Wednesday, July 30, 2008

TCA's moldy green

TCA paints its ludicrous idea for a Trestles toll road Green?
TCA's warped vision of what's good for Nature is paving it over for a toll road that wouldn't relieve I-5 traffic, is routed in the wrong direction and unaffordable to drive. Only thing green about TCA's proposed fool's road is the moldy spin they've been spraying us with for two decades.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a bad road drives to no good end


On Sat July 26th, in SC's local Sun Post
Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, 70th District
(Irvine) rebutted my visualizing exercise:
Imagine San Onofre without SONGS
(nuke plant). Mr. DeVore wants us not
to imagine it.
Mr. DeVore believes, without Nukes,
we can't fix greenhouse gas emissions
here. Mr. Devore has a distinguished
military background. He wrote a book
titled China Attacks. His views on Nukes
are fervent. He wants more Nukes
everywhere. Nukes are his thing.
But, have you ever not driven by SONGS
at San Onofre State Beach Park without
"How dangerous is that thing?"
"What does melt-down really mean?"
"Is it true, kids living near Nuke facilities
have higher cancer rates globally, than
kids who don't?"
"What did happen to the so-called
survivors of Chernobyl? Did They?"
Because its first responders didn't.
Yet, pontificating politicians, doing
nuke's queasy business swear, hot
mystery juices leaking from old old
SONGS ride its flushing current of
billions of gallons of super-cooked
water daily back to sea, with no
effect on us?
Or marine life?
What do you believe?
Scary named stuff like Tritium absorb
into our body's are sold to us as,
"No more dangerous than the glowing
numbers on your wristwatch."
Then we think,
"3-Mile Island. Here?"
And what about SONGS' non-disposable
spent-fuel rods stored onsite waiting to cool?
5,000 years is a long wait.
Too Hot To Handle comes to mind.
Too hot for anytime, as visions of passive solar
panels atop every roof become our sane focus.
Sunshine beaming our ice cream frozen, while
wind turbines spin, keeping home-computers
powered up. Non-threatening. Not deadly. Safe.
SONGS is so potentially nasty, OC's toll road
pavers (TCA) claim, they MUST pave an
evacuation toll road to it.
In case of "Oops?"
Come on!, if SONGS is so creaking fallible
that it needs it's own Escape toll road east,
it's gotta go. And go now.
If we Imagine SONGS Gone, dismantled; like
what they did to SONGS' tired old #1 reactor,
it erases TCA's insatiable desire for an otherwise
nonsensical Toll Road to Trestles.
With ol'SONGS' scary, creaky, leaky, rusting
double boilers Gone, puts minds at ease and
protects our children's future.
And - not accidentally gone, as in Oops-Go-POOF!
In nuke-speak, going Oops is labeled a Plume.
Think large - lingering - scary cloud overhead
for who knows how long, or how sickly, or covering
how many of us?
Blathering Nuke-lobbying politician's go silent
at such occurrences.
Imagining SONGS-Gone is a Win-Win for the
mental and physical health of our precious
seaside community and the millions who visit.
With SONGS Gone there's absolutely no need
for TCA's Escape-From-SONGS toll road.
A road serving no other purpose.
Call it a twofer.
Call it a comforting image:
No SONGS at San Onofre, and no toll road.
The more you imagine SONGS Gone,
the better the idea looks.

Jerry Collamer - San Clemente resident surfed
Trestles before SONGS, left and came back to
SONGS being here. He's the founder of
Save Trestles, Stop The Toll Road.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good Neighbor SONGS versus Passive Power

Imagine San Onofre without SONGS (again)

In my July 10th Sun Post op-ed
"Imagine San Onofre without SONGS,"
my visual thesis suggested 'imaging something'
different than what is, is the first-step in the
direction of change.

I also suggested, employees of SONGS, and
or anyone deriving profit from Nukes would
argue No SONGS is an impossible vision.

Like the Horse and Buggy salesman
quipped when seeing the first motor car
rattle down his muddy rutted road,

"That's cute, and entertaining, but horse
and buggies are here to stay."

Encouraging words did come from one
pro-nuker, "I think we all would prefer a
solar-source of power, or a wind-source,
or a wave/tide source. Let's build those first."

But he also wrote I'd suggested herds of
weak bladdered cattle fouling streams was
equivalent to SONGS leaking Tritium into
San Onofre's ocean (I never once mentioned
bovine discharge. Only SONGS discharge).

He went on: Tritium is not absorbed into
the skin - can be ingested harmlessly.

