Sometimes systems go on for years, decades, without a lot of thought and no problems. Sometimes that’s because they’re good systems and ought to be left alone. Sometimes it’s because of dumb luck.

It only makes sense to do enough investigating into the matter of railways routing potentially harmful cargo through towns –including through our Yuba-Sutter area, and Marysville in particular –to determine whether we’re relying on a sound system or pure luck.

We’re not aware of any serious accidents that released harmful substances into the local environment. And there have been trains hauling all sorts of cargo through here all along.

Legislation proposed by local U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, Democrat, 3rd District, establishes a new safety standard for the maximum pressurization of crude oil and other hazardous materials transported by rail. 

“Every day we delay the implementation of a stronger safety standard for the transport of Bakken crude oil by rail, lives are at risk,” he said in a press release. 

“My bill simply requires oil companies to decrease the volatility to market levels, rather than carrying unstable products through communities.”

We don’t know how urgent this bill is. It seems like it would certainly be worthy of consideration. When the rail routes were established here, what else was there? And what were they hauling? Urban areas were just beginning to evolve. Now the rail system travels through a land that has been largely urbanized. 

Whether this bill is absolutely necessary or not, we’re happy that the discussion is taking place and hoping it leads to the discovery of whether the rail system is working because of proper procedures or chance.

Many thanks to the local

candidates, voters who came to listen at the forum

Our thanks to the candidates for putting themselves up there in front of the crowds of citizens. It’s a whole new level for some just starting in local politics –where they not only had to have been attracted by some issues and formulated their opinions, but had to explain in some detail their  opinions –sometimes to people who don’t agree at all.

And thanks, especially, to the hundreds of citizens who turned out for our two forums, hosted in tandem with the Chamber of Commerce.

There are real benefits to attending a candidate forum, if you’re an interested voter. You get more than a well-groomed flyer message usually done by marketing professionals or a 10-second, mom-and- apple-pie homily. 

At a live forum, you get to see the candidates in action ... you get to see how well they express themselves, how they set themselves apart from other candidates, how they handle attacks on their logic and proposals. You get to see how they handle off-the-cuff questions from a diverse crowd that could fairly represent the mixture of their potential constituencies.

Do they speak their own minds? Do they play fair? Are they the right mixture of aggressive and polite? Do they say something of substance when they talk?

And do they understand the issues that concern you?

People get elected, when there are forums, because they stretch to meet the expectations of the questioners. Without people attending and participating, candidates slip into office whether they confront the issues or not.

You can still watch candidates from Sutter and Yuba counties on the Appeal-Democrat Facebook page.

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