WatchSonoma Watch

SMART critics begin collecting signatures to repeal rail project


The group aiming to halt the Sonoma-Marin commuter rail project has started collecting signatures on a petition to repeal its funding, a spokesman said Friday.

“This project has changed substantially from what was presented in 2008,” said Clay Mitchell, a Windsor resident who represents RepealSMART. “It should come back to voters to see if they still support it.”

The group is trying to qualify an initiative that would ask voters to repeal the 2008 ballot measure funding Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit with a quarter-cent sales tax.

Since then, the project has met financial setbacks, forcing SMART to reduce the North Bay rail line from 70 to 37 miles. Commute trains originally were scheduled to run from Larkspur to Cloverdale starting in 2014, but initial service now is planned for a shorter San Rafael-to-Santa Rosa segment.

The project also is expected to take longer and cost more than originally planned.

Novato-based RepealSMART hopes to gather more than 40,000 signatures by Jan. 28 to put the repeal measure on the ballot in Marin and Sonoma counties.

If it qualifies, it would go before voters in June or November 2012, Mitchell said.

But the group may need only 15,000 valid signatures to qualify the measure. Election law is unclear on the number required, said Gloria Colter, Sonoma County’s assistant registrar of voters.

County attorneys are now researching the question, she said.

The repeal group will have volunteers gathering signatures at supermarkets and other public places in Sonoma and Marin counties, Mitchell said. The initiative will need only a simple majority vote in the two counties to pass, even though the measure authorizing the rail line and tax required two-thirds aproval.

Based on projections of SMART ridership, the funding for commuter rail would be better spent widening Highway 101 through the Novato Narrows, Mitchell said. “The train is going to cost 10 to 20 times as much per person as widening the freeway,” he said.

SMART chairwoman Valerie Brown said Friday the repeal effort is misguided. The commuter rail project passed with over two-thirds voter support, she said.

“People said they want rail,” Brown said. “We believe it’s important for our transportation system.”

SMART is committed to the full 70-mile project, she said. It’s not unusual for a major transportation project to lack funding for full buildout and require construction in stages, said Brown, a Sonoma County supervisor.

“We’ve never had a project that had all the money to complete it at the same time,” she said.


The Watch Sonoma County Poll

Should an initiative be placed on the ballot to repeal the quarter-cent sales tax funding the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit project?
  • Yes (69%, 468 Votes)
  • No (31%, 207 Votes)

Total Votes: 676
Loading ... Loading ...

43 Responses to “SMART critics begin collecting signatures to repeal rail project”

  1. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Re. “they don’t work for you…
    said what I meant,
    meant what I said.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  2. John Galt says:

    So…. what’s up with that straw poll, folks? How about them apples?

    I’m trying to remember that Val Brown quote- I think it was something like, “I’m not worried about the 30%. I know a majority when I see it.”

    Lol…. me too! And in the words of Inigo Montoya, “I do not think that word means what you think it means!”

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4

  3. John Parnell says:

    @ Repeal SMART = NBTP

    Let me get this straight…so when it comes to the truth about Repeal SMART, everybody should stop listening to me & Clay, who have been saying the same thing since day 1; and instead should believe you, another random who won’t sign your name?

    You support your wild accusations with anti-SMART quotes from WSC that didn’t come from us. Shall I attribute every pro-SMART comment made on this board to you?

    I will say it again for those who don’t seem to be listening:

    Repeal SMART is non-partisan. We represent every political perspective. The only thing on which we unanimously agree is that we all want to see SMART taken back to the voters.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 6

  4. Anderson says:

    @Repeal SMART=North Bay Tea Party

    You just unwittingly helped make the case why everyone should sign the petition.

    Keep up the good, unintentional work.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 5

  5. GAJ says:

    @Repeal SMART=North Bay Tea Party:

    Cherry pick the crazy quotes and ignore the reasonable ones.

    You really have no respect for the taxpayer do you?

    Have you ever made a decision to support something that turned out to be a mistake?

    This falls into that category, without question.

    What part of “the County is going broke” don’t you understand?

