At first it looked like Steve Brandau and I were on the same side.
It turns out we couldn’t be further apart.
The wedge: Bus Rapid Transit – BRT for short.
Brandau, of course, is the Fresno City Council member representing District 2 in Northwest Fresno. I live in a county island in Northwest Fresno. Brandau and I bump into each other occasionally.
We always get along. I like to think I get along with all of the council members. They consistently do good work under tough conditions.
I had written a story for CVObserver in December on Bradau’s view of ARTIC – the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center. As the name suggests, ARTIC is a public transit hub in Southern California. It cost big bucks to build. It has yet to fulfill its promises.
Brandau at the Dec. 10 council meeting criticized ARTIC as a prime example of government waste in pursuit of lofty dreams. My story resonated with readers. They praised Brandau.
Fast forward to February. Brandau and I crossed paths again. He told me I had missed a compelling council meeting on Jan. 28. The issue of note, he said, was BRT. Brandau suggested I might want to review the videotape and write another public transportation story.
Brandau left no doubt that he had treated BRT with the same firmness that he had treated ARTIC in his December remarks. His implication: I’d get a kick out of his BRT remarks, as well.
I said I would check out the video.
It took some time, but I finally got around to covering all the bases needed to write the Brandau/BRT story. My story’s hook is simple:
1.) Brandau hates BRT – says it’s a huge waste of taxpayer money.
2.) Brandau says BRT money – nearly $33 million and counting – would be better spent on fixing Fresno’s roads.
3.) Brandau says he has the highest regard for Fresno Area Express (FAX), our city’s bus system.
4.) Brandau says he has a bunch of sure-fire ideas for improving FAX.
5.) Brandau says hardly anyone rides FAX compared to other types of transportation – mainly personal cars.
6.) I’ve come to see BRT as a blessing.