Gavin Newsom Flip Flops on HSR But Still Wants to be Governor in 2018

Feb 11th, 2015 | Posted by

Today Gavin Newsom announced his intention to run for governor in 2018. He cast himself as someone who would carry on Jerry Brown’s legacy:

Today, Californians are blessed with the remarkable leadership of Governor Jerry Brown, who in the face of long odds has led our state to firm fiscal footing and brought us to the enviable position of dreaming – and achieving – big dreams again.

Even so, long-term challenges remain daunting – we must continue to grow our economy and create private-sector jobs, we must invest in public education and keep college affordable, we must address the widening inequalities that separate our communities and we must maintain California’s historic leadership in meeting the climate challenge.

Those are nice words. But Newsom has consistently failed to demonstrate in practice that he actually believes this. His flip-flop on high speed rail is perhaps the best example of his unreliability on job creation, meeting the climate challenge, and his opposition to Governor Brown’s remarkable leadership in dreaming big again.

In 2009, during his first, abortive campaign for governor, Newsom embraced high speed rail. He toured France’s TGV and spoke enthusiastically about how HSR would help San Francisco. He brought up HSR, unprompted, in a town hall meeting in Alameda County. At the California Democratic Party convention that year, he told me that he was strongly supportive of HSR – even looking forward to presiding over the opening of the route:

Newsom specifically mentioned high speed rail in his answer – that when he was younger he took a trip to Europe and rode their high speed trains, but when he came back “all we had was Caltrain.” Newsom was a strong supporter of last fall’s Proposition 1A, and has been one of the leading forces behind getting the Transbay Terminal done. Newsom wants to build HSR as governor of California – if he won two terms he might be able to preside over the opening of the LA-SF route in 2018.

In 2014, however, panicking at reports that the project was in trouble, Newsom went on a right-wing talk radio show and flip-flopped:

“I would take the dollars and redirect it to other, more pressing infrastructure needs,” Newsom said during an appearance on the Seattle-based Ben Shapiro Show on AM 770 KTTH…

“I am not the only Democrat that feels this way,” Newsom said during his radio appearance. “I gotta tell you, I am one of the few that just said it publicly. Most are now saying it privately.”

But that wasn’t true. Sacramento Democrats voted just a few months later to give 25% of the cap-and-trade revenue to the high speed rail project, a crucial vote of confidence in HSR. Polls showed a majority of voters support HSR. Neel Kashkari thought he could use the “crazy train” as a way to defeat Jerry Brown. Instead, Brown won by 20 points. Controller Betty Yee switched her position and came out in favor of HSR on the campaign trail last fall, a sign that being pro-HSR is actually a winning political position in California.

Newsom’s flip flop on HSR wasn’t just bad policy, it was terrible politics. It showed that he is a craven politician whose word cannot be trusted, someone who will abandon important efforts to reduce CO2 emissions at the first sign of trouble. It also shows he is not actually in touch with the thinking of California Democrats.

Newsom’s new opposition to HSR didn’t undermine the project. But it did undermine his standing among California progressives and transit advocates, many of whom have reacted coolly or with outright hostility to today’s announcement. Newsom’s HSR flip flop is going to make it much harder for him to convince California Democrats to support him in his bid to succeed Jerry Brown. If Californians want someone focused on jobs, on fighting climate change, and on dreaming big again, they’re going to have to look elsewhere. Gavin Newsom isn’t that person.

  1. Jerry
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 10:32
    #1

    But is he the ‘hair’ apparent?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Never vote for a wishy-washy flip-flopper for an executive position. You need someone with the courage to stick to, and implement, a program.

    (Changing your mind is fine, but keeping your finger in the wind and running whichever way it seems to be going at that moment is terrible, administratively speaking.)

  2. J. Wong
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 10:39
    #2

    He flip-flopped once, I expect he’ll do it again. Note that construction on the ICS should be nearing completion by the time he is running for governor, and more contracts for further construction will be out as well.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    It would not surprise me at all if he did so. But the damage has been done. Climate activists, transit advocates, and most CA progressives I know won’t trust him. HSR isn’t the only reason, but it’s a high-profile reason.

    James M in Irvine, CA Reply:

    I agree, anyone who can change their stance like changing hats should be viewed skeptically. If the project was headed in a detrimental direction and course corrections necessary, that would be a different story.

    Scramjett Reply:

    I wouldn’t vote for him and I expect that most in SF wouldn’t either, given what I’ve heard about his stint as mayor there. If you can’t carry your “hometown,” then you don’t have a snowball’s chance.

    Which begs the question, who can we trust to not just continue, but expand, Jerry’s legacy?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The major obstacle for HSR in the Newsom Administration won’t be his inconsistent record.

    The major obstacle will be a very small seat at the table for organized labor in whoever wins come 2019.

    With Kamala Harris using Steve Westly’s fortune to run for the Senate, there’s no real champion left who has deep union ties. Villaraigosa, for example, is pro transit but has consistently supported union-busting charter schools. And Eric Garcetti, who I think is Jerry Brown’s personal choice made his name by running against LA City Controller Wendy Greuel as the tool of the city’s public employee unions.

    Brown himself is already sensing how weak labor’s position is by starting to fight with SEIU over state employee benefits. And he’s already started to exploit the loss of the Democrat’s 2/3rd majority in the Legislature by backing away from more controversial liberal priorities.

    And then there’s the rumors about Nancy Pelosi retiring or dying, in which case then the pipeline of money that won’t be from libertarian tech moguls or Tom Steyer will REALLY shrink and all hell will likely break loose.

    HSR though, can survive with less support from labor of course, but it will likely survive as a blended system which won’t exactly have the transformative impact many here will want. Quentin Kopp will still call into radio shows and vent, but by then, there won’t be anything he can do about it….

    J. Wong Reply:

    Even blended HSR will have a transformative impact. It’s just me, but anything that reduced rail travel times from SF to LA to under 8 hours would be transformative, and blended will still be at least 50% below that.

    Lewellan Reply:

    CAHSR will not have a transformative effect whatsoever. Much worse air pollution and traffic problems occur within inner-city/metropolitan areas, not between North and South. LA certainly should direct electricity to LRT expansion and buses. We’re long overdue for a new model of low-floor paratransit vans with plug-in hybrid drivetrains. This sort of high-mpg bus could displace half the 40′ gus guzzler rattletraps now considered the standard. Air travel between LA and SF will inevitably decline due to fuel shortage regardless of any suitably faster passenger-rail service between LA and SF. The only thing transformative about the 200mph CAHSR proposal is the effusive use of the word transformative.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yes, the environment was much better when there were fewer humans. Are you volunteering to help in reducing the number of humans on earth by killing yourself? I support you in your selfless quest.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I suspect he’s like Synomouse and yearns for the day when he was able to move to the new subdivision in the suburbs.
    …. An developer who wants to build cabins in the woods is evil, out to corrupt the pristine wilderness. Stalwart conservationists who want to protect the profound legacy of our natural environment…. already have a cabin in the woods.

    Observer Reply:

    It will be blended in the L.A. and Bay Areas – at least to begin with; but in between it will not be blended. Even this will be very transformative, and a major benefit and improvement for California and especially the San Joaquin Valley. Then most likely, over time, incremental improvements will be made to the blended sections.

    J. Wong Reply:

    “[I]ncremental improvements will be made to the blended sections.”

    Which is why Atherton is still suing the Authority. They know blended and electrification are just the camel’s nose under the tent. HSR is coming eventually: That means grade separation and 4 tracks (not necessarily everywhere at once). They want the EIR to declare that their way of life will be over forever if HSR goes through.

  3. Jerry
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 10:52
    #3

    ” when he was younger he took a trip to Europe and rode their high speed trains ”
    By any chance, did the train come under rocket fire?

    TomA Reply:

    You are thinking of another well coiffed gentleman.

  4. RubberToe
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 10:57
    #4

    Antonio Villaraigosa: If he could do for HSR what he did for rail transit in LA, every city in the state would be connected by high speed trains. He might just jump in now that there is an opening due to Newsom’s flop on HSR…

    BTW, there are 5 (gold line foothill extension, expo phase 2, red line extension, crenshaw line, regional connector) rail projects currently under construction in LA County. And we are going to double down again when given the opportunity to do so again in 2016.

    RT

    JJJJ Reply:

    I would vote for Villaraigosa. I believe he ended his term with a favorable rating in LA, yes? And time is very good at softening people, so even those who didnt love him might forget why they didnt. You win LA, youre halfway there.

    But he might be busy running for Federal VP or something

    Alon Levy Reply:

    So, I know that having this many Democratic administrations in a row is implausible, but… I’m getting feels thinking about a Clinton-Villaraigosa ticket leading to a Villaraigosa-de Blasio primary in 2024.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I think Secession is more likely.

    Zorro Reply:

    Yeah in 2 counties out of 58 counties in California want Secession Syno, dream on, it ain’t happening and Congress would get the final say on secession, as mandated by the US Constitution…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Villaigarosa is one of the few major politicians in the country who I really think would do a good job as Governor — of any state, really. Probably be a decent President, but it’s so easy to completely and massively screw up foreign policy (basically, to get it right, you have to totally reject anything the military-industrial complex suggests)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I kind of want him as governor and Steyer in the Senate. Congress could really use someone who cares about climate change. (Robert hates Steyer because Steyer’s making noises about supporting ed reform, but a) noises and not actual support, b) saving the planet is more important, and c) Congress has next to no power on education.)

    Amanda in the South Bay Reply:

    Um No Child Left Behind?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Some states are opting out of annual testing, NCLB or not. Robert isn’t even focusing on Congress – he’s focusing on getting Washington (the state, not the city) to opt out, reject the various federal funding initiatives on the subject, and not do any testing. That’s how weak federal power is when it comes to education.

    jimsf Reply:

    While a Clinton-Villaraigosa ticket would be exciting for democrats, they will more likey need to pair Hillary with someone a little more conservative to balance out the ticket enough to woo the all important middle of the road voters. Probably a male, from the south or midwest.

    Joe Reply:

    Middle of the road is where you find road kill. Western candidate CO NM TX CA WA.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Gore picked up Lieberman for “balance”. *shudder*

    Ted Judah Reply:

    A Latino running mate for Clinton is quite likely: she needs a minority on the ticket to energize the nonwhite turnout like Obama. Moreover, Bill Clinton is so popular with blacks (at least he still thinks so) that they figure it will overcome the natural reluctance black voters have with Hispanic candidates.

    Hilary seems to like San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro quite a bit for this role, but I think they want a Florida politician to put the Sunshine State in play….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    On the contrary – Hillary’s not particularly liberal. She’s a foreign policy hawk, and deep establishment to boot. She needs someone who’s young and energetic and probably not white, same way that if she’d won the 2008 primary as she’d thought, Obama would’ve been her VP.

    A Florida Cuban would be ideal, but the Democrats don’t have enough of a bench there. Someone like Cory Booker would be great, but he’s from Jersey, and the New York/New Jersey bit is problematic, more so than New York/California.

    Anyway, I seriously think the liberal side of the bench for 2020 and 2024 is Villaraigosa and de Blasio, assuming the latter either successfully primaries Cuomo in 2018 or doesn’t try and manages to avoid losing credit fights with Cuomo until he steps down in 2021 and becomes a full-time presidential candidate. Cuomo could stay as governor through 2024 and then run, too, and will probably be the establishment favorite, and this means there will continue to be a lot of Cuomo-de Blasio friction. (Mind you: this is equivalent to saying in 1999 that Hillary Clinton will be a strong Democratic presidential primary contender in 2004 or 2008, depending on whether Gore wins; in 1999 nobody knew who Obama or even Edwards was, but Clinton, the establishment option, was of course well-known.)

    Mattie F. Reply:

    On the contrary – Hillary’s not particularly liberal. She’s a foreign policy hawk, and deep establishment to boot.

    While I agree that’s true, I don’t think it’s believed.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Which part? Everyone knows she’s establishment. Foreign policy – well, the Unskewed Polls types thing she COMMITED TERASON IN BEGHANZI WAEK UP SHEEPLE, but swayable people don’t care, and rated her highly as secretary of state.

    I guess there’s Hillarycare? But that was 22 years ago, and she wasn’t directly involved in Obamacare.

    TomA Reply:

    I disagree. The VP choice does little to change peoples minds (unless they are a disaster like Palin). A moderate VP wouldnt make people vote for Hillary if they thought she was too liberal.

    Even the geographic thing is probably overdone. I mean presidents themselves can be counted on to carry their home states (see Romney in MA, MI, CA, or NH and Al Gore in TN), let alone VP candidates.

    On the other hand a Hispanic VP might improve turnout among Democratic leaning Hispanics. I think a California Hispanic would help just as much as a Florida one in turning out liberal Florida HIspanics.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The geographic thing is obviously not useful in states that are definitely on one side or the other. But it’s useful in swing states. In head-to-head polls, Hillary and Jeb are tied in Florida, whereas Hillary wipes all the other Republicans there – but nationally, the differences are small. It doesn’t matter even in Wisconsin – with a presidential-year electorate, Hillary > Walker there – but could have an effect in a place like Florida.

    Ultimately, the Democrats don’t have any Floridian to run, though. And Hillary herself is relatively popular with the set that swung to Obama because of Biden – old Jews liked Clinton back in the day, and will like Hillary’s greater willingness to commit war crimes defend the nation from terrorists.

    TomA Reply:

    True. Florida is usually close enough that its possible that a local VP candidate could sway, but even then, I think a Hispanic candidate (the first on a major party ticket) from any state would do more to drive turnout.

    Eric Reply:

    As a navy veteran, I would have has a much tougher choice when McCain was running had he chosen someone other than Palin. I’m not sure where I would have landed in the vote. Palin was nowhere near being Vice Presidential material though, and that made the choice easy.

    Observer Reply:

    How about Antonio Villaraigosa vs Ashley Swearengin in 2018; that would be a contest.

    JJJJ Reply:

    Shes the best bet for the California GOP, by far.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Would she even make it through the primary? Obviously, she’s pretty darn good. As such, I expect her to quit the Republican Party any year now!

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    It would get interesting to see Newsom vs Swearengin with the democrat running against HSR and the republic running for it…

    does newsom pick up more repugs or does Swearengin pick up more dems?

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Swearingen would get my vote, if only because of the way Newsom treated his wife.

    Observer Reply:

    Swearengin would be Newsom’s worst nightmare; an intelligent, progressive republican.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Which means very soon she is going to get the urge to spend more time with her family. It always happens to intelligent progressive Republicans.

    Matt Reply:

    I would prefer a Kevin Johnson vs. Ashley Swearegin matchup. Probably far fetched to have an all Central Valley matchup, but it would be unique. Being from LA, I would prefer Garcetti over Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa was great for transit, but not so great at budget balancing and running the city as Garcetti IMHO.

  5. synonymouse
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 10:58
    #5

    Newsom is taking a savvy position, probably with advice from his consigliere, the other Brown Bro. from a different mother. He can always soften later, with no real adverse effects.

