Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad

EDITOR:

As the grandson of two railroad men, I was raised with a love of the rails that has remained with me long after their respective passings. The story of our railroads is inextricably intertwined with the colorful history of this beautiful area in which we make our homes. These days, I enjoy passing on to my own grandchildren the stories of their great-great grandfathers and the majestic, marvelous machines they created and maintained — which built our modern country — by taking them to railroad museums and on excursion rides.

I have watched with great interest the debate over what will become of the former line from Folsom to Placerville. I appreciate the newly completed walking trail from Missouri Flat Road to Forni Road and use it often with my family since it passes directly west of our home. It is a wonderful addition to the county, but I wonder why it could not have been built alongside an upgraded rail bed that could have been used for excursion trains, as well, as is now done in Folsom. With the Folsom, El Dorado and Sacramento Historical Railroad Association — FEDSHRA — already in place and the city of Folsom and County of Sacramento on agreement on the use, it seems a sad waste of a precious, historical resource to tear up the track and convert the section of line from White Rock to Shingle Springs into simply a walking trail alone. As a young man I watched with great sadness the incredible shortsightedness of the City of Sacramento, as they refused the generous offer from the Safeway corporation (which owned the rights) to sell the City the historic and beautiful Alhambra theater. After the City’s unbelievable rejection, Safeway tore the structure down and built their existing market at Alhambra and J, leaving only a “wailing wall” to mark what had been a cultural icon for the city and which could have become, with public and private community involvement, a renewed cultural gem … perhaps a home for the symphony and ballet, to name only two possibilities.

If civic leaders considered merely allowing the demolition of such an historic landmark today, they would be taken out and shot, for once historical treasures are gone, they are gone forever. I urge all to support a plan whereby the interests of all concerned parties may be met. There is no reason why a recreational, excursion rail line and a pedestrian trail cannot coexist and thereby enable the subject land to achieve its highest and best public use.

STEVEN C. SEITHER
Placerville

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 18 comments

  • 1036-FrankMarch 11, 2013 - 7:33 pm

    There is a majority of residents who support the use and preservation of the rails as has been stated many times before by many people now a rail line is decaying and dormant after many volunteer hours were spent maintaining it. There were three stooges n the BOS who opposed the use of the rails from Folsom into the county, two of them are gone, thankfully. it appears corruption and developer interests are behind it. There really is no other explanation. "Corruption County" is well deserved and the fight to change it and hold those responsible goes forward and will continue.

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  • Judith MathatMarch 11, 2013 - 8:30 pm

    Below Stephen is the real reason the county and this publication are not revealing why the tracks are being targeted for removal. Two years ago I pulled the available information as to who owned the properties adjacent to the tracks from the county line through Shingle Springs, I also checked on the donations from the 460's two years of(campaign records) of the two supervisors that were most likely to have standing with those owners in their districts, mostly District II, it was not surprising to me who donated the most to whom. Next I listened to the proponents of the rails and the class one bike trails and found out the proponent of the bike trail was also an investment counselor with Wells Fargo Bank so who do you think was chasing who's tail. He also was put on the county committee to "see if we can all get along" and work together, thank goodness I heard he was removed, now his supporters are out there trying to scare the citizenry in El Dorado Hills about having a train in their backyards and the real need for those same people to understand what will happen if those track's are [pulled is exactly THIS::: The density bonus' for donating open space does not include rail lines for the public good. It would allow for the developer of those projects to put in not just 1 unit per planned community project unit but 1.5 units!! Now you know what MONDEY POWER AND GREED does to the formula and for those in El Dorado Hills who are not aware, you will get 1 1/2 houses per unit instead of just one and you will suffer the traffic and congestion and over building due to the fact that they are telling you you do not want a smelly noisy and old tourist excursion train running through your development. (Yes the property owners who own a lot next to a rail bed will not be as valuable as one next to a bike trail, until they realize they will have lots of public traversing their properties (Check American River Bike Trail and crime)and those who are going by on a little train a couple of times a week who never get off the train would ever do. All should have what they want, trails, rails and equestrians and hikers and bikers. Only the elitist who do not want to pay their way are for taking away the rights of the whole for their benefit. Read the density bonus' part of the General Plan for EDC and you will find the truth. Truth by the developers and their henchmen would be gracious for those who are not so empowered by the thought of dollars and those who are empowered by leaving a legacy of best use for the community! Leaving the history of the oldest rail bed in the state to our progeny to enjoy as time allowed development of the entire system, not piecemeal it to death. El Dorado County General Plan Land Use Element OBJECTIVE 2.2.4: DENSITY BONUS Provide for incentives which encourage the utilization of the Planned Development concept and further the provision of public benefits as a component of development. Policy 2.2.4.1 Planned Developments shall be provided additional residential units (density bonus), in accordance with A through C, for the provision of otherwise developable lands set aside for public benefit including open space, wildlife habitat areas, parks (parkland provided in excess of that required by the Quimby Act), ball fields, or other uses determined to provide a bona fide public benefit. (See example below.) A. Maximum Density: The maximum density created utilizing the density bonus provisions shall not exceed the maximum density permitted by the General Plan land use designation as calculated for the entire project area except as provided for by Section B. B. In addition to the number of base units, one and one half (1.5) dwelling units may be provided for Planned Developments within a planning concept area for each unit of developable land dedicated to public benefit. In calculating the maximum density permitted by the General Plan land use designation, the County shall include acreage of undevelopable land, except as excluded in Policy 2.2.3.2. C. Public Benefit: Lands set aside for public benefit, as used herein, shall be those lands made available to the general public including but not limited to open space areas, parks, and wildlife habitat areas. So you see Steven, it simply is a matter of greed and politics. What else is different in EDC.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 11, 2013 - 8:38 pm

