Orange Is At It Again

Jul 28th, 2010 | Posted by

The city of Orange is a wonderful town in the middle of Orange County. Their downtown area, oriented around the Orange Circle and just two blocks from the Orange Metrolink station, is a fantastic place to stroll and shop. Chapman University is just a couple blocks away too, and it’s a thriving hub for students and others as a result. If I was willing to move back to Orange County (I grew up next door in Tustin) I’d seriously consider getting one of those nice 1920s-era bungalows in Old Town, a walkable neighborhood ripe with TOD opportunities and with a train station and college nearby.

Unfortunately, Orange has also been governed by right-wing extremists for as long as I can remember. Back in my misspent youth, I was in a Rush Limbaugh Fan Club that met at an Orange restaurant (this was around 1993 or so), with members of the Orange city council regularly in attendance. The council and the school board were almost always in the news for embracing this or that element of the far-right agenda.

Sadly, times don’t seem to have changed. Yesterday the Orange City Council passed a resolution opposing the HSR project – which isn’t even going to go into Orange itself, at least not initially.

The Orange resolution is an HSR denier’s dream. It cites all the discredited anti-HSR studies, such as those of the State Auditor and the Berkeley ITS group. But the resolution went further than those reports intended. They claim the ridership studies “were inflated in order to move this project forward with unachievable goals” and that “the project costs are now estimated at $45 – $80 billion for project completion,” despite there being no actual evidence for either claim.

Project opponent Cynthia Ward, writing at the right-wing website Red County, commends the Orange city council for passing this resolution:

Rather than using State resources to pummel a City government for standing up for their own people, I would prefer to see the CHSRA show us where Orange is inaccurate in their assessment of the situation. We will be waiting for that statement for a very long time, because the CHSRA no longer has a leg to stand on in this argument. They continue shoving blindly forward on an underfunded project whose benefits have been exaggerated, and kudos to the City of Orange for taking a stand. This Resolution was not only appropriate, it is a model that could be lifted word for word and used by other communities up and down the State. I envy the people of Orange their bold leadership, and congratulate those at City Hall who were behind this Resolution, written so carefully that even proponents of the project can find no reason to deny their yes votes to protect the people of Orange. Good work.

In fact, as I just explained, the resolution wasn’t written carefully at all. Instead it makes unproven allegations that people like Ward then insist the CHSRA respond to, even though the allegations themselves are false. It’s the exact same thing as asking someone “when did you stop beating your wife?” A flawed statement is made, passed off as truth, and when the Authority says the statement is untrue, critics pounce and accuse the Authority of stonewalling and refusing to admit a “truth” that isn’t true at all.

The Authority’s response to the Orange resolution was given by Deputy Director Jeff Barker:

“The California High-Speed Rail Authority is working with hundreds of communities throughout the state – we value their feedback and want to work together to develop the best high-speed train project possible. So it is disappointing that the elected officials in the city of Orange have declined the opportunity to help shape this historic project and have declined to represent residents of their city – especially at this early stage in our development when input and constructive feedback is so vital. In opposing the high-speed rail project, the city council is opposing the creation of tens of thousands of jobs, opposing improved air quality, and opposing a needed new transportation option that will ease congestion on our freeways and in our airways. The Authority will continue to reach out to the residents of Orange and listen to their ideas about the high-speed rail project because we know we cannot develop the best train system possible without their feedback.”

This is the right response for the Authority to make. From the perspective of HSR supporters like ourselves, we can go further and call out the city of Orange for their misleading claims and their open embrace of obstructionism.

It’s not the first time an Orange County city has tried to undermine a California HSR project. In 1983 the city of Tustin hired researchers to knock down the HSR project Governor Jerry Brown had authorized the previous year. Their report did help push the Legislature to kill the project, but the project was on life support anyway – the Legislature had never really embraced it, and the new governor, Republican George Deukmejian, wasn’t a supporter.

Things may not be different in Orange in 2010, but they are very different around the state. California voters approved the project and $10 billion in bond money for it in November 2008. The governor and the state legislature have been much, much more supportive this time around, as have our Congressional delegation and the president. And the poll released yesterday shows that public support remains very high for this project.

So Orange can pass its resolution if they want to. I’m sure they’ll find some other councils controlled by right-wing opponents of passenger rail to pile on board. But those won’t be representative of the true views of the people of California, who continue to reiterate their support for the project and their desire to see it completed.

  1. jimsf
    Jul 28th, 2010 at 12:40

    So are there any ordinary working class neighborhoods against hsr or is just the elite who oppose it? I find the trend to be shocking. Just shocking and so surprising.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Bakersfield got pissed about the downtown alignment at one point. But it’s not anywhere near the intensity of hatred for HSR you see in the rich parts of Orange County and the Peninsula.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    What’s been happening in Bakersfield? There was an enormous outpouring on the subject here, and now I’m not seeing anything.

    Did the Bakersfield concerns get addressed, did they lose interest in this blog, did the age of the Bakersfield blog cut them out (automatic closure of discussion this program seems to have), or is it something else? Is anybody in Bakersfield still paying attention to Robert and the rest?

