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State Legislative Committees Hold Trio of Hearings Downtown

11_30_09_metrolink.jpgToday the Assembly Select Committee on Rail will discuss transit safety downtown. Wonder how much of the hearing will be on Metrolink? Photo: Gary Se7en/Flickr

So, we are finally past that near relentless series of community meetings for corridors, bullet trains, etc. of the past few months. But don't think you can catch your breathe! We are about to have three legislative hearings on transportation topics, all being held at the Metro Board Room:

Monday, Nov. 30, 1-4 p.m.
An Assessment of Rail Safety and Transportation in L.A. County

Assembly Select Committee on Rail

Assemblymember Mike Davis, Chair

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 1-4 p.m.
High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes II: The Next Generation

Senate Transportation & Housing Committee

Senator Alan Lowenthal, Chair

Friday, Dec. 4, 9:30 a.m.-Noon
Status of Transit in California

Assembly Transportation Committee

Assemblymember Mike Eng, Chair

For those of you who haven't attended one of these before, a few pointers:

If you want to provide public comment at the hearing arrive early, ask one of the staff people for a card to sign up to speak and then find a comfortable place to sit. It will be a while before it is your turn to comment.

The proceedings start with remarks by the Chair and probably all the Committee members in attendance.

Next is testimony by the hearing invitees. This can include experts (from academia and industry), elected officials, agency management, stakeholders, business and labor representatives, etc. They often have ready prepared written remarks that are made part of the record that they verbally summarize followed by questioning by the Committee members.

Anyone else present in a official capacity (a legislative deputy, mayor of a local city) may be called during this phase or will be the first called during the general comment period.

After all the bigshots and such have their turn members of the public like you will finally be called. Generally the time limit is short, perhaps 3 minutes. One strategy to compensate is to like the invitees bring extended remarks in writing and submit them for the record. Have copies to give the Committee Clerk to distribute to the Committee members for their review. A few extras for members of the media, bloggers, interested audience members, etc. would be a good idea to have ready.

If you are there representing an organization mention that in the introduction of your verbal remarks. Or mention affiliations for identification purposes while noting you are speaking solely for yourself. And if you have a website or blog post your written comments to give them wider circulation.

And if you attend, don't be discouraged if no one seems to listen or hear what you have to say. If you are informed, focused and articulate you never know when and how your comments will have an impact. Good luck!

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