Friday, May 1, 2009

Barstow Bypass?

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

by Robert Cruickshank

One of the, shall we say, "interesting" features of the Draft EIS for the DesertXpress HSR project is a lack of a station in Barstow. As revealed at Wednesday night's scoping meeting in Barstow, this has locals rather upset:

During a public comment session in Barstow Wednesday night on a proposed high-speed rail line that would run from Victorville to Las Vegas, city officials and residents remained critical of the project’s lack of plans for a stop in Barstow and the potential for the route to encroach on development in the city’s industrial park....

Barstow’s City Council unanimously voted at a special meeting Tuesday to approve written comments that criticize the environmental document for failing to analyze placement of a station or maintenance facility in Barstow. The comments also highlighted the potential impacts on development from a proposed route that would cross diagonally through the Barstow Industrial Park.

The article explains some of the back-and-forth between Barstow and DesertXpress - DX claims the city didn't get in touch with them until too late in the EIS process; Barstow claims DX had heard their concerns but never followed up on them.

As pretty much the only major settlement between the edge of the SoCal megalopolis (in this case, Victorville) and Vegas, Barstow probably deserves a stop. It could add riders from the Central Valley and the SF Bay Area - if I were driving to Vegas and had an option of parking in Barstow and riding a train the rest of the way I'd probably take it, and I suspect many others would as well.

Not everyone in Barstow is sure about the HSR concept, however:

Other commenters questioned whether the train project would be viable and whether it would really relieve congestion on Interstate 15, when people would still need to drive up the Cajon Pass from the Los Angeles Basin in order to board the train in Victorville.
“(Californians) love their cars, and they’re not going to let them go to come to Victorville to go to Vegas,” said Barstow resident Carmen Hernandez, who also sits on the city’s Planning Commission.

Ah, the "Californians love their cars" canard. Whenever a viable alternative has been given to them - subways, light rail, commuter rail - Californians have proven over and over again that they will take it. California's "love affair" with the automobile more closely resembles an arranged marriage. I love driving through Big Sur as much as the next person, but give me a train to SF or LA or Vegas any day over driving there.

I also wonder if Hernandez and others are concerned about the impact of a train on Barstow businesses. Barstow has always existed as a waystation for travelers. First for the transcontinental railroads, and then for folks driving to Vegas. Most of the city budget comes from sales taxes on traveler spending.

Still, if Vegas HSR is going to happen, it'll be on the DesertXpress model, and Barstow would do well to get in on the action. DX should include a study of a Barstow stop, and the city should unite around the steel-wheel HSR solution and quit daydreaming of a maglev train that is NEVER going to be built.

62 comments:

Rafael said...

A station at Barstow makes little sense because DesertXPress is looking to terminate its line in Victorville, not LA Union Station.

The real transportation issue here is that there are no concrete plans for a connector between Mojave and Barstow, not even for including the turnoffs that will make one possible later on.

The political issue is Indian gaming in California, which DesertXPress perceives as competition. Plans to set up off-reservation casinos in Barstow were shelved in 2007 but could be revived if that town gets an HSR stop.

Spokker said...

I went to the CalPIRG Conference For Trains N' Shit thing and I was going to ask Quentin Kopp a question about whether or not the CHSRA has gotten together with the DesertXpress people to see how they could integrate the line to provide for a one-seat ride from LA to Vegas. But then some monumental bitch hijacked the topic, specifically about high speed rail, to ask about zoning or some shit and go on a rant about God knows what. Then time was up and Kopp took off. He didn't say anything we don't already know, to be honest.

Man, these speaking engagements are quite the tenses.

jim said...

A station should be in Barstow. how is anyone gonna build a rail line and then totally skip the major city in the area? Those folks need a rail link. It's just common sense.

jim said...

I doubt there's a big job market for young people in Barstow but this train would make if possible to get to hospitality jobs in in Vegas

Matt said...

Barstow is only a town of 20,000 which is does not seem like enough to justify a station from DX point of view. But maybe the city of Barstow can come up with the cost of platforms, a parking lot and a ticketing booth and DX would pay for the siding(s) to allow some trains to bypass the station. Then DX could stop a few trains a day there as demand requires. The key here is the city offering to share some of the load. Some cities in this situation (with CHSRA) seem to just be looking for the rail people to bow to their every whim rather than contributing constructively to the project. Barstow should be talking with DX to meet them half-way on something.

