10 interesting fact
- You can read all the legal briefs on the Sacramento Superior Court's document server. Select 2008 (the year the lawsuit was filed), and enter the case number 80000022, then hit the search button. This will dredge up all the latest documents; the original complaint is at the bottom of the list and is a must-read. The complaint outlines the basic claims made against the CHSRA's environmental review process, and describes the organizations who filed the lawsuit.
- The lawsuit does not seek to stop the HSR project. It broadly challenges the thoroughness of the Environmental Impact Report, and specifically the selection of the Pacheco pass alignment over the Altamont Pass alignment, which was the subject of nearly a decade of contentious debate.
- If the plaintiffs win and the EIR certification is overturned, the CHSRA would be required to re-open and amend their program EIR to address the deficiencies, and make a new alignment decision on the basis of the amended EIR before proceeding further.
- A new EIR decision could very well re-affirm the Pacheco Pass alignment. It would not necessarily result in the selection of Altamont Pass.
- The plaintiffs include grassroots transportation and rail advocacy groups who are strongly in favor of HSR, including TRANSDEF, Bay Rail Alliance, and the California Rail Foundation. This fact alone should explode the NIMBY stereotype that is often associated with this lawsuit. They want HSR but they want it done right, and their strong and united stance is noteworthy.
- While the town of Atherton has a clear motive to keep HSR entirely outside its boundaries, it's not so cut and dried for co-plaintiff Menlo Park. Under an Altamont scenario, the HSR tracks would still traverse the city, but through some less affluent neighborhoods of east Menlo Park.
- The city of Menlo Park's standing as a plaintiff was gravely undermined when it was ruled last March 27th that they did not properly submit their comments on the EIR. In an embarrassing breakdown of basic process, no records were kept of the city's submission of comments to the CHSRA, whether by fax or U.S. mail, and the CHSRA claimed never to have received them.
- The Palo Alto city council emphatically and unanimously supported HSR until Proposition 1A passed in November. After severe backlash against the project in Palo Alto as details of the project became better known, the city council reversed itself and voted to
joinsupport the lawsuit. While it was too late to become a plaintiff, the city filed an amicus curiae brief on May 1st, which is now available on the court's document server (see item 1).
- Any response from the CHSRA to Palo Alto's brief is required to be made by May 15th. UPDATE 5/18: the CHSRA's response to Palo Alto's amicus curiae brief is now available on the court's document server (see item 1).
- The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard
and likely decidedby Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny on May 29th.