WatchSonoma Watch

North Bay business group says most voters support SMART

Cynthia Murray


A North Bay business group Wednesday called on opponents of the SMART commute train to abandon the repeal campaign, saying its own poll had found a majority of voters support the Sonoma-Marin rail line.

But the organization collecting signatures in a bid to put the repeal on the ballot challenged the survey as biased.

The poll, conducted for the North Bay Leadership Council in late October, showed that 58 percent of registered voters in Sonoma and Marin counties oppose repealing the sales tax that funds the rail project. Another 32 percent supported a repeal and 10 percent are undecided.

“SMART has been battered and a lot of negative things said the past three years, but it has held strong. People are pretty unshakable in their support,” said Cynthia Murray, president and chief executive officer of the council. It represents 40 large employers in Sonoma and Marin counties.

Murray would not release the poll data nor the questions that were asked. She said only that the questions dealt with the issues that have been raised by SMART’s opponents.

The poll results were challenged by John Parnell of Novato, co-chairman of RepealSMART.

“You can make the poll say anything you want, based on the questions,” Parnell said.

RepealSMART has been collecting signatures since September in an effort to qualify a measure for the June or November ballot to repeal the quarter-cent sales tax.

The tax, which is SMART’s major financial support, was adopted by voters in Sonoma and Marin counties in 2008, with more than 70 percent in favor. Passage required two-thirds approval.

The poll was conducted by Dresner Wickers/Barber Sanders, a San Francisco political consulting firm, from Oct. 27 to 30 in telephone interviews with 501 registered voters in Sonoma and Marin counties. It has a margin of error of 4.37 percent.

SMART has a $360 million plan to build a rail line from Railroad Square in Santa Rosa to downtown San Rafael, extending the line to Cloverdale and to Larkspur if additional funds become available.

It is also likely that SMART will be delayed in beginning service one or two years past the fall 2014 scheduled start-up date.

SMART’s critics contend that is not what voters approved in November 2008. They don’t believe there will be additional funds available to extend the line and feel voters should have another chance to vote on the tax.

Murray said the North Bay Leadership Council still supports SMART because it will offer a transportation alternative to Highway 101 and will create jobs and boost the economy.

“It is obvious we need an alternative to 101 and SMART is the only viable choice,” Murray said. “There is tremendous support for having green transportation alternatives, to not be dependent on cars and oil and people are looking for ways to get out of their cars.”

64 Responses to “North Bay business group says most voters support SMART”

  1. Zorro says:

    @ Andi
    I keep requesting you to prove your statement that the Golden Gate Bridge was built on time.

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  2. Commonsense says:

    Your total dismissal of an opinion opposite your own with such wit is sooo enlightening and entertaining. I think maybe you should get a little R&R, as it sounds like you may need it, enjoy.

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  3. The Oracle says:

    Thanks Commonsense. It’s nice to know I don’t have to go to the zoo to see guerrilla dust. Nor do I have to turn on talk radio to remember there’s no correlation between the quality of an argument and its effectiveness. In fact, isn’t that the point of commonsense?

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  4. Commonsense says:

    You’re welcome Oracle, glad to be of service to you :0)

    To furhter enlighten you, I support RepealSmart for a number of reasons;
    1.) The projected ridership (per their own numbers) isn’t going to greatly reduce the number of cars on the road,
    2.) Per the current plan, it will take twice if not three times longer to complete the reduced portion, and who knows if the plan actually voted on will ever be a reality,
    3.) It’s of zero use to those of us who actually commute, either north or south on 101 as it will require mutliple forms of transportation to utilize and increase instead of reduce the commute,
    4.) And, the Board has totally failed to keeps it’s promise of transparency and has spend money like it’s candy, and hired someone without any actual rail experience to lead the way,
    5.) And, of course, because those who will clearly benefit finacially from this project, like the author of the poll, apparently don’t believe in transparency either.
    And, I’ve actually convinced two more people to sign the petition after discussion of the above article, so I guess my arguments were at least a little effective.
    Have a great day.

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  5. The Oracle says:

    Thanks Commonsense. Thanks for reminding me that I shouldn’t evaluate a public works project on its merits but based on my judgment of the people who happen to disagree with me. The world can’t have enough commonsense arguments.

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  6. Commonsense says:

    I have little trust in the reliability of a poll in which the details are kept secret. If they are so very confident in the results, why not publish all the details, like the questions asked, all the number data, the areas polled, etc.
    I’ll continue to support the repeal, and people like this are exactly the reason why.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 7

  7. Sam McCoy says:

    Isn’t Cynthia Murray’s “leadership group” the same group that endorsed two people for Novato City Council that did not follow The Brown Act where the Marin County DA’s office had to get involved?