    Prop 1a could not pass today and the opposition is sure to grow, with nowhere to nowhere, Prop 1a provisos with no hope of being met with DogLegRail, and a sore lack of a ghetto in the San Gabriels to shove PB-CAHSR thru. And I don’t think the developers are going to like those National Forest tunnel schemes any more than the residents or enviros in general. So it is Acton or bust and those folks are going to hunker and bunker down.

    Good time for PB to bring up Tejon again and Palmdale to make good on its threat to litigate. Let’s all lawyer up.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Climate activists, transit advocates, and most CA progressives”?

    Surely you mean a handful of PB and Machine cadres.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And don’t forget MTC-BART has launched a major crusade to score those same billions that CAHSR covets. BART never loses.

    EJ Reply:

    So, just to be clear, nobody in California cares about HSR, but they’re just gonna let BART take a bunch of money that doesn’t belong to it? You’re probably not aware that most Californians live in counties not served by BART, and are going to be pretty pissed if BART goes for a sudden cash grab?

    synonymouse Reply:

    There are a whole lot of counties that are not on the DogLeg route. But most of the people by far and most all of the tax money reside in Bay Area-Sac and LaLa-Orange-San Diego.

    BART and LACMTA picking the bones of a failed DogLeg? Easy.

    MTC-BART could spend that Mojave $20bil in a snap of the fingers. Half a Bay Bridge shows the way ahead.

    BART always wins.

    synonymouse Reply:

    To paraphrase the Beatles, BART is bigger than Jesus.

    A helluva lot more popular than Palmdalebahn.

    EJ Reply:

    What’s with all the fake German all of a sudden? The way you write reminds me of growing up in the Bay Area in the 1970s; lots of adults had this weird way of talking where it was structured like a joke, but it wasn’t funny or meaningful.

    It’s just bizarre how you think that most Californians have more than a vague idea of what BART even is, let alone are eager to let it get billions in funding.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There was a time(about 1970) when Germany was way ahead of the rest of Europe in the development of light rail. Nordrein-Westfal was like heaven for modern streetcar enthusiasts. Duwag and AEG, as I recall, had made articulation mundane. France had nothing left except Marseille, and nothing modern. Britain had Blackpool. That’s all.

    So I learned how to say die strassenbahnwagon and I used to look at the pictures in “Der Stadtverkehr”. Hope that is the correct spelling. I was a French major; never took any German.

    The fools in the East Bay will vote to put themselves in hock with parcel taxes so great is their love and awe of BART.

    Peter Reply:

    It’s “der Straßenbahnwagen” for the singular, and “die Straßenbahnwagen” for the plural, and Nordrhein-Westfalen. If it’s an MU, you can insert the word “trieb” for “Triebwagen” or “Straßenbahntriebwagen”. Not bad, though.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sorry about the errors – now I recall the right spelling after you set me straight.

    The large s must be a holdover from Carolingian script.

    Peter Reply:

    Not a clue where the large s comes from. When I’m not using a German keyboard (as in not in 13 years) I use “ss” myself.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Check out the Codex Traguriensis from 1423:

    http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015004080670;view=1up;seq=36

    If you keep playing with the centering and zoom you can get the letters up to about an inch high. I have been working on reading this for a while and it puts me better in touch with the author and the history.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    It’s “der Straßenbahnwagen” for the singular, and “die Straßenbahnwagen” for the plural

    So what you’re saying is that Bob Terwilliger’s cover story for his ‘Die Bart Die’ (The Bart, The) was grammatically incorrect?

    Andy M Reply:

    The Germans still are very much ahead of everyone else today in terms of streetcar design. They have some regrettable blemishes to their record, I agree, and some of their ideas were blatantly copied from others, I agree. But by and large, the rest of the industry has been playing catch-up with German streetcar designs at least from the 1960s and they still are today. So maybe they weren’t always proposing the best of all possible solutions – and could even be anally conservative at times – but they were providing a good mix between a common sense workable solution and good marketing efforts. These adjectives can be applied to virtually every streetcar design that came out of Germany between 1965 and today, and it is what put them ahead.

    Andy M Reply:

    There was never a time that France had only Marseille left. St Etienne never closed and neither did Lille.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    About German spelling… in fact, the German language had three types of s:

    • the standard s, looking as we see it. This s is used for example at the end of a word, after a vowel.

    • the “short” s, looking like an f. This s is used mainly before a consonant (typically, t).

    • the Esszett ß, also spelled as sz in older literature, is a sharp s. In Switzerland, and if the character is missing in a keyboard, it is replaced with ss. This sz is following vowels, and is an indication to stretch it.

    • the double s, ss. It is also a sharp s, but it does not stretch the preceeding vowel.

    You may encounter quite a few ss sequences, which are not one of the above s, but originate from combining words. This may even lead to a triple s, such as in Massstab (a ruler), which would, however have been spelled (as described above) Maßftab (where the f stands for the short s).

    Even if everything is nowadays written with the s, the rules associated with the other characters are known and followed (this has mostly to do with hyphenation).

    Ah, yeah, “die Bart die” is grammatically wrong. The word Bart is german, and means Beard, and is masculin, therefore, it would be “der Bart”

    So, enough grammar for now…

    Max Wyss Reply:

    About tram networks in the late 60s of the last century in Europe: in general, the markets were strictly national, and it came close to a sensation when a city ordered cars from a foreign manufacturer (such as the Basler Verkehrsbetriebe ordering from Düwag, instead of Schindler (who had a direct connection to the network, and the Birseckbahn ordered very similar vehicles from Schindler).

    The Bundesrepublik definitely had the most bigger networks, as stated in Nordrhein-Westfalen. The by far predominant vehicles were from Düwag, either as “standard” car (4 axle), sometimes with trailer, or single- and later on also double-articulated, where the driven bogies were at the ends of the vehicle, and non-driven bogies under the articulation. There were a few other manufacturers who had their specific customers.

    The DDR had many networks, operated with Reko (Rekonstruktion) (2-axle) vehicles, and there were also Tatra Tx cars around. Those networks survived amazingly long.

    France was down to essentially SaintEtienne and Lille with legacy vehicles (SaintEtienne), or belgian influence (Lille).

    Belgium had a very dense network of urban and interurban tram lines; vehicles came mainly from BN (some PPC license builds).

    The Netherlands had several networks with domestically built vehicles.

    Switzerland had three bigger (Zürich, Basel, Bern) and four smaller (Genève, Neuchatel, Lausanne and Luzern) networks, where Lausanne and Luzern were shut down in the early/mid-sixties. Neuchatel had two lines, the one which still exists was operated with second-hand articulated cars from Genova, and the other line, replaced with trolleybuses in the late 70, operated with legacy 2-axle vehicles. Genève had a big international network, which got all slashed down to one single line. In the meantime, they rediscovered the tram and the network continuously grows.

    The quintessential modern Swiss tram car was the Standard 4-axle motor car and trailer (nowadays no longer operating anywhere, but in the museums), built by Schindler or Schlieren.

    Austria had several networks, which are still alive and kicking. Main manufacturer was SGP.

    Italy had several networks, from which Milano and Roma are surviving.

    It was therefore not Germany, but German speaking countries which kept the tramways, and are nowadays happy to not have abandoned the systems.

    The biggest renaissance we have nowadays is in France, where political will and federal money helped to re-establish modern streetcars. The forerunners of the modern networks are Grenoble ans Strasbourg.

    Rolling stock manufacturers have become international, and we are essentially down to 6: Siemens (after taking over Düwag and SGP), Bombardier (Parts of AEG, Schindler, etc.), Alstom, Stadler (newcomer, acquired some parts of AEG), AnsaldoBreda, and CAF. However smaller manufacturers from Poland and the Czech republic are waiting to jump in…

    Another long comment…

    synonymouse Reply:

    By Marseille, I meant St. Etienne.

    ASEA had built some very nice PCC’s for Goteborg.

    Den Haag had a very extensive and modern PCC op too.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Speaking of Gothenburg (P.S. both Gs are pronounced as Ys, because Swedish is that annoying), I could add it to my rant a couple threads down, about transit usage in small European cities. The metro area has about a million people, and the tram network gets 100 million passengers per year, which means its rail ridership per capita is marginally higher than New York’s.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    that happens in small metro areas where people are rich enough to own cars and because it’s a small metro there is no congestion. And probably easy to park.

    ….. the TV stations in Albany have webcams aimed at the places that have slight problems with traffic. Every once in a while there is a bad accident and the State Police closes the road. Which causes mayhem. Most of the time when they are using their Second Coming voices to talk about the traffic I have to resist the urge to giggle. It’s clipping along at 25, 30, 35 miles per hour. What traffic? It’s a bit congested.

    This is a paraphrase: Automobiles are the perfect solution to get people to places few people want to go to at times when not many people want to go there.

    …..that is most places when you get to metro areas of less than a million…

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And yet Gothenburg manages to squeeze 100 million annual passenger trips out of its tramway network.

    Other sub-million cities with urban rail:

    The Jerusalem Blight Rail has about 40 million annual passengers, on a population of about 750,000 (officially 800,000, but some are on the other side of the apartheid security wall). This is in a country where the transport minister runs for reelection with posters featuring his face on a background of a freeway interchange, and where the plans for the Tel Aviv subway involve a combined road-rail tunnel, because it’s unfathomable to give rail right-of-way that cars don’t get to use.

    The Lausanne Metro has 42 million annual passengers. The urban area has 400,000 people; the metro area has 1.2 million, but that’s Geneva’s metro area. Geneva has another 200 million annual public transit rides, of which 84 million are on the tramway network. Lausanne also has nearly 100,000 daily (36 million annual) riders at its main intercity train station. Geneva has another 25 million annual riders.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    So synonymouse is half right:

    BART and the LACMTA would gladly take the 10 billion in Prop 1a funds, and split the money in exchange for building something “useful” along the Peninsula and from LA to Palmdale.

    The only problem is, the Feds were never game for that, and such have made the Authority’s life a living hell for the last five years. Instead, the Obama Administration wants its cash spread from Gilroy to Palmdale figuring that between their members of Congress and their own revenue measures, LA and the Bay Area can round up enough cash to finish HSR and do whatever upgrades for transit they want.

    However, given Republican control of Congress appears to be not changing any time soon, the California delegation in Congress is none too happy with the White House over not allowing them to start in the bookends.

    TomA Reply:

    Given the money available from the feds (a few billion) they couldnt have even built the tunnels to get out of the bookends, let alone buildings something useful.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Irvine – Sylmar and San Jose to San Fran would be useful, very useful. Hyperloop to connect Caltrain station with TBT.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART did indeed promise HypeLoop in 1962.

    Joe Reply:

    San Jose to San Fran was under development but bitterly opposed so work moved to the CV.
    How do you think CARRD started?

    Urban HSR, CEQA and the ARRA timeline are incompatible.

    The STB taking jurisdiction over the entire project is a godsend. We should name a stAtion after Jeff Denham

    synonymouse Reply:

    Joe, I do not believe this ruling will stand unaltered for the simple reason it means California(and any state)will have no environmental control over a rail project. Rail legislation would face enormous environmentalist opposition from the get-go. The law is all arbitrary; let’s say BART wants to dump CEQA; all it has to do is get the law changed such that regional transit systems are considered interstate commerce. Don’t forget courts ruled corporations are the same as human beings and thus have the rights of citizens.

    CAHSR is totally within the state of California – any difference between it and BART is purely peripheral and arbitrary.

    joe Reply:

    “Joe, I do not believe this ruling will stand unaltered for the simple reason it means California(and any state)will have no environmental control over a rail project. ”

    I think you meant to write that you do not understand the Constitution’s Commerce Cause.
    You also have a BART BART BART BART BART problem.

    The STB operates with the constitutional powers explicitly assigned to Congress.

    Opponents argued the SBT has oversight on the project. The STB agreed and the STB now governs the project.

    In authorizing construction of this initial Merced-to-Fresno segment of the larger high-speed train system, the STB exempted the Authority from the more detailed and lengthy application process that would otherwise govern federal licenses to construct rail lines. The STB noted that the Authority’s rail line will be a “valuable addition to the passenger rail transportation system in California,” and adopted the extensive environmental analysis already completed by the Authority for this segment.

    The STB, a federal economic regulatory agency, has jurisdiction over the construction of rail lines as part of the interstate rail network. The STB determined that it had jurisdiction over the Authority’s high-speed train system because the STB found that, despite being located entirely in the state of California, the Authority plans to interconnect its system with other interstate services like Amtrak.
    http://www.infrainsightblog.com/2013/06/articles/high-speed-rail/california-high-speed-rail-authority-receives-federal-regulatory-authority-to-construct-initial-segment-of-passenger-rail-system/

    When the STB approves a project because the EIR’s are complete then the EIR process of over. California cannot stop the project over the EIR and assigned additional regulatory requirements that vacate the STB’s approval.

    BART BART BART BART BART. Simply needs to change the law and federalize BART. They too can be relieved of CEQA – they just need to change the law.

    Definitionally changing a law changes the law. Time to put down the schnapps.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Well you could argue that BART facilitates interstate commerce by providing service to SFO and OAK.

    joe Reply:

    Exactly. The 19th century idiots on both sides of the bay should have incorporated into a larger city when they had the chance. NYC did and the Bay Area did not.

    synonymouse Reply:

    When you talk about the Bay Area how can you not talk about BART. It is the Bay Area. For all intents and purposes MTC is BART. BART is much bigger than Caltrain. BART is reaching for Sacramento. When has BART lost any crusade?

    BART lives to spend freely so CEQA so far no problem. You just spend your way around it. But if it becomes a real impediment to something BART wants, the STB ruling give them wiggle room. If you want to torque arguments everything is some kind of interstate commerce at some arcane level.

    Remember your Supremes ruled Aereo was a cable operator when it hurt Aereo and then when the latter tried to used the law governing cable companies the courts ruled it wasn’t a cable company. So it is all who you know. They make this shit up as they go along.

    And Joe, just fill the Bay and pave it. You know you want to.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Not just both sides of the Bay! If SF annexes the urbanized parts of San Mateo County, and SJ the urbanized parts of Santa Clara County, the PAMPA NIMBYs won’t have the power to block apartment building construction next to Caltrain stations. Tech workers would actually be able to afford to live in Palo Alto rather than have to commute from SF, or from Gilroy.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Said 19th century idiots made much worse mistakes. They split San Francisco and San Mateo counties when they should not have and they did not split California at the Tehachapis when they should have. In the 1850’s.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Well, Muni could at least hang wire on John Daly Blvd. to extend the #14 TC to the Daly City BART station.

    The chance the #40 interurban to San Mateo could have been saved in 1949 much greater. Daly City would not allow it to be connected to the M line when they ripped up Mission St. Of course that was a terrible mistake too.

    You could still lay tracks on lower Mission St. Go for it.

    jimsf Reply:

    syn bart has already reached sacramento in the form of ccjpa. stop being paranoid its too late.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I am talking real “BT”

    cattlecars sans W.C.’s

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You need 50,000 people to form a state. There weren’t enough people in California in 1850 to form two states. They both would have been free states which would have upset the balance in the Senate.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Before anyone engages in fantasies about how much better off the Bay Area would be if San Francsico had consolidated like New York a century ago needs to realize that the roles of counties in New York State and California are not the same. San Francisco is a consolidated city-county, but to do that region wide would be very costly even by the highly jaded standards of transit blog nerds.

