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, November 05, 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 Continues its hard-hitting, award-winning analysis of the light-rail investigations conducted by the Orange County Grand Jury.

(We thought we’d try matching the good . . . well, Mr. Fudge . . . when it comes to shameless self-promotion, but somehow, we think we’ve fallen short.)

Whoever the 1999 Orange County Grand Jurors might have interviewed, it’s obvious that the only published material they consulted (other than OCTA documents excluded, and the others separated above) were authored by:

Peter Gordon, Professor, School of Policy, Planning, and Development and Department of Economics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, see here

Most Memorable Recent Quote: “In any case, the world would be better off without the Blue Line.”

Charles A. Lave, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, University of California, Irvine, Lave is a long-established reputation as a rail transit critic.

James E. Moore II, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Public Policy and Management, Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles,

Most . . . Singular . . . Recent Quote (see here

“[Political commentator] Jill Stewart is trapped, forced to remain a lifelong Democrat ‘by the Republicans' incredible idiocy on such major issues as protecting the environment.’ . . .

“Why suffer? There is an alternative, Jill. We know you, and you know us. We are the Libertarians. We love pissing people off, and so do you. You know you want to do it. You know you will do it eventually. You know you're ready. Why wait? Don't fight nature. Don't be afraid. It's time. It will be so good.”

David Mootchnik, “a retired systems engineer with an interest in transportation,” a resident of the Orange County coastal community of Huntington Beach, and a transit critic, see here

Most Rip-Roarin’ Opening Sentence: “Once again the Surface Transportation Policy Project’s (STPP) statisticians have conspired to dupe the public regarding the issue of transit versus roads.”

Robert W. Poole, Jr., Director of Transportation Studies and Founder, Reason Foundation, a Libertarian ”think tank” based in Los Angeles. Poole holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering from MIT; see

Jonathan E. D. Richmond, a “former fellow” at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. A long-established rail critic, he styles himself as The Very Model of a Modern Major Transit Expert [sic].

Truth be told, we are not certain about his current employment or activities; his home page (see here does not say. Question we’d like him to answer: “With reference to the header on your home page (Jonathan Richmond!), do you think it’s possible that punctuation marks also represent . . . er . . . phallic symbols?”)

Thomas A. Rubin, CPA, CMA, CMC, CIA (. . . think you can squeeze "NKVD" or "KGB" in there, Tom?), CGFM, CFM, a former Controller of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission and now an independent transportation consultant, is the only person on this list who has actual transit management experience (as far as is known to we TransitCabalists). A longtime rail transit critic, he has collaborated with James Moore (above) on several Reason Foundation publications.

Florida Public Policy Institute, a Libertarian “think tank” based in Tallahassee, FL and affiliated (evidently) with the Florida Libertarian Party. In addition to its “analysis” of the Orland light-rail proposal, FPPI has reprinted a Reason Public Policy Institute document, "Myths of Light Rail Transit" (Policy Study 244).

(. . . and, of course, Wendell, who needs no introduction.)

Um, have we made our point yet?

Collectively, the “authorities” above bear far more resemblance to a panel of SAPs™ than a panel of “experts.” Their “findings” and “conclusions” all tend to boil down to the following:


It is important to remember that Grand Jury proceedings are confidential. However, we feel safe in speculating that CenterLine opponents “pulled out the stops” attempting to influence the outcome.

What did they get for their efforts?

Not nearly as much as they’d like you to think.

Whatever a Grand Jury chooses to publish in the body of a report is there to support its “findings” and “recommendations.” The agency in question is required to respond to “findings” and “recommendations” – but not to anything else. Quotations from the body of the report may be trumpeted far and wide by “the opposition,” but have little if any real significance for the agency investigated.

We’ll continue this story in our next post.

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