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STATEMENT FROM SAFE COALITION RE: PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE
SEPTEMBER 19, 2018
With the announcement by the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) of SR14 as the Preferred Alternative, reducing the threat posed to people along the E1 and E2 routes, some people in the NE San Fernando Valley and north LA County are exuberant that the threat has lessened, some remain devastated and face a worsening threat, and some are relieved to have information while still feeling threatened either for themselves, their friends, their neighbors, their animals and wildlife, or their environment and open space.
This imperfect announcement matches its imperfect timing, its imperfect result, its imperfect intent, and its imperfect agency. Rather than clearing the decks by abandoning all three flawed alternatives and heading back to the drawing board as we’ve strongly recommended, CHSRA believes they’ve chosen the alternative that is the “best candidate” or “strikes the best balance.” That’s their cold, detached perspective or, as they say, “the science” behind their decision. Their statement could have gone much further to state that they actually heard our voices, understood our fears, considered our losses, and took action to work with us or to protect us. Fact is, we’ve not heard from them since early 2016, and their silence speaks volumes.
Our perspective is that CHSRA settled, in some respects, on the lesser of several poorly planned evils, and that it should be a crime that anyone remains threatened by a project so poorly conceived, poorly managed, over-budget and politicized that it likely will never materialize.
We have always and will continue to fight the good fight; we could never sell out or compromise as we are the long-time, invested stakeholders and must fight to protect our communities. We extend ourconcern, love and ongoing support to all who remain most directly in the cross hairs of this project along SR14, within the Burbank to Palmdale Project Section, and beyond, wherever they reside and work.
The most important outcome of this announcement is this: our communities are working together and realize we must remain strong at the grassroots level. Effective leadership from most of our elected officials never materialized over four brutal years. We thank those elected officials that did communicate with us and those that did help us. But, this process served as a window into the souls of many of our elected officials…at least those that have one.
The City of Los Angeles, in particular, from the mayor’s office, to the City Council leadership, to the council representatives in the most impacted communities were given every chance to support us, to fight for us and to represent us. They failed us and, by their delay, petty politics and lack of communication, fought against us. A draft Motion (File16-1068) calling for the City’s opposition to all of the routes has languished in the Council for so long, since October 2016, that it actually expires on Friday of this week. While we’ve tried exhaustively to have that Motion resurrected and amended to reflect the will of the City’s residents, it remains in limbo and, unless action is taken in the next 48 hours, will serve as a memorial to the failed City leadership.
We, the northeast San Fernando Valley and north LA County, are stronger for this process. Stronger for fighting. Stronger for pursuing the truth and the facts. Stronger for working together. Stronger for our patience and our fairness in dealing honorably with CHSRA and our elected officials. As stated earlier, we fought and will continue to fight the good fight.
- They have major financial and management issues, so the threat will remain whatever decision they make. While it appears they will fill overall, it will take a lot more time and stress on our Valley before that occurs.
- They failed to present a suitable alternative to our communities in over four years despite thousands and thousands of community voices speaking out.
- Their choice could change for financial, environmental or technical reasons at any time in the next few decades.The non-Preferred Alternative is NOT removed or eliminated; it remains under study and remains a threat.
- The project will devastate whichever communities are closest to the preferred alternative. That means neighbors are going to be hurt one way or the other.
- The NE San Fernando Valley, overall, will a major net loser during both construction and operations phases – we will experience little to no benefits economically, transportation-wise or environmentally. We will have more noise, dirtier air, visual blight, security risks, traffic congestion, risk to wildlife, risk to equestrian and trail pursuits, eminent domain of hundreds of homes and businesses, and much more
- Any choice they make leaves our Angeles National Forest exposed to tunneling and other major construction and operational impacts. The only routes left damage the Forest greatly. There is no fully tunneled alternative and there is no non-Forest alternative.
- The choices they have left are very, very expensive, environmentally risky and damaging, and will take decades to implement, so the threat does not go away.
- Your tax dollars will continue to be spent at a rate of nearly $3 million per day in support of this boondoggle.
Palmdale to Burbank Project Section
September 2018 CHSRA Maps (preferred alternative is SR14)
We Still Need Everyone’s Help!
We are still taking donations for our educational-instructional fund and our legal fund. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, please consider making a monetary donation to this important fight. (Click Here to Donate!)
S.A.F.E. (Save Angeles Forest for Everyone)
Lake View Terrace Improvement Association
Kagel Canyon Civic Association
Shadow Hills Property Owners Association
The High Speed Tunnel Portal Facilities that are required through the San Gabriel National Monument and the Angeles National Forest!