    The above article is an example of a beaurocrat supporting the beaurocrats.

    SMART has sold the people down the river by changing the game after the vote.

    Thank goodness for Repeal Smart! Keep signing the petition! Keep signing the petition!

    Long Live Clay Mitchell and John Parnell!!!

    Thumb up 32 Thumb down 10

  8. The Oracle says:

    I want to thank Social Dis-Ease for alerting us to the fact that the Smart Board wants to abolish private property. I’m pretty sure this genuine communist plot goes outside the scope of Measure Q.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 21

  9. Phil Maher says:

    Whenever I lie, I try to avoid the truth being brought out, or even explored. Whenever I tell the truth, and that truth is questioned, I welcome the opportunity to dispel any doubts whatsoever. The North Bay leadership Council’s poll was not designed to ascertain whether people supported SMART or not, it was designed for the sole purpose of the SMART Board justifying their unwillingness to trust in the wisdom of the voters to revisit the project. From my own perspectives and experiences, this is exactly what’s happening, and their fears of the results are what prompted them entirely. Have we really digressed to the point where policy and projects are determined by polls? Has the democratic process become something that the few fear, and therefore, that the majority of people no longer have a right to?

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  10. Andi Cole says:


    I’ve been busy with the family.

    The original bonds were retired in the 1970s. There was no federal subsidy. You can read the history at the Golden Gate Bridge District’s history site:


    Moreover, there were no budget overruns. Engineering was accurately estimated before the project was sold to the public.

    Thumb up 32 Thumb down 4

  11. Graeme Wellington says:

    @Zorro – My ability to estimate the costs of the ridiculous 9 billion dollar high speed rail between Chowchilla and Bakersfield is not the issue. The issue is spending 9 billion dollars on high speed rail between Chowchilla and Bakersfield. What the hell for? That is about the most absurd public expense I can think of. Who had the bright idea that this was a proper use of tax dollars? What about the budget crisis? California has as much debt as Greece. What are they thinking in Sacramento.

    The 9 billion high speed rail project between Chowchilla and Bakersfield should be stopped. The slow speed rail between Santa Rosa and Larkspur should be stopped too. Neither provides a useful public benefit and both obligate the taxpayers indefinitely to pay millions of dollars every year to keep useless systems in operation.

    The people that support SMART are supporting a dream version, not the real version that is actually being built.

    Please, I ask you again to tell us about a single successful LRT system. Why do so many believe everything will be different here than in all the places where the things were actually built? It’s nuts.

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  12. Canthisbe says:


    “The economics of transportation always favors mass transit”

    I would like to see you prove that statement!

    Thumb up 30 Thumb down 6

  13. Zorro says:

    @ Captain

    Captain, another flack for repealSMART. Maybe under the mask it is Judd himself.

    repealSMART like Captain, repeals only the truth that is not his to repeal and uses it to support his wild lyin adventures. Sometimes involving wild lyin rides from Petaluma to Novato.

    Captain, your name fits your cause.

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  14. Zorro says:

    @ Reality

    You did not verify the following as I requested:

    “…Golden Gate Bridge was built on time, and on budget.”

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 24

  15. Zorro says:

    @ Reality

    You did not verify the following that I requested of Andi:

    “Golden Gate Bridge was built on time, and on budget.”

    But maybe you are Andi. Cool … two names for one person.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 24

  16. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Zorro – “Who ever said it is the all encompassing solution at-all-financial-costs of the future?”

    Well, you, for one: “The economics of transportation always favors mass transit.”

    How many mass transit systems in California can you point to that do not require mass subsides from taxpayers? Commuter rail? Commuter buses? Ferries? Talk about someone that falls on his own “You do not make any sense!”

    “The Republicans just do not understand economics.” – That certainly explains Obama’s justification of multiple one-trillion plus dollar a year deficits, and your rationalization of SMART. Your a max-out-the-future-with-debt kind of guy.

    Just what exactly is in that kool-aid that your guzzling? And at what point will you realize that not many here are drinking from your cup?

    Anyone who wants to really ride a commuter train can move to the bay area – BART’s got your subsidized ticket waiting for you. BART’s been running since August of 1972 and it’s still not paid for. Never will be.

    Sign those petitions / put it to a vote / repeal SMART.

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  17. Captain Ramon says:

    @ Zorro

    Zorro, another flack for SMART. Maybe under the mask it is Mansourian himself.

