Ours Is Bigger Than Yours. Our Mandate, That Is.

Apr 29th, 2014 | Posted by

Right-wing columnist Steven Greenhut has what he thinks is a dramatic scoop: high speed rail backers are downplaying our mandate – one that he believes has vanished:

Meanwhile, a major poll last year has shown a majority of California voters now opposed to the project — and stronger majorities that favor subjecting the rail system to another public vote. Now rail supporters have shifted their argument. They say that the project is so important that the public’s view is not what really matters….

The Legislature has decided not to let the state’s voters decide, given that it probably won’t like their new decision.

In other words, Greenhut thinks we’re afraid of an electorate that doesn’t support HSR any more.

There’s just one problem: the public is still with us. Both the HSR project and the politicians who support it remain popular with California voters. That’s more than we can say about HSR’s critics.

A March 2014 poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found a majority of Californians backed the HSR project:

Today, when read a description of the system and its $68 billion price tag, 53 percent favor it and 42 percent oppose it. Majorities in the San Francisco Bay Area (63%), Central Valley (57%), Orange/San Diego (54%), and Los Angeles (52%) are in favor. Inland Empire residents are divided (45% favor, 46% oppose). When opponents of high-speed rail are asked how they would feel if the cost were lower, support rises (69% adults, 60% likely voters). Asked about high-speed rail’s importance, 35 percent of adults and 29 percent of likely voters say it is very important to the future quality of life and state’s economic vitality.

In November 2012, despite efforts by Republicans to use HSR to attack Democrats in swing districts across California, those Democrats won a 2/3 supermajority in the state legislature. And recent opinion polling shows Governor Jerry Brown, a longtime backer of HSR, will cruise to re-election this fall.

So where are Greenhut’s conservatives? They’ve been totally shut out of power in the Golden State. They are reduced to less than a third of the seats in the Legislature. They have no hope of winning the governor’s office anytime before 2022 at the soonest. (Get used to the words “Governor Kamala Harris.”) The voters of California have given the right a mandate: stay the hell away from our government.

But what about Greenhut’s point regarding a new vote on HSR? I have been consistent that a new vote is fine but only if it’s to move things forward, by offering additional funding for HSR. It would be smart for it to be part of a broader passenger rail package that includes funds for Amtrak California routes, commuter lines such as Caltrain and Metrolink, and local rail expansion such as new BART and Metro Rail lines.

Put a package like that together and I’m more than happy to see that go to the ballot. But there’s no point in a revote on Prop 1A since we won that battle many times over. Californians want high speed rail built. So let’s do it.

  1. Alan
    Apr 29th, 2014 at 12:58
    #1

    Greenhut is delusional. He claims that polls show opposition but doesn’t provide citations, and he ignores the clear outcome of the one poll that does matter–the reelection of the pro-HSR governor over the HSR opponent, and the election of a Democratic super-majority.

    But coming from “U-T San Diego”, the toilet of the newspaper business, it’s hardly surprising.

    Joe Reply:

    The old silent majority trick.

    This stuff gets recycled as new every generation.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    That’s because every generation the old rich straight white guys arrange their lives so that they only talk to other old rich straight white guys and are shocked that the world isn’t filled with old rich straight white guys.

    joe Reply:

    I smell brylcreem when I read Walters columns.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    a little dab will do ya’

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCUmINGae44

    jimsf Reply:

    otherwise known as ORSWGs

    Eric Reply:

    Mark Zuckerberg is not old.
    David Geffen is not straight.
    Kenneth Chenault is not white.
    Meg Whitman is not a guy.

    But they’re all rich. That’s the common thread.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He didn’t poll Zuckerberg, Geffen, Chenault or Whitman. He apparently polled his nether regions and pulled out some numbers.

  2. StevieB
    Apr 29th, 2014 at 13:01
    #2

    The Obama administration today included nearly $5 billion annually for high-speed rail in its proposal for a multi-year transportation bill, which it’s calling the GROW AMERICA Act, send today to Congress. This shows the administrations support for high-speed rail has not diminished in this an election year.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No. The administration included this amount for rail, both high- and low-speed.

    joe Reply:

    We call it all high speed.

    It’s important for the administration to include CA’s project with other rail improvements that improve travel times and use high speed trains.

    Attacks on the High Speed Rail fund now impact multiple states, senators and representatives.

    Let the Opposition try to explain how it’s all different.

    Bill Reply:

    Are you sure the “Opposition” even cares about what they oppose? Just so long as they oppose whatever is put in front of them?

    joe Reply:

    That’s right.

    ACA was a Conservative solution to single payer health care. Rather than take credit for that idea, they created the pejorative Obamacare.

    Cap and trade was a conservative solution to hard emission regulations (e.g. Montreal Protocol banning Ozone depleting chemicals).

    StevieB Reply:

    According to Streetsblog USA, “Rail — a new addition to the transportation bill – gets $19 billion, including nearly $5 billion annually for high-speed rail”. I cannot find any funding amounts in the links they provide.

    joe Reply:

    “Sec. 24602. Authorization of appropriations in this document.
    http://usa.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/full-text-bill.pdf

    and here possibly
    “(a) CURRENT PASSENGER RAIL SERVICES PROGRAM.–There are authorized to be appropriated from the Rail Account of the Transportation Trust Fund to carry out section 24604 of this title–
    “(1) $2,450,000,000 for fiscal year 2015; “(2) $2,400,000,000 for fiscal year 2016; “(3) $2,350,000,000 for fiscal year 2017; and “(4) $2,300,000,000 for fiscal year 2018.

    “(b) RAIL SERVICE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.–There are authorized to be appropriated from the Rail Account of the Transportation Trust Fund to carry out section 24605 of this title–
    “(1) $2,325,000,000 for fiscal year 2015; “(2) $2,405,000,000 for fiscal year 2016; “(3) $2,370,000,000 for fiscal year 2017; and “(4) $2,450,000,000 for fiscal year 2018.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, neither of these is HSR. HSR can be included in the latter program, but the money is not HSR-exclusive.

    Joe Reply:

    Money shouldn’t be HSR exclusive.

    The rail funds should be inclusive and appeal to a broad cross section if the nation.

    Cuts to the funding will be more controversial.

    By focusing on higher speed rail, the Administration is pushing a popular service.

    Check the streets blog for a survey on how popular rail and public transit are in the US.
    I’m off to Spider-Man 2 3d IMAX.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah. But it also means the expected CAHSR funding share is relatively low.

    joe Reply:

    That’s okay, lower is greater than none – or zero.

    The battle they want to fight in DC, unfortunately, is funding vs recession – removing CA’s HSR money.

    Cutting all funding is litmus test for the GOP. The greater the publics transit constituency, the more unpopular their dogmatic stance is to defend.

    Here’s the survey link http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/04/30/survey-freedom-from-car-dependence-appeals-across-generations/

    Nearly 60 percent of both Millennials and Boomers said there weren’t enough transportation options where they live. And about 80 percent of both demographic groups said convenient alternatives to driving were at least somewhat important to their residential choices.

  3. synonymouse
    Apr 29th, 2014 at 15:32
    #3

    Without any provision for dedicated route selection in a ballot measure you are only left with a no vote.

    Once burned, forever learned.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    they announced a route before the vote in 2008.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah, I guess I assumed they had half a brain and would never actually do anything that monumentally stupid and irresponsible.

    My bad.

  4. Keith Saggers
    Apr 29th, 2014 at 16:03
    #4

    The Tōkaidō Shinkansen is the world’s busiest high-speed rail line. Carrying 151 million passengers per year (March 2008), it has transported more passengers (over 5 billion, entire network over 10 billion) than any other high speed line in the world. Between Tokyo and Osaka, the two largest metropolises in Japan, up to thirteen trains per hour with sixteen cars each (1,323 seats capacity) run in each direction with a minimum headway of three minutes between trains. Though largely a long-distance transport system, the Shinkansen also serves commuters who travel to work in metropolitan areas from outlying cities. Japan’s Shinkansen network had the highest annual passenger ridership (a maximum of 353 million in 2007) of any high-speed rail network until 2011, when China’s high speed rail network surpassed it at 370 million passengers annually
    wikipedia

    morris brown Reply:

    Don’t over look Kyoto on the Tokyo to Osaka line, which gets well over 50 million visitors a year.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Pretty sure Nagoya gets more Shinkansen ridership than Kyoto.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Alon, you’re correct. Nagoya has 132,600 shinkansen passengers/day, while Kyoto’s number is 49,600.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    132,600 is a huge number – that means every third Tokaido Shinkansen trip begins or ends at Nagoya.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Nagoya and the Tokai region in general is a big business destination, being the center of the nation’s auto and aerospace industries. The service pattern from Tokyo on the Tokaido Shinkansen in addition to the numerous Nozomi and Hikari trains are two Kodama all-stops services per hour, with one terminating at Nagoya. The legacy passenger services along the Tokaido industrial zone are geared towards short commutes rather than medium and long distance journeys, forcing passengers from cities like Shizuoka and Hamamatsu to use Kodama services when they want to go to Nagoya.

