Mailbag: Riverside to O.C. tunnel a costly endeavor

Regarding Roger von Butow’s letter (“Tunnel project should be stoped," Feb. 12) concerning the proposed Riverside to Orange County tunnel.

These sorts of projects are so “20th century." Hasn’t anyone realized we are heading into a completely different world? Business-as-usual will not be possible in the not-too-distant future. Have any of these politicians and transport planners promoting this project heard of “peak oil?" There simply will not be thousands of single-occupancy vehicles being driven from home to work by commuters paying tolls to pay for this boondoggle and environmental disaster. It’s all going to come to a grinding halt.

Here’s why. All the available low-cost oil has been exploited. All the low-cost sources are in decline. The source nations (Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, etc.) are using increasing amounts of their own oil leaving less for us. Our own sources are prohibitively expensive to exploit and extremely environmentally damaging e.g.. Canadian tar sands and deep water in the Arctic. The respected Canadian energy economist Jeff Rubin is predicting $200 a barrel oil ($7 per gallon at the pump) in the next 12 to 15 months, depending on the strength of the economic recovery.

If anybody plans to spend $8.6 billion on a transportation project based on private automobiles, they had better cost it out at seven bucks a gallon, and then see if it makes any sense. Because if it doesn’t, it’s going to be one gigantic “stranded asset" that will cost us, the taxpayers, dearly.


And to figure it assuming that everybody will be driving hybrids or electric cars would be fatuous. It ain’t gonna happen. It takes cheap energy just to make these things (embodied energy). The cost of everything is going to rise.

A rail tunnel only for electric trains might make sense, because we are going to need a whole lot more public transit in the future.

Here’s the link to Jeff Rubin’s video:



Laguna Beach

Fireworks donations have been slim

I can’t believe it! Two weeks ago I asked everybody to donate to a fireworks fund so that Laguna could put on a show. The city needed maybe $25,000 or so. As of Feb. 17 we have this kind of outpouring:

Donor from last year: $2,500;

New donor: $50;

Me: $50;

Chamber of Commerce members: ZERO;

City employees: ZERO;


Police and Fire departments: ZERO;

VFW/American Legion: ZERO;

Rotary/Ebell Clubs, etc.: ZERO;

Local churches: ZERO;

Boys and Girl Scouts: ZERO;

Local hotels and motels: ZERO;

Local shopkeepers: ZERO;

Festival of the Arts, Sawdust and Art-a-Fair: ZERO;


I’ll ask again, even if I feel I’m talking to an empty room, please send a check to:

Ken Frank, City Manager

505 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach CA 92651

Mark them for “7/4/1010 Fireworks Only." Mayor Elizabeth Pearson says if the goal isn’t reached the money will be returned.


Laguna Beach

Street sanity can be found at website

In case you’re wondering what can be done to bring sanity to our streets, go to the National Complete Streets Coalition website.

Read about the good news from around the U.S. dealing with complete streets legislation.

Consider signing up to receive their e-newsletter,


Laguna Beach