Moderate Democrats Side With Oil Companies Against California’s Future

Sep 10th, 2015 | Posted by

The news out of Sacramento on climate and sustainability this week has not been good. A coalition of moderate Democrats has successfully blocked some pathbreaking legislation to cut carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels – in order to please the oil companies.

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown and the Democratic leaders in the legislature, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon and Speaker Toni Atkins, abandoned plans to pursue a bill mandating a 50% cut in gasoline use:

In a major setback for Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate agenda, the governor and legislative leaders on Wednesday abandoned an effort to require a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by 2030.

The announcement followed weeks of lobbying by oil companies and resistance not only from Republicans, but moderate Democrats in the Assembly….

“We might get another bill next year, we might just keep doing it by regulation,” Brown said. “California is not going to miss a beat. Be very clear about that. We don’t have a declaration in statute, but we have absolutely the same authority. We’re going forward. The only thing different is my zeal has been intensified to a maximum degree.”…

“I’d say oil has won a skirmish, but they’ve lost the bigger battle, because I am more determined than ever to make our regulatory regime work for the people of California,” he said.

De León said lawmakers “could not cut through” a massive advertising campaign by oil companies in recent weeks.

This is a profoundly depressing turn of events. The oil companies are getting rich off of a product that is killing Californians, destroying the environment, and raising global temperatures. Surely the current drought, widely seen as a foretaste of what’s to come once global warming hits in earnest, would indicate to moderate Democrats that water is more important than oil.

Instead, the Western States Petroleum Association has racked up another victory in their fight against tougher climate regulations, just months after successfully blocking cap-and-trade rules and low carbon fuel standards in Oregon and Washington.

Their victory in California was enabled by the odious top two primary, which only exists because former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg gave it to Republicans in exchange for their votes on a short term budget deal in 2009. Steinberg got a budget, but gave away control of the Legislature to big businesses, including the oil companies. Under the old party primary system, most Democrats in the Assembly would be more progressive.

The bad news doesn’t stop there. Today it emerged that the Legislature has not reached agreement on how to spend the remaining $1 billion in cap-and-trade revenues this year:

With negotiations on transportation funding faltering, Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are likely to again put off a dispute over how to spend more than $1 billion in in cap-and-trade revenue, money polluters pay to offset carbon emissions, sources said.

Brown and legislative leaders agreed in May to defer cap-and-trade negotiations until after the annual budget was adopted, but it appears now that money will remain unallocated until after the legislative session ends this week. The money can be spent on programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as transit systems.

This does not affect the existing cap-and-trade money budgeted for high speed rail. But it is disappointing that the Legislature couldn’t reach agreement on how to spend that money, especially in light of the oil companies’ victory on Wednesday.

California cannot build a sustainable, low-carbon future without moving beyond oil. The idea that everyone in the state should suffer in order to protect oil company profits is offensive and appalling. This isn’t the end of the story, and environmentalists and climate activists are already planning for a long war against the oil companies. Eventually, the good guys will win. But for now, we’ve been reminded that even in California, the empire can strike back, and the oil companies remain a force to be reckoned with.

  1. Reality Check
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 14:00

    SF Transbay Transit Center cost jumps by another quarter billion dollars

    Just two months ago, the latest in a string of cost overruns on the Transbay Transit Center pushed the price tag for the first phase — essentially a big bus terminal with room for a railroad in the basement — up $247 million to $2.1 billion.

    But regional transportation officials warned Wednesday that it’s not likely to stop there and suggested that the agency building the bus and rail hub should count on spending as much as an additional $244 million.

    As the cost of constructing the quarter-mile-long transit and retail center topped with a park has soared, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area’s transportation planning and financing agency, has repeatedly helped the Transbay Joint Powers Authority balance its budget.

    Anticipating more requests, and wanting to ensure that the project is completed, the commission ordered a financial review in an attempt to get a clearer idea of what it will cost to complete.

    “This project is going to cost what it’s going to cost,” Steve Heminger, the commission executive director, said at an agency meeting Wednesday in Oakland. “You need to come up with a budget and raise the money.”