    You do understand that this project which will benefit a few thousand riders will do so at the expense of other more important projects that will have money siphoned away form them, right?

    You know, projects supporting existing infrastructure and the County’s most vulnerable.

    If built, how many times per week will you be using the service between Santa Rosa and San Rafael knowing that the Novato narrows 101 widening will be complete?

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 5

  6. Repeal SMART=North Bay Tea Party says:

    Repeal SMART=North Bay Tea Party

    Don’t believe the soothing hype being peddled by Stop SMART PR agents. It is typical for right-wing groups to send out a smooth talking, reasonable sounding PR guy to reassure the independents that they’re just regular folks with an accounting issue in hand, masking the ideological attack behind the door.

    The front man for Stop SMART says that the contention that they are a Tea Party front group is unsubstantiated. Here’s a five minute survey of comments about SMART on WSC. Enjoy the pungent aroma of paranoia and hate speech from the Tea Party/Agenda 21 anti-SMART core group.

    “The reason it doesn’t feel like the traditional (Constitutional) citizen/
    local government relationship is because these people are traitors.
    They don’t work for/represent us anymore.
    They work for, and take directive from and are accountable to an NGO…ICLEI.”

    “It’s way over a billion dollars people. You are paying that. Obama wants you to pay even more. And you’re in favor of this?”

    “SMART = just another bloated government scheme.Government is all about self enrichment, self sustaining, self promotion schemes. Government at the local, state, and federal levels have entirely ruined our culture. Time to dismantle as much of government as we can and prevent it from expanding, like with SMART, wherever we can.”

    “The fact that some of our socialist minded, UN agenda-21 politico’s want to stage an taxpayer funded, redevelopment agency-mini moscow town around it is just one more reason the crazy train is riding off the rails.”

    There you have it. There’s more…

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 29

  7. IndieVoter says:

    I have never been more excited to sign a petition. October 1st cannot come fast enough!

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 7

  8. Steve Klausner says:

    We could still have a train ride. North Coast Railroad Authority should contract with the Napa Wine Train to extend service into Marin County. It would be weekend travelers, tourist, not going to effect SMART’s weekday commuters at all. Taxpayers spent $68 million fixing the tracks, be nice to see paying passengers.

    Maybe add a line to Healdsburg some day, it’s mostly going like Calistoga now isn’t it?

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  9. John Parnell says:

    @ Don’t Sign Your Name – Your baseless allegations hold as much water as the SMART Board saying their latest financial plan is balanced, and that SMART will create 1,000 jobs in the next month…there is a disconnect with reality. We are not the ones with a hidden agenda (or identity).

    I will make you an offer though. Our first financial reports are not due until Oct 31, and then become public record, but you are welcome to see them anytime you’d like – just email me at John@repealsmart.org and we can arrange it. You won’t find any donors named Koch. In fact, we have the voter databases of both counties, so we can even check everyone’s party affiliation. I will bet you $100 that more Democrats have donated to us than Republicans. It probably is close to the actual demographics.

    RepealSMART’s financials are truly transparent, unlike SMART’s.

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 6

  10. @Don’t Sign Away Our Future
    You say:

    “I would not be surprised to find Koch Brothers money behind this attempt to stop a public works project.”

    I would! I mean, no disrespect intended to John Parnell (a young father with a family business to run who has devoted a significant amount of his time with no compensation to create a web presence for us), but have you seen our website?

    Are you really implying that we are a shill for corporate mega-interests?

    Again- have you seen our website?

    Look, we would love to have a slick campaign with all the doodads… but that’s not us. We’re just a group of guys and gals that live here and got fed up with the way this thing was going down.

    But we are committed to making a difference, and holding our elected officials accountable… and we’re going to make a substantial impact.

    I gave them two and a half years to get their act together and show substantial progress towards delivering what was promised- and they dropped the ball completely. And when it was pointed out that they were dropping the ball, they blamed everything else and refused to take responsibility.

    They had their chance to do it on their own, and abused the public trust. It is clear that they need to be babysat- anything less will yield continued expensive failure.