    The current structure is the most advantageous to what BART wants, trust me, and what will support HSR going forward.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    New York was a consolidated city-county before it gobbled up Kings County, Richmond County and half of Queens County. What we now call Bronx County was part of New York County until well after the consolidation and what is now Nassau County didn’t secede from Queens County until after the consolidation.

    Zorro Reply:

    More like disowned brother…

    I’m not interested in voting for Gavin Newsom, not even with a proverbial 10′ pole, but then the next election for Governor is a few years off, so We all will have to wait and see who else in the Democratic Party wants to be Governor bad enough.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    Now is when potential alternatives need to be encouraged to start building their support bases.

  6. JJJJ
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:08
    #6

    Newsom is the worst kind of politician. He doesnt actually want anything but his ass in the governor’s chair. He’ll say anything he has to to get there, according to what the polls, and donors, want.

    It doesnt matter if youre pro or anti HSR, you shouldnt vote for him because he cares about himself and the position, not the people and governing.

    Incidentally, is there time to change the rule so Mr Brown can run again? Can he be governor and president at the same time?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Incidentally, is there time to change the rule so Mr Brown can run again?

    Bloomberg might be able to swing it, given enough incentive…

    JJJJ Reply:

    Maybe Bloomberg will run for governor of California. What does he spend his time doing these days? Hes probably bored.

    synonymouse Reply:

    There are virtually no civilians out there who give a shit about CAHSR. They think it is going thru the Grapevine.

    All Gavin has to do is promise MTC-BART that $20bil Jerry is prepared to blow in the Tehacahpis. Same for Villaraigosa with LACMTA, etc.

    HSR is a non-issue in the election, apart from maybe Kings County, which is too small to matter up against SF and LA.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Only in the windmills of your mind. The ones who paid more than a few seconds of attention looked at the maps and saw that it didn’t.

    EJ Reply:

    Wait, so HSR is a non-issue? I thought you said it was wildly unpopular? Is this kind of like how Jerry is both a senile old goat and a scheming mastermind? Or how BART is terrible because of its incompatibility with existing railroads, but SMART is terrible because it runs alongside freight trains? Or how BART is awful because they won’t go driverless, but HART is terrible because it’s a driverless metro, and they should have gone for streetcars instead?

    synonymouse Reply:

    1. BART is terrible in so many ways, but it is incompatibility with other transit systems that was on the mind of every other subsequent transit operation which went with accepted practice, ie. standard gauge. Compatibility with generic “existing railroads” was indeed a real problem only for SP, which demanded a broad gauge BART ca. 1962 out of fear BART would become powerful enough politically to sequester SP property. In fact SP was correct and BART today is the pet of the California political establishment.

    2. SMART cannot become a modern electric light rail line so line as freight is around. Freight is not paying anywhere near its way as there are only 3 regular customers, AFAIK. Freight’s day is past on the NWP and it needs to go to make way for transit.

    4. IMHO HART would have been much better off with a streetcar operation, which could have been easily extended to other parts of Oahu, a very small place in reality. If you cannot afford the relatively small strip of land required for a surface ROW in a totally tourist city maybe you should stick with buses, perhaps BRT.

    But they wanted an elevated, all grade separated. With that locked-in, go with rubber tyre to cut the noise and you definitely want driverless since you have paid such a price for all segregation from other traffic.

    5. BART is an inordinately expensive op with bloated management and payroll. Again a fortune is being lavished on grade separation and high-level boarding stations and driverless is indicated. In fact, the very powerful business interests behind BART may cue in on that need as there is a point where fares become so high as to discourage activity. Bay Area bridge tolls are approaching that already for people in the minimum wage category.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Oh, and indeed HSR is a non-issue for California voter other than a few pols and their camp followers and us railfans. It evokes apathy, especially until recently in SoCal. Surf’s up. And the voters really assume it is going the way they would, via the Grapevine.

    I thought the Cheerleaders established the point of voter disinterest in hsr with the Kashkari challenge to Brown.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Is it disinterest in HSR or trust in Brown to do the right thing with HSR? You might argue that their deluded in the latter case, but your claim that various supposed resultant features of HSR will upset the voters is without basis.

    Neville Snark Reply:

    I can’t help it. Change:

    ‘Is it disinterest in HSR or trust in Brown to do the right thing with HSR?’

    To

    ‘Is it lack of interest in HSR or trust in Brown to do the right thing with HSR?’

    ‘Disinterest’ means ‘lack of stake’; it is a quality that judges are supposed to have.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Perhaps the voters have instinctively recognized they are not stakeholders – they are irrelevant .

    Ted Judah Reply:

    And yet…

    Steve Glazer is running for Mark DeSaulnier’s (aka BART’s BFF in the Legislature) old Senate seat proudly claiming that he (Glazer) would ban strikes at BART as a not-so-subtle hint that by cutting employee costs they can continue to free up money for extension to the most remote corners of the East Bay where developers can slide in another 20,000 or so luxury homes and “solve” the Bay Area housing “crisis”.

    BART is very popular politically not because its some sort of corrupt machine, but because like the UCs or national parks… it’s a public good that everyone thinks they will use and benefit from.

    Democrats for the last 20 years have kept avoiding this discussion for reasons which escape me the older I get… (I mean I get the reason, I just can’t figure out why they think it’s a good reason…) and as such they have let many of the country’s best assets depreciate. This does nobody any favors going forward (including conservatives). The fact that BART still has bipartisan support in Sacramento is a very good thing, not just for public transit advocates or liberal blog writers, but for the State as a whole.

    Robert S. Allen Reply:

    Glazer’s Candidate Statement in 7th SD Election says: “I oppose high-speed rail without a sound financial plan because it drains money from local transportation needs.” No other candidate mentioned HSR in his or her Candidate Statement for the March 17 Special Primary Election.

    Donk Reply:

    What I find interesting is that there is a similar impression that many people have of Villaraigosa – that he has a big ego and that all he cares about is being in front of the camera for the big ceremonies.

    However, Villaraigosa really cared about fixing LA. He busted his ass flying back to DC all the time to lobby for transit funding and put a lot of effort into the failed attempt at reforming the LA school system. He actually rode the subway sometimes and rode his bike around LA a bunch until he got hit by a car.

    Sure Villariagosa cheated on his wife with a news anchor, has a Napoleon complex (he is like 4’2″), and is a bit slimy, but I think he would actually make a strong governor.

    joe Reply:

    Well Newsome cheated on his wife who was a news anchor. Interesting no?

    Which one uses less brylcreem? I think that’s the distinguishing trait.

    Newsome is a bit too slick and frankly, seriously, he was a youthful media darling as SF mayor but not so young and darling anymore.

    throw away: Saw his current wife Jennifer on a flight to Montana (they have a “ranch”). She is soo hot.

    Donk Reply:

    Correction – he cheated on his wife with a Telemundo reporter, not anchor. He later dated a news anchor who was Miss USA 1994. I saw them walk into the UCLA-USC game at the Rose Bowl and she was wearing heels and was way taller than him. And according to wiki, he cheated on his wife way back when she was fighting cancer. I guess all major politicians need to be slimy to make it through all of the interviews and speeches, and that trait is not compatible with fidelity. Sort of like with professional athletes – the ones that are not doing steroids are the ones who haven’t been caught yet.

    TomA Reply:

    Politicians always seem to cheat on their wives when they have cancer.

    But yeah – the kind of A personalities who end up being major politicians also tend to be the kind of people who dont find sleeping around to be an issue.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Villaraigosa’s problem is that he was the darling of the Westside liberals and not the Latino ethnic enclave in the city. This isn’t an accident…the Latino population in the City of LA wasn’t a plurality when he first ran for mayor years ago. Now it is, but much of the Hispanic population in LA, so to speak actually don’t live in LA proper, but in other suburbs within the County.

    His vision of Los Angeles was about big transit, big unions, etc…and not about the rest of the city. Garcetti was clever enough to use that against Greuel in winning the run off and I think is Brown’s choice to succeed him.

  7. Reality Check
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 15:46
    #7
  8. john burrows
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 16:15
    #8

    It is fairly easy to change hats, but sometimes much harder to put the hat that you threw away back on, as Romney found out in 2012.

    Now that Newsom is officially running for governor he, at some time in the near future, will have to update his position on high speed rail. Gavin is a real pro at determining how the wind is blowing and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

  9. morris brown
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 18:05
    #9

    This is another of Robert’s statements, that go along the course of being “if you repeat something often enough”, then people will believe you regardless of whether what you are saying is truthful or not.

    So again, here again he writes “Polls showed a majority of voters support HSR”. Now if you look at that poll

    http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/survey/S_313MBS.pdf

    What you see is 48% favor 50% oppose (all adults)
    Among likely voters 43% favor 54% oppose

    Quite clearly a majority of voters do not support HSR.

    Newsom and other former supporters of Prop 1A have turned against the project. No wonder when you consider that the cost has risen from $33 billion to $68 billion while at the same time will not provide dedicated tracks for the complete route, will not be completed by 2022, does not include cost from LA to Anaheim (nor for the TBT tunnel) … etc etc.

    Robert would have you believe that all environmentalists, and all Democrats are favoring the project. Yet when SB-1029 came to a vote, and got the necessary majority to pass (by one vote), Fran Pavley voted no, along with 3 other members of the T&H committee; the committee which had really studied the project. Joining her were Democrats, Simitian, Lowenthal, and DeSaulnier.

    Anyone that thinks Robert understands the political reality better than Newsom is living in another world.

    The only reason this project continues ahead is because of Gov. Brown. Members of his own party bend to his will on this issue, because they fear reprisals if they don’t support him.

    The only reason SB-1029 got the majority needed (by one vote) in 2012, was because of the “back room” deal reached to allocate $1.1 billion to non-HSR projects, thus getting enough No. Ca. and So. Ca. Senators to vote for the appropriation, which they had previously opposed before being offered these funds for their districts. (money does indeed talk)

    Let me add, voting the appropriation does not mean the appropriation will necessarily be funded from the voter approved Prop 1A bonds. The actual funding is another threshold that must be crossed, and certainly will be challenged.

    Joe Reply:

    You speak for The Silent Majority.

    Glad to know Newsome is Onit. I was begininng to think he was in a deadend, do nothing job.
    Now i understand he is on the Cruz Miguel Bustamante fasttrack to the Govenor’s mansion.

    john burrows Reply:

    Morris, you should update yourself— The link you have provided is for the 2013 poll.

    The PPIC poll released in March 2014 shows a very different result—-

    All adults—53% in favor of high speed rail 42% opposed
    Likely voters—45% in favor of high speed rail 50% opposed

    StevieB Reply:

    A PPIC poll found almost 2/3 of Californians favor spending 25% of Cap and Trade funds on HSR in July 2014.
    When asked about the governor and legislature’s recent agreement to spend 25 percent on high-speed rail, 35 percent on affordable housing and other mass transit, and the rest for other purposes, a majority of California adults (59% favor, 35% oppose) and likely voters (51% favor, 44% oppose) are supportive. Majorities of Democrats (68%) and independents (60%) are in favor, while majorities of Republicans (64%) are opposed to this spending plan.
    This shows overwhelming support for the direction of California HSR construction by the people.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The poll never asked about any alternative division of the cap and trade funds, so the response it got was just an affirmation of the cap and trade plan, rather than an opinion about how to divvy the revenue.

    StevieB Reply:

    Poll questions were asked about the cap and trade plan in general and separately about the revenue division. Many more favor the revenue division that cap in trade in general.

    After being read a brief description, about half of California adults (51%) favor the cap-and-trade system and four in 10 (40%) are opposed. Likely voters are somewhat more likely to oppose than favor it (43% favor, 50% oppose).

    The actual wording is, “In the system called ‘cap-and-trade,’ the California state government issues permits limiting the amount of greenhouse gases companies can put out. Companies that do not use all their permits can sell them to other companies. The idea is that many companies will find ways to put out less greenhouse gases, because that will be cheaper than buying permits. Do you favor or oppose the cap-and-trade system?” An additional 9% responded “don’t know”.

    When asked, “The governor and legislature recently agreed on a plan for how to spend the revenues generated by California’s cap-and-trade
    program. The plan includes spending 25 percent of the revenues on high-speed rail,
    35 percent on affordable housing and other mass transit projects, and the rest on
    projects related to natural resources, energy efficiency, and transportation. In general, do
    you favor or oppose this spending plan?”

    Results are 59% in favor, 35% opposed, and 6% don’t know.

    There is a larger response in favor of the spending plan than to the plan in general.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’m aware. What I’m complaining about is that there was no discussion of alternatives. For example, half the respondents might have been asked if they’d favor a plan that spends the money as is, and half might have been asked if they favor one that spends 100% of the revenue on energy efficiency and solar power; neither half would have been told what the current plan is.

    StevieB Reply:

    As there was never any plan to spend 100% of the revenue on energy efficiency and solar power and there no political backing for such a plan then polling that question would be meaningless.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The point about asking about alternatives is to see how solid the support for the spending plan is.

    Joe Reply:

    Alternative 1)

    HSR or feeding sick babies?

    You decide. Call 1-800-555-1212 and vote now.

  10. datacruncher
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 19:53
    #10

    A couple of High Speed Rail related actions at County Board of Supervisor meetings in the San Joaquin Valley on Tuesday.

    County nixes proposed cooperation with HSR

    Kings County supervisors have been adamant about their opposition to high-speed rail, and a vote at Tuesday’s board meeting was no exception.

    The supervisors unanimously rejected a proposal from John Lehn, Kings County Economic Development Corp. CEO, to enter into discussions with California High-Speed Rail Authority officials to fund a business relocation assistance program for any local enterprises that might be forced to move by the current alignment.

    It wasn’t lost on anybody that Kings County is deep into a multi-front legal war against the authority to stop the project in its current form.

    “As we fight this project, I didn’t want to be in a position to accept their money and appear to be working toward one goal, when obviously our efforts have been toward the hope that they properly plan the project, if not stop it,” said Supervisor Richard Valle.

    http://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/county-nixes-proposed-cooperation-with-hsr/article_70f51c2a-de84-5720-95ff-7f91533580e6.html

    Then down in Kern County at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting:

    Supervisors also approved a letter to the California High-Speed Rail Authority asking it to locate the system’s heavy maintenance facility here in Kern County.

    Supervisors don’t like the potential impacts the rail system could have on Kern County but, they said, if it’s coming the maintenance facility belongs here.

    “I believe high-speed rail is an irresistible force,” Gleason said. (note – Mike Gleason is the Supervisor representing Northeast Kern County including Shafter, the HMF site)

    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x1424423901/County-budget-cuts-approved-after-some-sparring

    Joe Reply:

    Kings County: To the last, I will grapple with thee… from Hell’s heart, I stab at thee! For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee!

    MarkB Reply:

    Kings County: the Alabama of California.

    jimsf Reply:

    Calibama.

    joe Reply:

    Kississippi Co.

