Diane Harkey’s Anti HSR Bill Fails Again in Assembly

Apr 25th, 2012 | Posted by

In what is becoming an annual ritual, Assemblymember Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) proposed a bill to stop any use of the voter-approved Prop 1A bond funding – and the bill has been killed by Democrats in an Assembly committee:

Legislation to stop bond funding for the state’s high-speed rail project failed to pass out of committee yesterday but the Southern California lawmaker who authored the so-called “Lemon Law” bill plans to reintroduce it or similar legislation, her office told the Daily Journal yesterday.

Assembly Bill 1455, authored by Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point, failed to pass out of the Assembly Committee on Transportation yesterday on a 4-9 vote.

Harkey’s bill has become a darling of the anti-HSR crowd, and despite her repeated failure to even get the bill out of committee, she claims support is growing:

“This marks the third year we have promoted a solution and every year our support grows. We have endorsements from counties, cities, numerous citizen organizations and Farm Bureau chapters across the state, a clear indication that many have soured on what is becoming another Solyndra on rails,” Harkey wrote in the statement.

By referring to Solyndra, Harkey gives away her actual intentions. She’s trying to rally Republicans and conservatives to use the high speed rail project as a way to attack President Obama as being some kind of wasteful spending, as the Solyndra clean energy company was used last year. Assembly Democrats did the right thing in killing this bill, and Senate Democrats ought to follow their path and maintain strong support for the high speed rail project, especially in the face of Republican attacks.

  1. Donk
    Apr 25th, 2012 at 20:38

    OT: Planning of for LAUS is beginning


    Joey Reply:

    Interesting, some of the designs seem to have done away with the upper level for HSR. It’s probably too early to be optimistic though.

    swing hanger Reply:

    “Visions” indeed. All they can be for something 40 years away. Heck, 40 years is at least 2 generations of the HSR design cycle, based on a 20 year operational life.

    swing hanger Reply:

    *trainset operational life, that is.

    Travis D Reply:

    I like how Grimshaw/Gruen covered the railyards with decorative solar arrays and gardens. Now that is something that I’d like to see.

    Nathanael Reply:

    They’re mucking about trying to figure out how to fit Metrolink in on a single level along with SIX HSR tracks.

    I think SIX HSR tracks is overkill, actually. With short dwell times, four is plenty — there are only two northern destinations and two southern in the full-build system. That would leave plenty of room for Metrolink.

    There’s something to send in critical comments on.

    Joey Reply:

    If done carefully, there’s probably enough room at-grade for 12+ platform tracks (plus the gold line tracks). Not that anything like that is necessary.

    Travis D Reply:

    I’m hoping for something along the lines of Tianjin West station.

    Or even the South Seoul Station.

    Something with lots of glass and character.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Why are architects so obsessed with making things ugly?

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Read Tom Wolfe’s book, “From Bauhaus to Our House,” for an answer to your question.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. The Boston City Hall had rave reviews when it opened.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    By other architects maybe, but I rather doubt by normal people.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Architects have always made ugly buildings (there are some really bad reviews of the Baroque and Rococco periods). Though the “City Beautiful” movement was one of the better architectural periods.

    But anyway, I’ve come to realize that the way we usually get a city of pretty buildings is to build a lot of different stuff and then demolish the stuff which people didn’t like; that way we end up with the best of each period. Not a representative sample — the best.

    To do that, you need to be rather careful about your historical preservation, to keep the good buildings and let the ugly, crummy ones die. Unfortunately if you do this people get a romanticized view of the past — most of our surviving 19th century buildings are the nice ones, since the nasty ones got ripped out as early as the 1920s.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Fat chance of imploding the TransAmerica Shaft.

    Travis D Reply:

    I thought the first design was quite attractive.

    Does anyone know when we might see some designs for the stations in Merced, Fresno, or Bakersfield?

    I know they had some mockups in the Draft EIR but I would think the cities will go with something done by their own architect.

  2. jimsf
    Apr 25th, 2012 at 21:49

    When are republicans going to learn they can’t get their agenda done in california. Nobody likes them. They should just pack up and go away.

    the truth is, 99 percent of the hsr hoopla over the past few years has been perpetuated at its core by right wing think tanks, and then sloppily spread around by ignorant and lazy “journalists” …. people who don’t know the difference between a rail, a track, and a train. Most of the reporting is painful to read.
    ( has any one else noticed the infuriating misuse of adverbs in the media- the use of adjectives instead of adverbs when descibing verbs. It makes my brain explode when I hear that…

    “ly” people “ly” goes on the end of the word!!!!

