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The Madera Tribune

How our farmers were railroaded

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webmaster | 04/24/13

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear someone say or I read about them being surprised to hear that Manuel Nevarez was appointed by Jerry Brown to fill the supervisor seat vacated by Frank Bigelow. I was not surprised at all. Word had it on the street for weeks before, that Brown, with a little help from a local person was going to appoint someone who would be in favor of his High Speed Rail (HSR) boondoggle to further his legacy. That person did not necessarily have to be qualified!

There were many other very qualified candidates recommended to fill that seat. One that comes to mind was Rochelle Noblett. Rochelle was not only highly qualified but had extensive experience in dealing with Madera city and county agencies. Again qualifications did not enter into his decision! Mrs. Noblett’s only problem was that she did not favor the HSR because she felt now was not time or the place for it. The good news is Rochelle will be running for that seat in 2014.

Now let’s talk a little about this HSR boondoggle. Have you every heard of a government project, state or federal, that didn’t exceed the estimated cost given to the taxpayers by 300 to 500 percent? One that comes to mind was Medicare, the second is Obama Care.

Why do you think they picked the heart of the San Joaquin Valley as their starting point? They want to start here because it’s flat and cheaper to build per mile. Also they know once they start you can’t stop it even when they run out of money. That then gives them time to confiscate more money to continue a little further. I believe other railroads built started at the beginning and laid track till they reached their end point. Can you imagine the cost to lay track over the Grapevine into southern California? Also does anyone really believe the number of passengers they projected would ride this HSR from the valley? They’ve projected into the thousands per day!

The only reason for the HSR is to connect southern California to the Bay Area. So then why not use a route which would cost less to build and be cheaper to buy right-of-ways? Then there would be no damage to agriculture here. Why not a route along the Interstate 5 (I5)? I’ll tell you why. It’s because the whole ploy is to go through the heart of the valley so the city people can buy cheap housing here. Work in the cities and commute here to live! That’s reason to destroy our agricultural land?

Common sense was never factored into this project. Of course that’s typical of government mentality. Money is no object a long as they can keep bleeding the working taxpayers! The dirty little secret is, they don’t have near the money they need to complete this HSR project. The state and federal government is nearly bankrupt and they keep pressing for higher taxes. But it seems they have plenty of money to pour down a squirrel hole!

Three supervisors sold the farmers in that proposed route down the river by voting to stop the lawsuit against the HSR project. One naturally was Manuel Nevarez; another was Max Rodriquez who votes mostly liberal. He keeps talking jobs, jobs. Does he really believe Maderans will still have those jobs once the tracks move into the next county? He’s a politician, he knows better. The third is Tom Wheeler from the mountain area. Wheeler should have remained neutral or recused himself, because it did not affect his area. He could care less what happens to us here in the valley.

This is why I favor at-large elections and not by district, city or county, because how elected officials vote in his or her district might still affect me in my district!

We must stop this first dangerous phase of this High Speed Rail boondoggle somehow, especially after these three supervisors killed our chance of stalling it till we could bring the powers behind it to their senses!

Sam Pistoresi


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