    SMART like Zorro, steals money that is not his to steal and uses it to support his wild adventures. Sometimes involving wild train rides.

    Zorro, your name fits your cause.

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  18. Steveguy says:

    With Graeme and Social spelling and adding it up so well, I am almost loathe to add more.

    I was opposed from the very beginning, as I could see that ridership numbers will never pay for even 25% of the costs. With no real relief of 101. To the tune of $10-15 MILLION per year. That is a bunch of buses, and my local 60 bus is usually quite full.

    Then I became aware of UN Agenda 21, and ECLEI, and have found my studies upon it quite fascinating.

    I have read hundreds of google searches on trains like this, I have posted other boondoggles that are failing or so expensive that they take monies away from REAL transit. Edinburg, Charlotte, Portland, on and on and on. Most promised ‘developement clustered housing’near the stations.. But who wants to live there ?

    ABAG says the the Coddingtown site is ripe for an additional 6-7,000 residents, I suppose all taking SMART to a government job in Marin, and vice-versa.

    My 60 bus ( Cloverdale to the Transit mall is great transit, though I prefer the 62. From there, the 80 to SF, or the 20 to Kenwood where my sons used to live. I take my bike on it to Santa Rosa ( from the Old Red near Shiloh. But at over 55 now, ( riding since 1960, after training wheels), I still love ‘urban biking’. I am usually mistaken for a homeless dude on a bike, though I like denim and flannel and have my orange and reflective backpack on. My beard doesn’t help any.

    If we spent $400 MILLION to a cool BILLION on getting people to ride buses which service pretty much the whole county , we could all get free rides in solar and wind powered dream machines.

    If Sonoma County Transit was ‘given’ $300 MILLION, yet alone way more, what can they do with it ?

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  19. Reality Check says:


    >>I would like to see you prove your statements!

    “The last of the construction bonds was retired in 1971, with $35 million in principal and nearly $39 million in interest being paid entirely from Bridge tolls. With the exception of the Sausalito Lateral approach road (Alexander Avenue today) which was built as a federal WPA project, there was no state or federal funds involved in building the Golden Gate Bridge.”

    “The authorized bond issue was for $35 million and the total construction cost came in at $35 million which included $27,125,000 for the construction of the structure, $2,050,000 for Engineering and Inspection, $423,000 for Administrative and Preliminary Expenses, $4,068,000 for Financing, and $1,334,000 in surplus.”


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  20. Zorro says:

    @ J.R. Wirth

    The economics of transportation always favors mass transit.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 35

  21. Zorro says:

    @ Andi who writes:
    However a couple things you left out was that the Golden Gate Bridge was built on time, and on budget. And entirely financed by tolls that paid back revenue bonds issued to pay for the construction.
    I would like to see you prove your statements!

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 26

  22. Zorro says:

    @ Wellington who writes:
    Nine billion for high speed rail between Chowchilla and Bakersfield? You can’t make this stuff up.
    What is your estimate for this HSR section? Are you qualified to estimate engineering and construction projects? I doubt you have any qualifications to judge the costs or even understand them.

    What do you think of the six billion for the Bay Bridge replacement? You think we should stop building the bridge and save some money.

    Maybe we should stop building highways, houses, stores, transmission lines, water systems, garbage dumps, and power plants.

    I wonder why you are not concerned about the really expensive military spending which is a mountain compared the the HSR mole hill.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 25

  23. Zorro says:

    @ Ricardo,
    If rail is the all encompassing solution at-all-financial-costs of the future, why this?

    Who ever said it is the all encompassing solution at-all-financial-costs of the future? You do not make any sense!

    The LA Times article just shows the Tea Party Republicans going against spending any money for California HSR.

    The Republicans just do not understand economics. Their doctrine of expansionary austerity: slash spending and the confidence fairy would make private-sector spending rise. At this point, however, few people still believe in this doctrine.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 24

  24. Wilson says:

    The North Bay Leadership Council is nothing but a mouthpiece organization of and for builders and developers… like Ms. Murray’s husband. For those of you who don’t know, her husband built a housing developemnt on land that had been earmarked for a park (in the county General Plan, no less) on the outskirts of Petaluma.

    Cynthia Murray is no stranger to push polls like this. My guess that the people polled were all developers and builders. And the PD played tool to spread this misinformation. I wish that surprised me.

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  25. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Wow, another coincidence!
    While I was on a roll I searched communism.
    The Communist Manifesto.

    Wouldn’t ‘ya know it.

    So much of that looked familar too.

    Abolishment of private property,
    in particular.

    Well, it’s good to know our public servants are emulating some very famous leaders.

