Government should focus on facts, not emotion

September 30, 2016


The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission held a hearing on the Phillips 66 Railroad spur extension on Sept. 22. At that hearing many speakers opposed the extension as it might cause harm and is dangerous.

I commented that those who oppose something because it is dangerous is my definition of cowards. Fear is an emotion.

Government officials should make decisions based on reason, not emotion. Presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton, claims she cares for children, minorities, women, etc. She is using emotion to make decisions in these areas.

Deciding on whether to allow the railroad extension the commissioners should use a cost benefit analysis. Do the benefits of having oil products for society out way the possible costs of rail accidents? I submit that the benefits far exceed the possible costs. Modern society operates on oil.

Actions speak louder than words. The smell in the room at the aforementioned hearing indicated that many attendees quit using soap because evil corporations such as Phillips 66 make soap from oil.

All the people I saw there were wearing clothes, even those opposing the extension. This surprised me because machines, that use oil to make clothes (such as cotton), sow, tend, harvest, process, and transport these products to stores. I know the people came to the hearing did not ride on the asphalt (made from oil) roads on rubber (also from oil) tires. None of their vehicles used gasoline or diesel fuel.

Anyone who uses plastic in any form is in favor of the extension because their actions speaks so loudly one cannot hear their words. Plastic comes from oil. I subscribe to a major newspaper in the county. The paper boy delivers the paper on asphalt roads in a plastic bag. The actions of this paper are so loud I cannot read its words opposing the rail extension.



  1. Otis says:

    The argument is challenged in that emotions are facts. That they represent the well founded concern — a fear — of a very possible accident where tanks could tumble down the grade — or at other points of travel — exuding their poison on an environment that is being sullied by growth. Isn’t this the net of the problem?

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • zaphod says:

      Emotions are free range facts

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
      • kettle says:

        No, don’t be ridiculous, emotions and feelings are never ever facts.

        Bob’s feelings about the flat earth have nothing to do with the factual roundish Earth.

        Our feelings about a oil train are only tangentially connected to a cold sober calculation of the safety of maximum sized trains of combustible liquids rolling relatively short distances from housing, people etc

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. avidreader says:

    Totally agree. Mr. Kirkland always has logical, thoughtful comments at BOS. Glad to see this OpEd from him.

    (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  3. RawHoney says:

    Measure J is an example of EMOTIONS.
    Everyone wants good roads but we don’t want to be raped to get them as they have already been paid for by us and never delivered!

    Roads are emotional now it is time for each of us who know the facts to get emotional about this theft and fight back with emotion as it is another tool that we leave on the table……Go get emotional about this issue, please.

    Interesting how SLOCOG and our Board of Supervisors except for Supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton, can spend our taxpayer money on consultants and creating a MASSIVE assault on us the forgotten taxpayer instead of using that money to fix roads right NOW!

    $500,000 WOW!!!!!!!!!

    I bet it cost at least double that when you include STAFF time.

    NEVER does the staff of SLOCOG or Board of Supervisors ever fight for us the forgotten taxpayer! They will spend all and ask for more always.

    VOTE NO on Measure J

    Thank you Gary Kirkland and CCTA coalition for fighting this battle as volunteers not high paid people with a predetermined outcome.

    I went to

    page and found the video of our spoken citizens as well as Supervisors Arnold, Compton and COLAB Mike Brown telling you why this is a SCAM.

    See for yourself.


    (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
  4. Ted Slanders says:

    Rail spur opponents take aim at Peschong
    09/27/2016 at 7:46 pm

    Rail spur opponents, a question to you: if you’re that concerned about the rail safety in San Luis Obispo County, then why aren’t you addressing the following types of dangerous rail tank cars that occasionally go through our area as well?!

    Anhydrous Ammonia, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Ethylene Oxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Vinyl Chloride, Anhydrous Hydrofluoric Acid, Anhydrous Ammonia Metallic Sodium Chlorine, Liquefied Hydrocarbon Gas, Motor Fuel Anti-Knock Compound Vinyl Chloride, Fertilizer Ammoniating Solution, Chlorine, Anhydrous Ammonia, Sulfur Dioxide, Butadiene, Refrigerant or Dispersant Gases, Nitrosyl Chloride, Helium Hydrogen Oxygen, Nitrogen Fertilizer Solution, Ethyl Chloride.