    Anyway, the lock step republicans having screwed up the global economy and gotten their asses beat in the 2008 elections, have completely lost their minds. In their rage they have gone on an insane rampage across the land. It can’t go on much longer before the American people send out the men with the big butterfly nets to round them all up.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    They and their prop13 world is going to die..thou not soon enough to stop even more damage to the CA’s future

    lex luther Reply:

    apparently people do like republicans because they get elected to office. Ever heard of San Diego? Orange County? The entire Inland Empire? The majority of the Central Valley? california isnt just SF and LA. California is a moderate state where we elect GOP governors like pete wilson and Ahnold even if we are a “blue” state…

    So the GOP got beat in 2008, but its 2012 and since then the GOP took back the house. The people arent mad at republicans, they dont like any politicians on either side. both sides poll very low, and the president has less than 50% approval rating, being beat by romney in a recent poll…

    the “yes we can” progressive tidal wave of 2008 has been reduced to a low tide. dont expect much change this November

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Practically all voters are going to vote for a Republican for President this November – a little more than half for President Romney, a little less than half for Governor Romney.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    I can’t tell if that was a typo or a facile Tweedle Dee / Tweedle Dum argument.

    If you intended to write, “Practically all voters are going to vote for a Republican for President this November – a little more than half for President Obama, a little less than half for Governor Romney.”

    … that sounds about right. There’s very little to distinguish President Obama from being a fairly conservative members of what used to be the Rockefeller wing of the Republican party … but that wing has been largely purged, so they’ve become the Hedge Fund wing of the Democratic party instead.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, it was intentional. We have a health care system based on the Heritage Foundation’s counter-plan to Hillarycare, a finance policy that’s friendly to big banks in practice if not in rhetoric, and social policy that’s based entirely on poll-driven politics. The person who ran on this program in 2008 is Mitt Romney.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yeah, sure, if you buy the masterful player of 11-dimensional chess model of Obama, all of the things that he proposed and the House passed in 2009-2010 that died in the Senate were a deliberate ruse. The simpler explanation is we have a Constitutionally weak Presidency in domestic policy, and we got pretty much what anyone ought to have expected in electing a Democrat from Clinton’s Hedge Fund wing of the party.

    As someone in favor of kicking our addiction to oil, I wish that Obama was, but he was always pushing the cowardly “all of the above” policy since early on in the primaries in 2008. Romney in 2008 would have been every bit as much in the “One of the Above”, “In Oil We Trust” camp as McCain was. We have a health care system very much along the lines that Senators Clinton and Obama were fighting for, with one of Senator Clinton’s points swapped in for one of Obama’s, but it was always promised to be along the general lines of the 1990’s Heritage Foundation managed competition plan. And never mind the top two ~ of the top 2008 six prospects, the only one who was not guaranteed to be buddy buddy with big banks had fallen in love with his own stump speech during the 2004 general election campaign and couldn’t even remember to wear protection while diddling his party girl videographer, so could never have had the opportunity to face off against the big banks, irrespective of willingness.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Alon’s intuition is correct, but not his conclusion

    Most of Obama’s core staff remember first hand Bill Clinton embrace liberal dreams shortly after winning a “fluke election” only to see it galvanize Republicans to seize the House in 1994, forcing Clinton to use triangulation, even in his second term.

    Obama, on the the other hand, is trying use triangulation more heavily now, and save the dogma for his second term. He knows that if he effectively forces Romney to run against his own record, all the latter can do is try to win on factors such as likeability or charisma. In fact, members of the Republican establishment secretly want Romney to lose because they find the Mormons annoying and not very valuable in expanding the base.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    What dogma ~ I read Obama’s policy proposals when he was first putting together his bid for the White House. What you see is what you get ~ he would have been an Eisenhower Republican if that part of the political spectrum had not been marginalized inside the Republican party. So he’s a Clinton wing Democrat, instead.

    The whole point of Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council was to build a wing of the Democratic Party that could attract big money contributions of its own. Senator Clinton was smack dab in the middle of that wing, and in their time together in the Senate, there was no more than a hair’s difference in the votes and positions of Senators Clinton and Obama.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Look at his voting record, however, and a slightly different picture emerges. Plus, as a candidate, he had John Edwards running to his left and HRC to his right. His policy proposals were never the most liberal, but in terms of disposition, I would claim otherwise.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    My theory of Obama is that he’s playing 11-dimensional chess, and is bad at it.

    For example: in 2010, there was enough GOP support in the Senate for Kerry-Lieberman, e.g. Lindsey Graham, that the bill could’ve passed. Instead, Obama decided to piss Graham off by proposing an immigration reform law. It’s not even that Obama decided to be liberal on immigration. On the contrary, his administration has stepped up deportations and harassment, much more so than the Bush administration did. He just wanted to pretend to care about Hispanics at the wrong time.

    For another example: if the administration had proposed a $1.5 trillion stimulus, Olympia Snowe would have cut it down to $1.3 trillion and it would’ve passed by the same margin. None of the Senate moderates give a damn about policy – it’s all about being in the middle of the road. Instead, the administration tried to placate them with an $800 billion bill on the theory that they could always ask for more, and after the bill passed pivoted to the deficit (why?). Krugman warned against it, and every single thing he said on the matter turned out to be true.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    No one in the Democratic establishment with the exception of a few staffers in the Clinton camp had any idea that the sight of a black president on TV would galvanize the right the way it has. No President has ever governed the way you describe because that would be an admission that they lack a mandate from victory.

    And don’t be fooled– the demographic (and by extension political) make up of this country assures that the white conservative base is going to do anything it can to ensure minority rights against federal or state power. They started to lose the game, so they decided to change the rules. It doesn’t matter what Obama does…he’s going to be opposed because the only way you discharge ruling elites is by genocide: (see Rwanda, supra 1994).

