Will the State Senate Destroy California’s Future Today?

Jul 6th, 2012 | Posted by

Today is the day that the State Senate is slated to make its crucial vote on whether to release the bond funding voters approved nearly four years ago and allow construction to begin on the high speed rail project. At stake are thousands of desperately needed construction jobs, millions of tons in annual carbon emission reductions, a long-term economic boost to cities large and small along the proposed route from new businesses and from economic activity released by diverting spending away from oil, and California’s ability to move people around the state without adding to the already considerable pollution problem.

California State Senate

This vote is directly comparable to the 1930 vote to build the Golden Gate Bridge, the 1959 vote to build the State Water Project, the 1960 vote to adopt the Higher Education Master Plan, and other similar votes where the state legislature showed leadership in solving a problem and creating conditions for lasting economic growth. Will California’s State Senators agree to help address problems and lead the state into the future? Or will they join the Tea Party in rejecting sustainable infrastructure and destroy jobs in the name of false economy?

The answer may lie in how the Senators read polls. A Field Poll released on Thursday suggested that the HSR project might hurt Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax measure:

In its current survey The Field Poll finds voter views of the project have soured considerably since its passage. At present, 56% of likely voters say they would oppose the rail project if it were up for another public vote, while just 39% are supportive.

The unpopularity of the multi-billion dollar project appears to be negatively affecting chances of voters endorsing the Governor’s tax increase proposal should the legislature authorize funds to the project. Nearly one in three likely voters, including one in five voters who currently support the Governor’s initiative, say they’d be less inclined to vote Yes if the legislature begins funding the rail project.

With a relentless drumbeat of negative articles about the project – many of them flawed – it’s no surprise that these polling numbers are turning up. The shockingly biased reporting from Ralph Vartabedian of the LA Times is just the best example of how some reporters are openly hostile to the project, with most others casually repeating their inherent bias for austerity and against government spending. It’s very difficult to find fair coverage of the article in most media outlets, with a few exceptions (such as Tim Sheehan at the Fresno Bee, David Siders at the Sacramento Bee, Michael Cabanatuan at the San Francisco Chronicle, and Juliet Williams at the AP).

Unsurprisingly, some media pundits are using the poll to suggest Governor Brown is wrong to push the project, with George Skelton at the LA Times writing that “Brown may be shooting himself in the foot by squeezing the trigger on bullet borrowing.”

If the poll were so damning, you would expect to see HSR supporters in the legislature running away from the project in order to save the all-important November tax measure, right?

But that’s not what’s happening. Yesterday the Assembly voted 51-27 to release the bond funds. They all saw the Field Poll. Many read Skelton’s article. Those Democrats are very strongly interested in passing the governor’s tax proposal this November. Led by Speaker John A. Pérez, they want to avoid crippling cuts to education and health care and would not undermine the tax proposal’s chances of passage.

Nor has Governor Brown suddenly turned away from the high speed rail project, even though he is staking his term in office on the passage of the November tax proposal.

What gives? Are these people so blinded by their love of bullet trains that they’ve given up on the tax measure?

Of course not. Some perspective and common sense is required here.

First, the Field Poll indicated only about 20% of those who would vote yes on the tax measure would flip to no because of the high speed rail project. In a close election that number could prove decisive. But there are reasons to believe that won’t happen.

The campaign to pass the tax measure will not turn on high speed rail. It will instead be dominated by the Yes campaign’s efforts to convince voters that schools and health care services are under fire and this is the only way to save them. The No campaign will run with a traditional “don’t let Sacramento politicians raise your taxes” message.

Second, most Sacramento Democrats understand that high speed rail means jobs – lots and lots of jobs, at a time when the state desperately needs them. They reject the Tea Party argument that government spending is somehow bad for the economy or the budget, and instead recognize that the $3 billion in federal stimulus would create jobs and economic activity that in turn creates tax revenue. It’s an example of responsible government spending.

There are many State Senators who understand the merits of the high speed rail project too. State Senator Ted Lieu, who has been one of the strongest voices in support of Governor Brown’s tax measure, confirmed on Twitter tonight that he will be voting to approve the high speed rail funds today. He will be joined by many other State Senators who both share his desire to pass the tax measure this November as well as lead California into a sustainable future, creating jobs and reducing carbon emissions with high speed rail.

Others still need our help. Here’s Senator Noreen Evans quoted in the Sac Bee:

Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, said she remains undecided about the project, citing concern that the proposal doesn’t do anything to help her North Coast constituents.