    Thumb up 37 Thumb down 5

  11. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Don’t Sign Away Our Future

    “Why did the supporters have to struggle to get a 2/3rds majority, while the repeal effort only needs 50%+1?”

    Ah, because that’s the preexisting law? It’s not like the rules were changed just for this ‘repeal TheGraveyTrain’ petition.

    RE: “There is a hidden agenda behind it.”

    Not very hidden at all; a whole lot of people are taking issue with the misrepresentation of what was promised vs. what we really get. And a lot of those people are taking issue with having to pay millions and billions for a train from nowhere, to nowhere, with a non-existent ridership.

    If there is a ‘hidden agenda’, I’d say it’s the other way around: the people and organizations behind SMART are the ones we need to take a closer scrutiny to.

    Maybe we’d all feel differently if we could all work there with the inflated wages, no work load and the outrageous retirement benefits. But then SMART would need to do another false campaign for an additional sales tax increase; right now, there’s only room there for all the cronies.

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 4

  12. Kevin Pryne says:

    The opponents of this repeal effort complain wailfully that a simple majority vote will repeal their funding now, whereas , in the previous vote in ’08, a 2/3 majority was required to pass the measure.
    Please people, do the math!
    Those who support this boondoggle train to nowhere must realize that, to maintain their plans, they must now only achieve a simple majority in order to defeat the repeal effort. This is, for them, a huge advantage. They no longer require a 2/3 majority.
    One might think they would be grateful for the chance to demonstrate the decisive public approval of this train that they claim exists.
    But no, they can’t stop complaining. Maybe they hear foorsteps.

    Thumb up 33 Thumb down 4

  13. Graeme Wellington says:

    There are still a lot of people out there who believe we’re getting what we voted for. We’re not getting a quick and easy train ride from Cloverdale to the Marin Ferry Terminal. We’re paying a billion tax dollars for a four hour train ride to San Rafael and elaborate compensation and retirement to an elite board of bureaucrats determined to spend as much tax money as possible.

    To those people dreaming, I was one of you and this project could have been what we wanted it to be — but it isn’t. Do it right or not at all. There is no reason to spend a billion on what the project devolved into. Have you heard there is a historic economic upheaval going on?

    Our elected leaders refuse to act. The people must. It’s that simple.

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 3

  14. Don't Sign Away Our Future says:

    Thank you, “Unfounded Speculation” for making my point for me. The usual Agenda 21 black helicopter paranoia…ICLEI is coming to herd you into a box, strip you of your guns, and force you to trade your car for a bicycle. Really, look who you’re getting in bed with when you sign this misguided petition. What’s behind this drive is an attempt to game the system. Why did the supporters have to struggle to get a 2/3rds majority, while the repeal effort only needs 50%+1?

    I would not be surprised to find Koch Brothers money behind this attempt to stop a public works project. That’s the Tea Party objective: privatize everything in sight, and defund what you can’t privatize. Don’t sign this petition. There is a hidden agenda behind it.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 49

  15. Unfounded Speculation says:

    This effort represents the kind of unification required to combat the onslaught of oppression we are currently experiencing.
    Like Kay said, pay very close attention to the process and how it is legally adhered to.
    This is a VERY BIG DEAL because it is central to their ‘plans’ (Agenda).
    Our ICLEI devout local government will do anything to push this through.
    How this unfolds will speak to just how rogue our ‘public servants’ have become. Stay tuned, this is ‘gonna get very interesting.
    The public’s involvement shows a glimmer of hope for us all.
    Never forget civil dissent is our DUTY when we KNOW something is not right.
    Our Constitution provides for it.

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 8

  16. Kay Tokerud says:

    They’re raiding other transportation funds to fund Smart. That’s against the rules, but since when did that stop them. The unelected regional boards of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, MTC, and the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, SCTA, are putting up more tax dollars to get some semblance of a train going. Isn’t that what we voted for? No, it isn’t.

