Steve Martin flips on Nipomo rail spur

October 20, 2016
Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin

Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin

Paso Robles mayor and San Luis Obispo County supervisor candidate Steve Martin has changed his position on the Nipomo rail spur project. Martin initially supported the Phillips 66’s proposed rail spur, but he now says, if elected, he would most likely vote against it. [Tribune]

Martin is running against political consultant John Peschong in the race for the District 1 county supervisor seat. Martin’s supporters have used the rail spur issue to attack Peschong.

Peschong supports the project, but he has disclosed that his political consulting firm Meridian Pacific received money from Phillips 66. Several months ago, Peschong stated publicly that, if elected, he would recuse himself from a vote on the project.

Previously, Martin said he would support the project as long as it was deemed safe and would not adversely impact the environment. On Tuesday, the Paso Robles mayor took a strong stance against the proposed rail spur at a city council meeting.

During the meeting, the Paso Robles council voted 4-1 in favor of sending a letter to the board of supervisors expressing concerns about crude oil trains moving through the North County city. Martin cast the lone dissenting vote. The mayor said he did so because he believes the city should oppose the passage of oil trains through Paso Robles entirely.

An audience packed with opponents of the project applauded Martin for taking a stance against the proposed rail spur. Martin later said he would most likely vote against the project at the county level in light of the planning commission’s decision to reject the project.

Following months of hearings, on Oct. 5, the county planning commission rejected the project on a 3-2 vote. Phillips 66 has until Thursday to appeal the project to the board of supervisors.

Prior to the planning commission ruling on the project, local environmental activists tipped off the Los Angeles Times about Meridian Pacific receiving money from Phillips 66. The LA times then published a commentary against the rail spur which described the District 1 seat as the “wild card” in an upcoming board of supervisors vote on the project. The article did not state that Peschong has said he would recuse himself on the matter.

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Always remember….if their lips are moving…they’re lying.

Issues such as this are exactly what a supervisor will vote on. Not abortion, Trump or even Prop. 13. Knowing a candidate’s position on these things however, will give you a general idea of thier overall world view.

On the rail spur. It’s a boogie man issue. Oil will get transported one way or another. While pipelines are safest, buying up easements is terrifically complex and the ennvironmental review process makes putting in new pipelines near as impossible as building a nuke plant or refinery.

Rail has historically and remains, the most efficient, safest way to transport anything. Period (until teleporting gets better than it currently is).

So what does this flip mean. You will recall Ortiz-Legg did the same thing as Martin. Did new information come out? Were there transportation and scientists who suddenly said, “Whoa, have you thought about this?” The answer is no. Both Martin and Hyphen put their fingers in the air, and without any logical decision one way or the other, felt the air move a new direction and that was their new position.

Some might say that it isn’t bad for a politician to represent the interests of the majority of their constituents. If indeed that’s what you want, then by all means do the research yourself, make an educated decision on EVERYTHING, and get on the internet and place your vote. The politician is simply a rubber stamp for the majority vote on EVERYTHING. But that’s not how our governance works. We elect leaders, not rubber stamps who will bend to any whim or the biggest $.

Martin took the safe route. If elected, he will be in the majority to deny the appeal based on the Planning Commission denial. If Peschong is elected, he will abstain and it will be a 2-2 vote leaving the PC decision intact. So either way, this project dies and goes to court. By flopping, Martin assures himself no blame and no oil sticks on him. If that’s the rubber stamp, slimy politician philosophy that turns you on, then Martin is the man for D1.

And another thing. Should he lose, I hope the voters of Paso Robles remember his weasel ways when he is up for election.

Mayor Martin changed his position based on new information i.e., the catastrophic derailment of a Phillips oil train this past July. Sixteen of the 96 cars in the mile-long train jumped the track and exploded in a fire bomb in a small town in Oregon. Mayor Martin has talked to the mayor of the town in Oregon about the incident and its aftermath.