    Nathanael Reply:

    The President is not constitutionally weak, Bruce.

    The problem is that our institutional party structures, and the election system, have been designed to weed out and eliminate FDR / Wilson / Teddy R. / Lincoln / Jackson / Jefferson candidates — people who challenge “conventional wisdom” and use the extensive powers of the Presidency to help people. And these structures particularly effective at this exclusion right now. They were also particularly effective at this pernicious task before Lincoln, and Lincoln only got in when the status quo became completely non-viable.

    wu ming Reply:

    registered CA republicans fall to 30.4%

    the GOP can barely hold onto 34% of either chamber in the state leg, is running orly taitz for senate, and you can count their CA statewide race wins in the past decade or two on one hand.

    obama won the vast majority of populated counties in the central valley (butte, yolo, solano, sacramento, san joaquin, stanislaus, merced, fresno), all the counties of the inland empire, san diego county, and came within 3% of winning orange county as well. democrats hold congressional and state leg seats in san diego, orange county, the inland empire, and the central valley, while shutting the GOP out in LA, SF, and all over the coast. CA is not a purple or a swing state in any meaningful definition, and even in the GOP wave election year of 2010, democrats picked up seats.

    the CA GOP only affects state politics by vetoing tax increases, and after the election this fall, they may not even be able to do that. they are utterly outnumbered, and falling fast, because californians don’t like them, and they loathe californians, by and large.

    lex luther Reply:

    lol the birther nut for senate? fail. wont happen. shes a wacko

    and your talking about 2008 still. thats 4 years ago. alot changes in 4 years, including peoples attitudes or feelings about politicians and people

    look at prop 19 in 2010. failed. progressives, with all their power were not enough to legalize their favorite plant, but I bet if they had put a prop 19 style initiative on the ballot in 2008, it would have passed. in 2 years, people changed their minds. im not a registered republican, ive been a registered democrat for over 20 years, but I cannot just vote party lines anymore.

    VBobier Reply:

    Hey for once We agree on something, Of course She ought to be called Oily taitz, but that’s My opinion of what passes for the Republican Party these days, at least ever since the nutjobs took over.

    Joe Reply:

    CA GOP is winning. Darrell Issa is leading the way. More hearings on women’s sexuality, birth control and of course crack down on birth control.

    Kids love this stuff.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    im not a registered republican, ive been a registered democrat for over 20 years, but I cannot just vote party lines anymore.

    … but post links to the party line of the right wing of the Republican Party in the Washington Times editorial page.

    Nathanael Reply:

    A lot changes in four years, but it’s all been changing in the same directly. The Republican Party is dying in California due partly to sheer demographics; pay attention to the age-bracket preferences from 2008 and update them for 2012 and see what results you get.

    Nathanael Reply:

    rrrgh, “it’s all been changing in the same direction”. California has been getting more and more liberal since Reagan left (California) office.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I strongly encourage you, lex, NOT to vote party-line…

    But don’t vote Republican either.

    Duverger’s Law says that our current election system will lead to two-party dominance, but it doesn’t say that they have to be the CURRENT two parties. The Republican Party is sinking far enough that third parties will soon have an actual chance in California.

    The top-two primary helps with that a little, as well. Anyway, the sooner the Republican Party dies, the sooner you’ll find real alternatives to the Democratic candidate who have a real chance.

    slackfarmer Reply:

    Wilson and Schwarzenegger were moderates. California has a long history of progressive Republicans dating back to Hiram Johnson and Earl Warren. Heck, even Reagan was more pragmatic as governor than president (he signed CEQA into law, for example). The GOP could contend statewide if it returned to its roots in California: fiscal discipline, business friendly regulation, pragmatic governance and a hands-off approach to social issues. Instead the current CA GOP takes its marching orders from Bible-thumping ideologues from the South. Its only purpose seems to be to reelect nut jobs from safe districts and bollocks up the budget with its 1/3 veto, thereby giving Dems an excuse not to govern and to be unaccountable. I have hope (though not much faith at this point) that the new redistricting and open primary laws will help elect more moderate, pragmatic politicians from both parties.

    lex luther Reply:

    bible thumping idealogues from the south? as opposed to the little red book thumping california progressives who would bring Mao Zedong back to life to run him as the next governor….what is the difference?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The difference: Bible thumpers exist and are an actual force in mainstream politics. Communists, not so much.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    That’s just proof of how insidious and well infiltrated the commie menace actually is!

    Nathanael Reply:

    Exactly. And even among Communists, I don’t see any Maoists or Stalinists or hardline Marxists around. They just don’t exist. I’m in an ‘ultra lefty’ town and all the Communists I’ve seen are Bakuninesque libertarian communists.

    Nathanael Reply:

    And even those are a tiny, tiny, uninfluential minority.

    slackfarmer Reply:

    Nominally, fascism vs. socialism, but I’m not a fan of either. Politics in CA is far too much driven by the extremes of both parties by pols that hail from safe districts. A more pragmatic, centered political class would match the overall electorate much better, and likely govern much better.