    The vote tally on this site is 78% for and 28% against putting Smart up for another vote. It will get on the ballot and Smart will go down unless the bureaucrats have some trick up their sleeve to invalidate the citizen’s efforts.

    When the Santa Rosa Area Business Association was trying to get the Gateway’s Redevelopment Project Referendom, Santa Rosa published a fake ordinance in the newspaper hoping we would use that language on our petitions. Our attorney caught it, fortunately. We only had three weeks though to get 8,000 signatures and very few people understood redevelopment at that time. That effort failed but we followed up with a lawsuit that took 3 years to be resolved. They eventually won but in the meantime the economy tanked from 2006 to 2009. None of Santa Rosa’s grandiose projects materialized. Why, because they all were relying on large redevelopment subsidies.

    Every word on the petition needs to be exactly correct or else all the signatures can be invalidated. If they can defeat this effort by any means, they will. Our government officials cannot be trusted to do the right thing, it’s now us against them. Let’s roll this train back into the station.

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 7

  17. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: g b – “pm People are always pointing out that rail runs on government subsidies, but what do they think public roads run off of, Santa Clause?”

    The tax for road buliding new roads, repairing and maintaining them comes from each gallon sold at the pump, meaning the people who drive on the roads also help pay for them.

    Where do think the subsides come from for rail? Hint: it takes funds AWAY from maintaining those roads, and isn’t directly paid from rail ridership. Be careful there, since rail depends on millions and even billions from taxpayers that never ride the train.

    Thanks for suggeting another reason to sign that petition, and put the brakes on TheGravyTrain.


    Thumb up 33 Thumb down 7

  18. Billy C says:

    I think it is important that we get this issue back on the ballot. The financial behavior of the “SMART” people has been reprehensible in every respect. Unfortunately this has just been business as usual for them. Now we have a chance stop another bureaucracy from forming. One that would try and change the way we live
    while fleecing us of funds that we could be using to maintain what we do have.

    I Think most train supporters like myself no longer have trust in the people
    wildly spending our money. I think we can do better.

    Thumb up 40 Thumb down 11

  19. g b says:

    People are always pointing out that rail runs on government subsidies, but what do they think public roads run off of, Santa Clause?

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 36

  20. Matt King says:

    “We’ve never had a project that had all the money to complete it at the same time,” -Val Brown
    Wow Val. I’ve been looking all over the place and cannot find anyone connected to SMART saying that while they were putting out numbers saying there would be 20% left over after the entire line would be built. Is this something you just learned recently? And following that logic, if the 1/2 cent tax that was voted down twice had passed, we still wouldn’t have enough for the train. What I want to know, and the PD seems afraid to ask Ms Brown or Mr Mansourian, where do you plan on getting the REST of the money?

    Thumb up 44 Thumb down 9

  21. Kevin Pryne says:

    I’ve been to countries with a real system of trains. Italy, France, Britain. They are on time, they run frequently and they are usually full of passengers. It’s a beautiful thing. How I wish we had that kind of train service in this country.
    Unfortunately that idea is a distant, impossible dream. We’ve already staked our future on the toxic alternative of personal vehicles. It’s killing us but we are enslaved to it. And like an addict’s fevered fantasy we conjure pretenses of a new life.
    The SMART train is exactly that pretense, a sham and a sucker’s dream. The SMART board members are the dealers here, selling empty hopes and racking in the profits for themselves.
    As for the claim that all opponents of SMART are in the Tea Party, I’ll say I’ve been a Green Party member for twenty years. Please don’t fall in the child’s trap of demonizing alternative views. Democracy is better than that. Let’s decide this matter at the ballot box.
    I’ve agreed to be a volunteer next weekend, collecting signatures. I certainly won’t be alone.

    Thumb up 55 Thumb down 12

  22. GAJ says:

    When people voted for the original proposal, (which the current plan bears little relationship to), they had no idea that the County would propose to only maintain 15% of County roads due to budget concerns.

    That right there is reason enough to kill any “nice to do” projects that will suck County money to the questionable benefit of a tiny minority.