    Eric Reply:

    A three minute headway at 168mph? Wow.

    EJ Reply:

    Paris – Lyon -Marseilles TGV has around 3 minute headways at peak periods as well, IIRC.

    jonathan Reply:

    If only there was a semi-senile foamer here, who ranted on and on about the original PLM!

  5. morris brown
    Apr 29th, 2014 at 16:51
    #5

    Robert wrote:

    A March 2014 poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found a majority of Californians backed the HSR project:

    But let us look at exactly what was written in this poll:

    SLIM MAJORITY OF ADULTS FAVOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL—LIKELY VOTERS LESS SUPPORTIVE
    Californians were asked about another big project: a high-speed rail system. In 2008, voters passed a $10 billion state bond for its planning and construction. Today, when read a description of the system and its $68 billion price tag, 53 percent favor it and 42 percent oppose it. Likely voters are less supportive (45% favor, 50% oppose). Majorities in the San Francisco Bay Area (63%), Central Valley (57%), Orange/San Diego (54%), and Los Angeles (52%) are in favor. Inland Empire residents are divided (45% favor, 46% oppose). When opponents of high-speed rail are asked how they would feel if the cost were lower, support rises (69% adults, 60% likely voters). Asked about high-speed rail’s
    importance, 35 percent of adults and 29 percent of likely voters say it is very important to the future quality of life and state’s economic vitality.

    The keys here are the number of likely voters, and that number of 50% opposed and only 45% support is important.

    Polls are polls; another poll said 70% of the voters wanted a re-vote, so why not give it to them? On a party line vote in committee the other day, SB-901, which would have put a measure on the ballot was defeated.

    If the public really understood just how much this is gong to cost, the negative support would be much higher. It is really easy to predict a total cost to California if the wild idea of floating a bond issue based on expected Cap and Trade revenues, along with Federal Loans, not grants but loans, were to be used to fund Phase I. You are easily looking at $200 billion including interest and capital expense in that scenario.

    Eric M Reply:

    Now “polls are polls”?

    That’s funny because when previous polls came out with wording against CA HSR and tried to skew it negatively, you were gung-ho to post the results here as if it were law and it somehow superseded the election results. Now “polls are polls”. Please Morris, get your own blog if you want to keep spamming your point of view about the project because you sure piggyback Roberts blog and write enough on here to justify it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He’s an equal opportunity spammer and rants in other comment sections too.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Remember, any poll that shows positive response to HSR is a “push-poll” and invalid. Any poll that shows negative response to HSR is bona-fide accurate.

    Alan Reply:

    In Morris’ world of delusion, anything supportive of HSR is either unscientific, biased, or Democratic.

    trentbridge Reply:

    There are two Anti-HSR propositions qualified and circulating – 14-004 Termination of Project – needs 504,760 valid voter signatures by July 31st and 14-001 HSR – prevents sale of existing bonds – needs 504.760 valid voter signatures by July 24th. If you are opposed to HSR – sign the petitions and get it back on the ballot. The California Democratic Party and Jerry Brown doesn’t dole out “do over” votes to disgruntled Republican voters regardless of polls or pseudo polls.

    (I believe the deadline has passed for getting the signature validated to make the November ballot but I’m not the California Sec of State..)

    StevieB Reply:

    The opposition initiative petitions may have been submitted to the Attorney General and fees paid but there is not active circulation of the petitions for signatures. Opponents lack the wherewithal to qualify a ballot proposition.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Koch Bros. types quietly support PBHSR since it is a real estate development scam, something they can get into.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You forgot the part about how the voters are mesmerized by the mind rays.

    synonymouse Reply:

    You don’t need mind rays when you have the propaganda blitz, very effective on California pollyanna airhead voters. As gullible, naive, and credulous as any Texan.

    PB and Tutor can come up with millions for tv ads decreeing Xanadu in Palmdale.

    John Burrows Reply:

    Like you say—polls are polls, but let us take a moment and go back one more time to the Public Policy Institute Polls of March 2013 and March 2014. The 2013 poll showed 43% of likely voters supported high speed rail, 54% were against. The 2014 poll showed 45% of likely voters for—50% against. If we project these numbers forward one year to March, 2015 we would have a statistical tie (47% for, 46% against).

    Among all adults the numbers are compelling—From 2013 to 2014 support for high speed rail rose from 48% to 53% while opposition dropped from 50% to 42%. If this trend were to continue high speed rail is on its way to being overwhelmingly supported by adult Californians.

    Obviously one year’s difference in Public Policy Institute polling numbers does not necessarily make a trend, but if I were strongly opposed to high speed rail in California, I would be concerned by these numbers.

    And we shouldn’t minimize the fact that support for high speed rail among all adults may be growing rapidly. By 2029, around the time the Blended System becomes operational, many of the likely voters strongly represented by our age group will be gone. The younger adults of today will mostly be middle aged and a greater proportion will become “likely voters”. The preschoolers of today will be young adults, and who knows, they may even vote in larger numbers than the young adults of today.

  6. morris brown
    Apr 29th, 2014 at 18:05
    #6

    Hearing date set for the Appellate court appeal in the Tos et al. Lawsuit. May 23

    From the Appellate court docket, just posted is this:

    3rd District Appellate court.

    California High-Speed Rail Authority et al. v. The Superior Court of Sacramento County
    Case Number C075668

    On the court’s own motion. Friday, May 23, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. Each side is allotted a total of 30 minutes of oral argument. Raye, P.J.

    This hearing is being held to decide if the Appellate court will uphold Judge Kenny’s rulings in the Tos et. al suit. will be upheld.

    Donk Reply:

    Morris, you are like the guy who only watches sports to cheer against the teams or players or owners that he hates, and does not actually have a team to cheer for.

    Morris “He Hate Me” Brown.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I have always liked to see the traitor teams Giants and Dodgers lose.

    And just when I was beginning to forgive the Giants they have to bring back Barry Bonds.

    Now go A’s. Hey how about playing some Raiders games at Candlestick for a laugh?

    nslander Reply:

    Still lamenting Ebbets Field and The Polo Grounds? Just how old ARE you?

    synonymouse Reply:

    pretty damn old

    Reedman Reply:

    It is said that Philadelphia sports fans are so negative that when none of the local teams are playing a home game, they go out to the airport and ‘boo’ successful landings.

    jonathan Reply:

    Donk,

    Morris has a point. Go *read* Prop 1A. Judge Kenny did, and he (correctly) said that the Authority needed to submit a plan which meets certain clearly-stated criteria.

    The Authority’s 2012 Business Plan fails to meet those criteria, because the Authority cannot identify funding for their “Initial Operating Segment” (which they defined as a “Usable Segment”).

    A hypothetical plan, where the Authority files a plan for a “useable segment” (_sensu_ Prop 1A), for what the Authority _does_ have funding for, will *also* fail to meet the requirements of Prop 1A. While the Authority may have funding for that segment, it’s bluntly impossible to argue that the tiny, funded segment, can sustain a non-subsidised HSR segment. Imossible. Not possible.
    Not to mention that, in point of fact, the Authority *DOES NOT* have funding lined up for their so-called ICS: they do not have funding for electrification, and they do not have funding for signalling. Both of which are _required_ by Prop 1A, for a “usable segment”. No elecrification, or no signalling; no “usable segment” ready for HSR operation; means *NO* Prop 1A funds.

    I realize that some regulars here cannot understand that. Some of them, like Joe, demonstrably lacks the reading-comprehension skills necessary to finish a first-world high school. (Or a third-world high school, for that matter). But it’s there, in black and white.

