Criticism greets new rail CEO | June 1, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 1, 2012

Criticism greets new rail CEO

Jeff Morales to lead state High-Speed Rail Authority after serving as executive of agency's top contractor

by Gennady Sheyner

Jeff Morales, the newly hired CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, is in many ways the polar opposite of his predecessor, Roelof van Ark.

This story contains 954 words.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Green Acres
on May 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Greed, graft, corruption, conflict of interest, fraud, arrogance, ignorance, boondoggle; all sadly describe the CA High Speed Rail project and their actions. This appointment is exactly what CAHSR does best, flaunt their fraudulent practices for everyone to see, because the Democrats in Sacramento have their backs. This is another shameful moment for Gov Brown and his yes men in Sacramento, all eagerly awaiting their payback (campaign contributions) from all the unions waiting to build the CA train to nowhere. Truly pathetic.

Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2012 at 7:35 am

And where is Joe Simitian & Rich Gordon on this appointment? Silence is golden for these two, because they are raising money for their campaigns from the unions & special interest groups.

This November election vote for change, not for the same old, same old.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2012 at 8:42 am

Anyone who has been in charge at Caltrain doesn't seem to be the right person for running any type of passenger rail system! Caltrain has been mismanaged and needs to be completely overhauled to make it run to its full potential!

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:32 am

These people don't even care about their fraudulent practices for everyone to see.

Our government is out of controla and we are powerless to stop it.

Just keep paying taxes or move out of the state.

Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:56 am

The poor guy. He is like First Officer Murdoch taking over for Captain Smith on the Titanic shortly before she sinks.

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Posted by senor blodder
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Does Elizabeth Alexis want to be CEO of the HSR?
Don't Worry - They wouldn't have her, as a housewife and an economist, She isn"t qualified.

As for Elaine Howie,- Her recommendations were to turn over the entire management of the project to, of all folks, CALTRANS, an organization who hasn't managed a rail project in their entire existence.

So much for responsible reporting. Whose funding all this opposition to HSR?

Like this comment
Posted by Naysayers
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I don't know whether that person is qualified or not.

What I know is that people who are dead set against the project will never like anyone running the project. They want the project killed because they mostly bought houses near the tracks (knowing full well that they were paying a lower price near a railroad track with a right of way and potential for improvement).

So, they'll never be happy with anyone trying to build HSR no matter what.

Like this comment
Posted by SayNay
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm

The reasons not to do this are:

We don't have the local mass transit infrastructure to support it.

The long term economic benefit will go to the country supplying the technology.

Given likely ridership, HSR will be an environmental disaster.

We cannot now afford the financial load, and have structural impediments to financial stability that will prevent affordability for decades.

Nothing to do with buying houses near the tracks.

Like this comment
Posted by Barry
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Naysayers seems to choose to be willfully ignorant of the HSR project. I don't think the only people opposed to the HSR project live near the tracks. If that were the case, you could almost count the opponents on one hand. That's an exaggeration, but the reality is that opposition to HSR is from all over the state. Even communities no where near the tracks are opposed, I believe that Monterey County officially opposes the HSR project. The facts are that this project is a fiscal disaster for the state. Home owners near the tracks might see the impact immediately, but the fact is that when the principal and interest from the bond debt are paid, along with the estimated $2B annual subsidy required just to keep the trains rolling, each citizen, not just tax payer, but each of the 37 million citizens of this state will be on the hook for close to $10,000 to pay for this train. Think of what else you can do with that money. Is a train to nowhere anywhere on that list? I didn't think so.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I don't know anyone in Palo Alto in favor of HSR. It just seems like a idea that might "sound good" but in reality is just a mess.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I don't live near the tracks. I'm against the project simply because the budget is out of control. Until we regain our economic footing, we cannot afford to do this.

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Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Marie is a registered user.

I live on Alma in Palo Alto across from the tracks and am in favor of high speed rail done right - which I don't think is possible under the current management. I am a big supporter of CARRD who have done so much work to show how bad this management is. I don't see anyone saying CARRD doesn't support HSR - because they do!!!

In particular, I think it is critical that CALTRAIN be electrified and the intersections at E. Meadow and Charleston be grade-separated. This will negatively impact my quality of life doing construction and I still support it!!!!! I am sick of being accused of being a NIMBY simply because I oppose a poorly conceived, badly managed project. Bring us HSR done right and I'll be out there supporting it.

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm

It seems that California is experiencing widespread "buyer's remorse" regarding this terribly expensive and limited form of transportation:

Web Link

59% of voters would now vote NO on this.
69% said that they would never ride it.

It is time to put this thing to rest. Seriously.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve Ly
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm

We need to kill high speed rail project, which numerous impartial observers like the state auditor, the LAO and UC Berkeley's ITS have faulted. At the very least it needs to go back to voters. The California High Speed Rail Authority is mismanaged and in bed with the consultants and unions.

Money wasted on high speed rail could be better spend on deficit reduction. We should be given another chance to vote on high speed rail because the project now under discussion is not the project voters approved in 2008. Since HSR is not on the ballot, I plan to send a message to Governor Moonbeam by voting "NO" on his tax increases.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.