It will create thousands of jobs across the state and help reduce global warming. Those are both desperately needed. Does she oppose every bill that doesn’t directly help her district?

Evans’ office phone number is (916) 651-4002. Call her and remind her that significant job growth anywhere the state is a boon to everyone in the state. Tell her that the North Coast cares about reducing carbon emissions and reducing our dependence on oil. Ask her, nicely, whether she opposes all state spending that occurs outside her district.

Senator Rod Wright is listed in the article as leaning yes. Give him a call at (916) 651-4025 and ask him to join Ted Lieu, who represents a neighboring district, and vote yes on a project that can create jobs for his constituents.

Senator Lou Correa of Orange County is a key swing vote. Give him a call at (916) 651-4034. Ask him to vote yes to bring jobs to his district improving the Amtrak corridor between LA and San Diego, and remind him that as oil prices soar, visitors to the Anaheim resorts will need other ways to get to central Orange County.

In fact, if you live in a State Senate district represented by a Democrat, give them a call today and ask them to vote yes for jobs, for clean energy, for improving transportation, and for rejecting Mitt Romney and the Tea Party in favor of President Obama’s vision for America’s future. Full talking points are below. Let’s win this thing.

Jobs: California is still suffering from high unemployment. The high speed rail project will create thousands of jobs in the next few years across the state, good jobs that California families need to help the economy recover. Please do not kill these jobs – please release the high speed rail funds voters already approved.

The project is sound: Do not believe the anti-rail people – instead believe the facts. High speed rail systems all over the world cover their costs, including the Acela in the US Northeast. The independent peer review study of the California high speed rail project showed it would cover its operating costs through ridership. Californians want to ride this train, and the demand is there. Please do not kill this project – please release the high speed rail funds voters already approved.

The Central Valley is a good place to start: The idea that the Central Valley segment is a “train to nowhere” is a lie. Nobody plans to build track just in the Valley and nobody plans to run trains just in that area alone. It’s the starting point of a statewide system, just like the first segments of the interstate freeway system. The current HSR plan includes funding for rail projects in the Bay Area and Southern California, which is going to be helpful. But you can’t build HSR between SF and LA without going through the Valley. It’s the missing link and the best place to begin. Plus, the Obama Administration has said they will take away our stimulus money if Senators do not release the voter-approved project.

HSR is necessary for the environment: High speed rail is a key piece of California’s environmental efforts. The California Air Resources Board declared it essential to meeting the AB 32 carbon reduction goals. Motor vehicles are responsible for 57% of the pollution in the Central Valley and a key cause of asthma in Valley children. If the legislature kills high speed rail now, it would saying that California is not serious about addressing climate change or improving public health.

HSR is good for the state budget: The argument that infrastructure stimulus is bad for the budget is a right-wing talking point that President Obama has rejected. HSR funds will create desperately needed jobs that in turn contribute new tax revenues to the state. Further, the interest payments will come from truck fees, not from schools or health care. Legislators voted for bond funding to build bridges and dams in the depths of the Great Depression and it did not hurt schools or other public services. We should follow that proven path.

  1. Roger Christensen
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 07:49

    In the roaring traffic’s boom,
    In the silence of my lonely room
    I think of you (CAHSR)
    Night and day

  2. John Nachtigall
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 07:59

    Or they can face the facts.

    1. It will not conform to the very specific provisions of prop 1A. It is a compromise project that has compromised on the basic functionality and purpose.

    2. There is no identified funding source for matching funds past those in today’s vote and the source most cited (federal funds) have been legislatively denied in the last 2 transportation bills. This will become a stranded project.

    3. The “green” argument is a farce. Per the CAHSR Authority’s own benefit analysis in 2040 it will reduce car travel by only 1.2%. This even if they hit ridership numbers this project will not reduce the number of highways built or the congestion and pollution from those cars.


    I think this bill will unfortunately pass, but it only kicks the can down the road to the eventual reconciliation with the legal and practical problems with the project

    VBobier Reply:


    1. It conforms to Prop1a and AB whatever it is, but then Yer not a Lawyer are Ya? So You have no idea what Yer talking about.
    2. Cap & Trade Truck Fees will pay for Interest & can be used to fund HSR capital needs up to $3 Billion Dollars a year..
    3. CA Population is growing according to the US Census, building more Freeways or expanding existing ones will be less Green still, but then Yer trying to White Wash the project…

    Yes It did pass in the Assembly by an overwhelming margin

    YESONHSR Reply:

    YES they can stick their heads in the sand and cry the sky is falling ..like all the deniers..and yourself

  3. RubberToe
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 07:59

    Mercury News is live blogging the debate, if anyone knows of a live audio feed, please post it:

    Is it still the common wisdom that they would not schedule a vote unless they were sure they would win it?


    morris brown Reply:

    @ RubberToe

    I would agree that they would not vote unless they have a majority to approve.