I quickly got back to my Tritium sources.
They disagree with both his points.

They report: Tritium does, indeed, absorb
directly through the skin, the gut, the lungs, etc.
Tritium is a radioactive hydrogen atom. No
other radionuclide is capable of absorbing
through skin like tritium can.

Apparently in its tiniest dose, Tritium is a
real go-getter. Goes for the throat. Maybe that's
why a few years back when SONGS leaked,
us San Clemente residents received little
anti-nuke thyroid pills to swallow if the
Big-One ever happens. Yummy.

This is why WE (you, me) must imagine
SONGS all gone, because SONGS'
old-schoolers just can't.

Same as dinosaurs couldn't imagine their
own demise when they ruled the world.

Nukes in general are a Lose-Lose.
Their spent-rods, never spent.
Their hot-shelf-life living forever.
Scariest yet - the world has no safe place
to store the ever-radiating ol'hot stuff
stored at SONGS now.

So they stay at SONGS radiating,
incased in concrete and steel.
But steel rusts (by the sea) and concrete
is porous, and there's earthquakes and
terrorists and sleepy night watchmen,
and FOREVER is a longtime.

Remember SONGS' humongus 18ft diameter
pipes running out to sea, sucking & flushing
our Pacific Ocean in and out, in and out,
nonstop for 4-decades as SONGS' moving
parts rust, creak, leak, laboring to keep the
ol'girl's suck & flushers cooling (are you
imaging it all?).

Now imagine a solar panel basking in the sun.
Maybe on your roof. Maybe on everyone's roof.
Maybe anywhere and everywhere there's room
to make electricity passively, with No Moving Parts.

No more suck & flushing our Pacific Ocean in
and out, spewing stuff like Tritium to absorb into
fish and surfer's skin, and their guts.

But rather: a passive way to power homes silently
and safely, producing even more Power than
we need, so then we can share it.

Homemade power. What a concept.

Imagine that.

Now imagine SONGS gone.
It's getting easier, isn't it.

It's almost believable.
Like dinosaurs, horse and buggies,
78 records, cheap gasoline and
San Onofre without SONGS.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

traffic reality

Social Engineering.

As TCA continues its lie: their toll roads
were never about less freeway traffic here,
with high gas prices absolutely killing
their already minimal toll traffic, I recall
a conversation 6-months ago with a high
level Caltrans Planner (or maybe he's
OCTA?) - I was carping about how, the
toll lanes on the 91, traffic-wise, we're
counter productive. That, if our real
purpose on freeways, is moving the
greatest number, most efficiently, over
a given distance - the marginally used
two lanes, blocked from use by the majority,
keeping the other 4-freeway lanes jammed
to a halt made absolutely no sense, as
the cost of paving those two toll lanes
would never be reimbursed from the
few paying their $10 / 10-mile toll cruise.
He replied, "Opening the toll-lanes to
freeway traffic would only marginally
increase the freeway traffic (Caltrans
considers 45 mph for 15 miles as
adequate freeway flow), so I'm thinking,
45 is way better than dead-stopped;
then he said, "besides, we're trying to
socially engineer people out of their

In my family we have a 55-mile door
to door commute each a.m. - 18-miles
north on I-5, 37-miles north on the 405.

10-years ago, it regularly took easily
70 minutes (no toll road, no HOV Lane,
pure freeway).

Today it's approaching 40-minutes
(no toll road, no HOV lane, pure freeway).

$4.50 a gallon makes for some pretty
effective social engineering.

Exxon's socially engineered what
Caltrans and OCTA never could -

TCA's worst nightmare.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Cat's out of the Bag

Pete Van Nuys, South County toll road observer and
transportation realist points out why OC toll roads will
always fail, regardless of how OC's transportation cabal
schemes to protect TCA's private investors, rather than
solving OC public transportation boondoggle.

As Pete points out; either way, it's our money.

Cat's out of the bag - SHADOW TOLLS CREEP OUT

Last month Orange County Transportation Authority staff began a series
of appearances before OC city councils presenting:
their "Locally Preferred Alternative for South County's Major Investment Study Area."

The major investment they're talking about is: upgrade to streets, arterials
and freeways in the area from the 55 freeway south to the San Diego County line.
Funding for upgrades will come primarily from the renewal of Measure M,
the extra half-cent sales tax we all pay in Orange County.

Included in the plan are tax subsidies for the TCA.

