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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:54 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1442
hamster:

I don't understand your comment on the previous page about Jason waiting to offer his proposal under the assumption that the City will be unwilling to pay for any restoration, or even the cost of moving the locomotive to clear the remediation work. Doesn't this have to proceed any day now with the looming remediation deadline? My impression was that the City had resolved to pay for this work despite any further fundraising for restoration, shed protection, etc.


Last edited by Ron Travis on Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:42 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 619
No need to wonder on what bids came in:

http://www.portarthurtx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6385?bidId=57

Inland's bid is kinda interesting. Once burned twice shy?


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 636
Pegasuspinto wrote:

Thanks for sharing that. The good news is that the apparent low-bidder is a railroading firm.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:21 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 491
Pegasuspinto wrote:
No need to wonder on what bids came in:

http://www.portarthurtx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6385?bidId=57

Inland's bid is kinda interesting. Once burned twice shy?


Thanks for looking this up. Whose bid was accepted and approved by the motion during the meeting on 3-27? All of these have a completion date of 4-30, but the last I saw the revised TCEQ deadline was 4-20. Was the deadline extended again?

On 3-27, there were two City Council votes. The first was to amend Inland's contract to account for the fact that Inland will not be cutting up and hauling away 503 and will not be getting the scrap revenue. This authorized up to $35,000 to be paid to Inland, an increase over the original contract of $10,000. The second vote was to retain someone to move 503 so the abatement could be completed. This was for about $30,000 minimum, assuming they went with the lowest bidder. So we have two votes, with no public discussion by any of the councilmembers prior to the vote, and no dissent from any councilmember, authorizing the expenditure of a minimum of an additional $40,000 over the original cost with Inland scrapping 503. Councilmember Moses, who had a statement read at the 3-6 meeting in which she opposed spending any more public money on 503 and supported transferring 503 to an entity capable of better preserving it, not only failed to publicly comment on the two motions but she also introduced the first motion to accept the renegotiated terms with Inland at an additional cost of $10,000.

Mr. Sobczynski has stated that he has been encouraged to submit a proposal for the restoration of 503. The question at this point has got to be, by whom? None of the voting members of the Port Arthur City Council have publicly voiced any sustained support or voted for anything that would indicate an inclination to allow 503 to leave its plinth in Bryan Park.

In his most recent FaceBook post, Mr. Sobczynski stated that, on 3-27, the City Council had not voted to keep 503 in Port Arthur. They voted to spend at least $40,000 in additional funds to meet the TCEQ mandate without scrapping 503 without public council deliberation or dissent. It seems very unlikely that they would spend this money and then vote to have 503 removed. At least not without recouping their $40,000.

The City Council has not introduced a motion to put out an RFP for the future care of 503. They have not even set a timeline for this. They are under no legal obligation to ever put out an RFP for the care of 503. How long do the GoFundMe guidelines allow Mr. Sobczynski to hold the raised funds without taking any action towards the intended goal of the fundraiser? Time is on the side of Mr. Beard and Councilmember Doucet, and they appear to know it.

The late Tip O'Neill favored two truisms - all politics is local and, if you want someone's vote, you have to ask for it. Has Mr. Sobczynski asked the voting members of the Council for their votes in support of transferring 503 to his care? If so, what has been their response?

Finally, in the most recent PA News article, Mr. Sobczynski is quoted as putting out several numbers for the costs associated with restoring 503 and he comments that the locals will never raise that kind of money. While his assessment may be true, his analysis is flawed because it relies on the assumption that the local citizenry would want a full restoration. Like most things rail-preservation related, my guess is that most of the people in Port Arthur do not care one way or the other. But the ones that do, and the ones that have voiced an opinion, are likely to be happy to keep their landmark in Bryan Park with some new ballast and track under it, a new fence around it, and maybe, at some point a fresh coat of paint. They do not see raising several hundred thousand dollars as a necessity for keeping 503 right where it is (or, at least, about one hundred feet from where it currently is).