    Peter Reply:

    The Bakersfield City Council backed off from supporting the downtown alignments and asked for more options, last I heard. Expect more later when the next update to the AA comes out.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    They’re still actively engaged in the issue, as they should be. I’ve been too busy to come back to the issue, and I think there are some bigger questions about the routing that need to be answered. It’s not as simple as some of the other parts of the state.

  2. political_incorrectness
    Jul 28th, 2010 at 12:49

    I am not surprised. Many gen Y people want walkability and be car free. These gen x people still want their cars to get everywhere as they are seen as freedom. I see freedom as being able to be independnet of a vehicle to get around. Free of not dealing with idiots on the roads, insurance, gas, traffic, etc. I would like to see an opinion poll of people who would like the ideals of TOD such as walkability and frequent transit to jobs, recreation, groceries, etc. I will bet numerous people are for those ideals.

    Missiondweller Reply:

    I think this is older than Gen X that opposes it. As previous discussions have mentioned, it seems to be people 60 and older who grew up in the era of expanding freeways that view HSR as an alien idea.

  3. jimsf
    Jul 28th, 2010 at 13:05

    It has less to do with age and more to do with income and lifestyle in my opinion. People who live in places such as Atherton and Orange eschew public transportation as being something for the less fortunate. They don’t want to use it, they don’t want to sit next to “those people” and they don’t want “those people” to have easy access to their pristine communities.

    Scott Reply:

    This reminds me of the classic satirical article from the Onion in 2000, titled “Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others”.,1434/

    I guess it’s funny because it’s true.

    jimsf Reply:

    Indeed a selling point for transit to those who dont use it is that it will “get all those other people off your freeway and out of your way”

    Of course the truth is for millions of americans, public transit is preferred not because they don’t have a choice, but because its just the better choice. I mean do people drive from brooklyn and new jersey in to manhattan to work? Well yes they do I guess, but how much sense does it make. Parking there must be double what it is in sf. I am baffled to this day when I see eastbay people sitting in parking lot conditions on the embarcadero trying to get to an event that will be over with long before they ever even inch their way close enough to get a glimpse. with tranist you step on step off no fuss no muss. And I always hated those bi weekly trips to the gas pump. It was such a chore. Its enslaving.

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    A car is the only way around suburbia unfortunantely. It is why I’d love to move up to Vancouver, BC where transit service is excellent in comparison to U.S. standards. One huge help is that it is all one system from the border up. They organize into regional districts so there aren’t those county divides you have in the states, creating multiple transit agencies for each individual county. One system for all makes sense for customer convenience. Will we ever get to that in California? Who knows?

  4. StevieB
    Jul 28th, 2010 at 14:57

    The Orange County Register article today Orange votes against high-speed rail indicates the councils stated opposition is to using any part of Orange for the line.

    Councilman Jon Dumitru, who introduced the resolution, said construction of a local leg of the line would prompt the California High-Speed Rail Authority to declare eminent domain so it could use western parts of Orange for the project’s infrastructure to support an Anaheim depot.

    He further states in language certain to scare some Orange residents.

    “They want to extend to San Diego, and the corridor they want to use would go through Old Towne,” Dumitru said of Orange’s historic, downtown area. “We’re going to be active in fighting high-speed rail until its ultimate failure.”

    I know that corridor to San Diego was studied but I am not aware of any long range plans to build high speed rail through Orange to San Diego.

    Spokker Reply:

    There’s also an Old Town in Orange.

    If Phase 2 happens high speed rail would be built through Orange’s Old Town to Irvine.

    It would probably be only two tracks though if the shared track option is chosen for LA-Anaheim so who gives a shit anyway?

    I mean, are they fighting Metrolink 30 minute service? Would they fight 90 MPH diesel trains?

    Peter Reply:

    Yeah, there are no current plans to extend HSR through Orange.

    Only if they decide to include Irvine in a Phase 2 would they extend into Orange. I think that Irvine is the most likely connection to never be made, though. I think that the extensions to San Diego and Sacramento will be long completed before they connect Irvine.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Totally agreed. The corridor is really narrow through not just Orange, but Santa Ana and Tustin. Beef up Metrolink/Amtrak feeder services to ARTIC and build some light rail (gasp) in the central OC core and you’ll be fine. Chapman Avenue would be a *perfect* location for a light rail route from Santiago Canyon College at the eastern end (at the intersection with Jamboree) all the way west, perhaps even into Long Beach. I’ve taken the OCTA bus that runs down Chapman (Line 54, IIRC) to the Orange Metrolink Station on a few occasions and it was packed full of people every time I used it.

    In fact, since Orange is the VERY FIRST STOP south of ARTIC, I can imagine Orange reaping a financial windfall from HSR construction. You’d be just a transfer away from the entire state. The TOD possibilities in Orange are endless.

    Spokker Reply:

    They don’t want TOD in Old Town Orange. They want it to be this quaint little memory of the past because they’ve ripped up the rest of Orange for strip malls and parking lots.

