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Atherton meets on high-speed rail

Original post made on Sep 21, 2008

Wondering why Atherton officials are opposing the California High Speed Rail initiative? The City Council is hosting a special study session meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, that promises to deliver the pros and cons of building a high-speed rail line connecting the Bay Area to Los Angeles via the Peninsula's Caltrain corridor.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, September 21, 2008, 11:35 PM

Comments (21)

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Posted by Glen
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Well if you self -center things will think about something outside of were your going to park your 450SL maby you might be human? YES on PROP1A

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Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 22, 2008 at 8:26 am

A recent due diligence report just released and authored by transportation experts Wendell Cox and Joseph Vranich really puts this whole project into focus. I will try and bring a few copies of the summary report (8 pages) of the full document 190+ pages to the study session on Wednesday.

this $45 billion project sure to balloon to over $80 billions is show to be what it really is -- a boondoogle.

Please note that the Menlo Park City council wil be discussing possible adoption of a resolution concerning High Speed Rail at the council meeting on Tuesday Spet 23rd.

Links to the reports are available at:

Web Link

Other material available at

morris brown

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Posted by observer
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 22, 2008 at 8:58 am

From Glen's post, I infer that the HSR proponents may be running out of money to hire literate trolls to post on message boards.

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Posted by Eric
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2008 at 10:44 am

Observer, your comment makes me laugh. To think the people that support this high speed rail project are on some sort of payroll. Wake up and realize people are out posting in support of this project because they want too and not getting paid for it.

Build HSR already. Yes on Prop 1A

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Posted by Tired of trolls
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 22, 2008 at 11:40 am

Eric, if you truly live in another community, then why are you posting on our forum?

I realize that there are people who stand to take a cut from the $10 billion and it's not a surprise that they support this proposition. But the purpose of this thread is to discuss what the residents think. We KNOW what you think.

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Posted by Spokker
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Atherton opposes the project largely because of disruptions to their community, not because the project is bad for California overall. Past articles from this newspaper have mostly focused on aspects of the project related to construction and right of way widening.

Sorry, but you live in a state where other people live. Disruptions to your daily lives can and will happen.

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Posted by Spokker
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2008 at 12:05 pm

"We KNOW what you think."

Why does The Almanac provide an "another community" category?

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Posted by Eric
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Tired of trolls, Pot calling the kettle black?

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Posted by tom
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2008 at 2:44 pm

I work in Menlo Park, but do not live in either Menlo Park or Atherton. I am not in favor of Prop. 1A,although I do think the MP/Atherton law suit was prompted solely by a NIMBY attitude and not because it's route out of the central valley really threatens the environment. In my humble opinion its just way too much money for far too little benefit. However, as a frequent participant in this forum, I do have two comments for two other participants. First-Tired of Trolls-whose forum do you think this is? Menlo Parks? Athertons? Portola Valleys? Woodsides? Heaven forbid that anyone else's lives are affected by subjects like this, and they would be so bold as to weigh in on the subject(pro or con}! And Observer, be careful about disparaging someone's opinions just because of a few typos and maybe a rushed input--I truely respect Morris Brown, but he was obviously either distracted or hurried in his post-but he will be at the study session and you can bet he'll have the documents he promised. I have no reason to think any less of Eric-I just disagree with him.

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Posted by oink
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 22, 2008 at 4:13 pm

People in Menlo Park and Atherton are smart, and most would heartily disagree that this train is good for California. It's a money sink, and if HSR ever gets built (after the porkers have feasted for a few years) a ticket will be cost so much that only people traveling on expense accounts will be able to use HSR. That has been true for high speed trains all over the world.

And even at a high price, the train will still lose money and will have to be subsidized by the public, most of whom can't afford to ride it!

If thousands of people lost their homes because of an earthquake or hurricane, we'd call it a major disaster. But thousands of mid-peninsula residents will be driven from their homes because of HSR, and it's not at all clear that it provides any benefit to the peninsula at all. We will have construction for 20 years, and for what?

HSR is unlikely to take a single car off 101, 280, 85, 880, 17, or any of the other congested freeways. In fact, it would add more cars to the freeways because people would be driving to the terminal. We will still have to maintain and probably grow our freeway capacity because most Bay Area freeway traffic is local, not long-distance.

We are told that HSR is needed because tens of millions of people are moving to California. But will they be moving to the expensive areas that are already built out (LA, SF) or to the areas that still have room to grow? If we're planning for the future, let's plan for a realistic future, not just the future that fits the objectives of the profiteers.

