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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:08 am
Posts: 60
So basically, wait until Friday afternoon to launch your campaigns and good causes!


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 553
The city had a closed door meeting on 503. In the open meeting, the city has re-asserted that they alone are the rightful owners and absolutely NO decision has been made on what to do with 503. The only 'sure fact' is that the engine will have to be moved(potentially only a short distance) to remediate the soil under the engine. Further decision will be made in a special meeting, next Tuesday at 5:30. The councilman asserted they will simply do what the majority of the citizens ask them to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:13 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1728
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
I used the link to watch the City of Port Arthur's council meeting tonight. Long story short they voted unanimously to kick the can down the road and hold a special meeting next Tuesday (3/6) at 5:30pm cst to further discuss the whole issue.

It was very obvious from the lengthy remarks of several council members that they have heard from a good number of Port Arthur citizens who are against seeing the 503 leave Port Arthur and who were upset with how the previous arrangements with the scrap dealer had been handled without an open public discussion etc.

Hard to say what will happen next. That's the latest and greatest.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:04 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1355
Pegasuspinto wrote:
The city had a closed door meeting on 503.

In the open meeting, the city has re-asserted that they alone are the rightful owners and absolutely NO decision has been made on what to do with 503.


Has this been an established, known, and accepted fact throughout this fund raising process?


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:08 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:27 am
Posts: 492
Location: Winters, TX
Thanks to you both for the update. Doesn't sound terribly encouraging. I hope they realize that there are 1252 people who have put their money where their mouth is in voting for the engine to go to Jason.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:32 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 553
Ron Travis wrote:
Pegasuspinto wrote:
The city had a closed door meeting on 503.

In the open meeting, the city has re-asserted that they alone are the rightful owners and absolutely NO decision has been made on what to do with 503.


Has this been an established, known, and accepted fact throughout this fund raising process?


That's the 67 thousand dollar question.
Either a 'rouge' city person 'gave' the loco to the scrapper, improperly, or the city council tried to run a fast one and get rid of it, or the scrapper misrepresented himself as the rightful owner, or..well, other worse possibilities. Not hard to imagine several scenarios that could result in someone getting fired or even criminal charges. Also quite possible that the city will just sweep it under the rug because too many people have dirty hands on this deal.

In theory, if the city allowed, Jason could pay the city and then move the engine, saving them the cost of moving the engine to remediate the soil. However, having listened to 2 hours of boring city council meeting, he may first have to get on the approved vendors list and establish a liability policy, he may even have to bid on it.

One interesting fact is that the new meeting will coincide with the supposed cleanup deadline from the Texas DEQ. I don't think that deadline was discussed.

Another missing factoid is when and how the remediation to date was paid for.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:55 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1355
Pegasuspinto wrote:
Ron Travis wrote:
Pegasuspinto wrote:
The city had a closed door meeting on 503.

In the open meeting, the city has re-asserted that they alone are the rightful owners and absolutely NO decision has been made on what to do with 503.


Has this been an established, known, and accepted fact throughout this fund raising process?


That's the 67 thousand dollar question.
Either a 'rouge' city person 'gave' the loco to the scrapper, improperly, or the city council tried to run a fast one and get rid of it, or the scrapper misrepresented himself as the rightful owner, or..well, other worse possibilities. Not hard to imagine several scenarios that could result in someone getting fired or even criminal charges. Also quite possible that the city will just sweep it under the rug because too many people have dirty hands on this deal.



I would have expected that the scrapper had a contract with the City which established that ownership had be transferred from the City to the scrapper. Then he would have used that contract establishing his ownership as the basis for a second contract between he and Jason. In that second contract, ownership would be transferred to Jason from the scrapper. Maybe I missed something, but I thought this transfer of ownership had been carried out. Or was it all just tentative?


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:05 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 395
Charlie wrote:
Thanks to you both for the update. Doesn't sound terribly encouraging. I hope they realize that there are 1252 people who have put their money where their mouth is in voting for the engine to go to Jason.