    Thumb up 58 Thumb down 12

  23. Liz says:

    @ Sandy Ross
    Name calling really??? I would hope that we could have a civil discussion.
    Also can you prove to me we will have reduced traffic? have you taken a poll in both Sonoma and Marin to confirm it will reduce the traffic?
    I don’t like to make statements with out facts or data to back it up.
    We are not anti government or anti train as I have stated very clearly in the past. My great great grandfather built the NY subway system. I know how good systems can work, and this one is not a good system.
    They lied, I as Clay voted based on financial projections that weren’t even in the ballpark. The numbers yes were either extremely shoddy or dishonest. Just look at the number from 2008 and the numbers now.

    @ Steveguy
    Yes we will be counting and doing voter registration verification.
    Be on the lookout for a HQ office we will be staffing a few days a week. We are working on setting up this office right now.

    Thanks all for your support.

    Again all I ask is that I get what I voted for and that is not what we are getting. The numbers are way different and the track is much shorter with no guarantee that they can complete it.

    Thumb up 53 Thumb down 10

  24. Doug Salzmann says:

    Lionel asserted:

    “You don’t get to the future by marching backward.”

    Well, actually, you get to the future regardless of action or inaction; it’s pretty much an unavoidable fate. The question of course, is whether the future, when we arrive, will be better.

    Some of us have recognized from the beginning that a poorly-conceived, poorly-planned, underfunded train to nowhere would *not* be an improvement, especially if it is funded by taxing struggling parents buying clothes for their kids, for the benefit of a handful of yuppie commuters and a gaggle of self-serving politicians and well-paid henchmen: More trickle-up economics.

    Others believed the carefully-crafted half-truths and hype, but see reality more clearly in the face of SMART’s abysmal (and dishonest) performance to date.

    SMART is a dumb idea, and well on its way to being a full-fledged train wreck. It’s time to kill it before it wastes more money and diverts more attention and energy from transit and planning ideas that can actually work.

    Thumb up 53 Thumb down 9

  25. Steveguy says:

    I would like to thank John and Clay for their hours of work. ( and others, of course)

    We will need signs, ironing boards for the petition gatherers, etc, etc.

    I applaud a stand against this fraudulently over-sold project. Every one of their campaign numbers has been proven false, by their own account !

    Will we need counters and voter registration verification ? Remember, we are going after the top of County Management and Supervisors with the backing of the ‘consultants’ that financed the original campaign.

    A true ‘grass roots’ campaign to get involved with !

    Repeal SMART

    Thumb up 56 Thumb down 10

  26. John Parnell says:

    @Lionel Gambill – I’m not masquerading as anything. I voted for SMART, because I actually believed the lies we were told by the SMART propaganda. Just because I now realize that Mike Arnold & the others who fought SMART in 2008 were actually right, it doesn’t make me one of them. I’m just a big enough person to admit I was foolish to be fooled by SMART. I wish those running SMART now had the same courage.

    @Mr./Ms. “Don’t Sign Away Our Future” – why don’t you sign your real name? If you’re going to spread lies, the least you can do is have the courage to sign your name.

    I always sign my name, and since I started RepealSMART, I guess I would technically be the one behind it. Your “survey” should have led you to that conclusion. If you have read everything I have posted, and you still think I’m some Tea Party type, then you are smoking crack. I’m a Democrat who loves trains & voted for this project. Actually, I didn’t vote for the project being delivered to us, but the SMART we were promised in 2008.

    Are any Tea Party members in Repeal SMART? Maybe…probably…because we truly represent all of our two counties. There are Republicans & there are Democrats. In fact, we have members from both Republican & Democratic County Central Committees. They might not tell Val Brown or Shirlee Zane that they aren’t supporting this project anymore, but they are with us nonetheless.

    Being against SMART at this point does not label someone as a Democrat or Republican – it means you are aware of what is going on & actually have common sense. And it means you’re not currently running for office & too politically scared to alienate anyone.

    @ EVERYONE ELSE – Thanks for your support. We’ll get you those petitions to circulate ASAP. If you just want to sign it, please plan on being able to sign it next Saturday, Oct 1.