Also about the Barstow-Mojave route: If DX and CAHSR PhaseI get built you can be this will be built. It will get worked out because it is too cheap with too high a benefit to not do. The only thing that is crucial is that DX looks ahead and builds their tracks to be compatible with CAHSR: gauge, electrification, ect.

jim said...

speaking of the desert take a look at the google sat view of california city. you know there is an entire cities worth of named roads with no city there.

theo said...

California City, that's quite creepy. Looks like they'll have a chance to do their urban planning right, minimizing cul-de-sacs, by the time anything gets built (2050?).

theo said...

Of course Barstow is worried about being passed up. The same way all the railroad towns that got passed up by highways were destroyed.

But at least there's something there, and they're at the junction of two interstates.

They'll have it better than Baker, CA (world's largest thermometer, tourist trap) and those border casino towns -- Desperado, or whatever that place is called.

jim said...

I used to notice when I flew over, but if you look closely at the sat. view you see that whole chunks of the high desert between barstow-ca city-mojave-lancaster-palmdale have been mapped out for development. It no wonder hsr was put through there.

無名 - wu ming said...

barstow is the mos eisley of the mojave. it's common sense to put a stop there.

Andrew said...

@Wu Ming:

A most wretched hive of scum and villainy? Should they really put a stop there, then?

Aaron said...

I have to wonder if worrying about Barstow getting a stop when the train won't even go near DTLA is putting lipstick on a pig. But as long as it's purely private money, I guess I don't terribly care, so long as the system is built in such a way as to eventually be incorporated with CAHSR (ie no funky track gauges etc.)

Spokker said...

It's planned to be standard gauge. Read their FAQ. They anticipated the question of interfacing with CAHSR and they should it could be accomplished by an extension from Palmdale to Victorville.

I just wonder if the two organizations have touched base or not. They have to be aware of each other at least.

Spokker said...

I mean, they say it could be accomplished...

That's a lesson to me to never post on the Internet after I just wake up, or ever.

jim said...

VRV is only 40 miles from the HSR stop at ONA as well. So with desert express this helps out with the dilema of whether to connect to vegas from hsr at mojave/palmdale or via inland empire. If desert xpress has a future option of going the extra 40 miles to ontario this leaves cahsr free to use mojave to get to vegas and in the end southern and northern cali get both options to get east.

jim said...

I can see a share agreement that would benefit both systems that would look like this:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_EJHLmXOyIRY/SfyMQiKH9NI/AAAAAAAAANo/Lj0YXLEd0wo/s912/DXSHARE.jpg

jim said...

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_EJHLmXOyIRY/SfyMQiKH9NI/AAAAAAAAANo/Lj0YXLEd0wo/s912/DXSHARE.jpg

jim said...

http://picasaweb.google.com/jtatarazuk/DXSHARE#5331290274574890194

jim said...

I don't know why these links don't post....

Rafael said...

@ jim -

those are three identical maps. What's the value of posting each one?

Fwiw, the Barstow-Vegas section includes two mountain crossings. DX wants to cross them at grade, which implies buying trains that can climb inclines of 4.5%.

CHSRA's trains will be equipped to handle 3.5% at top speed (360km/h). Deutsche Bahn's ICE3 trains have uprated motors that let them climb 4% at top speed (330km/h) and 5% at 300km/h (186mph).

In other words, DX should have no problem finding trainsets on the market that can cope with the gradient, but it would likely have to operate any SF-Vegas express trains itself. However, to be sufficiently time-competitive, the spur out to Vegas would need to accommodate top speeds of 220mph, for a total line haul time of around 3h20m.

FRA currently has no rules at all for running faster than 150mph, which is why DX chose that as the target for its EMU option. The incremental cost of building the tracks, OCS and signaling to support a higher top speed is not all that great, so DX ought to set its sights at 220mph.

Also note that any putative HSR connector through Cajon Pass would connect to the CHSRA network with a wye well east of Ontario, e.g. near Colton. In phase 1, Anaheim-LA-Palmdale-Vegas would have to do, assuming a connector between Mojave and Barstow is built.

San Diegans could use Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to Anaheim and switch to HSR there. Victorville would then be used only to capture ridership from the eastern San Gabriel valley and north-east San Diego county.

jim said...