    VBobier Reply:

    Oh, like CA Democrats/Independents are so scared of Repugs, give Me a break, Repugs will lose everytime in the Legislature & soon enough they will lose their 1/3 super clueless Moron status, then they’ll just be clueless & raving Morons…

    neville snark Reply:

    I hate the complacent attitude that the problem is that there are ideologues on both sides, can’t we all just get along, yada yada. There are practically zero ideologues on the left. The so-called ‘center’ is way on the right, in reality. And btw, Obama is a tactician; he would govern more to the left, but that (he thinks) is impossible.

    VBobier Reply:

    Red books? Where I’ve never seen one and no I don’t have one or want one.

    lex luther Reply:

    That was more directed at the SF, Oakland and berkeley Dem progressives who hate america.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just because they don’t agree with you doesn’t mean they hate America.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    The SF, Oakland and berkeley Dem progressives do not hate america. They love America as they love almost everyone; it is the California way. Take it from me, who does hate america (along with most countries), a misanthrope.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    After being called a Communist for suggesting a light rail line instead of a highway, I considered growing a beard, donning fatigues and a beret, and taking up cigars, just to annoy those clowns.

    “Here, have a good cigar, wonderful smoke, courtesy of Brother Fidel! Are we comrades now?”

    Hey, if you’re going to be accused of something, and everyone will believe it anyway, you might as well act the part and have some fun with it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    $40 billion. That’s how much those anti-Americans are contributing to the feds each year in tax imbalance.

    The people who think they represent Real America and Traditional Values are just one loud, excessively powerful minority. Demographically they’re an intersection of majorities, for sure, but once you exclude nonwhites, GLBTQ people, recent immigrants, non-Christians, people who live in city centers or the Bay Area or New England, union members, feminists, and socialists, you’re not left with much.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Oh, and they exclude people who like to ride trains, and people who want clean water, and people who want a living wage, too.

    It’s kind of comic how many people they exclude — or it would be if it wasn’t so eerily similar to the Nazi’s ever expanding list of people to hate. (Foreigners Communists Socialists Gays Gypsies Jews… people forget that the “hate list” got longer and longer and longer)

    Nathanael Reply:

    Sorry, that should be ” Nazis’ “. Damn, I made a punctuation error!

    wu ming Reply:

    SF, oakland and berkeley progressives are as american as you.

  3. jimsf
    Apr 25th, 2012 at 21:57

    Tell me Mitch McConnel, John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor aren’t four of the sleaziest, up to no good, looking men you’ve ever seen. Their faces just scream smarmy. Throw in that kook Bachman, and that crusty old battleax Virginia Fox and just eeww. how can ANYONE vote for people who look like that. No good is written all over their faces. They are Liars.

    VBobier Reply:

    Theirs a book out that was mentioned in the Huntington Post about Repugs wanting since day 1 in what amounts to a conspiracy to undermine the President, so this comes as No surprise. But having Dianes pathetic bill killed again by Democrats is Priceless…

    VBobier Reply:

    I meant Huffington Post, Dang that’s what I get for living in San Gabriel for Years and driving on Huntington Drive, one word gets replaced by another in My brain sometimes…

    Donk Reply:

    True, but there are just as many Democrats that you can put in that same sentence, if you are talking about sleazy-looking politicians. What about Joe Biden, John Kerry, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Jesse Jackson? All these guys could also be considered liars.

    jimsf Reply:

    I like joe biden. He seems the exact opposite of sleazy. A nice regualr guy. I don’t know anything about antonio, ( we don’t get much local la poltics up north) I don’t know about john kerry but is jesse jackson an elected official? I thought he was just one of those people who pokes his nose into everything.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Joe Biden Pros: rides amtrak, Cons: pretty much everything else

    Jackson ran for president in 84 and 88. Probably was the last actual leftist in the Democratic Party. Check out his speeches on YouTube … great orator.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Biden is, however, pretty damned straightforward. I cannot call him dishonest. I do disagree with him on quite a lot, but when he’s shilling for corporations, he’s upfront about it, and you have to give him that.

    StevieB Reply:

    Antonio Villaraigosa has been mentioned as a possible Secretary of Transportation and has received national attention with his America Fast Forward proposal.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Biden is a Beltway insider. Apart from that, there’s nothing special about him, except perhaps his uncanny ability to recast himself as a normal working-class person from Scranton after Obama picked him as his VP.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How can you leave out John Edwards and Bill Clinton. Edwards cheated on his wife who had cancer, bribed her with donations from other people, had his aide claim he was the father, and all the while was running for president as a dedicated family man….oh yeah…a gem of a guy.

    Clinton cheats and then lies about it and then tries to change the definition of words to explain why he was not lying. First president to stand for impeachment in 100+ years.

    There are plenty of sleezeballs on both sides….I would not start throwing stones in this fight…enough ammunition on all sides to cause mutually assured destruction.

    When will all these people learn the coverup is always the scandal, just come clean from the beginning.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    What is the obsession with the sex lives of politicians? Surely obsessing with the sex lives of movies stars is more satisfying, since the mental images must surely be more attractive.

