Re: FWRY Settlement with VCTC?
Date: 09-12-2017 - 03:05
Darren has been a glib, good looking, but largely empty "suit" as long as I've know him....
Darren has been and is under enormous pressure from a divided Board, with some factions interested in selling the branch off and using the proceeds to build roads. And, there are Nimby forces who hate evil trains there, too.
Dave and F&W, based on my understanding of the history of this fiasco, were not responsible for most of the "cost" issues Darren inherited, and the F&W lease was not and is not "losing" VCTC money. Darren inherited a set of costly improvements, paid for (IIRC) with state rail capital dollars from (Prop 116 IIRC?), from Montalvo to 118 that were then being pushed by then Ventura City Manager Rick Cole, that were funded to "extend" ML service from Montalvo to the 118. Never mind that no one at VCTC had money for operating that service, and/or that no one had bothered to ask ML, and some rail capital monies were found, and they spent them (Rainbow Rick's kind of build it and they will come fantasy....).
There were some legitimate cost issues with the need to upgrade and maintain grade crossings, and there were some costs from storm damage a few years back that Darren used to "make his case" that the contract with Dave was "losing" money.
What this mostly has become is a distraction from the failures of VCTC and its Board to put together a transportation sales tax measure that the voters will pass. Darren was hired at VCTC by selling himself as some kind of "whiz kid" who had helped put together the successful San Bernardino County transportation sales tax. The lack of a local sales tax leaves Ventura County lacking even match for potentially available Federal highway funds.
Darren was and still is Ginger's biggest mistake. But, from Darren's perspective this "side show" with the F&W has been a great opportunity to distract attention from the more pressing long term financial issues at VCTC. A good bureaucrat like Darren knows, that a good scapegoat is a terrible thing to waste.....