|From left to right: Jesse Avila, Sylvia Ballin, Mayor Antonio Lopez, |
Robert Gonzales and Joel Fajardo.
Photo courtesy of the San Fernando Sun.
San Fernando Democrats Resist
- The corrupt slush fund that is called the High-Speed Rail Authority was confronted by Democrat officials in a Los Angeles area city.
(Los Angeles Times) - Finding a route into the Los Angeles Basin for the California bullet train is proving far more difficult than it seemed a year ago, as opposition is surging in wealthy and working-class communities alike.
The depth of opposition became more apparent Thursday evening when protesters in the city of San Fernando took over an open house meeting held by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. They demanded that state officials answer questions about the project's impact on their community.
But unlike typical protests, this one was led by elected officials. Seventy people, headed by the city's mayor pro tem and other current and former city officials, marched into a city auditorium and set up their own public address system.
With their Police Department on hand, they confronted state officials with anger that has not been seen even in the virulent opposition to the project in Northern California or the Central Valley.
"The bottom line is you are not really welcome," Mayor Pro Tem Sylvia Ballin told state officials, whose plans call for bisecting the small working-class city with high sound walls that the city fears will become an eyesore and magnet for graffiti.
"We will lose in the city $1.3 million annually as a result of your brilliant planning," she said, referring to projected losses of tax revenue when businesses shut down. "We are here to tell you we will not accept it quietly, not one bit."
Farmers in the Central Valley delayed the project with lawsuits and refused to sell their fields at prices they considered low. Now, finding a way for the train to pass into the nation's second-largest city is proving difficult and time-consuming.
Stunned state officials stood stone-faced at the protest, refusing to answer questions that Ballin and other city officials and residents asked.
"The route would destroy this community, splitting it north to south," City Manager Brian Saeki said in an interview.
Opposition has also steadily mounted in Pacoima, Sylmar, Santa Clarita and Los Angeles neighborhoods over the original route, which would bring the rail line from Palmdale to Burbank Bob Hope Airport via an alignment following California 14 and the 5 Freeway. The communities have been riven in the past by the 5, 118 and 210 freeways.
Protesters said they would not accept the state's way of conducting meetings on the project, which includes refusing to allow residents to ask questions during an open forum.
"We say no," San Fernando Councilman Jaime Soto told state officials from his microphone. "This is not your regular meeting. You are a guest here."
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Amtrak Pacific Surfliner at Del Mar, CA
Simply connect San Jose and San Luis Obispo and you have a statewide rail system. But easy and cheap are words the liar politicians have never heard.