I posted three times because I didn't think the link was working. apparently it was. in any case, the deatils can be worked out and nothing is set in stone, the point being the dx and hsr can make plans to share track in the same way that mulitple private operators share track in europe, technical details can be worked out if the desire is there.

jim said...

For that matter, amtrak can bring ack the desert wind and serve LAX-LVS-SLC with a 110mpg upgrade and still get plenty of ridership.

Anonymous said...

Well, no doubt the Casino interests that are without a doubt the private funding behind DX, are not at all in favor of an intermediate stop between the LA money bags and the LV money pit. An intermediate stop will only serve to grow Indian gaming interests in California desert - pure competition for DX investors.

HSR supporters - this aint about a rational HSR system, for the love of trains, for getting off oil, for relieving congested highways or nonsuch crap. Its about getting $$$ from California to LV.

jim said...

I think california should purchase nevada and put our nuclear power plants and landfills there.

Resident said...

And in other news today...

"Caltrain in Trouble" (will declare bankruptcy by June..)

http://thedailynews.ca.newsmemory.com/ee/thedailynews/index.php#

Great time for investment in public railroad..

Eric said...

Resident,

Nice post. Too bad you didn't read the article because it states that this makes is feasable and easier to raise fairs. It says they might run out of money by this time NEXT YEAR and they want to call for a public hearing by June.

Just goes to show how you spread false info. Typical of your other posts on this blog. You see what you want to see with out reading the facts. Hell, without reading at all!! Time to crawl back into your hole if you have nothing constructive to say on this blog. And I know I am saying what others are thinking.

Anonymous said...

I would actually LIKE to see Caltrain, BART, SFMuni, and several other transit operators declare bankruptcy. It would give them a way to renegotiate ridiculous labor contracts and clear some debt from the books.

Vallejo is projected to come out of bankruptcy in much better shape than it has been in for the past several decades.

Now is the time for many public agencies to try and do the same, especially transit agencies.

Anonymous said...

California would have to be totally nuts to contribute a penny to this scheme. This state is broke and you want to facilitate dumping what little is left of our discretionary income in Nevada?

Legalize casino gambling in California and keep the money in state.

And legalize gerbils while you are it.

jim said...

"It would give them a way to renegotiate ridiculous labor contracts and clear some debt from the books"


What do you mean by ridiculous labor contract? You mean jobs that pay people a decent wage and offer health care? Since when did taking good jobs away from american workers become the american way? Would you put up with people like you all day for any less?

Anonymous said...

jim,

I was talking more about flexibility. For example, the BART union arguing that Millbrae-SFO is a separate line requiring a break after finishing a run (a 2 minute run). Or call-in sick rules for Muni that allow a person to do it more than 20 times in a year before they even have to produce a reason for calling in or before management can take an action against them. Antiquated rules like this make the systems spend absurd amounts on overtime and destroy public trust in the system.

I have no problem with paying decent wages. Most of the budget problems come from excessive overtime.

Matt said...

The problem with labor contracts, jim, is that they are static. I have no idea what transit operators get payed, but look at the auto industry. The Unions and the executives rolled it in during the good times, but when it comes time to trim the fat, the unions are unable to. So instead, they layoff workers, because they can not just issue mass pay cuts. Everyone was irresponsible, unions for demanding super high wages and non-competitive practices, and exec's for being exceedingly wasteful and having no foresight (exception: Ford). But only those who lose their jobs suffer. The problem is not execs or unions alone, but the greed of both. And greed is the American way.

Well that is my off topic rant for today.

By the way, there is no mention of using CA money for DX, correct? This makes sense, although I could see CA contributing for the DX-CAHSR connector as it will be much cheaper than expanding I-15. But that is quite a ways in the future.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I believe that if we believe that people aren't being paid living wages, we should attempt to change the labor market as a whole (increased minimum wages, increased health care coverage for everyone, etc) instead of weighing down our public services with extra expense that the private sector doe not have. It encourages bad government (politicians being held hostage by public sector unions, a union job being your "ticket" to the easy life, etc) and results in worse services for everyone at HIGHER cost.

Let's try to fix the system, instead of using public sector jobs as a welfare mechanism. (I work in the public sector, BTW)

jim said...

