Just east of the Merced County city of Los Banos there is a road called Santa Fe Grade. Today it is known to local media primarily as a dumping ground for murder victims, but its founding is more illustrious. The Atcheson Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad wanted to build a railroad line there to compete with the Southern Pacific railroad down the 99 Highway. Henry Miller, cattle baron and owner of Miller & Lux Cattle Co., headquartered in Los Banos, permitted the easement for the road across his land but later broke the contract with ATSF, and turned the graded road, prepared for tracks, into a road for horses, trucks and cars. As we contemplate the utterly predictable cost overruns on the California bullet train, now more than doubled from the $40-billion stated in the proposition approved by voters in 2008, we recall the humble Santa Fe Grade Road, next to final resting place for many a poor boy and girl involved in illegal trades. We imagine one fine day a decade or two hence when whatever government or consortium of jurisdictions has the authority to do so, will abandon this project.
We admire Jerry Brown greatly for many of his decisions and regard him at this exciting historical moment as a leader manning the barracade against Ol' Yellow Hair from the Potomac. But his legacy jones undercuts every sound-government decision he makes. He wants a tunnel so that fresh water can flow around and under the Delta and connect with the State Water Project, named on every little bridge that crosses it, the Gov. Edmund G. Brown California Aqueduct. The tunnel will no doubt be called the Gov. Edmund G. Brown Junior California Aqueduct, or "Junior's Ditch" for short. But perhaps on that great day most of us will not live to see when government finally throws in the towel and refuses to send several billion more down the road to build the bullet train, they will realize that with only a few billion more for sand and asphalt they can have a brand new highway.
Let us suggest they call it I, Moonbeam. -- blj