Peninsula NIMBYs Admit They Just Want to Kill HSR
It’s refreshing when HSR critics stop beating about the bush and just come right out and say what we all know they really believe. So I give credit to Atherton mayor Jim Dobbie for telling the truth in this Wall Street Journal article:
“We have many houses close to the railroad in the multiple millions in value,” said Atherton Mayor Jim Dobbie. “We just hope the project dies.”
That’s a perfect, succinct statement of what the “debate” on the Peninsula is really all about. Wealthy people with homes the envy of the rest of the state telling Californians suffering from $4 gas prices that the project voters approved in 2008 should just die in order to protect their high-value asset. It’s a stunningly elitist statement that says the rich are more important than everyone else. Simple as that.
Usually Peninsula NIMBYs are more careful than this, couching their self-interested opposition in bogus claims about ridership numbers, funding, or enormous cost overruns. Their usual trick is to mobilize public assumptions that nobody rides trains in America, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. But I guess when you’re talking to the Wall Street Journal, sometimes the rich feel right at home and let their guard down.
It’s also nice to see that there are more folks getting organized to support HSR on the Peninsula:
Such strenuous opposition to a high-tech rail line from the capital of high technology strikes some proponents of the system as ironic. “The success of Silicon Valley and California as a whole has been an ability to embrace innovation,” said Scott Klemmer, a Stanford University assistant professor who is a member of the group All Aboard Palo Alto. “It’s a real shame that we’re seeing a baseless fear of change in our own backyard.”
Well said, Scott. Silicon Valley thrived by embracing innovation and technology, not by holding back when innovation threatened some rich man’s property values. Happily, he speaks for the majority of his neighbors, and not for the small but vocal minority of NIMBYs who have been allowed to dominate the conversation by local elected officials.
Let’s hope Sacramento and Washington DC hear voices like Scott’s, and properly ignore the rich NIMBYs.