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Controversy Over Railroad Noise Raises Some Sound Questions

August 07, 1994

* Reading "Sound Wall Appeal Falls on Deaf Ears" (July 28) several questions occurred to me. 1. Why did (Karen Winkle) decide to live next to the railroad tracks if the noise bothers her? I assume no one pointed a gun at her and forced her to move.

2. What moronic lawyer told her the city was responsible for protecting her from the consequences of her residential choices?

3. Why is this news? Every time a person looks to any public organization to address difficulties brought about by the individual's choices, we foster the idiotic notion that there is no need for that individual to accept responsibility for his or her own decisions.

If you want to help these pathetic people maybe you should start a fund, contributions to which would assist them to move. Perhaps if no one were willing to live there, the owners of the property would do something. I fail to see why the city, or, any public agency, should be required to do anything other than rezoning the land as not suitable for residential use.



* Sound pollution: Why do we place altitude restrictions on airplanes, line our freeway systems with concrete walls, then exempt railroads "from addressing environment impacts caused by train traffic on a community," per Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly.

Being a Santa Ana resident who lives within the earsplitting impact of train whistles on a daily basis, I truly empathize with Karen Winkle and her Northfield Avenue neighbors in Anaheim.

Why should this one mass transit system, the railroads, have legislative exemption from environmental concerns?

Isn't it about time to rescind this obsolete exemption and "take actions that protect, restore and enhance the environment," thus forcing the railroads to become accountable under the National Environmental Policy Act? NEPA became law in 1969. A great 25th anniversary gift to all the long suffering public living alongside railroad tracks would be in harnessing the railroads into this compliance.


Santa Ana

* It was hard for me to understand why the health, safety and well-being of the residents living alongside the railroad (were) so low on the Anaheim City Council's priority list. Then I realized something. We are humans. We're not Ducks, Dolphins, Rams or a cute little Mouse. If we were any of these, I'm sure they would be falling all over themselves to accommodate us.

I have also learned something during my conversations with the railroad. I now know that God is a locomotive. We do have Angels in Anaheim, so maybe they could put in a good word for us.

I don't know if it counts or not, but the residents along the railroad line now bear a strong resemblance to some other Anaheim residents. Being woke up several times a night makes us very Sleepy during the day, which could account for some of the Dopey things we do and, of course, this makes us Grumpy.

We would all be Happy if the railroad, OCTA, and the city of Anaheim would take responsibility for making our lives miserable and rectify the problem now with a safety-sound wall.



* The controversy about noise along the Santa Fe tracks in Anaheim illustrates why businesses are leaving this state. What were the residents thinking when they bought their homes next to a mainline railroad? Those noisy freight trains were there on the day they first viewed their homes. No one made them move there, so why don't they quit whining, quit looking for someone else to take care of them, and pay for sound walls themselves?

Worse yet is Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly's opinion that the Santa Fe should be held responsible. For what, Mr. Mayor? Santa Fe had no control over that one; your city staff allowed homes to be built next to the mainline. They could have required sound walls, sound insulation, zoned the land differently, anything, but did not. Daly ought to have his head examined and consider how many jobs have been lost in California because we continue to make doing business here a nightmare, rather than admit our own poor planning and follies.

That route has been one of the key lifelines for the region since 1887, carrying food, raw materials and consumer goods vital to our quality of life, cheaper and with a lot less environmental impact than trucks. Our residents and leaders, including the good mayor, need to be sophisticated enough to realize that a lifestyle of prosperity and abundance doesn't just mean a trip to the mall, but that it includes supporting the industries and infrastructure that produce and deliver what we consume.

Until we stop our destructively myopic policies regarding business, we will continue to lose jobs, and ultimately the very lifestyle we think we are protecting.


Costa Mesa

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