On Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 from 3-5pm there was a meeting between the so called San Mateo County Rail Corridor Partnership and Mr. Van Ark of the California High Speed Rail Authority.
NEW** April 25th, 2011 – Here is a copy of the DRAFT Agenda of this meeting which shows attendees
This meeting was closed to the public.
The following is a description of the meeting format from that report:
The meeting was scheduled from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. It was “closed to the public” and meeting participation was primarily allowed only for representatives of the four San Mateo Rail Corridor Partnership cities (i.e., Burlingame, Millbrae, Redwood City and San Mateo). These representatives included assigned council members, city managers, public works directors in the cities of Burlingame, Millbrae, Redwood City, San Mateo, South San Francisco and other San Mateo County local agencies on the rail corridor and guests.
The meeting was not a public meeting under the Brown Act. The officials from these agencies sat at a table in the front of the room. The meeting was presided by the Mayor of San Mateo.
Other public agencies including Palo Alto sat in chairs in the audience section of the room.
Others present at the meeting included Mike Scanlon, CEO of Caltrain, Marian Lee, Executive Officer, Planning and Development, Samtrans, councilmember Sepi Richardson from Brisbane and a staff person from the City of Menlo Park.
Mr. Van Ark spoke for almost 90 minutes, with little time for questions. The following presentation accompanied his monologue:
Of great interest to the public is Mr. Van Ark’s reaction to the joint statement that was made by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, State Senator Joe Simitian and Assemly Member Rich Gordon on Monday, April 18th, 2011. (The full statement can be found at: http://www.senatorsimitian.com/entry/eshoo_simitian_gordon_statement_on_high-speed_rail)
The Palo Alto report offers a chart that compares the legislator’s statements and Mr. Van Ark’s remarks at this closed meeting.
|Abandon EIR planning for larger project||Yes||No|
|over 25-year time horizon to 2035|
|Eliminate 4-track option||Yes||No|
|Focus project only on predominantly 2-track alignment||Yes||No|
|Rejection of Aerial Viaduct option||Yes||No|
|System should remain on Caltrain ROW||Yes||Yes|
Apparently, the San Mateo Rail Corridor Partnership was also supposed to discuss whether their future meetings would be made public, however they ran out of time. As such, the next meeting of the group will continue to be closed to the public.
CARRD strongly supports having these types of meetings be open to the public. Transparency is necessary to have public support for the project and given the strong community feelings on this issue, it is not helpful to have closed private meetings.
From the report published by Palo Alto, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why these meetings should not be held in an open forum for the public to at least hear what is being said.
CARRD has repeatedly requested that the Authority publish these types of presentations on their website.
We have been told by Authority representatives this presentation and others like it will be posted on the website “moving forward.”