    Unlike Joe, Judge Kenny can read at a high-school comprehension level. His judgement offers substantive releif: the Authority has the burden of submitting an actually-compliant-with-Prop-1A proposal, before the Authority can spend Prop 1A bond proceeds. And the Authority cannot possibly do that: if they meet the “demonstrable funding” requirement which the 2012 Business Plan fails, by (as Lyseko Joe proposes) “fixing it with a word processor”, to cut the “Usable Segment” down to the ICS, then the Authority *fails* on the “can support HSR operation without a subsidy”.

    Donk Reply:

    Blah blah. All of this does not matter. Facts don’t matter here. All that matters is politics.

    Before 2010, I was under the delusion that good projects would continue on based on their merits. The reality is that the #1 most important event in 2010 was that Jerry Brown was elected Governor. He has single-handedly muscled HSR through to where it is today. If he can get enough billions spent on it before he leaves office in 2018, there will be no turning back.

    jonathan Reply:

    Donk,

    you need to read Prop 1A. You really, really need to read Prop 1A, Spefiically, starting at

    Article 2. High-Speed Passenger Train Financing Program

    (Followed immeidatley by Sec. 2704.04). But the key portion is Sec. 2704.08, which I have quoted here at least twice in the last month.

    The law maters. The law is the law, unlike the misty understanding of people like JimSF.
    JimSF sincerely believes that he voted for an image of a map and a route. Whereas in fact, he voted for a *Bill*, which is *text* — and does not, and never did, include that map.

    These are facts. There is black-letter law. A Superior Court Judge has ruled on the law, in a tightly-reasoned, 96-page opinion. Liars and innumerates like “joe” (or his side-kick Alan) may assert that the Appellate Court will overturn that ruling. But their arguments don’t hold water; they don’t even pass a giggle-test.

    jonathan Reply:

    Okay, I concede a possible error in terminology Us terms are probably different than the ones I grew up with.
    AB 3034 *was* a bill; after it passed, it became Prop 1A. Which,technically, was a Proposition, not a Bill. Personally, I always refer to the text of AB 3034 (chaptered); hence my mistake.

    Unlike pathological personalties, I accept my errors, learn from them, and move on.

    Alan Reply:

    Since when? You’ve never admitted making an error, although you’ve certainly made many.

    For example, believing that your precious Superior Court judge is the last word in the matter, and the appellate courts are irrelevant. And the decsion on the funding plan was hardly “well-reasoned”.

    Another mistake of yours? Whining to everyone who will listen (and the rest of us) that the ICS will violate Prop 1A/AB 3034 when it doesn’t instantly spring out of the soil complete from roadbed to contact wire. Major projects have construction schedules and sequences, and that’s something you either don’t understand or fail to admit.

    And it doesn’t make a whit of difference whether or not you think my arguments, or anyone else’s, hold water or pass your tests. The only arguments that matter are the ones presented to the court, and ultimately, the state will prevail. Precedent will not allow any other decision.

    Joe Reply:

    July 1 is the new fiscal year. The state will be planning the budget prior to the appeal. What Id like to see is a path forward without prop1a funding so the State can match ARRA money for the next 14 months.

    That option, possibly borrowing out of the rainy day fund, would make hard core opponent scrap thier pants. They need not win in court, they just need to delay the project. Matching funds means thier lea gal team has to win on merit.

    Alan Reply:

    That’s been the plan all along…delay, delay, delay, no matter how frivolous the lawsuit. I think Jerry will find a way to keep things moving.

    Zorro Reply:

    Agreed Alan, I think our Governor won’t be stopped by frivolous lawsuit types, HSR will be built.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How can it be frivolous if they keep winning?

    They won the funding suit win Judge Kenny
    The CA Supreme Court did not give the state theimmediate relief they sought and deferred it to a lower appeal court on that suit.
    They won the hearing to continue the other suit on times (and the appeal)

    Seems like they are on a roll. They can’t be frivolous if they keep winning in court, unless you think the courts are biased against HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And the sales tax will keep getting raised to afford Amalgamated more annual leave and no-shows.

    PB will be there to consult at the DogLeg liquidation and Jerry will only be remembered by a few wizened Cheerleaders.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    “keep on winning” implies that they have won something. Every lawsuit is supposed to be the death knell for HSR. What has been stopped? Or even significantly slowed down?

    joe Reply:

    “They won the funding suit win Judge Kenny”

    What? Tos et al wanted the project stopped – lost. Stop the ARRA spending – lost. and all contracts invalidated – lost. They wanted the appropriation invalidated – lost.

    “Seems like they are on a roll.”
    “They can’t be frivolous if they keep winning in court, unless you think the courts are biased against HSR.”

    They are delaying the project which de facto puts it at risk. No different than the PAMPA EIR lawsuits that had the CAHSRA withdraw the entire EIR (WE ARE WINNING!!!! Da JUDGE VALIDATES OUR ANGER!!!) and then had then edit it to address 3 small issues and resubmit with approval. Fail.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Wow. Talk about head in the sand. Are we in the same reality?

    If they won the Tos suit as implied then why are they appealing? And why can’t they spend the bond money? In fact they lost so bad they had to appeal to the Supreme Court to bypass the normal appeals process.

    If it was frivolous they superior court judges would not be ruling in favor of the suits.

    Pick a a narrative…they are winning and there is no delay or they are losing time to lawsuits because the suits are hurting them. If the suits were frivolous they would get thrown out and/or they could continue/start construction anyway.

    When was the groundbreaking? I missed that Jerry photoop. Can you send a link?

    joe Reply:

    Maybe you can go the Fresno meeting, before they vote to approve the Fresno-Bakersfield EIR, and go on record that Tos is “winning”.

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority board is poised to forge ahead with approval of its Fresno-Bakersfield bullet-train route when it meets Tuesday and Wednesday in Fresno.
    A 20,000-page report detailing the potential effects of construction and operation of the 114-mile segment will be up for public comment for at least four hours Tuesday afternoon and evening at Fresno City Hall. The next day, the board will consider certifying the report and adopting its preferred route from downtown Fresno, around the east edge of Hanford and to the northern edge of Bakersfield.
    In a staff report to the board, the rail agency’s environmental services director Mark McLoughlin and Central Valley Regional director Diana Gomez note that while the final EIR was published on April 18, it “was not issued for another round of public review and comment” because that is not required under the California Environmental Quality Act, the state’s environmental protection law. “Although not required by CEQA, the Authority will provide a public comment opportunity” during Tuesday’s board meeting, the staffers wrote.

    How considerate.

    If you go:
    What: California High-Speed Rail Authority board meeting
    When: 3 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. Wednesday
    Where: Fresno City Hall, City Council Chamber, 2600 Fresno St.
    Why: The board will receive public comment on the final Environmental Impact Report for its proposed Fresno-Bakersfield rail section on Tuesday until at least 7:30 p.m. On Wednesday, the board will consider certifying the EIR, approving the route selection, and other business.
    Details: The meeting is open to the public. The meeting agenda is available online at http://www.hsr.ca.gov/Board/monthly_brdmtg.html and clicking the “May” tab. The Fresno-Bakersfield EIR is online at http://www.hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Environmental_Planning/final_fresno_bakersfield.html.

    Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/05/03/3908316/high-speed-rail-agency-poised.html?sp=/99/406/#storylink=cpy

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Well the reality here on Planet Earth is that you haven’t won or lost anything until both parties agree to the settlement or the appeals process has be exhausted. You see it as win and reality says it’s not won or lost yet.

    Donk Reply:

    I have never read Prop 1A. What good will it do me? It is in the hands of the politicians.

    I am 100% in support of gay marriage, but come on – appointing a gay judge to decide the fate of Prop 8 was ridiculous – he was clearly biased. And are laws in the Supreme Court actually judged based on their merits? Partially, but the bigger issue are the political views of the justices. Law is not black and white – it is highly dependent on the political winds. Prop 1A will get thru for the same reasons – because Jerry Brown and the Democrats are in power.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the gay judge was biased then straight judges would be equally biased. Maybe not with the same bias but biased. Should it have been decided by a bisexual judge? Perhaps an asexual judge?

    Donk Reply:

    Come on. He clearly had something personally at stake in the case. Don’t you think he was hoping for a certain outcome? Not only that, but because they had a gay judge, the ruling appears completely illegitimate in the eyes of many conservatives. They could have at least tried to make it look like a real case.

