How Is Rail Construction Really Impacting Fresno?

Oct 20th, 2013 | Posted by

Juliet Williams is a very good reporter for the AP in Sacramento, so when I take issue with some of the things in her article today on high speed rail construction impacts, I’m not criticizing her. Instead I’m wondering whether the impacts described are significant, out of the ordinary, or anything really worth worrying about:

“I just wish it would go away, this high-speed rail. I just wish it would go away,” says Gary Lanfranco, whose restaurant in downtown Fresno is slated to be demolished to make way for rerouted traffic….

Lanfranco says the sum he was offered to buy the property does not come close to replacing the space he owns, debt-free. The adjacent parking lot — a rare commodity — is packed with pickup trucks and cars each day at lunchtime. Lanfranco declined to say how much he was offered, and the offers are not public record.

“It’s not like it’s just a restaurant that I’ve owned for a couple of years and now I can just go replace it. It’s something that I’ve put the last 45 years of my life into,” the 66-year-old says.

It’s not easy to be in the path of an infrastructure project. But this sort of thing happens all the time in California, whether for a widened freeway or a high speed rail line. And it’s worth noting that in Fresno, the California High Speed Rail Authority chose to follow the existing rail right of way, minimizing disruption. One restaurant being bought out isn’t the same as a major disruption to the life of a city.

Especially since Lanfranco won’t tell us what he was offered. The CHSRA is bound to offer fair market value. If Lanfranco wanted more, his complaint is with the real estate market in Fresno, not with the CHSRA.

Aaron Fukuda, a civil engineer whose house in the dairy town of Hanford lies directly in one of the possible train routes, says: “People are worn out, tired, frustrated.”

Fukuda is also a longtime opponent of the project, so of course he’s going to say this.

Raisin farmer Ray Moles may lose a fraction of his farmland, but he says that is not why he opposes the train.

“I think water is more important than rail. Bring some water to the valley, put some people to work, and you’ll have candidates to ride on the rail,” Moles says after finishing lunch at the Cosmopolitan. “They’re putting the cart before the horse. They want to put the rail in this summer, but they don’t want to do the water for 20 years.”

Both are important to the Valley’s future. But it’s not an either/or choice. California can and probably will fund water infrastructure as well as rail infrastructure. Water, unlike rails, simply cannot be wished into existence or created at will. California has to debate and decide how it wants to allocate scarce water resources, especially in an era of climate change where the overall water that’s available might be reduced thanks to a warming planet.

In fact, that’s an argument for high speed rail. If Central Valley farmers want more water, or to at least protect the water they currently have, then they need to support anything and everything that will reduce carbon emissions. Rising sea levels and a warming climate spell disaster for the Central Valley and farmers ought to be at the forefront of supporting carbon reduction efforts.

So far the criticisms being raised here are either not unusual, are coming from known opponents, or have nothing to do with rail itself. There is one criticism that I think is fair:

Among them is Kole Upton, a farmer in Chowchilla whose family has put on hold plans to replace almond trees. The rail authority is busily signing contracts with engineering firms and contractors in hopes of getting shovels in the ground in the next few months.

“When they come in with these routes they put a cloud on your land,” says Upton, who works with his brother and son on the 1,400-acre family farm but has devoted much of his time to fighting high-speed rail.

Yes, it is frustrating to be in that place between the selection of a route and the closing of an eminent domain sale. That’s uncertain and it sucks. But the way to deal with it is to work to speed up the process, not drag it out and fight it every step of the way. It’s really hard to have any sympathy at all for someone whose reaction to the uncertainty of having a projected routed through your land is to try and delay a resolution for as long as possible.

The one thing I will fault Williams for in her article is not including supportive local voices. Many of them do exist, including local elected officials, businesses, property owners, and residents. Only a few locals are “angry” and it’s not any different from a similar infrastructure project anywhere else in the state in that way. The only distinction is that nobody questions whether a freeway widening is necessary or inevitable, but high speed rail is new enough and has enough ideological opposition to where there is some doubt as to whether it will actually happen. Opponents fuel that doubt and then seize upon it, causing disruption in these local communities.

The best way to address local impacts of HSR construction is to seek a speedy resolution to the entire construction process. HSR will leave the Valley better off anyway. And locals will wonder why anyone fought it in the first place.

