Saturday, August 28, 2010

Is There a Quiet Pro-HSR Majority in the Peninsula?

I think there is. Anyway, I claimed to represent them in this letter printed in yesterday's Daily News:

Residents for High-speed Rail

I was disturbed to read in your newspaper that the Redwood City City Council is considering adopting a position opposing high-speed rail ("Cities get ready to battle over bullet train," Aug. 12).

I'd like to remind them that when us Redwood City voters were asked our opinion of the project at the polls, we gave it a thumbs up -- and point out that opponents of change are good at making noise far disproportionate to their numbers.

Nor do they let facts get in the way of their arguments when it comes to spreading their fear to others. Claims that high-speed trains will roar through the Peninsula as loud as jets and leave a wasteland in their wake are simply fantasies, not so different from the "death panels" and "socialism" alleged as the consequences of health care reform by its opponents.

In the real world, Redwood City residents -- even ones like me who will see elevated or grade-level tracks from our front doors -- still support high-speed rail because:

  • We have family in Southern California and are equally sick of airport security and "the 5."
  • We ride Caltrain to work and want to see it survive to run faster and more frequent electric trains. (And those who drive on the 101 to work should be concerned about what will happen to their commute if Caltrain fails and we are forced to join them.)
  • We cross the tracks daily by car or foot or bike, and are a little nervous every time -- and more so when our kids cross them.
  • And finally, a selfish point but one worth making: We're looking forward to proximity to good transit giving a boost to the value of our homes.

So remember that you are pledged to represent all of Redwood City, and keep in mind the quiet majority who expect you to rationally look out for the city's best interests.

We should stop being so quiet.


Yokota Fritz said...

I think it's time to read this [PDF] and put it into action.

295bus said...

That's an interesting read. Things are slightly different in the SFBA, but maybe not so much. It merits a whole post I think...

Yokota Fritz said...

Yeah -- the referendum has already passed so it's different, but the lesson about defending against each and every attack is probably a good one to apply here.

murphstahoe said...

“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it. Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he runs great danger."

- Machiavelli