    ORANGE FUCKING SUCKS. They think they are better than Anaheim, Santa Ana and Garden Grove because they have more white people than we do. Orange is pretty much the same suburban shithole the rest of the county is, worse in my opinion. I’d rather be in Santa Ana than Orange any day of the week.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Orange is actually fairly racially diverse. The problem is that it’s governed by the white population that wants to pretend that diversity doesn’t exist.

    I’ve always believed Santa Ana is very well positioned for the next 20-30 years, perhaps moreso than any other OC city.

    As to TOD, I’m thinking more of putting it immediately west of the Orange station. Old Town Orange ought to be preserved as a lesson: “see, THIS is what good suburban design looked like.”

    YesonHSR Reply:

    I do love the mindset of a certain crowd in Orange County.. years ago I went to visit a friend whos parents actually live in the city. We met up with another friend of his.. seem to be very nice.. I had just moved from the Midwest and for some reason his dad started talking about all the “wet backs” that have ruined California.. we then were discussing a choice of restaurants.. of all things he mentioned a Mexican restaurant in Santa Ana… truly strange people, kind of like the Stepford wives sweet and nice looking on the outside evil streak inside..

    Spokker Reply:

    Americans ruined California. One bastard finds gold and they come over here as fast as they can to rip up the goddamn place, giving anybody who was already here a ton of BS.

    I mean, Christ, the more things change the more they stay the same.

    When people other than whites were having some success in the Gold Rush, they enacted a $20 tax levied on foreigners. I’m sick of white people!

    Samsonian Reply:

    Only if they decide to include Irvine in a Phase 2 would they extend into Orange. I think that Irvine is the most likely connection to never be made, though.

    If LA-Anaheim is built/re-built as a shared 2-track segment, why not extend the catenary and grade separations all the way to Irvine?

    Joey Reply:

    I’ve heard plenty of FUD, but this guy is flat out wrong. The line to SD will go via the Inland Empire, and even plans to extend to Irvine fell into obscurity a long time ago.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    None of those concerns were specified in the resolution. They mentioned “eminent domain” but not in the context of their city.

    If there was an extension to Irvine, as was once intended, then it would indeed be a tight fit through Orange. But the tracks divide Old Town on the east from typical 1960s-era sprawl on the west. It would be disruptive, sure, but Orange would have a chance to weigh in.

    Instead they passed a resolution that is basically equivalent to asking to see President Obama’s birth certificate and then declaring it was a fake and that he’s really born in Kenya.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    The actions of the city Council and this councilman needs rebuttal in the Orange County Register.. this is not just some NIMBY its a paid councilmember making these statements and his personal ideology opinions.. CAHSRA at this point has no definite plans to run through the city of Orange only planning to build small service area this is pure fear mongering on the part of this very right wing councilperson..

    YesonHSR Reply:

    The area in question would be servicing facilities at this point it’s a bunch of old warehouses and box stores ..pure negative ideology is the reason behind this.

  5. AndyDuncan
    Jul 28th, 2010 at 17:39

    Orange has been trying to find the money to grade separate metrolink through downtown for years. My friend lives right on the tracks there, I’ve spent many a night crashed in his spare room. No amount of alcohol can keep you asleep while those trains blare through there. You can literally hear them coming for miles. Even with four-quadrant gates (which they are installing on some intersections), electric trains are quieter than the diesels that are going through there now. The dog-leg curve north of orange pretty much guarantees low rail speeds and the current metrolink station is one of the few things Orange has going for it. To top it all off, as Spokker mentioned, the two-track gauntlet between anaheim and fullerton means this is likely to be two track as well.

    So you’ve got a city fighting against electrification and grade separation. Idiots.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    The obvious need for grade separation is Chapman. They were doing some work on the station area in 2008-09 but I think that was to build a pedestrian tunnel, not to grade separate some streets.

    You would think that these cities would jump at the chance to do grade separations. Most residents would strongly support it. But then you get city officials in places like Orange or Menlo Park who think grade separations would somehow be the end of the world.

    Irvine grade-separated all their streets back in the ’80s and ’90s and not only has it been very helpful, they actually did it in an aesthetically pleasing way.

  6. Dennis Lytton
    Jul 28th, 2010 at 18:11

    That’s quite a thing for a prograssive like Robert to admit his GOP past! We share a similar “misspent” youth in Orange County late last century. I too thought I was a Republican right up to my first year of community college (Golden West College in Huntington Beach). Growing up middle class in OC Reagan/Bush I seemed natural.

    Pre-WWII Orange is a very pleasant trolley car / railroad town. An example of how we will have to reorient America’s suburbs in the coming years. The CenterLine LRT proposal had it’s problems and was probably a few years ahead of it’s time. See for the most likely LRT penetration into the OC right now.

    In any case, the two track alignment through to southern OC could support robust conventional service in spite of the GOP in Orange.

    Peter Reply:

    The Pacific Electric Corridor is 90 – 195 feet wide? Wow, you could EASILY double track electric or diesel light rail through there, and still have room to spare for lots of landscaping and trails and stuff.

    Dennis Lytton Reply:

    Yeah, the SCAG/LACMTA/OCTA is looking at that. No real timeline to build what would come out of the planning process by later next year. Would require unprecidented cooperation for rail transit between OCTA and Metro.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    It was a study corridor under Measure R, and most of the ROW is still intact, with one or two encroachments in OC that can be dealt with fairly easily.