    Thumb up 47 Thumb down 12

  27. Unfounded Speculation says:

    The folks on here advocating the ‘Smart’ train have a connection($) to it.

    Thumb up 38 Thumb down 14

  28. Steve Klausner says:

    Wellere’s some timely reading…Railroaded, The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern American by Richard White.

    Railroads never made money the honest way, charging for freight or passage. It was always about subsidies, land grants, and inflated stocks.

    And here’s some irony, it was all first exposed at the Colton trial in Santa Rosa in 1883. The dirty Landry of the Central Pacific Associates, Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins was hung out for all to see.

    By the way, the Santa Rosa Court records disappeared soon after the trial.

    Thumb up 31 Thumb down 8

  29. Sandy Ross says:

    Smart is a great idea and a much needed employment project. Over one thousand jobs are projected to start in October and that’s just the beginning.Even if I wasn’t overjoyed at the prospect of reduced traffic and an easier commute, I know we need the jobs SMART will bring desperately. The short sighted, anti government bigots on this site hate everything. All they know and talk about is negativity and destruction, have you ever heard them speak positively about any good idea?

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 51

  30. j galt says:

    We have an intercontinental railroad the smart train will connect us to this. just ask Obama our dear leader!

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 12

  31. Lionel Gambill says:

    How can the SMART opponents pushing the repeal measure go on masquerading as disappointed rail supporters when they parrot all the anti-rail propaganda of the highway-or-no-way crowd. Hey, we see through you, guys! You don’t get to the future by marching backward.

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 56

  32. Reality Check says:

    “Get over it.”

    Do you really think the people should get over a project of this size that was mis-priced and over sold from day one? Nothing about this project has been delivered as promised, and we should just accept the cost overruns with a “Aw shucks, stuff happens?”

    Slowly, but surely, a growing number of the public are beginning to realize that public money isn’t unlimited. It is scare and it needs to be treated with greater respect that Smart proponents have done.

    Thumb up 53 Thumb down 14

  33. @Jon D-

    “The best way is to get the board to address our concerns.”

    Tried that. Was told that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and just didn’t see the vision.

    Tried it several times- asked nicely, warned sternly, and eventually just took action cause we weren’t taken seriously.

    This board does not insist on accountability. It doesn’t ask the “hard questions”… they count it a badge of honor to have unanimous votes all the time, and that there is no dissent.

    Funny, too, cause the people who are now saying “It is done” got several tries to get it passed- came back several times until they had crafted just the right message to make the project palatable to voters.

    So you get 3 chances to get the tax passed, but once it’s passed, nobody can challenge it?

    And need I point out that it was passed based on deeply flawed numbers? I voted based on financial projections that weren’t even in the ballpark. I was deceived- all that “good work” was built on numbers that were either extremely shoddy or dishonest.

    It is absolutely appropriate to bring this back to the people under those circumstances. SMART should have done it- so we didn’t have to put in a lot of work by a lot of good people to have a chance to weigh in on the project with accurate numbers….

    Thumb up 51 Thumb down 14

  34. Howard Lee says:

    I am not a member of the Tea Party and I am not really sure of what Agenda 21 is all about. What I do know is that SMART is not the SMART that voters voted for in 2008.

    This project has turned into a money pit with lots of promises and no delivery. Start up has been delayed again and again. The train has gone from a train from Cloverdale to Larkspur to a minimized train from Santa Rosa to San Rafael.

    The SMART Board is arrogant and they have been spending our tax money like there is no tomorrow on consultants, employees and employee benefits. The SMART Board has lost its way. Their arguments and promises don’t ring true. Their only argument seems to be that SMART would be good for us. Well, many don’t buy it.

    We need to stop this train and the sooner the better. We have limited tax resources and our transportation resources need to be spent on our roads which are in terrible shape.

    Sign the Repeal SMART petition.