The City Council of Port Arthur represents the people of Port Arthur and they, at least Councilman Doucet, made it very clear tonight that they are going to take the time to hear what the people of their community have to say. If I were a resident of Port Arthur, I'd expect nothing less.

I have great admiration and respect for Mr. Sobczynski and Mr. Hovey because they attended the meeting and sat respectfully for four hours of local community business to hear the Council speak about 503 for maybe 15 minutes. That is dedication to the future of 503 and very smart. Mr. Sobczynski and Mr. Hovey could be seen at the end of the broadcast speaking with the city attorney, the city manager (I think), and engaging several council members. This whole process will likely require at least one more regular Council meeting to resolve so I'm just going to sit tight.

The gentleman who made a brief presentation to the Council gave some rough numbers for a few possible ways forward, and did not really dig deep - just enough to establish the need for further public discussion. No mention of the existing contract with Inland or the state deadline. Councilman Doucet mentioned the state deadline but I do not believe he noted a specific date. It is very important to realize that the function of tonight's meeting was to begin to get the issues in front of the public and create an opportunity for public discussion at a later date. Part of the purpose is to give a beleaguered and frustrated community the opportunity to speak. It is also created a venue for fully informing the public of the situation - the costs, legal liabilities, and prospects for the locomotive for the various scenarios - at the special meeting next week. So any further talks of specifics on this board before then would likely not help the cause at this point.

Charlie - Like I said, the Council is not elected by all the people on GoFundMe, so all of those 1252 people do not have much impact one way or the other. My read of the comments on the GoFundMe page do indicate that there are people who contributed who are either current or former Port Arthur residents. If there is a way for Mr. Sobczynski and Mr. Hovey to cull the list and get some of those people who contributed and who have ties to Port Arthur to come and speak at next week's meeting, that would likely be helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:22 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1355
Scranton Yard wrote:
Like I said, the council is not elected by all the people on GoFundMe, .


I had the impression that ownership of 503 by Jason and the contributors was an agreed-upon sure thing if they were able to fund the purchase within a specified time.

I understand that the Council has to be responsible to its citizens, but it seems to me that the Council had to have moved past that point to have a scrapper bring his equipment to the site, and set the stage for the last minute rescue by Jason and the fundraising.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:27 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 553
Ron Travis wrote:
I would have expected that the scrapper had a contract with the City which established that ownership had be transferred from the City to the scrapper. Then he would have used that contract establishing his ownership as the basis for a second contract between he and Jason. In that second contract, ownership would be transferred to Jason from the scrapper. Maybe I missed something, but I thought this transfer of ownership had been carried out. Or was it all just tentative?


The city (I say city as it appears that the one council member was speaking for everyone, if there was an objection to that, other council, the mayor, or the city attorney should of spoken up, and they did not) made it very, very clear that they consider themselves to be the sole and rightful owners, and they alone will make the final decision on what will be done with 503. No explanation was given for the 'alternative timeline' for the transfer of ownership, and I really don't expect the city would comment on that.

If there is/was documentation of transfer of ownership, I would expect that either those documents will be published to prove the engine was sold, OR those documents are already in the shredder.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:51 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 395
Ron Travis wrote:
Scranton Yard wrote:
Like I said, the council is not elected by all the people on GoFundMe, .


I had the impression that ownership of 503 by Jason and the contributors was an agreed-upon sure thing if they were able to fund the purchase within a specified time.

I understand that the Council has to be responsible to its citizens, but it seems to me that the Council had to have moved past that point to have a scrapper bring his equipment to the site, and set the stage for the last minute rescue by Jason and the fundraising.


Mr. Travis - My understanding is that the Inland contract was handled administratively. The City Council wants to make certain that the proper procedures are followed. Councilman Doucet showed great respect for procedural issues when discussing the security contract at the end of the meeting. So they will have a public discussion, a motion with a first reading, and then likely a second reading of the motion and a vote as you saw with some of the motions they passed tonight. So at least one more regular meeting to resolve this.