  1. morris brown
    Oct 20th, 2013 at 21:05
    #1

    My chief objection to her article would be this qoute:

    Five years ago, California voters overwhelmingly approved the idea of bringing a bullet train to the nation’s most populous state.

    Since when is 52 % YES vs. 48% no considered an overwhelming approval?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Since the Republicans started calling their plurality wins a mandate.

    joe Reply:

    Amen. Far greater margin than Bush who lost the popular vote. Obama won in 2012 50.5% to 48.0%.

    The Cosmopolitan. http://goo.gl/maps/frsmE

    wu ming Reply:

    obama’s final popular victory in 2012 was a bit bigger, when all the votes were counted: 51% to 47%.

    joe Reply:

    Thanks. Still puts the Prop1a vote in perspective. We elect governments with these margins.

    EJ Reply:

    I don’t remember voting on the “idea of a bullet train.” Seems to me we voted on a project to build a bullet train for $43 billion that would connect SF and LA in 10 years.

  2. Roger Christensen
    Oct 20th, 2013 at 22:03
    #2

    If only some writer in the media would compare the impacts of HSR in Fresno to the construction impacts of the 168, 180, and especially the 41 in recent decades.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Nah, freeways are used by “everybody”, but HSR is some eurpeen thing used by people who don’t drive and/or are poor…

    StevieB Reply:

    What is ironic is that the Lanfranco establishment is in the way of a road project to accommodate an automobile underpass along the line.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Exactly.

    Andrew Reply:

    And MY suspicious mind wonders why this blog is avoiding the Bart strike But these ideas are prob just in our heads.

    Andrew Reply:

    Whoops wrong place. Damn iPhone

    jonathan Reply:

    “Mr Suspicious Mind”?

    jonathan Reply:

    sorry; I misread that.

  3. StevieB
    Oct 20th, 2013 at 22:34
    #3

    Valley Public Radio offers a slightly different perspective of Gary Lanfranco , owner of the Cosmopolitan Bar and Grill.

    But despite all Lanfranco’s fears about the coming change, he says he’s not going to fight the bullet train.

    “But you know I am a big boy,” Lanfranco says. “I am resigned to the fact and I am willing to make it work as long as the state helps me make it work. I’m not trying to make any money of this thing. I just want to stay whole.”

    Lanfranco says he hopes to know more about the Cosmopolitan’s new location in the coming months.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Interesting. Why was this article written? Why now? Why was the ‘news’ of the (minority?) who oppose HSR? I imagine that some foe called Williams, or knew her, thinking that it had been too long without an anti-HSR piece. That is what my suspicious mind imagines.

    Andrew Reply:

    And MY suspicious mind wonders why this blog is avoiding the Bart strike But these ideas are prob just in our heads.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    You’ll have to spell out, in non-Synominitic terms, precisely the relevance of a strike by Bay Area Rapid Transit employees to the planning stages of CAHSR.

    VBobier Reply:

    Probably cause this is primarily an HSR blog and not a BART blog…

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Now that is very interesting.

  4. swing hanger
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 01:11
    #4

    I wonder if Mr. Lanfranco will be singing a different tune should, for example, the HSR line bring in more customers from outside of Fresno, on top of his regulars.

    StevieB Reply:

    His restaurant is across the street from the Fresno High Speed Rail Station and he certainly would gain should he remain there when the station opens.

    Andy M Reply:

    But aren’t they asking him to move out? Or have I misread the whole story?

  5. James McDonald
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 04:47
    #5

    When they built the updated railroad tracks for Metrolink to use, they had to tear down or relocate some buildings close to the tracks. One restaurant, known as Crazy Otto, had been in the same spot for years had to relocate. Inside of re-opening in one location, they opened in 3 different locations. Two in Lancaster and one in Mojave.

  6. morris brown
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 07:25
    #6

    Various versions of this AP article from Juliet Williams are appearing in large numbers of print media.

    Robert writes:

    The one thing I will fault Williams for in her article is not including supportive local voices. Many of them do exist, including local elected officials, businesses, property owners, and residents. Only a few locals are “angry” and it’s not any different from a similar infrastructure project anywhere else in the state in that way.

