The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

Our Mission: Monkeywrench the Anti-Transit Forces

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003


Home of More Transit Links Than You can Possibly Check(tm), Unless you have no life other than websurfing

"Truth passes through three phases: 1) It is ridiculed. 2) It is violently opposed. 3) It is accepted as self-evident." Albert Schopenhouer. In the United States, rail is currently passing through Phase Two.

From the Cabalmaster:

The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal continues our coverage of The CernterLine light rail project in Orange County, CA.

We've checked with legal counsel, and we're assured that we can’t be held liable for providing a link that might cause someone to laugh themself to death. So, check out the site of the opposition group, "", now known as FAIR Transit (that stands, more or less, for "Fund Alternatives to Light Rail") Try not to laugh too hard . . .

Check out the list of "transportation experts and scholars" opposed to the project, including Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL). SAP™ laureate Peter Gordon is there, together with the inimitable Thomas A. Rubin, CPA, CMA, CMC, CIA, CGFM, CFM (. . . wonder if he can squeeze "NKVD" or "KGB" in there . . .) and James E. Moore II, and, of course, Wendell.

(HEY! Stop that!! We told you not to laugh!!!)

You'll even see links to a Wendell special titled "Light-rail or Jaguar?" This, of course, is the same line of "reasoning" that Your Favorite Transit Pundits decisively refuted -- and the Fudgemeister didn't dare to challenge our "Transit Publica vs. Lexus Privata" analysis!!!

(Maybe he's chicken . . . Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!)

Just about the funniest thing we've come across in cyberspace: some time ago, in the "old" Cabalbunker, one of us TransitCabalists found a website with an anti-rail song, "If (your transit agency) Only Had A Train," sung to the tune of "If I Only Had a Brain." It WAS funny . . . but the laughter died down long after this little ditty ended. It went on . . . and on . . . and ON . . . See here but be forewarned as above, and that the file is large -- 4 mb.

Once again: we are NOT liable for "damages" in case any of you intrepid websurfers start rolling on the floor and laugh your whatevers off.

Lyrics were written by arch CenterLine foe John Kleinnpeter and self-proclaimed arch-foe of light rail worldwide (and SAP™ laureate) Vic Vreeland. Vreeland provided the vocals (funny . . . he doesn't sound quite like the "angry white male" that he seems to enjoy playing). If you'd like to check out another of ol' Vic's efforts, see here . . . but don't laugh too hard.

Late in 2001, the Irvine city council approved a measure to submit the CenterLine plan to a public vote when preliminary engineering and environmental studies were "far enough along so that the public could understand more completely what the CenterLine consisted of and what the potential impacts of the project might be," see here Residents of the Woodbridge and Oak Creeek neighborhoods objected to the planned alignment, and this was revised. Petitions for two competing measures, one for, one against, were circulated, and the council agreed to submit both at the same special election, set for Tuesday, June 3, 2003

(Both measures failed by similar margins of about 48% yes, 52% no; this has given spinmeisters on both the pro- and anti-LRT sides excessive license to, well, "spin").

Both ballot measures were amendments to the Irvine General Plan and Municipal Code. Measure A would have authorized the OCTA-planned alignment. Any future extensions or modifications would have required voter approval. Measure B, the brainchild of rail foe John Kleinpeter (a former chair of the Irvine Planning Commission), would delete all references to light rail from the General Plan, effectively barring CenterLine or any other rail project from Irvine without future approval by voters.

Political charges and counter-charges flew back and forth between supporters and opponents. Part of the rhetorical battle reflects the fact that two Orange County supervisors who sit on the OCTA board are opposed to the CenterLine project. In April, an OCTA flyer sent to registered voters in Irvine was attacked as a misuse of public funds, and a second mailing was cancelled.

A selection of letters to the editor, Orange County Register, pro and con, is here.

Owners of the South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa want the line placed underground, but the OCTA board rejected this idea in April owing to lack of federal funds to pay for construction of an underground alignment.

OCTA's "myths" page is here The Rail Advocates of Orange County page is here

Perhaps the hard-core opponents realize that they account for a rather small (but noisy) number of Irvine residents . . .

Given the ambiguity after both measures were turned down, one factor which probably has opponents on edge: they've certainly figured out that Irvine voters, for now, may keep The CenterLine out of Irvine, but they alone can't kill the project. The Orange County Grand Jury, which issued a blistering critique of the (then-) 28-mile plan in 1999, a fresh group of jurors has reversed prior direction 180 degrees and decided that the project seems "inevitable" and has recommended changes to boost ridership: addition of Santa Ana College as a destination and offering temporary interim bus service along the planned route; see here Note in particular Kleinpeter's comment that the new report "reads as if it were written by OCTA." (We've heard similar-sounding lines from Seattle rail opponents . . . who are generally more astute than this.)

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