    Overall there is no legal black/white case to be made for allowing or disallowing gay marriage – it is whatever your opinion and feeling is – all intangible stuff. What has happened is that the winds have changed and most of the judges now feel that it is right to allow gay marriage. The winds have changed so much now that it is to the point now where free speech has been taken away, and anyone who is opposed to gay marriage is labeled a “bigot”.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So all the straight people in the appeals process were blissfully unbiased? The Supreme Court that decided Loving v. Virginia were all secretly yearning to marry someone of another race?

    EJ Reply:

    Seriously? Concern trolling the Prop 8 decision?

    More to the point, Prop 8 was a civil rights case, so, like any other civil rights case, it was always going to have an extra-legal, moral dimension. Nothing like Prop 1A.

    Donk Reply:

    Concern trolling? No. I am not pretending to support gay marriage, I voted against Prop 8 and actually support gay marriage 100%. Unfortunately I don’t have a pdf of my ballot from the 2008 election, so I don’t think Johnathan will believe me.

    I may have gone a bit overboard on my rant, but the whole point is that people tend to have this idealistic expectation of the judicial system. The judicial system overall serves a great purpose, but when it comes down to it all of these cases are a bunch of BS and are highly influenced by outside factors – whether Prop 8 or 1A. So stop wasting your time analyzing the punctuation in the text of the ballot measure.

    Donk Reply:

    adirondacker: Why are you so scared of the statement that a gay judge was biased? This is one of those statements that I am not allowed to make because it is not PC.

    Yes, I believe there have also been some cases of Bible thumper judges deciding cases against gay marriage. Neither a gay person or a Bible thumper should be deciding these cases, since both have strong personal biases one way or the other on the matter. Similarly, I would hope that Judge Kenny doesn’t have a model train set in his garage nor that his family owns almond fields in Visalia.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m not scared, if I was scared I wouldn’t have said anything. Marriage isn’t about who sticks what where. I wanna know why you think a gay judge would be biased. Why wouldn’t straight judges be equally biased? Just who is qualified to make an unbiased assessment? Should we have found some sentient race that reproduces by budding and doesn’t understand our urge to fornicate? There are people with ambiguous genitalia, should they be the only people who make decisions for the majority of people who have unambigious genitalia? Why would the sex of his or hers partner or partners be a factor? Why isn’t that a factor when deciding other cases? Why wouldn’t it be a factor when straight judges decide similar cases? Why does what the judge does with genitalia have to do with their ability to make decisions, whatever the type of genitalia involved. Why it wasn’t a factor when other judges made decisions about the case?

    Eric Reply:

    I think it’s pretty clear that a person capable of getting a gay marriage would have more of a bias than a person incapable of getting such a marriage.

    jimsf Reply:

    Dont you think all the supreme court justices are biased and politically motivated on all the issues. Of course they are.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Straight people can get gay marriages if they want to. Gay people can get straight marriages if they want to. Straight people can be biased. Who should we let make decisions about this? Bisexuals with ambiguous genitalia?

    Donk Reply:

    adirondacker – the answer to your question is pretty simple. People have the strongest opinions about what affects them personally. For the most part, a straight person is not affected one way or the other by gay marriage, unless perhaps they are a Bible thumper who thinks the gods will strike lightning down upon them if gay people get married.

    The main problem I have with having a gay judge on that case was that it really weakened the legitimacy of the ruling. They didn’t have to stack the deck to get that ruling – the outcome probably would have been the same in the end either way. It’s like in the Crimea vote – why did Russia have to stake the deck and not allow the option to vote to remain part of Ukranie, when the population was like 85% Russian? All that did was delegitimize the vote. A fair vote would have had the same outcome.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Yes all those straight people who voted yes to put a definition of marriage to be between a man and women into their state constitutions don’t care one way or another.

    jonathan Reply:

    Adirondacker:
    Nope. Donk is saying that only straight people should get to decide whether same-sex marriages are legal. Non-straight people are “biased”

    joe Reply:

    Well the case is not gay vs not gay marriages so determining bias is not so simple.

    The actual legal argument supporting the ban involved straight, “religiously correct” marriages too.

    The compelling interest justifying intervention was to protect marriage and its cardinal purpose, procreation. That legal reasoning also disadvantages or demotes straight marriages that are “infertile”. Some religions ban medical intervention – Catholic particularly – and divorce too. Clearly Prop 8 had a greater effect than gay marriage. It demoted the value of marriage with an infertile partner and also post fertility marriages. The reasoning behind the law impacted a broader section of society.

    What about adoption? Prop 8 also argued same sex parent are inferior. That assertion was unsupported by evidence.

    What bothered me is they had a male judge – clearly he’s biased. A female judge would have been far more harsh. And a married judged with an infertile partner (due to age for example) would have been biased too. and it goes on.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s like in the Crimea vote – why did Russia have to stake the deck and not allow the option to vote to remain part of Ukranie, when the population was like 58% Russian?

    Corrected.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Also, they should totally have intersex judges in charge of decisions about gender.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The righteous upstanding straight people should be making decisions about gender too. Since problems gender identification aren’t any of their concern they would be sooooooo totally unbiased about that too.

    Donk Reply:

    Sorry I bothered, Anything you say on this of that is not 100% PC goes nowhere.

    Donk Reply:

    Blog not of

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Nah, if they’re intersex, they can’t really be straight.

    joe Reply:

    Not consistent Donk.

    If the Judge’s ruling was Pro-Prop8 then the Gay Judge would have proven the law was correct. A heterosexual would have biased against the gays.

    Proponents inststed in court Prop 8 is not discriminatory – it was based on a compelling interest to protect m,arrange – a union of heterosexuals for the purpose of pro-creation.

    Disallowing a gay judge, objecting to his sexual status would have contradicted their leagla case. it would also put a hetreosexual judge as biased for the Prop 8 side.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But the argument is that gay eople’s…. judgement? is so clouded by their obsession with fornication that that they can’t think um um … straight… I would assume the same logic would apply to people with ambiguities whatever those ambiguities, that the ambiguities so are so engrossing, that they can’t think straight either.

    Steven H Reply:

    This argument is irrelevant. Federal judges aren’t appointed… they’re assigned cases by lottery. you might as well blame God himself for appointing Judge Walker to the Prop 8 case.

    Furthermore, federal judges aren’t asked to recuse themselves over cloudy, generalized bias, particularly in civil rights cases, because doing so would set a very, very bad precedent. For instance, one of the judges who was instrumental in dismantalling school segregation in the south was black. The judge’s son, the defendants argued, would be able to (and, in fact, would) benefit from desegregation. That argument–like any modern argument that women shouldn’t hear contraception cases, or that Catholics should recuse themselves when churches are sued– was dismissed for obvious reasons: it’s a dark road, and we ain’t goin’ down it!

    Finally, Judge Walker had a full trial–with witnesses and exhibits–and his order was upheld on appeal by dozens of perfectly straight people. Opponents of same-sex marriage will never see ANY ruling overturning marriage equality bans as legitimate…ever. And, if it makes you feel any better, Judge Walker didn’t benefit from his ruling: he refused to marry his partner.

    Lastly, speaking as someone who served in the Navy under DADT, who started dating in a state (North Carolina) where sodomy was a jailable offense, and who was raised in schools were “gay propoganda” was strictly forbidden, among many other things… I have very little sympathy for those who are now claiming to be the victims of pro-gay “bullying”. Nevermind that boycotts and name-calling, in general, are just free speech in action; but perhaps if some of these folks had, after experiencing this tiny amount of friction, parlayed those hurt feelings into some kind of empathy for their former (and, in MANY parts of the country, current) victims, then perhaps I’d have a tiny amount of sympathy. But alas. Playing the victim has just turned into a new way for these folks to call their enemies “sodomites:” either way, gay people are cast as the bad guys… even when actual, real-life gay people have nothing whatsoever to do with the matter.

    Donk Reply:

    Thanks Steven for the thoughtful and non-emotional non-knee-jerk response. I had thought that Judge Walker was “randomly appointed” with air quotes and a “wink-wink” and an elbow in the ribs. You also make a good point about going down a dark road. So I will agree that this argument is irrelevant. I still maintain that the guy had an interest in the outcome, and if if this was similar to jury selection, he wouldn’t have been anywhere near that bench.

