Only serious people who have a good reason to move here would be able to afford it. It would raise money and slow growth. $500 per adult, $250 per child 17 and under. In addition to that, all visitors arriving by car will have to pay an entrance fee at toll booths set up at all border crossings from oregon, nevada and arizona $25 per vehicle. In addition to that, the full length of the golden state freeway from oregon to mexico should be converted to a toll road. 10 cents a mile per car, 20 cents a mile per large truck. Also, create arrival fees for all pasengers arriving by air. $10 per person to be collected upon disembarking the plane at all airports. Increase out of state tuition and fees at all colleges and universities. Make them steep.

People want to be here, they do a lot of damage, we need to start collecting up front.

hohoho said...

Rafael, what they've requested this year is a drop in the bucket, and if the bonds get sold the interest will be in the billions. How disingenuous of you.

Didn't your rhetoric training ever teach you than any statement followed by a 'but' is nullified? As in "I don't support oil drilling, but" (but only when it serves my high speed rail agenda).

Its also called selling your soul to the devil.

James said...

Jim, Jim, Jim,

I know not to get in your way when you are making a point. But, (sigh) you really need to look up the lyrics to the Woody Guthrie song "Do-Re-Mi" and recall Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Arlo and Pete did a good version of the song on their Precious Friends album.

Charging admission to California would be counterproductive to say the least. However, tolls of Freeways to pay for maintenance may be reasonable if done right.

Travis D said...

I've never understood the opposition to offshore oil drilling anyways. So that doesn't bug me in the least.

Anonymous said...

@james I don't know those songs, but really, those of who live here, have it pretty good, we know that. Why should we let our quality of life continue to deteriorate by crammin more and more people in here to get in our way? They use up our resources, take our parking spaces, crowd out parks, and are generally just big pains in the ass, especially the new yorkers (pushy) and the third world crowd (dirty). I'd much rather have a slow economy and peaceful laid back california like we used to have in the 70's, than have all this crime and overcrowding and stuff. These new people are more trouble than they are worth. And if you already live here, wouldn't you rather keep it nice for yourself instead of handing it over to these new people who will ruin it for you? . God I miss how california was back in the 70s, it was wide open and the whole state was an unfettered playground from the mountains to the sea, freeways were wide open and well maintained. Cities were urban enough to offer the perks without the gangs and crime. The beaches were laid back. People were naked and high. It was just a cool time when the MO was "mellow out." I don't like all this new rigamarole. Its too much. Who came up with the idea that turning the state into the northeast corridor was a good idea? Damn new yorkers. They need to be the first ones to be banned.

Anonymous said...

@travis, if I go to baker beach, I do not want to see an oil rig. I want to see the cliffs, the gg bridge, the mansions on the hill, and the wide open pacific. Thats the opposition to it.

Anonymous said...

Ban everyone, and the ones you can't ban, charge and the ones that can't pay, escort out. Then it will be nice again.

Anonymous said...

and put all the new people in lancaster.

looking on said...

Jim writes:

@travis, if I go to baker beach, I do not want to see an oil rig. I want to see the cliffs, the gg bridge, the mansions on the hill, and the wide open pacific. Thats the opposition to it.

Yet Jim wants the HSR project and he doesn't give a dsmn about the concerns of communities along the peninsula, or anywhere else for that matter, just so long as he can get his train.

This shows you what he is....

Anonymous said...

Whine all you want about the 2/3s rule, but when the state budget has effectively doubled over the last 12 years, it's a spending problem, not a tax raising problem.


Anonymous said...

@looking on. yes it does. I'm someone who is looking our for his interests just like you. Besides there is no way you can compare a junky railroad row through a tired suburban landscape with baker beach.

Anonymous said...

and I'll bet a lot more californians feel the way I do about the things I listed than feel the way you do. They may not say it out loud. But it's what they are thinking.

Matt said...


You are a huge xenophobe. What you are proposing is illegal and counter-productive to California's success. And why would you want to discourage tourists? All they do is pour money into the economy.

Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

The tourists are always welcome. They leave when they are done.

Bay Area Resident said...

I have a better idea. Just roll back state expenditures to Grey Davis levels. MY GOD Davis was governor during a dot com boom, there were expenditures everywhere, why on EARTH would CA have a budget that is 40% higher now? Simple, all these unions, prison guards, etc. As I posted here earlier, I am for a state BK (although I was corrected, states can't file BK). I read that as a part of this budget deal CA will release 27K "hardened criminals". Probably 3 strikes people that we are holding for downloading music videos or something- ridiculous. HSR is a drop in the bucket for CAs budget woes.

Bay Area Resident said...