The only way to get better wages fro mthe private sector is to unionize and use collective bargaining. and I don't consider what I do to be a welfare mechanism. I earn what I make.

jim said...

and I'm sure as hell not living the easy life. and no one is being held hostage either. There are 38 million people in calilfornia and the majority of them have the right to vote.

jim said...

The fact that wages are static - means that we make less than most during the good times, and are pretty much looked down on as economic trash, then when things get bad for others,, all of a suddden its our fault we have a decent job. screw that. I knew al these people were gonna lose everything that 's why when given the -Choice- I took less with security instead of more more more with the risk. Everyone has that choice. I'm not ever going to be rich. or own a home, but I sure don't have to worry about living under a bridge. and as far as I know I don't think there will be any public money in desert express, so it will be intersting to see what the cost of ticket is. It may wind up being subsidized by the casinos.

jim said...

"I have no problem with paying decent wages. Most of the budget problems come from excessive overtime." without the overtime you live in poverty. muni bus drivers sart at 17 bucks an hour- would you do that job for that pay? I sure wouldn't. Nor would I want to ride a bus or a train that was being operated by underpaid, minimum wages teens, illegals. I fuly expect that as with railroads and airlines, both the HSR and DX will be run by experienced, wel paid, well rested, safety trained, talented,transportation employees and not he same people who screw up my order at burger king.

Anonymous said...

Jim, then raise the wages to a higher amount and cancel the "calling out sick" clauses. Then at least the public knows how much the service costs and the managers of the system can tell the public. As it is, the public finds out each year that costs are higher than budgeted and the managers blame it on overtime.

If the system needs to pay more to attract the right kind of labor to make the system work, just say so. Don't go with these games of "it costs this much, but unanticipated overtime drove up the cost by 60%". If people need the overtime and are expected to take it, it isn't "unanticipated"

The public sectors in Europe and Japan are more efficient because of additional requirements placed on the private sector (higher wages required, etc). That's the route we need to take.

Eric said...

Unions have their time and place, but they all to often protect the weak and encourage lazyness. Workers know it protects them too well and use that against the employer.

With regards to "The only way to get better wages from the private sector is to unionize and use collective bargaining". Give me a break. There are plenty of good paying jobs in the private sector.

"without the overtime you live in poverty."

yeah, sure.

"muni bus drivers sart at 17 bucks an hour- would you do that job for that pay? I sure wouldn't. Nor would I want to ride a bus or a train that was being operated by underpaid, minimum wages teens, illegals"

You apparently dont realize how much the employer pays in to the health insurance. So stating at $17 and hours plus full benifits is a lot more than you think. But not going places/doing thins for that reason is plain dumb. Your life involves a lot more around the private sector than the union sector.

Jim, your very pro-union attiude and comments really remind me why the union puts a bad taste in many peoples mouths. It's all about me, me, me.

Eric said...

@Jim - well said. Personally, I made the opposite choice; I could have chosen security but I went for the opportunity to make $$$ in good times and ride out the bad times. Now, this has worked out well for me and I've no regrets. But, in a downturn, we still need people to keep transit running, put out fires, educate our children, etc. And when the economy was booming, most of these people didn't get rich.

However, transit unions have management by the balls. Please, defend the Union position that the Millbrae to SFO shuttle is a distinct line and the operator is entitled to a break at each end. Honestly, what's your justification for this?

The Waterloo and City line in London is a two stop line of about the same length and not even the powerful British transit workers' unions have dared to suggest such a thing.

You can bet during the last few transit workers strikes in SF and NYC a lot of people wished they had LA's freeway system. Unions are important for negotiating decent wages and benefits for working people, but when they try to hold the population hostage they will seek an alternative that doesn't involve the unions.

jim said...

It was unions who just got done ruining the world economy. "me me me" indeed. go screw yourself.

BruceMcF said...

Eric said...
"Unions have their time and place, but they all to often protect the weak and encourage lazyness. Workers know it protects them too well and use that against the employer."

Quite often the worst unions are in the places with the worst management. It is all too rational for workers to hold on doggedly to whatever prerogatives they have won when faced with management looking to screw them over at every turn, and when every proposal to change work rules becomes a political power contest, common sense is one of the first casualties.

Alon Levy said...