    This is a clear distortion of the truth. Williams writes in this version at:

    http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_24347231/work-begins-calif-bullet-train-locals-still-trying

    It is rare to find someone in Hanford, a town of 55,000 people south of Fresno, who is not opposed to the project. Many landowners have been in financial limbo for years as the authority weighs different paths for the train, leaving farmers wary of planting crops or investing in new equipment in case their land ends up being gobbled up. Among them is Kole Upton, a farmer in Chowchilla whose family has put on hold plans to replace almond trees. The rail authority is busily signing contracts with engineering firms and contractors in hopes of getting shovels in the ground in the next few months.

    So let us get the true nature of the opposition in the Central Valley made clear. It is not a “few Locals” who are opposed; it is a huge majority who are opposed.

    joe Reply:

    …because residents do not yet know where the tracks will be routed — they oppose the uncertainty caused by the project’s delays in specifying a definitive route.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    If only we had written into the law that the final EIR (with the final route) had to be completed before construction started. Or that all the money had to be available before construction started. Then the uncertainty would be a lot less. Oh wait, that was written in, just ignored, leading to a lost lawsuit and even more uncertainty.

    Or if you were not going to do that, at least hit the start date instead of 2 years of delay announced 3-6 months at a time. Perhaps that would have lead to less uncertainty.

    The good news is that by the time it is over they will be able to write another chapter on public works project mismanagement for case studies for future generations. Perhaps they can mess up more than the Big Dig. It is a tough mark to beat, but I have faith.

    joe Reply:

    “If only we had written into the law that the final EIR (with the final route) had to be completed before construction started. “

    Oh jeeze …. if they were constructing HSR now there would NOT be any uncertainty over the route.

    Pour another cup of coffee and have your kid deprogram FOX & Friends News Channel from the Teevee controller.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I thought they were constructing HSR right now?? Isnt that the official line, that work has begun?? But baring that, did you did not read the 2nd paragraph? The one which pointed out that even not following the law they had delayed the project over and over and over and over again?

    it is 100% the authorities responsibility they are not building right now. They choose to not follow the law which resulted in a lawsuit that they lost. They choose to keep moving the start date out even though they insist nothing is stoping them from starting. They booted the engagement with the people from the start. Even if you love HSR, there is no denying the extreme mismanagement of the project

    joe Reply:

    You make no sense.

    They are not constructing now. So you’re wrong. Work has begun but they are not doing construction now and certainly not in Hanford or Chowchilla where the comments pertain.

    When they select the route for Hanford and Chowchilla and it’s approved the uncertainty is gone. They haven’t yet and your trolling about delaying blah blah doesn’t improve anything – it probably postpones the final decision on a route for each area which is worse.

    Alan Reply:

    And you know this based on which formal poll? Not your own bias or the anecdotal evidence of a reporter…

  7. joe
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 07:28
    #7

    Ironic.

    Caltrain celebrates 150th anniversary in Menlo Park
    http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_24346081/caltrain-celebrates-150th-anniversary-menlo-park

    It all began on October 17, 1863, when the line’s inaugural trip brought a party of dignitaries, officials and friends to Menlo Park to kick off train service between San Francisco and Mayfield — now Palo Alto.

    Now can we stop HSR because it is a very disruptive change in the peninsula lifestyle. Ask Morris.

  8. trentbridge
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 10:31
    #8

    Anyone who owned a business in the path of a Government project like HSR is going to moan. It could be a Children’s Hospital or a Memorial to WW2 / Korean War/ Vietnam War fallen and they’d still moan. It’s the losing their place of business that bothers them – not the project itself.

    If you asked people to stand in line to get a $100 bill they’d moan that the line was too long or that the sun was too hot and no-one had provided shade or water or chairs.

    Some people like to moan.

    On that subject, why, oh why does this website pander to these obviously-planted opposition voices so much?

    Now I feel better.

  9. JJJJ
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 11:48
    #9

    The restaurant is NOT being bulldozed because of HSR

    Its being bulldozed because theyd decided to move the entire highway! Rather than tell UP to screw themselves and eminent domain their asses, theyre moving a freaking highway and taking everyone else with them.

    Thats the story no one reports to.

    I also love the line that park is a rare commodity.