    In regards to the free speech point – I agree with what you say – however at the same time I think the pendulum has swung a bit too far. Calling someone a bigot for being against gay marriage is a step too far (many, but not all, of those people are bigots), and now with this Donald Sterling thing, we are going down the path of creating a witch hunt against any old grandma in a rocking chair who says a racial slur.

    Eric Reply:

    A) the judge was randomly assigned – the deck wasn’t “stacked”
    B) no free speech is taken away, you can still say whatever you want
    C) they were bigots before, perhaps they weren’t labeled as such though.

    John Burrows Reply:

    And the perception that support for high speed rail in California might be on the increase should give the Democrats a little more back bone, and who knows, even a judge might at least take note of the possibility.

    Alan Reply:

    Jonny, does it make you feel better to call others “liars” and “innumerate”, but whine to your mommy whenever someone turns the table on you? Does it make you feel more like a man?

    You’re practicing the Joseph Goebels school of propaganda–repeat the same falsehoods so often that people will eventually start believing them. Herr Goebels is looking up and smiling at you.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    That may be so. But Mr. Godwin is looking up and glaring at you.

    Alan Reply:

    I’m not so sure…I didn’t mention the top man, just one of his minions.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The Innermost Circle of Eddore, not the All-Highest, then?

  7. joe
    Apr 30th, 2014 at 09:16
    #7

    So much for the myth that the Private Sector could do HSR “right”.

    http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/local/2014/04/29/commissioners-may-rethink-high-speed-rail-service/8496799/
    Commissioners may rethink high-speed rail service
    The more Brevard County commissioners hear about All Aboard Florida’s plan for passenger rail service from Orlando to Miami, the more they are concerned about it.
    The trains would pass though Brevard County 32 times a day, but not stop here.
    …”I was originally in favor of the train,” Commissioner Trudie Infantini said. But after she learned more about the project and better understood its ramifications, Infantini said, she now plans to propose a resolution to the Transportation Planning Organization to oppose it.
    ….
    All Aboard Florida officials say there are no plans to establish an All Aboard Florida stop in Brevard County — at least initially — because they want to keep the time for the trip from Orlando to Miami at three hours or less. They say that’s the “magic number” that makes it faster than driving and as fast as flying, when considering waiting time at the airports. The only interim stops planned are in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Peak train speeds would be 125 mph.
    Opponents also raised the issue of property values decreasing, pollution, older buildings being damaged by vibrations from the trains passing nearby and the potential discoloration of buildings near the tracks.
    ..
    All Aboard Florida officials, however, last week told FLORIDA TODAY’s editorial board that they don’t need regulatory approval from Brevard County or its municipalities to begin their service.

    Well at least they aren’t “ramming” HSR through Kings County. That might get the GOP upset.

    Jerry Reply:

    Wow. “Discoloration of Buildings.”
    That’s a new one to me. NIMBYs take note. Did the EIR take into consideration the impact on the color of nearby buildings??? :-)

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The more telling quote is “All Aboard Florida officials, however, last week told FLORIDA TODAY’s editorial board that they don’t need regulatory approval from Brevard County or its municipalities to begin their service.”

    Jerry Reply:

    Wow. That should make the Brevard NIMBYs happy.

    Jerry Reply:

    Badges? We don’t need your stinkin approval badges.

    joe Reply:

    Or they could have produced 20,00o pages of an EIR which is too big to read and is unfair.

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t

    BTW, I don’t I need to read details of all 20,000 pages of the EIR to understand how HSR will impact my community. I might want to read it all if I were looking for excuses to stop the project.

    Eric Reply:

    Having lived in Brevard in the past, I think I can say that what they’re upset at is they’re not getting a passenger stop; officials there have been trying to gain some connectivity with the cruise business at Port Canaveral.
    As I understand it, this new service will be using existing FEC tracks, so I can understand where they’re coming from when they say they don’t need approval to do it…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    All is preceding as planned: Joe Biden and Joe Boardman on line 2.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Yes the NIMBYS on the east coast of Florida are a very virulent strain. I have been engaging them online for sometime now. They do not acknowledge facts or logic. It is like an existing railroad corridor never existed until now! They talk of “quaint, peaceful, beautiful” towns on what they call the Treasure Coast. I have personally been through most of them. Those towns are typical Florida sprawl. Fast food restaurants and strip malls galore!

    I really wonder how this country ever got to be where it is today. Were people really that different 40-60 years ago? What the hell has happened to us as a society? The only thing saving AAF is that federal rules and laws prevail. The NIMBYS don’t quite understand that concept yet. And the way they spread lies and misinformation really boggles the mind! Check out the TCPalm newspaper website and you will see what I mean. Also check out the Florida Not All aboard Facebook page and website as well. You will be astounded at the ignorance and stupidity.

    Joe Reply:

    ” They do not acknowledge facts or logic. It is like an existing railroad corridor never existed until now! They talk of “quaint, peaceful, beautiful” towns on what they call the Treasure Coast.”

    What’s the unemployment rate?

    Brian_FL Reply:

    It is around 8% now as far as I can tell. Back in 2010 it was as high as 15%.

    Jerry Reply:

    And in the Orlando area the commuter Sun Rail is open for business and starts operating tomorrow.

    Donk Reply:

    The only thing worse than a conservative NIMBY is a liberal NIMBY. They are pretty much the same, but conservative NIMBYs can have the appearance of practicing what they preach, whereas liberal NIMBYs are hypocrites.

    Eric Reply:

    I think that claiming to support property rights, and then trying to prevent a railroad from running service on the tracks they own, is pretty hypocritical too.

    Eric Reply:

    FWIW, Brevard County is the Space Coast, not the Treasure Coast. Treasure Coast is further south.

  8. Reality Check
    May 1st, 2014 at 17:57
    #8

    Talgo high-speed trainsets built for Wisconsin set to leave Milwaukee

    “Sad history of Talgo in Milwaukee” comes to an end, trains moving out

    Joe Reply:

    Difficult to see a different manufacturer taking up the slack in WI.

    New Amtrak train cars in Rochelle IL and new 125 locomotives in Sacramento CA with IN sourced engines.

    http://cs.trains.com/mobile/forums/thread.aspx?ThreadID=225822

  9. Jos Callinet
    May 1st, 2014 at 18:19
    #9

    Perhaps we should follow the example set by Washington Irving’s lead character, Rip Van Winkle, who lay down beneath a tree and fell asleep for twenty years.

    When we awaken in 2034, we should know by then whether or not California ever got around to building its high speed rail line.

  10. Derek
    May 2nd, 2014 at 11:26
    #10

    Metro Board approves contract for Union Station regional rail improvements
    By Steve Hyman, The Source, 2014-04-24

    As part of the consent calendar, the Metro Board of Directors unanimously approved Item 21, a $31-million contract for engineering work to extend regional rail tracks south from Union Station — so that trains don’t all have to enter and exit the station from the north.

    [Southern California Regional Interconnector Project (SCRIP)] will extend several of the tracks to exit the south end of the station, cross over the 101 freeway and join the railroad right-of-way along the west bank of the Los Angeles River. The preliminary cost estimate for the project is $350 million.

    The California High Speed Rail Authority, which is a partner with Metro on the project, plans to connect high-speed train service directly to Union Station, thereby providing additional ridership for other rail providers and increasing the need for additional capacity.

    The preliminary schedule calls for the completion of environmental and engineering work in late 2016 with construction to be complete in late 2019.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think this is Prop 1a money, which means it might get tossed if the lawsuit goes the wrong way. It also probably has no application to HSR because LA has no desire to let An operator run express SF to Anaheim trains. My guess is that Metrolink will use these trains to run a competitor service to the Surfliner.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ted: Assuming electrification it would be quite easy to run direct from SF to Anaheim without going through or stopping at LAUS. Take a look at a map. As for competition between Metrolink and the Surfliner, that already happens over certain route segments based on price. All part of the everyday shambles of Southern California passenger rail.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    How does a train get from Glendale to Commerce without passing through downtown LA?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Look at a map. I said LAUS, not downtown L.A. In any event the tracks along the river are on the east side of downtown, to the east of Santa Fe Avenue.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    And when I say map I mean a real map, or google earth, and not a passenger system map, which will not show the tracks that are not used for timetabled trains. But I can assure you they are there, along the west bank of the river. From the north go straight at the old Mission Tower rather than making a right into LAUS.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why would they be putting electrification over what will become freight tracks?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    They won’t. I think you need to go to bed. IF IF IF anyone wanted to run a High Speed Train direct to Anaheim without passing through LAUS those are the tracks you would use, and you would of course have to electrify them or go very fast either side to bridge about a two mile gap.
    Now do you understand the thread?
    http://wikimapia.org/11194978/Mission-Tower

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Also of course these tracks will remain in passenger service to allow say a San Diego to Los Angeles turn to go back to San Diego without reversing.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why wouldn’t the train from San Diego continue onto Bakersfield and points north?

    joe Reply:

    Peer Review Group makes this suggestion for service to Anaheim.

