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Looking beyond BRT's big rhetorical theater

STEVE – WE LOVE YOU

Brandau’s video had received more than 2,700 views as of Saint Patrick’s Day. Fresno loves him for his insight and his courage.

Robert Jeffers suggested that the 3.5% statistic didn’t ring true. That is correct, Brandau responded – just a bit over 3% of all “daily trips” in Fresno County are by bus, bicycle or walking. All other trips are by car, Brandau said.

Jeffers wrote in conclusion: “But overall the point is made – transit is a losing enterprise, and while we can all agree that transit is necessary to some degree – the ‘more is always better’ model is a disaster in the making.”

Wrote Susan Wittrup: “Makes good sense, Steve. Makes me wonder … whose career benefits most from this project? It certainly is not the tax payers of Fresno, but it probably hit a ‘sweet spot’ for someone.”

Christina Weldon wrote: “This Bus ‘So called Rapid’ Transit was originally staved off by pressure from fiscally sane residents. If I remember correctly, the initial push was an effort to secure ‘targeted’ federal funds. Now, it raises its ugly head again and precious Measure C money comes to the rescue. I’m scratching my head that you and Councilman Brand are the only two people on the council who balances their checkbooks.”

Brad Roltgen wrote: “Thanks for sharing those numbers and voting with your head. I’d also prefer to see the money spent on maintaining existing roads or programs instead of creating something new that’s going to require more money to maintain in the future. If BRT is such a great idea and people want it, let a private company build, run and maintain it.”

Nana Marene wrote: “Steve, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your honesty and transparency. I wish all of our representatives were so inclined. I have been checking bus ridership as I am waiting at intersections and areas where ridership is visual, and many times there are no riders or two or three. I get tired of our leaders who want to leave a legacy over the practical needs of our city. This will be another decision that will come back to haunt us, as are many that have been put into place in the past.”

Wrote Scott Hawkins: “What a great relief it is to have a courageous Council Member take stands based on logic and facts instead of someone’s feeling. Keep up the good work, we need you.”

This is a sampling of the gratitude expressed by Fresnans for Brandau’s political courage.

George Hostetter
George Hostetter is The Sun’s Fresno Civic contributor – covering the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, and Fresno Council of Governments.

3 Comments

  1. Take some time to read the UN Agenda 21 recommendations with regard to ‘sustainability’ and ‘smart growth’ and then think about what you are seeing unfold here in Fresno. Agenda 21 mandates are being funneled on down to every city in the United States by our politicians in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Become informed about the strings attached to funding of HUD/ transportation projects and then report back in your blog. People are suspect of politicians who are intent on spending these large sums of money because of the kind of ‘ misappropriation’ that, as an example, has occurred in the Cal Trans agency. The ‘smart growth’ goal is to stack people up in high density living arrangements; get them out of their cars and onto a bus in order to save the environment. Some say this is yet another way to discourage ownership of private property by making it cost prohibitive to own a home or even a car. Maybe Councilman Brandau is actually representing some of the taxpayers and citizens which would be a rarity these days.

  2. Being a longtime Fresno resident and having been involved in the new technology transit industry for 20 years, it is particularly infuriating to read about Fresno’s fight over its proposed BRT, which incidentally is changing its name to “the express bus” due to its slow speed and non-rapid classification. The story merely represents more rhetoric regarding an outdated issue with a frozen claim that the issue is new.

    For 10 years Fresno has had a $36million fund to address a rational approach to modern transportation issues that appropriately concern urban growth. What has Fresno done with the $36million fund? Nothing. The PTB (powers that be – politicians and staff) are absolutely unwilling to even talk about a modern solution to transportation issues. That is: to refuse and entertain a conversation. Why? Perhaps it is nothing more than the psychology of being afraid to approach something different or new. This dereliction of response to responsibly is devastating and harmful to the community. No one wins with Fresno’s intensely hostile attitude of selective ignorance. There are many examples of this purposely hostile attitude against viable transportation solutions.

    Talk about infuriating, one of the current mayoral candidates declared at a 2007 New Technology Transit Reserve Fund meeting when he personally said to me: “I don’t know anything about New Technology Transit and I don’t want to know anything about New Technology Transit.” This type of attitude is reprehensible.

    Last week, COG released its RFP for a portion of the Measure C New Technology Transit Reserve Fund Grant. The New Tech Fund is geared towards PRT (personal rapid transit) system technology. As yet, no local municipalities are participating to advance any PRT system technology. Fresno was approached for a project but, claimed no interest to consider modern transportation solutions.

  3. Thanks George. As always, an interesting read. “Smart growth” and “Sustainability” as an Agenda 21 movement is in the minds of conspiracy advocates. Sustainability simply deals with being able to sustain development in the future. Sprawl is not sustainable. If you want evidence of this, look no further than LA.

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