    Again, the author is suggesting that parking, in Fresno, is rare. In Fresno. Parking. Rare. Wut.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Edit: Looks like Im mistaken. This specific restaurant is being taken out by an expanded road underpass, not the highway relocation. Its a shame because its one of five historic restaurants still operating in downtown Fresno.

    That also indicates to me that the adult superstore (porn) across the street is going. Shame, as its the only one in town.

    Street view:
    http://goo.gl/maps/ik78l

    StevieB Reply:

    There are many empty lots of equal size to the restaurant within two blocks. The lot behind the parking is empty so a solution may be as simple as purchasing the lot and moving the building to allow for the road expansion. There are options that allow the restaurant to relocate within Fresno.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Its not exactly an area where one looks to rebuild. Theyre only successful today because they havent moved in 60 or 80 years or whatever. Shiny new building would actually detract from their appeal

    StevieB Reply:

    If the building is so loved then move the building. They could pick up the building and move it out of the way of the underpass, back from the street or across the alley or to the next block.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed most buildings can be moved, it’s not easy and I’ve seen it done, kind of like moving the space shuttle with tank & boosters on the NASA (ALCO powered) crawler from one location to another.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Interesting solution, wonder if theyve considered it.

    VBobier Reply:

    No idea, time will tell.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Moving a building isn’t cheap.

    StevieB Reply:

    Moving a building is not cheap but how does it compare to construction of a replacement building?

    Andy M Reply:

    I understand that if its a bricks and mortar building, then moving is generally more costly than new build, so its generally not done unless the building is a particular architectural gem. Of course if the building is timber or composite, moving is actually quite easy.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Far more expensive. I can look up cost numbers for settler houses that the Israeli government sawed and moved to a nearby settlement, but the cost of that project was decried as a boondoggle at the time.

  10. JB in PA
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 12:19
    #10

    “I just wish it would go away, this high-speed rail. I just wish it would go away,”

    Someday it will. Every 15 or 20 minutes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Naah. The headways will be much longer than that and the trains half-full. AmBART will be a subsidy sponge.

    They won’t be able to give the DogLeg away to a real rr. The passenger business alone will be inadequate to support the maintenance just like Raton.

  11. Eric Knight
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 13:41
    #11

    Fraudulent editorial in the Bee…

    http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/17/5830825/dan-walters-california-bullet.html

    How does he get away writing…. “the bullet train could not possibly comply with the requirement of a 160-minute ride between San Francisco and Los Angeles” ?

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Because the Authority is fucking it up?

    Alan Reply:

    Cuz, y’know, them reporter people don’t need book learnin’, or nuthin like that, like them rail peoples… They jez know everything about ever thing…

    Clem Reply:

    Because the bullet train could not possibly comply with the requirement of a 160-minute ride between San Francisco and Los Angeles?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Walters is quite correct in that PB cannot meet the 2:40 requirement but clearly he has nothing but the most superficial interest in CAHSR. Otherwise he would know that Peninsula travel times are not the problem but the DeTour.

    joe Reply:

    Who would argue with Sacramento’s very own version of “Ron Burgundy; The Legend Continues?”

  12. Reality Check
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 15:36
    #12

    High-speed rail researchers dig for history in, around Fresno’s Chinatown

    Archaeologists tore up the parking lot of an adult bookstore in downtown Fresno on Monday as they began investigating the city’s historic Chinatown district.

    The Wildcat Enterprises Adult Superstore remained open for business as researchers working for the California High-Speed Rail Authority started their digging.

    […] archaeologists plan to excavate trenches on as many as nine sites in and around Chinatown, including four within Chinatown, over the next few weeks.

    The rail agency said that people might see a team of up to six researchers at dig sites. The work is being organized so that businesses can remain open. After the digging is complete, the trenches will be filled in and repaved as needed.

    At the adult bookstore, Schneyder and her colleagues — armed with a backhoe, shovels and hand tools — started digging the first of several trenches in the adult store’s parking lot at about 7:30 a.m. By mid-morning, after digging three to four feet deep to undisturbed native soil, they had unearthed “a few interesting ceramic bits” — but no treasure trove of century-old trash or artifacts. Work on a second trench came to an abrupt halt when the scientists encountered a gas pipeline.

    swing hanger Reply:

    I’m surprised they didn’t unearth some vintage Swedish Erotica mags, or an old Seka video.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    maybe the “few interesting ceramic bits” are porcelain ben-wa balls.

