Sunday, April 6, 2008

Looks Like Jim Battin Needs Our Help Too

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

It looks like high speed rail in California is starting to get more attention - especially from conservative op-ed writers. Last week I examined why Dan Walters' HSR ideas were so flawed. And now Republican legislators are getting in on the HSR-doubter act. Jim Battin is a Republican State Senator representing the 37th district (Riverside County), and last week published an op-ed in The Desert Sun titled "High-speed rail plan off-track". As Sen. Battin just returned from the Japan HSR trip, it's a more interesting piece than Walters', but it also repeats many of the same basic flaws - particularly a myopia about the continued availability of cheap oil-based travel. Below I deconstruct Sen. Battin's flawed arguments.

I know The Desert Sun disapproves, but I recently spent a week in Japan leading a bipartisan delegation that met government officials and studied the country's high-speed rail system. In November, Californians will be asked to approve our own high-speed rail project. From what I saw, firsthand, taxpayers need to approach the idea with great caution.

High-speed rail works in Japan because of the country's geographical uniqueness and the smart government policy decisions. The country is roughly the size of California, but has four times the number of people, 80 percent of whom are located in major urban centers.

And according to the latest figures some 97.7% of Californians live in an urban setting. Not all of them live in the state's "major urban centers" but well above 50% do, living in close proximity to the proposed HSR line.

Japan's geography is not all that different from California. The two main differences are that Japan is an island nation, and does not have anything like our massive Central Valley. But like Japan, most California urban areas are located along coastal plains and valleys, hemmed in on several sides by mountain ranges. This actually creates fairly natural corridors for HSR.

In the 1980s, Japan National Railways was a public sector failure, running a yearly operating deficit, with a huge debt, declining ridership, high fares, and poor service. Japan broke up the public sector monopoly and created private, passenger-rail companies to serve different areas of the country and compete for the consumer's yen.

The three companies serving the most urban areas operate with no government assistance. One way they do this is by owning the key real estate around train stations, allowing the rail companies to operate retail centers that offset the cost of service.

This should be balanced out by noting that SNCF and RENFE, the French and Spanish public sector railways respectively, are both public sector successes. Ridership continues to climb on both countries' HSR systems. And they DO provide "competition" - not with each other, but with the airlines that serve the same corridors. In both countries they are competing with a great deal of success.

As to owning the real estate around the stations and building transit-oriented development (TOD), that appears to be a central part of the California HSR plan.

From my own experience, it is clear the Japanese "Shinkansen," or bullet train, model has been a success. Private-sector efficiencies reduced costs, while rail fares remained stable. The trains, operating at up to 186 mph, are clean, safe and service is readily available. Consumers responded by increasing ridership more than 20 percent.

Still, the service is not cheap. The line fare from Tokyo to Osaka, which at 251 miles is a little shorter then from Los Angeles to San Francisco, costs 13,200 yen, or about $130 one way. In contrast, Californians can find a flight from LAX to SFO on Southwest Airlines as low as $39 one way, and Southwest gets a traveler there in half the time.

It is good that he recognizes the success of Japanese HSR, but he then goes on to make probably the greatest possible error one can make while assessing HSR - assuming that present travel conditions will continue indefinitely into the future. They won't.

Does Sen. Battin really want us to believe that Southwest will be able to offer $39 flights for much longer? As one of our commenters explained, those super-cheap fares are not the usual price a traveler pays for a one-way trip. And even the more accurate $65 figure is not long for this world. As oil prices continue to soar and peak oil puts the squeeze on fuel supplies, airlines will have no other choice but to raise fares. Last week rising fuel costs put three airlines out of business - Aloha, ATA, and Skybus. And the remaining carriers are feeling pinched too, as they increase fares, fees, and fuel surcharges while passenger numbers continue to decline.

We cannot use "cheap, fast Southwest airlines" as a reason to not build HSR because there is a very good chance that neither they nor any other carrier will be able to offer cheap fares for much longer. And it only takes "half the time" to fly as opposed to take HSR if you don't count the actual travel time involved with flying, including travel time to the airport, check-in, security, etc. When all that is factored in, HSR is about even with flying.

The plan itself has been a boondoggle even before voters have their say. The Legislature initially placed the bond on the 2004 ballot, but then moved it from one election to the other trying to "time" when both the state budget and economy were healthy. While waiting for that electoral magic, taxpayers have spent millions to fund a California High Speed Rail Authority that has had no rail to build.

