Disclaimer: this is a rough outline provided to Save Anaheim and is not verbatim what Mrs. Ward said. We will be posting the audio and transcript from the relevant speakers as soon as possible.
By Cynthia Ward:
This streetcar seems to be focused on getting approval for Federal funding more than focused on whether or not it actually makes sense.
Making sense seems to have been Supervisor Moorlach’s focus when he asked, “What problem are we trying to solve?”
If this congestion along the corridor is such a problem that we are looking for $300 million from taxpayers to fix it, have the businesses on Katella already done all they could to address it on their own? Not one of the highly profitable businesses listed as destinations on the streetcar line-Honda Center, Convention Center, Angel Stadium or Disneyland, offer discounts or incentives for High Occupancy Vehicles or using Metrolink or Angel’s Express.
So when Director Spitzer asked what the private sector is putting on the table, I would have to say, “Very Little.”
I appreciate that Supervisor Nelson respects Anaheim’s decision to build the streetcar. But I would like you to know that this was not Anaheim’s choice, this was the choice of three Anaheim elected leaders, not the people of Anaheim, who are largely still in the dark about this project. It was never presented to us.
Here is a clip of Shawn Nelson speaking to Los Amigos about the streetcar funding:
The September 12, 2012 public meeting referred to in the staff reports where you believe residents were shown the Alternatives Analysis, did not reveal the final AA! Instead, this first public meeting in over 2 years told residents this was an update, with promises of a final Alternatives Analysis to come. The AA was then posted to the ARC website on October 3rd, without public notice, without public comment period, and 20 days later the Anaheim City Council-on the Consent Calendar, not a Public Hearing-was asked to make a decision.
The project was shoved through Anaheim like meat in a sausage factory. When Mayor Tait brought up the same questions this Board has asked, rather than continue for one meeting to address those concerns, he was overruled on a 3-2 vote, and a humiliating exchange between Natalie Meeks and Kris Murray essentially sent Tom Tait the message, “we have been studying this for years, we had meetings, it was on the internet, where have you been? Try to keep up.”
I wondered where I had been as well, having followed the project since 2009 when I signed up repeatedly for notifications! I filed a public records request in December, asking for public notice that the final AA doc was posted to the internet on October 3rd. It turns out I had not missed it, I was not notified of the release. NOBODY was, nor did public comments turn up to show anyone had seen it! In fact, if Natalie Meeks wants to tell you she engaged the public, I would love to hear her explanation for why there was no notice!
Does this make sense? Does it make sense to you that visitors, with only one option to get from the train station to the Resort or Convention Center will not get on a bus because it is not the streetcar they want? This is a captive audience! They will gladly accept any transportation offered.
The Alternatives Analysis says the reason visitors don’t use the ART bus now is because of inconvenient stops and stations, but it seems like that might be a lot easier to fix than building a whole streetcar system. If ART does not want to service visitors effectively, perhaps we can turn the system over to OCTA, you manage to move over 13,000 people per weekday on the BRAVO system! Miguel Pulido is looking for systems with connectivity between Anaheim and Santa Ana. We have one now. It is called a bus.
Since the 90s when we talked of a people mover, we have blown through millions trying to find a public sector answer for what is ultimately a private sector problem-the mitigation of traffic impacts from the paying customers of very profitable corporate entities. Kris Murray said at the last meeting that Disney cannot build their 3rd gate until we get those cars off the road, so let’s allow the most brilliant Imagineers in the world to do what they do best and create a solution for their own problems, because so far government has wasted a lot of money making a mess of the situation.
Let’s do something that makes sense, please.