    Donk Reply:

    I like Jim’s better. Kissississippi actually sounds positive, not negative. They should definitely adopt Calibama.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Read Max Arax’s “The King of California” and you will see Kings County was settled by a particularly capricious cotton farmer from Georgia. For what it’s worth though, each state in the antebellum South is a little bit different and might not be the image you want to convey.

    datacruncher Reply:

    By the time J.G. Boswell arrived about 1920, Kings County had been in existence for a few decades and had already seen an armed battle between settlers and Southern Pacific agents at Mussel Slough in 1880.

    The Mussel Slough Settler’s League consisted of a mix of people originally from various states and other countries. But I don’t remember reading of any antebellum Southerners involved in the shootout, closest I remember reading were in the area at that time were settlers from Missouri and Arkansas.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    In Richard Orsi’s seminal “Sunset Limited: Southern Pacific and the Building of the American West” you will find that Mussel Slough was caused largely by squatters from the South who had lost their land during Reconstruction.

    Another band of similar miscreants at about the same time encouraged part of Los Angeles County to secede and form a new county, Orange…

    These sort of regional influences are all over California. The Midwest migration to CA gets top billing, but the South, Mexico, and New England all have been our largest source of migrants at one time or another.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Kings County has lost it.

    Kern County… well, I respect the signs of intelligence shown there!

  11. Paul Druce
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 20:29
    #11

    I will vote against him just for announcing so freaking early. Why can’t we have a decent period of time without an election season?

    Peter Reply:

    +1

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Fundraising. Money never sleeps, and neither do people that work in tech.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’m OK with early announcements if they’re serious agenda things, like a political *party* or faction making an announcement that it’s aiming at the Governor’s office. Newsom just seems to be doing personal self-aggrandisement, unfortunately.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    I agree with Robert: Newsom has shown himself to be an opportunistic slimeball of a politician, to where no self-respecting voter will give him the time of day, never mind their vote.

  12. jimsf
    Feb 11th, 2015 at 22:56
    #12

    I don’t know a lot about Villaraigosa but Id vote for him over Newsom. Running LA, and doing a good job of it is a lot more ocmplicated than running SF. SF is a city that lives in a tiny bubble of alternate reality like some weird other universe where known laws of physics don’t apply.

    Gavin is nice looking and supported gay marriage. But really how bold was it for a san francisco political to support gay marriage? Its basicallya requirment.

    Im just not feelin Gavin. California needs real movers like Jerry Brown and his dad.

    Donk Reply:

    Interesting that none of you NorCal people like Gavin. I have not yet met anyone who had anything really positive to say about the guy, except maybe that he has great hair. He is going to get exposed during the election.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I remember a lot of people on the left liked him in 2003 or so, when he was championing gay marriage. I think the change has mainly been that SSM has become mainstream since, so that people whose signature progressive achievement is SSM get devalued, for example Andrew Cuomo. Nowadays the main non-economic issues for the US left involve race, specifically race and violence (and not, say, job discrimination), so they’d look for someone who is nonwhite or who has a good track record on issues of police brutality or ideally both.

    Observer Reply:

    If Newsom is the 2018 democratic nominee for governor, I doubt that Jerry Brown would even endorse him.

    Zorro Reply:

    Gov Brown would probably endorse Kamala Devi Harris for Gov of California in 2018… I’d vote for Her.

    Donk Reply:

    I always find it strange that Kamela Harris is labeled an “African American”. Her background is pretty unique, with her mom being a physician from India and her dad a Jamaican American professor at Stanford. I think her background is really cool and should be highlighted, as she could bring a unique perspective to this state. I don’t know much about her, but I might vote for her just because of her background, since she might do things differently than the rest of the diphsit politicians out there. I never agreed with Tiger Woods being labeled as “African American” either – he is actually <1/2 black with several different mixed races.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-drop_rule

    It’s considered rude to call them colored today. A significant fraction of the Tea Party is still trying to digest that Catholics can be considered white. And people with too many vowels or not enough vowels in their last name.

    john burrows Reply:

    Many of the Tea Party persuasion would be about my age (76) and would have grown up during the 1950’s. Wikipedia lists 39 ethnic slurs used against the African ethnic category of which 30 would apply to the USA. I can remember 15 of the 30 being commonly used as I was growing up—The other 14 were far more derogatory than “colored”. I grew up in San Mateo and I can only imagine what was being said in other places.

    In regard to Catholics the conversation among those who considered themselves open minded went something like this—“I personally have nothing against Catholics, but a Catholic could never be elected president”

    When I look back and think of how narrow minded and bigoted we were then as compared to now about all I can say is “That was then—this is now” Many of my Tea Party contemporaries seem to be having trouble with this distinction.

    joe Reply:

    It’s good when people start seeing diversity for what it is but from my travels and conversations, I am pretty sure she’d be seen and treated as an “African American” in most of the US.

    The three are part of a group of 10 young white people who have no all pleaded guilty to coming to Jackson, which they called “Jafrica,” to harass and assault African-Americans.

    “On June 26, 2011, four days short of his birthday, the blood of James Craig Anderson was added to Mississippi’s soil,” he said.

    He talked about the terrifying idea that the hunts for African-Americans that marred the state’s history “were perpetrated in this case by our children.”

    “Mississippi is a place and a state of mind,” he said. “Those who think they know her people and her past need to understand that our story is not completely written.”

    Reeves went on to point out the sadness and the irony of the day.

    “Each defendant was escorted in by African-American U.S. Marshals, prosecuted by an African-American Assistant U.S. Attorney, from an office headed by an African-American U.S. Attorney, under an African-American Attorney General, and my final act will be to turn them over to the Bureau of Prisons, which is also led by an African American,” he said.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/10/anderson-hate-crime-three-sentenced/23200357/

    Jafrica.

    TomA Reply:

    Joe is correct, which is why I think we should use the term black instead of African-American. It gets more to the point – its not about a persons country of origin (Ive heard black British born actors referred to as African-Americans – and of course a white South African or an Egyptian is technically African-American), its about how their skin color changes how they are perceived by the general public.

    Hopefully as time goes on, we can just stop giving a crap about this crap, especially in places like CA where more and more people are going to be like Ms Harris – i.e. a mixed of all kinds of races.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Slightly less technically, there’s a useful distinction in that African-American refers to people whose ancestors have been in the US since the end of slavery, in parallel with immigrant black ancestries like Jamaican-American, Barbadian-American, Nigerian-American, etc.

    Only slightly less, because usually by the second generation they assimilate to the African-American majority among American blacks.

    Also, referring to British people as anything-American is horrific, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Joe Reply:

    My test would be totally phenotypic. You put the person in front of a heavy armed and extremely self righteous southern white male and see if they reach for their gun.

    That’s what matters – how are people treated, at first contact, based on appearance.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Eh. A guy in a yarmulke would probably elicit the same reaction, even if in New York or Miami he’d be part of the elite.

    Donk Reply:

    This is all going perfectly according to plan. It is Day 03 since Robert has posted. By tomorrow there will be a post about Holocaust.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    What a laugh it would be if Kashkari runs again in ’18 and Brown endorses HIM!

    synonymouse Reply:

    Kashkari coined the crazy train.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Speaking as the Southern Californian who moved to the Capital in recent years after already knowing who Newsom was–most elected officials in CA are invisible. They use the job purely as a stepping stone because the Democratic bench is so deep.

    But Newsom? He’s like Rick Perry…a guy who thinks he has great ideas (not that Willie Brown has anything to do with it) but who has never had to be the heavy political operator. About a decade ago, I thought Gavin would beat Villaraigosa head to head…now I doubt it because tech has sort of washed away SF’s progressive identity and as such Gavin’s bona fides.

  13. RubberToe
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:04
    #13

    Thought I would post a link to the latest TBT construction report for those more interested in actual construction progress versus the endless bloviating about stopping the project and assorted mindless legal wrangling. Lots of steel going up now.

    Enjoy:
    http://transbaycenter.org/uploads/2015/02/CAC-Construction-Update-for-FEB-10-2015-Mtg.pdf

    Miles Bader Reply:

    NET::ERR_CERT_INVALID

  14. RubberToe
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:10
    #14

    And there is also the sponsorship RFP for naming rights to raise additional funds. Apple could buy the naming rights for the entire property, and solve the entire budget shortfall, with what amounts to a rounding error of their quarterly net profit. You heard it here first:

    Apple Transbay Transit Center

    http://transbaycenter.org/uploads/2015/02/CAC-Sponsorship-RFP.pdf

    Eric Reply:

    page not found

    RubberToe Reply:

    Lets try this for a direct link:
    http://transbaycenter.org/uploads/2015/02/CAC-February-2015-Sponsorship-RFP.pdf

  15. RubberToe
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:20
    #15

    When this project and HSR system are complete. The entries in this blog, 20 years from now, and forever thereafter, will serve as nothing more than the absolute most laughable Luddite commentary of our times.

    The 2035 equivalent of John Stewart will be hosting a weekly Comedy Central show that will do nothing more than look through these petabytes of nattering nabobs of negativism posts and poke fun at them, while many of the audience members will have ridden in to L.A. on the HSR system itself. This will be the highest rated TV show of the era, surpassed only the the Kardassian great-great-grandchildren’s escapades.

    It’s about the future people, try and think outside the droplet, or at least 20 years into the future.

    RT

    P.S. Origin of “Think outside the droplet” is from a nature show where it was stated that certain organisms live their entire lives in a single droplet of water. Reminds me of some people from the Peninsula. There is a whole world outside the droplet.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Maybe. Or maybe they’ll look like Richard Mlynarik posts from the late 1990s begging San Francisco to make a provision for rail on the new Bay Bridge Eastern Span.

    Also? “There is a whole world outside” is what I try telling Americans, all the time. Sometimes, they understand. Most of the time, they don’t. There is a world out there, where spending half a billion dollars per kilometer on a tunnel in San Jose would be unthinkable. Where talking of Caltrain electrification without timetable integration with HSR would be laughable. Where letting Metrolink rot, and cutting HSR to Burbank Airport with a forced transfer, would be so obviously stupid that heads would roll.

    In Stockholm, a metro area with the same population as Sacramento, the subway gets 1.15 million riders per weekday, and the commuter rail system, with 2.5 lines on each side of the CBD, is pushing 300,000. Some of us have high expectations of government services, having seen what a functioning government can do. Some people, who shrug off factor-of-2 cost overruns as “just more accurate estimates,” who think urban subways are for latte drinkers and illegals, who think of public affluence as imperial monuments and not as usable day-to-day public services, think that the tiny things American cities do are satisfactory. They praise California’s soft-denialist $12/t-CO2 cap-and-trade program as revolutionary, and think that paying a dollar for a liter of fuel in a developed country is a burden, the refugee-deporting ingrates.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Bravo.

    Joe Reply:

    It’s been 20 years since that argument and HSR is now real.

    I see no regrets expressed for excluding heavy rail from the span.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Regrets expressed by whom? And why are expressions of regret from whoever you haven’t seen do so a valid measure of whether choosing a future-rail-precluding design was a good idea?

    joe Reply:

    Link to articles describing the lamentations we didn’t add rail to the span.
    20 years and counting. I don’t see any beside from those losing the argument. There’s been no noticeable shift.

    How far out do we go?

    In 2100 the bay cities will be flooded – critics like Alon and Mlynarik have accepted that future as a given. Any investments into a 150 year duration bridge are well past that doom date. It’s inconsistent with their arguments about our flooded future.

    Mattie F. Reply:

    I suspect this may be the first time that anyone on earth has deemed Stockholm similar enough to Sacramento for the purposes of a comparative study.

    Joey Reply:

    Sacramento has a lot more sprawl, but what else makes the comparison invalid? Stockholm (as Alon notes on many occasions) is not without its transportation issues, but Sacramento’s transit ridership is dismal in comparison.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Gasoline is $8.50 a gallon in Stockholm which will affect choices.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Why not? They’re about the same size. They’re both capitals; Stockholm is a national capital whereas Sacramento is only a state capital (although, Stockholm also has about twice DC’s rail ridership on half the metro area size), but California is much bigger than Sweden.

    Why is it that some cities of 2 million this side of the Pond, and in Japan – Stockholm, Lyon, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Brussels, Sapporo – can have public transportation and bike facilities that put American cities of 7 million to shame? Why is it that Vancouver, which is very far from being Stockholm, is one subway line away from overtaking New York as North America’s highest-transit mode share metro area next decade?

    J. Wong Reply:

    Why? Because Americans culturally won’t take public transit. Yes, that’s changing, but not as quickly as we would like. Simply having the public transit available is not enough to get people out of their damn cars!

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Real Americans, even upper middle class if not downright rich Americans, use mass transit in metro New York. It’s a combination of “costs”. It’s cheaper, it’s faster, it’s more reliable. And it doesn’t require parking the car. For the upper middle class ones cost isn’t as much of a concern. How fast the trip is the important part.
    Chicago and the other cities in the Northeast, traffic isn’t as bad and parking is much easier and cheaper if not free. Cities other than Chicago and the Northeast were developed after World War II and parking is too easy.
    Pity that no one listened to Richard Nixon who said importing oil was a bad idea and should be taxed. The country would look much different.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s not really about postwar growth, either. Munich’s had a fair amount of postwar growth, and so has Frankfurt. By US Sunbelt standards Munich is an old city, but by Northeastern ones, nope. Munich proper has had more growth since 1950 than the metro areas of Boston and Philadelphia. Somehow, the Munich S-Bahn and U-Bahn between them have more ridership than all of SEPTA and the MBTA, by all modes, combined.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The key difference between Europe and the U.S. had been until the 1970s that while Europe had a better safety net and social services, wages in America were higher and land was free. It was a great selling point for conservative ideology, and it allowed Reagan and Goldwater and the rest to fuse class warfare with racial tensions once there was no more free land left and a move to a more European system made sense.

    Big time transit policy is about unity and America is the nation of divide and conquer. Therefore, adequate solutions for plenty of countries and cities worldwide aren’t going to cut it here. Swing for the fences or go home.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://www.eia.gov/countries/prices/gasolinewithtax.cfm

    has a bit to do with it and that Munich and it’s suburbs are populated by mostly Germans. Zoning, building codes and land prices probably come into play too.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Now I’m curious: did Germany have these fuel taxes in the 1950s? German fuel taxes were significantly hiked 15 years ago, as one of the Greens’ preconditions to joining the Social Democrats’ coalition.

    Edward Reply:

    I can’t speak about the ’50s, but I can give a few data points.
    All of the following are tax per liter and are in 2010 euro cents.
    1980 = 41
    1981 to 1990 = a range of 39 to 43
    1991 = 51
    1992, 1993 = 55
    1994 to 1998 = a range of 60 to 64
    then almost a linear climb to 73 in 2003
    it then dribbled down to 66 in 2010

    These may not be exact as they were read from a graph in:
    http://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/media/2011%2004%2013%20fuel%20tax%20report%20final%20merged.pdf

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    If I hear the cultural meme one more time I’ll scream. Its used by one side to excuse poorly executed transit and the other side to argue for no transit.

    J. Wong Reply:

    It’s not an excuse for poorly executed transit, but without sufficient stakeholders you don’t have a check against the poor execution.

    EJ Reply:

    This. “White middle class Americans won’t take the bus.” Well that’s because the bus usually sucks. You invest in various types of express buses and BRT like in LA (or Philly for that matter) and see how middle class people like the bus.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    …it has to be faster than driving…. it helps if it’s cheaper too.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It has to be faster than driving. That’s the key thing.