That isn't a "boondoggle." The CHSRA has had very modest funding, which they have used to develop a solid plan that voters will evaluate this fall. The only person responsible for the two delays of the HSR vote has been Arnold, who didn't want it on the ballot in 2004 or in 2006, when his other infrastructure bonds were facing voters. To call this a "boondoggle" is to misuse the term.

The $9 billion bond gets the rail line started, but the authority estimates the total capital cost for the project at a staggering $25 billion, a figure definitely lowballed. To put this in perspective, each Californian will spend about $715 dollars, almost $3,000 per family of four, to subsidize high-speed rail. That's before they even get a chance to buy a ticket.

And the 9/11 airline bailout was $15 billion alone, which doesn't include over $5 billion in other annual subsidies to the US airline industry. Yet Sen. Battin never discusses those kind of subsidies, nor the tens of billions in annual road subsidies spent here in California. For Sen. Battin, like most conservatives, somehow only passenger trains are seen as getting subsidies; all other forms of transportation somehow magically prosper all on their own.

The fact is that transportation has always been subsidized in America, ever since New York spent $25 million to dig the Erie Canal in 1825. Given the size of this country it cannot be any other way. Instead of unfairly and unrealistically attacking the existence of subsidies, Sen. Battin should be asking whether these subsidies will reap value for Californians. In the case of HSR, they will.

Of course there is no guarantee the rail service will be profitable. The proposal anticipates one-way fares set at only $55 in the year 2018 - a ridiculous presumption by a bureaucrat trying to "sell" the bond. Given Amtrak's sorry pattern of taxpayer bailouts, and Japan's own history with high-speed rail, government is bad at operating rail lines best run by the private sector.

This $3,000 subsidy will be the beginning of what California families will pay and pay and pay.

Of course, Sen. Battin gives us no reason why the $55 fare is "ridiculous." Nor does he explain the rather important point that the "$3,000 subsidy" wouldn't come all at once, but would instead be spread out over many decades. And there's no guarantee any of us would have to pay it. European HSR systems - which he routinely ignores - repeatedly turn an operating surplus, which can be used to pay off the bonds.

Nor does Sen. Battin provide this with any context. Even if every Californian would have to pay a $3,000 subsidy for HSR over 30 years, that pales in comparison to what Californians would have to pay over that time in plane fares, gallons of gas, airport expansion costs, and freeway widening and maintenance costs. Sen. Battin makes one of the common errors of HSR critics - assuming the project exists outside of any real-world context.

Of course, only government subsidies kept the major carriers in business the last 7 years, which suggests a rather major flaw in Sen. Battin's anti-public sector subsidy argument. Amtrak is routinely made to do much more with much less than their airline counterparts get - and still they've taken nearly half the market share from the airlines on the Northeast Corridor.

Battin closes his article claiming to welcome the greater use of public-private partnerships (P3) in HSR but says that isn't enough to back the plan: "Right now, this proposal is not a rail we should be riding."

But since his own arguments are so full of holes, flaws, and inconsistencies, I don't think Californians should feel any hesitation about HSR based on Sen. Battin's ideas. It's a shame more California Republicans don't grasp the actual issues and realities of HSR. But as the polls continue to suggest, neither are California voters buying what the Republicans are selling on HSR.


Anonymous said...

When the Erie Canal was finished in 1825 it cost New York State between $7 million and $8 million.

Anonymous said...

My favorite thing to ask HSR opponents when they talk about cheap airfare and flying instead is- Where are you going to build the extra airports?

Current California are predicted to fly more in the future, plus all the new arrivals to the state. It's not like you just continue with the status quo, transportation will have to be expanded no matter what, so why not invest in HSR, a much better alternative, than sticking a limited number of options? The SHR rail debate is really about whether HSR is superior to roads and airports, versus rail, and not between rail and no rail, which HSR opponents would have us believe. Do they really think those other infrastructure projects won't be financed by bonds?

I doubt anyone thinks the car or the airplane will become obsolete or unused in the future, but we don't need to wait until the roads and airports are full-to-bursting and worn out to do something about transportation in Calfiornia.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Exactly, daviseconomist. In one of the recent posts I explained how most airports have absolutely no room for expansion at all - SFO, OAK, SJC and SAN have no room, neither does Orange County with the demise several years back of the El Toro plan. LAX is planning to use Ontario and Palmdale to handle added capacity - and they hope to use HSR to get passengers out to Palmdale!