    Judith ...This is what I have found as well..it is so sad. And the different groups behind all of this--no one cares about heritage at all. In the next few years--some will become very very rich. The people up here have been so manipulated...is so sad. I feel for my grandson--its hard for me to picture the people who will be in charge of his future.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 11, 2013 - 9:00 pm

    more advisory items...Jeannie harper is there as well as some from our town meetings...Id ask them about "heritage" trails and rails...http://www.edctc.org/EDCTC-3/1_ASSETS/CONTENT/LIBRARY/EDCPark-TrailsMasterPlan.pdf Im sorry about the rails--I agree things can live next to each other--but when dealing with grants and money--you have to play the game--or you get none. A group deciding for all...ummmm

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 11, 2013 - 9:09 pm

    "Parks and trails provide an important building block for community identity in many ways." Theres that word again "identity" --some have decided that your rails dont fit the "identity" of the community. Here in Pollock I said "lumber"...I am now consider a "derail-er" I guess they didnt see the trees...I threw them with Mr. Pollock being a "lumber" guy. Maybe if you tell them people would love to go hotel to hotel in their density environments by historic rails--oh wait...think green...they did follow rails--but used bike trails...there is lots and lots of money going 'green"...sorry about the rails. History.

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  • EldoradoMarch 11, 2013 - 9:36 pm

    Years ago when DOT jerked the rails out at the Missouri Flat Road crossing, they condemned the future use of the rails beyond that point. To put them back would mean meeting new regulations to the tune of $250,000 or more, I am told.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 11, 2013 - 9:41 pm

    I dont think they are putting them back--it doesnt fit sustainability rules...these are the ideas where the funds will come from to maintain these "green" ideas (a group workshop of people decided) 3. Where should the resources needed to implement the trail vision come from?  Fines  Property tax  Sales tax  Special recreation tax  Development fees  Traffic mitigation fees  Bicycle and dog license fees  Trail head parking fees  OHV sticker fees  Vehicle registration fees  Other use fees  General Fund  Grants from state and federal agencies  Grants from special interest sources such as wellness and environmental organizations  Volunteer groups  Fund raising activities and events  Memorial funds, endowments, and contributions Trail You can read about it in the link i posted before.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 11, 2013 - 9:44 pm

    Pollock Pines Workshop The workshop at the Pollock Pines/Camino Community Center was attended by nine people. Given the small number of attendees, the workshop was structured as an interactive discussion about park opportunities, issues, and priorities. The following ideas and concerns were expressed.  Pollock Pines Community Church is considering developing a small park with picnic areas and play structures on church owned property that would available for community use. What other private/public partnerships are possible?  A portion of the EID property along the eastern boundary of Forebay Reservoir is currently unimproved. Participants were interested in exploring the potential for additional passive recreation use such as trails, play structures, and picnic areas to complement the existing recreation activities allowed at Forebay Reservoir. EID is currently planning and designing the El Dorado Forebay Remediation Project that will result in an enlargement of the facilities to meet dam safety requirements and increase the emergency water supply. The project is scheduled for construction in 2013 or 2014. The potential for expanding the passive recreation uses around the reservoir would need to be compatible with the remediation project...and it goes on...lololol

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  • James HarvilleMarch 12, 2013 - 10:54 pm

