Marcos Breton slams Sacramento voters who voted “no” to the streetcar funding proposal (“Streetcar voters lack vision of a rising city,” June 7). But Breton doesn’t give voters credit for understanding that Sacramento already has existing light rail and buses serving that area. Why spend $150 million on a redundant transit line?
Breton states that the measure “was beaten at the polls through a combination of apathy, negativity and purposeful confusion.”
Apathy? More than 35 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, quite respectable for a special election.
Negativity? Rents will go up. Some claimed the proposed tax was “nominal,” but for others they would have been budget-busters.
He claims proponents didn’t get the word to voters about streetcar advantages. Wrong. There was ample media coverage, including many Bee articles. Supporters spent thousands on mailers and marshaled dozens of door-knockers and phone-bankers. Opponents were greatly outspent.
Breton calls voters who don’t want their tax money spent on projects they dislike “naysayers.” But that’s what democracy is about – voicing opinions at the ballot box.
He contends Sacramento will have more gridlock and air pollution soon. One major reason, he fails to acknowledge, is the arena under construction downtown. It should have stayed in Natomas with its major freeway access.
“The city has a goal of adding 10,000 new housing units downtown in the next 10 years” he claims. True. Many of these units will be in the downtown railyard and Township 9, which have light rail access.
There would not be enough riders to pay for streetcars. Portland’s high ridership is touted, but its streetcar line is much longer, extending to areas its light rail line does not serve, including several colleges and a major medical center.
Here, streetcar supporters are hailing it as an impetus for future growth. They cite Portland’s redevelopment but don’t tell you Portland provided developers hundreds of millions in public subsidies.
Growth here will depend on continuing economic improvement. If development here slows for any reason, look for streetcar advocates to blame it on the public’s rejection of the streetcar plan.
Breton laments that “it was not a proud moment” when the streetcar measure lost. What isn’t a proud moment is how some people continue to ignore voters’ voices.
Jean Fleury is a retired local government employee and a board member of Eye on Sacramento.