Jim: $17 per hour is solidly middle class. It's $34,000 a year, which is somewhat more than what I make as a grad student plus moonlighting, and slightly less than what my girlfriend makes as a lab tech. After benefits it's probably more than what my girlfriend makes - e.g. health insurance is deducted from her salary, and she gets paid regular pay rather than 1.5 times pay for overtime.

We both expect to make more in the future, but that depends on getting more advanced degrees. In my girlfriend's case, it's likely to involve five years of further education, and require success in a very intense competition for postdocs.

jim said...

17 is solidly middle class in Nebraska not the bay area. And I know I pay for my railroad pension, big time, and I part of my medical too. I also don't get matching funds for 401k the way most private companies do. and Ill be making roughly the same money from now till I retire and we also don't get colas. Is there another blog for this topic? this is way off topic. Now if you want to argue about the salaries of upper management in the public sector, that is where the waste is, not some poor slob who's just trying pay the rent and feed the kids.

jim said...

@ bruce - what you said- is the dirty little secret that everyone likes to over look.

@ eric"Unions have their time and place, but they all to often protect the weak and encourage lazyness. Workers know it protects them too well and use that against the employer" not only is that offensive but its a load of crap. I have non union and union private sector jobs, and I am better train and work harder at the union jobs with the dif being that I get paid like a human being with a contract and paid like zoo animal in a non union job. and as far as lazyness, I have been in many an office and seen plenty of people who are nothing but a waste of time. there is PLENTY of laziness in the private sector- plenty. so quit tellin' stories. Ive been working for almost 30 years now, like a damn dog, so you arent gonna tell me anything I don't know sweetheart. Im going over to start my own blog Im sick of people gangin up on me for sticking to my values. have fun slapping each other on your fat private sector asses.

Eric said...

@Jim

Is there another blog for this topic? this is way off topic. It's perhaps off topic for this particular post, but it's well worth talking about on this blog and I am glad you are bringing it up.

On the one hand, if and when our high speed rail network is built, I hope it's built and operated by union workers. I don't want to ride on a system that screws the workers in pursuit of profits. They tried that in Britain a few years ago; it didn't work out well. Passengers were killed.

At the same time, there's ample precedent in the US where unions controlling a significant portion of the transport in a metro area can hold everyone hostage over minor demands. I don't know what the solution is there, but it's certainly a problem.

Eric said...

BTW there's two of us named Eric commenting on this blog, one of us really needs to choose a different identity.

Spokker said...

Both of you should just use an initial.

Eric A. and Eric B.

Spokker said...

I've decided that unions, like corporate management, are necessary evils.

Anonymous said...

I don't even think unions are "evil" - there just simply isn't the pressure or incentive for public sector management to demand good contracts (good both for pay involved, and more importantly - FLEXIBILITY in operations) from union members like there is with private sector management - hell, half the time there is a perverse incentive for the public sector management to agree to contracts known to be better than the union wants (when politics and votes are involved).

In the private sector, if bad union contracts are agreed to, management will eventually be forced out, and if they were bad enough the company will go bankrupt - under which a judge can help renegotiate contracts. This can never happen in the public sector, as the worst that can happen is someone is voted out - but the contracts are still in place and can't be altered.

Because of this, it's nice to have a good 'ol fashioned chapter nine every now and then to toss all old contracts and have a neutral third party renegotiate contracts under the public eye.

Alon Levy said...

Jim: we live in Manhattan. Though if we aren't extremely successful in the hunt for postdocs, we may end up working in a tiny town in Oklahoma where nobody lives voluntarily.

jim said...

postdocs? meaning? you live in manhattan. Ive never been there but i think it would be way to crowded. my friend said is shoulder to should people. but i guess some people like that.

jim said...

look I take home 550 a week after deductions ( and granted I pay high taxes due to rrb -) and more than half of my income goes to rent.... in a marginal neighborhood. 300sf. now I am not complaining - Im loving my life right now, but I get so very tired of hearing people bash unions, in the news, on the blogs, we are all so lazy and awful, and overpaid, and blah blah blah its a load of crap. Ive worked for 30 years just to get to this tenderloin studio and a health plan and over my dead body is anyone gonna take it away.

jim said...

as for overtime, you know in transportation you don't just get to go home cuz your shift is over. you routinely have your day/night/weekend ruined because you are the one who is out there when it hits the fan. you know we never know what time we are getting off work. never. and when everone else is home with their families christmas morning, who's keeping the country running? all the ordinary working people who don't get that luxury. so you better damn well pay them holiday pay. and Ill tell you what I may not be always be the perkiest friendliest person around but I know my job and I do it well, I'm well trained, I put the safety of passengers, coworkers and myself as a priority, and i take a great deal of pride in being part of the nations railroad. I don't make my living selling more crap to people who dont need and can't afford more crap, which is the basis of that little pyramid scheme we call capitalism. anyway its a touchy subject. obviuolsy

Anonymous said...