    However, the Legislature is going into recess for a month, and LaHood has this threat that if they don’t get the approval now, he is going to pull the funds.

    VBobier Reply:

    Oh and LaHood does not lie, He says He’ll pull the funds, He will, as He has before. As it’s No Threat, it’s a promise, the CA legislature does not have control over the DOT money.

    DavidM Reply:


    Unfortunately, it’s a windows media format so I can’t get it on my android phone.

    Spokker Reply:

    Cal Channel is Silverlight. It’s so annoying. I want to go sit on my fat ass and listen in but I have to sit at the computer.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Silverlight does not like XP, if that is what you have. Silverlight is optimized for 7. MS you know.

    Peter Reply:

    Silverlight works just fine on XP for me.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I had trouble with France 2 jt and Rai TV and XP. I just use 7 on the entertainment computer – I find it much harder to use than XP otherwise.

    Jul 6th, 2012 at 08:12

    Leno is voting yes..now SFs/San mateo other Senator( YEE )..hard to believe.. was make some not so postive comments..he is the one you should be calling and worring about ..I will call his SAC office when it opens at 900am

  5. RubberToe
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 08:24

    Since I’m off and have some time. Frequent visitor here, less frequent poster. Very big supporter of public transit and HSR. Short term thinking got us where we are. Large, unsustainable pensions for state workers need to be changed to fixed contribution and not fixed benefit. Just like the private sector. The HSR will provide long term benefits for many future generations. Oil is going to be astronomically high at some point in time. Whether it is 2 years from now, or 20 years from now, makes absolutely no difference. Only to short term thinkers. Flying will be much more expensive then, and auto travel too. Having the HSR system link so many of the states population centers will be a driving force in the future that will provide an edge for California’s future growth. Robert has stated this much more eloquently in prior posts.

    I like the LA County 2030 transit map he posted a few days ago. We voted 68% yes in 2008 to TAX OURSELVES, let me repeat that for those who have trouble understanding the concept, we voted to TAX OURSELVES 0.5% for 30 years to generate $40 billion for country road and rail improvements. That money is what will produce the map that Robert showed. The mayor has been instrumental in making this happen. As the rail system has expanded, ridership has followed, along with TOD. The same thing will happen with the HSR system, just like everywhere else in the world that HSR has been built. Amtrak Pacific Surfliner ridership goes up every year, as does local transit usage, and HSR will help both of those out even when only partially completed.

    Others have said that it is a generational thing, and I believe that plays into the debate. Older folks (I’m 51) are less flexible in their thinking, always yearning for what things were like back in the “old days”. Younger people are looking to the future, since that is where they are headed. The funny thing is, it is the older population who will be served by easy HSR travel. Too old to drive, seniors will be able to more easily get around the state so you think they would be in favor of HSR. I also see that simple NIMBY’ism and greed drive a lot of the negative HSR discussion. That and the guy here who thinks that the BART management is the head of a world wide conspiracy to soak up all the money in the world. Dude, focus all that energy on something more productive!

    I look forward to a positive Senate vote today. I realize that this will inevitably lead to massive litigation. BRING IT ON, as the former pres used to say. At least we will have made the transition from “planning” to “doing”, where the actual “doing” part requires plowing through whatever legal machinations are required to get the system construction started. Let the NIMBY’s spend their money fighting, we will see how much stomach they have when their legal bills start adding up at $1,000 per hour. I look forward to being at the eventual groundbreaking ceremony, wherever and whenever that may be. And I also look forward to the ongoing discussion of funding the remaining aspects of the system that need to be funded, and how we go about making that happen.

    And many thanks to Robert Cruickshank, who has been absolutely instrumental via this blog with refuting all the negative attacks that the HSR opponents constantly come up with.


    VBobier Reply:

    Welcome aboard Rubber Toe, I’m 52 today, I too look forward to passage by the CA State Senate, I’ve also for those on twitter Here’s a tweet:

    #VoteYesOnFundingHSR JOBS, HSR will help CA meet AB32, Bonds interest will be paid & funded by Truck Fees Creates JOBS JOBS JOBS 4 Cleaner Air

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Welcome back, Rubber Toe, haven’t seen you in a while.