    Service to Anaheim. For a number of reasons, including the high cost of constructing a new, separated high-speed line from Los Angeles to Anaheim, the Authority removed the link to Anaheim from their demand projections and program plans in the 2014 Business Plan, leaving the
    connection to be provided by Metrolink. While this may be appropriate for the 2014 Business Plan, we believe it should be reconsidered in the 2016 Business Plan since the demand generated by Anaheim and Norwalk in earlier demand modeling was actually greater than Los Angeles Union Station. While we understand that the issue is under discussion with Metrolink, we believe that, as with the blended service between San Jose and San Francisco, the Authority should evaluate conventional speed electrification from Los Angeles Union Station to Norwalk and Anaheim. There appears to be a reasonable possibility that single seat conventional service through to Anaheim would generate enough additional demand and revenue to justify the added investment and operating cost.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Norwalk is an interesting suggestion.

    There’s no intermodal connection there to Metro’s Green Line, nor a big tourist destination.

    There is higher than average Metrolink ridership at that station, but it serves two routes. (This is similar to Fullerton). I think this is probably not the best approach since Metrolink riders are not really equivalent to HSR riders.

    However, looking at FAA data, there is sufficient demand from air travel to add Anaheim back as a station. But the irony is that it also calls into question using the dog-leg through the Inland Empire because FAA Data shows that Bay Area to LAX demand is equal to Bay Area to Anaheim+San Diego demand.

    joe Reply:

    I thought so too. Also another suggestion to blend traffic for a single seat service. They made that recommendation for the SF Bay Area.

    The ridership model results between ’12 and ’14 motivated the recommendation.

    The current model also shows more shorter trips producing revenue. Analysis with FAA data tells part of the story but misses what the ridership model produces with the dog leg factored into end-to-end travel times.

    Another recommendation to that the CA legislature pay close attention and require the different train services closely cooperate to assure maximum utility. It would be refreshing to the See the LAO stop opposing HSR and do their damn job. For once, assume HSR happens as indented by the Authority and recommend how the Legislature can best build interoperable blended infrastructure.

    Donk Reply:

    Next time the Kings and Ducks meet in the playoffs, in another 20 years, maybe they will call it the HSR series instead of the Freeway series.

    Donk Reply:

    They gotta get the Metro Green Line Norwalk connection on the front-burner in LA. This is one of the fundamental problems with the entire Metro/Metrolink/Amtrak network – you can’t get anywhere in LA without going thru LAUS. There would absolutely be demand from people in the South Bay who would use LOSSAN if they could just park at one of the Green Line stations and skip all the traffic. And once the Crenshaw Line is done, there will be an even more obvious need to get to that portion of the system via the Green Line.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I think the extension of the Green Line to Norwalk’s Green Line Station will never happen, as the main beneficiary would be Orange County and LAX. The number of people in the South Bay that would want to spend two hours to get somewhere they could drive in less than an hour is pretty small.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Peer Review Group stated the blindingly obvious about service to Anaheim. Why do you think the idea of an initial service between LA and Anaheim was dropped? The designs offered by our great professionals were so ridiculously expensive and saved only 3 to 4 minutes compared to Metrolink diesel trains! So electrify what you have with a fourth track to Fullerton, Duh! One hopes of course that the service will continue through at least to Irvine or Laguna Niguel. Anyone remember who chaired the CHSRA? A certain Mayor of Anaheim? Does anyone really think that Anaheim is a logical end point from a transportation perspective?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just because you don’t want to go to Anaheim doesn’t mean other people don’t want to go to Anaheim.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disneyland

    Disneyland has a larger cumulative attendance than any other theme park in the world, with over 650 million guests since it opened. In 2011, the park hosted approximately 16.14 million guests, making it the second most visited park in the world that calendar year. According to a March 2005 report from the Disney Company, there are 65,700 jobs supported by the Disneyland Resort, which includes, at the Resort itself, 20,000 direct Disney employees and 3,800 third-party employees (that is, independent contractors or their employees).

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Who says I don’t want service to Anaheim? You are so geographically challenged you need some remedial therapy before you post here. You don’t even have to buy a map, you can download them for free. Just to save you looking, Irvine and Laguna are south of Anaheim.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    silly silly me. when you wrote “Does anyone really think that Anaheim is a logical end point from a transportation perspective?” i just assumed it had something to do with Anaheim.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You stop at Anaheim, you continue further south with the trains to major business centers and traffic generators, especially Irvine. Yes, you are silly.

    joe Reply:

    Duh! One hopes of course that the service will continue through at least to Irvine or Laguna Niguel. Anyone remember who chaired the CHSRA? A certain Mayor of Anaheim? Does anyone really think that Anaheim is a logical end point from a transportation perspective?

    You are way out of context. The peer review group is suggesting the IOS include service past LAUS and it be blended service. They are doing there job which is constructive critical review of the Business Plan.

    Their Audience is the Legislature, not the Authority.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Joe, the IOS projects service to the San Fernando Valley, not LAUS or anywhere south thereof. The legislature does not write the business plan, so the Peer Review comments are to the Authority, that is their job. BTW the legislature doesn’t give a damn, they’re all maneuvering for their next job.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why doesn’t any one have any plans to send HSR to Ukiah then? Or Reno? Or Chico? Why not across North Dakota. Williston North Dakota is booming. Why is it okay for people in Berkeley to have to get on BART to get on an HSR train but not the people in Irvine to get on Metrolink? There’s almost twice as many people in Oakland than there are in Irvine. The people in Berkeley have to pass through Oakland to get to the HSR train in San Francisco. Why not stop every four blocks? That way people who live near the line could walk to an HSR station instead of driving or taking a cab, bus or train to an HSR station.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Because Irvine is a logical extension along the same route, whereas the other locations you cite are not. We don’t live in a perfect world. Where the geography permits one should plan a service that stops at one or two strong traffic generating suburban stations before downtown and then hitting the high speed section. The geography and population distribution of southern California indicate that this is a sensible solution to maximize business. The public sector owns the RoW from Fullerton to San Diego, and there is more space for servicing etc. south of Anaheim. You are comparing Irvine and Ukiah? Are you sticking pins in the map you just acquired, with your eyes closed?

    joe Reply:

    You’re right IOS is not that far south but the main point is the audience of the report is the Legislature – by law.

    “The legislature does not write the business plan, so the Peer Review comments are to the Authority, that is their job”

    The Authority will benefit from the peer review group’s comments and works with them closely taing advice however the peer review has no power over the authority. The Law actually requires the peer review to write reports and promptly submit to the Legislature after the Authority releases a Plan.

    SEC. 2. Section 185035 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:
    185035. (a)….

    ….(e) The peer review group shall report its findings and conclusions to the Legislature no later than 60 days after receiving the plans.

    So if stuff seems obvious it because it’s intended for educating the Legislature and also, IMHO lobbying them for common sense changes such as running blended service with shared track to get the system up and running until dedicated track is needed.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    With the resources at their disposal the Authority ought to be able to come up with these basic “common sense” ideas themselves. Seems to be in short supply at that august body. Just listen to the searching questions from members at Board meetings!
    Of course this may all be a farce, give them cover to pretend that the Peer Review Group has some purpose.

    joe Reply:

    The purpose of a Peer Review Group is to provide independent commentary and guidance to the Legislature. As I showed, it’s by Legal Requirement.

    Common Sense changes suggested by the Peer Review Group are to inform advise and “lobby” the Legislature.

    In my practical experiences, independent advisory groups can be very effective in educating, advocating and lobbying the entity they review.