    Aarond Reply:

    San Francisco was promised a downtown downtown Caltrain extension since 1991 if I remember right. Given that the Transbay Terminal station can just hike fares into SF, I don’t see how it won’t pay for itself especially taking into consideration all the surrounding businesses on Market street that would obviously use it. The new Transbay Terminal would also allow for a possible Caltrain tube to Oakland, which would be about as important to the bay area as the Hudson Tunnel is to Manhattan and Jersey City.

    And if you think cost overruns are big *now*, just wait until SF and BART try a Geary/19th Avenue line.

    Roland Reply:

    Why would a Geary/19th Avenue line have anything to do with BART ???

    Jon Reply:

    BART recently proposed building such a line.

    Roland Reply:


    synonymouse Reply:

    Indian Standard Broad Gauge.

    They want to manhattanize Geary with highrise tenements to the sea. The 19th Avenue line is to siphon off patronage from Muni Metro and undermine Muni so they sell off its real estate, especially Presidio Yard.

    SF City Hall is really anti-Muni in recent years. TWU 250A seems to be comatose. My take on the Central Stubway is patronage will be disappointing even with an extension to the Wharf area and it will be an expensive op for Muni, tunnel maintenance and all.

    Roland Reply:

    Wrong on every single count (perfect score!)

    Joe Reply:

    The review, performed by consultant T.Y. Lin International, concluded that the pattern of cost increases is due in large part to the booming economy, which has pushed construction costs higher.

    Pray for a recession.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “This project is going to cost what it’s going to cost,”

    That comment takes its place next to Jerry’s “Shit happens.” pertaining to the Bay Bridge.

    No explication necessary.

  2. Aarond
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 14:13

    Eh, could be worse. The state could just raise gas taxes and toll major freeways. That would have a greater effect, especially with the state senate considering amending various laws that pertain to parking requirements for urban developers. The state would also gain more tax revenues by doing so.

    At least how I see it, car ownership hit it’s peak and is plateauing especially as cities urbanify (examples include Redwood City, parts of San Jose) you’ll see less car ownership going foreward. From that end, it makes more sense just to tax gasoline more rather than have more stringent efficiency minimums. The problem here sorts itself out, people pay more for gas and manufacturers have a greater incentive to provide more fuel-efficient vehicles. As it stands, CARB (or rather, the CA DMV’s interpretation of it) makes it difficult to plate a dirtbike in CA despite them getting 60-100 mpg (depending on the model) which in turn prevents many people from using their dirtbikes to commute (thus, saving gas and space on roads).

    Just my two cents.

  3. les
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 14:35

    It’s too bad they can’t use the billion for electric vehicle rebates. I think rural politicians would favor this over higher gas taxes.

    jwb Reply:

    It’s been demonstrated that the electric vehicle subsidies flow primary to the very wealthy. It’s not a good policy. For the same amount of money we could have achieved a substantially larger reduction in GHG emissions.

    les Reply:

    For one who has spent equal time of life living rural and urban I have been able to get by without a car for long stretches while urban (max was a year in Phoenix), as opposed to rural setting where I couldn’t go 2 consecutive days without a car. Rural and moderates are going to fight for their livelihood.

    Joe Reply:

    Electric hybrids work within existing infrastructure constraints. That means city and county mouse can benefit.

    Does this favor the wealthy?
    An electric hybrid (volt, pruis plug in fusion energi) can be had for 35kish with 2013 era rebates or less. This vehicle costs about the same as an average new car which is about 30k and recharges nightly with 110 volt plug.

    EJ Reply:

    In rural areas, if you drive a $30K hybrid, you’re a rich yuppie. But if you drive a $60K pickup that gets 22 mpg, you’re an honest, hard-workin’ son of the soil.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And sociologically that is a correct assessment.

    I think it is “Tobacco Road” where the poor sharecropper type buys a brand new model T and then ruins the backseat carrying twigs and branches he collected to burn.

    Nathanael Reply:

    FWIW electric cars are going to take over quite quickly for pure market reasons.

    synonymouse Reply:

    I believe you are correct altho Saudi Arabia’s attempts to maintain internal combustion’s supremacy will slow up the process.

    But the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in California guts the eco-green blarney surrounding CAHSR and will reveal it as primarily a make work for crony companies and sprawler scheme.

