I personally would never have thought that our little 210 Trolly would someday produce enough revenue to effectively end California's debt crisis all by itself. A claim like that would certainly have made me more than a little skeptical. But according to an editorial in yesterday's Pasadena Star News, the fabulous revenue producing powers of a newly extended Gold Line will be the envy of the world, and an event of truly historic importance. Check this out:
Our View: Continue Gold Line's formula for success - It's not all that often we get accused of reporting too much good news on our front pages, but good things do happen. Friday's bulletin that the regional MTA Board voted to fully fund the Gold Line Foothill extension from east Pasadena through Azusa is just that - a highly positive step for the San Gabriel Valley ... But we're not sure everyone fully grasps the importance of this mass transit line's growth on our economy and our communities. There will be more than just a train reaching the last station of Phase 2a near Citrus Avenue come early 2014. First there's the economic. This phase will generate 7,000 jobs, $1 billion in business revenues and $40 billion in tax revenues ...
Now 40 billion big ones is whole a lot of bananas where I come from. And you can get all of that by merely extending the 210 Gold Line from Sierra Madre Villa Station to Azusa? Wow! Can you imagine what we'd get if we extended it all the way to, let's say, Glendora? Or Rancho Cucamonga? By calculating the tax money to be raised by multiplying the rough mileage times the relatively modest length of the current extension, we're talking about $250 billion dollars! With that kind of dough we could rescue the public school system, fix all the roads in California, pay for the retirement of everybody, and still have enough left over to buy anybody who asks a nice cup of vanilla yogurt.
So why stop there? I say we extend The Trolly all the way to the Nevada border and divide the take equally between every taxpayer in the San Gabriel Valley. We'll all be millionaires and live happily ever after.
As exciting as that all might be, there was more in yesterday's Star News that piqued my wandering interest. And this time the topic to be discussed was of a more sober nature.
Pasadena may use eminent domain to seize historical building - The city is considering using eminent domain to seize a historical building near City Hall that has been fenced up and abandoned for more than a decade ... The building, 78 N. Marengo Ave., was designed by Julia Morgan, California's first prominent female architect. It was built in 1921, making it one of the earliest historical structures in the city ... At a public hearing next month, the council will consider authorizing city officials to use eminent domain.
Now the story goes on to very carefully explain that the reason for using eminent domain to seize this property would be for benign purposes. That is, the City of Pasadena might use this controversial procedure to save a valuable historic property from the neglect of the current private owner, someone who has thoughtlessly allowed the building to fall into disrepair.
But this does beg the question: What will Pasadena do with this property once it is wrested from the hands of the current ownership? Will the City turn it into a museum? A hospice for wayfaring youth? A really challenging skate park? Apparently the final result could be something far more mundane.
Sue Mossman of the Pasadena Heritage historical preservationist group said local preservationists would prefer to see a more low-impact use for the building, such as office space ... "In general, Pasadena Historical is not in favor of eminent domain," said Mossman. "But there are times when it is the only solution. It just isn't good for a building to sit there boarded up."
Hmm. So could we have declared the boarded up and blighted Skilled Nursing Facility a building great historical importance to the City of Sierra Madre, and then used eminent domain to save it from the callous and careless LLC currently owning the place? Just kidding.
Bonus Coverage: As was discussed yesterday in the place that has caused Bill Coburn to recoil in horror, the Tattler reader comments section, it was revealed that listed among Josh "Why I Love This City" Moran's Facebook "friends" is one Chip Ahlswede. Something that brings back memories. Chip, as a savvy reader pointed out, is a fellow closely associated with the infamous Schubert Flint Public Affairs, the politically oriented ad agency that organized the public relations effort to defeat Measure V in 2007. In the process taking most of the $170,000 somebody had raised to defeat this citizen initiative. Chip, as we know, worked on behalf of the interests of a concerned Schubert client, in this particular case the Arcadia Association of Realtors.
But according to the blog Queers United, Schubert Flint Public Affairs, along with former colleagues of Mr. Ahlswede (Chip, having left in 2007, was not involved) went on to do far bigger things than just screwing up the 'No on V' campaign in Sierra Madre. Here is what that blog has to say:
Schubert Flint Public Affairs is an advertising agency that created many of the ads that helped Proposition 8 pass in California, leading to same-sex marriage rights being taken away in the state ... The "National Organization for Marriage," an anti-gay think tank, is continuing their relationship with the ad agency in an attempt to further erode marriage rights for same sex couples.
That Sierra Madre is one of the few cities anywhere to stand up to these guys and win is quite a testimony to our ability to see through all the garbage that was thrown our way. We have a lot to be proud of.