    OC actually could have a very good LRT/streetcar system, if you put it in the middle of some of these huge avenues (like Chapman). Harbor Boulevard, State College, Bristol (where the CenterLine would have gone), Newport Boulevard, Irvine Boulevard, Katella, and others are all natural contenders. I’m sure it wouldn’t take much to sit down with a map of OC density and just start drawing lines.

    Retrofitting suburbia is going to be one of the top transportation planning priorities in the coming years. I agree that CenterLine was a few years ahead of its time, but the basic concept of LRT in OC is going to happen, and sooner than most think.

    Spokker Reply:

    I wonder how much potential the corridor has, though. It’s definitely not going to be HSR and I think commuter rail is overkill (it would compete with the Orange County Line and end up in the same place).

    There are some dense transit dependent communities in the North. There could be a station in Maywood and Huntington Park, unless I’m thinking of something else.

    Santa Ana as a terminus is a very good thing. It’s the middle I’m worried about.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Agreed. That’s what the study’s for, I guess. They own the ROW, so something ought to be done with it. The question is what that “something” is.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    An inerurban it once was, an interurban (light rail) it should be again.

    Chances are that’s what the curvature would allow, even if the Pacific Electric was mostly better built than most interurbans.

  7. Drunk Engineer
    Jul 28th, 2010 at 19:32

    Back in my misspent youth, I was in a Rush Limbaugh Fan Club

    The lack of critical thinking on this blog was always a mystery, but now it makes perfect sense. The former Rush Ditto-Head has become the CHSRA Ditto-Head.

  8. John Burrows
    Jul 28th, 2010 at 21:28

    So someday, possibly, HSR might go through Orange to get to Irvine. How does Irvine feel about high speed rail?

    YesonHSR Reply:

    At this point there is nothing more than a few concept designs to get To Irvine.. in the earlier business plans it was noted in the Los Angeles of Anaheim section due to opposition from the city of Orange further planning would not continue… I just hope in about 15 years when the Anaheim station is open and beautiful and full of people this idiot council member with the walk-through ARTIC station and see what a fool he is!!!

  9. D. P. Lubic
    Jul 29th, 2010 at 03:57

    Whoo-ee, some of the language that’s starting to show up; thought this was a family-friendly place. . .

  10. Peter
    Jul 29th, 2010 at 07:47

    OT, but saying something about CA voters and their opinions about rich “politicians” buying their way into office.

    Must-read for synonymouse, btw.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Read it and it is nothing new. Brown may very well win but his will likely be a failed governorship, like the two before him. But the Pelosi machine only rules the Bay Area – if Jerry hews to that party line there will be a recall movement in short order. He looks to me to be more a captive of the unions and more provocative that Gray Davis. Darrell Issa(whose policies I detest)should have a field day.

    For decades California has been on a long march to decay, which Bell epitomizes. Cupidity and stupidity; that’s the Techahapi detour in spades. For some it won’t be obvious until the fiasco is set in concrete, like BART to SFO.

    Joey Reply:

    New drinking game: take a drink every time synonymous brings the Tehachapi/Grapevine thing into a discussion that has nothing to do with it.

    I’ll probably be passed out after an hour on this blog…

    Joey Reply:

    sorry, *synonymouse

    synonymouse Reply:

    Here’s the connection: a site dedicated to discussion of the and the most important political issues facing the state. The hsr is an enormously expensive and complicated megaproject that should have received detailed attention by the two gubernatorial candidates. Whitman at least looked at it enough to decide she doesn’t like it. Brown is apparently oblivious, like replacement Ron Dellums.

    The Loopy detour is far and away the most controversial and crucial issue in the entire hsr project. This should be a no-brainer. But I guess that is the crux of the problem – truly lackluster people at the top.

    Don’t feel sorry for me. I’ll be pushing daisies when this thing finally turns a wheel. Only the contrary it is you guys who will be sorry. You’ll probably be thinking about leaving the state because you can’t afford the exploding post-Prop 13 property taxes. And like AC Transit riders you will be cursing the CHSRA lined up with BART demanding its subsidy-tribute and its unions regularly on strike or sickout.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Tehachapi burned yesterday, Palmdale today. Hey, I thought the detour was supposed to be safer.

    Spokker Reply:


    synonymouse Reply:

    The insurance companies understand the concept of exposure – that’s why they want to know how many miles you drive every year. The longer the route, the greater exposure to problems.

    The tunnel issue is complex, if you think about it. For dieselized freight railroads they are largely a problem and that is why they daylight the ones they can.

    But for electrified passenger-only railroads like the hsr tunnels are a mixed bag of advantages and liabilities. Really long tunnels are harder to evacuate and an explosion or fire inside a base tunnel could conceivably cause greater damage than in a shorter tunnel. However it is also possible tht there would roughly equal damage to a train that burnt or exploded in either a long tunnel or a shorter one. I am suggesting that the exposure to risk of a sum of a few long tunnels equal in overall length to a sum of a number of smaller tunnels would be close to the same.