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 13

  26. Andi cole says:


    Your history of the Golden Gate Bridge is tangential to a discussion of SMART.

    However a couple things you left out was that the Golden Gate Bridge was built on time, and on budget. And entirely financed by tolls that paid back revenue bonds issued to pay for the construction. There was no tax subsidy as there will be wuth SMARt.

    Thumb up 36 Thumb down 10

  27. J.R. Wirth says:

    The GG Bridge is precisely the reason that the train station in Railroad Square is now a California Welcome Center. SMART is at the end of the day a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century problem. As a matter of fact a woman with a parasol and a petticoat should be painted on the side of the train (it could be the SMART Mascot).

    No one wanted to be on the train anymore when the Model-T came around and they still don’t. SMART is about turning the clock backward, not forward (and making money for a clique of connected people).

    Thumb up 40 Thumb down 13

  28. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Wow, what a coincidence!
    When you check out The Ideal Communist City vs Smart Growth, it’s almost the same ‘vision’.

    Makes you wonder…
    why do oppressors like trains so much?

    Guess great minds think alike.

    Thumb up 33 Thumb down 12

  29. gratcon says:

    Here’s a little history for you…the Golden Gate Bridge was opposed by some people, the automobile industry backed it…times do change…The bridge faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources. The Department of War was concerned that the bridge would interfere with ship traffic; the navy feared that a ship collision or sabotage to the bridge could block the entrance to one of its main harbors. Unions demanded guarantees that local workers would be favored for construction jobs. Southern Pacific Railroad, one of the most powerful business interests in California, opposed the bridge as competition to its ferry fleet and filed a lawsuit against the project, leading to a mass boycott of the ferry service.[7] In May 1924, Colonel Herbert Deakyne held the second hearing on the Bridge on behalf of the Secretary of War in a request to use Federal land for construction. Deakyne, on behalf of the Secretary of War, approved the transfer of land needed for the bridge structure and leading roads to the “Bridging the Golden Gate Association” and both San Francisco County and Marin County, pending further bridge plans by Strauss.[15] Another ally was the fledgling automobile industry, which supported the development of roads and bridges to increase demand for automobiles.[10]

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  30. Anderson says:

    If Murray is correct, she should welcome a vote to prove that people actually do support SMART.

    What are these people afraid of? Losing their cash cow for big salaries and benefits?

    Let the public speak!!!

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  31. Brian Brown says:


    Other than this forum I’m betting most of the people who read the PD are for Smart. With the help of Chris Coursey, the PD spins it in favor of the choo choo.

    To PD’s credit however they are allowing dissenters to be published. 5 years ago they would have filtered it out. As such, PD will slowly pick up a whole new market share and be able to keep that two-story-high press a-rolling.

    Moral to the story? Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the choo choo.

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  32. Lets Reconsider This says:

    Not such a SMART poll when done in front of the peace and justice center hangout.

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 13

  33. Ron says:

    Well here’s a poll right here! And it is COMPLETELY PUBLIC! This, I feel, shows how the true majority feels unless you think the only people who read the PD are against “Smart”

    Thumb up 29 Thumb down 15

  34. sheryl says:

    Where did they do this poll? At Cotati City Hall?

    Thumb up 37 Thumb down 13

  35. Social Dis-Ease says:

    I’m thankful that Smart is in the spotlight.

    It’s ‘gonna really open a lot of eyes.

    As it unfolds, even casual observers are likely to find the resolve of the SMART board suspicious.

    This is a public agency, paid with our tax money, why are they so DEFIANT to the public?

    That casual observer might do some investigation, start to connect some dots, or learn from someone who already has.
    That concerned citizen may realize that there’s a LOT more to be concerned about than an illogical, very expensive train.

    That’s when a citizen might turn into a genuine resister.

    > Michael Coffman’s Smart Growth Fraud
    > Democrats Against UN Agenda 21
    > Freedom Advocates

    Thumb up 32 Thumb down 16

  36. Billy C says:

    I really would question content of that poll. If asked it I wanted a commuter train I would say yes too. As I have collected signature for the repeal of measure “Q” I have only gotten one refusal and that person said he was disappointed with the SMART board. Most people practically rip the petition right out of my hands they are so intent on signing it.
    The argument about dependance on oil and cars is moot. The Smart trains are heavy and run on diesel . It will not replace peoples need for a car ether.
    By SMARTS own optimistic protections
    there will be little or no reduction in
    traffic or green house gasses. So tell me again why do you want to spend a billion dollars?

