California Supreme Court Moves to Expedite Governor Brown’s HSR Ruling Request

Jan 29th, 2014 | Posted by

Last week Governor Jerry Brown asked for an expedited appeal from the California Supreme Court regarding last fall’s ruling freezing the HSR bond sales. Today the Court acted on the request, asking the Court of Appeals to schedule a quick hearing:

In a brief order signed by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the state high court transferred a challenge to the rulings by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to the intermediate Court of Appeal in Sacramento and ordered written arguments to be completed by Feb. 10.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority asked the state Supreme Court late Friday to block the rulings by March 1, warning they could indefinitely delay construction of the rail project between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The court, meeting in closed session, declined to put the rulings on hold pending review, but ordered an expedited review that is likely to result in a swift ruling.

Governor Brown did not get the hold on the rulings he was looking for, but the expedited review will help get this resolved quickly, likely before March. Let’s hope the Court of Appeals sees reason and sides with the governor, rather than letting a bunch of NIMBYs and anti-rail activists stop this all-important project.

  1. Zorro
    Jan 29th, 2014 at 18:58

    Things are moving along, I predict the state will win, why?

    The appropriation wasn’t and couldn’t be invalidated, plus it’s too late now.

    A Funding Plan is only used for an Appropriation, no matter how flawed, it’s over, HSR wins another one.

  2. Thomas
    Jan 29th, 2014 at 19:05

    So if Brown wins the appeal, would the project move on, with no further obstacles? What if Brown loses, then what happens? Could the Authority still move the project forward by redefining the ICS to useable segment?

    joe Reply:

    If he wins, (both issues) yes the Treasurer can issue bonds and fund the contracts to 2017.

    If not, then they are looking for non Prop1a funds – probably from the surplus. Prop1a becomes effectively worthless. Lawsuits can tie up any cost sharing appropriation.

    The good news with rendering Prop1A useless is it also kills all restrictions it imposes on the project. CA can go forward without the complexities it imposed.

    StevieB Reply:

    If the project continues without the Prop 1A bond funds then the funds are not worthless but are held until such a time as conditions are ready for their use.

    joe Reply:

    The Petition claims Kenny’s refusing to Validate Prop1A Bonds allows ongoing challenges over Bond legitimacy. On going lawsuits over each bond sale would make the bonds useless for construction. This issue is independent of the Funding Plan.

    If the State uses other money and diverges from prop1a, they may not be able to assure all conditions are met when seeking prop1a funds. An example is such as end to end travel time of 2:40.

    StevieB Reply:

    Travel time limitations would be more easily reached in the next thirty years as train technology improves.

    joe Reply:

    So faster trains? Every design decision has to have evidential argument that Prop1a requirements would be met. Could be met with some hypothetical invention or train set wouldn’t cut it.

    Every-time you want to issue bonds because you have some co-share money, the opposition litigates over compliance and you are now in court for years. Every time.

    Resident Reply:

    A minor correction to JoeZorro’s statement:

    If he wins (both issues) then the next level of appeals will occur.
    Then, once he wins that level (both issues), then the CHSRA can proceed to satisfy the requirements of SB1029 – the appropriation bill. Which requires as stated in SB1029, adherence to Prop 1A.
    Then when they attempt to spend or commit bonds without adherence to SB1029 (or some sort of rubbing stamp adherence without substantiation which they are prone to do), then they will end up back in court.
    Once they win that court case
    Then they win those appeals
    Then they can proceed to fund the contracts to 2017,
    assuming its not already 2017
    And assuming they haven’t been cut off by the feds by that time for breach of contract with the feds.
    And assuming that monkeys haven’t flown out of Jerry Browns ass by then.

    joe Reply:

    Your inconceivable comment was written in “Princess Bride” dialect.

    Resident Reply:

    Oh darn, I was going for “If you give a mouse a cookie”

    synonymouse Reply:

    The flying monkeys will be showing the way to Palmdale where leagues of bazillionaire investors will be gathering, foaming at the prospect of financing 40 miles of tunnel to Mojave.

    But truly I hope VBobier is ok out there. And where is Spokker?

    joe Reply:

    But truly I hope VBobier is ok out there.

    Me too.

