Come to board meetings and speak up to save Caltrain

Over 2500 of us have sent letters to decision-makers to support Caltrain and prevent drastic cuts. Now it’s time to show up and speak to the decision makers face-to-face if you can. Please plan to attend one or more of these meetings over the next month to tell decision-makers to avoid drastic cuts to Caltrain.

Imagine our communities without Caltrain. This could very well happen, and sooner than we expect, if we don’t keep up the pressure. So if this is new for you, thank you for taking the next step as a participant in our democracy. If you have further questions please email us back, friends at friendsofcaltrain dot com. And please spread the word via facebook, twitter, and whatever email lists you feel are appropriate to post to.

Caltrain Decision-Maker Board Meetings

Thursday, April 21 @10 am
Caltrain board meeting – decide on a proposal to keep all the trains and stations
Caltrain/SamTrans Headquarters
1250 San Carlos Ave, San Carlos (near the train station)

WHAT TO SAY AT THE MEETING (the short version, if you’ve done this before)

* Why is Caltrain important to you personally?
* Why is Caltrain important to the region?
* Ask board members to work with the 3 counties and MTC to finalize the funding to keep the trains running
* Urge the board to find a 2 year funding solution to keep Caltrain running while long-term solutions are being worked on
* State your commitment to advocate for longterm funding for Caltrain if short-term solutiions are found now

HOW TO TESTIFY AT A PUBLIC MEETING (If you’ve never done this before) in 4 EASY STEPS

1. When you arrive at the meeting, look for a speaker card to fill out so that you can be called on to speak. At meetings in the SamTrans auditorium, these are generally placed on a table by the back of the auditorium close to the entrance. At VTA, these are blue cards usually placed on a table in the back of the auditorium. In San Francisco legislative chamber, these are usually on a table on the left hand side of the chamber or by the podium.

2. Print your name and the agenda item number that you want to speak under.

3. Hand the speaker card to a board secretary assistant. At VTA, there is a container to turn in the card in front of the front row, on the right-hand side of the auditorium. At Samtrans you can generally walk up to the left hand side of the “U” where the board members sit and hand the card to whoever is sitting there (or the assistant may be sitting in the front row). If you arrive at the meeting late ask someone what agenda item number they’re discussing at the moment. Warning: boards have been known to discuss agenda items out of order, if there is a large crowd waiting to speak on an item and the board chair tries to accommodate them to speak sooner.

4. When the board chair calls your name, walk up to the podium, adjust the microphone to be closer to your mouth if necessary, and speak for a minute or two. If there are a lot of speakers the chair may set a time limit of one minute for each speaker.

WHAT TO SAY and how to say it

* Jot down on a piece of paper the two or three key points you want to make. For example: “Caltrain is important to me because [.].Caltrain is important to the region because [.].Please do everything possible to keep the trains running without these drastic service cuts.”
* Start off by stating your name and what city you live in and/or work in.
* Speak from the heart about why Caltrain is important to you and what would happen if they implemented these drastic cuts.
* Try to avoid being too repetitive of what others before you have said. Find a new angle that’s unique to you, tell a story but keep it short, get to the point fast.
* Always be respectful in how you address the board members. Remember they are human beings too, and think about how they would feel upon hearing your words. NEVER make threats or use profanity.
* If you exceed your time limit a buzzer or chime may go off. Finish your point within a few words and then sit down, don’t keep insisting on going past the time limit.

It makes a big impression on the board members when they see people who aren’t usual suspects come and take the time to appear and speak.