While the OC Register has been strangely silent on the issue of High Speed Rail, they finally spoke up today in an Editorial piece that was not favorable to HSR's position of continuing to move forward no matter what. The article is here: http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/billion-232277-rail-proponents.html
Most of the HSR Board meetings are held in Sacramento, which leaves many of us unable to go and speak or even sit and watch the proceedings, while they decide what to do in our community without our permission or input. This month's meeting is in San Diego, it is tomorrow at 9 am. I am attending, and taking anyone who wants to carpool. It is in the middle of the workday, so I know it is hard to get away, but if you can manage it, contact me directly and I am happy to pick up anyone who wants to go.
In the meantime, other responsible rail advocates have been networking throughout the State, and people in other communities are having the same problems we see in Anaheim.
1) Lack of public notice or input. While the HSRA says this has all been public information, and they have had meetings, making it seem as though if we do not know about this it is our own fault, let's look at their idea of public notice.
During the Scoping Meeting, the ONLY Anaheim contact on their list for notification was Sherry VanderDussen at the Anaheim Planning Department. I do know that the City posted something to their website, and an email notice went out to some citizens who are on their mailing list. However, that is a pathetic attempt to contact the public. During the Scoping Meeting, they held two meetings per location, at three locations. That is a grand total of six meetings, for a route that runs from Anaheim to Los Angeles. Of those meetings, their own documents show that 100 people TOTAL attended, and there is no record of how many of those attendees were staff from various agencies, union reps from the trade unions, and how many were actual residents and businesses that are affected by the project. In contrast, when we contacted residents through a grassroots network to tell them about the Alternatives Analysis, we had over 150 people attend, in the pouring rain. The citizens of Anaheim are interested in the project, we simply were not adequately notified. This is a trend we see in other communities, and we are comparing notes.
2) Lack of real information related to meetings: After the Scoping Meetings, the HSRA did conduct some outreach meetings, where they showed a video that was information light at best. Maps show an animated arrow traveling from Anaheim to Los Angeles, with no topographic or landmark type marlers to allow the public to orient the location of the train line. The statement that they are using the "LOSSAN Corridor" means nothing to those who do not understand that the LOSSAN is the existing Metrolink line.
3) Murky information: While the HSRA has handed the common citizens generic information, they have been sharing with leaders in Sacramento information that I will graciously categorize as "spun"...when the LAO reviewed the Business Plan (revised because the old numbers did not work) they called out the revelation that private investors would only jump into this program if their investment was guaranteed. But since Prop 1A forbids a taxpayer subsidy, the HSRA will call it a "ridership guarantee" as if that somehow makes it palatable to those of us who pay for that "guarantee". There are too many instances of this obsufucation to count, so I am creating a separate blog specifically to adress issues of HSR and its effect on our area.
Stay tuned, and I will create a separate space so as not to bog down the Anaheim blog with HSR issues, and we can get on to the important work of discussing the upcoming elections, and events in your area.
By the way, if you know of an event or meeting in your area, I would love to post about it, contact me directly to send the info. Cynthia_Ward@sbcglobal.net
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