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Posted by Clem
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 23, 2008 at 11:17 am

I want some of what Oink is smoking!

He/she said that HSR trains all over the world are so overpriced that only people traveling on expense accounts can use them. That suggests he may not ever have traveled to those countries and bought an HSR ticket with his own money.

He doesn't seem to mind that his government pays for roads, BART, airports and air traffic control... but heaven forbid HSR!

Then he says thousands of peninsula residents will lose their home because of HSR. The actual number is closer to a few dozen, in those few areas where the Caltrain right of way is narrower than 80 feet (Not surprisingly, this occurs primarily in the more affluent areas of the mid-peninsula in Menlo Park and Atherton).

Then he claims that construction will last 20 years. While it may take 20 years to build out the system, that doesn't mean Atherton will be a vortex of dirt and jack hammers for 20 years. More like two years, if that.

When arguments are no longer rooted in facts, but built on a smartly made-up, alarmist alternate reality that sounds self-consistent and appealing, there can no longer be intelligent discourse. Yes, people in Menlo Park and Atherton (and everywhere else) are smart... some of them evidently smart enough to make up "truthy" stuff out of thin air, and most of them luckily smart enough to discard that stuff for what it is.

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Posted by George
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2008 at 5:54 pm

So Morris Brown is going to bring on the dreaded Wendell Cox Report. Wendell Cox has never met a rail project of any kind he likes anywhere. Let's have a little information on who he is:

"He is the principal (and sole owner) of Wendell Cox Consultancy (Demographia), based in the St. Louis (Missouri-Illinois) metropolitan region and editor of three Web sites, Demographia, The Public Purpose and Urban Tours by Rental Car." Then if you go to you find, "Arrangements can be made for Wendell Cox to speak through the Heartland Institute. Call Greg Lackner at 312-377-4000."

But dig just a little deeper, and it is not to hard, you also find a few other things about Wendell Cox, such as: "One of the most notorious "hired guns" for the roadway industry and anti-transit, anti-rail zealots is the nationally known, self-styled "consultant", Wendell Cox. Cox has established a reputation for himself both as a roadway industry publicist and, particularly, as a "professional expert" opposing light rail transit (LRT) projects." (or any other passenger carrying rail project of any kind.)

And that, "Wendell Cox, for example, has been on the bankroll of the American Highway Users Alliance, a lobbying group founded in the 1930s by General Motors Corp. And, according to a June 1999 Texas Observer article, the Wendell Cox Consultancy has done a lot of work for private bus companies who bid on the very contracts which Cox promotes after rail projects are scuttled."

"Cox indicates no formal training in transportation planning on his on-line résumé,"

Using Wendell Cox as a source is standing on a very shakey platform containing much dubious logic.

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Posted by High $ tale
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 23, 2008 at 11:18 pm

When the facts don't support your case, an ad hominem attack will have to suffice!

I hate to shock you, George, but a lot of consultants don't have degrees that pertain directly to their consultancy. That's the beauty of being a consultant--you serve as a guide to the people who do have specific expertise and help them understand the big picture. Maybe YOU could use a consultant yourself!

Looks like the HSR goons are getting a little scared. Way to go, Morris!

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Posted by Glen
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2008 at 7:06 am

No the Goons are you people and the lies rich spread...Way to go Morris...!!

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Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 24, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Tonight 9/24/08, the Atherton City Council adopted a formal resolution opposing Proposition 1A. The vote ws 4 - 0; Mayor Janz was recused because his home is so near the tracks.

morris brown

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Posted by Pauline Perils
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Sep 25, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Good luck trying to put a stop to this speeding train, folks.

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Posted by Tom West
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2008 at 1:28 am

'morris brown' states that the project will cost $80bn rather than the official estiamte of $45bn. I'd love to know how the higher figure (produced by some anti-HSR group) is supposed to be mroe accurate than that produced by a government body after years of careful study and investigation.

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Posted by Malcom
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Get on board or get run over. High speed rail is for real.

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Posted by Casey J.
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jan 15, 2009 at 11:45 am

Now that the state has virtually run out of money, it seems increasingly ridiculous to take on a project of this magnitude.

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Posted by Adam
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Jan 17, 2009 at 10:14 pm

With every cloud there's a silver lining.

Real estate along the tracks should become quite affordable.

As the saying goes, location, location, location.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 5, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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