    Of course, if it’s faster than driving and it’s on a core route, you promptly discover that there’s so much demand that buses can’t handle it. See: Orange Line, LA.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    For “less ridership than Wilshire, SF’s Geary, Vancouver’s Broadway, and a bunch of corridors in New York” values of “so much demand.”

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Americans and Canadians really aren’t that different from each other. Don’t tell any of my Canadian friends or they’ll scream at me, but when you strip their pride in winning the War of 1812 and their modern first-world health care system, they’re basically the same as Americans. And yet, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Calgary all have higher per capita transit usage than any US city except New York, which is nearly twice as big as all five combined. And Vancouver and Calgary are steadily increasing their shares.

    EJ Reply:

    Calgary’s the really telling example. If you got rid of the Tim Horton’s, freeway signs with km, and the funny colored money, you’d have a typical American mid-sized city. Reasonably compact downtown, sprawling suburbs. Yet they still manage to make transit work.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Parking downtown isn’t cheap. A decision they made decades ago.

    Eric Reply:

    No freeways downtown means little competition for the rail system centered on downtown.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Well, sure, but it was a political decision in the 1970s to build arterials into downtown (with some grade separation, even) and not full freeways. Same as the decision to develop the parking lots.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Wait, that’s what I told you a year ago and you flipped out?!? :)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What, that culturally Americans and Canadians are similar?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    America, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand all essentially the same country with the same problems and slight differences in how they solve them.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Ah, that. No, it’s total bullshit, sorry. South Africa clearly doesn’t belong on that list; Australia and New Zealand are culturally British and not American – Australia just has a North American racial history, with all that entails.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They don’t have “those” people in the inner ring suburbs. Canada didn’t have the same crime problem the US had starting in the 60s. And the school systems didn’t fall apart as bad.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    It’s like when the President in “Canadian Bacon” asks why there are so few black people in Canada and his advisor says, “No slavery”.

    TomA Reply:

    This largely sums it up. We abandoned our cities, which all had plenty of transit options. We built highways to speed the movement of whites from cities to suburbs. The fact that cities have come back at all is kind of amazing.

    On thing to note – there are several mid-sized cities in the US that are rapidly expanding their networks. Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland.

    Guess which demographic factor they all have in common – relatively few blacks (<10%).

    Andy M Reply:

    Big plan here.

    Show your GOP friends the statistics correlating streetcar growth with black populations and tell them, if they want fewer bloacks they need to build more streetcars.

    Everybody will be a winner, and it’ll take them decades until they notice they’ve been had :)

    Andy M Reply:

    But Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Washinton DC don’t seem to fit into your pattern.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Tom: it doesn’t really sum it up, sorry. Portland and Seattle indeed have very few black people, but they still underwent extensive suburbanization, and have transit systems that are a complete embarrassment by the standards of Vancouver. Portland and Vancouver are metro areas of about the same size. MAX has 150,000 weekday riders, SkyTrain nearly 400,000. Portland’s metro area transit mode share is 6% and stagnant, Vancouver’s was 20% in 2011, up from 13% in 1996.

    Andy: please don’t joke about this. American cities make racist decisions in where to build transit. In cities where people don’t think that transit is for thugs, such as Boston, investment decisions are skewed toward white areas and against black ones. For example, the state sandbagged a study to replace the Silver Line BRT with light rail hooking into the Green Line subway: it assumed it would only generate 130 new transit riders out of a total of 34,000 using the line, and thus saddled it with a huge cost per new rider. The line serves Roxbury, a black neighborhood. In contrast, the MBTA builds commuter rail extensions to white exurbs at vast cost. Similarly, New York is showing distinct lack of interest in building the second phase of Second Avenue Subway, serving East Harlem; the first phase serves the Upper East Side, and got funded, but city and state politicians are funding other things ahead of the second phase, including the 7 extension (to a convention center and a cluster of tax-subsidized skyscrapers that’s being built concurrently with the line) and, if Cuomo gets his wish, an airport connector. Finally, in Los Angeles, I strongly suspect that the Gold Line East Side Extension would’ve been a Red Line subway extension if East LA were white.

    Reedman Reply:

    If Detroit (the blackest major city in the US, at 82%) has “come back”, it is news to the residents. Detroit has an annual budget item of a couple million dollars to tear-down abandoned homes/buildings, which number about 40,000. Detroit tears-down about 500 per year, so it will be doing demolition for about 80 years.

    bixnix Reply:

    @Alon – The Whittier Blvd corridor that the east side subway was going to use is still available – the GL east is using 1st and 3rd streets, which are less populated, and the extension will probably use Washington Blvd. So the east side subway will still probably happen, eventually.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Bixnix: yep! Still, would’ve been nice to do Eastside rail right the first time.

    Donk Reply:

    Alon, the existing Gold Line ELA route is Gloria Molina’s fault. She waved the race card around at the all of the meetings and demanded that something be done quickly. And you could argue that what they have now is actually better, since it goes all the way to ELA, whereas the original Red Line route would have terminated after only a couple miles.

    In general, throwing LA into this discussion doesn’t make sense. It is actually the opposite – the white folk didn’t want rail lines in the beginning because the feared “those people”, so they were built first in areas where there was the least resistance, which were exclusively in minority neighborhoods until 2003 when the Gold Line was built thru S. Pasadena and Pasadena. The Crenshaw Line is purely a handout to Mark Ridley-Thomas’ (mostly black) district, and has no business being built before most of the other lines on the drawing board.

    Eric Reply:

    “Finally, in Los Angeles, I strongly suspect that the Gold Line East Side Extension would’ve been a Red Line subway extension if East LA were white.”

    Actually, no, because the city entirely banned county-funded subway extensions at the time the Gold Line was planned and built. No need for race-baiting here.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Although I understand your gut reaction to Crenshaw, the ability to have a LAX to LA Union Station link can’t be overstated.

    Eric Reply:

    Too bad Crenshaw goes neither to LAX nor to LA Union Station.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Yeah, the Crenshaw Line has negative transportation value, since it competes with LAUS-LAX for ROW (yes, I realize that’s an airport connector, but the right way to do it is to run local trains with a bunch of stations in South Central and Inglewood).

    synonymouse Reply:

    How many miles of Crenshaw line can you get for one mile of BART.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Canada really is different. And I’ll tell you how. There’s the health care system, of course — implemented by *right-wingers*. But also: despite having a genuinely evil, anti-democratic, corrupt, borderline fascist right-wing government, Canada is somehow *not* spending more on its military than the entire rest of the world combined. The US is doing so — and still loses every war it gets involved in.

    The US military-industrial complex is unique. There is probably no other country in the world with a comparable one. Russia, North Korea, China have sort-of-comparable operations, but much less hypertrophied.

    Now comes the question: is there a car culture in the military-industrial complex? I submit that there still is. I don’t see any reason there should be, though; this may be an artifact of 1950s-era fossils continuing to dominate the MIC.

    It infects the whole of US culture.

    Eric Reply:

    High US military spending is to be expected because to a large extent the US pays the military costs for the rest of the developed world (Europe and East Asia).

    Even so, the US is far from the biggest spender as a proportion of GDP.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    Where the US may be unique is in how much spending goes to pork rather than things of military value. But that’s not unique to the military – US transportation spending works much the same way, and US medical spending has a similar set of problems.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Oddly enough, European countries the US isn’t paying military costs for, like Sweden and Finland, remain unconquered by Russia.

    Almost as if the military spending goes mainly to killing civilians and not to defending anyone from anything.

    Eric Reply:

    Finland remained unconquered? Only partly true…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finlandization

    Also, it just so happens that yesterday I was reading a political science monograph which claimed that at some point in the 1950s-60s, the USSR had planned to consolidate its control over Finland, but was deterred from this when Norway considered beginning a nuclear weapons program in response. (Yes, Norway)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, fully true. Finland was independent of the USSR in ways no Warsaw Pact member was (granted, it helped it wasn’t located between the USSR and Germany, the country the Russians were the most paranoid about). Since it didn’t participate in Soviet military adventures, it was arguably more independent than some Western bloc countries were of the US, like Australia and New Zealand.

    Eric Reply:

    Are you kidding me? When did the US ever say to Australia “you better remove all books that criticize the US from your libraries, or else”?

    From Wikipedia: “In 1951, the United States was eager to normalise relations with Japan, particularly as the Korean War was raging a short distance from Japan. … However, the governments of Australia and New Zealand were extremely reluctant to finalise a peace treaty with Japan that would allow for Japanese rearmament. Both countries relented only when an Australian and New Zealand proposal for a three-way security treaty was accepted by the United States.”
    So the US was unable/unwilling to pursue its desired Japan policy until it agreed to the Australian request for a formal alliance. Hard to imagine that a small isolated country like Australia could make such demands on the US except in the context of mutual friendship.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Finns had some experience dealing with the Russians

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

    Australia and New Zealand can leverage their strategic importance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Beach_(novel)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Australia sent troops to Vietnam, is what I was hinting at.

    About the Finnish censorship… meh. Norway was censoring Life of Brian because it made fun of Christianity. The US had the Hays code until 1968.

    jonathan Reply:

    Eric,
    Alon is a True Believer in the “Anglosphere”. He cites French politicians and pundits as authorities about culture in Australia and New Zealand. (About as dumb as citing David Brooks as an authoritative source on the Arab Spring.!) Which shows how abysmally ignorant Alon is. In other circumstances and to other cultural groups, worlds like “racist” and bigot” would be applicable, and applied.

    42apples Reply:

    Stockholm and Sacramento are nothing alike. Sacramento’s downtown is pretty desolate (especially when the legislature is in session) while most of Stockholm is rich and thriving. San Francisco is a better comparison. But as others have said, gas is cheap, and compared to Stockholm, commute times are not too long (source; https://www.fcpp.org/files/1/PS135_Transit_MY15F3.pdf).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    But they’re of similar size; the fact that they look different is part of a series of choices made by their respective governments about what kind of housing to allow, and what modes of transportation to invest in. No biggie, though. Stockholm will take in some of the climate refugees who lose their homes because of American transportation policy, while the US will keep turning them away.

    EJ Reply:

    Stockholm will take in some of the climate refugees who lose their homes because of American transportation policy

    WUT? Stockholm is basically at sea level. They’re going to have major problems with sea level rise, aren’t they? Isostatic rebound or no.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    No, it’s not at sea level – even streets right next to water are a few meters above sea level. It’s not Amsterdam.

    EJ Reply:

    Well, you’re the one that lives there, but surely “a few meters” isn’t enough to save them. Southern Manhattan is a few meters above sea level and Hurricane Sandy still did a number on it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There are no hurricanes here – it’s too far north, and Atlantic hurricanes go to North America rather than Europe. The sea level here is pretty stable; it’s the very flat areas, i.e. the Low Countries and East Anglia, that are in trouble.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and there are less than ten million people in all of Sweden. They could double their population with immigrants. And not have as many immigrants as the US has of undocumented immigrants.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Why in hell would they want to?

    joe Reply:

    And Stockholm is very old, with a very different history and geography and former capital of an empire and national capital.

    I don’t get these nonsensical comparisons but then I see this jackass trolling:

    Stockholm will take in some of the climate refugees who lose their homes because of American transportation policy, while the US will keep turning them away.

    Nice Try Alon. Let’s use our computer and see just how and why the US transportation policy created all these global refugees the US is failing in responsibility.

    IPCC 2007 estimates GHG for 2004: Transportation contributes 13% of total global GHG emissions. 13% for all transportation, for all nations.

    In the USA transportation (total) is 28% of our GHG emissions (2012 data).

    I call Bullshit.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Stockholm has an old premodern core, but it didn’t industrialize as early as British cities or Northeastern American cities, so, by European standards, a lot of its growth has been postwar. Since 1950, the population of Stockholm city plus county has grown by a factor of about 2 (link); this is roughly coterminous with the metro area today. That’s about on a par with Chicago and SF (ex Silicon Valley), and faster than Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, whose MSAs have only grown by a factor of about 1.5. So how come this crummy metro area of 2.3 million gets comfortably twice the annual rail ridership of Boston?

    Conversely, look at Canadian cities. None of them is Stockholm, but all of the major ones are respectable by non-New York US standards. And all have had extensive postwar growth: since 1951, Montreal’s metro are has grown by a factor of 2.5, Ottawa’s by a factor of 3.5, Vancouver’s by a factor of 4, Toronto’s by a factor of 4.5, and Calgary’s by a factor of 8. Likewise, in Australia, Sydney’s grown by a factor of 2.5 since 1954, and Melbourne by a factor of almost 3 since 1956; neither of them is Stockholm, again, but they have impressive rail networks by American standards.

    US transportation isn’t responsible to just 28% of emissions. The transportation system leads to higher building emissions, because cars come with suburban sprawl, which consumes more electricity, and is inefficient to heat because so much heat escapes through the roof. Coastal California has lower emissions because of its mild climate – but it still has higher emissions than many European countries, especially cleaner ones like France, Switzerland, and Sweden.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    gas costs a lot more and crime isn’t a problem in Sweden? What’s the zoning like?

    joe Reply:

    Bullshit.

    … cars come with suburban sprawl, which consumes more electricity, and is inefficient to heat because so much heat escapes through the roof.

    Coastal California has lower emissions because of its mild climate – but it still has higher emissions than many European countries, especially cleaner ones like France, Switzerland, and Sweden.

    Whatever the framing of this constructed statement and regardless what the data are, this comment clearly does not mean we’re responsible for global climate refugees.

    These euro nation populace emit well above the average for a human as do you. So get your usage below the median and then I’ll take you serious.

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    Ever consider that the Droplet is evaporating and shrinking by the day, further restricting the range of thought of its inhabitants?

  16. Mattie F.
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 09:07
    #16

    So, are there any pro-HSR candidates who are looking like they’ll be a credible alternative? Are we going to have a real primary, or will the establishment cull out everyone but their chosen one?

  17. Useless
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 12:08
    #17

    Siemens’ holding an event pitching its HSR train bid in Capitol later this month. This would strongly suggest that Siemens bet the farm on CAHSR project, while leaving the Acele Replacement project to Rotem as the sole bidder. http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2015/02/12/siemens-plans-event-at-capitol-to-sell-bid-for.html

    Eric M Reply:

    As much as I would like Siemens to win the contract, I think the only way for a train manufacture to win is to come up with additional financing for the project. Like what the Chinese and Japanese offered a couple of years back.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Chinese got burned in Mexico; it could dampen their enthusiasm.

    EJ Reply:

    California is part of the United States. That’s a different country than Mexico. I’m pretty sure “the Chinese” know this.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They have learned to lawyer up.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Turns out the Mexican government is going to pay them off.