It will be interesting to see how the move will go. The track specs look very adequate for the job. Hopefully, when they grease the rails, the loco will stay locked up, and they will slide it without moving any previously frozen parts. Only ten working days until 4-20 so it should all happen soon.


Last edited by Scranton Yard on Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:35 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:27 am
Posts: 566
Location: Winters, TX
Thank you Mr. Longhofer and Scranton Yard for bringing things up to date. So is Jason's proposal any different than his stated goals on the Gofundme page? If they are the same, then it seems redundant to submit a proposal as I'm sure the council is well aware of his intentions. Given that the city is going ahead with the new display site and move, it looks pretty clear that the 503 isn't leaving the park.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:39 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1442
hamster wrote:
Jason has posted on Facebook that it is now "wait and see" time. He is pretty sure that the local funding effort will fail and that the city will elect not to spend any money that it does not have, even to move the locomotive 110 feet. When that happens, he will be there to fill the void. He has the money in hand and can move very quickly when the time comes.



My comment and question at the top of this page goes back to the comment by hamster above which suggests that Jason is waiting to step in with his proposal because he assumes that the City will be unwilling or unable to fund the moving of 503 to clear the remediation work.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:59 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1860
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Sadly,... it was painfully obvious way back at the 1st. Council meeting on this issue that PA is run by a collection of incompetent individuals and that at least 2 of them are serial liers. I advised Jason right after that meeting to refund the donations ard run not walk away from this crowd as fast as his legs would carry him. He decided that there was a chance that they'd eventually see it his way and thus has stuck around to suffer further abuse.

IMHO they'll eventually spend xxx times more ( taxpayer dollars they can't afford) than if they had turned the 503 over to Jason, move her a few feet so they can remediate the soil under her current display site, throw some cheap paint on her and call it a day. In no time she'll again be no more than an expensive kids jungle gym.

Sad but true. Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:40 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 491
co614 wrote:
IMHO they'll eventually spend xxx times more ( taxpayer dollars they can't afford) than if they had turned the 503 over to Jason, move her a few feet so they can remediate the soil under her current display site, throw some cheap paint on her and call it a day. In no time she'll again be no more than an expensive kids jungle gym. Sad but true. Ross Rowland


Since most of this has already been decided at the 3-27 meeting, it is no longer your opinion (honest, humble, or otherwise) but rather, fact.

I sent two sets of emails out to the mayor and councilmembers in support of Mr. Sobczynski's effort to provide an operating future for 503. Several times during the meetings, the mayor, and I believe at least one other councilmember, encouraged people to email or call and told people, "we read our emails". Did anyone who wrote to the mayor or councilmembers regarding 503 get any response from the Port Arthur mayor or council? Even an auto reply?


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1860
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Good question Scranton Yard. No, I took the trouble early on to write to the Mayor and all 8 Council members and never received any acknowledgements from anyone. I seriously doubt that several of them are even literate, and I'd bet that most of them don't read their incoming mail.

Anyhow, the main objective here was to abort the scrapping and that's been accomplished.

Hopefully Jason will limit the amount of additional abuse he'll subject himself to.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9327
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Somebody's sure dancing the fine line between "public officials are fair game" and "personal attacks."

At the very least, it's ungentlemanly conduct, no matter how much it might be warranted. This certainly does not help our avocation, especially on a publicly available/readable commentary. If the city officials seem not to care for rail preservationists, we're sure giving them just cause.

And, given that the source of these insults demonstrated himself IN THIS VERY FORUM to have incredibly thin skin years ago, this is spectacularly ironic.......


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1860
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Now TGB4th. don't get your panties all in a knot. If some of them are illiterate (as I suspect) they can't read the comments anyhow.

More importantly they've clearly demonstrated that they could care less what anyone from the "outside" thinks and have every intention of staying totally insular on this issue.

