Editorial: NIMBY Novato anti-rail moles don't belong on NCRA board
- Published Wednesday, April 22, 2008, by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Novato representatives have no business being on NCRA board
The internal conflicts involving the North Coast Railroad Authority
(NCRA) board have moved from the politically suspicious to the absurd.
Marin County's only two NCRA appointees are residents of Novato,
a city that is suing the rail authority over plans for restoring
freight service. Regardless, these two say they should be included
in closed-door meetings on strategy for fighting the lawsuit.
Sound ludicrous? It is.
Other board members are wisely balking and have decided to ask the
state attorney general for an opinion. For technical reasons, it's
likely to be a close call. That's because Marin County is supporting
Novato's case only as a "friend of the court," which may not present
a direct conflict for the appointees. Furthermore, the Novato
representatives are not decision-makers for the city.
Regardless, Marin County should be embarrassed by this blatant
attempt by Novato interests to stack the deck and block the
resumption of freight rail service from the inside.
The intent here was evident a year ago when Marin's only two
appointees to the NCRA board were Marin County Supervisor Judy
Arnold, a former Novato City Council member and a freight opponent,
and Novato Mayor Pro Tem Jim Leland. Arnold and Leland left the board
after the lawsuit was filed in September. But Arnold encouraged the
supervisors to appoint two others: Former Novato Mayor Bernard Meyers
and Novato resident Tom MacDonald.
NCRA officials contend Meyers and MacDonald have since hindered
efforts to reopen the rail line and have made many demands for
information, including reports on defense strategy in the lawsuit.
Adding to the intrigue is evidence that MacDonald has fed information
to Novato City Manager Daniel Keen. The NCRA has produced copies of
an Oct. 25 e-mail that MacDonald sent to Keen alerting him to a
special NCRA meeting about awarding a contract to fix railroad
crossing signals. "As I find out more I'll keep you posted ...,"
MacDonald writes. "Maybe they are accelerating schedules to beat
your TRO (temporary restraining order) threats."
Keen responds, "We will definitely want to review that contract and
give you our input. These signal contracts are potentially at the
heart of our case ..."
While MacDonald was not disclosing confidential information, it
clearly demonstrates a willingness on the part of a board member to
share information with the NCRA's legal adversary. It also clearly
shows an "us vs. them" mentality. If it's not a direct conflict of
interest, it's dirty politics.
The NCRA should not be have to fight a lawsuit by Novato handicapped
by two Novato board members who appear to be no friend of freight
service. The city and county should trust that they have a better
case without resorting to such shenanigans.
Marin County residents, especially those who recognize that freight
service is environmentally superior to having trucks on Highway 101,
should demand a change in their representation on the agency. It's
time to clear the foxes out of this hen house. Marin County should be
embarrassed by this attempt by Novato interests to stack the deck.
[BATN: See also:
Marin Co. Supe Arnold will support SMART without freight trains
Letters: Anti-train Novato aims to kill SMART
Letter: Anti-green NIMBY Marin blocks freight trains, SMART
Marin Co. judge halts NCRA track repairs; anti-train Novato happy
NIMBY Novato vs. NCRA train battle: judge issues stop-work order
NCRA sues to get public records from litigiously anti-rail Novato
Ruling postponed on Novato's bid to kill NCRA railroad repairs
Comment: Anti-rail Marin NIMBYs hide behind environmental claims
Marin Co. to join NIMBY Novato suit against NCRA freight revival
Novato to appeal ruling allowing NCRA rail repairs to continue
Editorial: Marin Co. NCRA rail board picks ignored the public
Marin Co. Supes appoint new Novato stooges to NCRA board
Letters: NIMBY Novato vs. NCRA freight trains, SMART
Novato sued for secrecy violations in its suit against NCRA
Judge rejects NIMBY Novato's bid to block NCRA track repairs
Novato sued over actions leading to anti-rail NCRA lawsuit
Marin Co. rail foes Arnold, Leland resign from NCRA board
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