    I’d think the point being made is that McConnell, Ryan and Cantor are publicly sleazy, smarmy toadies. Privately, they could well be upright, virtuous men who are perfect gentlemen in their private relationships.

    There are, of course, corrupt sleazeballs on both sides, given that the system is thoroughly corrupt ~ a classic tactic in support of the corruption is to point that out and declare it a push between the two parties.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I don’t think it is obsession….unlike in Europe, in America most people belive that if you are sleezy in your personal life you are likely to be sleezy in your public life. I have always found it interesting that for example in France people belive that they are completely seperate. I have to say I think if you lie about personal things you are willing to lie about public things so I have to agree that personal indiscresions should count against public figures.

    If you want publically sleezy democracts we can go with Willy Jefferson (money in the freezer?? really??? Use an offshore bank like any decent corrupt person would). Or most of the Governor’s of Illinois since 1961. 3 of the 4 convicted governors were Democracts (but the GOP had to slip one in to stay competative)

    I have to disagree about the system being corrupt…I don’t belive that. There are dirty people in the system, but as long as we keep finding and prosecuting these people the system is not corupt. You want a corupt system…look at Mexico or Greece or even Italy. That is what a corrupt system looks like. When bribes become the standard practice and people stop caring then it is corrupt. I am 100% against it on both sides and support continuing to root it out and prosecute.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “You want a corupt[sic] system…look at” how the Tejon Ranch Co. intimidated and gamed the CHSRA.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Bribes are a standard practice. We call them campaign contributions.

    jimsf Reply:

    I don’t care who screws who in the bedroom. That’s none of the american peoples business. (lots of americans are nosey busybodies is all) Smarmy is when they are screwing us on policy… cutting things that benefit americans.

    slackfarmer Reply:

    “I don’t care who screws who in the bedroom.” Agreed, but laundering campaign contributions to support an illegitimate love child while at the same time holding yourself out as a family man is a different issue all together. As is often the case, it’s the cover up, not the initial act which is problematic.

    There are plenty of crooked, sleezy politicians on both sides of the aisle. The point at which someone claims it to be otherwise is when they lose objectivity.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    It is the existence of the love child that is inexcusable ~ anyone that careless isn’t serious enough to tackle the kind of fights that Edwards talked about fighting. Its a case of all talk, no game.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Wait a second: Having an affair with someone while your wife is sick with terminal cancer is excusable, but having a child isn’t? That’s a rather messed up mentality.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its not like we are electing saints or picking a team mascot ~ we’re picking someone to push for the policies we want to see put into place. The carelessness of having the child guaranteed that the affair was going to come out sooner or later, which implied that all the policy positions were empty rhetoric.

    lex luther Reply:

    we like the illusion that we are picking saints

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You mean the fact that he was a co-sponsor of the Iraq War resolution and then ran on a platform of opposition to the war did not clue you into the fact that his policy positions were empty rhetoric?

    And to think that he almost didn’t drop out in 2008, which would’ve forced the Dems into a brokered convention.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I figured Edwards was better than the other two *because* he was more politically savvy — which usually means more of a liar.

    Crucially, he had figured out which lies were popular. Someone who is enough of a power-hungry politician will recognize that populism is actually *popular* and will get you great gobs of power, so I suspect Edwards genuinely would have helped the majority of the American people. In contrast, the elite currently running things don’t seem to have the first clue what their power actually rests upon.

    For another example of how “good politician” often means “liar”, Julia Gillard in Australia is pursusing *exactly the same* policies as Kevin Rudd, but she’s being a lot less honest about them. Once implemented, the policies are popular (they’re also well-thought-out), so this is going to help the party. However, to get them through a Parliament filled with ignorant and stupid people, it helps to lie.

    Sigh. I don’t like to believe that lies are effective, but they are, especially when the other side is using them in even larger quantities (as is the case in Australia).

    Alex M. Reply:

    High profile publicly-elected figures are held to a higher standard because of their important jobs. I think it is our business to an extent.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Yeah — I absolutely regret not voting for the prostitute who ran for governor of NY recently. She would have been a lot better than our current sellout.

    I think we Americans need to get over some of these sex hangups. Honesty is important in a politician, yes — and puritanical moral codes actually cause more politicians to lie.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, lots are, some will see things that aren’t even there, like someone even said You can’t be living on the check that You get, not in CA, yet I do exist(It’s not My 1st choice either, but what the heck), as do others, one just has to be good at keeping track of how much is spent where, after all it’s business 1st, fun afterwards. I picked where I live for a reason, as it’s what I can afford, plus one of My relatives likes Me being far away(most of My living relatives couldn’t help Me cause of a lack of space and She wouldn’t), Oh sure it’s gotten a little better over the years, but not by much. A lot of it boils down to not liking this or that, without My check I’d be homeless as I’m only barely able to do anything without lots of time & some effort, so working is out. Of course then those who don’t like some getting a check would also say We have a homeless problem now that needs to be gotten rid of like ones trash, but then being selfish is preferred today in the Repugnican Party…

    nslander Reply:

    Garden variety “corruption” is pretty damned trivial considering what we pass off as political representation is merely kabuki. Dedicating more attention to thee antics of William Jefferson or John Edwards (or David Vitter or John Ensign or David Vitter or Larry Craig or Mark Sanford) than to the corporate capture of our politics only perpetuates the problem. Just watch TMZ instead.