  4. Eric
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 14:52

    its an admirable goal but a 50% reduction in 15 years simply isn’t realistic. to achieve that, you’d need, starting today, electric cars that are 1 for 1 as capable as gas powered cars. They’d need to be real up front price competitive with gas cars of similar purpose, and you’d need recharging them to be as ubiquitous as going to a corner gas station.
    reason being, it would take that long for electric (or plug-in hybrid) cars to achieve that level of total market share in use. The electric grid would need reinforcing to handle the demand for more commercial charging locations and more home recharging of vehicles, electric power supply would need to increase substantially.

    les Reply:

    Cars like the Volt don’t need charging stations. Range just went up over 100 miles for leaf. Bolt will be at 200 next year. Range constantly going up

    Joe Reply:

    Gas hybrid would benefit from a charge station and can fully recharge in a few hours. Majority of commutes nationally fit with the 35 mile volt range and the gas hybrid option adds insurance. Commutes under 35 are 100% electric.

    A fusion hybrid, what I drive, easily gets 37+ mpg and runs 20 miles on a full charge. Weekends in towwn is 100 electric and charge at night.

    Current fleet fuel economy is 21 mpg. This shows today’s cars desiged for gas performance driving and retrofitted for electric already meet the goal.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Does your hybrid have a transmission? It seems to me the tranny is the weak link in a California car, which lasts a lot longer than in the eastern states with salt and accumulates a lot of mileage pretty fast.

    What would be desirable is a hybrid that is strictly traction motor driven. No complicated automatic transmission to go bad.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    That’s a good point. I know Musk was trying to tell people originally that he wanted to replace batteries in his car with capacitors. And then he started building his factory in Nevada…

    Nathanael Reply:

    The BMW i3 or iMiev with “range extender” is strictly traction motor driven. The gas engine is just a generator.

    We already have a functional, mass-produced pure electric car which beats out all gasoline cars for nearly all applications except extreme remote driving into northern Canada — the Tesla Model S. Now it’s just a matter of watching battery prices drop.

    Eric Reply:

    I agree with the volt assesment, I think the most logical way foreward is with plug in hybrids. YOu can take long trips via gas, get the regenerative energy efficiency of hybrids, and the short commute on pure electric, all major selling points. problem is that the volt is the only mass market plug-in hybrid, and as I stated, you need EVERY type of car to meet these goals TODAY, at similar prices, , so that all ranges of vehicle types get this benefit (and the choice then becomes powerterain-neutral). the only choice for the consumer should be gas mileage. that’s the only way Brown’s goal would have a chance of becoming true.

    Derek Reply:

    Because we all need to drive more than 100 miles every day?

    Eric Reply:

    if you lived in california you wouldn’t need to ask that question :)
    Out of the 10 people work in my office, 3 of us live within 5 miles or so. 2 are super commuters with a 50+ mile one way trip, 3 are in van or carpools with distances of 40 miles or so one way, one has a 20-mile commute, and the other 1 is 40+ one way with no ride-sharing.
    so 2/3 have 80+ miles each just in commuting, plus whatever other driving they may need to do daily.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Tesla Model S 85 kwh battery has 265 miles of range. That’s very expensive right now, but battery prices are dropping. Tesla, GM, and Nissan are promising more-affordable cars with 200 mile ranges in 2017 or 2018.

    Electric car adoption will happen quite fast after that.

    Derek Reply:

    you’d need recharging [electric cars] to be as ubiquitous as going to a corner gas station.

    Not a problem.

    Eric Reply:

    Well, that’s great for a home, but its not a gas station, meaning, open to the public as a business, and lets face it, there is no universal standard for charging receptacles on electric or plug in hybrid cars, like there is for gasoline/diesel cars filling receptacles.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Nathanael Reply:

    It is astoundingly trivial to plug an electric car into any electrical outlet whatsoever. People have come up with adapters for everything.

    The J1172 is the official standard for medium-speed charging.

  5. Jerry
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 15:23

    “The oil companies are getting rich off of a product that is killing Californians”
    As we continue to subsidize farmers to grow tobacco and companies continue to sell the “cancer sticks” to Americans and people throughout the world.
    Is it human nature, capitalism, or what??

  6. Roger Christensen
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 15:32

    So…Cap and Trade gifts HSR until what year?

