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Re: Ron needs to learn how to write better arguments

Posted by JohnL on Sun Jul 30 19:16:53 2006, in response to Re: WillD needs to learn more., posted by RonInBayside on Sun Jul 30 12:50:32 2006.

Let’s review:

Your basic point about light rail not being useless in general is a good one.

However, you stumble here:

Oh dear, stumble! Perjorative word. Insult couched as fact. Maybe a phrase “I think you missed som political points…”

"Too bad the MTA shares your close minded outlook."

From WillD’s post. Not a good sentence, but there is some frustration here.

Your lack of experience and knowledge comes into play here. Why would MTA not build light rail?

Let’s delete the first sentence, as it is condescending. Perhaps phrase it as “From an engineering point of view…but there are other factors…”

1) NIMBY factor - why? Because politiciansd call MTA and and the Governor and if they out muscle the proponents MTA has to hesitate. That's deomocracy. In the Soviet Union and in China today, it was/is much easier to get things done. You just throw opponents in jail.

Good point.

2) Introducing light rail: Unlike NJT, MTA has no in-house experience in light rail, nor support infrastructure. Supporting light rail means hiring engineers, administrators and operators who know all about it, if you want to avoid mistakes and pitfalls. One way to do that might be to ask NJT or SEPTA or MBTA to build and run it on contract while you get your own organization up and running.

Good point: John comment: Most likely true. We don’t know that the MTA has no in-house expertise, we do know that the MTA isn’t responsible for a light rail system. But it’s also possible to build up the expertise while someone else builds the system.

The legal, administrative and political hurdles are enormous (but it's not impossible to do).

Maybe true. You don’t say why. I think I would disagree with this as there are currently two high-profile DBOM contracts in the region that I can think of off the top of my head: JFK AirTrain and the RiverLine.

That's why you really need to think this through. You think about the tracks and the wheels and the electricity, and forget that this is also about people. If people do not agree with you, they are closed-minded, morons or just incompetent. Do you know what they really think over at 2 Broadway? If MTA hired you tomorrow, would you be able to handle it?

Delete paragraph. Condescending and doesn’t add to the argument.

I'm happy to see the Rockaway ROW turn into an expansion of a park. If light rail advocates were to succeed in getting a trolley up there, fine too. I'm not going to oppose it, even if I live there.

I'm not saying you are wrong about light rail. But successful engineers always think about people.

Kelly Johnson, Ben Rich and Ed Heinemann (look them up!) are legends in aerospace engineering NOT just because they knew their science, but because THEY UNDERSTOOD THEIR AUDIENCE AND UNDERSTOOD THE POLITICS and how to handle them. Hyman Rickover understood reactors and control rods and submarines and he seemed always to be able to get around people who opposed him not because he was so superior in science (he was superior, but so what?) but because he had patrons and he was careful never to cross them.

Irrelevant. The main job of an engineer is to be an engineer and come up with engineering solutions. Other members of a team work the financial/social/political aspects. I can assure you that the chief engineer of ESA (to pick a project at random) spends a relatively small portion of his time dealing with NIMBY issues, though he (she?) may attend outreach meetings occasionally to present some of the engineering issues of the construction.

It takes time to pick up on that - and you're not there yet.

More condescention. Strike.


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