    Alex M. Reply:

    You usually have good points, but ad hominems? Really? That’s a bit low.

  4. Travis D
    Apr 26th, 2012 at 00:36

    The more this project has chugged along the more I fall in love with it. I can’t wait until I can drive the sixty miles to Merced and ride this baby all way into LAUS!

    Unfortunately by the time there is a station closer to where I live now I’ll probably be living over in Sweden with my wife. Unless I can convince her to stay in Nor Cal.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Lucky you! Sweden has great rail service and it’s improving. In a few years you’re gonna be able to ride a high-speed train directly to Hamburg, and connect to trains to Paris, London, Madrid, Vienna, Rome, etc.

  5. lex luther
    Apr 26th, 2012 at 09:23

    WASHINGTON TIMES: high speed rail to run on diesel??


    BruceMcF Reply:

    I’ll note, since as “lex luther”, you previously asked whether we should read and evaluate the arguments of someone with the pseudonym of “Drunk Engineer” on the strength of the evidence and the quality of the argument based on that evidence …

    … that you are posting a link to a Washington Times editorial page, and the editorial is trying to pretend that “do what you say you are going to do” is a case of “bait and switch”. And perpetuates the maximum speed myth by suggesting that a service that has a train with a lower top speed than the Acela will provide a slower service than the Acela.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Washington Times, that’s the one run by the Moonies, right? Or is it the Anshutz one? I can never remember.

    Travis D Reply:

    The Washingtontimes also thinks Obama was born in Kenya.

    lex luther Reply:

    donald trump is convinced

    thatbruce Reply:

    I think the exchange went something like this:

    Trump: Obama was born in Kenya! Show us your birth certificate!

    Obama: Man, you’re nuts. Look, here’s my long-form birth certificate from Hawaii. Happy now? I’ve got more important things to do.

    Trump: Obama fakes birth certificate!

    Obama: I killed Osama. Who’s your daddy? Who managed to do what your GOP darling failed to do after 6 years and several trillion dollars? Huh? Huh?

    Trump: *whimper*

    Obama: Damm straight. Now let me go back to trying to fix the economy that my predecessor broke with trying to continue his daddy’s war.

    nobody_important Reply:

    Man, those comments. I’m SO SICK of the fallacy of “ONLY 2 HIGH SPEED RAIL LINES MAKE MONEY”. If you’re not famillar, ALL HSR lines make a profit to cover their OPERATIONAL costs. Those 2 lines are the only ones that have payed of their CONSTRUCTION costs. It rustles my jimmies so fucking hard.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    And how many Interstate Highways make a profit?

    But Cato, Reason and Heritage are not paid to spread the fact that roads cost the public money to build and then the auto transport system costs the public money to support ~ they are paid to find talking points that people like those commentators want to believe, and so will spread.

    VBobier Reply:

    None, Even toll roads don’t make any, not if a freeway exists nearby like in Orange County that is slower and cheaper, make the tolls like on a bridge(the Vincent Thomas CA-47 comes to mind) & the price would be worth it, otherwise people will avoid it, even if it means the trip will take longer.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Nobody Important didn’t mention it, but there was an interesting comment among the usual negatives with that editorial–someone who really likes Amtrak:

    FOR the ‘UN- WASHED’ = Faster is not always better!

    Here’s one prime example — I live in RENO, NV and — as a senor citizen – ride AMTRAK to Truckee, CA [in US Cong. Tom McClintock congressional district] for a $20 round-trip fare!

    “ON MY FIXED INCOME – That’s affordable, combined with a mere 2-/1/2 block walk from my ‘affordable downtown Reno’ apartment.

    “En route to the AMTRAK depot, I stop as a local preferred restaurant, only half a block from the train station — then …

    “Based on my personal experiences riding AMTRAK in CA and “The San Diego Trolley” in ‘America’s [self-proclaimed] Finest City/ SMALL BUSINESS EXPANDS dramatically within a 10 mile radius of every new or expanding train station – whether light-rail [San Diego] or AMTRAK heavy rail [all over ‘The Golden State’, Silver State and Beehive State – to mention only a few]!

    “AMTRAK is run by a Vietnam War Veteran – ‘Who rides the rails, himself’ — PROOF POSITIVE of hands-on quality assurance, IMHO!

    “A ten hour trip in 2010 Thanksgiving – Christmas – New Years season from Salt Lake City, UT to Reno, NV was delightful!


    “Except the compulsive, neurotics to “HAVE TO GET SOME WHERE IN A HURRY”! ;-)


    “DID I MENTION the “AMTRAK REWARDS PROGRAM” – for frequent riders?

    “‘Slower is better’ – AND FOR THE TICKET PRICE = cheaper, IMHO! ;-)”–gogosian2061

    I say, he sounds like a ringer for either Jim SF or V. Bobier, maybe both. . .of course, left unsaid was the fact that if the Republicans and other conservative types had their way, he wouldn’t have Amtrak, either.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I wish the right-wing loons hadn’t stolen the word “conservative” from those of us who want to conserve things and hate to lose them.

