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Marin Co. rail foes Arnold, Leland resign from NCRA board

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  • 10/17 Marin IJ
    Published Wednesday, October 17, 2007, by the Marin Independent Journal Marin representatives resign from rail board By Brad Breithaupt Marin s two
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 17, 2007
      Published Wednesday, October 17, 2007, by the Marin Independent Journal

      Marin representatives resign from rail board

      By Brad Breithaupt

      Marin's two representatives on the North Coast Railroad Authority are
      stepping down because the agency meets too far away -- and because of
      its legal clash with Novato.

      Marin Supervisor Judy Arnold said she and Novato Councilman Jim
      Leland are resigning from the posts they have held since summer.

      Arnold said she's recommending they be replaced by former Novato
      mayor Bernie Meyers and businessman Tom McDonald.

      The county's policy calls for opening the posts to other applicants
      and perhaps holding public interviews before appointments are made.

      Arnold said Meyers and McDonald don't have the time and legal
      difficulties she and Leland face.

      "That will enable them to fully participate in what's happening and
      that will be better for us," Arnold said.

      Novato has filed suit against the rail agency, trying to block it
      from making safety improvements to train crossings until the agency
      completes environmental studies of rail service.

      The city says rail would bring no benefits to Novato, but could
      trigger noise, traffic and safety problems.

      But the city lost its first round Monday, when a Marin Superior Court
      judge rejected its petition to immediately halt NCRA's construction
      projects that reach north more than 300 miles to Eureka.

      The city claimed the rail agency violated state environmental rules
      by chopping its rail improvement plan into components without
      evaluating the cumulative impact of the project. Further, the suit
      says, the plan was crafted amid secrecy, violating state open-meeting

      Novato City Manager Dan Keen said city officials were "disappointed
      the judge didn't accept our arguments. We felt this was something
      that deserved a temporary restraining order."

      The city and Ukiah-based North Coast Railroad Authority will be back
      in court Dec. 11.

      Leland and Arnold were eligible to attend the agency's closed-door
      meetings in which it planned strategy to defend itself from Novato's
      suit. But both were unable to attend meetings in Willits, Ukiah and
      Eureka. Instead, they have participated via teleconference call.

      Last week, the agency board's president, Alan Hemphill, asked that
      teleconference participation in closed-door meetings be prohibited.

      Hemphill said Tuesday he was sorry Arnold and Leland are resigning.
      Despite the conflict over Novato, he said both have been cordial and
      businesslike board members.

      Their close connections to Novato City Hall and the lawsuit "was a
      complicating factor," he added.

      Contact Brad Breithaupt via e-mail at bbreithaupt@...
      IJ reporter Joe Wolfcale contributed to this report.

      [BATN: See also:

      Comment: NCRA boss blasts NIMBY Novato on anti-train lawsuit

      Über-NIMBY Novato protests NCRA rail crossing improvements

      Comment: Anti-rail NIMBY Novato explains its lawsuit against NCRA

      Anti-SMART NIMBY Novato sues over NCRA track repairs

      NIMBY Novato sues NCRA to derail planned freight trains

      Novato sues to derail NCRA plan to resume freight train service

      Column: Long-dead NCRA's freight plans complicate SMART EIR

      SMART to update EIR; re-vote planned for November 2008

      Comment: SMART or not -- freight trains coming to Novato

      Comment: SMART foes work to whip up freight train fears

      Editorial: SMART quiet zones to appease train-phobic NIMBYs

      North Coast Railroad Authority dreaming vs everybody else

      Opponents using NCRA freight projections to delay, kill SMART

      Freight tail of moribund NCRA seeks to wag SMART dog

      February '08 SMART re-vote unlikely due to freight study request

      Coment: Rail foe Arnold has more questions about SMART

      Novato freight train noise fears spur talk of "quiet zones"

      Freight trains may return to Sonoma Co. SMART line
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/33595 ]
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