So yes, it is absolutely a question of HSR vs roads and airports, not rail or no rail.

Jack Duluoz said...

not even to mention all of the people who don't live near a major airport. You live in Monterey right, Robert? That's at least a two hour drive to SFO before even checking-in. What about Modesto, Merced, Stockton, and Gilroy to name only a few of the cities we can expect to explode in population over the next fifty years. Hell, when I was a kid San Jose was still a huge apple orchard, and I'm not that old!

Rubber Toe said...

Speaking of $5 billion per year in government subsidies to airlines, what about the $17.5 billion dollars per year that the federal government spends on the FAA? There are 30,000 US commercial airline flights per day so a bit of simple math shows that each flight is subsidized to the tune of $1,598 by tax payers. This is even before we start trying to expand any current airports or build new ones.

The naysayers who think that rail travel can't be competitive with airline travel need to start accounting for the $17.5 billion per year spent on the FAA, which wouldn't need to exist except for the fact that we are flying these planes all around full of people.

Imagine if the HSR Bond backers up front said that they would need a $1,598 per train subsidy from the government to stay in business! The conservative opponents would not only be writing this as headlines in the local newspapers, they would be demanding the immediate dismantling of the CSHRA because they must all obviously be lunatics if they think they will be getting a $1,598 per train subsidy.

It basically boils down to figuring out *all* the associated costs of running any system: Building the airports/tracks, supplying the fuel/electricity to run the system, funding the state/federal bureaucracy required to make sure that the planes/trains work like they are supposed to, etc, etc, etc. All the costs need to factored in.

The previous poster daviseconomist is right on the money when he pointed out that HSR is competing against planes and/or cars, and not against a "no-build" option which doesn't exist. The extra people must be moved, the only question then becomes which mode is the most efficient.


Robert Cruickshank said...

jdez, exactly. I do live in Monterey. And HSR would make it SO much easier to travel around this state. Getting to Orange County to visit my family involves about a 5-hour trip if flying (counting travel time to the airport) and 7 hours if driving. Whereas Gilroy is 40 minutes away by car, 60 by bus, and will be about 90 minutes away by Caltrain when the Salinas extension opens in 2010 - and just another 2+ hours on the HSR train.

HSR will benefit many Californians, as its feeder lines bring those who don't live on the line itself to the system.

And "other robert," excellent stats on air travel subsidies. I will be sure to use that $1598 figure in the future against the usual conservative "oh my god we'll have to subsidize rail!" crap.

Anonymous said...

Here's another bit about the air travel situation:

Two key points:

1. "The system is getting very crowded, very congested at specific airports right now. But traffic is forecasted to grow two to three times above existing levels today– in the years 2020 to 2025 or so."

2. "The cost will be about $4 billion over the next five years or so. Our planning effort goes out to the 2020, 2025 range; the complete transformation runs from $15 to $22 billion. It’ll be a combination of both federal government and the operators in the system."

As was said before, there's no such thing as a "no build" option.

Anonymous said...

Quiet Rockland
Law Office of John J. Tormey III, Esq.
John J. Tormey III, PLLC
217 East 86th Street, PMB 221
New York, NY 10028 USA
(212) 410-2380 (fax)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quiet Rockland Urges America To REJECT Robert A. (“Bobby”) Sturgell As FAA Administrator

In the lyrics of Dewey Bunnell of the group America, from the 1971 song “Sandman”:

“All the planes have been – grounded”.

It’s time to bring back America. The REAL America. The FAA is more broken than the cracked airplanes it purports to regulate. FAA Head “Bobby” Sturgell is a losing legacy case – the son of J. Edgar Hoover’s personal secretary, planted years later at the FAA, an agency that the powers-that-be assumed Sturgell could never muck up.

Well, that failed legacy case named “Bobby” Sturgell DID muck it all up. Big time. The United States aviation system is now at flashpoint crisis.

Enter, Sandman.

Quiet Rockland opposes Robert A. “Bobby” Sturgell’s confirmation as FAA Administrator. Moreover, Quiet Rockland calls for “Bobby” Sturgell’s SUMMARY REMOVAL as Acting FAA Administrator.

“Bobby” Sturgell is an abominable public official. The current regime of the FAA is a dismal nightmare. The FAA is a guileful federal agency still dwelling in the pocket of industry. Together, Sturgell, the FAA, and the airlines derisively and contemptuously laugh at you and me, the American people – the people to whom this country belongs.

But no more.