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 15

  37. Watch Out for the Train says:

    Ms. Murray, a flack for a business group, says the little train to nowhere will create jobs not use oil and be a “green alternative” to cars.

    The only thing green about the slow moving train is the painted color green it may have on a sign. It burns diesel which is petroleum not rays from the sun or wind power.

    As for an alternative to cars, an unfortunate train rider would have to drive to a train station, find a place to park. Wait for the train, get on and after getting off, find a bus (diesel of course) to get to another bus to get to work or play. And that would be an easy adventure on the little railroad. There could be more transfers and waiting and waiting for the next train.

    As to lots of jobs created by SMART, are they planning on using Chinese coolies to build the thing through the environmentally damaged swamps and streams of Sonoma and Marin counties?

    SMART has used primarily consultants, engineers and lawyers so far in the workforce. All the dreaded 1% ‘ers we hear so much about in the Occupy news.

    If SMART is such a great idea, why haven’t the private sector wonks at the North Bay Leadership Council come forth with private sector financing and a plan to build the the little train? Why not, the question answers itself. It is a non-started because it is an endless money pit with no return.

    One little poll does not make an election nor does it make a hungry crocodile into a household pet. SMART is a hungry croc always looking for more tax funding and explaining it is environmentally correct.

    Thumb up 42 Thumb down 15

  38. The Oracle says:

    After reading Robert Haskins’ latest, I don’t know if we’re supposed to repeal Smart, charge its supporters with war crimes, or eat the Smart Board for Thanksgiving dinner.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 12

  39. Alex says:

    Ohhh..ok, sure they do when they drink your magic kool-aid. I tell you what, then don’t worry about it and let the voters have their say about the fraud train turned into the taxpayers gravy-sucking-train. If you feel the voters support it, then let it go to vote.

    Thumb up 38 Thumb down 12

  40. Follow the Money says:

    Follow the money and it quickly leads to SMART. Support is easy to buy in Sonoma County.

    Thumb up 38 Thumb down 12

  41. Karen says:

    The problem is that we vote for something then discover it is not what it appears to be. I voted for SMART but I now would like to change my vote also..

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 12

  42. Robert Haskins says:

    This has the smelly claws of the SMART Board all over it. “We have you surrounded. Give up now.” The Nazis used this tactic in World War II. But we didn’t give up and look who won. The Americans, for those of you who don’t remember.

    The SMART propoganda war is in full mode spending our tax dollars trying to convince the voters that SMART isn’t wasting hundreds of millions of tax monies on a total boondoggle.

    Voters see through this smoke and most know the reality. SMART is a very bad idea especially in this Great Recession.

    Repeal SMART NOW!

    Thumb up 44 Thumb down 13

  43. Liz says:

    @ Chris Snyder

    This “small group costing tax payers millions” is nothing compared to what smart will cost the tax payers for decades of generations to come!
    With only a projected fair box recovery of 30% at very best, that leaves the tax payers to pay for the rest of the operation costs.

    Do the math, a small group now, one time for a small amount of money, or…… years and years of only 30% income from the riders and tax payers paying the rest.
    gee let me think about that, such a hard choice…hmmmm….hmmmm…ummmm……yeah i’ll go with small group now.

    p.s. I was never polled, nor were any of the family and friends I know. Why do I never get polled.
    Oh and 501 people sure does not seem like enough people to get a real sample of opinions when we have how many hundreds of thousands of voters in these 2 counties.

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 14

  44. Not A Cahce says:

    I was under the impression that your repeal SMART meeting turnout was poor, but now I realize it was a resounding success because you managed to get all 30 people who actually oppose the project in the same room!

    It was put to a vote and the people overwhelmingly said yes, we take a poll after months of bad press for the project and people STILL want it, just accept it.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 46

  45. @John Bly-

    And that is what separates you from most of those who speak in support of this project along side you. They insist on shouting slogans and rhetoric, which makes it hard for real conversation to happen. Like Mr. Snyder here- he came on this site, presumably when he was asked to by his union, with no background in all the things that have gone wrong with this project, guns blazing and in full attack mode. How exactly does that help us develop solutions?

    I have never criticized someone for taking a job that was offered. Even Mr. Mansourian- I don’t begrudge him taking his sweet deal.

    The dysfunction is with the organization- an organization that, in these hard times, would continue to pay both employer AND employee portion of retirement contributions. An organization that somehow can justify offering the new CEO a 40% raise over the last one, paying their exec roughly the same as the new BART chief.

    An organization that somehow thinks it’s okay to say whatever they think the people want to hear and will get the votes they need, and then change their story at will.