  7. Reality Check
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 15:48

    HSRA posts YouTube videos tracing SF-SJ and SJ-Merced route alternatives.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Our good ex-BART director friend from thug-free Livermore, Mr. Robert “Safe and Reliable” Allen, makes the only public comment at the 1:40 mark of the otherwise content-free September 8, 2015 HSRA Board Meeting YouTube video.

    And you only get one guess as to what he says …

    Reality Check Reply:

    Meanwhile: BART trains delayed Monday night after rider took selfie while lying on tracks

    Around 9:30 p.m. Labor Day, police received a report from a family member of a man who allegedly posted a picture of himself lying on BART tracks. The family member was concerned that the man might still be in danger, police said. As a precautionary measure, all train activity was halted while authorities searched for the man.

    Roland Reply:

    He is telling HSR to go up the east Bay instead of the Peninsula. Other than the fact that he does not have a clue about a high-speed Transbay tube large enough for double-deckers, he should be decorated!!! Too bad Tripousis does not have any money to electrify the east Bay (nothing that a third rail pickup and Talgo gauge converter can’t fix :-)

  8. Danny
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 16:18

    I think it was the GPS provisions that spooked enough votes

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Nope. There’s a broader conflict within the Democrats about what many of these liberal shibboleths mean to economic liberals who are socially more moderate.

    It’s sort of like the gentrification going on in San Francisco…the non tech millionaires or long term residents are wondering when the City is going to reinvest its windfall on any of the things they care about or would help them out. But in age where Citizens United has made cash more important for winning elections than endorsements, the Tom Steyers and Steve Westlys, CTAs and yes, WSPAs rule the roost.

    Don’t forget also, that Gov. Brown Is the New Green was all about reducing bureaucratic hurdles for fracking not that long ago. He even fired two state executives who argued fracking was subject to CEQA. Add in the fact that Brown himself has been a poor salesman to legislators of color during his tenure and you get the picture.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sharp analysis.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I try. :)

  9. synonymouse
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 16:19

    It is not automobiles; it’s diesel trucks and everything else that relies on diesel. Why don’t the “good guys” call for CnT funds to convert Muni diesel bus lines to trolley coach?

    EJ Reply:

    I dunno, maybe it’s because they’re busy trying to make sure CnT funds go to convert diesel trains to electric?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the issue with diesel trucking is that many drivers are independent contractors and would not be able to absorb the reduction without help. Also many of the drivers are paid well, but are people of color or have only high school diplomas. This is their meal ticket and you can’t expect them to excited about a bill that might put them out of business.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Unless you plan on shopping in Nevada the truckers can’t do much about their fuel use.

    EJ Reply:

    Switzerland is planning to stick the whole truck on a train once the Goddard Tunnel opens, so they don’t have diesel trucks farting up the Alps. I imagine it’ll be subsidized, but seems like it’s something they value, so…

    It’s something California could do as well, basically right now, though the reduction in GHG would be more questionable since the trains themselves would be diesel powered.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Something like this?

    or perhaps this

    EJ Reply:

    No, it’s a little different from piggybacks, in that the whole truck (including the cab) goes on the train. There’s a dormitory car for the truck drivers. I mean, TOFC could be the way to go for California. Point is, it could be done.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    truck drivers get paid by the hour

    AGTMADCAT Reply:

    Not all of them – independent truckers are paid by the load, and they can sleep on the train, allowing them to move more loads while keeping their drive time under the mandated maximums. Of course they have to pay for the ticket, but there’s still profit left over. I forget where in Europe they’re already doing this, but it’s quite popular, and has led to a good reduction in pollution. It helps that European trains are faster than trucks, of course!

    Roland Reply:

    No. Something like this and yes, Eurotunnel does make a profit and so would any kind of base tunnel through the Tehachapis:

    keith saggers Reply:

    San Francisco—The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which
    oversees all transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), has taken
    delivery of its first New Flyer Industries electric trolley and biodiesel-electric hybrid buses.
    These two state-of-art buses represent the next phase of upgrades for SFMTA’s aging
    vehicle fleet. Sixty brand new electric trolley buses will replace buses that have been in
    operation for over two decades. Concurrently, through unanimous Board of Supervisors
    approval, the SFMTA has purchased 61 new biodiesel-electric hybrid buses. The
    combined purchases are part of the agency’s five year plan to replace the entire bus fleet.
    The introduction of the new low-floor biodiesel hybrid and electric trolley busses coincides
    with this year’s celebration of Earth Day. The new hybrids will run on B20: a blend of
    diesel and biodiesel, which is made from recycled oil and fat. The new trolleys will operate
    on 100 percent hydro-electric power. All of our electricity is hydropower – supplied from
    the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and is carbon neutral. Muni now has one of the most diverse
    transit fleets in the world and is also the cleanest multimodal fleet in California

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Another thought about the CNT would be the Delta Restoration that go cut from the BCDP, latest proposal.