    Fear Not! -The Railroad is alive and kicking, and with the recent changes to the BOS the future looks promising! -I want to thank Steven Seither for his articulate and thoughtful comments. -As a member of both the aforementioned FEDSHRA, as well as the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation (EDWRF)which works in conjunction with the County Museum, I can assure you that our region's railroaders have not been idle. -The JPA which owns the corridor for the benefit of ALL it's member agencies has rejected EDC's request to remove the rails. Track improvement continues in the section from Shingle Springs to Mo Flat under the direction of EDWRF, and in Folsom and Sac County under the direction of FEDSHRA/P&SVRR. The switch for a runaround siding is being installed in Shingle Springs by EDWRF. The ground work for the White Rock Road grade crossing signals begins this week, in order to install the lights and crossing arms that have been painstakingly restored over the last year by the P&SVRR Signal Department, with the help and support of the State Railroad Museum. -The Corridor Oversight Committee, originally expected to have a built in bias towards the trails, has instead evolved into a well balanced forum which has identified many projects that both rails AND trails enthusiasts can agree on. So much so, in fact, that I estimate the County can stay busy on the corridor for the next year just on the items and issues that both sides want! -Do not misunderstand... There are plenty of struggles ahead, plenty of folks who want to "pick at scabs" and try to obstruct our progress. In order to preserve this priceless treasure we have to continue to keep our elected officials focused on the TRUE will of the community, and not let a misguided vocal minority or strong developer interests sway them. -The future is bright, as long as we all stay involved! Please contact ALL the Supervisors and support the Rails WITH Trails vision for the ENTIRE corridor that the Parks and Recreation Commission approved on a 4-0 vote early last year, and insist that the Supervisors stop dragging their feet on this issue! James M. Harville President - P&SVRR Member - FEDSHRA Member - EDWRF Member - Sacramento Placerville Transportation Corridor Oversight Committee

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 13, 2013 - 12:25 am

    Approved Action text: The Board of Supervisors heard Items 23(10-1169), 24(11-0892), 25(11-0953) and 37(11-0959) together and made the following motion: A motion was made by Supervisor Knight, seconded by Supervisor Briggs, as follows: 1) Request that Supervisor Knight work with County Counsel to write a formal written request to the JPA to allow El Dorado County to remove the rails in Segment 1 and the request should also include the beneficiary of proceeds from the salvage (Item 23); 2) Direct staff to create a Sacramento Placerville Transportation Corridor oversight committee which contains a cross section of interested parties and define the tasks which they will be advising the Board on, which will include the short term use of the segments of the entire corridor (Items 25 & 37); 3) Direct staff to return with the proposed members of the oversight committee in September (Item 25); and 4) Direct staff to update the outline of the process to remove the rail in Segment 1 and to construct a trail (Item 23). Who got the money for the rails ?

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 13, 2013 - 12:45 am

    I have a question...Sacramento - Placerville Transportation Corridor Oversight Committee (Advisory to the Trails Comm.)Are you guys yet another advisory board of volunteers that also advise the trails advisory board? One would think we might have too many advisory boards...im going to need a write board to sort all these names out. I do see several names repeated through many boards. Oversite or not...I hope that you are right and whatever is happening is what a whole community wants.

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  • James HarvilleMarch 13, 2013 - 8:50 am

    Francesca, to answer your first question first, EDC would be the beneficiary of any asset sales from the EDC portion of the corridor. However, the other member agencies in the JPA are currently adamant that the rail infrastructure remain at this time. This could change in the future, but is highly unlikely! Of the twenty or so representatives on the boards/councils of the other member agencies, only ONE PERSON has voted against our Rails WITH Trails proposals! The rub is that although the JPA can prevent EDC from removing the rails, they cannot force EDC to allow the railroad groups access to the rails for other than basic maintenance.... That's where the public comes in! Write, Write, Write!!

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 13, 2013 - 8:56 am

    Thank you for your answer James...I grew up In Los Angeles --in our schools down there we really focused on the history of up here--I want my grandson to be able to hold on to the history of his past. Ironically for a masters class in a Art Education class--my report was on train stations in america during the nineteenth century--there is so much beauty along side the romance of the "train"...I hope you are right --that trains are doing well.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 13, 2013 - 8:59 am

    The beginning of the 20th century was "magic" for trains.

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  • James HarvilleMarch 13, 2013 - 9:19 am

    In regards to the Oversight Committee, it was originally created because of the VERY specific challenges faced on the railroad corridor that are not a factor in the management of the County's other parks and trails. This committee may blend into the Trails Advisory Committee in the future, be disbanded, or shift to an Ad-Hoc basis, only time will tell. Steve Yonkers of the Parks and Rec Commission favors a hybrid arrangement he has used successfully in the past, where we have a standing committee, but only meet on a very project specific schedule. This allows the Commission to task the advisory committees with issues brought to the Commission by the community, but reduces the bureaucratic "five committees working on the same thing" issue! You might want to call Steve and voice your support for his idea...

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 13, 2013 - 9:24 am

    thank you James

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  • cookie65March 13, 2013 - 7:59 pm

    Steven, there is a book you would really enjoy. "Nothing Like It in the World" : The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 [Stephen E. Ambrose]

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  • Sue TaylorMarch 14, 2013 - 12:17 am

    Thanks Jim! Nice to hear good news! People just need to experience how cool the trains are. I was lucky and got to ride them a lot growing up. Great memories! A 10 mile an hour train should not be freaking people out. I would much rather have a train every once in a while than see the area built out. I miss hearing the logging trucks in Camino. To me it meant industry - people working.

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