  6. Joe
    Apr 26th, 2012 at 10:20

    Two blue dog conservative Dems, who opposed many Obama/Dem initatives lost in Dem primaries. Both incumbants lost to more progressive Candidates.

    Those Dems in CA that side with teabagging HSR opponents put their careers at risk. Voting for the HSR spending is NOT rubber stamping, it is agreeing to move forward with HSR and continue to refine and imorove the project as it proceeds.

    VBobier Reply:

    Well that’s 2 less, now if their Democratic replacements can win in the General there will be 2 more Democrats going to Congress, so people don’t forget to Vote, Lives depend on it.

  7. Reality Check
    Apr 26th, 2012 at 14:59

    Rendering plant opposes HSR project
    Alignment alternative east of Hanford could shut down facility

    HANFORD — A company that processes dead dairy cows from Kings County has come out publicly against the California high-speed rail project.

    Baker Commodities, the company that operates the processing facility east of Hanford, sent a representative last week to a Senate Transportation and Housing Committee hearing in Sacramento to speak in support of SB 985.


    Baker’s public opposition to the project marks a departure for the company, which until now has been quietly negotiating with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to avoid disruptions to its plant.

    One planned alignment announced last year would go right through the middle of the facility, forcing the company to relocate.


    Baker is against both alignments because they would impact dairy customers and the local economy, Luckey said.

    “We want as little of the local economy and businesses impacted as possible,” Luckey said. “We have a lot of friends and associates. We’re supportive of their opposition.”

    Alan Reply:

    Yeah, baby! Dead cows before live people! Let’s keep our priorities straight!

    lex luther Reply:

    its translation for they make canned cat and dog food. dead and diseased animals are in every bite.

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    Aren’t they the the Mad Cow guys? They may have to move, anyway.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @Reality Check:

    The link you posted for an alignment going through Baker Commodities’ Hanford facility shows their facility in Vernon on the bank of the LA river, just south of the BNSF intermodal yard.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I do not understand why small special interests think that they can simply oppose all possible rail routes. Wanna suggest another route? Perhaps you should have talked to the Hanford City Council before it rejected the downtown route!

  8. Reality Check
    Apr 26th, 2012 at 15:02

    Rice payments and high-speed rail
    For Doug LaMalfa it’s OK to subsidize rice growing but not a high-speed train system

    lex luther Reply:

    ^^reality check needs to get real. comparing food to HSR? and someone said there are no wackos on the democrat side

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes, lower prices for Asian rice consumers

    lex luther Reply:

    and mexicans….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Also lower prices for Asian rice producers. Don’t forget them.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I figured out that all “Reality Check” does is post links to articles, with no filtering at all — so, articles of all sorts, relevant, irrelevant, right, wrong, and loony.

    Nathanael Reply:

    A little too well-written to be a Google bot, though.

  9. Reality Check
    Apr 26th, 2012 at 15:36

    O/T: Moroccan NIMBYs fight $3b, 185-mile Tangiers-Casablanca HSR plan:
    Morocco defends planned high speed rail from critics calling it wasteful

    The website of the Stop TGV campaign lists dozens of other ways the money could have been spent, particularly on Morocco’s ailing health and education sectors, such as 25 new university teaching hospitals or 100 new engineering schools.

    lex luther Reply:

    nimbys….spending money on education is a good investment, thats how people learn things to do things like BUILD A TRAIN.

    ericmarseille Reply:

    Morocco is engaged in an economical, political and social transformation of which the crucial point is to attract international investors and tourists.

    High speed rail in this country is both a bet on their economic future and a prestige thing ; if Morocco builds it, it will be the first country in Africa to have true to international standards HSR, even so before the US ; you can count on Moroccan bloggers and people to crow for generations about that achievement.

    I don’t doubt for one second that Morocco has a lot of other pressing priorities, including infrastructural priorities ; but sometimes, sending a strong message at the right moment works.

    Moreover, the business plan looks serious and the ridership figures are interesting ; I simply hope they’ve been seriously estimated.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Morroco is arranged in such a way — the population concentrated in several different cities which are some distance apart from each other — that HSR would probably induce a major economic boom.

    I mean, if you think about it, HSR means that if build one university teaching hospital, then the whole population can *get* to it. Given that every sector of business tends to “cluster”, HSR will enable the “clustering” to benefit the whole country rather than just the city where that sector “clusters”.

  10. Reality Check
    Apr 26th, 2012 at 16:06

    TRAC’s Richard Tolmach has a scathing cover story on the April edition of California Rail News on the HSRA’s new business plan, with a special focus on the Tehachapi/Palmdale/Soledad Canyon route:


    The latest edition of the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) Business Plan released April 2 is available on the Authority website. It is by far the least convincing effort to date.

    HSRA has hyped this version as “saving” $30 billion, but plan details show this was achieved by just chopping back high-speed mileage and ignoring the mandate for 2 hour, 40 minute L.A.-S.F. service. For seven years after the start of train service, from 2022 to 2029, neither San Francisco nor Los Angeles
    will be on the network, and changes of train will be required on both ends.


