As someone with their hands both in the broadcast business and the public transportation arena (I'm a governance councilmember at Metro and also sit on the board of a non-profit transit advocacy organization) I couldn't let Burt Weiner's comment in CGC #983 go by.

Burt's comment is based upon a popular misconception as to why Pacific Electric was shut down. PE was always a private concern, but one regulated by the State, and the regulators kept allowing changes to be made for the benefit of private automobiles -- such as increasing the number of road crossings, which required the Red Car to slow down, which had a detrimental effect on travel time -- while refusing to approve fare increases to pay for maintenance and replacement of an aging infrastructure.

By the time the Red Cars (and the streetcars operated by the Los Angeles Railway Co. as well) were being converted to buses, the cars were falling apart and the rails were approaching the point where they could not be resurfaced well enough to ensure safe operation. It should be noted that, even as both companies were transferred to different private concerns, by 1958 the financial burden was so great that they became government entities just to preserve transit service as a whole.

His comparison of that situation to what has happened regarding spectrum allocation doesn't work, because what happened in public transportation was the exact opposite: It started as private sector and ended up public sector.

Burt's kind response when I communicated the above to him via e-mail was that he "had been hearing that the Red Cars had been shut down in favor of big business from so many different sources over many years" and he thanked me for setting the record straight. Burt also opined that I would probably agree with him that what appears to be the direction of "Public Owned Spectrum", if such a thing can be owned or held in trust, is abuse of a trust. And indeed I do.