    But there is an upside to tunnels beyond the usual consideration of a shorter and faster route. Think of a tunnel as akin to a big garage that protects the vehicles, trackage and overhead from sun, wind, rain, sand, landslides, lightning and vandalism, aircraft and trucks, etc. An all-weather route.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I’ve got to sign in for a route as tunnel-free as possible. Tunnels are not only nortoriously expensive to build, they are also not maintenance-free, especially as they get older. Better not to build one unless there is no other option.

    The prospect of the inevitable earthquake adds to this as well.

    Peter Reply:

    Hehe, and just a few months ago I-5 was closed for snow and ice…

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    And I once had to detour through Palmdale and Tehachapi about 10 years ago when a fire closed I-5 north of Castaic.

    Your point?

    Peter Reply:

    I actually think he was making a joke.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Tejon route will be less likely to be affected what are usually referred to legally as acts o
    f god.

    The base tunnels will of course be protected and the length of the intervening trackage will
    relatively short. Snow shouldn’t be a problem as the high ground will be in tunnel and sheds and barriers can be erected in above ground areas as necessary.

    As to fire the danger to Tejon is less due to the much shorter route length. Plus, as they say like it or not the Grapevine is going to be more urbanized as it is close to LA and is on the main route. That is just the way things go down in California. So more built up, close to the freeway and fire fighters and presumably a little less dry than the high desert.

    Think about how pissed those motorists will be when they see the hsr diving into a Tejon tunnel while their auto is grinding up the Grapevine. But I don’t know if the tunnel portal would be visible from the freeway as it would be somewhat to the east.

    I actually suspect that the if there is only one good Tejon alignment highway interests may be holding onto it for themselves.

    Peter Reply:

    Please note how, as usual, he neglects to mention the risk of crossing fault lines in tunnels with Tejon versus the risk of crossing them at grade with Antelope Valley. Next, stay tuned for a discussion, or “suggestion”, as he likes to put it, on how BART tunnels through a fault line.

    Why would “highway interests” be holding on to an alignment that fits HSR? They don’t have any of the turn radius or grade restrictions that HSR has.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Humor works differently in alternate universes so it’s hard to tell.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You have to put “risk” in perspective. The risk of protracted disappointing passenger counts and revenues is much more serious than any putative seismic dangers. LA is a couple hundred miles away from a place where 30,000 people have been killed in the past few years. The movement of that risk north is more inexorable than any slippage on the Garlock fault.

    If indeed there is only one outstanding tunnel alignment thru Tejon then it certainly seems possible that other and powerful interests would want to use it in the future. A tollway would not require a 3.5% ruling gradient and could get by without base tunnels and water and power might want the row as well. “It’s for the future, Mr. Geddes.”

    Another parallel universe, bizarro imho, is the one PB occupies. This is the one where Indian broad gauge, unique 1000 vdc operating voltage and aluminum monocoque railcars so structurally deficient they buckle in the middle are the norm. This is the one where to proceed from down SF to SFO you deviate way to the west, in sight the Pacific Ocean, and then swerve way back to the east to reach your destination. This is the parallel universe where 30 route miles detours into the boonies trump high speed base tunnels.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And the perspective from planet Earth is that putting deep tunnels across an active fault is a bad idea. And the perspective from planet Earth is that the half million people living in and around Palmdale makes it somewhat more cosmopolitan than the boonies. Additionally the perspective from planet earth is that even if they did decide to build a tunnel across an active fault through a place where few people live that other infrastructure could at the same time use the same general vicinity as the new infrastructure.,… one that “would not require a 3.5% ruling gradient and could get by without base tunnels” which is a somewhat different place than one that does.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Palmdale are simply off-route for an LA-Bay Area hsr. Remember for Bakersfield and Fresno Tejon is still faster. That’s why I-5 and 99 are there. Even if you only served the San Joaquin Valley, Sac-LA, Tejon would still be superior. Palmdale and the Antelope Valley belong on an easterly route and 110 mph would be perfectly adequate. Besides your detour deprives the northern LA basin of its station, which would attract riders from the west.

    Sorry this is a politically motivated mistake, the egregious error of the whole project, that needs to be corrected while there is still time.

    Peter Reply:

    I’m confused, or maybe you are. Who is suggesting anything other than standard gauge, 25 kV, and off-the-shelf trains? If PB has been suggesting this, do you have a reference?

    “then it certainly seems possible that other and powerful interests would want to use it in the future”

    So, what you’re implying is that the Authority and its consultants are violating the law by not discussing other parties who want to use the alignment that you “suggest” the Authority should be using over Tejon? Because if that were the case, you’d be opening yourself to libel. But that’s ok, because you’re just “suggesting”, right?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That’s why I-5 and 99 are there.

    And I’ve driven on it. It’s amazingly tunnel free. Which is in a different place than the railroad tunnel would be or the water tunnel or the HVDC line or….

    Bakersfield and Fresno Tejon is still faster.

    Marginally. It won’t be faster for the months it takes to inspect and repair the tunnel, if can be repaired, after the inevitable earthquake. Nor is it faster if you are in Bakersfield or points north and you want to get to Palmdale or Las Vegas. Or someday Palm Springs Phoenix or maybe even Tuscon.

    the egregious error of the whole project, that needs to be corrected while there is still time.