    Furthermore, the said dangerous materials mentioned above are also shipped by tanker trucks though are area on US 101. Why aren’t the rail spur opponents addressing these dangerous load shipments as well? Is it because they do not want to make additional yard signs that would further clutter up the front yards of Phillip’s 66 rail spur opponents? Do you completely understand the term “hypocrite?”

    It seems as though the faction against the Phillips 66 rail spur are conveniently not mentioning the additional precautions that are in effect at this time in oil train shipments, and the most important one being that all oil tank car trains are to be operated at 40mph in urban areas. In the rail spur opponents “the sky is falling” treatise, they never mention the newer elimination of the risks for a worse case oil train scenario that the Department of Transportation has initiated as of May 1, 2015. The DOT has initiated new rulings for the improved safety of transporting crude oil by rail which are significant and extensive changes subsequent to the notable past derailments.

    The safe transportation of ALL hazardous materials in bulk by rail and cargo tanker truck is a priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation. There are an estimated one million daily shipments of hazardous materials transported in the U.S. via rail, truck, air and waterways, and 99 percent arrive at their destination safely without any incident whatsoever.

    Phillips 66’s crude oil tank car fleet consists entirely of post-October 2011 CPC-1232 tank cars, and are not the DOT-111 tank cars that are always shown in the fiery crashes that opponents like to insidiously use to make their point. The CPC oil cans are based upon stronger design standards recommended by the Association of American Railroads. Those design standards feature stronger baffled fire retardant hulls and reinforced valves less likely to puncture or leak in a derailment. Furthermore, these specific tank cars have tight lock couplers like on passenger trains that keep the cars together if they ever do derail which enhances safety.

    New tank cars constructed after October 1, 2015, which Phillips 66 plans to use, are required to meet even stricter safety requirements with the new DOT Specification 117 design for oil transfer shipments. The newer safety performance criteria is described in the following link:

    The irony is that when the Southern Pacific Railroad was still running their trains through this area, and within their freight train consists, were class 1 explosives, class 3 flammable and combustible liquids, class 4 flammable solids that were spontaneously combustable, that if derailed and exploded, they would make the Bakken Oil train explosions in the past before stricter regulations, look like a Boy’s Scout picnic! Where were the yard signs in opposing these more dangerous rail and truck shipments back then? In the good ol’ days, ignorance was bliss?

    What is the outcome if the rail spur initiative is voted down? Yes, a “plethora” of oil tanker trucks transporting the same oil upon US 101 going through San Luis Obispo County. The rail transporting is the safer option by far. Do the simple math.

    You will NEVER eliminate all risks in life, therefore, in the same vein of oil train shipments relative to a rail spur opponents car, then just park your car and start walking, and this is barring the use of Phillips 66 gasoline for said car. Get it?

    (8) 26 Total Votes - 17 up - 9 down
  5. circlingthedrain says:

    There is a method in which this could be done, but it would not be acceptable. That would be to only allow those with an IQ > 125 to decide on this issue. It is a known fact to vacation timeshare salespeople (and the Jerry Springer Show [those who cast those that appear on show]) that those who have IQ’s under 125…..decide with their emotions. Now: let’s do the math. According to the link below, 5% have an IQ > 125. But wait….we have 2 colleges in town…and that brings us way up. But not enough to consider your audience a viable one that leans in the direction of prefrontal engagement (logical thinking).

    (3) 13 Total Votes - 8 up - 5 down
  6. Reality Check says:

    WELL SAID Mr. Kirkland!

    (9) 21 Total Votes - 15 up - 6 down
  7. tomsquawk says:

    when have we ever, in the last 1,000+ years functioned on facts?

    (23) 25 Total Votes - 24 up - 1 down
  8. panflash says:

    “Government should focus on facts, not emotion.”

    Yeah. We should be so lucky.

    (25) 27 Total Votes - 26 up - 1 down

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