Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Now that the editor and their pundit at The Palm Beach Post are backpedalling faster than a Brightline train. . .

It’s time to take a look back:

All those letters to the editor,
“laced with not too subtle

Below is an excerpt from a true gem published on the Post’s editorial page shortly prior to the launch of Brightline passenger rail last weekend,

“After hearing about the horrendous accident of the high-speed train in Washington state . . . Which of these human frailties also lurk within the Brightline organization?”

Really. Don’t you just shudder and get frightened when you read the word ‘lurk’?

Very profound. Planes and cars crash, ships sink,
and satellite launches fail. . . are all those to be
abandoned due to risk? How many people were
killed on I-95 last year? So far this year?
Because everyone knows, “It’s All About Risk”!

However, keep in mind the fundamental rule about traffic: Building new lanes for cars and trucks just creates more traffic. And more fatalities too.

You see, it’s in those ‘Letters to the Editor’ that the editor(s) try to shape public opinion and it rarely if ever works. Just like in another recent example on the issue of medical marijuana. Just wondering, how many positive letters about Brightline and medical marijuana got tossed by the editor(s)?\

That last negative letter about Brightline, the final one of the series, was published in the Post in late December and like the others was “laced with not too subtle fear-mongering.” It was preceded another gem a few days earlier, the letter writer starts of with this line, “I think we all know the train traffic will be freight, not passenger Brightline trains.” Then concludes with this line,
“Horns are not needed and are obnoxious.”
The first line, “I think we all know. . .”  uses what’s called the bandwagon fallacy and the second sentence about train horns is so illogical there is no logical name for it; but the hasty generalization and subjectivist fallacies come close.

As inane as these letters are about Brightline, what would be even more pointless is anyone such as Mr. Myers or Mr. Kovalsky responding to any of it. Who are Messrs. Myers and Kovalsky? Please continue reading.

Or one could also refer to this “fear-mongering” about Brightline as, “bringing buckets of water to yesterday’s fire.” Find out why a little later.

What follows is the original blog post from December 13th when these letters began appearing on the editorial page:

Tequesta resident Dennis Myers and West Palm Beach resident Jim Kovalsky both deserve a lot of credit. If you didn’t know, one of the not-so-clever ways the editors at the Post try to stir up trouble is by publishing ‘letters’ on the editorial page, “laced with not too subtle fear-mongering.”

Brightline was a target in 2016 for several weeks and was once again the target recently with this gem of a letter, “With Brightline, 32 more train trips a day: Do the math”. A logical question to ask the letter writer is why did you wait so long to ‘Do the math’? On this blog I’ve been following the progress of All Aboard Florida, later renamed Brightline, since way back in 2014!

Ergo the reference above to “bringing buckets
of water to yesterday’s fire.”

Anyhow. Back in June 2016 Mr. Myers of Tequesta dealt with all that illogical hysterics and bandwagon fallacies concerning letters published with so-called ‘concerns’ and fears about the Brightline passenger rail service project:

Recent weeks have seen letters to The Palm Beach Post voicing renewed outrage [emphasis added] over the potential damage expanding the local railway system will bring to the quality of our lives. Sentiments range from exaggerated speculation countered by point-of-fact responses to earnest opposition laced with not too subtle fear-mongering. For me, however, all the hand-wringing comments miss several key points in the argument.

To read Mr. Myers’ “key points in the argument” click on this link.

Now comes Jim Kovalsky
to the rescue!

Following the letter published recently in the Post about the soon-to-begin Brightline passenger rail service and ‘Do the math’, Mr. Kovalsky fired back with his own letter titled, “Don’t stop on tracks: Train problem solved; here are excerpts from that letter which appears in yesterday’s (12/13) print edition:

I applaud Jack Felton for being concerned for the public’s safety as Brightline prepares to start their new express train service here in South Florida, but his math is mistaken and his fear misplaced. [emphasis added]
     He attempts to use mathematics to make his concern appear valid, but as someone with a degree in mathematics and computer science, I would paint a different picture.
     The FEC Railway currently runs approximately 20 trains daily between Jacksonville and Hialeah, and each of those trains crosses almost 500 crossings in every trip. That tells us that already the crossing signals protect us successfully at 3.5 million grade crossing activations each year.
     When there are incidents at a grade crossing, the horn or lack of horn is not the cause — 100 percent of grade crossing accidents are caused by people stopping their vehicles on the tracks. Here’s a simple solution for everyone — and it’s also a state law (FS 316.1945) — never stop on the tracks.

and. . .

     Remember, the train does not swerve off the tracks to hit a car. The car must be in the train’s way to get hit, and we are all responsible for maintaining our own safety.

Well put, Mr. Kovalsky. And a big Thank You to Mr. Myers as well for addressing those ‘concerns’ and open-ended speculation “laced with not too subtle fear-mongering.”

By the way, have you ever wanted to write a Letter to the Editor (LTE)? It’s easy and only takes 5–10 minutes. Click on this link for the details with helpful tips and most importantly, explains how to “follow up” your LTE and get your letter published.

Whilst on the topic of Brightline hope you enjoy the video below and find this blog post informative as well about our tour last July of the West Palm Beach station sponsored by the Palm Beach County Planning Congress in collaboration with the West Palm Beach Downtown Neighborhood Assoc.: