Friday, May 6, 2016

Big news from Brightline and why we need more people like Lantana's Mr. Kovalsky to write letters to the editor

To learn how to get a "Letter to the Editor" published in The Palm Beach Post see how at the end of this blog post. Below is the press release from Brightline (formerly All Aboard Florida):

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

MIAMI – Brightline, an intercity passenger rail service in Florida, today made the following statement about the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) review and approval [emphasis added] of the company's final grade crossing design plans for Brevard and Indian River counties.
     "Today we have achieved another significant step towards the completion of our project. Consistent with our initial commitment to the Treasure Coast, we provided final engineering plans that included safety improvements for FRA’s review. The agency has now completed its review of our plans for Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Brevard counties and affirmed that we are in full compliance with applicable requirements.
     [and. . .] We look forward to starting service mid-2017.”

Below is a letter to the editor about Brightline that appeared in the print edition on Friday, April 30th. But we'll get to that a little later. Yesterday (5/5) was a particularly bad day for the City of Lake Worth in The Palm Beach Post's editorial page and was topped off by this gem:

"Striving to find a creative and new way to solve the financial woes in Lake Worth has been illustrated recently by fifth-grade students at Hidden Oaks Elementary, who created a miniature city powered by renewable energy ('Students’ ‘Electric City’ teaches energy efficiency,' April 21)."

If the letter writer above was paying any attention at all would know Lake Worth is building a solar energy field at the old trash dump. And the logic of a city with "financial woes" retooling the Electric Utility on a model developed by 5th graders trends towards the delusional, the "Yellow Brick Road" variety. Sadly, in the minds of too many people in this City, the logic above would make him a perfect candidate to appear on a future City ballot.

Anyhow, back to Brightline. The letter below demonstrates why more people need to take time to write letters to the editor. As shown above, the paper is having some trouble in that department. Below, without comment, and in its entirety is this letter titled, "All Aboard’s coming; better get used to it":

In the April 22 letter “All Aboard won’t survive scrutiny,” the writer manages to restate fear-based talking points while sidestepping reality. [emphasis added] He says it’s not a done deal?
     Has he looked recently at the stations rising out of the ground in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami? Has he noticed the progress, as crossings are upgraded and the second track is replaced all along the Florida East Coast Railway corridor in this area?
     Next he recounts how the bonds haven’t sold yet; that is a fact, but it’s nothing limited to the All Aboard Florida project. The speculative bond market is weak across the country.
     He then tries to scare people about the “toxic loads” that freight trains carry. The fact that toxic materials get transported is a fact of life. Perhaps the writer would prefer those materials move by truck, so that we can all pay more for them; then, we can be more likely to have the materials involved in a crash.
     Finally, he circles back to the “move it west” argument, to move the tracks to “less populated areas.” The CSX and the FEC tracks run through Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, so the populations are the same there.
     But as CSX’s tracks veer to the middle of the state, they pass through downtown Orlando. So much for that “less populated” argument.


To get your Letter to the Editor published in the Post send email to (Letters are subject to editing and must include the writer’s name, address, e-mail address and daytime phone number. Preferred length is a maximum of 200 words.)