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Comment on Meet the candidates: District 5 Supervisor by Joseph P. Thompson

Hoca

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Mon Ami, I think that SBC is lucky to have candidates of integrity and open-mindedness that serve taxpayers well. Of all our burdens, gas taxes diverted to fund insolvent public sector transit is one of the most oppressive, especially for seniors on fixed incomes. We ought to reform our transport funding so that motorists aren’t required to pay almost all the cost of public sector transit.
We have the Supermassive Black Hole barreling down on us, with an estimated $1B annual operating loss. On top of a $70+B State Budget shortfall, how can taxpayers, already crucified paying for bloated, berserk government in California, be expected to pick up the tab for that monstrosity, too?
If the Candidates’ Suggestion Box is open, I urge you to consider the double standard in transport funding that unelected SBCCOG imposes: (1) Motorists pay 102% of the cost of their transport, including highway construction and maintenance; and (2) transit systems’ riders pay only about 1% of the fully amortized cost of their transport. Gas taxes are diverted from the self-sufficient motorists to the subsidy dependent transit riders.
Why the double standard? Is it to reward the special vested interests who feast off the taxpayers at the transit agencies, Amtrak, Caltrain, ACE Train, Metroliner, SMART Train, BART, Lite Rail, County Transit in all Counties? Supermassive Black Hole Bullet Train?
At the very least we ought to have truth-in-transportation, and the transit agencies ought to be required to use GAAP accounting rules, which the rest of us are required to use by the IRS & FTB regs.
The unelected COG Directors cover-up the true extent of their insolvency by using Enron-style, Bernie Madoff-style, “off-book” accounting, where capital and fixed costs are omitted from their financial reports.
If one of my clients did that, then he’d be prosecuted for False Advertising, Unfair Business Practices Act, RICO, etc. Fares ought to cover costs, and motorists not required to pay higher gas taxes to fund bankrupt boondoggles.
We ought to give the correct answer to the late Secretary Mineta’s “crucial question:” He said, “The crucial question in transportation today is: What should government do, and what should it leave to others?”
May he rest in peace. He was right then, and he’s still right today. Why don’t we see candidates willing to take sides with taxpayers against the special vested interests who feast off the taxpayers at the transit agencies?
The current transport policy in SBC is unsound, unsustainable, and unfair to motorists and taxpayers. SBCBOS should stop abdicating its mandate from the voters to unelected COG Directors.
Caveat viator.
Joe Thompson
(408) 848-5506 E-Mail: [email protected]
Charter Member, SBCCOG Citizens Transit Task Force; and SBCCOG Citizens Rail Advisory Committee; Past Chair, Legislation Committee, Transportation Lawyers Assn.

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