HSR to Anaheim is practically un american, I can't believe you people are even proposing it. What we need down there is a PEOPLE MOVER-MONORAIL-SUBMARINE trifecta for urban travel. Its what people are used to, they expect it. And bring back the E ticket for the fare structure.

Dan S. said...

Wow, this HSR topic is so emotional that the discussions on these blogs jerk around more wildly than the train I take to work every day. Turns all of us blog-readers into diatribe-strap-hangers. Speaking of which.

What a joke. Perhaps Sergei Brin, born in Russia, then founded Google, would like to take his billions of dollars and leave the country along with the 10,000+ American jobs he's created. That's great. Send them home. He'd probably be happy to flip us the bird on his way out.

As for paying taxes, man, why don't we want to pay for some good government services? Roads cost money, trains cost money, police and fire depts cost money, educating our youth costs money, and if we pinch our pennies hard enough, well, most people won't have access to those things. Fine for the rich, I guess. America is not great just because we keep telling ourselves that it is. Delusional. Even this handbasket sucks.

Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

gabe said...

@ jim

From wikipedia:
This includes a natural increase since the last census of 1,557,112 people (that is 2,781,539 births minus 1,224,427 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 751,419 people into the state.

Beyond the sheer xenophobia of your statements, your "plan" would still mean a California with a rapidly growing population, as most of the increase is from births.

Clem said...

jerk around more wildly than the train I take to work every day

Oy, that bad? Let me guess, Caltrain?

Rafael said...

@ hohoho -

offshore oil drilling is not being resumed for the sake of funding HSR. Canceling HSR would not prevent the resumption of offshore oil drilling.

Open your eyes, this decision had absolutely zip to do with HSR.

@ anon @ 12:50pm -

the problem isn't spending as such, it's a mismatch between spending and revenue. Voters will happily vote for ever more services as long as taxes are not raised to pay for them.

The 2/3 rule allows Dems at the state level to push through spending increases while blaming the GOP for refusing tax hikes. Conversely, the GOP can claim it's protecting taxpayers' wallets while blaming the Dems for a spending spree. Result: gridlock, everyone escapes accountability.

Straight majority voting would force whoever is in the majority to assume responsibility for balancing the budget by themselves, i.e. both the spending and the tax side. You can have generous services and high taxes or, basic services and low taxes. What voters can't have is generous services and low taxes.

It's high time they were forced to acknowledge that, otherwise it will indeed be difficult to guarantee stable funding for long-term infrastructure projects like improved levees, water distribution or HSR.

Anonymous said...

29 down: fear of warrior princess____
what is "xenaphonbia.


I don't give a rats ass what you call me. I'm a california and I care about the god damn quality of life here. And its sliding into the toilet because there are too many people and we aren't raising the money to cover the costs of the services to keep them here while maintaining the quality of life and if you were real californians and not traitors you'd be concerned with it too. Despite the damage that has been done, we still have a pretty damn good thing going out here and if we wanna keep it we'd better find a way to slow down growth and make sure any one new pays up front.

I want someone to explain to me how having more overburdened schools, roads, transit, welfare, healthcare, beaches, state parks, water systems and the like, is good for us as a state? How does trashing more and more of Californias natural resources by more and more people do us any good? The economy? Well thats about a big a lie as "the check is in the mail." if growing the economy by growing the population made us better off, then the state would be more fabulous and wealthy now than ever. Instead it has been trashed, its over crowded, politically dysfunctional and crime ridden. Nice job. I'm all for high speed rail, good infrastructure and so on but I'm not paying so that other people can tear it up. Anyone new must pay or you can't come in. no vacancy. go to nevada, they like cheap and trashy.

Anonymous said...

@gabe-Beyond the sheer xenophobia of your statements, your "plan" would still mean a California with a rapidly growing population, as most of the increase is from births."

then for gods sake stop giving people tax breaks for breeding, especially when all they are gonna do is wind up with a crappy education do to parents who are too busy off in la la land, and the damn kids are gonna be spray painting graffiti on the 40 billion dollar train. I say do what singapore did and whip their asses in the public square. damn little heathens. not to mention the fare evasion.

Anonymous said...

btw the repubs got mad about the criminal release thing and that has been removed from the budget deal. They were not going to release "hardened" criminal anyway. just 27,000 non violent, minor offenders, they could have released them and given them some sun screen and a bus ticket to warm sunny florida.

Anonymous said...

LOL@jim. He's the ultimate NIMBY.

gabe said...


"wind up with a crappy education do to parents"

Does any one else see the irony here?

Nothing I could say would make you look worse than your own posts, so I won't try. Maybe just stick to HSR? You're making our side look bad. You sound like an cranky old man complaining about those damn kids on your lawn...

Think for a second- higher population means more riders on HSR. A fixed system like HSR has scale effects, so the more people the better. There' s a reason there's no HSR in Montana....