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A Tale Of Two Cities
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Dear Editor,

ROTA, The Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority held a meeting on June 8, 2010 to discuss a possible addition to service consisting of a “shopping trolley” each Tuesday between these two cities. The newspaper’s front page story on this was done by the well-written John Branch, editor of The Riverbank News and a staff writer for The Oakdale Leader.

The column-inch budget for this edition was generously given in large part because someone thought the story important. Certainly, I do, and ask readers of this to consider that:

The voting citizens of all ages have now been told at this ROTA meeting that the transit authority can provide this service for six months at a cost of $12,500. That claimed figure seems low when compared to what would be our real costs for this. I do not believe this.

According to the report, the Riverbank Mayor stated that she is in favor of going ahead immediately with this shopping trolley on Tuesday to transport Oakdale shoppers to spend at the Crossroads shopping center. Of course, she is so in favor … she is the Mayor of Riverbank. But, that is a city that may have the presence of a felon in its council. Oakdale has no business trying to do business with such a city. Later, things will be resolved in Riverbank. All of that city’s friends hope and believe this.

Oakdale city council member, Katherine Morgan, is slated to be Oakdale’s next mayor, but things could change. All of that aside, Morgan was right on target when she proclaimed at this meeting that only inadequate “research” had been done by RIVERBANK researchers at the Oak Haven Senior Apartments in OAKDALE. I live in marvelously new senior housing close to Oak Haven. I testify here that no one of us here has been interviewed by anybody to see if we have need, or desire, for such a wasting of Oakdale money as this expensive so-called “shopping trolley.” Neither business nor government has money to waste these days.

What is this “Transit Authority”? Legislatively, it is the City Managers of Oakdale and Riverbank and a subcommittee of two city council members from each city. They are subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act open meeting act in all respects included timely posting of agendas and disclosure of public records.

Readers of this letter-to-editor may be interested in the following factual statement from the ROTA website regarding elimination of fixed trolley routes effective July 1, 2009:

“Effective July 1, 2009 the Riverbank Oakdale fixed routes, operated by our trolleys, will no longer be in service. Riverbank Oakdale Transit Authority (ROTA) will service the two cities with the Dial-A-Ride services. Currently the Dial-A-Ride is for seniors and those with disabilities but effective July 1, 2009 it will be available to the general public as well. You may access this service by calling (209) 869-7444.

“The decision to discontinue the service was extremely difficult for the ROTA Board. They were facing a reduction in Federal Transit funding and the usage by residents was less than 3 riders per hour. Fixed routes are more successful in urbanized cities and because we live in a rural community it was no longer cost effective to operate the program. The ROTA Board of Directors felt they had exhausted all marketing efforts and the only remaining option was to discontinue this service.”

Three riders per hour? So, what is our Oakdale City Council talking about?

Larry Kay