This spring started with cracked Southwest Airlines planes. The FAA allowed these planes to remain in revenue service. The FAA allowed passengers to fly in these cracked airplanes. And Southwest was more than happy to take money from passengers for flying in these cracked planes. Now but a few weeks later, at least four (4) airlines have filed for federal bankruptcy protection, with more bankruptcy filings that may follow. The airline industry is disintegrating before our eyes just like the tired old defective planes which they pretend to maintain.

This past week saw record numbers, in the thousands, of planes grounded. The groundings are “Bobby” Sturgell’s fault. The groundings are the direct result of a previously-illusory safety inspection regime and the astounding and unlawful regulatory ineptitude of the FAA, now under FBI investigation and Congressional investigation. The results of the groundings to the everyday American, were and are intolerable. Many thousands of travelers were stranded, with no end to the problem in sight.

This is what “Bobby” Sturgell would have all Americans endure for FIVE more years if he is confirmed as FAA Administrator. He MUST be joking.

Moreover, “Bobby” Sturgell now threatens our national stability and security. As John Dean observed almost two generations ago at the outset of the long national nightmare known as Watergate, there is a cancer growing on the Presidency. There is a cancer growing on the Administration, and on this country. That very cancer is failed FAA Acting Administrator “Bobby” Sturgell himself, and the rogue dysfunctional federal agency known as the FAA. “Bobby” Sturgell must be ejected. The FAA must be repopulated with competent and honest federal officials.

As Senators Lautenberg and Menendez observed in a yesterday letter to “Bobby” Sturgell:

“The FAA’s hands-off approach to airline oversight has allowed …deliberate violations…, shoddy maintenance, incomplete record-keeping, and complacent oversight practices to fester”… “Why were… potentially unsafe planes allowed to fly…?”

Instead of protecting our safety like they are supposed to do, the FAA, in continuing complicity with the airlines, threatens hero aviation inspector whistleblowers. The House Transportation Committee hearing on Thursday April 3, 2008 exposed all of that in a 9-hour webcast, for all the world to see. As Congressman James Oberstar the Head of the House Transportation Committee observed, if last Thursday’s hearing “had been a grand jury proceeding, it would have resulted in indictments”.

Unbelievably, a few Senators, and even possibly the President, continue to this day to support “Bobby” Sturgell as FAA Head. Quiet Rockland disagrees. We are proud Americans who believe in the integrity of the American system of government. We want national stability, national security, aviation safety, environmental justice, and aviation justice. We’re sick of our country’s aviation system being laughed at by other countries. We want to foster continued public pride in our government, and a continued belief that the system works - in the eyes of U.S. citizens, and in the eyes of the rest of the world. “Bobby” Sturgell’s removal as Acting FAA Head is integral to these goals.

Even if you assume arguendo that Mr. Sturgell did not himself personally make or sanction threats against aviation safety whistleblowers, the offensive activity occurred at a failed federal agency under his watch. The April 3 House hearing chronicled many other of “Bobby” Sturgell’s FAA failures. During that hearing we also learned that circa 2003 the FAA launched a “Partnership Program” wherein individuals spent months hand-delivering packets to airlines, happily announcing that airlines had become the “customers” and “clients” of the FAA. That’s flat wrong. WE THE PEOPLE are the customers of the FAA. The FAA is supposed to regulate the airlines. The FAA is not supposed to kiss the backsides of the airlines. As for “Bobby” Sturgell’s role and involvement in all of this perversion of justice and dereliction of federal duty, one only need note that “Bobby” Sturgell started work at the FAA in the very same year as the “Partnership Program” was launched – 2003. “Bobby” Sturgell is a private dancer for the very airline industry that callously and inhumanly threatens our safety. Throw the bums out.