    There’s a well defined series of steps they follow to chose an alignment. The time to object to is is well past. Or at least that’s the way it works here on planet Earth. YMMV on your planet.

    synonymouse Reply:

    But of course the Tejon tunnel thru the Garlock fault will be designed to accommodate the slip and be “repaired” a number of times. All tunnels, including the ones on the proposed Palmdale line are susceptible to damage from fire and explosion.

    Y’all are worried about “risk” and want to erect a 60′ high viaduct thru crime-plagued downtown Fresno? How many “months” do you think it would take to rebuild that dinosaur if it came down for whatever reason?

    @ Peter the PB-Bechtel broad gauge hell-spawn I am referring to is none other than BART. AS far as libel goes what kind of pollyanna Disneyland parallel universe are you living in? The one I am living in I share with Blagos, Rangels and Rizzos. You are probably to young to remember Tricky Dick. There is no absolutely no depth to which these bozos would steep to pull of a fix or a scam. Palmdale, j’accuse.

    Spokker Reply:

    Fresno is pretty average as far as crime rates go. Very close to the national average in the majority of categories.

    Unless you wouldn’t build an elevated structure in most of the United States.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That was a cheap shot on Fresno, but it does have an “urban legend” bad crime rep, deserved or not.

    The point about the elevated is that it would not be constructed with the express feature of having to be rebuilt from time to time, unlike the Tejon tunnel thru the Garlock fault.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Syn: “But of course the Tejon tunnel thru the Garlock fault will be designed to accommodate the slip and be “repaired” a number of times.”

    I’m not sure what your reference to fantasy technology which doesn’t exist is for.

    If you want to do something useful, work on getting the best possible Palmdale – San Fernando Valley tunnels, which are at risk of being less-than-optimal.

    (Note also that Palmdale will be a natural connection point for high-speed lines to the east. Vegas is only the first. It will be much easier to build high-speed lines east from here than through the densely populated suburbs directly east of LA where the current rail routes go.)

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART has utilized that fantasy technology for the past 40 years

    Joey Reply:

    No. There is no earthquake mitigation on the Berkeley hills tunnels whatsoever. Also, they are much shorter and probably at much less of a risk than any tunnels through the Grapevine would be.

  11. Colony Rabble
    Jul 29th, 2010 at 08:25

    I’m sorry Robert, did I read this correctly? The way this is worded you appear to be saying that UCI, Berkeley, the LAO and State Auditor have been discredited? Or is it merely their studies that have been discredited? In which case I have to admit I have not seen rebuttal studies that discredit those works, at least not any sort of peer review from accredited sources. No Robert, bloggers cherry picking bits and pieces to fit their rabid pro-rail viewpoint do not count as discrediting those studies. Give me some solid evidence that those reports have been discredited. Send me a link. Do you genuinely expect the public to believe that internationally respected experts at accredited universities, as well as the LAO and State Auditor are somehow lax in their peer review of this system? Are you really saying that the only accurate and reliable information is from the consultants who are being paid to study this system, by the Authority who wishes to build it? Is that really the case you are making here?

    By the way, I am not wealthy, nor am I “elite.” In fact, if you trace the LOSSAN Corridor, you will find nothing but working class neighborhoods and small businesses. In Orange County at least the very wealthy do not live next to train tracks. That priviledge is reserved for small bungalows that were built next to the original train line a century ago, and infilled with extremely low income housing projects with predominately immigrant populations. And to date the consultants tasked with outreach have not contacted those immigrant populations to let them know thiir quality of life is about to get worse. So who is being elitist here? Those of us who are trying to take a stand for our neighbors who appear to have no voice in the power structure? Or the establishment who simply pushes their own projects forward, using public money and resenting the public oversight? And too bad for those apartment tenants who are stuck with all that construction noise! In Anaheim the street closures alone will cut entire neighborhoods off from their schools, jobs, and shopping, in an area where car ownership is sparse. It is not the opponents of this project who are being elitist. It is those like you who insist that you know best, you know better than the most respected minds in the universities, and you will impose your will upon people who have not even been notified, much less asked how they feel about this.

    Is that really the message you want to send here?

    Cynthia Ward
    Anaheim, CA

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Who wants to deconstruct all the FUD being slung in the above?

    Peter Reply:

    I had to go do some real work, so I decided to leave that to others.

    Joey Reply:

    So then why is it not the people near the tracks, not even someone representing the people near the tracks, but a city which will not even have HSR running through it that is complaining all the sudden?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If the problem with the project is that it’ll hurt low-income immigrants, then why is it Orange and not Santa Ana that’s voicing opposition?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Because opposing it pisses off liberals. or liiiiibruuuuuls

    Steven Reply:

    So tell us Cynthia, did you even bother to talk to “our neighbors who appear to have no voice in the power structure” or did you just assume you knew what was best for them and proceeded from there?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    You are making an argument from authority, not an argument from evidence. It does not matter who authored a study or who criticizes it. What matters is whether the arguments are sound.

