|Sent on:||Monday, June 30, 2014 1:14 PM|
----- Original Message -----From: Barbara KnickTo: [address removed]Sent: Monday, June 30,[masked]:49 AMSubject: [9-12-melbourne] Fwd: All Aboard Florida Train Stunt may Backfire for Candidate Greg Jones (but it's not political) ToadyPlease try to attend this meeting! The truth behind AAF must be told! I'm not sure it will be at this meeting....
Melbourne forum will get public all aboard
Stacey Barchenger, 12:17 a.m. EDT June 30, 2014
Vice Mayor Greg Jones is hosting a public forum meant to dispel rumors and myths about the pending All Aboard Florida high-speed rail plan, and how it will affect the city of Melbourne.
How will All Aboard Florida's plan to bring high-speed rail through the Space Coast affect Melbourne, the area's second-largest city?
That question has prompted Vice Mayor Greg Jones to schedule a public forum on the topic Wednesday.
"As I travel throughout our community and as people catch me out in public, there seems to be a lot of community anxiety about All Aboard Florida," Jones said. "I've just seen it grow and grow and the facts versus the fiction is getting so mixed up."
The purpose of the event, Jones said, is to inform the public about the private passenger rail project, which has recently been at the center of heated debate about how it will impact Brevard County.
"I truly believe that our biggest problem as a county is we always come to the citizens too late, we never get the citizens involved early in the process," said Jones. "This is my solution to that."
Jones will moderate six speakers and public comment and questions. Rusty Roberts, a lobbyist for All Aboard Florida, will discuss the rail plan, and Melbourne city staff will discuss issues of public safety, legal concerns and the city's responsibility related to railroad crossings and quiet zones.
The passenger rail plan will cut through Melbourne along the existing right-of-way used for freight trains, which runs parallel to U.S. 1. There are more than 20 crossings in the city but no stops.
Jones announced the public forum at a Melbourne City Council meeting last week. Reaction was mixed.
"It's important because nobody really understands" the All Aboard plan, Councilman Mike Nowlin said. "They just see this train blowing through here at 100 mph."
Mayor Kathy Meehan was concerned about whether council members could attend in accordance with Florida's Sunshine Law. As she put to the council: "We can't be there. I am uncomfortable."
Gougelman said council members could attend, but not discuss the topic at hand because it is not a regular council meeting.
The mayor — who has also heard concerns and confusion among community members — suggested the forum be put on hold until All Aboard Florida completes a mandatory environmental assessment, saying it would be better to have one meeting when there is more information than two meetings.
Jones said now is the time to "pull everybody under one tent" and stop the spread of rumors about the railroad plan.
Jones is running for a seat on the county commission, but said this event was not affiliated with his campaign.
"I'm still vice mayor and I have certain things I should be doing as vice mayor," he said. "This is one of them."
The public forum is at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Melbourne City Hall, 900 E. Strawbridge Ave.
If you go
The public forum is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Melbourne City Hall, 900 E. Strawbridge Ave.
forum Speakers include:
• Rusty Roberts, a lobbyist for All Aboard Florida
• Bob Kamm, executive director of the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization
• Melbourne Fire Chief Chuck Bogle, who will talk about public safety issues, such as possibility of derailments
• City Attorney Paul Gougelman, who will address legal concerns related to railroad crossings
• Assistant City Engineer Keith Cunningham, who will address "quiet zones" and the city's responsibility for maintaining crossings
• Representatives of Dean Mead law firm, who will discuss federal regulations and land use
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