  10. Reality Check
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 17:14

    Gov. Sandoval appoints 5 to Nevada high-speed rail board

    The initial appointees are George Smith, executive vice president of Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Tina Quigley, general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada; Hualiang “Harry” Teng, director of the railroad, high-speed rail and transit initiative and an associate professor of UNLV’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Fred Dilger, principal and transportation analyst at Black Mountain Research in Henderson; and Peter Thomas, managing partner of the Thomas & Mack Co. in Las Vegas.

    Joe Reply:

    Mlynarik declined?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    He was not, nor would he accept an invitation to join America’s Finest Transportation Professionals…

    Joe Reply:

    How about in a box and with a fox?

    Reality Check Reply:

    N-e-v-a-d-a …. Besides someone like Mlynarik would sooner light himself on fire than serve on a political board like that. Try paying attention and thinking.

    Joe Reply:

    That would be too kind a fate.

    Best for some to sit on the sidelines and complain endlessly. Politics is terrible, it involves considering other people’s opinions.

    EJ Reply:

    Why would he not want to? If he plays his cards right, after the revolution he could have the rest of them all taken out and shot, like he so frequently advocates.

    Joe Reply:

    Oh you might like Harry Teng

    These findings have important implications for the proposed California and Nevada HSR stations. Accommodations for arrival on foot or by bicycle are recommended. More issues on transfer time at HSR stations in the metropolitan areas in California are elaborated upon. Also discussed are the unique needs of visitors to Las Vegas and their implications for HSR design.

  11. john burrows
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 17:22

    This proposed 50% reduction in petroleum use in motor fuels by 2030 was, I think a step too far. Last April 29 Brown signed Executive Order B-30-15 which states “It is hereby ordered that a new interim statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 is established in order to ensure California meets its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050”. A 50% reduction in the use of petroleum in motor fuels is not, as far as I can see, mentioned in the executive order. Brown did state in his inaugural address that his goal was to reduce the use of petroleum in motor fuels in California by up to 50% by 2030.

    To a lot of Californians, including me, that 50% reduction was pretty scary, even allowing for the fact that some of the slack would be taken up by non-petroleum based motor fuels. If Brown had gone for a 40% reduction he would probably not have suffered this setback and would still have been on target to meet the 80% reduction goal by 2050.

    joe Reply:

    I wonder about the setback we all will feel with less aggressive emission cutbacks.

    Take a 40 mile a day commute. The average fleet vehicle with a MPG of 21 a day uses two gallons a day and 10 per week.

    Replace the vehicle with a Chevy volt. The volt gets 35 miles on a charge and 32 MPG. It charges off peak with standard 110 volt plug in nightly. The 5 mile per day difference uses fuel but to less than one gallon a week.

    We just cut the commute gas consumption an order of magnitude.
    Weekends around town could be no gasoline. Trips from LA to SF at 32 MPG (consumer reports mixed driving estimate) still 50% less gasoline

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Cover the parking lot with PV and let them charge until the afternoon when demand peaks. Makes the other cars in the lot marginally more efficient because they are parked in the shade.

    Joe Reply:

    Yep. We got a few in my crappy little town. And a tesla solar rapid charge station.

    Also work place can install a few smart meters with rapid charge.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Crappy little town? Gilroy or Missoula?

    Joe Reply:

    If we can do it, anyone can do it.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Hopefully Gilroy isn’t that crappy.

    joe Reply:


    For HSR, City government has been very pragmatic. Assume HSR will happened and plan for a station. Plan for redevelopment around the station. Far more mature than PAMPA or Kings County.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Gilroy has nothing to gain from HSR though. More density, more water, and more connectivity with both Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.

    joe Reply:

    From what planet does this kind of stop-time thinking originate?