    I suggest their agenda is to continue to push for quick completion of single seat service by blending and plan for a gradual build to fully separated HSR as demand warrants.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There’s lots of stuff out on Long Island. Twice people as many as in Orange County. The intercity trains go through there and have since the Hell’s Gate Bridge opened in 1917. They don’t stop there and never have. Why not? Amtrak doesn’t go to White Plains. All those glistening corporate headquarters out along the highway, people who want to take the train have to take a taxi from New Rochelle or Croton. Or get off in Manhattan, take two subway trains to get to the trains that go to White Plains. Why doesn’t Amtrak serve White Plains? Or the glistening corporate headquarter in Morristown. Morristown is even easier for Amtrak to get to, the only thing they would have to do is decide to go there. They don’t. Amtrak trains pass through Secaucus where the platforms are a short escalator ride away from the platforms that server the trains going to Bergen County and Hudson counties with more people than Orange Counties. And lots of glistening corporate headquarters. Amtrak doesn’t stop there either. Or in Greenwich which has it’s share of glistening corporate headquarters.

    The train has to terminate somewhere. the place where demand drops off, oh like Anaheim. The people in Irvine who want to go to Bakersfield can take Metrolink to Anaheim just like the people in San Clemente will have to. Or the people in Glendale or Commerce will. Or like the people in San Bruno or Santa Clara will have to take Caltrain. Someday if there is enough demand they can think about. Or if someday Metrolink decides to electrify.,,, why aren’t the HSR trains going to stop at every platform they pass?…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I don’t comment on the specifics of the NY,NJ,CT market, I don’t have sufficient knowledge of the geography. I would want to run trains through Manhattan from LI to NJ and vice versa, rather than use Manhattan real estate to turn trains, but I’m sure someone with more knowledge can tell me why that can’t be done.

    Donk Reply:

    Ted – regarding the Green Line to Norwalk. It isn’t about people from the South Bay going to Norwalk. It is about opening the up the entire South Bay market to the rail network.

    I’ve lived in the South Bay. Nobody in that area is going to drive to LAUS, or worse, take 3 different trains to get to LAUS, in order to go to San Diego or Santa Barbara. But with a direct shot down the 105 freeway on the Green Line and a connecting point at Norwalk, it would be viable to skip LAUS and access the rail network. It would also be viable for people to visit the South Bay from LOSSAN.

    This would be one of the busiest Metrolink/Amtrak stops if the Green Line connected to it, and would also make the Green Line worth a damn.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I don’t have specifics handy, I type Irvine CA census into Google and it finds the US Census page for Irvine. Or US Census Newark NJ and it finds the census information for Newark. The 800,000 people in Essex County and the 500,000 in Union County and the 700,000 in Hudson county are so much like the ones in Irvine. Or the 7 million on Long Island that Wikipedia says live there. They don’t use expensive Manhattan real estate to turn trains. They let other people buy the air over the cheap Manhattan real estate they bought years ago, for really high prices, to turn trains. The ones that they do turn around, they turn much faster than 40 minutes.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Even if the Green Line went directly into LAX and was extended all the way te Disneyland, the travel time would diminish ridership to the point of being not feasible. Norwalk is interesting because it opens up connections with other routes besides Anaheim. But they are all very long hauls.

    Let me also say this is a moot point probably since the Tos lawsuit will likely bar using Prop 1a funding for the “bookends”.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Agree Ted. I may have mentioned this before, but light rail is not the optimal mode for the distances involved and lacks upward scalability for a metro area such as LA- in a perfect world, you would build “heavy rail” lines of the S-bahn/RER type, that would provide the speeds, future capacity and ability to run on mainline tracks to attract those riders from the South Bay. But, given the political realities, the compromise “light rail” is the solution. Granted, something is better than nothing. As for LAX, I share with Alon the idea of a electrified heavy rail line using the old AT&SF Harbor Sub, a much more direct, one seat ride to LAUPT, and opens possibility of services to Orange County, which would be very attractive. Heck, even HSR could eventually run into LAX. Mere dreams, alas.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They don’t use expensive Manhattan real estate to turn trains.

    The LIRR does, at West Side Yard!

    Even if the Green Line went directly into LAX and was extended all the way te Disneyland, the travel time would diminish ridership to the point of being not feasible.

    I don’t think it’s really true. The Green Line is technologically light rail, but there are no grade crossings on the 105, and as a result it’s reasonably fast, at least between almost-LAX and almost-Norwalk. Of course it can’t run through to Anaheim, but a Norwalk connection could be timed, if the Green Line were ever extended that way (and of course I forgot to include it on my list of underrated projects, although honestly it’s far enough that it’s not really in the same category with things like Geary).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They bought a former NY Central railroad yard real cheap a long time ago and are selling the air over it for very high prices.

    EJ Reply:

    Why doesn’t any one have any plans to send HSR to Ukiah then? Or Reno? Or Chico? Why not across North Dakota. Williston North Dakota is booming. Why is it okay for people in Berkeley to have to get on BART to get on an HSR train but not the people in Irvine to get on Metrolink?

    I truly can’t tell if you’re one of the most utterly stupid people I’ve ever encountered, or one of the most talented trolls. The tendency of “when cornered, spout dense paragraphs of total nonsense” leads me to suspect the former.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Well if the train should go to tiny little Irvine why shouldn’t it go to the thriving metropolis of Ukiah?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Alon,

    The Green Line has no overtake tracks, so it has to stop at every station along the way. That is the super-defect with all fixed guideways in California, even BART.

    I would not presume “something is better than nothing”, though. I would gladly trade the Green Line for a completed Expo Line or the subway to the sea. Moreover, the decision to shun LAX in the 90s only increases cost now.

    EJ Reply:

    The Green Line has no overtake tracks, so it has to stop at every station along the way. That is the super-defect with all fixed guideways in California, even BART.

    Very few mass transit rail systems, worldwide, have overtake tracks or express service. The NYC subway is unusual in this regard. Even back in the old PE days there were only a few sections that permitted express running, e.g. the 4 track section between Watts and downtown LA. I’m not sure why people bring this up as a major issue for the Green Line, which is just 20 miles long and has 14 stops.

    Now, it’s an issue with BART, which is quite far flung and would benefit from express service. And it makes sense with Metrolink (though on the OC line as a practical matter you’ve got the Pacific Surfliner as the express – most trains skip Tustin, Laguna Niguel, Norwalk, Commerce, and Orange).

    EJ Reply:

    In other words express service on BART could make sense, since it’s basically a commuter railroad.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    More to the point: if it takes longer than an hour to get somewhere on mass transit, you are doing it wrong….

    EJ Reply:

    I don’t think you can have hard and fast rules without considering the size of the city. The A train from Manhattan to the Rockaways takes well over an hour, and, going by the outcry over the time it took to restore service after Sandy, it’s a highly valued service. And that’s a train that, IIRC, runs express in Manhattan. A lot of the more far-flung London tube lines take considerable time to get out to the ends of the network from the city center, e.g. the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow.

    Big cities are big; in LA, an hour commute by car is a bit above average, but hardly uncommon. In cities that size the selling point for mass transit isn’t really time savings, but factors like cost, mental wear and tear, reliability (I’m in, say, Downtown LA, and I have a 10 am meeting in Santa Monica that I can’t be late for – would I rather have a reliable 1 hour trip on transit and plan accordingly, or a car trip that could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half, meaning I’ve got to plan on 90 minutes and probably spend 45 of them dealing with LA traffic, and the other 45 cooling my heels in Starbucks?), and productivity, to the extent you can work on transit and not in your car.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I have actually rode both the A train and the Piccadilly and they both have something in common: they serve the region’s main airport at the end or near end of the line.

    Also, the A Train is an express, as you note: it takes only 65 minutes to go from 42nd Street to Far Rockaway.

    Moreover, there’s no chance of being productive using mass transit between downtown and Santa Monica, the buses and subway in the inner city is packed.

    EJ Reply:

    I’ve ridden them both many times. Like you, and unlike some of this blog’s commentariat, I tend to only comment about transit lines I’ve used and know something about.

    But I’m confused, you said an hour was out of the question, now it’s fine that it takes “only” 65 minutes to go from 42nd Street to Far Rockaway. And the Rockaways are well past JFK.