  13. Alon Levy
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 21:35
    #13

    Off-topic: while we’re arguing about transportation boondoggles, the Pentagon’s pissing $400 billion on development costs for a defective fighter jet and planning to piss another trillion on maintenance of said fighter jet over the next few decades.

    $1.4 trillion buys more than 200 Bay Bridge Eastern Spans.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    well fighter planes keep old senator’s willies tingly and mundane stuff like bus and trains don’t so….

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and someone, it may have been Krugman, pointed out that building ICBM silos does create jobs etc. At the end we have an ICBM silo which we hope we will never use. It eventually becomes obsolete. We could have just build the shack that goes on top of an ICBM silo and have built [insert your favorite more useful project here] and gotten some use out of it. But things like sewage treatment plants don’t make Congresscritters look studly for the people who are now in the Tea Party so we get ICBM silos and F-35s.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yeah, really expensive F35 jet fighters at that and that are reputedly less capable than what they’re replacing…

    Andy M Reply:

    So then there’s a case to work on mindsets.

    Projects such as the TGV, the Shinkansen and of course a lot of what happened in China was backed by grumpy old senators (or the respective equivalent) precisely because fast trains going whoosh also make willies go tingly.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not sure about China, but in France and Japan this is not what happened. Government support of the LGV Sud-Est and the Tokaido Shinkansen was lukewarm at best; in both cases the projects were developed internally by the national railroad.

    Andy M Reply:

    In the early days maybe, but at present promising TGV lines to the regions and departments is a sure way to win votes and there’s no place a president looks better than cutting the ribbon on the latest extension. I think the turning point was circa when TGV-Est opened. Before that, all TGV lines were built on a solid foundation of profitability studies. After that it became more about doing something for the more backward and underpriveledged parts of the country.

    joe Reply:

    That article is about the problems due to it’s jack-of-all-trades design.

    There are build quality problems too.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/30/us-lockheed-fighter-idUSBRE98T0OZ20130930

    swing hanger Reply:

    Hmm, jack-of-all trades design? What about that joint NEC-CHSRA trainset??

    Bill Reply:

    Ssshhhhh. Don’t tell anybody Alon, ignorance is bliss.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Indeed. 1.4 trillion would get you all-out full HSR systems in Calfornia, Texas, a radial network centered on Chicago, a gold-plated upgrade to the NEC, upgrading of other state/regional services to “higher speed rail”, and leave a few billion in change, at least.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    All of which would be remarkably bad at bombing things

    joe Reply:

    Still better than the F-22 which suffocates and kills pilots or B-1 which becomes unstable when the fuel tanks are filled and carrying ordinance.

    VBobier Reply:

    That I’d read that problem had been fixed, it was a part of the flight suit.

    Pentagon ‘Confident’ Mystery F-22 Fighter Problem Solved

    The source of the issue, the Pentagon now says, is believed to be a faulty valve in the high-pressure vest that is worn by the pilots at extreme altitudes — one that Air Force officials believe is constricting the pilots’ ability to breathe.

    “To correct the supply issue and reduce the incidence of hypoxia-like events, the Air Force has made two changes to the aircraft’s cockpit life support system,” Little said. “First, the Air Force will replace a valve in the upper pressure garment vest worn by pilots during high-altitude missions. The valve was causing the vest to inflate and remain inflated under conditions where it was not designed to do so, thereby causing breathing problems for some pilots… Second, the Air Force has increased the volume of air flowing to pilots by removing a filter that was installed to determine whether there were any contaminants present in the oxygen system. Oxygen contamination was ruled out.”

    The Air Force first ordered its pilots to stop wearing the vests last month, but Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis told ABC News at the time that while the vests were believed to have contributed to the problem, they were “not believed to be the root cause of the prior incidents.”

    Joe Reply:

    They have previously fixed the problem which means this new fix may not fix the problem.

    As they say? It may not be the root cause.

    Andy M Reply:

    maybe not being so reliant on foreign oil might alleviate the need to bomb things?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Because the US has never invaded, bombed, or launched coups in countries without oil?