For an eye opening understanding of the infrastructure necessary to support the tunnel through the forest, please read: TECHNICAL MEMORANDUM – High-Speed Train Tunnel Portal Facilities TM 2.4.6.
Keep in mind, one acre is approximately the size of a football field without the end zones! There is above ground impact to the forest other than just the tunneling!
OUR POSITION ON PALMDALE TO BURBANK PROJECT SECTION EAST CORRIDOR ALTERNATIVES
It is very apparent that HSR has the “cart ahead of the horse” at this juncture in this region…pun intended…from both an engineering/design and communications standpoint, and is struggling to develop the right strategy to build and communicate within densely populated communities. It was shocking to us that HSR, with its vast array of financial, engineering, technical and political/communications resources, could propose the flawed Corridors E1 and E2.
For starters, each of the East Corridor alternatives violates the premise and spirit of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Angeles National Forest, and we challenge whether the routes legally adhere to the definition of “existing transportation and utility corridors” as required by the enabling legislation and Proposition 1A, as approved narrowly by California voters. The East Corridor alternatives tunnel directly under the heart of the residential, equestrian communities of Shadow Hills, La Tuna Canyon, Lake View Terrace, Kagel Canyon, Sun Valley and Burbank. These alternatives create damage of varying degrees to nearby Sunland/Tujunga, Pacoima and San Fernando, affecting equestrians and recreation enthusiasts from throughout LA County who use the Northeast San Fernando Valley for their equestrian and varied recreation pursuits.
The overall reputation, quality of life and historic equestrian culture of our Foothill communities would be decimated by the construction of multiple, gaping tunnel openings and an elevated rail line over our flood plain, equestrian trail network and recreation/open space areas. In addition, the local equestrian-related economy (which exceeds $100 million in value annually, not including equestrian real estate nor indirect economic benefits) consisting of horse sales, boarding, feeding, shoeing/trim, trucks, trailers, veterinarians and insurance would be devastated.
This economic loss does not include the permanent property value and other non-equestrian-related sales tax loss that the State and local government agencies would lose due to HSR’s use of eminent domain and devaluation of “survivor” properties.
We have projected the severe damage created by HSR’s East Corridor proposal, however preliminary or conceptual HSR intended, in its construction and operational phases. This comprehensive analysis, similar to but far less costly than an EIR/EIS, should lead you to eliminate the East Corridor alternatives immediately from further consideration.
We also believe HSR has a fiduciary responsibility to the State and its taxpayers to operate efficiently per the legislation. Already, the introduction and study of far-fetched and flawed alternatives such as E1 and E2 represents a waste of time and taxpayer monies. Including these infeasible alternatives in the EIR/EIS will compound the wastefulness as well as raise serious legal issues related to NEPA and CEQA.
We have organized our analysis so that the most heavily impacted communities/open space areas are discussed:
· Shadow Hills/La Tuna Canyon/Sun Valley
· Lake View Terrace
· Kagel Canyon
· Big Tujunga Wash/Hansen Dam Recreation Area
· San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Angeles National Forest[/two_third]
CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROPOSALS WILL DESTROY OUR FOOTHILL COMMUNITIES!
• Bullet Train Tunnels and Lines Dug/Located Under, Over and Through Our Communities
• Eminent Domain – Your House Could be Taken from You at a Financial Loss
• Property Values and Your Home’s Equity (Your Life’s Savings!) Devastated
• 60+ Foot Wide Tunnel Openings, Speeding Train and Elevated Bridge Visible/Audible for Miles
• Horses, Wildlife and Public Safety Seriously Endangered
• Serious Health Issues Due to Dust, Truck Emissions, Noise and Vibration
• Equestrian and Recreation Trails Closed and Destroyed; Equestrian Industry and Lifestyle Decimated
• Constant Noise and Visual Blight for Hundreds of Thousands of Residents and Motorists Daily
• Water Pollution Created; Water Supply Threatened
• 1 Million Plus Truck Trips to Remove Tunnel Dirt Damages Roads, Pollutes Air, Closes Roads, Jams Traffic
• National Monument, National Forest, Rim of the Valley and Wildlife Corridors Violated
• False, Misleading Claims by HSR re: Costs, Jobs, Economic Benefits & Ridership Projections
“Legislation requires high speed rail to be built in existing transportation and utility corridors.”
“Our elected officials should move away from the presumption that high speed rail will happen at any cost and move more toward demanding it be done right and cost-effectively…or not done at all.”