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Bill to fund high-speed rail hangs in the balance

Original post made on Jul 5, 2012

With residents preparing for holiday celebrations Tuesday night, lawmakers in Sacramento released in the closing hours of July 3 a much-anticipated bill for funding the largest transportation project in California's history.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 5, 2012, 9:55 AM

Comments (30)

Posted by Robert, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:28 am

This is a bloody OUTRAGE!!! Leave it to cynical politician Jerry Brown to try and rush/sneak/push/intimidate/force this through all of a sudden. He should be ashamed of himself, but of course he thinks it's a clever move and that's all that counts. He is utterly beholden to the construction unions and obsessed with his legacy. He couldn't care less that a majority of Californians are now against this fraudulent fiasco. He wants HSR + a tax increase?!!!

I fervently hope he is roundly rebuffed on this sneaky maneuver. It will take some Democrats with real spine not to acquiesce in this sham being pushed on California. I am not optimistic about the outcome, Garamendi's comments to the contrary. "Ethical" Jerry Brown will promise the sky to reluctant Assemblymen and Senators to get this personal legacy project pushed through. PATHETIC -- and a financial albatross for generations of Californians.


Posted by Arch Conservative, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:37 am

So what else is new with our "elected representatives" in Sacramento?
What pol in Sacramento has any spine? Moonbeam will probably promise to name one station after each of the "Legislators", ala Harry Byrd of West Virginia, for their votes. We will have a lasting legacy.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:48 am

I sincerely hope that everyone who voted for Brown rather than Meg is now happy.

We need less career politicians and more people with business acumen ruling our state and our country.


Posted by A, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

I generally like Jerry Brown. I think, in principle, a high speed rail would be a good thing, and I understand why he would like to leave this as his legacy. However, it has become blatantly obvious to any intelligent person following this story that the whole process has become completely corrupted by construction industry interests in a way that would make Tony Soprano proud.


Posted by Evan, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 11:25 am

Palo Alto, you're an embarassment to your children and the future residents of this area. The generation that runs politics today has zero sense of what's in the best interest of the common good if it means one iota of personal sacrifice. We'll look back and wonder what the heck you were thinking, as we travel to Redwood City or San Jose for high-speed rail service.


Posted by Andy, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Shame on Jerry Brown. Because of his dumb policies, i have started appreciating Republicans. Just disowned my religion, being a lifelong Democrat to Republican. Go Romney, stop this HSR nonsense. I cannot vote for a single Democrat if this bill passes tomorrow. I urge all who oppose HSR, do the same.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

It's interesting that the real news in this story is deeply buried. The legislature is about to appropriate $705 million in bond funds to modernize and electrify Caltrain.

This is HUGE, but a headline is nowhere to be found. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Palo Alto, brought to you by your very own Joe Simitian.

And all we hear around here is the righteous indignation of those who are too sensitive to bear the sight of political sausage-making. Pathetic.


Posted by KC, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm

The city of Palo Alto has hired John Garamendi as its high-speed rail lobbyist? He's a congressman from Walnut Grove and the former lieutenant governor. I had no idea he also worked as a private lobbyist on the side, and that Palo Alto had hired him. Great reporting!


Posted by Deborah, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Meg Whitman would have stopped this financial disaster in its tracks. Liberal Palo Altans are getting what they deserve. They voted for the train and they voted for Jerry Brown, and unfortunately they may get a train that will cut Palo Alto in half.
Imagine this train racing through Palo Alto's intersections at 200 miles per hour. And imagine the Paly students crossing the railroad tracks at Churchill during the morning rush hour, with multiple trains racing towards them.


Posted by Steve Ly, a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm

The high speed rail project has devolved into the most horrible example of bait-and-switch I've ever seen. The Legislative Analysts Office, the State Auditor and UC Berkeley's ITS have all raised legitimate concerns that CHSRA has not answered. Shame on Governor Moonbeam for ramming this through on short notice during a holiday week. If it passes, I'll definitely vote "no" on Jerry's tax increase.


