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Residents and visitors alike know that getting around the Bay Area is not exactly a walk in the park. A $2.4 billion Transbay Transit Center is slated to open in December, but as San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross note, this highly touted “Grand Central Station of the West,” will wind up as “little more than the world’s most expensive bus station.” Worse, “it’s going to cost an estimated $20 million a year to run the place, and no one knows where all the money will come from.”
According to San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who chairs the local Transportation Authority, the “operating subsidy” could be $20 million a year but “without a source of revenue.” So as the columnists explain, “taxpayers and bridge commuters will probably be on the hook to pick up millions of dollars in costs, although the exact amount still isn’t known.”
As we noted, a $3.5 billion bond approval has Bay Area Rapid Transit bosses panting for another $1.5 billion in toll hikes that would boost bridge fares as high as $9. On the other hand, BART has no trouble paying janitor Liang Zhao Zhang $271,000 in one year. That includes $162,000 in overtime, even though this sweeping Stakhanov seems to spend much of his overtime inside a closet.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Aaron Peskin has been appointed to the California Coastal Commission, an unelected body of regulatory zealots who override scores of duly elected governments on coastal land-use issues. Peskin was appointed by state Senate boss Kevin de Leon, whose chief of staff Dan Reeves forbade Senator Janet Nguyen, a refugee from Vietnam, from saying anything critical of the late Tom Hayden, a former state senator and Uncle Tom of Vietnam’s Stalinist regime. When Senator Nguyen, a southern California Republican, dared to speak out, Senate Democrats turned off her microphone and tossed the Asian woman from the Senate floor.
In his first go-round as California governor, Jerry Brown opposed the influx of Vietnamese refugees and even tried to block refugee flights into Travis Air Force Base. With Brown governor again, little wonder why the Senate would give Janet Nguyen a rough ride. On the other hand, the state’s ruling class always does the same for California’s embattled taxpayers.