Please keep in mind that without the GoFundMe account, Mr. Sobczynski and Mr. Hovey would likely have not been able to get Inland to risk being in breach of their contract with the city by stopping work and delaying cutting up 503 and the agreed-to remediation of the ballast and soil underneath the locomotive before the state-imposed deadline. The donated money is also the only thing that makes ownership by Mr. Sobczynski, a preservation-minded person with steam restoration and operation experience, a possibility. And where there is possibility there is hope.

Lastly, this area was devastated by the storm. They are scrambling to get resources and to manage the physical and administrative efforts necessary to recover. If anyone was not aware of what the area is going through, it was very evident if you listened to the proceedings tonight. It is possible someone in city administration tried to take care of an unfunded state environmental mandate in an expedient but not procedurally correct manner to limit the cost and the administrative burden such that corrective action was implemented in a timely fashion to avoid state sanctions. Implications of criminality without any actual knowledge of wrongdoing is likely not something any Port Arthur resident or Council member wants to read about here.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:09 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1355
Scranton Yard wrote:
Ron Travis wrote:
Scranton Yard wrote:
Like I said, the council is not elected by all the people on GoFundMe, .


I had the impression that ownership of 503 by Jason and the contributors was an agreed-upon sure thing if they were able to fund the purchase within a specified time.

I understand that the Council has to be responsible to its citizens, but it seems to me that the Council had to have moved past that point to have a scrapper bring his equipment to the site, and set the stage for the last minute rescue by Jason and the fundraising.


Implications of criminality without any actual knowledge of wrongdoing is likely not something any Port Arthur resident or Council member wants to read about here.


Nobody here is implying criminality.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:31 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 395
Pegasuspinto wrote:
That's the 67 thousand dollar question.
Either a 'rouge' city person 'gave' the loco to the scrapper, improperly, or the city council tried to run a fast one and get rid of it, or the scrapper misrepresented himself as the rightful owner, or..well, other worse possibilities. Not hard to imagine several scenarios that could result in someone getting fired or even criminal charges. Also quite possible that the city will just sweep it under the rug because too many people have dirty hands on this deal.


Ron Travis wrote:
Nobody here is implying criminality.


Mr. Travis - The last paragraph of my post was intended as more of a general comment and not a response specifically to your post. My apologies if that is not clear. It is possible that "criminal charges" and "dirty hands" could be read to imply something nefarious as could some of the other language above.


Last edited by Scranton Yard on Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:31 am 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Pegasuspinto wrote:
Either a 'rouge' city person 'gave' the loco to the scrapper, improperly, or the city council tried to run a fast one and get rid of it, or the scrapper misrepresented himself as the rightful owner, or..well, other worse possibilities.

OR, more likely, the city wanted to get rid of an "eyesore" that they didn't think anyone would miss, then after hearing of hundreds of people who DO care and then realizing the engine has a value, back-paddled at these things they never saw coming.

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Lee Bishop


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:49 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 395
p51 wrote:
Pegasuspinto wrote:
Either a 'rouge' city person 'gave' the loco to the scrapper, improperly, or the city council tried to run a fast one and get rid of it, or the scrapper misrepresented himself as the rightful owner, or..well, other worse possibilities.

OR, more likely, the city wanted to get rid of an "eyesore" that they didn't think anyone would miss, then after hearing of hundreds of people who DO care and then realizing the engine has a value, back-paddled at these things they never saw coming.


Maybe not an "eyesore" but certainly a financial and legal liability that is likely, and unfortunately, beyond the City's current ability to pay for. As far as the value, I am not familiar with the City's bidding requirements but it is possible that Inland's bid included an accounting which showed the $35K Inland expected to get for the scrap as applied to the overall cost of the abatement services they were providing to the City. So it is possible that those involved on the City's end were aware of this number. Mr. Glueck's insightful comments several posts up regarding NESCO's purchase of Maine Central 470 from the City of Waterville, ME give a good comparison to the current situation in Port Arthur.


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