Posted by Steve Ly, a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm

The high speed rail project has devolved into the most horrible example of bait-and-switch I've ever seen. The Legislative Analysts Office, the State Auditor and UC Berkeley's ITS have all raised legitimate concerns that CHSRA has not answered. Shame on Governor Moonbeam for ramming this through on short notice during a holiday week. If it passes, I'll definitely vote "no" on Jerry's tax increase.


Posted by Porter, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm

The reference to John Garamendi is wrong. The lobbying firm the City hire is called PEG and Garamendi's son (John Garamendi's, Jr.) is the co-founder. That's probably the person the Weakly's reporter interviewed for this story. I'm surprised the reporter didn't know who he was talking to. I wonder if I called the Weakly and said I was Jerry Brown whether they would quote me --- and hail it as an exclusive interview!


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Anonymous "It's interesting that the real news in this story is deeply buried. The legislature is about to appropriate $705 million in bond funds to modernize and electrify Caltrain."

Another way to view this is that in order to get $705M of badly needed and long overdue improvements, we are being told that we need to waste $6B on tracks-to-nowhere. "Anonymous" apparently thinks that wasting 90% of the funding is well worth it.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm

So how many of you will vote for someone else besides Rich Gordon in the State Assembly election for November? If you keep voting for the same politicians, they will continue to vote for the special interests.


Posted by Dianne , a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Well, you who voted for high speed rail and for Jerry Brown are sticking all of us and our children and grandchildren with oceans of debt. Also, voters for any Dems in the Legislature.


Posted by Limousine Liberals, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2012 at 8:30 pm

All you liberal Palo Altans that voted for Jerry Brown just had your noses rubbed in brown.


Posted by parent, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Anonymous - yes 705M for Caltrain - which by the way will be shot down as entirely illegal under Prop 1A (which leaves you again with tracks to nowhere in the central valley, and a big hole in your own wallet where your kids education should have been.

Its called making a deal with the devil. so good for you on that.

Count me as one democrat turned 100% republican - I see through this ordeal that the democrats are mindless, unthinking minions, bowing down to the unions and big developers. I'll never vote democrat again. And they can KISS their tax initiative GOOD BYE. Now that I see there ROLLING IN DOUGH, I see they didn't need those extra tax dollars after all.

Thanks for a splash of cold water - democrats in the assembly. Including Hill.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm

We'll, we've already heard from Assemblyman Rich Gordon. Needless to say, he took his marching orders from Jerry Brown and voted to spend big public bucks on this HSR project.

Tomorrow, I'll be keeping a close eye on how Sen. Joe Simitian votes. To be candid, I'll be pleasantly surprised if he votes against Jerry Brown. In other words, now that the rubber is hitting the road and after being quite evasive about HSR, I suspect we'll see Joe line up with the power elite for the sake of his furthering political career. He will not likely represent the views of the vast majority of Palo Altans who want this boondoggle killed and for the little money that the State has to go to public education. Joe will probably justify his support of Brown by invoking the stupid "blended system" idea,
which will still put California much deeper into debt for a system of unknown cost and unknown economic feasibility.

If Brown pushes/bribes/threatens this HSR fiasco through, I will definitely vote against his tax increase proposal in November.


Posted by Palo Altan, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 8:53 am

Evan:
"Palo Alto, you're an embarassment to your children and the future residents of this area."
A little high handed, don't you think?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:32 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This project will never be built - the only question is how much will be wasted on consultants and lobbyists before it dies.


Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

Paul Losch is a registered user.

Who is for this boondoggle?

I am not a NIMBY, and have expressed serious misgivings about this idea since it was on the 2008 ballot, and against which I voted.

Are the voters and taxpayers who were were duped to approve this concept by a feather in 2008 being asked for their opinions now in a way that actually affects the discourse in Sacramento? NO!

