The headline on yesterday's Argus read "Train Stop in Limbo. No funds for a second SMART station." And, by the way, the Corona Station was the stop that was to have parking. Alas, no parking at the Lakeville / Washington station. Guess you'll have to take the infrequent buses. SMART [...]
Welcome to yet another bureaucracy unanswerable to the people it purports to serve. Remember this, all of you who invited this white elephant into your garden.
Sonoma County's K-12 schools are struggling. Some are failing. The reasons include the declining birth rate, the changing demographics, the poor economy, or our dysfunctional state government. But I lay the fault squarely in the lap of the social visionaries - those high-minded folk who think that the rest of us are too stupid to run things and so they want to (oh so gently, mind you) take the tiller from our hands, so that the ship of state (county, city) is steered in the right direction. In the light of the struggling county schools, one outstanding example of social re-engineering run amok came to mind - S.M.A.R.T., which has already raised taxes and squandered tens of millions of dollars which could have been put to better use. Or, since the size and function of the still-proposed rail system seems to dwindle by the week - use, period. Oh heck, let's call it what it is - another Progressive Boondoggle. When the economy was booming, these sorts of hair-brained fantasies could slide through. I suppose a silver lining to the current economic storm clouds is that tight times make people re-think their economic priorities. I sure hope that people who don't have their heads in the clouds - or in the sand - will take another look at the "train to nowhere."
Among the most cherished of Progressive pipe dreams is inter-city light rail. Not the classic, steam and smoke belching juggernauts that drove American commerce for over a century while hauling goods from coast to coast. The Birkenstock set are agog over electric people movers, pure and simple. Advocates love to cite (as examples of successful urban transit) cities such as London, Paris, New York, etc. forgetting to mention, of course, that the majority of urban transit preceded the auto and its effects on cities. In the hopes of rolling back time, and forcing the hated gas-guzzling moto-genie back into its bottle, fantasies such as the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit are foisted on a gullible public with low-ball-cost and inflated-usage estimates. I'll bet they'd promise that the trains will be solar-powered, but they know that even Progressives are not that dumb.
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit has been - in the oft-reviled opinion of yours truly - a boondoggle from day one. Designed, on it's best day, to carry approximately 5000 folks (during that best day) from Larkspur to Cloverdale and return, it has now been scaled back to run from San Rafael to Santa Rosa. The actual number of folks wishing to travel between those destinations whose travel needs lack urgency and are therefore able to wait for the train's intermittent service, has yet to be determined.