Thanks to Jason's efforts the main battle was won.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:34 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:54 pm
Posts: 73
As someone who hasn't been able to follow this thread for the last 27 pages or so, and who quite frankly doesn't have the time to read some 400+ replies of varying relevance and credibility, can we just get a brief recap of what all has occurred since the scrapping was halted? Based on what has surfaced in the past day or so it doesn't seem like much headway, but it would be much appreciated by myself and others.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:21 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 491
Here is a link to the previously mentioned "Friends of 503" Facebook page. It is a public page so you do not have to be on Facebook to view it.

https://www.facebook.com/KCSEngineNo503/

To me, it looks like any other grass-roots preservation facebook page. Good to see that Mr. Sobczynski's interest and fundraising success has inspired the local residents to gain an appreciation for this artifact that has been amongst them for 61 years.

Here is Mr. Beard discussing his aspirations for 503.

http://kfdm.com/news/local/port-arthur-residents-set-up-fundraiser-to-help-preserve-historic-train-kcs-engine-503

Interestingly, the news commentator states that the City's plan is to seek proposals for the preservation of 503. No City Council motions have been proposed to this end, nor have they given any public indication of a timeline, but perhaps the City still plans on seeking non-government resources to restore 503 to at least a proper state of static preservation.

Once again, based on the presentation that Port Arthur City Attorney, Ms.Tizeno, gave at the 3-6 meeting regarding possible paths for the disposition of City property, it appears that his likelihood of success would be increased if Mr. Sobczynski uses the time patiently waiting for the City to deal with the TCEQ mandate and get further along on the 503 RFP to either:

1. establish his organization and get his application for 501(c)(3) status in to the IRS or,
2. find an established 501(c)(3) that he can work under (either temporarily or permanently) to implement his preservation plan for 503.

On 2-26 (page 13 of this thread), Mr. Glueck briefly discussed the proposals for 470 that were received by the City of Waterville, ME and how/why the City made the decision to sell to his organization. This gives some insight into the types of factors that could be dispositive in these situations.

Now is a time to convey accurate preservation information to the decision-makers in Port Arthur as to the options and their associated costs. Mr. Glueck and his colleagues are one of several groups that have successfully worked with municipalities to remove a disused locomotive from a park and restore it to operation. I doubt that calling the locals illiterate, criminals, liars, corrupt, and similar disparaging terms was part of any successful strategy. As rail preservationists, we are all part of a very small not commonly understood minority and so berating and demeaning others who may not immediately come to Mr. Sobczynski's preservation view for 503 is a recipe for failure based on dated thinking.

There is a strong chance that the community will elect, in the end, to keep "their locomotive" in Port Arthur as a static display. It is great to see some people who were not previously preservation-minded thinking about rail preservation. So, what is the smart call here - alienate them or, as part of an effort to further Mr. Sobczynski's plan, inform them and keep them thinking about rail preservation and the importance of our industrial history?


Last edited by Scranton Yard on Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:22 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1442
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Somebody's sure dancing the fine line between "public officials are fair game" and "personal attacks."

At the very least, it's ungentlemanly conduct, no matter how much it might be warranted. This certainly does not help our avocation, especially on a publicly available/readable commentary. If the city officials seem not to care for rail preservationists, we're sure giving them just cause.

And, given that the source of these insults demonstrated himself IN THIS VERY FORUM to have incredibly thin skin years ago, this is spectacularly ironic.......


This brings up a good point. Most forums have rules against personal attacks. Are such rules meant only to address personal attacks from one forum participant to another? Or are they also meant to include personal attacks published in the forum against people outside of the forum such as the Port Arthur City Council?


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:57 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 735
Location: Bucks County, PA
co614 wrote:
Good question Scranton Yard. No, I took the trouble early on to write to the Mayor and all 8 Council members and never received any acknowledgements from anyone. I seriously doubt that several of them are even literate, and I'd bet that most of them don't read their incoming mail.


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