From the OC Politics Blog
Lurking in the back of the OCTA‘s Measure M
Wasteful Boondoggles Projects File is another streetcar project in Santa Ana. It’s not as expensive (for now) as the $319 million debacle that’s been cooked up in Anaheim by the City Council and the Toontown Troika of SOAR, the OC Business Council and Master of the Universe Curt Pringle’s team of lackeys, but it’s just as big a turkey. The Register reports today (don’t worry about the paywall) that so far it’s coming in at a minor $209 million even though it’s longer and has five times more stops than the Murray/Eastman Express.
From Lou Gonzales’ story, there are some absolutely priceless quotes from a clueless, in-the-dark City Councilman and his colleague, Michele Martinez, a failed Mayoral candidate:
Councilman Vincent F. Sarmiento asked what the project would cost, and where the money comes from. One of the questions to me is always, why are you doing this? Why is this necessary?” he said. “I don’t have a lot of answers. It’s unfortunate, because I’d like to be able to represent what this means, what it’s going to result in, and we’re a little thin on that.”
In short, who’s going to ride this thing and why?
Cindy Krebs, a “consultant who is the city’s project manager” has been working this project for years, but we can’t find out much about her. What’s her rate? Is she an engineer? How’d she get hired? Who does she work for? Was she sole-sourced? Is she associated with Mayor Pulido’s corrupt pals at Cordoba Corporation that were handed the streetcar project even though they’d been underbid? (And what of that Grand Jury investigation of the Santa Ana’s Public Work Director?). Krebs maintains a very low profile and hasn’t a LinkedIn or Facebook account we can find except for a one-page website.
We do know Krebs FAILed at selling a similar mega-expensive project in Irvine a few years ago: Irvine OKs mass-transit system when she was working with a convicted felon, Marty Bryant, a cocaine dealer who was the CEO at the Irvine Great Park (great reference there). The combined Irvine streetcar/bus system (she recommended two different modes to go five miles) never went anywhere as Lucy Dunn at the OCBC maneuvered the funding away, with Steven Choi’s help, to parking and rail enhancement projects for the Metrolink. The Register had reported that the project was “to use $121 million that was first allocated to the city in 1990 for a transportation system near John Wayne Airport” — this money was originally from Proposition 116 which voters approved to build, with matching city funds, a “fixed guideway” transportation system in Irvine. Dunn’s on the CTC, so the voters can pound sand as she knows their needs better than what they incorrectly voted for. Irvine later built a valueless, riderless shuttle bus system with OPM.
More priceless quotes from the Register:
He [Sarmiento] said the council needed to ask tough questions now, including whether ridership would support the system. “We don’t want this to be a street car that goes nowhere,” he said.
But it does, Vince — it runs from non-existent Harbor Blvd. “Regional Transit Connection & Station” through some of your classier residential neighborhoods to your Metrolink station — you know, that busy underserved transportation corridor that needs the streetcar to get hordes of folks who can’t take a bus to their jobs, schools and shopping. The Register didn’t think to include their map with the online story, so we had to scan it out of the paper:
The map also doesn’t portray where the trolleys will be stored and maintained when they’re not busy
moving Civic Center politicians to the pavement princesses along Harbor Blvd. — that could be a substantial piece of land, and we wonder who owns it now and what it costs.
Sarmiento goes on:
“One of the questions to me is always, why are you doing this? Why is this necessary?” he said. “I don’t have a lot of answers. It’s unfortunate, because I’d like to be able to represent what this means, what it’s going to result in, and we’re a little thin on that. We can’t make decisions about supporting something like this in a vacuum,” he said. “Is this going to be a burden? Is this going to be an anchor around the necks of our residents, that they’re going to have to pay for and subsidize?”
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