Like we told you last year, the political 'might' of the Transportation Corridors Agency (TCA)
knows no bounds, or shame around here.
So despite trumpeting, "We're a private entity using no Public Funding to construct our toll roads,"
blah, blah, blah, they've not only inserted themselves into our Measure M funding,
they've devised a new term, "Shadow Tolls," to help save their sorry financial butts.

What would we get if TCA's shadowy plan is adopted?

First, we'd get lower tolls;
50% is the discount currently tossed around.
To address the congestion these lower tolls would cause,
TCA will add lanes to their toll roads!
That's right.
Not only will your tax money subsidize a failing concept / agency,
TCA will be adding lanes to their Loser-toll-system (while freeways,

streets and public mass transit in its many forms continue playing
second fiddle to OC failed toll roads).

What are Shadow Tolls?

The implication is, every time you'd pay a toll, some generous entity would match it
with money from heaven. But where does the money really come from?
OCTA pretends it doesn't know.
What they're suggesting (at TCA's behest) is adoption of a plan with no stated funding source?
Though it's clear to any thinking citizen the source is your pocketbook.
More taxes with a sneaky name.

What's the claimed benefit?

Through a lengthy process of traffic modeling and cost/benefit analysis,
OCTA purports to show regional traffic will be reduced, and service levels
improved. Highway Science clearly jiggered.

OCTA is the agency steadfastly refusing to allow modeling of any plans
in south county without completion of the 241.
Even though, it is increasingly likely the road will never be built.
Still, OCTA's Board won't allow a No-Trestles-toll-road version modeled?

Who are these guys (and some gals)?

Through the years, OCTA and TCA boards have shared many members.
Their politics are clear. Their loyalties not surprising.
Chalk this
blatant bit of bad transportation management up to OC politics.

Why TCA needs money:

As detailed elsewhere on this site, OC toll roads have failed, practically and financially.

TCA roads comprise over half the superhighway-miles in South Orange County.
But even before the meteoric rise in gas prices, they attracted less than a 5th
of the drivers in the region.
Because the basic model-- toll-ways / toll roads surrounded by freeways,
is a ridiculous business model.

In 2008 there are nearly 1-million 'less' toll-way users than in 2007.

There are thousands of loyal TCA patrons, but five x times that number never use toll roads.
As a result, the 73 has never (and the 241 only rarely) met it's monthly bond debt obligations
through monthly toll revenues, since the day it opened.
TCA makes up the difference with interest-earned on their dwindling investment portfolio.
And, on the failed 73 toll road, from money borrowed from the 241.

TCA's road to financial ruin from Day-1.

So, more than just a shot in the arm, this blatant tax grab / Shadow Tolls, is designed to facilitate
yet another refinancing of their sinking operation.

Bloated bureaucracies don’t die easily.
Across the nation, boondoggles like TCA survive through shenanigans regular folks get locked up for.

TCA continues to talk about “freeing up the toll roads.”

But since they’ve never (far as we can tell), paid a dime on the principal to their bond debt,
the date of "freeing up" gets pushed ever farther into the future. Think 2065.

Historically, only a few toll facilities nationwide have ever been freed-up / paid-up.
Most are continually refinanced to support the agency, and the careers which built them.

Shadow Tolls are another scam to finance TCA’s failed enterprise and to perpetuate itself.

Shadow Tolls won’t fix South OC traffic.
But rather, will continue to confuse it, and us more.

Short term benefits versus long term reality.
Toll discounts will probably increase toll road use, temporarily.
But studies by UC’s Transportation Center confirm what drivers already know:
any restriction on one part of a system causes congestion on the rest.
Therefore 'any' toll required, to use TCA’s folly-roads will contribute to
more freeway congestion.
With half the highway miles in South County under Toll,
the other half (the freeways) will always carry a disproportionate
share of OC traffic.

OC freeways will grow increasingly congested as long as the 73 and 241 charge even nominal tolls.

But forget nominal.
There’s a limit to how much 'subsidy' from cities, county, or state,
will be willing to kick in.
So, toll discounts will be artificially low when introduced; reflecting
“congestion pricing” (highest tolls during peak commute hours);
subject to the ebb and flow of political-will for as long as they’re
in effect, as tolls slowly rise and rise and rise...again.

How 'they' pulled this off:

TCA is the tail that wags OCTA's dog.
With roots in Orange County’s Republican Central Committee, TCA founders
and board members are longtime county politicians, aspiring to higher office
and or continued employment.
The Toll Roads stand as this county’s symbol of independence from Sacramento:
a thumb in eye to state transportation planners and politicians who balked at funding
county freeways in the 70's, so local developers could grow fat / ever richer on OC's
profitable urban sprawl.
Rather than pay for the roads themselves, TCA encouraged bond sales to clueless
investors who believed, erroneously, OC drivers would pay any-price to live the
California Dream. Too bad they didn’t do their homework.