    You may be pleased to know I consider you and Victor part of the “younger” generation. I think the age breaks are currently at about 62 and 92, more or less (I’m 57, by the way).

    I don’t know if you remember this, but I consider the anti-rail crowd to be a “difficult, in-between age” group. The older crowd (now over 90) remembers a pre-interstate, very railroad-oriented America; the younger crowd (under 62) seems to be a lot like what you sound like, while the “difficult, in-between age” bunch grew up in the big car-big engine-big fin time, and thinks we are going to bring back choo-choos, trolley cars, the horse and buggy, and the Gibson Girl look (hey, I like that one!)


    Well, we do have preserved steam trains in operation (could use more!), and the trolleys are making a comeback, too.

    VBobier Reply:

    I’m 52 today, as Today is My Birthday.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Happy Birthday!

    VBobier Reply:

    Thanks adirondacker12800.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Hey, V., you just got one hell of a birthday present! Congratulations, and happy birthday, too!

    Peter Reply:

    Very well-reasoned, RT. I completely agree with you that we need to move forward, even though we know that litigation will undoubtedly ensue. The threat of a lawsuit shouldn’t kill a project of this size. It shouldn’t even cause us to hesitate.

  6. morris brown
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 08:24

    Robert, you must be a bit worried about the outcome of today’s vote in the Senate. You probably should be.

    You might view what Noreen Evans actually said yesterday in the hearing of Leno’s committee.

    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xre0Ni_r2W4

    After viewing do you still think she is undecided?

    Senator Yee, yesteday said he is a NO vote.

    Only 5 Democrats have to vote NO, and the appropriation is defeated.

    Dan Walers has a shot video on the the upcoming vote:

    See: http://www.youtube.com/embed/81VYGaxsm6c

    He thinks they are a few votes short.

    It is going to be close that’s for sure.

    RubberToe Reply:

    I am worried, and time will tell what happens…

    A lot of times in this country, things have to get “really broken” before the public gets the wherewithal to take the required action. State pension reform is one area like I mentioned, I believe that they need to get this taken care of despite it going against the union’s wishes. I view HSR as a pro-active means of dealing with future state population and transportation issues. If we had passed the bond in 2006 or 2004 instead of 2008, we would be laying tracks right now. Delaying the start of construction to fine tune the plan, will I believe only result in the feds taking the money away. Can’t argue with that.

    My belief is that HSR in California is going to happen at some point, and the sooner we start it the sooner it will be finished. It may be that things need to get really “broken” first, before we collectively come to our senses. “Broken” in this case means something like a war in the Mideast sending gas prices to $5.00 then $7.00 per gallon. When that happens, note the use of the word “when”, there are going to be a lot of people looking around at each other thinking that it would have been a very good idea to have built an electric train that could move millions around the state without burning a single drop of fossil fuel. The cost of building HSR will be 1/10 the cost of the war to maintain oil flow from the Mideast, possibly 1/20 if the recent wars are any indication.


    VBobier Reply:

    I called Yee’s office today, among others, so We will see what happen Morris.

    #VoteYesOnFundingHSR JOBS, HSR will help CA meet AB32, Bonds interest will be paid & funded by Truck Fees Creates JOBS JOBS JOBS 4 Cleaner Air

    YESONHSR Reply:

    Yee is undecided…unreal..as a SF senator ..I also called as in live in SF..thou in Lenos district

  7. Jack
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 08:50

    It’s really pretty simple; national unemployment is at 8.2%; California is higher; the CV is in the teens. We need jobs and this is the biggest Job infusion we have that’s ready to go right now. Everything else is still on the drawing boards.

    Build, Baby, Build!

    VBobier Reply:

    #VoteYesOnFundingHSR JOBS, HSR will help CA meet AB32, Bonds interest will be paid & funded by Truck Fees Creates JOBS JOBS JOBS 4 Cleaner Air

  8. Josh Levinger
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 10:24

    Just called Loni Hancock’s office, and she’s still “on the fence” and “weighing the pros and cons”. Told her about the environmental and jobs impact, the staffer took my name and address, and then quickly shuttled me off the phone. Anyone have a recent whip count for this?

