I started working my way through law school at Berkeley by serving process and writing complaints for a personal injury lawyer who had his offices in the old Alaska Commercial Building in S.F. By 2nd year I was able to move up to part-time civil service as a way to pay the bills; I moonlighted 20 hours a week as a clerk/analyst/go-fer for the California Coastal Commission. They were just getting started and the "smart money" among the bureaucrats was that they might not last so, for a brief period in the early 70s, the place was actually under-staffed.

In addition to its other idiocies, Harvard in the 1960s required its architecture students to learn what was then called "city planning" but soon became "urban". Being able to claim that I had "studied" urban planning was what got me the job with the Coastal Commission. It was colorably true; I had taken the courses, but it would not be completely honest to say I had studied. The subject did not require it. If only for amusement and to profit from the profession's cult rituals (restricting urban land use does NOT, we repeat, NOT drive up the prices for homes and apartments), I have kept up with the "profession's" latest efforts to make us all broke and miserable in the name of public transit. Here is my latest discovery:

Houston has $587 million for its new light-rail system. It has cost - so far - $3,000 an inch ($587 million/3.3 miles).

The first light-rail system built in the U.S. since the 1890s was the San Diego Blue Line aka the Tijuana Trolley; it was completed in 1981 and cost slightly less than $10 million a mile ($157 an inch).

The two systems have the same carrying capacity.


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