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It is Impossible To Tunnel (A Response)

From: domainremoved <dana>
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2019 12:43:47 -0700

Honorable Council Members,


Note: Rich Cline’s April 2 email to the city council titled “It is possible
to tunnel” was just brought to my attention by another Menlo Park resident.



I can only imagine you shared my surprise when reading former City
Councilman Rich Cline’s response to the Palo Alto Weekly’s clever April
Fools’ Day story “Palo Alto’s tunnel plan gets a boost – from Elon Musk.”)
That he believed the story is not surprising. It was well crafted and
likely stunned both supporters and opponents of a grade separation tunnel
in Palo Alto and Rich because he remains a strong advocate for building one
in Menlo Park. What IS surprising? That he appeared so vindicated by this
upbeat fictional story that he unleashed strident and totally baseless
personal attacks on me and several other residents he accuses of
“obstructing” efforts to build a tunnel in our city. *That is NOT true.*
One only has to view our past comments at council meetings, our
communications to the city council, and my guest opinions and blog in The
Almanac to understand our actual views and recommendations. Sadly, Rich has
grossly misrepresented our substantial efforts to help our city evaluate
one particular grade separation alternative Menlo Park has chosen NOT to
study, the use of fully elevated grade separations.



Here are just a few samples of his mischaracterizations and
misrepresentations:



“As you know, our community like most has a very vocal minority share of
voices via motivated residents with time and money and just enough
information to form a *radical offshoot of angry elevated rail advocates.* I
never understood why they have to be so *bitter and angry about transit
concepts* but whatever. “

*“This group created a website and branded itself as some pseudo official
Menlo Park downtown vibrancy specialist. It has recruited many angry white
men and rejects the idea of tunneling outright. The group tops it off by
ridiculing any person and any underground concept as nefariously impossible
or uninformed.“*



*“Why do we let obstructionists like Dana Hendrickson or Henry Riggs or
Steve Schmidt and their cronies of well-intentioned but misinformed
seemingly convince our community to keep its heads in the sand when it
comes to underground transit ideas? Why don’t we force obstructionists to
disprove the bold idea as much as we do force idea (in this case tunnels)
proponents to prove its efficacy? It seems one sided and heavily favored
against taking bold steps and resistant to leading from the front”.*



I have had too much respect for Rich to respond in kind but do not want the
current council to be misled by his claims. There are two essential
corrections.



First, I and the other residents mentioned by Rich, have NOT mounted any
concerted effort to oppose a Menlo Park tunnel and would support the
evaluation of one IF a promising funding strategy was proposed. I
personally feel it is unlikely, as Palo Alto has not identified one after
considerable effort (but appears not yet given up). And Menlo Park has had
ample opportunity to conduct a similar analysis but hasn’t.



Second, we do continue to encourage our city to fairly evaluate fully
elevated grade separations, an alternative discounted by our prior city
council. We have spent hundreds of hours both evaluating this alternative
and talking extensively with council members – including Rich, Menlo Park
residents and business owners about the need to study this solution. We
have also repeatedly expressed our reasons to the city council. *All
residents deserve opportunities to understand and evaluate
this promising alternative*.


I imagine Rich was deeply disappointed to learn that the Palo Alto story
was a joke but this should not have prompted his angry erroneous claims and
over-the-top” insulting behavior. I have met with Rich several times and
welcomed him into my home. He has never expressed his current criticisms
directly to any of us.


I continue to hope our current city council will "do the right thing" and
study fully elevated grade separation solutions, but have not yet seen a
good reason to be optimistic. Please provide the kind of leadership all
Menlo Park residents deserve.



Best regards,


Dana Hendrickson
Received on Thu Apr 11 2019 - 12:39:13 PDT

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