    Eric Reply:

    I suspect you wouldn’t be any more in favor of F-22 development…

    The comparison between military and HSR budget overruns could be interesting.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The issue is that people oppose forms of government spending they are morally against. Most of the people attacking California HSR for being a boondoggle also said the same of projects that were financially sound and successful, such as the LA Blue Line (hi, James Moore). Because there’s consensus in the US for maintaining current levels of military spending, with small changes perhaps but certainly not cuts measured in whole percentage points of GDP, military cost overruns don’t lead to cancellations.

    Plus, people keep saying that It Is Necessary For Our Future. Some people say the same of infrastructure, but there’s no consensus around it, so the party against it can attack boondoggles and score political points. There used to be a consensus for roads, but it’s in decline now. With global force projection people say it’s necessary so there’s more tolerance of cost overruns.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The US Air Force is best in class. So despite obvious development problems, which honestly have happened on every jet since WWII (and some of those also), they accomplish their objective. They can reach out and crush anyone they want. Now with drones and standoff weapons they can do it without even endangering, much less losing, anyone.

    Is CAHSR best in class?

    joe Reply:

    Hey Top Gun. I know Michael Bay uses the F-22 and F-35 in his movies but it’s not real action.
    We have not fought against the modern Russian or Chinese air force with these air craft.

    The Air Force maybe best in class but these planes our monopoly defense contractors build are not best in class. F-22 was taken out by the international date line.
    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/f22-squadron-shot-down-by-the-international-date-line-03087/

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Really. You used modern and Russia Air Force in the same sentence?

    They are new, they are buggy, they cost way too much, you can even argue there are better ways to spend the money, but there is no credible argument that they would be beat by anything else in the air. Given the tech, the pilot training, and the support system (AWACS, etc.) it’s not even a fair fight

    Joe Reply:

    We use the Russians to get people to from that space station

    So yes, shit that works beats cool shit that’s in the garage being repair or too complex and costly to operate as designed.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    we are not talking about the space program Joe, we are talking about the air force. The Russian air force is a joke. When was the last time a Mig actually shot anything down. What limited wars there have been in the last 40 years the Russian planes always got jacked.

    And stop going off topic, the original statement was that the US Air Force is best in class. That is true without debate

    joe Reply:

    The F-22 and F-35 are unproven. Historically, we don’t de facto have the best aircraft. USA USA USA!!!

    The air force role based aircraft keep us best in class. That’s the a-10 and f-18. These are for fighters and not fan boys.

    I don’t think you’re logical – just rah rah. Callous even.

    You remind me of the admiral in charge of the colonial fleet. No Cyclon is going to catch you sleeping on the job. Thank god we have Adama’s and proven legacy systems.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s very easy to be best in class when you spend more money than all of the other people in the world combined.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    you are confusing me joe. So we are not best in class because we have unproven aircraft.

    Or are we best in class because we own the a-10 (great plane) and F-18 (another great plane. you didnt mention my favorite, the F-15.

    So you agree…we are best in class…because the current planes are best…right?

    Andrew Reply:

    This whole subthread only exists because someone wanted to use the phrase ‘best in class’

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Chanting USA USA USA USA doen’t translate well to text so he had to do something.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    John, the argument is that the older planes like the F-18 are very good, but because of the Marines’ insistence on STOVL capability and Congress’s insistence on a shared order, the F-35 is inferior.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    there is no credible argument that they would be beat by anything else in the air

    …except that when the RAND corporation ran a simulated wargame, China beat the US, in which the weaknesses of the F-35 played a role.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Call BS. Cite

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Never mind, found it

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2308981/posts

    Such BS. Ran a simulation of an invasion of Taiwan. Assumed US has 1 airbase after strikes,outnumbered the fighters by 10x.

    So basically if they throw the whole Air Force they have against 300 US fighters they can win when the US runs out of missiles.

    So when they have no Air Force left and we transfer the other 11 carriers got he pacific and bring the rain then what happens?

    But thanks for proving my point. The simulation assumes the f-22 kills everyone with no loses. Sounds best in class to me!!

    joe Reply:

    Freerepublic. OMG.

    The F-22 so successful the USAF is no longer buying them. Reality is biased.

