Consulting the Obvious



Did I read correctly that the Council voted to authorize $50,000 for another study of the broken Blue and White City bus system? (“Debating Ways to Keep the Buses Rolling,” April 12 edition) And this is because the Council needs a “real expert” to tell them that the buses are empty most of the time and the system is sucking the parking fund dry. You’re kidding, right? That amounts to $2 per person for every resident in the city to study the obvious, which are imaginary passengers in a costly and underperforming bus system that even the City Council won’t ride.

Do you remember the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” about two weavers (city staff and consultants) who promise their Emperor (the Council) a new suit of clothes (riders on our buses) that is invisible to those unfit for their positions or are incompetent. When the Emperor (Council) parades before the subjects (Residents) in his new clothes (the $50,000 consultant study), someone cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” which translates to the buses are still empty. Because dear reader, the Blue and White buses have been and will continue to be underutilized and are a colossal failure for the residential areas on and off season.

So it takes a $50,000 study to state the obvious? Times must be really good to blow off fifty grand to a lucky consultant, kind-of like hitting the lottery for dusting off old reports to re-state the obvious (as a retired consultant these are great and profitable studies for lazy clients).

The Emperor (Council) who voted to proceed needs a whack on the side of the head for pretending there is a solution for the Blue and White fleet of empty buses.  There is: mothball them in the off-season and put a fraction of the money toward subsidizing taxi service 24/7. There, just saved $50,000. You’re welcome.

As a side note, the on-season trolley system is a different story as it provides a huge benefit to visitors, residents, and business. Increase the city’s insanely low parking rates to cover the costs of this service. There are too many visitors using our lots and going to the beach with zero return to many of our business folks. There, just saved another $50,000 in a consulting fee!

Come on Council, make some decisions that need to be made without studying things to death.


Victor Opincar, Laguna Beach

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  1. However, Vic Opincar….let’s look at the flip side. Not everyone has a car. Kids who aren’t driving yet. Nannies and other domestic helpers. People whose cars are in the shop. People like my neighbor who hates the downtown parking hassle and is too parsimonious to purchase a parking sticker. Folks like an acquaintance who got a DUI and is without a license for a while. Parents of young children who creatively make a morning’s entertainment of riding the little bus downtown to have a muffin and take it home again. Folks who simply need to get around town. The sign of a sophisticated city is one that does not depend solely on individual motorized transportation. There are only so many parking spaces, and when you consider that each metal and plastic beast requires at least 15 feet of curb space, we run out of space pretty quickly. Before we throw this baby out with the bathwater, let’s encourage ridership and find ways to keep the buses running. Without them, we are just another boring bedroom community with a myopic, backward-looking view of personal transportation: one car per person. It won’t get us where we need to go.


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