    Bond cost would have been much lower if either:

    A. SMART had listened to their CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (the one they just fired) and waited until the election ran it’s course… which loses them very little, since they have to escrow bond proceeds anyway.


    B. The SMART Board had properly and promptly called this election on their own, as was suggested repeatedly.

    It was SMART’s political decisions that increased the bonding costs, and for them to try to blame us for it demonstrates the pattern of disregard for cost to taxpayers, and a seeming inability to acknowledge mistakes and shortcomings or take responsibility of words and actions.

    And if the name of the game is stimulus, why should we complain about keeping people working at Barclay’s, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup?

    And while I’m grateful for the local jobs provided, may I remind you that we were told in the ballot argument that “Every dollar will be spent locally in Marin and Sonoma Counties.”

    Quite a far cry from what we are getting.

    All we’re asking for is accountability- if there was greater accountability, there would be greater benefit to the local community, MORE jobs created (and this farce about 900 jobs being “created” by Christmas has got to stop- it’s not reality) and wiser use of dwindling resources to benefit our community.

    I know that you have a job to do, and that it includes advocating for your “constituents” (for lack of a better term).

    I can’t help but feel that you could do so more effectively by calling for greater transparency and greater accountability- THAT would benefit your group far more than supporting the shell of the original project that this has become.

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 13

  46. John Parnell says:

    “Murray would not release the poll data nor the questions that were asked.” That speaks volumes.

    As written to me earlier by an owner of an opinion research company:

    “Be nice if you could somehow get a copy of the questionnaire and send it to me- I suspect it’s biased and unprofessional.

    If they will not release data or the questionnaire then it appears they are trying to hide something and the poll is worthless.”

    Ms. Murray might not want to release the questions, but for those wondering about it, this is what a supporter wrote me on October 28th about this poll:

    “On another, but very related note; I was just contacted by a contract survey group and asked the following general questions (the interview took about 10 minutes and she knew my name and phone number, which is not listed):
    1. What are the reasons that you feel that Measure Q should be repealed? This was asked in several different ways, to clarify just why I would vote for repeal.
    2. What are the reasons that you would not support the repeal measure, and support SMART going forward as planned. The information given in this line of questioning was very clearly from the SMART PR campaign, and a distortion of the facts.
    3. Since SMART will be adding 700 jobs to the region this year and many times that amount in 2012, and providing opportunities for adding even more jobs once operational, why wouldn’t you be in support. This was a follow on to an answer I gave regarding what I felt was one of my biggest concerns for our local economy at this time, and I answered unemployment and improved opportunities for growth.

    By the way the survey was directed, I am reasonably certain it was paid for by SMART or their supporters, and clearly directed at finding out what this Repeal SMART group was doing to generate public support. One of the most egregious questions related to the “fact” that once SMART let some $200,000,000 – 300,000,000 in contracts over the next 6 months, if the repeal did in fact happen, then the taxpayers of the two counties would be on the hook for that debt, regardless of the train being built. This was over the top, and clearly designed to influence the uninitiated to answer that they would not like to see this happen, and therefore vote to not repeal SMART!

    There were also general demographic and political leaning questions. Am I a supporter of the Tea Party movement, a strong liberal, a middle of the road independent or just a concerned citizen (I made this last one up)! They also wanted to know party affiliation. Interesting, since I am not aware Repeal SMART is aligned with any party.

    Most interesting, and now the desperation is setting in. I wonder how much we are paying for this little survey!!!”

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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  47. Chris Snyder says:

    The vote has already taken place and Measure Q passed with 70% of the voters. The voters have spoken and now a small group is costing taxpayers millions of dollars to undo the democratic will of the people. The threat of repeal has driven up the cost of selling bonds $17 million dollars and the cost of running a do over will run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars more. This is really an outrage. If anyone on these boards have taken a basic statistics class they would tell you how accurate a professional poll can be. And these people are professionals.

    Polls tell us something. This poll tells us that a huge majority of people support SMART still and that repeal-SMART is a huge burden on taxpayers. It is very sad to see public dollars thrown away in such a frivolous manner when so many people are out of work and suffering. Do the fiscally prudent thing…decline to sign.

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  48. Funny Fish says:

    By business groups does it mean the more products/services you can sell the more profit you make? Does it mean that large employers can expand their employee base for cheaper labor to travel to Sonoma County? Do you really think they will spend money here? Do you really think anyone is going to use SMART they way it is currently proposed? Any business person who thinks SMART is to their benefit is a poor business person or political hack who doesn’t live here. Remember every good business plan includes a section that says what do I do if this business fails?