    “By mid-2009, leaked reports from the Pentagon to The Washington Post made it apparent that the F-22 was suffering from poor reliability and availability performance, specifically an average of one critical failure for every 1.7 flying hours and 30 hours of maintenance for every hour of flight.”

    And Carriers – Say hello to my little friend China’s DF-21.

    “United States Naval Institute in 2009 stated that such a warhead would be large enough to destroy an aircraft carrier in one hit and that there was “currently … no defense against it” if it worked as theorized.”

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The citation is in the original article I linked to. If you think it’s biased, go yell at the military and RAND; I’m just the messenger.

    Eric Reply:

    I take it you’ve never done engineering development before, or you’d know the difference between a bug that needs to be resolved, and a fundamental ceiling of capabilities.
    http://forums.liveleak.com/showthread.php?t=57842

    joe Reply:

    I know the F-22 date line caused a system wide crash – everything went down. Without tanker escort – they would have been lost. It was a few lines of code fix in millions of lines of code. That’s not a resilient aircraft.

    The airforce isn’t buying that fleet of 144:0 killer F-22 airplanes and opted for investing in the less problematic (relative) F-35.

    joe Reply:

    And you forgot to throw in that the US highway system was justified as a defense road network. Wolverines !

    If we continued improving the f-18 and a-10 we’d have a better equipped mil. The hundreds of billions thrown at the f-22 and f-35 could be funneled into infrastructure maintenance and improvements – ideally when we have a massive economic slump.

    In the early 80’s there was a career decision, academics or working on R&D for the next gen fighter “avionics”. That project eventually became the F-22 – I followed academics. We’ve spent that much time and effort on these planes.

    What a wasted opportunity.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The money spent to build the planes goes into the economy also just like infrastructure spending.

    Joe Reply:

    Yes government downing creates jobs.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Spending on roads, dams, bridge, aqueducts etc. we get something useful for the money spent. How useful is an ICBM silo or the ICBM in it?

    JB in PA Reply:

    Spending on furniture, appliances, groceries, etc. we get something useful for the money spent. How useful is a fire truck or an ambulance?

    JB in PA Reply:

    Correction:
    Spending on furniture, appliances, groceries, etc. we get something useful for the money spent. How useful is a police car or the shotgun on the police car dashboard?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Cops use the shotguns now and then. Being able to turn the planet into a cold glassy radioactive cinder a dozen times over isn’t particularly useful.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    as far as the economy is concerned, spending is spending. a dollar of US money spent on defense is the same as a dollar on roads. Now you are changing the argument to how the US should spend dollars, not about stimulous.

    joe Reply:

    As far as the economy goes – money spent improving productivity helps the economy.

    It’s no different than spending life savings on sports cars vs a college education.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    … at least we got Corningware, Velcro and Tang out of the space program….

    joe Reply:

    …and a global earth science program. We have series of space based weather sats with NOAA and NASA sensors documenting with great precision, the global biosphere.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I think the accurate weather data is a negative for some people, who’d prefer to go on arguments like “it’s colder today than it was three months ago, where’s your global warming now, fancypants scientist?”.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    So does hiring gov’t employees to dig holes and the fill them in (some military spending is like that). Adirondacker and JB point out that infrastracture spending or Head Start etc. are not like that.

    VBobier Reply:

    Then there is the Malaysian Pearl Port visit scandal, it seems the US Navy at these ports is paying twice what it normally costs for a port of call and that there may be Bribery involved in the chain of command somewhere…

    (CBS News) A growing bribery scandal in the U.S. Navy involves two top commanders and an NCIS agent, but more are likely to be implicated.

    Prosecutors allege Navy ships were sent to certain ports in Asia, in exchange for theater tickets, expensive trips and even prostitutes.

    Navy captain removed from service in bribery scandal investigation

    The alleged ringleader of the bribery scheme is Leonard Glenn Francis, chairman and president of the Glenn Marine Group, based in Singapore. His companies have been providing dockside services to Navy vessels for over 25 years.

    Commander Michael Misiewicz was one of the officers who allegedly accepted the bribes, according to federal prosecutors.

    A former commander of the USS Mustin, Misiewicz eventually oversaw schedules and operations for much of the Pacific fleet.

