Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1995, might not be memorable to you, but for light rail critics, it was the day Excalibur was pulled from the stone. And they have brandished their sword for 171/2 years since that fateful day when Clark County voters rejected light rail.
Anyone who believes Vancouver can insulate itself against the ultimate arrival of light rail would do well to review light rail systems in other cities where folks believe it's good to expand transportation alternatives.
Anyone who knows me very well knows I love to drive -- the farther, the better. And through the years, I've learned to treat bicyclists like truckers. I go out of my way to help both groups. A bicyclist is too slow and working too hard for me -- the monstrous motorist -- not to adopt a cooperative attitude. And a trucker's rig is too big and too unwieldy for me -- the skittering car-driver -- not to help clear a wide berth and flash my lights to encourage a lane change.
Whether you're conservative, liberal or independent, you should be glad to know the following: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has donated $1 million to support the charter schools initiative that is expected to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot. To that same cause, almost a half-million dollars was donated by the parents of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings chipped in $100,000.
Now that political campaigns are intensifying for the Aug. 7 primary and the Nov. 6 election, radical rhetoric about the Columbia River Crossing is rising to flood levels. So it's time to review the Top Five Delusions about replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge. First, though, let's start with three basic principles:
Next month, Clark County voters will receive ballots by mail, featuring varying combinations of 119 candidates, including 41 Republicans, 29 Democrats, several hybrid and offshoot affiliations and numerous candidates running in nonpartisan races. It's not too soon for voters to start doing their research.
Three long trips in five weeks implanted powerful reminders that Clark County is the best place in the world. I often wonder if the grumpiest people around here are the folks who don't travel much. When you hunker down in your comfort zone, you lose a point of reference. Slowly, the nest becomes not so comfortable, and complaints come too easily. Traveling allows comparisons.
Americans would be better served if Congress were run like a jazz big band. Popularity ratings of our national ruling body would soar from the current all-time low to the heights of approval enjoyed by countless jazz big bands that have decorated American music for nine decades.
Any way you slice it, $3.1 billion is a lot of money. That's the projected cost of the Columbia River Crossing, replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge and extending light rail two miles from the Expo Center in Portland to Clark College in Vancouver. Add the estimated annual upkeep of light rail in Vancouver (about $2 million or more), and the overall financial burden intensifies. It's easy to see why some people insist the CRC is just too expensive.