This week’s column was originally about the latest evolution in home television, the 3D screen. That was before Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders’s comments on Aug. 18 to the Independence Chamber of Commerce about the possibility of a metrowide commuter rail system.

This week’s column was originally about the latest evolution in home television, the 3D screen. That was before Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders’s comments on Aug. 18 to the Independence Chamber of Commerce about the possibility of a metrowide commuter rail system.

Strangely, when you replace the references to 3D television with those about a metrowide commuter rail system, the column still works. So instead of imploding a perfectly good column idea, I just swapped the 3D talk with commuter rail notations in parentheses. This is a lazy approach but, as you’ll read, my stance still makes perfect sense:

(Metro-wide commuter rail) is just like those precious moments after you purchase the latest video game console, personal digital assistant (PDA), or hybrid automobile. You give it the once over and your emotions are suddenly bobbing somewhere between a 7-year-old on Christmas morning and someone who just discovered $4,500 cash inside your recently deceased Auntie Nora’s mattress.

Sure, you know you don’t actually need this new toy; your tried and true (public transportation system) works just fine. But who really cares? You’re instantly overwhelmed and when you unwrap this latest innovation, you actually believe anything is possible. You toss aside the user’s manual and dive right into your new toy.

That’s (metrowide commuter rail) in a nutshell. Yes, it’s undeniably cool and puts you on the cutting edge of (public transportation nationwide). Even more so, as one of the few (places) of your (population) that has it, you’ll be the envy of all your peers. But this toy definitely isn’t worth all the fuss.

First, do (-es Jackson County) really need (metrowide commuter rail)? (We) already have a perfectly functional (transportation system) that is not too shabby. Between (a healthy bus system and plenty of roads) we get (people where they need to go effectively). What (we) have is working fine.

Let’s also talk about the negative impact of peer pressure when it comes to (metrowide commuter rail). Sure (St. Louis and Omaha) have (rail-based public people movers), but peer pressure is never a good idea to do anything. The goal isn’t to simply spend a pile of bucks to appear competitive with your neighbors. You need to find a solution that best fits your needs. Your neighbors may have the latest (rail-based commuter system), but it may meet their (transportation need) to (move people around effectively). Simple and straightforward may work better for (us) than an elaborate (commuter rail system). As if often said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

You always want to improve your (community), but not at the risk of spending a lot of (time, energy and cooperation) on some shiny thing that really doesn’t improve (our quality of life) greatly.

Don’t get caught up in the hype and wonder of a (commuter-rail system). To borrow and twist a phrase, “(Jackson County) may have 99 problems but (a good public transportation system) ain’t one.”