    I’ve not heard of this UCI study you mention. But I’ve leveled strong and accurate criticisms at:

    The flawed LAO report
    The flawed State Auditor’s report (and I know there’s at least one member of Congress who agrees with me on that report)
    The flawed Berkeley ITS ridership report

    What I’m saying is that the evidence indicates that the Authority’s claims are sound, and that these critical reports have serious flaws that render their conclusions suspect (at best). Nobody ever explains away those criticisms, you guys just assume that because someone with authority made those criticisms, they are therefore automatically valid.

    I come from an academic background. And that’s NOT how things work. Neither intellectual work nor scientific work functions along those bizarre lines.

    As to the class argument you make, have YOU reached out to them? Most such folks I’ve encountered have been pretty supportive of HSR. They want grade separations so the tracks become safer and the loud horns eliminated and the diesel pollution reduced or eliminated. They don’t have the same fear of concrete you have – their emphasis is on safety and affordable travel.

    Colony Rabble Reply:

    Really Robert? You have conducted outreach in Anaheim along the tracks? Where? Because I have spoken with people along Atchison, Melrose, Kroeger, as well as the other side of the tracks along Vine/Rose/Bush, and they have not heard from HSRA or their reps. Never mind any notices in that area in Spanish. Add in the fact that the City of Anaheim just approved yet another low income housing project on a lot scheduled as a taking if the system goes At Grade. How much do you think they will tell those new residents before they move in? yes, I have spoken with them, nobody I know is inviting this thing, and they are doubly pissed when they hear it from me and not the people who are being paid to tell them. As far as grade seps, that would help ease the noise of train whistles, but keep in mind that those are not without their own impacts, as the ROW in Anaheim is extremely tight. Nobody has notified anyone on the line of those potential impacts either.

    Spokker Reply:

    They should run the high speed trains down Olive and Santa Ana streets. Full speed.

    Spokker Reply:

    Okay, here is the new route for HSR:

    I’m passing out fliers in English but the kids should be able to read them to their parents because, you know, nobody knows English in Anaheim anymore as Cynthia says.

    Peter Reply:

    And gee, I wonder what YOU are telling them? “Your house is going to be bulldozed, do you like that idea?”

    Instead of what the Authority would have to say at this point: “There is a chance that your house may be bulldozed, if we build it like this, but it wouldn’t have to go if we build it like this. What do you think about that? Oh, and if we tweak the route slightly, it won’t go anywhere near your house.”

    The outreach that you complain about as being insufficient is a necessary outgrowth of the fluctuating planning process. Routes are constantly being tweaked and discarded. Do you expect the Authority to send flyers to every possible affected house on every single alignment being planned? They don’t have the money to do that. It used to be that the local media would play an important role in discussing and publicizing such activities, but they’ve moved into “ZOMG, Britney Spears shaved her head!”

    Spokker Reply:

    Well, even under the dedicated alignment, which is probably not going to happen anyway, they planned for the addition of two tracks on the West side of the alignment, which would mostly affect the Colony District people, which is the “right” side of the tracks.

    There could be some eminent domain on the East side of the tracks due to grade separation.

    They’ll be separating La Palma Ave. for sure. Looks like some loss of some street access and maybe the apartments depending on how they build it.

    Sycamore requires a judgment call. A grade separation would definitely have some impacts here, but it might be better to close the street and build a well-lit and attractive pedestrian bridge or tunnel. There’s one in Yorba Linda that I really like. In Google Street View it’s still under construction so I can’t link to it. But then again, some locals were saying that Sycamore is the busiest road in existence or something. I watch trains at that crossing sometimes and that street is never busy even during rush hour. A lot of people walking though.

    Lincoln is already separated.

    Broadway is a definite yes. Looks like some nicer town homes will be impacted here, not the destitute Spanish speakers Cynthia cares so much about.

    Santa Ana Street is sort of the same.

    South Street may be similar to the Sycamore decision. Same with Vermont. You’ll have to have to consider traffic count versus eminent domain and all that stuff. Vermont has no residences though.

    Ball Rd., Cerritos Ave, and State College should be relatively simple affairs.

    Lewis is already separated.

    Doesn’t seem like that big of deal considering shared track is back on the table.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And yet the opposition is still dominated by white Republicans and not Hispanic Democrats. Maybe you’ve spoken to people and they told you they support CAHSR?

    Spokker Reply:

    North Orange County is going to be majority Hispanic, if it’s not already, but they have very little political power. Old white men are holding on for dear life.

    Good read about what this area is all about:

    “Councilwoman Lorri Galloway attributes her reelection last fall to campaigning among Latinos in central and western Anaheim, a community she said typically has been ignored while mostly white politicians courted loyal voters in the upper-class neighborhoods in the city’s east side. That won’t be the case much longer, she suggests.

    Anaheim’s transition from a mostly white suburb to a majority Latino city parallels the dramatic changes Southern California cities have experienced as immigration surged and communities diversified.

    Now, as immigration slows, demographers envision places like Anaheim emerging as stable settling grounds for Latinos rather than depots for immigrants.”