  9. jimsf
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 10:38

    well I called evens’ office and uppity queen who answered the phone gave me the brush off cuz Im not in her district. I reminded him that the senators work for all the people of the state not just their own district and he told me to have a good day and hung up. SO I emailed my cousin in Santa Rosa and told her to call. ( and hopefully she’ll have some comments for the guy who answered the phone)

    Then I called Wright, and my comments were duly noted but with slight indifference.

    Then I called Correa and the man on the phone was extremely professional, and before I even had a chance to say ” I realize Im not in his district but..” He said, “california sir, thats fully understood in Senator Correas office” two points for Sen Correa! They actually sounded like they give a shit. shocking.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Awesome! Thanks for calling. When people call from out of district it’s helpful to say that you care about what happens in the whole state, and that you want to see that district benefit from this investment. Good to hear about Correa’s people.

    VBobier Reply:

    I told at least 1 office that My whole family supports HSR, I really hope this passes today as It would make My day complete today.

    James M. in Irvine Reply:

    Yes, his office was the first one I called on Tuesday, and I am in his district, I believe. I was amazed that the gentleman who took my call asked for my name, address, and reasons for supporting the project! Since this was the first call I made, I thought I would be on the phone for over an hour calling, but all the rest of the offices I called just jotted down a tally mark in the right column when I called, not caring who or where I was. Regardless of the vote, I have more respect for Carrea and his office for taking the time to listen!

    Jim M.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yeah same here, most are ok, Correa though has no slouches working there.

  10. Jack
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 10:41

    Has to be the most traffic ever to the blog; connection errors all day!

    Jay Taylor Reply:

    Yup Yup, getting the same issues.

  11. jimsf
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 10:41

    I called my sen. here in merced too… Cannella. Hes one of the rep. elected in 2010, even though this district is more democratic. The farmers seem to have him by the balls.

    his number is
    Anthony Cannella
    Capitol Office
    State Capitol, Room 3048
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone: (916) 651-4012
    Fax: (916) 445-0773

    Tom Reply:

    I called Cannella office too. Also I called Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, Senator Rod Wright, Senator Noreen Evans. They asked why I am supporting HRS? I told them that last week it took me 9 hours to drive from Sunnyvale to OC for the wedding.

  12. jimsf
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 11:03

    What time is the vote?

    RubberToe Reply:

    The senate session I believe starts at Noon. There will probably be several votes would be my guess. There is the Plan B being proposed, so any estimate as to when votes will happen is just that, a guess.


    Nadia Reply:

    the Floor session starts at 1pm and can be watched live at:


    there are a lot of issues – so it’s anybody’s guess on what time they will take up the issue

  13. RubberToe
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 11:42

    Looks like the calchannel will have a live webcast starting at 1:00pm:

  14. Tony d.
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 11:44

    Anyone else here appalled that the geriatric NIMBYS are cheerleading for this thing to die on a vine?! IMHO, they represent all that is currently wrong with out country: utter selfishness, I gots mine mentality, the hell with everyone else, etc. I served four years in the military for the greater good: just for once in their life I wish those like Morris would think of the greater good. Oh well, I guess I also defended the right to be selfish and self-centered…God Bless America!

  15. Dane P.
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 12:14

    Good point Tony D.!

    FWIW I’ve also emailed and called my state senator to vote yes on funding CAHSR. Don’t know if it will fall on deaf ears or not, but I feel better at least for creating some noise in support for this project!

  16. Paul Dyson
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 12:18

    Whichever way the vote goes today it will present a heavy burden for passenger rail advocates. If yes we have to make this turkey of a plan work AND somehow find money to make it useful, at the same time ensure that the waste is diminished as much as possible. If no we have to build a coalition to bridge the gap and to build HSR compatible upgrades at each end and work towards the middle. Neither will be easy given the political climate and the history of utter ineptitude of the project management to date, but we have to try. What a mess!

    jimsf Reply:

    If so called rail advocates hadn’t worked so hard to sabotage the project, and to force so many compromises we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, HSR would have been closer to what prop1a was estimated at, all thanks to Nimbys…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The sabotage was accomplished on the inside by influence peddlers, with the most invidious being the cities of Los Angeles and San Jose.

    I guess we are condemned to relive “Chinatown” in perpetuity. I was reminded of this reading yesterday’s SF Chron story on disenchanted and harassed farmers in the San Joaquin Valley. The CHSRA is fully prepared to cut up this almond growers fields for no real reason but is not allowed to even think of touching the Chandlers f***ing golf course.