    Reality Check Reply:

    No, just make them whole. “Pay them off” suggests something less ethical.

    synonymouse Reply:

    How can them claim all the mordidas they laid out.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    By the time Califorinia is actually ordering electric trains Amtrak will be spec’ing out Acela IVs

    Jos Callinet Reply:

    adirondacker: Amtrak may well be history if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the freight railroads re: giving Amtrak priority over freight, which a lower court ruled out – AND in addition forces Amtrak to pay the freight railroads damages for interfering with their freight operations. A ruling on this matter is expected by June, and it’s looking like the Supreme Court is poised to rule in favor of the freights. If this happens, Amtrak will not be able to afford to pay the penalties, and they’ll continue to lose ridership as their LD trains continue to run later and later. Here’s a good analysis of this situation, published a month or so ago in “Destination Freedom,” the newsletter of the National Corridors Initiative. Here’s the link to that article – imo, persuasive reading: http://www.nationalcorridors.org/df3/df12222014.shtml#Are

    Useless Reply:

    Jos Callinet

    Amtrak will then have to reorganize itself as a Northeast Corridor only operation.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    as part of the agreement to take over the passenger operations that were bleeding red ink the freight railroads agreed to give passenger trains priority. If they don’t want to give passenger trains priority someone can dig up a 1952 passenger schedule and ask them when they can start running it.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The freight railroads’ position in the case is frivolous and they should be sanctioned for it. The appeals court panel made a fairly narrow ruling which should actually give the freight railroads no benefit whatsoever, but which was nevertheless very dangerous as it overturned decades of precedent on government powers and would have consequences far beyond railroads; it was a pair of activist right-wing extremists on the appeals court who did so. I could go into detail if necessary…

    If the Supreme Court backs the appeals court on this, it’ll be another nail in the coffin of the credibility of the Supreme Court. And it doesn’t have much. This is actually one of the major issues in the US today — when the courts lose their credibility, it doesn’t take long for revolution to happen.

    The Amtrak priority over freight is an explicit law passed by Congress not once, not twice, but three times, with increasing teeth each time. Supreme Court disregard for both Congressional intent *and* rules of statutory interpretation *and* precedent regarding the regulation of commerce would be… well, the criminals on the court have done worse, stupider, and more dangerous. (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito all belong in federal prison for life for their treasonous actions. If there is a revolution and they haven’t died of old age, they’ll probably be justifiably executed.)

    Zorro Reply:

    Summary Execution, just like what happened to the Fascist Mussolini, before His dead carcass was hanged by the feet like a shark by the tail.

  18. Useless
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 12:15
    #18

    France needs to reduce TGV station number in order to ensure the TGV operation is sustainable into the future, according to a French government report on TGV restructuring. http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/high-speed/france-faces-tough-choices-over-future-of-tgv.html

    Joey Reply:

    Yeah, well, the whole “single seat express ride from Paris to everywhere” model was bound to be problematic wasn’t it?

    synonymouse Reply:

    It will be up to the more conservative government succeeding Hollande. I thought Alain Juppe was a shoe-in, but there seems to be disapproval of him within the UMP. He gets hissed roundly at Party gatherings.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The National Federation of Transport Users Associations (FNAUT), argues that the report’s analysis on TGV’s financial performance fails to highlight the tax advantages enjoyed by competing modes. “While the state has increased VAT on rail fares from 7% to 10%, the airlines pay no tax on kerosene and fuel taxes cover only a fraction of the costs of road congestion, accidents, pollution, and CO₂ emissions,” it says. “We expect the Court of Auditors to call for a level playing field between different transport modes in its upcoming assessment on government funding for projects such as [Nantes] Notre-Dame-des-Landes Airport and the A381 highway railjournal.com

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Eh. The TGV is only competing with airlines on a handful of routes, like Paris-Nice and Paris-Toulouse – and on those routes the reason airlines are capable of outcompeting it is that a large fraction of travel time is done on high-opex legacy routes. The TGV’s problems on routes like Paris-Rennes, or anything not involving Paris, are not because of airlines; they’re because SNCF doesn’t know how to run trains on legacy routes.

  19. Reality Check
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 13:47
    #19

    O/T: another Caltrain suicide today; rider victims trapped for ~2 hours:
    Caltrain fatally strikes pedestrian in San Jose

    At about 6:40 am, Caltrain #217 struck the man on the tracks near Emado Ave., located near Coyote Creek Park […] authorized to move at 8:30 am to San Jose, where riders were permitted to depart and board other trains […] Five northbound trains experienced delays […] The fatality was the fourth on a Caltrain right-of-way already this year compared to 10 all of last year. On average, there are about 12 fatalities each year […]

  20. datacruncher
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 15:11
    #20

    To the east of Kings County, at the Tulare County Board of Supervisors:

    Tulare County Moves Forward With HSR

    While Fresno County was celebrating the official ground breaking of the California High-Speed Rail on January 6, Tulare County was debating whether to sign a cooperative agreement with that same entity. During the Tulare County Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Resource Management Agency staff had originally recommended that the TCBOS sign the agreement. But as the discussion progressed it was clear that the RMA staff needed time to review the HSR overpasses that crossed Highway 43. It was also clear that the property owners affected by the rail needed some face-time with the HSR staff to clearly voice their concerns.

    According to the wording on the agenda item, the Cooperative Agreement with the HSR “provides the framework for the collaboration that will be required between Tulare County and the California High-Speed Rail Authority in the relocation of County facilities to accommodate the High-Speed Rail project.”

    The board ended up voting 5-0 to revisit signing the cooperative agreement after RMA and property owners were able to meet with HSR authorities and iron out their differences.

    The Fresno-Bakersfield segment of the HSR, roughly 118 miles, includes a 23-mile stretch that transects the southwestern portion of Tulare County through Alpaugh and Tipton. The HSR railroad tracks generally parallel the BSNF Railway tracks, entering Tulare County southeast of Corcoran and exiting west of Road 80 heading toward Wasco. The HSR is predicted to add $100 million in value concerning improvements to county roads and making the BSNF rail crossings safer.

    Supervisor Steve Worthley said, this is not about whether the supervisors support HSR.

    “This is a vote on how we are going to move forward with the Authority,” he said.

    Supervisor Cox said, HSR is going to happen with or without the board of supervisors, “but we want to have a seat at the table.”

    Supervisor Vander Poel agreed that his opinion about HSR was irrelevant, but that he would be voting against signing the agreement until certain conditions were met. Vander Poel explained that HSR ran through his own District 2, and that potentially affected property owners have been given no clarity on what will happen to their businesses. He said they needed to know if their businesses will be preserved, accommodated, or taken through eminent domain.

    ………………………………

    The next supervisor meeting to discuss the agreement is scheduled for March 3.

    http://www.ourvalleyvoice.com/2015/02/05/tulare-county-moves-forward-hsr/

  21. Lewellan
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 18:32
    #21

    I’m just gonna leave a Libertarian Joke, if you guys don’t mind…

    Anyway, who didn’t enjoy “Atlas Shrugged?” the movie….
    har har.

    The Reardon Metal ‘220mph’ Rail & Locomotive couldn’t physically achieve an average 200mph route,
    though it was excellent track laying. Just exaggerated like the book.
    har har

    Good luck. Keep up the good -pause- work. You’ll get there…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They aren’t aiming for an average speed of 200.

    Lewellan Reply:

    200+mph is the only way to finally achieve 2:40 LA-SF according to campaign promises.
    —-
    Reardon Metal wasn’t even what you might call a ‘practical’ advancement.
    —-
    Seriously though, go ahead start, don’t argue over small differences, apply reasonable compromises for upgrades to existing rail, pick the missing link tunnel arrangement based on two parameters: One, that the pick be most reliable in strata and ecosystem, ie, ‘least impact’, ‘least hazard’ route. And two, that the existing rail track receives a Premium upgrade, grade separation, smoothing, strengthening, proper crosswalks and bridgeways, as agreed by ‘all’ community members affected, not ‘some’ community members who rule the media and spoil the airwaves with good fellows like Rush Limbaugh. Have I just done the Cardinal sin in blogging? — Mention Hitler and the discussion is over? Ooops..

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    yes there will be places where the train will be running in excess of 200 MPH. That’s different than the average speed. Two hours and forty minutes is two and two thirds hours. 2.66 on your calculator. 2.67 if you want to be generous and that’s a fraction of a minute.

    Peter Reply:

    Stop confusing bots with facts.

    J. Wong Reply:

    2’40” at 180mph gives 482 miles. The I5 auto distance is 382 miles, 100 less. So no the train doesn’t have to average over 200mph to make it in the mandated time.

    Math is hard.

  22. Reality Check
    Feb 12th, 2015 at 23:51
    #22

    New CPUC General Order on 25 kVAC HSR electrification about to be finalized:

    Rules for overhead 25 kV AC railroad electrification systems for a high-speed rail system

    SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

    The undersigned participants in Rulemaking 13-03-009 before the California Public Utilities Commission (“Commission”) hereby agree to support adoption by the Commission of the Proposed General Order set forth in the Appendix to this Settlement Agreement as a sufficient and appropriate set of rules to govern 25 kV electrification systems constructed in the State of California serving a high-speed rail passenger system (“HSRS”) capable of operating at speeds of 150 miles per hour or higher, located in dedicated rights-of-way with no public highway-rail at-grade crossings and in which freight operations do not occur.

    Entered into this __ day of January, 2015 by:

    California High-Speed Rail Authority
    California Public Utilities Commission Safety and Enforcement Division
    Union Pacific Railroad Company
    BNSF Railway Company
    Southern California Edison Company
    San Diego Gas & Electric Company
    Southern California Gas Company
    Pacific Gas and Electric Company
    Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
    Sacramento Municipal Utility District
    East Bay Municipal Utility District
    AT&T California and AT&T Mobility Wireless Operations Holdings, Inc.,
    California Cable and Telecommunications Association
    CTIA – The Wireless Association)
    Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Still dodging the “blended” question.

  23. Reality Check
    Feb 13th, 2015 at 01:15
    #23

    High-Speed Rail Agency Behind Schedule In Buying Land

    […]

    The rail agency is required to follow state law for property condemnations, the same process used to acquire land for other major infrastructure projects such as highways. It provides up to $5,000 per parcel for property owners to get their own appraisals.

    But some opponents say the rush to acquire land is leading the rail authority to bypass its own rules with “flash appraisals” that do not include talking to landowners. They argue that such conversations are essential for rural properties that may involve complicated land- and water-use agreements and the potential for lost income.

    “You are not just buying real estate,” Frank Oliveira, a Kings County resident and member of the group Citizens for High-Speed Rail Accountability, told the rail board this week. “You need to also compensate people for damaging or destroying their businesses.”

    Alley said appeals by the group, which has filed several lawsuits against the project, are an attempt to gain media attention as part of their effort to stop the project.

    “There’s always going to be property owners who aren’t going to want to settle with us. … They want to go down the court route, and that is a lengthy process because we have to follow the law,” she said.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    We had some challenges getting to where we need to be. So we are behind schedule,” rail spokeswoman Lisa-Marie Alley said.

    The agency has been behind its own land acquisition schedule almost since it was drafted, slowed by a series of legal challenges, federal oversight proceedings and political opposition. But with the largest legal hurdles cleared and a secure, although small, state funding stream, the authority has hired more staff in the Central Valley, and property owners are increasingly working with assessors rather than fighting them, Alley said.

    “This is an emotional thing, purchasing someone’s property, and having impacts on their life. We’re doing everything we can to work with them,” she said, adding, “We can’t stretch things out for months on end, but we are doing our due diligence.”

    Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Buying land for transportation projects always takes a really long time and is really messy.

    On most projects, the planners don’t even attempt to guess how long it will take or how much it will cost. This is not a surprise.

    The presence of aggressive and stupid NIMBYs is undoubtedly slowing things down even more.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Deciding where to buy it takes forever. It’s a relatively straightforward and quick process once the decision on what to buy has been made. You get market value and some consideration for your trouble.

    Peter Reply:

    I know for a fact this is a priority for the Authority. I recently interviewed for a limited term attorney position with Caltrans (funded by the Authority) for property acquisition for the HSR project.

  24. Lewellan
    Feb 13th, 2015 at 10:39
    #24

    200+mph is the only way to finally achieve 2:40 LA-SF according to campaign promises.
    —-
    Reardon Metal wasn’t even what you might call a ‘practical’ advancement.
    —-
    Seriously though, go ahead start. Don’t argue over small differences, apply reasonable compromises for upgrades to existing rail, the Tehachapi. PICK the missing link tunnel arrangement by two parameters: One, that the pick be most reliable in strata and ecosystem, ie, ‘least impact’, ‘least hazard’ route. And two, that the existing rail track receives a Premium upgrade, grade separation, smoothing, strengthening, proper crosswalks and bridgeways, as agreed by ‘all’ community members affected, not ‘some’ community members who rule the media and spoil the airwaves with good fellows like Rush Limbaugh. Regular passenger-rail system there should continue. Did I just commit the Cardinal Sin in blogging? — mention Hitler (Limbaugh) and the discussion is over? Ooops…

    Keep up the good -pause- work. You’ll get there. Those who believe reincarnation,
    think it may not be a coincidence that George W was born shortly after HE died…
    HE didn’t get any choice. There is no hell to throw him in, so he got a restart as a rudish unliked fellow, sad, disgraceful, merciless, indifferent. There is no hell for such as these but
    the one we make for ourselves here on Earth.
    Ta-da da-da-dah dah-dah dahhh. Wagner March. Red/White/Blue
    2007 Pulitzer Prize winner “March” Geraldine Brooks
    (recommended reading, critically review, reconsider assessments)

    Lewellan Reply:

    Go ahead start. Don’t argue over small differences, apply reasonable compromises for upgrades to existing rail, especially Tehachapi. Pick the missing link tunnel arrangement by two parameters: that the pick be most reliable in strata and ecosystem, ie ‘least impact – least hazard’ route, and the existing rail receive upgrades, grade separation, smoothing/strengthen, proper crosswalk, passageways, agreed upon by community members affected. Regular Metro passenger-rail system there should continue.

    Edited for brevity/clarity.
    Keep up the good -pause- work.

  25. synonymouse
    Feb 13th, 2015 at 11:06
    #25

    Bye, bye Sin City:

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/02/12/science/ap-us-sci-worse-droughts.html?_r=0

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When the bidding wars start flushing is going to outbid growing cotton in the desert. When the bidding gets high enough the entrepreneurs will build desalination plants on the coast and ship the water a few hundred miles.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Why?

    Relocation is so much easier.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s a lot cheaper to bring the desalinated water to the 3 million people and their houses and businesses that it is to move the houses and businesses to places where people are already living.

    synonymouse Reply:

    In the first place desalination is very expensive. Secondly with a hotter and drier climate Las Vegas would need more water than now just to maintain its existing population due to parching and evaporation. There goes the casino lifestyle.

    A much poorer California population will have trouble paying the bridge tolls let alone traveling to Nevada. They can have a handle in their hand locally.

    Besides the Cheerleaders have indicated that tech is at a standstill for such as autos and aviation and with Peak Oil and all CAHSR will triumph. No desalination breakthru if tech stops, as per Cheerleader assumption.

    Sin City was built to be a ghost town and they don’t even allow the ghosts to last – they blow them up.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    abandoning your 100,000 dollar double wide is expensive too. It gets expensive for your employer too.

    Peter Reply:

    A decrease in technological breakthroughs in the aviation and automobile industries does not mean that technological breakthroughs will stop in other industries. 30 seconds on google will give you several new technologies in desalination that each have the potential to significantly decrease the costs and energy required.

