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BART on Its Way to Berryessa

High-speed rail looks like it’s on the fast track to nowhere as more people speak out against the project, while the BART system received some excellent news earlier this week. The Federal Transit Administration sent word earlier this week to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority that $900 million in federal funding has been recommended for approval. Construction crews could break ground as soon as this spring on a 10-mile extension that would take trains into the Berryessa neighborhood of San Jose.

This Is How We Roll

I didn’t know if it could happen, but it turns out it is possible to get people to voluntarily sit through a panel of speakers from the Bureau of Automotive Repair. All you’ve got to do is couch it in a car show featuring some of the cleanest low riders, bombs, hot rods, imports and Harleys in the South Bay. Then surround that with the one place that you know is poppin’ on a Saturday afternoon—the Berryessa Flea Market.

A Local Writer; A Local Fighter

The legendary Herb Caen invented what was once called three-dot, or dot-dot-dot, journalism; that is, using the ellipsis to separate sections of his commentary. In my case, I’ll call it splat-splat-splat journalism, which suits this week’s musings—in honor of some local heroes.

 

Missed It by That Much

Your birth is a mistake you’ll spend your whole life trying to correct.
—Chuck Palahniuk

PART OF being a respectable columnist is to exhibit a strong degree of self-confidence and integrity when admitting one’s mistakes. Since I have committed more than my share of embarrassing howlers over the years, I feel the time is right to do just that. So here are a few to get us started.

Graniterock Sunday-punched

Members of Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 showed up at 4pm Sunday to close the cement and asphalt plant at Graniterock’s A.R. Wilson Quarry. Aggregate Division Manager Jack Leemaster looked none too happy with the surprise when he drove up in a white pickup truck 45 minutes later. “My understanding is they had a pretty good sized order going out tonight,” said one plant worker, resting his placard’s pine stick on his shoulder. “Three hundred tons for night paving.” Twelve hours later, things would get worse for Graniterock. Before Monday crews punched in to start their weeks, picketers descended upon the company’s recycling plant at Monterey Highway and Capitol Expressway, at the sand and gravel facility in Hollister and at Graniterock operations in San Jose’s Berryessa district, Redwood City and South San Francisco.

On to the Future

Well the consultants and pundits are receding into the background, thankfully. It is now time to check the battlefield for casualties and then look at options for the future.

Paramount to our valley, the path to mass transit is very bumpy in our valley. The excruciating narrowness of the loss of the BART sales tax measure is something that will not soon be forgotten by the losers—Mayor Chuck Reed, Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and rising star Sam Liccardo laid it, and all, on the line. And in an incredibly close miss, they saw the hopes of a complete BART system dashed—for now.