    Going the long way also undermines all of the claimed energy and economic benefits. Trains running 480 miles via Palmdale suffer a 40 percent mileage penalty compared to airlines with 344 air miles from SFO to LAX. As China learned, 220 mph trains have high energy costs. HSRA has not demonstrated that trains via Palmdale can save any energy.

    Leading experts, including Silicon Valley’s William Warren, already have cast doubt that trains can compete against air carriers like Southwest and JetBlue. JetBlue managed to retain 12 cent cost per available seat mile (CASM) and 16 cent passenger-mile cost in spite of today’s fuel prices. By comparison, the leanest high-speed service worldwide is TGV-Southeast with 31 cents per passenger mile, and others cost 40 cents or higher.

    HSRA’s inefficient Palmdale route, combined with higher rail costs makes it economically dead on arrival. Airlines are profitable with $100 Bay Area-Los Angeles fares (29 cents per mile) but trains via Palmdale would need S.F.-L.A. fares of at least $150 just to break even.

    It is obvious the public won’t agree to pay higher than airfare to ride a train wandering in the desert for 2 hours just to get to Bakersfield, or connecting service that takes 5 hours L.A. to the Bay Area, as the initial Operating Segment does. The only explanation for profit claims in the 2012 Business Plan is magical thinking, because the Authority makes no credible case for profit in its 212-page report.


    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Nice to see that Tolmach has gone completely deranged and has no idea what he is talking about.

    I am curious: How is a 51 minute LA-BFD trip as slow as the current 2 hour Ambus?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Tolmach’s been completely deranged for a couple of years now. He’s managed to destroy the credibility of CalRailNews and turn TRAC into an anti-rail organization.

    It’s sad, really.

  11. lex luther
    Apr 26th, 2012 at 18:15



    Nathanael Reply:

    After they worked to kill the downtown Hanford HSR station and then tried to kill HSR entirely.

    I guess they just don’t like rail which makes a profit.

  12. Reality Check
    Apr 26th, 2012 at 18:17

    Railroads, GOP try to derail PTC plan

    A decades-long push to enhance train safety may get derailed in the latest congressional battle over transportation funding.

    At issue lies the euphemistically named positive train control, a braking mechanism that uses GPS, sensors and other technology to prevent impending collisions. Lawmakers heralded the system after a California train catastrophe killed 25 people and injured 130 in 2008. The tragedy sparked legislation that required installation on trains that carry passengers and those lugging hazardous materials by 2015.

    Times have changed.

    Now the railroad industry wants a delay, saying the costs — $10 billion-plus — vastly outweigh the benefits. And they’re encouraging lawmakers to embed an extension in the final transportation bill.

    “The reality is the deadline is unrealistic,” said Patti Reilly of the Association of American Railroads. “And we believe there are more effective technologies to make the system safer.”

    The project saddles railways with most of the cost. The industry group calls it the largest federal mandate yet for America’s railroads. It estimates $1 in benefits for every $20 spent on the system, robbing funds from infrastructure upgrades and other safety procedures. For this, the industry says PTC would prevent only 4 percent of railroad accidents. Commuter rail authorities face about $2 billion in costs.


    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Don’t forget our idiot “Friends” at the American Public Transportation Association:

    “If this was a plug-and-play scenario, I don’t think anyone would have an issue,” said Brian Tynan, director of government relations at the American Public Transportation Association. “But we’re not pulling existing technology off the shelf at Best Buy.”

    Jonathan Reply:

    Hm. But he could if he went to Wabtec instead of Best Buy.
    Or even (gasp, shudder, horror) got to Bombardier for ERTMS-Regional (using 200MHz radio instead of GSM-R).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not just Bombardier, even. GE just got into the business. Good ole’ American business, with a CEO who gets to head Presidential taskforces on boosting domestic manufacturing.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So Bombardier needs to get an ERTMS-Regional display at Best Buy, and the problem will be sorted?

    swing hanger Reply:

    “And we believe there are more effective technologies to make the system safer.”
    Gawd, follies like CBOSS or other made in USA reinventions of the wheel? This is just another way of saying we don’t want anything to do with joining the late 20th century (much less the 21st) wrt railway safety.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    “we believe there are more effective technologies to make the system safer” could also be read as “writing checks to settle the lawsuits out of court is cheaper than preventing the accidents”

    jimsf Reply:

    exactly right.

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    writing checks to settle the lawsuits out of court is cheaper

    The last lawsuit was settled for $200 million, dipshit.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And it happens once every ten, twenty years. Ten twenty million a year. What’s the interest on ten billion dollars?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Correct. But the freight railroads are no longer rich enough to buy Congress, which they have not noticed.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Dishonest liars at the AAR. Amtrak is going to finish its PTC installation across all the tracks it owns THIS YEAR. You can buy what Amtrak used, or you can buy what the Europeans use. Or you can be a jerk-ass railroad executive who doesn’t want to do what the ICC told railroads to do *in the 1930s*.

    I think Congress is happy to stomp on these demented railroad execs. Chatsworth, guys? It hasn’t faded out of living memory yet.

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