    SMART is so desperately ill-conceived and managed it will soon make the national news as the laughing stock of the idoitic green movement. The Solyndra of the northcoast. REPEAL SMART NOW BECAUSE YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO REPENT LATER.

    Let’s rememember the names of all the supervisors who support this financial, community, and environmental disaster!

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  49. The Oracle says:

    What, no sensational references to Agenda 21? Someone is off their game!

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  50. Brian Brown says:

    All one has to do is the math and it becomes very clear that the Ideology Express WILL NOT WORK. Do the demographic, do the math. It comes out to about $3500 a ticket. “Good green this, good green that” Come on people this Cotati style “Round-a-bout” utopia mentality is starting to look like some new pathology weaving itself into your DNA.

    Planting a garden when the building is on fire. Really?! STOP THAT TRAIN!

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  51. Graeme Wellington says:

    Nine billion for high speed rail between Chowchilla and Bakersfield? You can’t make this stuff up.

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  52. John Bly says:

    Here is what I know: 1. SMART has 16 local firms currently employing folks that otherwise might not be employed and 2. Bonds cost taxpayers $17 million more and that money could have gone towards local jobs rather than Wall Street.

    Nobody has been hit harder than working families in the construction industry. And whether it is 1 job or 900 jobs, if you are the one that is out of work, it is a welcome job. No conspiracy here, no “Agenda 21″ theory, no “public pensions”, no SMART “schills”, just real folks wanting an honest paycheck for building infrastructure and they are more tan happy and willing to spend it locally. And those families are “bad people”? No.

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  53. Andi Cole says:

    Just take a look at the firm that did the poll: Dresner Wicker/ Barber Sanders at:


    The front page web intro says:

    Dresner Wickers Barber Sanders is the leading consulting firm for Republican candidates, ballot initiatives, and major trade organizations.

    It makes me wonder exactly how good they are at really taking the pulse of heavily democratic constituencies like Marin and Sonoma.

    Regardless, releasing a poll is fairly standard politics to try and discourage the opposition. And don’t forget, many polls these days are push-polls designed to get a particular result.

    The mere fact they released this poll, and that SMART forwards it on SMART letterhead to the SMART email list, is a sign they are running scared. Very scared.

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  54. J.R. Wirth says:

    “It is obvious we need an alternative to 101 and SMART is the only viable choice,” Murray said.”

    So a commuter’s only viable choice to taking 101 is paying to park at a train station, getting on a train at who knows what the ticket cost, being dumped in Larkspur to wait for the ferry, paying to get on this ferry, being dumped again blocks from work, waiting again for a bus, paying for the bus ride and then doing it all in reverse?

    This project wouldn’t be any more ill conceived if they had everyone zip line across the bay.

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  55. georgem says:

    I doubt that most voters support a failed boondogle SMART!

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  56. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: “…saying its own poll had found a majority of voters support the Sonoma-Marin rail line.”

    They didn’t contact or poll me. I’ve been polled enough to know that any polling is almost worthless, because typically only one side is represented, or the questions are loaded to come up with a favorable response on behalf of whatever the mission is in the first place. While informal, the Press Democrat poll has shown 70% of the people feel that voters should have another opportunity to vote on the matter. So while I’ll willing to dismiss those numbers against SMART, I absolutely have to dismiss the ‘results’ of this poll in favor of SMART. A more thorough poll should also tells us how many people will actually ride it on a daily basis, and how long of a commute these riders are willing to accept. Add in the effort and cost to actually get to and from the train, especially in Sonoma County, and to your final destination, and what happens to those numbers? The poll only spoke of the sales tax; what if the poll also included the true cost to subsidize the train at taxpayers expense? Everyone polled would say that subsidizing SNART at say, 90% is okay? What happens to the poll if you ask, well, it will take more than 1/4 cent sales tax to fund and maintain SMART; will you vote to increase sales tax an additional 1/4 percent, for a total of 1/2 sales tax for SMART? Show me the results of a poll with those questions in there, please.

    The only ‘poll’ that matters is the repealSMART petition. Either enough people sign it to qualify the initiative to allow voters an opportunity to vote, or they don’t; it’s pretty cut and dried. At that point, if it does qualify, then the voters will decide whether they want to repeal the 1/4 cent sales tax, or not. Again, pretty clear cut.

    I guess I don’t get it: if SMART has such a strong mandate, why is proSMART so worried about the petition and the voters having an opportunity to vote on eliminating the sales tax?

    Ahhh, maybe other polls they’ve done, (and haven’t shared) don’t have the same results as this poll.