    Not to worry this thing will go down. When did stupidity, incompetence, corruption ever lose?

    Jerry’s hubris, vainglory and deceit makes the hollywood celebrity Sperminator look like a humble ordinary citizen in retrospect.

    jimsf Reply:

    If this doesn’t pass what we will be left with for another generation or more, is slow, rail service that is mostly useless except for people who have the luxury of time, mainly the poor the unemployed, and the retired. Our current system is not an adequate option for successful people who are the ones who make the economy go.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    We used to count a generation as 20 years. So if this does pass we still have a generation to wait for anything useful…

    jimsf Reply:

    That was already understood. No matter what gets done it takes at least that long. So if nothing happens for a generation, then we start over, we’ll be about half way through this century before anything new goes into service.

    You knew that. Quit playing games.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    15 years = 20 years rounded up to the closest decade?

    Jon Reply:

    If this passes, it will be a generation before we get anything useful. If this doesn’t pass it will be two generations before we get anything useful- one generation to revisit the decision, another generation to actually build the thing. Quit playing games.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    If this goes down today, don’t expect any more money for any intercity rail improvements of any kind in California for at least another decade. Passage opens the door for more money for more projects. Let’s hope the Senate makes the right decision for rail in California.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Gimme a break.

    BART will will have its “assets” scrounging more funds as soon as the gavel drops.

    jimsf Reply:

    bart is not a statewide rail system. bart is a local metro system, with a lot of local support. Its irrelevant as it pertains the the state’s transportation future.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Don’t tell that to BART; in its own mind its Manifest Destiny is limitless.

    Broad gauge to Sac or bust!

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    If this goes down today, don’t expect any more money for any intercity rail improvements of any kind in California for at least another decade.

    If this passes today, don’t expect any more money for any intracity transit improvements of any kind in California for at least another two decades.

    Derek Reply:

    Taxpayers would save a lot of money if we’d simply stop spending tax money on our logically impossible goal to cure traffic congestion on unpriced roadways. Then there would be more money, and demand, for transit improvements of all kinds. Until then, we’re putting the cart before the horse, and setting ourselves up for failure.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    By that logic, Prop 108 and 116 never should have passed after the first HSR attempt.

    Spokker Reply:

    If it passes I’m going to plan to go to the Central Valley and take construction pictures and generally enjoy what I can about the project.

    If it doesn’t pass it’ll be a sad day because I was and still am an HSR supporter, but I would understand because it’s a bad project.

    rant Reply:

    Spokker, please tell me again, Why is this “a bad Project”?

    Spokker Reply:

    Because I’ve gone crazy with Libertarianism.

    Look, it’s voting day. All the arguing has been done. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy some legislative action.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You can watch them taking a bulldozer to the almond trees and planting hollow-core stilts.

    jimsf Reply:

    oh please.

    Spokker Reply:

    synonymouse, I do hate trees!

    Roger Christensen Reply:

    If it passes:
    Time to release the somewhat overdue South Valley EIR and pick a route ASAP.

  17. Spokker
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 13:17

    When does the action start? I’m on Cal Channel and nobody is doing anything.

  18. Spokker
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 13:34

    If anybody wants to live chat this thing, I’m here http://www.efnet.org/

    Channel is #cahsr

    Just pick a name and log in.

    Spokker Reply:

    We have three. Come on in, the water’s fine. Looking for a big name poster like Clem, Morris, Robert, Elizabeth or Richard ;)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    IRC, how quaint. Effective but quaint.

    Spokker Reply:

    Get in here. We have 7 now.

    VBobier Reply:

    It’s over the Nay Sayers have LOST…

    21 Senators have approved SB1029…

  19. VBobier
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 13:45

    LaMalfas motion 95 is up for a vote, Lowenthal voted No and so did Yee, bill notion 95 is defeated.

    VBobier Reply:

    That bill/motion 95 is/was the revote. Down in flames.

  20. nick
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 14:12

    whoever is talking at the moment needs to understand that the current bill is the only one on offer and that he will putback high speed rail years and lose the federal funding by not voting for this bill. if you support and want hsr NOW then you have to vote for this bill. otherwise you are against it – that simple.

  21. nick
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 14:12

    and make the decision that is right and not just what the polls are saying currently. show some strength and committment !

    nick Reply:

    what a wimpish cop out !

  22. RubberToe
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 14:20

    Simitian talking now seems a certain no.