    Donk Reply:

    Why, do you miss hearing about “Repubnicans”?

    joe Reply:

    Why do I care that someone is okay?

    Why do you not?

    synonymouse Reply:

    At times VBobier seemed to be down on his luck. I can relate to that.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i agree, he seemed to have been dealt a bad hand and as someone whos life has been blessed in many ways and I probably dont appreciate that enough, he reminded me how lucky and fortunate I am. i wish him the best.

    Donk Reply:

    What about Rafael? Maybe now is the time to bring back the Firebird…

    joe Reply:

    If The Appellate court lifts the block on Prop1a bonds, then CA can go ahead and the Plaintiffs can appeal to the Supreme Court but that Appeal does not block the funds. They would be lifted.

    The Supreme Court, which differed to the appellate court, may not decide to take an appeal of this Appellate court’s ruling unless there is some constitutional issues to resolve. They would let stand the Appellate court’s ruling.

    Thomas Reply:

    So if the appeal still supports the current ruling, the Authority wouldn’t be able to use Prop 1A funds by calling the ICS the useable segment as well in the funding plan? Just want some clarification, since their plan is to conform with the ruling by calling the ICS the useable segment as well.

    joe Reply:

    1. They would have to rework the funding plan. That means identifying the funds for the IOS. Pretty hard to meet the standard the Judge set. I thought they could simple redo the funding plan to define the ICS as the usable segment. That approach you suggested shouldn’t alter the Appropriation and I think they are also following that path as a backup to the Appeal/Petition.

    2. The bigger problem is Kenny refused to rule on the Bond legitimacy. CA could be sued over the legitimacy of the bonds the Treasurer wants to issue over a host of issues such as Prop1a compliance. CA sought to have this litigated up front. All interested parties join the lawsuit and put out their objections or STFU for good. Kenny refused.

  3. Ben
    Jan 29th, 2014 at 20:35

    So in the briefs/arguments, could the issue of non-electrification of the ICS, or “useable segment,” be brought up?

  4. synonymouse
    Jan 29th, 2014 at 20:57

    “a bunch of NIMBYs and anti-rail activists”

    You mean like the Tejon Ranch Co.?

    therealist Reply:


    synonymouse Reply:

    The Ranch has a handle on Jerry Brown. Sure looks like they thumbed down Van Ark.

    Maybe they have something on him like the Cosa Nostra on J. Edgar Hoover.

  5. John Nachtigall
    Jan 29th, 2014 at 22:58

    Logistics question?

    Who is the opposing party here because the Governor filed his case against Kenny right? so is it the Tos lawyers vs. the Attorney General or is is Kenny vs. the Attorney General. or is it the Tos lawyers vs. the authority lawyers again?

    See this is what happens when you skip the process, the peanut gallery gets confused.

  6. morris brown
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 02:30

    @Robert and others:

    I am told the situation at this point is as follows:

    1. The State Supreme court order was for a preliminary opposition brief to be filed by Feb 3rd with a reply due by Feb 10th.

    2. These briefs are to just help the court decide if the court even wants to consider the petition:
    a. if the court says no thanks, the petition is summarily denied
    b. if the court agrees to consider the petition, than the court would order a much more comprehensive briefing, giving usually at least 30 days for the opposition (Tos et al lawyers) followed by 20 days for a reply (AG), after which would be set a date for oral arguments.

    3. There could be other issues, like whether the court should issue a stay, in which case separate briefings on such an issue might or might not be required. Such a stay would only be in place and operate until the case id decided.

    therealist Reply:

    justice delayed is…..!!!

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court ordered an appeals court Wednesday to undertake a fast-track review of two rulings that could disrupt financing of the voter-approved bullet train,0,104720.story#ixzz2rubF2VH7

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    IMHO, operative words being “ordered” and “fast track review”

    Zorro Reply:

    ‘Toast’ comes to mind, possibly for the anti-HSR folks.

  7. Derek
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 10:48

    Brown’s approval rating soars in new poll
    By (Trapper Byrne), San Francisco Chronicle, 2014-01-30.

    Gov. Jerry Brown [landed] his strongest approval rating since returning to the governor’s job in 2011, according to a survey released Thursday.

