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San Francisco supervisors defend refusal to support Caltrain sales tax

Original post made on Jul 16, 2020

San Francisco supervisors Shamann Walton and Aaron Peskin on Wednesday stood by their refusal to support asking voters in November to support a sales tax for Caltrain, though the move seemed to threaten the rail system's future.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 16, 2020, 2:05 PM

Comments (18)

10 people like this
Posted by Davina Floriano
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 3:03 pm

It’s about time an elected official has stood up for the working poor who disproportionately fund transit services with high sales taxes. Thank You Aaron Peskin! Caltrain officials must stop ignoring the major problems they are creating by maintaining such high fares which exclude the working poor from using Caltrain. Governance reform is sorely needed and it’s not just a question of San Francisco and Santa Clara counties lacking adequate representation on the Caltrain Board (although that’s true). It’s about the fact that NONE of the Caltrain Board members are elected and therefore have no accountability to the public for poor decisions and they make. We need directly elected representatives, not representatives chosen in secret meetings by other politicians.


25 people like this
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:04 pm

I suppose it's gratifying that greed and political infighting stopped another attempt to extract sales tax dollars from us --- for Caltrain - a wonderful resource --- but one that already is supported by sales tax dollars and doesn't need more to just continue being what it was. Simply b/c SamTrans and Muni don't want to share the sales tax dollars already being collected, with Caltrain, does not mean that more sales tax dollars should be imposed upon us; especially when those agencies don't plan to refund to us the portion that now goes to Caltrain, but instead they planned to soak up the extra dollars themselves. It's just as well this happened, as Caltrain planned on $22 billion of empire building, without the ridership or the $$$s to support their grandiose, unsupported plans, but chose to repeat a 'build it and (hopefully) they will come' mantra over and over while Silicon Valley Leadership Group egged them on. Also glad that so well run County of SF and VTA want to spend their time jostling for power and position, leveraging their votes, while we keep our dollars in our pockets, preventing unwanted, more frequent Caltrain service, which would just gum up our grade crossings and divide our cities. Caltrain's ridership has been flat since 2016 --- so no need for a sales tax for increased anything.


6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2020 at 6:25 pm

This is not the first time San Francisco has brought up this issue. Why isn't San Mateo County offering to share management of Caltrain?


31 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2020 at 7:14 pm

Caltrain is dead.

Caltrain is dead and it is not coming back. Ordinary citizens understand germ theory better than Caltrain management and are avoiding Caltrain like the plague.

Any additional money spent on Caltrain is a total waste of funds. We need emergency legislation to claw back funds allocated to projects like Caltrain that no longer make sense in a post COVID world. Caltrain funds should be used to provide financial assistance to people who cannot afford automobiles and ride-share passes for people that cannot drive.

The elected officials that oversee Caltrain need to stop living in the past. We need to harden our world to infectious disease and that means eliminating systems that crammed people together in poorly ventilated spaces.

WSJ 6/28/20: "Public Transit Use Associated With Higher Coronavirus Death Rates"
Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 16, 2020 at 9:30 pm

I don't want Caltrain to be dead. I had fun going up to the baseball park - every one was in "sports / fun" mode. I don't want to drive up there. The people that most benefit from Caltrain are the people at the end of the operation that don't want to drive. But I do not want to go on a train in which there are homeless people that are lying all over the seats. I think that we need in Santa Clara County to take over the management of the train. We are suppose to be the money people. Why aren't we taking this over? SVLG - where are you on this? The whole concept of the Diiridium station is that all of these pieces come together.


20 people like this
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:29 pm

Have you read the SCC civil grand jury's report on SCCs VTA? No, we don't need SCC and VTA to take over Caltrain's management. Further, SVLG is very good at getting everyone else to pay for things the business community wants. No thanks.


19 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:47 pm

California state and local sales tax combined cannot exceed 10.25%. We are very close to that cap. BART, VTA, Caltrain, etc., have misused sales tax for decades.

When you see, in public record, that bus drivers and train technicians make $100K+ salaries plus generous pensions, or BART janitor can rake in $300K (not a typo) annual "overtime" income, you know your tax dollars are not well spent.


10 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 17, 2020 at 12:11 am

The problems with CalTrain, public transit and Covid should have been obvious to our "leaders" during the recent budget talks that required "tough choices" due to the pandemic, etc. Health officials were advising against taking public transit due to likelihood of infection.

Their "hard" choice: to keep funding MTC to pay commuters to use public transit to commute here while cutting RESIDENT-serving programs and services.

Always special to see unelected groups like Silicon Valley Leadership Group and ABAG shifting the burdens from their deep-pocket backers to us,


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 17, 2020 at 5:47 am

This is nuts. We have spent years talking about how the transportation system was all going to come together. That is all of the writing about the Diridion Station in San Jose. BART. Caltrain, etc. And people have been working on the high speed rail. And a supervisor in SF is in charge? How about the Governor of the state? The mayors need to get the governor to put this together.
What is going on in Sacramento? The governor keeps throwing accusations at the federal government - meanwhile Mr.Becerra just issued another law suit. If you keep throwing out accusations and insults and your AG is racking up the law suits then where are we at?


