Barry's Response to San Jose Inside: Why High Way 85 Needs Independent Environmental Review

See Barry's response to the San Jose Inside article, Cupertino Councilman Barry Chang May Have Run Afoul the Brown Act.

Dear Mr. Fly:

I thank you for giving me the chance to clarify some of the rumors in your article.

First, your headline is misleading!  I did not violate the Brown Act; I just stated well-known facts during my 2 minutes of public comments at the Saratoga City Council meeting. I did not mention a lawsuit initiated between the city of Cupertino and the Valley Transportation Authority.  I did say “initiation of litigation” which was publicized on our agenda.  You are wrong and liable for stating what I did not say.  Please review the recorded video and Cupertino City Council agenda  carefully before you make any further misleading insinuations.  

Regarding the VTA’s proposal to expand Highway 85 by adding two toll lanes, this project will not solve traffic congestion in the long term.  Instead, it will create new problems: more single-occupancy cars on the road, bottlenecks becoming gridlock, and increased pollution and noise.  The VTA itself admitted that this project is only a temporary solution and will ultimately hinder future Light Rail installation.  Why do we want a bad short-term fix to prevent a better long- term solution?  This proposal is a waste of taxpayers’ money.  The VTA estimates the cost to be at least $170 million.  Where is the fiscal responsibility? 

Furthermore, the VTA’s proposal will breach valid Performance Agreements signed in 1988 -1990 with Cupertino, Saratoga, Campbell and Los Gatos.  These agreements stipulate that “Route 85 through the City will be a 6-lane facility with a median width of 46’…” and the “…center median is reserved for mass transportation… light rail in the center median.” The VTA cannot unilaterally breach these contracts.

In terms of my campaign for State Assembly, District 28, you are right that I did not raise the same amount of money that my opponent did.  As you probably already know, money cannot buy votes.  Please look at the last California gubernatorial race in 2010.  Besides, I am the only candidate who attended both VTA’s and Caltrans’ open houses on the Highway 85 Expansion Project on January 14 and 16. I have been focusing on getting the job done right for my constituents.

You are also right that I had a high fever when I attended Saratoga City Council meeting.  I could have easily excused myself. However, this issue is so important to my constituents and Silicon Valley’s economic growth that I endured my headache and high fever.  So I waited until the public comment period was up, made my quick 2-minute comments and left after 10:30 PM that night.

May I correct you regarding to County Executive Smith's letter? The disagreement between Mr. Smith and me was not over my views on the Permanente Quarry.  We resolved the disagreement between us long time ago.  Are you aware of that?

Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant/Permanente Quarry has received numerous notices of violations (NOVs) from the EPA, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, U. S. Department of Labor, Office of Mine Reclamation, Department of Conservation, State of California and Santa Clara County for violations of the Federal Clean Air Act, Federal Clean Water Act, Federal Labor laws and the California State Surface Mine and Reclamation Act. I am the only candidate who has been working hard since 2007 to bring Lehigh into compliance with the laws and to reduce their pollution.

I have no intention of making any earth-shattering news.  I just hope that our government will do the right things to serve people well.  We deserve it.  Don’t you agree?  Thanks.

Barry Chang, Chair of Bay Area for Clean Environment, Cupertino City Council Member and also a candidate for California State Assembly, District 28