    Joe Reply:

    Bev Law wrote a paper http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6671812

    Mega droughts are likely however we waste so much water now and have antiquated water rights laws.

    Continued development of solar and battery storage with desalinization and recycling really can keep the impact low. Some ecologically aware economists estimate the economic impact of losing a water intensive, low cash cropping to be about 5% of the economy.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Continued development of solar and battery storage with desalinization and recycling really can keep the impact low.

    Uh, no.

    Thirty to forty years too late for that sort of (simple, tip-of-the-iceberg, token) stuff.

    Joe Reply:

    Thanks for the lecture. You glom on to clmate change like a lawyer chasing an ambulance.

    I was referring to bev law’s artcile on mega drought and those impacts.

    If you think its too late i suggest moving out of one of the most vulerable areas. You wouldnt want to be a Hypocrite.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    You’re misusing the word hypocrite. Someone who lives in an impacted area and complains about impact is not a hypocrite. Someone who causes a huge amount of impact, sure, but that’s not what you’re talking about.

    Joe Reply:

    :  a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

    EJ Reply:

    Alon, words mean whatever joe wants them to mean.

    joe Reply:

    Anyone who professes it’s too late and we’re screwed and doomed etc and continues to live in the most vulnerable of places, SF, is a hypocrite by dictionary definition.

    EJ – Maybe it’s the initials but when I read your misdirected carping I can’t stop thinking of a particular song;

    I can bitch, I can bitch ’cause I’m better than you
    It’s the way that I move, the things that I do oh

    J. Wong Reply:

    Depends on where you live in SF. It is too late in that we’re not going to be able to enact any policies that will significantly impact the course of global warming. That ship sailed. Does that mean we shouldn’t do anything? No. And we should start planning for the impacts.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Pre-Columbian mega droughts are well documented. It is a cyclical thing in the West even without global warming, which is a function of population growth.

    This will have to work itself out in Darwinian fashion. But I am sure the connected and well-placed near the culmination will still enjoy their swimming pools no matter how hot and dry it is outside of the enclave.

    Yeah, auto and aviation tech development is “termed out” and presumably MuskTube as well. Uh-huh.

    wdobner Reply:

    Continued development of solar and battery storage with desalinization and recycling really can keep the impact low.

    Sure, 51 weeks out of the year Solar and Wind can’t keep up with existing demand, but we’re going to saddle them with this whole other sector and hope we can power these desalination plants as well? And then you’re taking their electrical energy and using it to run the desalination system. You’re probably looking at like 10% efficiency end to end, on top of the solar and wind plant’s sub-50% effective nameplate capacity. The ecological impact of the thousands of square kilometers of solar panels and wind turbines would devastate whole species. And of course, when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, now it’s not merely that the lights don’t turn on, but that there’s no running water. Well done.

    The only way to do desalination economically is with a compact, high temperature, carbon-free source. There is only one energy source which currently meets those criteria. Unlike electrically powering a desalination plant with solar or wind which consumes their output, high temperature, low pressure nuclear reactors allow the desalination of water with waste heat after the reactor’s turbine has already generated electricity.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Water can be desalinated off peak and stored.

    wdobner Reply:

    Off peak? But but, Solar/Wind advocates keep telling us there’s no such thing as peak vs base load, and that it’s all a conspiracy by utilities to keep residential solar down!

    Turns out that peak and base loads are real things. In California’s case the peak is around twice the average power consumption for a given 24 hour period. Unfortunately off-peak periods occurs between the hours of midnight and 6am. Solar isn’t going to be much use in that case, and wind speeds are greatly reduced during the night.

    So we’re still looking for an energy source which will not consume thousands of square kilometers, won’t result in tens of thousands of gallons of pesticide being poured into the soil, and won’t kill hundreds of thousands of birds, while not emitting any carbon dioxide. Or rather we’re not looking. I found a solution, so really you’re looking for an energy source that meets those requirements.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    When it’s windy and cool in April you can desalinate water, put it in a reservoir and most of it will still be there in September when it’s less windy.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If there’s more solar power generation in periods of higher demand, then that makes the peak vs. base issue easier, not harder.

    joe Reply:

    Alon; Don’t forget today we manage CA water with Peak water aka snowpack run off which is seasonal.

    Peak solar can desalinize and pump water into a reservoir on a daily or season basis if it’s sunny partial time of year. That stored water can be released and used to generate electricity.

    The evil HSR Pacheco Pass alignment runs by the San Luis Reservoir which is artificial. Sacramento River Delta water is pumped south and stored for later use. When released, that water generates electrify.

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

    CA could theoretically desalinize water from the ocean and pump it into the same reservoir. We get 267 days of sunlight a year in my town.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    A lot depends on where you are and your electricity rates. In an extreme example, in Quebec electricity is so cheap that 80 percent of the population uses electricity to heat their houses. Not pricey ground sourced heat pumps but cheap electric heaters. From hydro which doesn’t have significant problems with the sun going down or the wind not blowing.

    wdobner Reply:

    Except that it won’t be. For every kilowatt of unreliable solar or wind added to the grid a kilowatt or two of natural gas, coal, or oil must be added to avoid brownouts when the renewable isn’t functioning. Solar and wind are a recipe for unending runaway climate change. It turns out that it doesn’t matter how many of them you build and hook up to the grid, they never do overcome the intermittency problem.

    There won’t be a whole lot of water in the reservoir five to six months later if you suck it dry after a few weeks because of a climate change related drought. And of course with nuclear power you can run your desalination plant the other 11 months of the year.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the solar or wind power plant isn’t going to be offline for 6 months.
    My biggest energy use is heat. Insulate the house better and it’s still my biggest use. I don’t need peaky power to heat the house. I need a big insulated tank. That can suck up excess power as it becomes available. It can balance itself with my electric car that gets charged as commercial use drops in the evening.

    joe Reply:

    Batteries. Recall Tesla is not doing advance battery R&D as much as packaging existing technology. With that current technology and gradual improvements we see this.
    http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/13/8033691/why-teslas-battery-for-your-home-should-terrify-utilities

    SolarCity, [is] a company chaired by Musk and run by his cousin Lyndon Rive. SolarCity installs panels on people’s roofs, leases them for less than they’d be paying in energy bills, and sells surplus energy back to the local utility. It’s proven a tremendously successful model. Founded in 2006, the company now has 168,000 customers and controls 39 percent of the rapidly expanding residential solar market.

    SolarCity has already begun installing Tesla batteries, mostly on commercial buildings like Walmart stores, which have to pay higher rates when they use lots of power during peak hours. Tesla’s batteries let them store up solar power when they don’t need it, then use it when rates are high, shaving 20-30 percent off their energy bills, according to Ravi Manghani, an analyst at GTM Research.

    SolarCity is also running a pilot project with 500 homes in California, according to the company’s director of public affairs, Will Craven. The project uses Tesla’s 10-kilowatt-hour battery packs and can power homes for about two days in the event of an outage, Craven says.

    joe Reply:

    And these batteries can use solar or charge off conventional power during the off peak/night since conventional production targets peak use and off peak power is still produced but not used.

    Zorro Reply:

    wdobner Solar Thermal does run 24/7, using mirrors in the daytime to heat up a tank which allows a turbine to run even at night off of the stored heat energy. I call your ‘unreliable’ is just outdated BS.

    The 377 MW Ivanpah Solar Power Facility is the largest solar power plant in the world, located in the Mojave Desert of California. Other large solar thermal plants include the SEGS installation (354 MW), also in the Mojave, as well as the Solnova Solar Power Station (150 MW), the Andasol solar power station (150 MW), and Extresol Solar Power Station (100 MW), all in Spain.

    The efficiency of heat engines increases with the temperature of the heat source. To achieve this in solar thermal energy plants, solar radiation is concentrated by mirrors or lenses to obtain higher temperatures – a technique called Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). The practical effect of high efficiencies is to reduce the plant’s collector size and total land use per unit power generated, reducing the environmental impacts of a power plant as well as its expense.

    As the temperature increases, different forms of conversion become practical. Up to 600 °C, steam turbines, standard technology, have an efficiency up to 41%. Above 600 °C, gas turbines can be more efficient. Higher temperatures are problematic because different materials and techniques are needed. One proposal for very high temperatures is to use liquid fluoride salts operating between 700 °C to 800 °C, using multi-stage turbine systems to achieve 50% or more thermal efficiencies.[25] The higher operating temperatures permit the plant to use higher-temperature dry heat exchangers for its thermal exhaust, reducing the plant’s water use – critical in the deserts where large solar plants are practical. High temperatures also make heat storage more efficient, because more watt-hours are stored per unit of fluid.

    Commercial concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) plants were first developed in the 1980s. The world’s largest solar thermal power plants are now the 370 MW Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, commissioned in 2014, and the 354 MW SEGS CSP installation, both located in the Mojave Desert of California, where several other solar projects have been realized as well. With the exception of the Shams solar power station, built in 2013 near Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, all other 100 MW or larger CSP plants are either located in the United States or in Spain.

    The principal advantage of CSP is the ability to efficiently add thermal storage, allowing the dispatching of electricity over up to a 24-hour period. Since peak electricity demand typically occurs at about 5 pm, many CSP power plants use 3 to 5 hours of thermal storage.[26] With current technology, storage of heat is much cheaper and more efficient than storage of electricity. In this way, the CSP plant can produce electricity day and night. If the CSP site has predictable solar radiation, then the CSP plant becomes a reliable power plant. Reliability can further be improved by installing a back-up combustion system. The back-up system can use most of the CSP plant, which decreases the cost of the back-up system.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    This is wrong on two levels:

    For every kilowatt of unreliable solar or wind added to the grid a kilowatt or two of natural gas, coal, or oil must be added to avoid brownouts when the renewable isn’t functioning.

    First, in most of the world, peak power consumption occurs around the same time as peak insolation, so the intermittency isn’t as big a problem.

    And second, even if you ignore that, GHG emissions are not proportional to power, measured in kW; they’re proportional to energy, measured in J or kWh. In other words, even if you’re right that solar power requires a large base load of natural gas – and it doesn’t – the base load can be shut down during periods of high insolation. The environmental damage caused by fossil fuel plants is not proportional to their capacity, but to their power generation.

    wdobner Reply:

    Alon:

    If there’s more solar power generation in periods of higher demand, then that makes the peak vs. base issue easier, not harder.

    No, that just means there’s an even worse deficit when it’s cloudy or winds are calm. Or that there’s energy being wasted on the grid when solar panels overproduce.

    Joe:

    Peak solar can desalinize and pump water into a reservoir on a daily or season basis if it’s sunny partial time of year. That stored water can be released and used to generate electricity.

    So you want to do pumped storage, but with the insanely wasteful intermediate step of desalinating water? You do realize just how insanely energy intensive desalination is, right? You’d need to dedicate whole wind farms, multiple hundreds of megawatts, to simply desalinating the water.

    Adk12800:

    the solar or wind power plant isn’t going to be offline for 6 months.

    But over the summer A/C use will swell demand to the point where there is no spare capacity to desalinate water, and in the winter the sun will be low enough that power generation will be impaired. So effectively for 6 to 8 months of the year solar will be unlikely to meet the demand induced by your addition of desalination.

    Joe:

    Batteries. Recall Tesla is not doing advance battery R&D as much as packaging existing technology. With that current technology and gradual improvements we see this.

    All the batteries on earth would store less than ten minutes of worldwide energy production. Running Elon Musk’s gigafactory 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, will not appreciably change that metric in the next decade. The only one SolarCity is scaring is investors in their company. Energy storage is an expensive non-starter which only further erodes the already terrible economics of solar and wind production. It adds no actual energy generation, and charging only serves to reduce the effective capacity relative to the nameplate capacity.

    Joe:

    And these batteries can use solar or charge off conventional power during the off peak/night since conventional production targets peak use and off peak power is still produced but not used.

    That’s actually exactly backward. The rise of natural gas gas turbine plants makes for peaker plants which readily follow demand and are easily idled during non-peak hours.

    Zorro:

    wdobner Solar Thermal does run 24/7, using mirrors in the daytime to heat up a tank which allows a turbine to run even at night off of the stored heat energy. I call your ‘unreliable’ is just outdated BS.

    It’s only storing heat in the molten salt if less energy is being used by the heat exchanger than is being absorbed at the concentrator. So again, as with all energy storage schemes, there is a requirement that there be a surplus of collection to supply both instantaneous demand and whatever energy storage medium you’re using.

    Also, concentrated solar power is an ecological nightmare which will devastate avian populations unfortunate enough to fly near the focus of the “death ray” created by a football field sized array of mirrors (at Ivanpah they call them ‘streamers’). That, and the diesel emissions from the mirror cleaning crews, the pesticides to suppress plant growth, and the already high carbon cost of the refined materials (particularly PV cells) make them not particularly environmentally friendly.

    Alon:

    First, in most of the world, peak power consumption occurs around the same time as peak insolation, so the intermittency isn’t as big a problem.

    But peak insolation would correspond to peak A/C demand. So if we’re talking about using excess capacity to desalinate water as an energy storage medium (as Adirondacker was) the growth in energy consumption would negate the increased generating capacity and result in there being nothing available for storage.

    Alon:

    In other words, even if you’re right that solar power requires a large base load of natural gas – and it doesn’t – the base load can be shut down during periods of high insolation. The environmental damage caused by fossil fuel plants is not proportional to their capacity, but to their power generation.

    You’re right, it doesn’t require a base load of natural gas, if you’re in Germany solar and wind require a base load of brown coal. But it’s simply counterfactual to insist solar and wind do not require reliable (always fossil fuel) energy installations commensurate to the nameplate capacity of the renewable source. When compared to energy sources which truly have zero GHG emissions then the blending of solar/wind and natural gas/coal makes for a much more realistic comparison than pretending we’ll run everything on renewables if we just build enough of them. Sprawl is bad regardless of whether we’re putting in subdivisions or solar/wind farms.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    But over the summer A/C use will swell demand to the point where there is no spare capacity to desalinate water, and in the winter the sun will be low enough that power generation will be impaired. So effectively for 6 to 8 months of the year solar will be unlikely to meet the demand induced by your addition of desalination.

    The wind blows at 3 AM. On moderate days when there’s gobs of excess wind the desalination plant would run flat out. The water is expensive enough that people, when they go out to buy a new washing machine, look at the front loaders because they use half as much water. Years after they got used to the low flow shower head and the 6 liter flush toilet. And got over having a wide swath of green grass in front of the house. If the water is expensive enough they use the recycled water to flush and irrigate.

    You’d be giving people low low rates off peak. Instead of an 80 gallon tank for domestic hot water with a heat pump they’d have a 150 gallon tank with a heat pump that only cycles on in the dead of night. The HVAC would use a bigger tank that gets chilled in the summer and warmed in the winter. All that would be running during peak would be some low wattage pumps and fans. Make the peak rates high enough it makes sense for them to install a small battery bank to be able to do that off the grid most days.

    Zorro Reply:

    It will be less than 1 cent per gallon from the contracts that have already been signed for the Desalinization Plant(the largest on the West Coast) down in Carlsbad CA, sure the plant is costing $1 Billion to construct. But it is going online in 2016 and it will be a source of Fresh Water and many other places want to do the same thing up and down the California Coast.