    Gilroy sits at a natural cross roads for N/S and E/W travel. We already have connectivity via 152, 129 101 to Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Co.

    HSR modernizes the existing connections. That’s why, IMHO, the City embraces the concept.

    There’s a real possibility in 10-15 years a majority of residents will oppose HSR – that’s because the new development bed-room community mind set might not want to have a system in town. That’s what I mean by Bi-Modal.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    No, I meant the opposite, sorry.

    Gilroy has nothing to lose because HSR provides nothing but upside. The CV towns are the ones who lose their tax base because only their cities gain from an increase in population and taxable sales. The county and existing land owners are rationally opposing it even though I agree it’s shortsighted. Agriculture in California is vulnerable even if HSR is never built.

    What will be interesting is if San Jose and Santa Clara County play nice with Gilroy or if they try to screw them over with the growth boundary….

    Joe Reply:

    I did miss understand.
    Gilroy is southern most city of Santa Clara while Palo Alto is the northern most city. The county should be neutral on matters with San Jose. Gilroy the only city in Santa Clara that does not have a border with another city so the potential for sprawl exists but so far I’ve seen the city resist and encourage infill. The HSR envisioning project shows this intent.

    San Jose wants to preserve southern San Jose coyote valley as open space and strategically develop the area as work and living space in the distant future. HSR growth will be directed at Gilroy and not southern San Jose housing sprawl per San Jose’s intent. They want to grow the downtown. There is a long term plan to eventually add a Bailey Ave Caltrain stop. It current is an 101 exit to no where.

    All this indicates a plan to infill and develop a population center at the gilroy station.
    San Jose looking inward and Santa Clara has two stations. One as you recognize draws income and use from extra county riders.

    Finally, is one of only two stations with a green field station option. Kings County is the other.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Cut population growth by 50%.

    EJ Reply:

    Sez the man with 3 kids. Fuck off.

    synonymouse Reply:

    And one granddaughter. Most people I know have very few kids nor no children at all. Basically replacement population.

    Back to you.

    Joe Reply:

    Taking credit for your kid’s choices.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    yes it was too a step to far and yes it scared the crap out of californians who are in no position to cut back or absorb the increased costs.
    People are less interesting in reducing carbon and more interested in how to pay for needed infrastructure of all kinds

    Joe Reply:

    Reducing gasoline consumpution saves people money.

    This initative would push automakers to advance fuel economy over horsepower which simply shifts costs and doesn’t add them to a product.

    Stop start, capicators, weight reduction and more efficient engine cycles and morr cars desiged to by hybrids over hybird conversions.

    Ford energi is a green plug in hybrid with 188 total horsepower.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    well I just cut my consumption by almost half by switching from a 25mpg car to a 45 mpg car. So thats all Im doing.

    joe Reply:

    That’s doing your part.

    Laws and goals at the government level give automakers stable targets. It gives them a chance to build more efficient cars for the same dollar.

    Zorro Reply:

    Good for you, I would do the same if I could, but My income is too small.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    well it wasn’t easy and I was forced into when the old car died beyond repair and I needed to get to work. The 200 a month gas savings offsets the 350 a month increase in payment and insurance. I get a reliable car but local waiters get fewer tips. Life goes on.

  12. Zorro
    Sep 10th, 2015 at 21:36

    It’s not over with yet, both SB-350 and SB-32 are still alive, SB-350 has been amended, the Committee on Nat Res recommended passage, SB-32 has passed on a vote for Reconsideration and has been ordered to a 3rd Reading once again.

    09/10/15 From committee: Do pass as amended. (Ayes 5. Noes 2.) (September 10).
    09/10/15 Joint Rule 62(a) suspended.
    09/09/15 Re-referred to Com. on NAT. RES. pursuant to Assembly Rule 77.2.
    09/04/15 Ordered to third reading.
    09/04/15 Read third time and amended.

    09/09/15 Ordered to third reading.
    09/09/15 Reconsideration granted.
    09/08/15 Motion to reconsider made by Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas.
    09/08/15 Read third time. Refused passage.
    09/04/15 Ordered to third reading.