    Maybe this will help him get things done, like HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And Mark Zuckerberg is now worth about $30bil:

    He is getting up there with Carlos Slim, in the category of demi-gods whose personal fortunes are of the magnitude to finance hsr schemes.

    So maybe Jerry should approach him about investing in those 40 miles of tunnel to Mojave. Oh damn, I forgot, Musk already got to Zuck. It is that damn Silicon Valley young boy network.

    And since Jerry is so omnipotent why is he evidently paralyzed with fear of the Tejon Ranch Co? What leverage have they got on el benefactor? They get a pass on everything – they’re untouchable.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not 40 miles and there won’t be a station in Mojave.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oh yeah. More mileage mined than a base tunnel and there will be a stop in every jerkwater. Detoured and dumbed down. Musk picked up on that right away.

    Boonies AmBART, baby.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Fresno and Bakersfield are jerkwaters?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Podunkdale – belongs to Metrolink.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I wouldn’t discount a Mojave stop. The CHSRA gave a presentation this week to the Burbank Transportation Commission. During the period of the interim terminus (for which they prefer Burbank, but that’s another story) they are studying running the last trains in back to a new maintenance facility somewhere in the Antelope Valley. This would suggest they would run morning commuter trains in rather than empty coaches. There’s plenty of land around Mojave, Rosamund etc. Also interesting to learn they may start construction in Burbank as soon as 2017. Just in time for us to celebrate the completion of widening I-5. Let’s rebuild Olive Avenue and Magnolia Blvd bridges for the third, or is it fourth time. Quite how they are going to shoehorn these facilities between the freeway, San Fernando Road, and the power plant etc. remains to be seen. I love the smell of concrete in the morning…

    synonymouse Reply:

    You need the Mojave connection to re-establish the San Francisco Chief, even if they cannot score the funds to keep Raton and have to go Transcon. Hey, why not.

    The whole rationale behind this scam is real estate development. You want the stops to serve all the new ranchitos they plan to sprawl thereabouts.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    According to Wikipedia there are 4,238 people in Mojave. A really cheap greenfield ADA compliant train station runs 20 million dollars. And that’s on a line where they don’t have to build station sidings because all of the trains are more or less going the same speed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    What is it about erecting another LA in the high desert you don’t understand?

    It is called part of the plan to urbanize the Golden State from border to border. No matter if there is no water to flush the toilets. Leave that worry to the progeny.

    I may be daft but no so retarded as Jerry B. if he thinks unlimited population growth ad nauseam is possible let alone desirable. And the latin phrasing is correct AFAIK. feminine, singular, accusative.

    synonymouse Reply:

    typical first declension noun

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    double Mojave’s 2010 population it doesn’t get to the population of Bakersfield, the city not the center of the metro area until sometime far far in the future. Keep doubling it and it doesn’t get to the metro area population of Bakersfield or Fresno until even farther in the future. Arithmetic is bitch ain’t it?

    Worldwide population is expected to stabilize in 2050. It will probably start to decline after that. The population growth in California is slowing. Your nightmare of California turning into Queens is never going to happen.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I so wish you were correct. Is Queens that bad off? Last time I was in NYC(’75)I visited friends in Brooklyn. I believe it was Prospect Park area. Very nice; it reminded me of SF.

    No, my nightmare is something like beautiful downtown Burbank degenerating into Cairo. The problem with population is that we all want someone else to slow down its growth. Those who wish and plan to rule the world grow and export population. Lots of it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    One of the reasons Cairo is Cairo is that they didn’t build infrastructure for the growing population. And the population of Mojave ain’t never gonna be anything like Cairo’s

    synonymouse Reply:

    Having virtually no rainfall at all is going to pose some problems. But very good for preserving papyrus.

    Cairo and Alexandria did get LA PCC’s. And some Duwags from Copenhagen.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The reason Cairo is Cairo is that it’s poor. It isn’t about infrastructure; it’s about the government being too corrupt to industrialize Korean-style.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Egypt, like all of North Africa, has tremendous tourist potential but hard to flourish when bloodthirsty crazies just come out of the wood work. I am thinking particularly of Algeria.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He’s ranting about infrastructure. “one of the reasons” implies there is more than one.

