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S E C T I O N 2 Community March 31, 2010 ■ News of local people and A LSO INSIDE Why three unlikely enthusiasts from Menlo Park just may be the best hope for opponents of high-speed-rail By Sean Howell S Almanac Staff Writer ometimes, when he finds himself stretching and rubbing his eyes after staring for hours on end at his computer monitor, Martin Engel permits himself a vision. It’s pretty pie-in-the-sky, even as visions go: hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people in the streets R E A L E S TAT E 30 |C events in the community. LA SSI F I E D S 27 STOP THAT TRAIN! Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac Compatriots, from left, Morris Brown, Mike Brady and Martin Engel discuss the California high-speed-rail project in Mr. Engel’s living room. But it’s an image Mr. Engel returns to more and more these days, as he wrestles with his doubts over whether he and other project opponents are making a difference. He’s coming to the conclusion that a full-scale protest movement, with Peninsula residents literally blocking the train’s path, may be the last resort for people like him: people who view the train not only as an intrusion on the Peninsula, but as a kind of horseman of California’s economic apocalypse. I n his efforts to become a perpetual thorn in the side of the rail project’s board, Mr. Engel has two compatriots who live in the same Menlo Park planned development in a short loop off El Camino Real: Morris Brown, a solicitous, twinkleeyed man, and Mike Brady, more reserved and more regal than either of his friends. They’re the Three Musketeers, the Three Amigos, the Stone Pine Lane Gang, and they’ve been remarkably Continued on page 23 of Peninsula cities like Menlo Park, Atherton and Palo Alto, blocking the intersections at train crossings, chanting, hoisting signs, pitchforks and torches, rallying against the pending California high-speed-rail project. March 31, 2010 N The Almanac N21

The Almanac

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