Before Proposition 1A was passed last November, the Palo Alto city council strongly supported the project, passing a unanimous resolution in favor of HSR at their October 6th meeting. That was before the impacts became generally known to residents, and especially to abutters from Southgate, one of the neighborhoods most likely to be impacted (see Focus on: Palo Alto).
Residents of Palo Alto are becoming increasingly concerned about the impacts of HSR on their community. They have started a new mailing list, Palo Altans Concerned About HSR, where there is lively discussion about organizing the local opposition. The discourse is civilized and intelligent, in contrast to certain corners of the blogosphere and Palo Alto's Town Square forums.
One participant expresses the key to effective opposition:
It is SO IMPORTANT that we stick to unembellished facts. If you’re not certain about an aspect of the HSR project, either phrase it as a potential possibility or don’t mention it at all. We lose credibility if we’re accused of being alarmists, spreading false information or acting out of NIMBYism. Try to avoid any topic that leads in that direction. Remember, our own actions and reactions are potentially newsworthy. Let’s not make the news for displaying any of the above behaviors.Opponents are trying to get their views aired by the local press, radio and TV; for this purpose, they are planning a march through downtown to City Hall prior to the next council meeting on Monday, March 2nd, when Palo Alto's comments on the scoping of the HSR EIR/EIS will be discussed. (See agenda and especially the city manager's full report with draft scoping comments.) Some Palo Alto residents are characterizing this issue as "the most critical moment and the most critical issue in a generation".
Meanwhile, the CHSRA hosted another community meeting in Palo Alto tonight (Thursday, February 26th), another in a long list of community meetings taking place up and down the peninsula. It is sure to be discussed by the Palo Altans Concerned About HSR.