    Clem Reply:

    too corrupt to industrialize Korean-style.

    Or commercialize Gangnam-style. Op, op. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You’d just need a commuter platform next to the coach yard. I expect HSR to run a commuter service like the east Kent service in the UK. Actually it would more likely be at Palmdale Airport rather than Mojave but it’s fun to stir up some comments. Don’t take any of this stuff too seriously, from the way the material was presented at our Commission meeting I really don’t think they believe it either. 4 people there at what, $250 per hour? That’s what it’s all about.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Google maps says Mojave is 26 miles from Lancaster, the current end of commuter service. Why would they build a yard 26 miles away from where service terminates? A platform that’s ADA compliant costs 20 million dollars.
    Ebbsfleet is in the borough of Dartford which has a population of 97,000. They didn’t name it Dartford because the people in the borough of Gravesend a few kilometers away objected to calling it Dartford. The population of Gravesend is 107,000.
    Ashford International is in the town of Ashford which has a population of 97,000 which is part of the borough of Ashford which has a population of 118,000.
    Just how much should we spend on the 5,000 people in Mojave?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Why don’t you read what I wrote?

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Poughkeepsie! Weehawken! Schenectady! New Rochelle! Jamaica! Hicksville! Thruway! Norwalk!

    Any questions?

    Donk Reply:

    Good one Richard, that was hilarious

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m sure you can tell us all why putting the yard 26 miles from the terminal is a great idea.

    Clem Reply:

    About 40 miles is indeed how many route-miles of tunnel will be required between Bakersfield and Sylmar along the currently planned (but highly unlikely to ever be built) Palmdale detour.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not a detour if you are going to Palmdale. Or Las Vegas. Especially if you are starting out in Bakersfield or points north.

    Clem Reply:

    Ah, Las Vegas. Right. A mere two hours from Palmdale via a new high-speed alignment that shows no signs of ever being built. Who knows, maybe that will be mentioned in the 2014 business plan. Along with a new map of the universe, with Palmdale at its center.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pray tell when will the final EIS for the Tejon crossing be issued?

    Donk Reply:

    Have you been to Palmdale? Yes, Palmdale is always a detour, even if it is your destination.

  8. corntrollio
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 17:20

    No comments on San Francisco’s RFP on changing how DTX works, what to do with Caltrain’s current railyard, and also what to do with I-280?

    Considering how much discussion we saw on DTX, I’m surprised this hasn’t been on anyone’s radar:

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    More money for more consultants and agency apparatchiks.

    What’s there to say? “Shuffle the deck chairs! Faster! Harder! Oooh baby! You’re truly America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professional!”

    The Transbay Terminal will never work as a passenger rail station, so this is all just more masturbatory public cash haemorrhage.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The feasibility study has five components to analyze the potential and effects of:
     Boulevard I-280 in the area
     Reconfiguration/Relocation of the 4th & King railyard
     Potential of redevelopment of the 4th & King railyard
     Connection and interaction of Downtown Tunnel Extension (DTX – to Transbay
    Transportation Center – TTC)
     Potential to minimize area through the use of loop track at TTC

    I-280 Boulevard

    Analyze the potential to connect divided neighborhoods with new pedestrian, bicycle, transit and
    vehicular access linking the South of Market, Mission Bay, and Potrero Hill neighborhoods by
    replacing a stub-end elevated freeway with a surfaced urban boulevard.

    Examine Ways to reduce the cost and accelerate the implementation of the Downtown Extension
    of Caltrain and future High Speed Rail into the Transbay Transit Center

    Examine ways to enhance operational capacity of Transbay Transit Center and the DTX with a
    loop track configuration

  9. Joe
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 17:57

    Robert will post on this I am sure.

    AP article on about Modernizing Cartans, I mean Caltrans.

    “Among the suggested changes were to focus on transportation projects that encourage more dense development rather than freeway-enabled sprawl and management changes to push innovation.”

  10. Thomas
    Jan 30th, 2014 at 21:54

    If the court hears the 2nd phase of the Prop 1A lawsuit and rules that the blended plan would not meet the 2 hours 40 minutes travel time required by Prop 1A, what would happen and what could the Authority do? Would the legislature have to revote on the original plan?

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