  13. synonymouse
    Sep 11th, 2015 at 00:02

    In terms of iniquity what is the difference between the Western States Petroleum Ass’n. and the Tejon Ranch Co.? None.

    They have both throttled Jerry Brown, for the same reasons – profit and corporate ambition.

    Zorro Reply:


    synonymouse Reply:

    Can’t handle the truth?

    Zorro Reply:

    You wouldn’t know the truth Cyno, you put out baseless accusations with no proof, none what so ever..

    synonymouse Reply:

    The most adept crooks leave no evidence. See Willie Brown.

    Zorro Reply:

    Excuses, excuses Cyno. Seriously, stfu.

    J. Wong Reply:

    So has Jerry Brown been throttled through perfectly legal (legislative) means? Or is he throttled by being in the pocket of said business interests?

    You could say it doesn’t matter because the effect is the same, but it really does matter. Tejon Ranch throttled HSR through the Authority and its actions, not through Jerry Brown. That is a much simpler story than your “Chinatown” corruption one. It also disproves your PAMPA uber alles arguments because they clearly have not throttled HSR (and you can’t have your cake and eat it too by claiming PAMPA both wants and doesn’t want HSR).

    The reality of life is that people including the rich and powerful just muddle along and occassionaly get lucky (not to say that some people aren’t more astute at taking advantage of said luck when it moseys by). All humans are imperfect and relying on perfection is a sure way to end up failing.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Jerry seems to be in awe of old money. That’s an old California Establishment thing.

    PG&E has been the worst to own politicians. The oil lobbyists and the Ranch have to play catch-up to PG&E.

    But the real old order elite, like Rolph and O’Shaughnessy, were more commonsensical and business like. Their projects mostly well-conceived; they even put tracks in the Bay Bridge for the Key and Sacramento Northern.

    The really modern stupidity commenced with BART, the product of engineers having too much money and too much time on their hands. And zero accountability. DogLegRail is “perfectly” in the “f**k-up big time” tradition of BART-Bechtel.

    The State really ought to buy the damn Tejon Ranch and turn most of it into parkland. That’s how to fight OMG Global Warming.

  14. Bdawe
    Sep 11th, 2015 at 00:34

    Ugh. We have carbon pricing. Carbon pricing is the most efficient means of accomplishing this goal, much more efficient than flogging baddies. If current prices are insufficient, raise them

    AGTMADCAT Reply:

    Just so! If the market determines that the cheapest way for us to cut our total GHG output in half is by doubling our gasoline consumption, but eliminating every other fossil fuel compeltely (By my math, that would just about do it!), then… well, that would be a weird market outcome, but it still accomplishes the actual important goal!

    Bdawe Reply:

    Strangely enough, you’re right

    That’s the problem with all this targeted hogwash. I don’t care that HSR is getting it’s power from renewables. We shouldn’t waste HSR money on that, because there are going to be a hundred different emissions reduction strategies that are lower hanging carbon fruit, and if we use tax policy to ensure that the easiset to reach reductions are found by the collective action of forty million Californians, we’ll all be better off for it.

  15. Ted Judah
    Sep 11th, 2015 at 07:39

    OT: I sure hope Joe Biden runs for President (for many reasons). But to have a die-hard rail fan in the White House would be a real catalyst.

    Eric Reply:

    yeah, that’s the one thing Joe has going for him by my perspective. if the polls are close I might vote his way, but otherwise it Bernie for me.

    Zorro Reply:

    I’m voting for Sen Bernie Sanders in 2016, if He is on the ballot in 2016, if He isn’t I’ll vote for some other Democratic Candidate, but a Republican? Never, I’d have to be forced to vote for a Repug at the point of a bayonet pointed at My back.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    Are we already throwing Hillary under the bus? I’m trying to figure out whcih bumber sticker to put on my car.

    Ted Judah Reply:

    I never wanted Hillary because I felt that she was always insincere about what Bill’s legacy was politically and the policies she embraces now.

    EJ Reply:

    Ugh, “we” aren’t doing anything. People should support who they like. I’m voting for Bernie, unless Biden runs, but if Hilary gets the nom, I’ll vote for her in the general.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    She was a shoo-in in 2007.