Does anybody in our State Capitol have a sharp pencil? The measure to allocate funds for this ill-conceived project will come at the cost to other imporant state and local programs.

Actually, there have been a number of very smart pencils that have pointed this out. It appears our elected officials have chosen to ignore them.

There is an Oedipan aspect to this. Jerry Brown is a cheapskae, very smart, no vision. When his father was governor, the college systems, the state parks, and the highway systems led to what California was in its primacy.

We are in a different time and place. Jerry is trying to leave a legary with HSR. A current day robber baron, not a legacy I would choose to affilate with.




Posted by Palo Altan for high speed rail, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 6, 2012 at 10:35 am

I see that all of the Palo Alto NIMBYs are out in force today.

I can't wait to be able to travel through California with high speed rail. Great news!


Posted by Robert, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

@PaloAltanforhighspeedrail: and what are you going to do when you step off the train in LA or SF? Take a taxi, walk, take a bus, or turn right around and go back to Palo Alto? There's no decent mass transit at either extremity. Capeesh?! Neither SF nor LA is London or Madrid. Admit it, you just want a new toy to try out. "Waiter, may I please have the check? Wow, that's too expensive for what I ate!"


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2012 at 11:15 am

Sharp pencils and green eyeshades should be applied to the HSR system when and only when they are also applied to our highway spending, on the order of $15 billion per year in California.

Can you show me the business plan for the new 101 auxiliary lanes in Santa Clara County? Does it really pencil out? Was the pencil ever sharpened?

No, no and no. Shock. Outrage!

HSR continues to be subjected to a ridiculous double-standard, and I for one am glad the legislature is seeing through this. Californians a century from now, generations beyond the furthest horizon of any business plan the world has ever seen, will thank us for having had the foresight to build a high-capacity, high-speed transportation backbone. It may no longer have steel wheels in the year 2100, but it sure will carry a lot of Californians with great speed, comfort and safety.


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2012 at 11:17 am

No decent transit in LA or SF?????


Posted by Robert, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 11:19 am

@Palo Altan: Evan has been dismissive of any opposition to this HSR plan from the outset. Several months ago, he had the nerve to represent (on this board) the debate as between the young (like him) being gung-ho for a progressive green high-tech HSR allegedly serving the common good vs. the old allegedly being the sole opponents in selfish pursuit of their private interests. To Evan, it's obvious what the right side is, as one can tell from the fact that his posts on the topic in this forum are light if not devoid of evidence and reasoned rebuttals of the concerns of opponents, and heavy on ex cathedra proclamations. But that's understandable: it's arduous and quite time-consuming to formulate carefully reasoned arguments and evidence that effectively rebut the fairly represented concerns of opponents in a civil manner.

The only problem I have with your message, Palo Altan, is your insertion of the adjective "little. an doesn't think he's being high-handed that at all.


Posted by Palo Altan, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

Wow, this is a real cliffhanger...it all hangs on a few votes in the Senate.
@Robert: Thanks, I always enjoy reading your commentary.


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Senate approves at 4 PM, on a 21-16 vote.


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

...and on to the Governor to sign, sorry Palo Alto NIMBYs. If you don't want large infrastructure projects I suggest not living in the middle of one of the country's largest and most productive metro areas.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:03 am

@Robert, a "resident of another community" (which one in what state?)

Hey, Robert, are so really so dense that you can't make a distinction between HSR as a concept and THIS PARTICULAR HSR project at this point in time in this state? Many of us are not opposed to HSR as such, but we think that, given the incredible debt that Cal is already in and the grim state of public education in this state, something critical to the state's competitiveness, that it's not responsible or smart to spend a fifth of a trillion dollars on a system that may well prove to be a white elephant just to pay back the construction and labor unions for their contributions to his campaign against Meg Whitman.

But all you can say is 'if you don't want large infrastructure projects, don't live in this area.' Got to be impressed with that thoughtful, nuanced argument. Thanks, Rob.


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