    This plant uses Reverse Osmosis, so the costs are lower. Oh and this plants size? 6 acres.

    Nation’s largest ocean desalination plant goes up near San Diego; Future of the California coast?

    The crews are building what boosters say represents California’s best hope for a drought-proof water supply: the largest ocean desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. The $1 billion project will provide 50 million gallons of drinking water a day for San Diego County when it opens in 2016.

    Since the 1970s, California has dipped its toe into ocean desalination –talking, planning, debating. But for a variety of reasons — mainly cost and environmental concerns– the state has never taken the plunge.

    Until now.

    Fifteen desalination projects are proposed along the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco Bay. Desalination technology is becoming more efficient. And the state is mired in its third year of drought. Critics and backers alike are wondering whether this project in a town better known as the home of Legoland and skateboard icon Tony Hawk is ushering in a new era.

    42apples Reply:

    They could have gotten just as much water for lot less money and a lot less environmental impact (especially energy) by using treated wastewater. 1 cent per gallon is very expensive for water delivery.

    Zorro Reply:

    I said “less than 1 cent”, not that the water “would cost 1 cent” a gallon.

    Danny Reply:

    at the very worst that’ll mean a 1950s-style Vegas, not an 1850s one: it’s not going to be pulled down, it’s going to be much less livable, so the McMansions with a 4% Walkscore will go but the smaller core of ranchettes will stay

    Nathanael Reply:

    Phoenix will be depopulated before Las Vegas.

    Nathanael Reply:

    To be clear about this: think about desalination.

    Who’s going to build desalination first? California! The ocean is local, the transportation costs are nonexistent, the state is rich.

    Now, how are Phoenix and Las Vegas going to get any desalinated water? They’d have to pump it from California or the Gulf. This would require pipeline construction. This would require the permission of other states — probably California, maybe Texas Those other states will be busy building their plants for LOCAL use, and will not want to give permission for diversions for out-of-state use until their local needs are fulfilled. They might give permission if they were given gobs and gobs of money. Phoenix has no money. Las Vegas, frankly, doesn’t have very much money either, but more than Phoenix.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The US Bureau of Reclamation already uses desalination to improve the water quality of the Colorado where the river flows past the US-Mexico border.

    California is experimenting with desalinization because it has exceeded its allocation of Colorado River water that is shared with other western states. If it hands back the amount of acre feet required, the Nevada and Arizona will still have quite a bit of water left, but Nevada may have to buy some water from Arizona going forward.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They’ll stop growing oranges in the city. When it’s choice between flushing and growing oranges for Chicago and Toronto they’ll pick flushing. And that can be desalinated. More than once.

    jimsf Reply:

    well I still think that if we can build pipelines for oil we can build them for water. I mean if all the ice is melting anyway, run a pipe down from alaska to the colorado and sacramento rivers instead of letting all the melted ice run into the ocean.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Phoenix was populated well before Sin City. For real reasons. Dig it.

    Eric Reply:

    What real reasons for growth does Phoenix have that Las Vegas doesn’t?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Bigger metro area with a more diversified economy? More agriculture that can be bought out for it’s water?

    joe Reply:

    How many consecutive days over 100F?
    How many consecutive nights over 90?
    How many and intense dust storms?

    Phoenix, where readings commonly exceed 100 degrees for more than 100 days a year. In 2011, the city set a record for days over 110. There were 33 of them.

    Sixty years ago, nighttime lows never crept above 90. Today such temperatures are a commonplace, and the vigil has begun for the first night that doesn’t dip below 100.

    One looming vulnerability for Phoenix is that the beefed-up, juiced-up, greenhouse-gassed overheated weather of the future is likely to send the city violent dust storms of a sort we can’t yet imagine, packed with ever greater amounts of energy. Already Phoenix is seeing more intense dust storms that bring visibility to zero and life to a standstill.

    Gilroy Ca, can get dry hot but it cools ~7 F an hour in the evenings. A 100 day cools to 55 at night. A coastal breeze brings temps down 40 – 45 F each night.

    WTF is a night time low of 100F? Who can live in that heat if the grid goes down for a few days?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    All urban areas create a heat island that retains warmth for longer than even seawater does. Phoenix didn’t have nearly as much concrete and asphalt and more agriculture in the old days. Now it’s a very large urban footprint with low density precisely because there was so much irrigated land to convert into homes.

  26. jimsf
    Feb 13th, 2015 at 18:21
    #26

    OT Just a side note for anyone here who uses capitol-san joaquin-surfliner connecting buses…
    the Ferry Building stop will be discontinued and the new SF ticket office will be relocated to the temporary transbay terminal and teh end of this month.

    Jerry Reply:

    Would the relocation of the new SF ticket office have been better at the CalTrain station at 4th and King??
    I believe the Amtrak bus already stops there.

    jimsf Reply:

    That was explored a while back and ruled out for a number of logistical reasons.

    jimsf Reply:

    The ticket office will be in the new transbay transit center as will greyhoud which is why they are both in a temp building at the temp trasnbay site at the moment.

    jimsf Reply:

    Front

    back

    This temp building was built for two ticket offices. One is currently occupied by greyhound – ticket office, security and lobby. The other side will be amtrak ticket office.

    The lobby will be shared with greyhoud, who already employees strict security.

    Having been in there I know that greyhound keeps the riff raff out by requiring a purchase within 10 minutes or they have to exit. Lobby requires a ticket to enter and wanding for metalic objects on your person. Amtrak passengers will be subject to this greyhound protocol as the lobby will be shared.

    This is until the ttc is complete at which time greyhound will use the bus level or level below the bus level I believe, and amtrak ticket office – I have seen two versions, first on the level below the bus level, then changed to the rail mezz level.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    wanding for metalic objects on your person

    What on earth prompted such a level of scrutiny?! It seems ridiculous…

    jimsf Reply:

    I beleive the existing tenant already had this in place for the safety of passengers.

    jimsf Reply:

    Its san francisco, so making sure crazy people with guns and knives aren’t lurking about is a good idea. Remember, the old tbt was a cesspool of danger.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So he’ll just shoot up the local buses instead….

    Miles Bader Reply:

    That’s the thing I don’t understand…. Even if there are crazy shooty people around, why is a bus terminal (or a bus travelling from it) a more likely target for their shootiness than any other crowded place in the city…?

    joe Reply:

    Because you are stationary and not moving/walking. Also a high probability of targets: Traveling you probably have more cash/money on you and a greater possibility of out of city and one time travelers.

    Miles Bader Reply:

    Hmm, can’t the same be said of many expensive restaurants…?

    Alon Levy Reply:

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

    Joe Reply:

    One is a public area, the other is a private space serving food where seating is assigned and controlled.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    http://bombsquadnyc.com/timeline/

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

    Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago have had similar.

    jimsf Reply:

    Its not a big deal that they have some security. Its simple. Greyhound is a private company and they can have whatever policy they want. In this case it is a. in place to make customers feel safer, since greyhound has some bad history and bad press about not being safe and being somewhat unpleasant. In order to compete as something other than travel for only the lowest economic demographic they have to spruce up their image and that includes showing that they take comfort and safety seriously. Its one part marketing.

    b. its n different then being patted down before entering a concert. Ive been to hundreds of concerts and have been patted down and or wanded at every single one. That security is the jurisdiction of each individual venue – theater, amphitheater, stadium, what have you. Its been done for years and no one has a problem with it.

    c. Its also a way to help weed out potential problem passengers because often, people who are going to wind up being a problem en route, already have multiple issues at the start, so it gives security a tool for weeding them out before hand.

    Its nothing to do with homeland security , big government, big brother or other infringements. Its simply a company deciding that for marketing and profit, they will do better by offering this experience to passengers rather than letting it be a free for all which would turn off more customers that it would attract.

    Jerry Reply:

    So their new slogan will be:
    It’s such a comfort to take the bus,
    “And leave the wanding and pat down to us.”

    jimsf Reply:

    :-D

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I want to make a snide remark about why at Transbay but not at Embarcadero, but the security people might misinterpret that and start doing security theater at Embarcadero, too.

    jimsf Reply:

    Alon, the security is not something amtrak is adding at transbay that they didn’t do at embarcadero, the security is an existing greyhound policy in that transbay building. Amtrak passenger will be subject to it only because they have to use greyhounds existing lobby and follow greyhounds rules otherwise there would not be any security guard at all because amtrak would never pay for that. Trust me we’ve all been begging for better security at embarcadero for more than a decade to no avail. Greyhound insists on running the show at the new location and even amtrak employees entering the building have to go through greyhound security to get to work.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ..I haven’t taken the bus in or out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in a while because there is decent train service to the places I don’t want to drive to. The joint is fairly lousy with cops but there is no security theater. Or at Penn Station or 30th Street or Union Station or….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I mean Embarcadero BART, which I think is the busiest subway station in the US outside New York. It’s a far, far likelier target than any intercity train facility. Terrorists like their pizzazz, but they also like causing a lot of damage, and intercity trains and stations aren’t great for that.

    The right way to do security is the way security is done at the midsize Northeast Corridor stations, like Providence and New Haven. You walk in, nobody checks anything, you go to the platform, nobody checks anything, you get on the train, the train begins moving, the conductor scans your ticket. I’m guessing this is also how Amtrak does security at most stations in California? It’s a train, not a plane that someone could pilot into a building.

    jimsf Reply:

    in the case of this small greyhound lobby though this isn’t about homeland security. its just a matter of keeping the ticketing area and waiting area free of riff raff so regular people don’t have to endure the unpleasantries. The wanding just gives the guard an enforement tool.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Not that there is enough space for riff raff, whatever that is, there isn’t a problem with it at the PABT, Grand Central or any Amtrak station I’ve used. Or Greyhound station. I freely and openly admit I rarely use Greyhound or their competitors.

    Jerry Reply:

    Hate to say it, but the temporary building looks better than some real permanent stations.

    Ben Pease Reply:

    In certain respects the temporary building and the whole block of surface-level bus stops for AC Transit was all that was actually needed. I can’t help but wonder how much like NYC’s Port Authority the new facility will be.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the PABT will have more passengers and almost no security theater. No park on the roof either.

  27. jimsf
    Feb 14th, 2015 at 11:25
    #27

    Ive never voted for any republican in 32 years off voting. However, just to mix things up a bit, I wouldn’t mind california electing a republican governor this time so that
    a. republicans would have to stop blaming everything on dem control.
    b. a moderate republican who is pro infrastructure, pro business, and socially liberal, and who could guide and ride the economic recovery to success and prosperity would set a national example of how republicans can do things right if they dump the kookoo for coco puffs wing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    A Repub electable in California would be considered a Demo in Ohio.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The ones that aren’t frothing at the mouth about this that or the other thing have wandered off to spend more time with their families.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Out of curiosity, how did you vote in the 2003 recall? Did you vote yes/Schwarzenegger? Or no/Bustamante? Or what? (For the record, I’d have voted yes/Camejo, or yes and some random protest candidate, because I didn’t see much difference between Schwarzenegger and Bustamante, and still don’t.)

    Donk Reply:

    Cruz Bustamonte for CA governor in 2018!!!

    jimsf Reply:

    agasint recal- for bustamanta against arnorld.

    J. Wong Reply:

    What does a moderate Republican have to offer California? The last two candidates for governor where self funded plutocrats (Williams,Kaskhari). Is Jerry Brown a conservative Democrat? No, he’s pragmatic and was able to convince the electorate that they had to pay for the benefits of government. (It probably helped that Schwarzenegger had shut down the State Parks.)

    jimsf Reply:

    A moderate repbulican would remind the electorate, here, and nationally that good governance can happen from the middle of either party. Could keep dems from getting too carried away with some of the more kooky left stuff, which damages the pary in the long run.

    Nathanael Reply:

    But it’s not actually true. In fact, good governance can come from the Democratic Party or third parties. It is impossible for good governance to come from the Republican Party.

    I think the last competent, good-government Republican Governor *in the entire US* was Charlie Crist, who is now a Democrat.

    The last remotely good-government Republican President was the *elder* George Bush — or before him, *Eisenhower*.

    It’s time people recognized reality here. Above the local level, the Republican Party is simply an insane death cult. The sooner the Republican party is euthanized, the sooner we can have an actual second party.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The project of electing a “moderate Republican” to try to “remind the electorate” that good governance can come from either party….

    …is like the project of trying to elect a “moderate Whig” to “remind the electorate” that sensible views on slavery can come from either party. AFTER the Whigs expelled all the anti-slavery Whigs. The Whig party died a deserved death after that.

    And yes, I’ve been following internal Republican disputes — they have been systematically expelling everyone sane.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The rational ones have been deciding to spend more time with their families never to heard from again.
    .. it’s a bad idea to put people who think government is bad in charge of the government….

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And yet the Republicans get about half the votes, give or take a few percentage points’ worth of swing voters.

  28. Lewellan
    Feb 14th, 2015 at 13:05
    #28

    Bring Bertha up. Put her fixed back down.
    Finish her at a Pike Portal 1500′ or so north along seawall.
    Stack cement poles to -BOX- Bertha properly to stabilize soils.

    This Plan B for Bertha can be ‘thoughtfully’ considered. Concerned responsible citizens are more and more predicting disaster in the watery soft soils below sea level, deeper, further north inland; regular damages over time and possible ‘building collapse’ in major quake.
    The ONLY other tunnel option is the Box Cut-Cover to the very similar Pike Portal.

    Anywayz, like HSR is so like yesterday…
    Kiss my ass..

  29. Neville Snark
    Feb 16th, 2015 at 03:35
    #29

    OT, but does anyone know what became of WDobner? I know just from his posts that he was having hard time — socially, medically, and financially — but I looked forward to reading his posts.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Do you mean D. P. Lubic? Wdobner is right here…

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Whoops! Yes I meant Lubic …

    Brian_FL Reply:

    He has posted a lot on the AAF Facebook page in the past year or so. I assume that the David Lubic posting there is the same as D.P. Lubic that posts here?

    https://www.facebook.com/AllAboardFlorida

  30. Paul Dyson
    Feb 16th, 2015 at 09:11
    #30

    Newsom is quoted in the LA Times this morning as being against High Speed Rail because of the lack of a finance plan. Given that he stands a reasonable chance of being elected Governor such a statement is clearly meant to discourage such private investment as there may be for the project. It will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if investors are to expect a U-turn in four years time.
    Either that or he is stupid.

    joe Reply:

    Yes, his criticism does discourage private investment. He’s also trying to have it both ways. In the same article Newsom also says that if private finance comes, it is a game changer.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The stupid one is Jerry Brown; altho in actuality it is likely simple senility.

    There is zero private investment; this is just a BART writ large. A government op with militant unions ready to strike at the drop of the hat. An elected board totally politicized amidst gaping deficits.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    senile people have trouble keeping track of vast conspiracies with real estate developers.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The CHSRA Board of Directors consists of nine members: five members appointed by the Governor, two members appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and two members appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly. Each Board member represents the entire state and serves a four year term

    J. Wong Reply:

    What deficits? You mean HSR, which isn’t even built or operational yet. So how can the deficits be gaping?

Comments are closed.