Central Subway – San Francisco’s Great Loss 

Central Subway evolved as the product of an insufferable lack of insight, common sense and competence, from beginning to end and top to bottom.

For Willie Brown it was a handshake.  He neither knew nor cared how his agreement with Rose Pac would be carried out.

As Mayor, Gavin Newsom let it all happen without knowing or caring about either the outcome or the cost.

For Speaker Pelosi, it was strictly political pork.

So the project was left to the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA), which gummed things up from start to finish.  Back in 2008 and 2009 it began with a big lie.  MTA sold its project to the public and elected officials based upon grossly inflated ridership projections and absurdly exaggerated trip time savings, coupled with a real whopper about how the Central Subway was going to save Muni $23.8 million a year in annual operating costs.

Continue reading

Getting Smart About Energy

If a major oil and natural gas producing country decides to cut down on its fossil fuel consumption in the name of climate change, there are at least two ways of doing it. One way is by choking off the supply. Done that way makes fossil fuel and the products made from oil and natural gas less available and more costly. A better way to achieve the same objective would be to increase the taxes on gasoline and other fossil fuels. Not convinced?

Continue reading

BART, an Agency in Dire Need of Oversight

On June 21, 2019, pursuant to State Senator Steve Glazer’s SB1488, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Harriet Richardson from among three candidates selected by the BART Board to be BART’s first Inspector General (IG). The job calls for the IG to oversee and report upon BART activities and expenditures. What BART apparently didn’t anticipate was that Ms. Richardson would actually attempt to do her job. But the cat was soon out of the bag.

On July 7, 2022 the Alameda County Grand Jury released scathing 8-page report on how BART was treating its State-appointed IG, detailing how BART’s management and Board of Directors have aggressively interfered with, resisted and undermined the work of the IG. Anyone whose watches how BART goes through money will well understands the need for an independent BART IG. So what’s next? Will things get better?

Continue reading

The Big Distraction

On August 25, 2022, California Air Resources Board and the Governor of California released their latest climate control fantasy. They propose to combat climate change by banning the sale of all new internal combustion vehicles in California, beginning in 2035. While this may seem like a step in the right direction, the new edict is so full of holes that a diesel truck could drive through it. First, people can keep driving fossil fuel autos long after 2035. Second, they can continue buying used fossil fuel cars after 2035. And last but not least, most people buying electric cars will dispose of their old gas guzzlers by selling them as they always have in the used car market, there to be resold to less affluent buyers in other parts of the country or world. This will guarantee that the discarded vehicles will continue spewing out green house gasses for many tens of thousands of additional miles and many more years.

Continue reading