Jim, you're taking this far too personally, instead of looking at the big picture. Better flexibility from a union contract does not have to mean less money for you. It could possibly mean more money for you, if some of the problems of current contracts could be avoided (excessive absenteeism, which leads to excessive overtime) - you could be paid more base pay if less total overtime was needed because employees were more reliable and/or could be disciplined.

That could also lead to you knowing when you get off work with better regularity. Everything is a two-way street.

Ed Greenberg said...

With a terminus at Victorville, could this train compete, both time and cost wise, with Soutwest Airlines? I can get to Vegas by air from LAX in under 1:15, and there are 14 flights to choose from. There are another 13 flights daily from BUR, for Valley folks. Let's not discuss Ontario.

Once people leave their cars behind, the trip needs to compete with all other options.

Driving, from LAUPT, we find this on Google Maps: Driving directions to Victorville, CA
80.5 mi – about 1 hour 17 mins (up to 2 hours 30 mins in traffic)

Driving over Cajon Pass is a killer. Yes, it's four lanes, but it's subject to traffic delays, snow and wind closures, etc. In other words, it's a show stopper for not driving to Vegas.

So how do we get to Victorville?

Alon Levy said...

Jim: Manhattan is less crowded than you think. It's really dense, but it's also very good at managing its density. Far from shoulder-to-shoulder, the streets near where I live are more often deserted than overcrowded. This isn't 5th Avenue we're talking about. The neighborhood I live in is dominated by 5- and 6-story walkups, plus a couple of high-rise projects surrounded by open space. The major commercial streets have a few high-rise office buildings, but fewer than you'd think.

As for postdoc, that's the job that a fresh Ph.D. looks for if he wants to stay in academia. It typically takes three years, compared with between five and eight for Ph.D. The idea is for you to do research to show prospective departments whether you have what it takes to get a permanent position. In grad school, you mainly work on your dissertation, whereas afterward, you work on publishing lots and lots of papers, and sometimes also books. Postdoc pays about $40,000 a year at state universities, more at higher-tier places - e.g. $60,000 at Harvard. It's harder to get into postdoc than into grad school - typically there are 100 competitors for each position, compared with 10 in grad school - but it's easier than getting a permanent position afterward, when there are 300 people competing for each job.

Anonymous said...

Jim - Serious question here - You state $550 a week after taxes and half your income goes to rent (I'm assuming you mean after-tax income). That means you're bringing home just under $2400 a month (52*26/12). Why in the world are you paying more than $1200 a month for a 300 sqft studio in the Tenderloin? I just got a 600 sqft jr one bedroom on Larkin between Pine and California for $1100. You're gettind ripped off if you really are paying that much.

Anonymous said...

^^^Oops, meant 550*52/12

Alon Levy said...

$1,200 for a studio is fairly standard in moderately gentrified neighborhoods. In less gentrified neighborhoods it's lower - in Harlem and Washington Heights, studios typically go for about $1,000 on Craigslist. For people who've been there for years and are rent controlled it's usually much lower.

Spokker said...

"So how do we get to Victorville?"

You don't. That's why most people think DesertXpress is going to fail. So it's imperative for its backers to think of ways for it to integrate with the California High Speed Rail project.

jim said...

@anon- since this is so off topic I made my own blog - here: http://thewhatsgoodaboutmuniandsfblog.blogspot.com/

where Im posting info on muni/amtrak/sf general topics/ and anykind of off topic open forum stuff ( in response to much negativity about sf architecture/amtrak/muni and san francisco in general -I want to foucs on the upside of things) I have never made a blog before and have no idea what Im doing but I do plan to post railroad stuff into their that I get at work) . rent/rent control/ any topics like that can be discussed. this is just an experiement.

jim said...

@anon i have a good tip for you over there...
concerning apartments : http://thewhatsgoodaboutmuniandsfblog.blogspot.com/