    Peter Reply:

    Yep, had a feeling he wasn’t going to vote for it no matter what. Literally, no matter what the suggested plan, he wasn’t going to vote for it.

    Eric M Reply:

    Agreed. His suggestions was just bluffing to waste time

    Peter Reply:

    What a snake.

    DavidM Reply:

    He was concern trolling over the Governor’s tax proposal.

    Peter Reply:

    Wasn’t the whole “blended plan” his suggestion to begin with?

    Eric M Reply:

    I think so

    Peter Reply:


    Tony D. Reply:

    Simitian’s going to turn down $700 million + for Caltrain’s modernization…great (sad sarcasm).

  23. nick
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 14:35

    why doesnt he just admit he is against it and stop all this flannel about how much transit he has used. so lets ignore the needs of all of california and build more roads in san diego and wider with more congestion more accidents more pollution ! so mid 20Th century we are in 2012 wake up !

    nick Reply:

    where is the money for roads coming from ? and the ongoing subsidy.

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    Out of thin air on another bond issue which people will say no to anyways.

    Derek Reply:

    There’s no need to build or widen roads to reduce traffic congestion. In fact, I can’t think of a more expensive or less effective way to reduce traffic congestion than that.

  24. nick
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 14:38

    what if those people he want to consult with tell him well what we wanted was hsr which you voted against !!!

  25. Peter
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 14:42

    So far I’m counting 4 Dems yes, one no (Simitian), and all 15 Republicans presumed against.

    Walter Reply:

    DeSaulnier is defector #2.

    Peter Reply:

    Great. Lowenthal’s up now.

    Peter Reply:

    More like “Lowenthal’s down”. Defector # 3.

    DavidM Reply:

    The defectors speeches sounded like the measure would pass anyway.

    Peter Reply:

    At least Rubio kept it alive, he was one of the potential defectors.

    Ed C. Reply:

    Lowenthal represents my district.
    Thanks Lowenthal. Your no vote for HSR is a no vote for you to remain in the Senate.

    DavidM Reply:

    He’s running for Congress this year.

    VBobier Reply:

    Or to go to Congress, bloody turncoat, teabagger ally is what He is…

  26. Jack
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 15:23

    I can’t believe LaMalfa can go up in front of his peers; and lie like this… criminal.

  27. Peter
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 15:40

    Sen. Joel Anderson: How do we know that 30 years from now we’ll even be using trains?

    We’ll be using teleporters!

    Ed C. Reply:

    And then they’ll complain “But teleporters are boondoggles.”

    Alan F Reply:

    (east coast lurker here) Did he really say that? How do we know that 30 years from now we will even be driving cars? Why spend so much money widening highways and building new roads?

    Odds are that either it will be electric cars in 30 years or seriously expensive gasoline to keep that ICE powered car going. And by seriously expensive, I don’t mean dirt cheap $5 or $6 a gallon gas.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that the CA HSR will pass, as it will be the trigger (not right away, but in time) for HSR projects elsewhere in the USA.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    “Keeping my fingers crossed that the CA HSR will pass, as it will be the trigger (not right away, but in time) for HSR projects elsewhere in the USA.”

    Agreed, and from a fellow east-coaster outside of Washington, DC, near the end of the commuter rail service in West Virginia.

    VBobier Reply:

    Or flying Cars, yeah right, right…

  28. Spokker
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 15:57

    Boner time. It passed.

  29. michaelinsf
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 15:57

    woo hooo!!! it just passed with 21 votes!

  30. RubberToe
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 15:58

    Are you fooking kidding me? Yikes!

    God they better not mess this up!

  31. Jack
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 15:58


  32. Reality Check
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 15:58

    21-16 vote

  33. VBobier
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 15:58


    Simitian(D): Nay [Teabagger]
    Vargas(D): Aye 1/21 [Urges an Aye vote]
    Wyland(R): Nay
    Gaines(R): Nay
    Dutton(R): Nay
    DeSaulnier(D): Nay [Teabagger]
    Lowenthal(D): Nay [Teabagger]
    Rubio(D): Aye 2/21 [urban vs rural, Ceqa is blind, lawsuits can happen anywhere in CA]
    Padilla(D): Aye 3/21
    LaMalfa(R): Nay [SB985{motion 95} is the revote…]
    Fuller(R): Nay
    Lieu(D): Aye 4/21 [Urges an Aye vote]
    Anderson(R): Nay
    Leno(D): Aye 5/21 [Bonds debt service is already accounted for]
    Steinberg(D): Aye 6/21 [margin of error on field poll 21{Nay on Govs tax if HSR voted on} to 17{Aye on Govs tax if HSR voted on}]
    Alquist(D): Aye 7/21
    Correa(D): Aye 8/21

    21 Aye votes: Measure passes folks It’s done!

    HSR is GO!!!