    According to court papers, Misiewicz disclosed sensitive information about Navy movements, and helped direct four ships — the Abraham Lincoln, the George Washington, the John Stennis, and the Blue Ridge — to Pacific ports serviced by Glenn Marine.

    In exchange, Misiewicz allegedly received all-expense paid trips for himself and his family, tickets to “The Lion King” and a Lady Gaga concert, and access to prostitutes.

    Prosecutors say the ships were sent to so-called “pearl ports,” where Glenn Marine could overcharge for its services. The carrier Stennis docked at one such port in Malaysia, costing the Navy $2.7 million – almost twice what similar port visits would normally cost.

    The scandal also implicated John Bertrand Beliveau, a top Navy investigator, accused of tipping off Glenn Marine to several NCIS fraud investigations. Prosecutors allege he was also bribed with “travel expenses, prostitutes, and money.”

    Jordan Tama, a specialist in national security issues at American University said it was rare to have a senior military commander in any service implicated in something like this.

    “That’s, of course, troubling,” Tama said. “And it just underscores that even the people who do investigations in the Navy and elsewhere in the federal government themselves need to be monitored.”

    Earlier this month, captain Daniel Dusek, the commanding officer of the USS Bonhomme Richard, was also caught up in the bribery investigation. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but the Navy relieved him of his duties.

    Sources say more Navy officers will likely get entangled as the investigation continues. As for the defendants – Leonard Francis, Michael Misiewicz and John Beliveauj – they have all plead not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery. Their lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

    Late Monday afternoon, NCIS Director Andrew Traver issued a statement to CBS News on the matter.

    “One of NCIS’ primary missions is to identify and investigate those who attempt to defraud the Navy. In 2010, NCIS initiated a major investigation into the alleged fraudulent activities of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. (GDMA).

    “The allegations that an NCIS Special Agent has misused his access and authority to aid the conspiracy is unfortunate and disheartening because his actions tarnish all our badges. NCIS will continue to dedicate whatever resources are necessary to assist its law enforcement partners in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.”

    To watch David Martin’s full report, click on the video player above.

  14. JJJJ
    Oct 21st, 2013 at 22:01
    #14

    Speaking of the adult porn shop….

    “rchaeologists tore up the parking lot of an adult bookstore in downtown Fresno on Monday as they began investigating the city’s historic Chinatown district.

    The Wildcat Enterprises Adult Superstore remained open for business as researchers working for the California High-Speed Rail Authority started their digging. Archaeologists for AECOM, a consultant to the rail agency, hope to assess the potential for high-speed rail construction to affect any culturally or historically significant resources, if or when work on the rail line happens.”

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/10/21/3564874/high-speed-rail-researchers-dig.html#storylink=cpy

  15. Reedman
    Oct 22nd, 2013 at 09:38
    #15

    Off track:
    Slate has a copy of an 1896 Bicycle Map Of California, which it got from the Library Of Congress.
    What you might find interesting is that it shows the rail lines too.

    http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/blogs/the_vault/2013/10/21/LargeCyclistMap.jpg

    JJJJ Reply:

    Bring back the Tulare lake

  16. joe
    Oct 22nd, 2013 at 19:32
    #16

    http://www.cahsrblog.com/2013/10/how-is-rail-construction-really-impacting-fresno/#comments

    Fun, yes, but also frustrating. Why are we still relying on single tracks owned by freight lines to move passengers on trains through the Central Valley? I’ve dumped on high-speed rail for years—for outlandish ridership projections, for its failure to attract private investment, for not starting with a connection between L.A. and San Diego—and even the idea’s backers are worried it will cost too much. But high-speed rail does provide solutions to the gaps Ben and I encountered firsthand. It would provide a proper route for rail passengers through the Tehachapis. It would provide a dedicated track for passenger rail in the Central Valley. And it would connect the state in ways that we have otherwise failed to do.

    However you feel about high-speed rail (and I’m still skeptical), California is undeniably a state in need of more rail capacity. On the flight back to Burbank from Sacramento the following evening, Ben began lobbying for a second train trip, this time with his 2-year-old brother. That increased capacity can’t come soon enough.

    joe Reply:

    Duh

    http://kvpr.org/post/commentary-take-trip-amtraks-san-joaquin
    Commentary: Take A Trip On Amtrak’s San Joaquin

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