    Come on, SMART, quit trying to hamper and take away our basic right to democracy, which is allowing citizens the right to vote.

    If rail is the all encompassing solution at-all-financial-costs of the future, why this?


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  57. RAW says:

    The mighty OZ has spoken, end your campaign. Can we see the poll and the questions and who is that behind the curtain? – OZ- Don’t bother me or question me, obey me, I know what is best for you and your tax dollars….

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  58. Lets Reconsider This says:

    This poll reminds me of those “polls” taken in third world dictatorships to prove the tyrant is loved by his people. A poll taken months before an election is meaningless.

    This so called poll is particularily suspect because it was commissioned by a group that has been and is very pro SMART.

    It sounds like the SMART $200,000 PR campaign has hired themselves a pollister.

    Murray should be asked what jobs and how many jobs are going to developed as a result of SMART? How Murray will the economy be improved? So far, SMART has hired a lot of 1% ers to review and advise on how to build the little train to nowhere.

    SMART has spent mucho bucks on engines and trains built in Japan, but somehow I don’t think a single job in Sonoma County resulted from that purchase. So, again where are the jobs, Ms. Murray and where are your facts?

    Sign the Repeal petition and stop this financal disaster.

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  59. John Lennon says:


    Dogs Rule
    November 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Let’s vote again and find out.”

    Im sure PETA has a poll where 90% of people hate Meat.

    I’m sure NAMBLA has a poll where the majority of Americans condone Child rape.

    I’m Sure NORMAL has a poll where 100% of Doctors consider Pot natural medication that should be prescribed to all

    Is this news Press Democrat? Or Propaganda?

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  60. Kirstin says:

    I guess we don’t need to officially vote for anything anymore? Just take a poll and that decides it once and for all? Oh, wait, that won’t work, will it? Because poll results change based on all kinds of input and conditions, so one day a majority could be on one side and the next on the other. It happens all the time. That is why we do have elections! So that at a given time, the voters can make a choice. Does that mean that subsequent elections can’t revisit an issue? Of course not. Remember, it took a third try before SMART passed — the first two times it went down to defeat. Now, if this initiative qualifies, voters will have a chance to ratify or refuse the radical changes to the 2008 SMART plan. No group and their polls have the right to claim superiority over the ballot box. The ballot box reigns supreme.

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  61. Steveguy says:

    Good, they have a poll.

    The real poll is at the ballot box.

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  62. sheryl says:

    Let’s vote now, or we can wait for SMART to show their arrogance again, further alientating the tax paying public.

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  63. Graeme Wellington says:

    People support the dream version, not the actual project being built. Once again, they are trotting out ending depending on cars and oil and affecting the commute. That’s the fantasy.


    It’s insane to pay $86,000 per person, per year in taxes to pay for this. INSANE. NO ONE wants a four hour ride to San Rafael — and then catch an hour long ferry to get to the city == and then catch a cab or a muni to work? It’s nuts. This thing cannot possibly make the slightest impact on the commute or getting people out of cars. No one can possibly use this for commuting. No one!

    Quit with how we all support the dream version. The dream version isn’t real. It’s not what is being built.

    The CRUSHING tax burden is impossible to maintain even in a booming economy.

    It can’t possibly create many local jobs. The specialist construction workers that can build a railroad are already employed and SMART will have to poach them from existing employers. Someone with general home building skills cannot reasonably expect to get this kind of job — the skills just don’t translate.

    Just secure the right of way with the taxes collected. Then the state can PROFITABLY lease out the right of way to competitors who will fill the demand – probably with natural gas or electric (comfortable) express buses. PROBLEM SOLVED. PROFITS ENSUE FOR ALL. COMMUTERS GET OUT OF CARS.

    Can the Repeal SMART people PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do or say something that will pop this balloon of dream believers. It’s not real. Why does this persist?

    This article has PO’d me more than any previous. If our local business people are truly this uninformed and clueless they deserve to fail.

    And what about the reality of what the incomplete project is ACTUALLY going to cost? I just shudder to think about the enormous colossal waste of millions and billions of tax dollars.

    The SMART people used Charlotte, NC as an example of a success story — yet it today has trivial ridership, 15 million a year operating costs and actual construction costs were double the projections. The development along the route was due to Property Tax holidays North Carolina doled out to encourage it — it wasn’t the train that spurred development.

    This is a LOSE LOSE LOSE forever situation. It’s got to be repealed and these uninformed people must surly be willfully oblivious to actually believe this is a project is worth supporting.

    Perhaps you are noticing my frustration here?

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  64. Dogs Rule says:

    Let’s vote again and find out.

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