    Thumb up 58 Thumb down 17

  35. Engineer says:

    Time and again people have criticized rail projects and predicted their failure, but trains keep succeeding and drawing more and more riders. Salt Lake City, UT; Santa Fe, NM; Denton, TX; Tallahassee, FL; Norfolk, VA; are just a few examples. Santa Rosa is the largest city in the country to lose its train service. It’s high time we get it back!

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 54

  36. Greg Karraker says:

    @Don’t Sign Away, whatever your real name may be.

    You don’t have to be an Agenda 21 opponent or a Tea Party member to realize a few basic truths:

    1. 37 miles is not 70.

    2. 2016 is not 2014.

    3, A train to San Rafael does not toke you to the Larkspur Ferry, where you could continue a civilized commute.

    4. This train is not a ghost of the promise that I voted for, and never will be.

    If this reality ever penetrates your fantasy, look for me outside Oliver’s in Cotati. I plan to be there with a clipboard full of petitions in just a matter of days.

    Thumb up 53 Thumb down 16

  37. Jon Bixler says:

    I voted for rail service from Cloverdale to Larkspur. It made sense then and it makes sense now. I’d vote for it again.

    I did not vote for rail service from Santa Rosa to San Rafael. We don’t need commuter rail between these two cities. The trains will run empty, if at all.

    The original measure should have included a clause that negated the measure if the plans were substantially changed. Regrettably, it did not. A ballot measure is therefore necessary to put a stop to this nonsense.

    I’ll be looking for the signature gatherers. If anyone in the know can advise when and where they’ll be… I’ll cheerfully make a trip to add my name to the list.

    Thumb up 55 Thumb down 15

  38. Dogs Rule says:

    I think I will sign it and volunteer to collect signatures. This is one rip off we can stop with a little effort. Bye bye FAKE TRAIN!

    Thumb up 46 Thumb down 16

  39. Jon D says:

    Get over it. There were a lot of work by a lot of good people to get 2/3 of the vote from two counties. It is done and now they are trying to undo a lot of good work. The best way is to get the board to address our concerns.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 64

  40. David says:

    I never sign petitions but can’t wait to sign this one!!

    Thumb up 58 Thumb down 18

  41. Don't Sign Away Our Future says:

    “Don’t Be Fooled: look who is behind the SMART repeal”

    I invite you to review the many posts on this topic. That survey will reveal who is behind the SMART repeal effort. Don’t let the Tea Party/Agenda 21 fanatics drown this baby in the bathtub.

    It is clear from the commentary on this board that the impetus for the repeal SMART campaign is coming from the Tea Party Grover Norquist anti-government types, aided and abetted by the Agenda 21 tin-foil hat crowd.

    The official spokesmen for the campaign try to disguise that motivation by couching their critique of SMART as a complaint about the the roll-out of the project or the salaries of the staff.
    Don’t fall for that hype.

    The impact of the recession has forced the SMART board to make difficult choices and to scale back the roll-out of the project.That’s not the real motivation behind this campaign.

    This attack on the future of the North Bay is misguided and ill-intentioned.
    The SMART rail line is exactly the kind of infra-structure development that we need to jump-start the local economy and prepare for the 21st century by creating much-needed construction jobs now, and establishing a transit network that will serve the region in a post-peak oil future that is not far away.

    The real motivation of the repeal SMART initiative is for the Tea Party/ Agenda 21 wrecking crew to take down a piece of government small enough to drown in the bathtub. Don’t sign the petition. Don’t sign your future away.

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  42. Social Dis-Ease says:


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  43. Jim says:

    Not to say “I told you so” but really, what did the original supporters expect?

    There is no train on earth that runs without government subsidies. Every single government project, yes every single one, ends up WAY over the projected budget. The plan was for a train to go from North Sonoma County to Marin, so commuters could take a boat into San Francisco (?).

    The whole project made no sense from the get-go. Just like the ridiculous, money pit called high-speed rail in central CA, this was a disaster. I understand what the voters wanted, less congestion on the freeway, etc but a train isn’t the answer.

    This train was just a way for 17 “managers” to collect massive paychecks and get into a bankrupt pension system, paid for by money that didn’t exist.

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