    The LA subway goes nowhere near Santa Monica, and the subway/bus transfer is such that you’re often better off just taking a bus directly from downtown. In a couple of years, once the Expo line to Santa Monica is finished, you’ll have a one seat (who are we kidding, you won’t get a seat, at least not during rush hour) but at least a transfer free ride from downtown to Santa Monica, and you won’t be stuck in traffic like on the existing buses.

    Productive? Well, you won’t be able to sprawl out with a laptop, like one does on the Surfliner, but you certainly can use a tablet or a smartphone, and a whole lot of work can be done on those platforms these days. A lot more than in a car, anyway.

    Hey, you build a four track express railway, or something well designed with overtakes (which usually slows down all stops locals) between Santa Monica and DTLA, I’ll use it, assuming the stop I need gets express service. Just can’t see it as being a priority versus getting better mass transit coverage throughout the greater LA area.

    Also, if you look at station spacing on LA light rail lines, they already ARE express trains. Again, the green line has 14 stops in 20 miles – an average of 1.4 miles between stops. That’s an express by most worldwide rapid transit standards.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No, I said if it takes over an hour you are doing something wrong.

    In the case of the A train, I would argue the MAT realizes the tradeoffs of having local only service. Either way, relying too much on light rail could be mass trainer’s undoing in California,but especially in Los Angeles.

    Donk Reply:

    The Green Line should go way faster. Are light rail trains limited to something like 45 MPH? Like EJ says, the Green Line is basically an express train. But I have rarely driven on the 105 when I was going slower than the train.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Donk: The design of most light rail vehicles is so that the maximum speed is between 60 km/h and 80 km/h (essentially a question of wheelbase, wheel design and truck design). Higher speeds are possible, but would require more elaborate designs.

    Considering the US, which looks at the Stadler GTW as “light rail” (see River Line in New Jersey), and probably would also consider a FLIRT as “light rail”, it would need such designs for speeds up to 120 to 160 km/h. So, it would be a bit of a balancing between “weight”, station distances, line characteristics and speed of services.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Considering the US … and probably would also consider a FLIRT as “light rail” …

    A “light rail” vehicle now with 200kmh top speed, selected for service on a 455km inter-city route!
    http://www.stadlerrail.com/hu/hirek/2013/11/13/intercity-trains-for-sweden/

    If only one never had to “consider the US”.

    bixnix Reply:

    Donk – the Green line does go 55 mph; much faster than the traffic jams on the 105, which are pretty bad during rush hours.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    @Richard: In the US, a FLIRT (maybe in the form of a FLIRT 3 Hybrid) would count as “Tram-Train”…

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I am looking at the map, Paul.

    I’m aware that if you build run-through tracks you could, in effect run direct trains through Union Station. However, I am also aware that the proposed design for HSR at LA Union Station will almost certainly not use these run-through tracks because of concerns about grade separation. Thus, the only real beneficiary (again, assuming it passes Prop 1A muster) is Metrolink.

    I realize there is already some competition between Metrolink and the Surfliner but I am predicting all-out competition with Metrolink dropping routes through Orange County and the Surfliner pushing into the Inland Empire and potentially over the Cajon Pass.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You can run direct trains today without the run through tracks. Where does “grade separation fit into this project? Why is Surfliner not a beneficiary?

    Who will pay for the Surfliner to “push into the Inland Empire”? Who pays for the Metrolink routes in Orange County and why should they drop them? Do you know how any of this stuff works in the real world?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I do.

    But the main consideration is how well OCTA and Metro will work have the Surfliner and Metrolink integrate seamlessly. Right now, indications are not so seamless, but perhaps that will change.

    You also have to consider if the State starts to pay for the Coast Daylight, that will be the end of the Surfliner as we know it. After that we are guaranteed some hydra that represents Orange and San Diego Counties’ interest and Metrolink for Los Angeles’s.

    Donk Reply:

    Hallelujah. This is big news. Didn’t they already do preliminary engineering on this back in 2000 or so? I seem to remember that the Gray Davis money was going to go to this project, but then it got pulled back when the economy went into the crapper.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    They published an EIR but it went no further for lack of funds.
    I had previously been told by Metro that they hoped to start construction in 2017. A further two year delay is most disappointing.

    joe Reply:

    Thank god for Prop1a and ARRA matching money to release the prop1a. It might have taken longer to do this work.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    good news

    Donk Reply:

    Here is the Metro page for the Run-Thru Tracks project, complete with a fact sheet etc.

    http://www.metro.net/projects/regionalrail/scrip/

    Peter Reply:

    None of the “planned” platforms with run-through tracks are long enough for a 400 m HSR train. What gives? Only 200 m HSR trains to LA for all eternity?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Because the run-through tracks aren’t going to be used for HSR. There’s no mystery.

    Peter Reply:

    Oh, cool, so we’ll HAVE to have a massively elevated station, the same as San Jose.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Or underground, aka big dig west.

    EJ Reply:

    The last plan they published, the “preferred” alternative for the HSR station had it all the way on the other side of Vignes street where the LAPD facility is now, conveniently located between the county jail, the river, and the freeway.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Triple Deck 200m trains.

    Peter Reply:

    And why is PTC increasing the turnaround time at LAUS?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    that’s how long it takes to reload the on board the computer with the new route. Such a great advance for minimal safety improvement and what a bargain!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    no it doesn’t.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    That’s what Metrolink and Amtrak are telling me. I’d be glad to see how it really works, this might all be urban myth. Do you have the facts? But it’s still a very expensive way of saving a few lives.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Hundreds if not thousands of trains, in places not as brain damaged as California, ones that have modern signaling, turn around every day much faster than that?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Of course they do, but we are discussing post PTC installation. Do you know what the spec is for turning a train with the PTC system being installed by Metrolink? Let me know what that is before your next “no it doesn’t” post.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    California is special but not so special that it’s going to be the first place in the world with modern signals.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Answer the question

    swing hanger Reply:

    Perhaps the installation of trackside transponders which communicate speed restrictions would lesson the need for extensive data transfer at terminals? Seems a more rational solution for trains that will be operating on a limited number of routes within an urban/suburban network, rather than say, locomotives that may range over thousands of miles on track with minimal trackside installations.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I did

    adirondacker12800 Reply:
    May 4th, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Hundreds if not thousands of trains, in places not as brain damaged as California, ones that have modern signaling, turn around every day much faster than that?

    Unless they are going to have a telegraph operator transmit it to the train it’s not going to take 40 minutes. Other operators using similarly complex signal systems manage to do it much faster than that.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    You did not. You seem to have the same problem with the interrogatory as you do with cartography. The question was, what is the spec of the Metrolink system for the time required to turn a train? I wrote what I have been told by the operators. You seem to think they are wrong. Quote the material that you are relying on, please.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Go fuck off. California is so special they aren’t going to be able to do what SEPTA does once an hour in Wilmington.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Good answer. Thank you for your contribution. Time for bed.

    Joey Reply:

    Amtrak: not even willing to adopt their own best practices.

  11. synonymouse
    May 3rd, 2014 at 11:14
    #11

    You have to know Sin City is in trouble when they “86″ Ben Affleck for allegedly trying to count cards.

    This is one of the “Gigli” gang – flick so bad it makes “Plan 9 from Outer Space” look good.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Klaatu barada nikto. Mien Lüchtpöukaan ist vull von sük aalen

    Alon Levy Reply:

    הרחפת שלי מלאה בצלופחים.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Eeeek! what kinds and do they have fins and scales?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It depends on which rabbi you ask, presumably.

  12. joe
    May 4th, 2014 at 19:35
    #12

    No matter what they do. There will be NIMBYs. Private sector, 110 MPH rails and there will be protests and opposition.

    A rally was held Sunday to protest a high-speed rail project between central and south Florida.
    Related.

    The rally was held by a citizens’ group called Florida Not All Aboard that hopes to put an end to a proposal for a project that it said would bring 32 trains a day running between Orlando and Miami at speeds of 110 mph.

    The group said it believes the trains would cause traffic jams for both cars and boats and diminish property values and tourism revenue.

    http://www.wpbf.com/news/rally-held-to-fight-highspeed-rail/25803292#ixzz30nwL1kuB

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    I guess they didn’t want to show pictures of the “crowds”…

    Peter Reply:

    Sort of like the “crowds” that turned out to protest gay marriage in MN right before the vote.

    Donk Reply:

    Never heard of a train causing a traffic jam for a boat before. Those poor people with their boats.

Comments are closed.