7 people like this
Posted by Don't do anything extra
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 17, 2020 at 10:48 am

HSR is going nowhere. It was never about transportation, but instead about taking money from our pockets to put pork into the pockets of contractors, developers, and construction trade unions --- and the politicians who support them and whose campaigns they support. That's why the cost overruns and poor oversight and lengthy delays, etc. It's a fiction that it will be operating on the Caltrain tracks --- there's no money. Unfortunately this is much the way other transportation is run too --- BART, MUNI, etc. to benefit the unionized employees, the contractors, the developers, the construction trade unions, not the actual commuters who use the systems. Caltrain was one exception as a fairly well run line --- but then it started having grandiose plans for increased service not based on any ridership numbers, but based on SVLG pushing and Google's housing investments near Diridon station, and so forth. SVLG, etc would like us to pay for all that increased service to benefit Google and its deep pocketed members.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 17, 2020 at 11:20 am

I personally do not care about HSR. It does not belong on the Caltrain corridor. I do care about the fact that major decisions concerning where apartments are built, where money is spent for the bridges and underpasses are all dependent on a working transportation system. Now I am angry that a couple of SF supervisors - not the mayor - are sitting around making decisions about shutting it down. How can that be? How did this get so screwed up? Where is the mayor of San Jose here? How about the mayor of RWC, San Mateo, MV, Sunnyvale, PA? Where is the governor here? He keeps thinking that he has his own kingdom yet the tail is wagging the dog. Why is this so screwed up?


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2020 at 12:35 pm

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> I personally do not care about HSR. It does not belong on the Caltrain corridor. I do care about the fact that major decisions concerning where apartments are built, where money is spent for the bridges and underpasses are all dependent on a working transportation system

Absolutely right. But, in this discussion, I see little regarding the real issue. BART. BART is the most expensive and poorly managed system we have, and, forces in San Francisco have long wanted to replace Caltrain with BART. A very, very, very bad idea. Much better to start gradually replacing BART with a modern standard-gauge electrified commuter rail system- like Caltrain.

And, @Ahem -- no, all public transportation is not going to disappear.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 17, 2020 at 1:21 pm

Caltrain won't disappear, but it can stay the way it was - if it can get back to that - which is just fine.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 18, 2020 at 1:16 pm

Caltrain is cool the way it is. It can be improved by some new engines which - like a Prius can run on a combination of batteries. We just need some new engines.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 20, 2020 at 8:57 am

Today in the papers we have large articles about the projection up to 2050 for the bay area. And Santa Clara County has a big "shoot me" sign on it's back. We are a target for multitudes of schemes by multitude of agencies and non-profits who threaten law suits if we do not comply. People have nothing to do all day except conjure how to radically change this county to meet some great concept that they have conjured? SCC goes all the way down to Gilroy. Suggest that the great minds start focusing on going south vs going north - that is us on the border. Meanwhile numerous articles which hinge on "transportation" which is Caltrain and BART.

Suggestion here is that the Governor of this state thinks he is the "king" of the 6th biggest economy in the world. If that is the case then the King should be providing budget money to subsidize the transportation systems that support the kingdom. All of our local people are spinning their schemes and concepts that need funding. And no one is talking about a state agency that is suppose to support transportation at the state level.

Taxpayer money is required to support that funding. And that comes from a combination of sources which assume that everyone is contributing to the tax base. And that means that SV companies hire US citizens and pay in all of the payroll taxes required so that the state agencies are supported. H1b people are leaving us tax poor. And our smart children who have been on computers since they could walk cannot get jobs. And that is all races of children. We are being shorted by the companies and the state. So start your articles from the total state view and what the state is going to do for us.


6 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:10 am

More deta8ils about ABAG's "plan" from the SF CHron yesterday:Web Link

Overall, the plan anticipates that the region’s population will grow from roughly 7.9 million in 2020 to 10.3 million by 2050. The number of jobs within the nine counties would climb from 4.1 million to 5.4 million.

It also emphasizes 25 “bold strategies” for making the region “affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all.” Many are aspirational, with price tags but no current source of funds


5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 22, 2020 at 11:19 am

ABAG just throws out concepts that have no verifiable basis as to how those numbers were arrived at. Does anyone challenge them as to how they arrived at those numbers?

Can we get ABAG to pay for CALTRAIN? Can we get ABAG to pay for the underpasses we need in the residential sections of the tracks? What is ABAG willing to pay for?
And who is writing the vibrant strategies for their schemes?

Who are all of these people that are coming? Their relatives from former soviet countries that want to migrate here? Or farm workers for our legislative participants that have crops that need cheap labor to get their crops to market? Or the Governor who has three wine labels that need a lot of farm help?

This state is the corporate headquarters for some of the biggest world-wide transnational companies that are involved in food production on a world wide basis. They all depend on migrant workers from other countries vs using the local residents for workers. Your legislative members are investors in those companies.

So get ABAG on the hook here - pay up or shut up.


2 people like this
Posted by Haters thrive here
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 23, 2020 at 10:45 am

Haters...


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