Quiet Rockland urges each Honorable U.S. Senator to further forestall any vote on “Bobby” Sturgell’s confirmation. Additionally, Quiet Rockland urges all Senators, and all Americans, to carefully consider the manifold reasons why any vote in support of “Bobby” Sturgell would be antithetical to the interests of this country and its citizens. What we want, is what is in the best interests of the American people – removal of “Bobby” Sturgell from office, NOW.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would continue to subject the American public to a steady stream of aircraft near-misses and near-disasters, such incidents occurring in epic numbers since “Bobby” Sturgell took over as Acting FAA Administrator half-a-year ago last fall.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would send us the message that it is perfectly normal for the Inspector General; the Government Accountability Office as the investigative arm of Congress; the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives; the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology; the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; civil litigators and the courts in no less than 13 federal court actions; and even now the FBI; to all be investigating the same failed federal agency at the same time.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would be the continued marriage of a failed bureaucrat and a failed agency that act in concert in purposefully blind ignorance of and to Homeland Security concerns.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would say it is OK for a regulator to totally fail to regulate.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would consecrate the further training of pilots at U.S.-based flight schools who themselves could be enemies dead-set on harming our country. That’s how 9/11 happened in the first place, and given Sturgell’s demonstrable contempt for the northeast, he doesn’t seem to mind.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA will ensure that aircraft repair will continue to be outsourced to facilities in foreign countries, with little or no screening procedures in effect to ensure that mechanic-enemies of our country will be kept away those planes. That is an outrage.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would stand for the principle that it is OK for a federal agency to be required to audit safety documents and safety compliance, only after they have been caught not doing same in the first instance over a period of many years. The compliance and enforcement measures taken now by FAA should have been done all along!

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA stands firmly for the proposition that “prudence” only “dictates” anything AFTER we have been caught asleep at the switch, and never BEFORE we have been caught asleep at the switch.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would signal to American citizens that it is absolutely normal for multiple major airlines like Southwest, United, American, and others to keep grounding thousands of aircraft for safety reasons while thereby stalling hundreds of thousands of passengers. The Sturgell FAA harms our economy at a time in history wherein we cannot afford to be harmed.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would tell American citizens that they were not at all put at risk when Southwest Airlines and Sturgell’s FAA allowed hundreds of thousands of them to fly in under-inspected and in some cases cracked aircraft, at risk of rudder-control failure, and with fuselage cracks being the same defect which caused loss of life in the Aloha Airlines disaster of 1988. Sturgell’s FAA all the while told us we were never safer. “Bobby” Sturgell’s initials of “B.S.” were never more appropriate.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA is a regime wherein false federal filings are made, with airlines telling ersatz federal “regulators” that hazardous planes had already been grounded when in fact they had not. The wink-and-nod between regulator and regulated, must stop.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA tells the American people that it is OK for the agency which is the regulator of our air safety, to be under federal and indeed FBI investigation for among other things threatening aviation safety inspector whistleblowers. Those threats are something a drug cartel would do to informants.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA is a federal agency run like a P.R. firm rather than as a responsible arms-length regulator objectively protecting our health and safety.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA tells us it is OK for an agency and the airlines to work together to enlist a goon-squad of spelling-challenged Internet “bloggers” to hit the message boards and tell the American people that air travel was never safer, whilst planes are grounded and falling apart in under-inspected disrepair.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would have us forget all about how Sturgell lied under oath, committed perjury, and acted in contempt of Congress on February 8, 2008 before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA ensures recidivist arrogance, non-responsiveness, equivocation, and evasiveness that characterizes Mr. Sturgell’s management style and that of his failed agency’s current management.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA sends a message to flyers that it is OK that airplane parts fly off in mid-flight and strike the passenger windows inches from their face – and that is OK for an airline to deny a dying passenger oxygen when she needs it – and that it is totally understandable for an in-flight pilot’s side-arm to be shot off while landing, puncturing a hole in the cockpit.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA IS the revival of the Oberstar-decried and Schiavo-decried “Tombstone Mentality” of the “Tombstone Agency” – the notion that “If the plane doesn’t crash, we’re doing great” – the notion that a federal agency is not required to anticipate and navigate around safety problems, but is instead only required to react if and when there is already a tombstone and post facto.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would be consistent with support of other failed federal agencies such as FEMA, HUD, and the Fed. Yesterday’s “He**uva Job Brownie” has now become today’s “He**uva Job Bobby” Presidential vote of confidence.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA is the imprimatur for further profligate federal spending, just like the US$53,500,000+ which Sturgell and his FAA cohorts already blew on the failed piece of software known as the NY/NJ/PHL Airspace Redesign. This Redesign has been called but a “Band-Aid solution” by FAA’s own COO Hank Krakowski. The Redesign wasn’t even originally engendered as a means to increase air-travel efficiency. The Redesign was first set in motion by NY-area air traffic controllers as a way to steer more air traffic their way from Boston and towards their own economic advantage. The Redesign was then re-purposed, re-tooled, and re-tread by Sturgell and FAA, once Sturgell and FAA realized they could use it to pad the pockets of their aero-mercantile cronies – and likely to their own personal economic advantage once they left the agency in the same manner that “Made” Marion Blakey recently did.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would sanction the further trampling of citizen due process rights of notice, opportunity to be heard, and meaningful involvement in the political process.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would mean that is just fine to purposefully over-saturate and over-schedule the skies, and then blame the American traveler for it, instead of rightfully blaming the pecuniary greed of the aeromercantile complex which really caused the delays and inefficiencies.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would mean it is OK for an agency-head to lie to the President of the United States himself and tell the President that an airspace redesign would create a 20% efficiency savings across all flights – when the agency’s own harbinger told communities not but a few weeks prior that the same redesign would only stand to save 3 minutes per flight. One must wonder how all flights could be 15 minutes long.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would be authorization for the FAA to continue to abrogate environmental justice. In Rockland County, NY, for example, if you are African-American, Jewish, working-class, or lower-income, then you can virtually bet that the FAA is seeking to fly low-altitude jumbo-jet aircraft over your head and home up to 600 times per day – and then lie to you when telling you that it was only the software and not FAA personnel that chose the flown-over neighborhoods. This is racism and classism by air. This will not be tolerated in the United States of America. Incidentally, if you are a member of any of these “minority” groups, you can also be virtually certain that there will be no job for you at the senior management levels of “Bobby” Sturgell’s FAA.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would tell us it is OK for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to revolt in anger against the FAA. Yet it is in this country’s interests to keep the Teamsters happy.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would tell us it is OK for FAA’s own aircraft inspectors to revolt against the FAA, too. Yet the inspectors are right. FAA management is wrong.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would give blessing to the continued anti-competitive and perpetual abuse by Sturgell and FAA of the most prized possession of the FAA workforce – the noble and skilled air traffic controllers who every day save the lives of passengers in the air, despite while enduring sub-human working conditions and the continued malicious FAA endeavor to break the ATC’s own labor union.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would mean it is OK for a true solo-pilot to have no idea how to handle his labor force - and for an FAA to tell controllers that if they think the NY/NJ/PHL Redesign is unsafe, then they can go look for work elsewhere.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would sanction safety-disasters-in-the-making at places like Florida radar and control towers, Chicago, Wisconsin, NY-area airports, and LAX runways. Pick a place. Sturgell has messed it up.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would retroactively sanctify Sturgell’s failure to timely implement NextGen technology, which put our lives at further risk thereby.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would work as a continued approval of the unlawful misconduct of an FAA Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) unit that continues to conceal, lie, deceive, and falsify documents.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would tell any one of us that yes, we, too, can grow up the son of J. Edgar Hoover’s personal secretary, in a family-owned biker-bar in Deale Maryland where biker recruiting-sessions and gunshots occur, and where outdoor signs are tolerated to post which insult patrons who are bikers, male homosexuals, and African-Americans – and then we can grow up to head a federal agency using a lawless yahoo-sounding undignified nickname like “Bobby” while running the place like the Dukes of Hazzard - just as long as once Quiet Rockland figures out it is our own family that owns that biker bar, we put the biker bar up for sale on Craig’s List before anyone else might hear about it. See:

