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SCVNews.com | Aug. 31: Regional Protest Against High-Speed Rail Planned in SFV | 08-30-2016
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nohsr[S.A.F.E. Coalition] – Instead of responding to our communities’ legitimate concerns, keeping their word and acting in good faith, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) continues to hold communities hostage in the northeast San Fernando Valley. The Authority unethically refuses to eliminate route alternatives (i.e. E2) universally opposed by residents, businesses and elected officials which possess fatal flaws and “show stoppers.”

The Authority is wasting taxpayer dollars on useless, deceptive public meetings scheduled during holiday, vacation and busy legislative time periods that intentionally minimize public and elected official participation. The outreach meetings are a scam that masks the Authority’s refusal to address stakeholders’ concerns resulting in a threat to the region’s future, hardship and stress on families and businesses, and declines in property values as the poorly planned and conceived project remains mired in a financial, scheduling, operational and ethical quagmire.

CHSRA’s August 31, 5 p.m. meeting is nearly 5 months behind schedule, as the information being conveyed was released in April 2016, when a back room deal involving disgraced L.A. Councilman Felipe Fuentes and CHSRA Chairman Dan Richard resulted in some above ground routes being removed and some retained. Widespread community and political opposition remains to ALL above ground, 220 MPH high speed trains proposed through residential and sensitive environmental areas. The Protest will emphasize:

* NO environmental or economic benefits are created for the northeast San Fernando Valley. No increase in jobs. No clean air. No improved transportation. Only destruction, pollution and wasted tax dollars.

* CHSRA reluctantly scheduled this meeting on National Night Out, nearly reset the meeting during the Sand Fire, and finally scheduled the meeting just prior to Labor Day weekend, coinciding with the last day of the legislative session in Sacramento, ensuring our state representatives’ absence.

* For more than one year, the CHSRA board has reneged on three commitments:

1. Refused to hold a Board meeting in the northeast San Fernando Valley (instead the Board wasted tax dollars by holding meetings on work days in inaccessible downtown LA and Anaheim!)

2. Refused to honor Board Member Lorraine Paskett’s personal commitment to conduct a site visit to the Big Tujunga Wash to see first-hand the destruction the proposed by above ground route E2.

3. Failed to implement a unanimous CHSRA Board vote to complete upfront studies of water, seismic, tunneling and equine issues (note: the equine study involves a serious conflict of interest).

Importantly, despite having added 7 years of cushion to their overall schedule in Southern California in their latest business plan, which greatly expands the time required to do its environmental studies properly, the Authority has refused to add and study a route alternative that will save billions of dollars and eliminate ALL above ground high speed train routes from the entirety of the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section. This SIMPLE solution is to add a new alternative to the environmental review process that studies and funds badly needed improvements to the EXISTING Metrolink and light rail system (e.g. remove grade crossings) throughout the Palmdale to Burbank project section.

WHO: Community leaders and supporters of the Big Tujunga Wash will lead the meeting. The public is welcome to attend. All elected officials representing the northeast San Fernando Valley have been invited to speak.

S.A.F.E. Coalition includes communities of Shadow Hills, Lake View Terrace, Kagel Canyon, Sunland-Tujunga, La Tuna Canyon and Sun Valley. We remain united with the communities of Acton, Santa Clarita, Agua Dulce, Pacoima, Sylmar, and the City of San Fernando.

WHAT: Lively protest/rally attacking the Authority’s failed, disingenuous community outreach process, short presentations about the damage and impacts posed by the project, continued calls for community and political solidarity in demanding immediate removal of all above ground elements such as the refined E2 alternative, and recommendation of new route alternative for study by CHSRA consisting of funding Metrolink and light rail improvements from Palmdale to Burbank in lieu of high speed trains that damage residential areas, the Big Tujunga Wash, the National Monument and Forest, and other sensitive environmental areas.

WHERE: Lake View Terrace Library, 12002 Osborne Street, Lake View Terrace, 91342. Located at Osborne and Foothill near the Discovery Cube. Ample parking is available in and around the premises.

WHEN: Wednesday, August 31, 2016; 5-6 p.m.

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