    Here’s where I have a problem with some former Anaheim residents and some very outspoken current residents, they all think this place is turning into a ghetto. They talk about the good old days and how kids could play outside and all that feel-good bullshit. I have more than a hunch that these people see brown skin and automatically conclude that the area is going to shit.

    The reality is that like most of the nation, violent crime is trending downward. In this 2006 study, Anaheim is part of the cities labeled as a city with encouraging crime trends, which means, “Cities where rates of violent crime are falling or remain low and any recent increases are very small compared with the past 20 years.”

    As someone who is half-white and half-Hispanic and grew up in Anaheim, I’m no stranger to the snide comments, but they are without a doubt full of shit.

    As for HSR through Anaheim and public outreach, Cynthia seems like a nice lady but based on my experiences her attitude toward Hispanics feels kind of patronizing. Seems like faux concern, felt only to point out something the CHSRA is doing wrong. Don’t hand out any Spanish fliers in Anaheim. It won’t be some big tragedy. Plenty of English speakers here.

    Spokker Reply:

    Ah, forgot the study.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, Anaheim is a really low-crime city. So is Santa Ana, for a ghetto where a third of the residents are illegal immigrants. Hispanic immigrant magnets rarely have the crime rates that Anglos demagogue about; New York’s Dominican neighborhoods are fairly low-crime, too.

    Spokker Reply:

    I may have been too hasty by implying that Cynthia is one of those Republicans that is always insulting less white areas. She is right in the middle of a diverse neighborhood and apparently has all of her immigrant neighbors over for dinner and stuff.

    Still disagree with her about HSR ;)

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    It’s not polite to ask such things, but how old is Cynthia? Could this be the age demographic again?

    Spokker Reply:

    I would put her at 35, though I have not gotten a good look at her.

    When she and her husband moved to Anaheim, they bought a fixer upper home that used to be a halfway house. It’s a historic home that was featured on Huell Howser’s PBS show. She doesn’t live near the tracks. I actually lived closer to the tracks when I was a kid.

    She is very much involved in Anaheim politics and the historical society. One of her goals is the preservation of historical buildings.

    Where she lives now is probably the Hispanic core of Anaheim, and not the middle class part. She told me that her neighbors live in low-income housing. I joked that it must be a hard place for a Republican to live. Her colleagues on Red County probably wouldn’t stand for it.

    I wouldn’t call her a NIMBY, but she’ll continue to fight HSR because even under a shared track alternative, grade separations would probably have some impacts in Anaheim.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Ms. Ward, it’s the “studies” by the state auditor et al. which have been discredited, and I suggest you look back through this very blog for the references to the properly-designed studies which demonstrate their errors.

    Since you haven’t seen those studies, I’m sure it will be enlightening. Or not, since you seem to have made up your mind and the facts probably won’t affect you.

  12. Missiondweller
    Jul 29th, 2010 at 09:29

    Given the high level of support for HSR statewide (as evidenced in yesterday’s posted poll) its not necessary to even engage Orange on these silly discussions. It should be clear that:

    1) HSR is happening, like it or not.

    2) You can contribute input to HSR and shape its future or you can oppose it and have NO influence.

  13. TransitPlanner
    Jul 29th, 2010 at 11:51

    I grew up in Orange County, before living in the Bay Area and Northern California. It was so refreshing to come back a few years ago after dealing with all the narrow-minded political correctness up there. There is real political diversity in the County, unlike the Bay Area. It’s funny how Orange gets bashed for being “right wing nuts,” while Atherton and Menlo Park do not. The reality is that there are real environmental issues in both areas. They may be NIMBY’s, but they are not nuts. Fortunately, the move toward “shared track” feeders is a step in the right direction. The first signs of sanity :-)

    Nathanael Reply:

    Real political diversity? Does that include competent, sane people elected to the county government? I haven’t seen a quote form a single one who appears to know the first thing about transportation. They range from blatantly hypocritical to completely ill-informed.

    I’m sure there’s political diversity, but could you try to get some reasonable, well-informed people elected? A diversity of incompetence is not helpful.

  14. StevieB
    Jul 30th, 2010 at 11:32

    From the Voice of OC article Orange Votes Against High-Speed Rail.

    Mayor Carolyn Cavecche, who also serves on the Orange County Transportation Authority, voted for the resolution but said it’s because she’s worried about the state’s ability to sell bonds, given the poor state of the economy and California’s serious financial problems.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    So far, the state hasn’t had any problems at all selling its bonds. We’re not Greece.

    StevieB Reply:

    Mayor Carolyn Cavecche seems firmly committed to the airplane in her statement, “Ultimately, she said, she’d like to see rail expanded from Anaheim to Ontario Airport”.

    Spokker Reply:

    Wouldn’t that cost a lot of money? How are we going to sell the bonds to fund that?

    That’s why I find her concerns disingenuous. She wants a different project. That’s fine. She should just come out and say so.

    Peter Reply:

    “Anaheim to Ontario Airport”


    Spokker Reply:

    Probably talking about that maglev. Love that maglev. I admit HSR may be a pipedream, but maglev is a lucid pipedream. That’s some dreaming.

    Peter Reply:

    Right, we don’t have the money to build HSR, but we do have the money to build maglev.

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