If the Cal Coast reporter had bothered to ask Martin about this, he would have gotten a very straight answer. The reporter should also have looked at the proximity (30′) of the rail line to businesses and the 101 freeway. The reporter should also have looked at the dangerous curves along the rail line both entering and exiting the city limits.

I know this because I asked Martin directly and got a very reasoned and LOGICAL answer.

The danger of one oil truck exploding on the freeway pales in comparison to potentially 16 rail cars exploding a few feet from businesses.

The “safe route” for Martin would have been to say nothing on this issue- especially in an extremely conservative 1st District. I appreciate a leader who is willing to consider new evidence and change a position.

Such an obvious political stunt by Martin.

Not only did Martin flip on the rail spur issue, he voted Yes on Measure J! He is the wrong candidate for 1st District Supervisor. John Peschong is the right candidate for 1st District Supervisor. Peschong is a supporter of No on J and a staunch supporter of Prop 13. Vote Peschong! San Luis Obispo County needs him.

True, the “audience was packed with opponents” but it should be noted that 99% of the anti-Phillips 66 speakers were NOT even Paso residents.

And Steve Martin had already flip-flopped before the Oct. 18 council mtg. Last week, Dan of KPRL asked him and Peschong about their rail spur positions. Peschong clearly stated that he supported the project. Like it or not, at least he was up front.

However, Martin was wishy-washy, basically telling us out in Radioland to “Stay tuned, folks! More info about this rail spur project has been learned and it will be shared at the next council meeting.”

Translation: Martin changed from yes to no but wasn’t ready to publically own up to it yet.

Steve Martin is a politician and has been for a long time. He calls himself a moderate but he’s a Democrat. Even if Adam Hill gets ousted, Bruce Gibson could count on Steve Martin.

Paso Roblans and North SLO County residents need a Supervisor who will stick to his word. We need a man like Peschong who doesn’t play politics.

Does anyone else see this as exactly what it is – a effort by Martin to get elected at all costs.

So obvious that a blind man, in a coal bin, at midnight with the lights turned off can see it.

Politicians will do anything, or say anything, to get elected. He ought to be ashamed of himself.

Steve Martin flipping on the rail spur issue was done for one reason and one reason alone. He’s running for First District Supervi, and his opponent is a Yes vote on the rail spur.

Now Martin can tout his new No vote re the rail spur. He can say he has seen the light! This will, in all probability, get him more endorsements from the opponents of thrail spur, and more importantly, get him much needed dollars for his Martin for Supervisor campaign account.

He should follow in the footsteps of his old chum, Tom O’Malley, who will not even go near anything that is debatable in fear of getting criticized, a true politician. Where is Atascadero on this issue?

Tom O’Malley has endorsed Steve Martin, he is endorsed by Bill Monning and orchestrated and supports Measure J. O’Malley is a true liberal who has only identified himself as a Republican because the Republicans is where he can get support. Atascadero needs to wake up to what is really happening.

This railroad spur is a giant non-starter. It’s nothing more than a lefty wedge “issue” that’s being used to herd and corral votes. Now listen up you foolish people, it boils down to these two things:

1) Toxic chemicals (most are far more dangerous than crude oil) already pass through this area via rail and they have for many decades.

2) If the crude doesn’t come via rail it’s going to come via truck which takes more energy and is less safe.

So all you Anaheim, Culver City, Palo Alto, Bakersfield and Fresno transplants just close your cake holes already! Better yet, go back to where you came from!

Home run Louie…

If only the public could would look at this realistically.

All you site and more are already being transported though our towns and neighborhoods, via truck lines like UPS, FEDEX and any major trucking company. The railroad is already running now and carrying what ever the market wants.

This is truly a non-starter…

Not exactly Sam Louie. The stuff from Price Canyon moves to P66 via PIPELINE, so your fools choice options need an update.

I lived by the tracks for years and walked past the cars. I also happen to hold the 49 CFR 172 Hazardous Materials shipping qualification and know the proper markings required on all transport containers. RARELY do I see shipments other than oil or gas.

Lastly, chems may be dangerous, but most are not as dangerous as a huge flash fire.