Diane Harkey’s Crazy Comments
Assemblymember Diane Harkey is a Republican from southern Orange County, and like most Republicans from that part of the county, is a total wingnut. In 2010 she proposed a bill to gut the high speed rail project by preventing the sale of the HSR bonds that California voters had approved in November 2008. The bill went nowhere.
Unlike the Central Valley Republican members of Congress, who flip-flopped on HSR once the Koch Brothers demanded it, Harkey has always opposed high speed rail. Harkey’s ideology appears to be a typical right-wing one of opposing government spending on anything but roads and oil. Peak oil and climate change are liberal lies in her mind, and of course, nobody rides trains in California as far as she is concerned – even though there are several popular stations in her own district.
Still, that didn’t prepare California for Harkey’s shocking and offensive comments today about the high speed rail project:
Harkey pointed to California’s high speed rail project as an example of unnecessary spending. She also objected to it being built through farmland.
“This is cultural genocide, and we can’t tolerate that,” she said.
Harkey is unhinged. The loss of some 3,000 acres of farmland – a pittance – is nothing remotely like “cultural genocide.” Only a small handful of farmers will be affected by the project, probably less than were affected by the construction of Interstate 5 in the 1960s. And many more will be protected by the project, since the train would save farmland by channeling future growth into the existing urban areas and cut down on pressure to convert farms to subdivisions.
Harkey’s comments do nothing to help the cause of a small group of Central Valley farmers agitating for a different route for the project. As I’ve said before, these farmers can’t stop the project, and would only undermine their own efforts if they tried. But it really doesn’t help for people like Harkey to make offensive and frankly crazy comments like these.