(Incidentally, the seller just took down the “Happy Harbor” Craig’s List posting!).

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would indicate to the American people that they should simply stomach and not object to - in the words of Rep. Oberstar when speaking about Southwest and the FAA - the worst aviation safety problem Mr. Oberstar has seen during all of his 23 years on the job.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would tell federal agencies that it is OK to collaborate with other federal agencies like NASA so as to purposefully obfuscate and conceal needed flight-safety data from the American people, and then release it on New Year’s Eve when it is hoped that every citizen will be watching the ball drop instead of paying attention.

A “Bobby” Sturgell FAA would further shake and threaten the American economy, and further give other economic competitors in countries like China, Germany, Japan, India and elsewhere the further leg-up – at a time in history when we need to compete as opposed to be led by inept bureaucrats and be laughed at by those countries.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The talent pool is deeper than this. There is more to leadership than rhapsodizing through one’s old aviator goggles.

We have an ugly aviation safety crisis and scandal on our hands. Let’s wash our hands of it.

Let’s wash our hands of “Bobby” Sturgell and his [f]ailed [a]viation [a]dministration.

Quiet Rockland urges all Americans to Just Say No to “Bobby” Sturgell. Quiet Rockland urges all Americans to let all of our elected officials hear that, loud and clear.

Enter, Sandman.

Respectfully submitted,

John J. Tormey III, Esq.
Quiet Rockland