    Spokker Reply:

    So I guess Correa got what he wanted for OC? Or was he just bluffing?

    Alan F Reply:

    From Virginia, congratulations to those in California who fought the fight for HSR and won.

  34. bixnix
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 15:59

    what was the “score” (votes) ?

    bixnix Reply:

    just missed that … thanks VB

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    It was 21 to 16, the bare minimum to pass. Talk about a squeaker! First time I’ve tried following something on Twitter (real time commentary), and it gives me a hint of what it must have been like in the “war room” during the Bin Laden raid.



    Eric M Reply:

    They just stopped counting at 21 and did not go to 40. No need to

    Eric M Reply:

    21 yes votes was what I meant

    VBobier Reply:

    21(Aye)-16(Nay) vote…

  35. proudPANimby
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 16:01

    Let the lawsuits begin. Now the fun starts.

    Spokker Reply:

    To be fair, the lawsuits started a while ago.

    Jack Reply:

    Good thing the lawsuits so far has no chance of doing anything; We’re building this thing, what an amazing day to be a Californian. We can still do great things!!!

    Mac Reply:

    Sad, but true. More $$ will be wasted on lawsuits, creating additional delays….

    AND WHEN THAT PERIOD OF TIME HAS PASSED: It is up to you who actually are involved in the planning end of this and are in such support of this project plan today…… to build this project without leaving 130 miles of track in the CV that is nothing more than glorified Amtrak. We will see how long it actually takes to fund and design an operating segment that WILL connect the CV to LA . I doubt if it will even be within my children’s lifetime. By then this steel wheel HSR will have become obsolete.

    nick Reply:

    think youve been watching reruns of the jetsons !

    Tony D. Reply:

    Proud NIMBY…#%€£@ U!

  36. ywhynot
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 16:02

    21 yay 16 nay! It passed

  37. Ed C.
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 16:04

    NIMBYs 0.
    Progress +1000.

  38. RubberToe
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 16:05

    Who were the last 2 who only voted yes after the roll of non-voters was called four different times?

    MarkB Reply:

    Wright and McLeod.

  39. ywhynot
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 16:07

    also with respect to Simitian. He voted no on a plan that he created (pretty much verbatum). Someone once told me if you give someone a finger, they’ll want the hand. If you give the hand, they’ll want the arm….. it’s a long saying but basically it comes down to the fact that to say the least that man is disingenuous.

    nick Reply:

    a bit like romney voting against the so-called obamacare when in fact we could call it romney care only he doesnt !

  40. Walter
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 16:09

    THE AYES HAVE IT! Here’s a toast to Morris, Nadia, Elizabeth, Lowenthal, Simitian, DeSaulnier, LaMalfa, Grover Norquist, CARRD, and the rest of ’em. Congratulations to all who have sweated for high-speed rail and much respect to the State Senators who stuck out their necks today for the future of our great state.

    Jack Reply:

    Word! Now the fun begins.

    Mac Reply:

    Yes, thank you for ALL that you have done! Those senators that stuck their necks out and voted against this plan should be able to move forward with a clear conscience. Why the majority of the Senate ignored such a BIG warning from a good number of Senators in the Budget Committee about fiscal consequences …as well as the LAO, Peer Review etc. still boggles my mind..

    Mac Reply:

    And I remind you that I am not Anti- HSR……just anti- THIS PLAN

    Californians deserved better.

    nick Reply:

    if the republicans are so fiscally conscious why do they want to build more roads which are subsidised and why do they want to vote for tax cuts that the state and country cant afford ? and why dont they want to raise taxes to help reduce the debt ? if they were really so concerned they would look at all options ie higher gas tax (funny they oppose spending on hsr as it is a subsidy they say but then say it is ok to build more roads without raising any money to pay for them !) and if you oppose hsr just say it. nobody who supported hsr in any way whatsoever would risk $3.3 billion dollars of funding because they didnt like the plan ! could your hear the highway lobby or supporters arguing that way ?

    nick Reply:

    yes be graciious in VICTORR !!!

  41. Tom
    Jul 6th, 2012 at 17:16

    Well! California does deserved this and more to come.

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