Now TCA faces the inevitable admission of their failure.
But not before one stupendous last blast public snow job - Shadow Tolls.

TCA's Shadow Toll Game Plan:

1) They’ve quashed studying any and all alternative no-toll-road plans.
Like the obvious: Freeing up OC-toll roads now, getting back 51-miles
of instant new freeways now, instead of 2065 or later.
2) Twisting arm of puppet agency, OCTA, to include Shadow Tolls
in its “preferred alternative” master plan.
3) OCTA floats idea (sans any reference to source of subsidies) before
their 'friends' on local city councils.
None of whom ask one pertinent question.
4) Launch low key PR effort to lubricate voting public (YOU) for the inevitable.
5) Then, if we squeal when the real thieving starts, they’ll buy the biggest media
blast ever. Bigger than before Del Mar, to convince us, Shadow Tolls are the
most generous thing TCA has ever done for the motoring public.

Stay tuned - it gets even better.
TCA's cooks are busy stirring.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sign of the times

Anyone looking 'here' knows the drill:

The TCA make wild-eyed OC Toll Road claims as those of us
with eyes to see, ears to hear, and voices to speak ask,

"Ahh, hold on pal, that's more TCA-BS you're spewing.
Ya'wanna hear some TRUTH!"

And we tell'em.

On Feb. 6 - 08, in Del Mar CA, California's Coastal
Commission spoke pure-sweet-Truth to TCA:

"A toll road to Trestles, thru conservancy land, thru
the San Mateo Watershed, thru Panhe Native American
land, thru San Onofre State Beach Park, will never happen.
There are solid traffic alternatives - go figure it out, because
a toll road to Trestles would have no positive effect on
1-5 traffic, period."

TCA did not want to hear that.

Typically, TCA slandered CCC's decision, calling all of us,
(the largest citizen-group in CCC's 25-year history ever to
attend a CCC Hearing), an out of control circus.

We were not surprised.
And we were not a circus.

4,500 surfers, campers, hikers - folks protecting what's
rightly ours, in 1-room, behaved magnificently. All the
while bombarded by TCA's typical avalanche of spin,
half-truths, and lies.

25-year old TCA lies - recooked, rehashed, regurgitated
adnauseam for 18-hours. We took it.

Then the CCC delivered.

Their omnipotent power, even greater than TCA's lies.
Trestles won the day.

But we didn't win the war.
We knew that.

A huge victory regardless.
It felt like a miracle.

CCC's perfect decision Feb 6th showed what happens
when very good people are well informed, make common
sense decisions, based on facts, backed by huge public support.

Now that same public support for Trestles, and for San'o,
our Yosemite of Surfing, is needed one more time.

That's what the sign's about.
We must save Trestles again.

Friday July 25th, on the UCI campus, in the Bren Center.

Let's hope it's a REALLY big room.
TCA is panicky.
Their back's to the wall.
Who knows how many paid-toll road shills they'll
bus-in this time.

TCA's entire 51-mile toll road system here is failing.
With gas heading to $7 a gallon, OC toll roads are the
wrong idea at the wrong time.

TCA lost nearly a million riders in the last 12 months.
They're literally, running on empty.
They are empty.

The upcoming July 25th Hearing, most likely will be
all day and into the night.
Del Mar began at dawn and went to 11:30p.m.
That was Big Wednesday.
This will be bigger - Big Friday

The Federal Commerce Dept wants to hear our/your
Public Opinion – State Park versus toll road.

Over 2000 signed up to speak in Del Mar for our side.
Obviously we didn't all speak.
Our Coastal Commission spoke for us.

So come on Citizen, let's do it one more time for Trestles.

Because, like it says on the website:
Save Trestles, and we save everything good.

The TCA is so looney, they predict taking 8-lanes worth
of capacity/traffic off I-5 at Trestles. But their road-plan only
calls for paving 2-lanes each way? At $15 a one-way toll
they won't be taking one-half of one lane off I-5 ever.

If we let it happen, the joke is on us, our kids, our grandkids
and our great, great grandkids.

Let's finish-off this hideous, destructive,
useless toll road idea July 25th.
Be there. It's gonna be huge.
You wouldn't want to miss it.

Save Trestles, and we save everything good.
Lose it, and it's gone forever.

The following 4-panels offer a brief visual summary
of what TCA's been up to since Feb 6th -