    Zorro Reply:

    I feel that Hilary is largely an empty shell and a weak copycat, but that’s My opinion.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Hillary is a terrible campaigner. She’s proven this repeatedly. Regardless of how good she’d be as a President… I really fear that she’d manage to lose the election. Look at what’s going on now: the State Department email stuff is a nothingburger, but she can’t manage to have a decent campaign message. She comes across as insincere.

    That’s why she lost in 2008. Bad campaigning.

    Bernie Sanders is a really good campaigner. Really really good. You have to be to win on a third party platform.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Should the Democratic Party bifurcate just like the Republican Party.

    But there is hardly any discernible difference between say, Pelosi, Hillary and de Blasio. I am sure they all salute the Kerry-Ayatollah Pact.

    But with the Repubs there is a significant difference between say, Kasich and Kruz. There is no social or rural right in the Democratic Party.

  16. datacruncher
    Sep 11th, 2015 at 14:31


    Could the Hyperloop soon be a reality, or are we getting taken for a ride?

    In late August, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced co-development deals with Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum and the engineering design firm Aecom. The involvement of two established and publicly-traded companies was widely interpreted as validation of the idea that Tesla founder Elon Musk shared with the world in a whitepaper in August of 2013.

    And there are other signs of forward motion on the Hyperloop: Musk himself is building a test track, through SpaceX, for a pod design contest slated for January of 2016. And HTT (which is not directly affiliated with Musk) is building a separate test track in California.

    But not everyone’s jumping on board. The media, and especially the tech media, have been aflutter about the Hyperloop since that first paper. But close observers and transit industry vets are much less enthusiastic about the concept, from the big picture down to the nuts and bolts. They argue that even given that the Hyperloop whitepaper was a rough sketch, the most important elements of the plan—its speed and price—have been vastly oversold.

    One of the Hyperloop’s critics is Alon Levy, a researcher in theoretical mathematics with Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, who analyzes public transit issues at the blog Pedestrian Observations . When the Hyperloop was first announced, Levy highlighted conceptual problems, including that Hyperloop’s acceleration would make it a “barf ride”.

    The new partnerships haven’t changed his perspective. If anything, they’ve made him more worried about the Hyperloop’s potential to erode support for California’s high speed rail project (CHSR) between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    “I think that [Hyperloop is] reducing political support for high speed rail in certain communities, like among very techy booster types in Silicon Valley,” says Levy.

    More at

    Zorro Reply:

    Without significant R&D money, it could be no better than that first subway attempt in NYC that used air pressure to propel a subway train car, the Beach Pneumatic Subway. As to speed, that is unknown since there was only one car, one station and 312 feet of tunnel and of course that isn’t mentioned on the wiki.

  17. JB from SV
    Sep 11th, 2015 at 17:59

    Hyperloop enthusiasts might tell themselves the system is at a TRL 5 or 6. Reading the recently released call for vehicle designs from SpaceX it feels more like a TRL of 3 or 4. They might be able to climb up the TRL scale quickly but TRL 10 is years away. I suspect they are in for some development problems that will need to be solved and later production details. It is sometimes easy to dream big early during development when one is still ignorant of problems not yet discovered.

    JB from SV Reply:

    Correction: TRL 9 not TRL 10.
    They asked for comments and suggestions.
    I suggested they use the biggest system they have (the linear motor) to move temporary sliding plugs to draw down the first 90% of reduced pressure. Then put the plugs out of the way and continue with the ‘vacuum’ pumps.

    They need to somehow make a pipe inside diameter that is more accurate than a HSR railhead. Musk points over there and says somebody else should solve those problems…At least it will promote study which might lead to something.

    Zorro Reply:

    Or it might lead no where, Hyperloop isn’t currently a viable replacement for HSR in any form, maybe in 10-20 years or maybe never, figuring that out requires more than a napkin, that requires lots of stuff called money..

    Miles Bader Reply:

    It seems useful to compare it to maglev, which is ostensibly a much simpler problem. Maglev research began in the 1960s, and has had a fair amount of both public and private money put into getting the engineering right. Although to some extent maglev is an “obvious” thing, until very recently there were only low speed toy systems in actual operation, and it’s only just now that real high speed lines are being built.

    At the same rate, we might see actual Hyperloop systems in 2065 or so—and Hyperloop seems to present even more significant challenges than maglev. Getting the nuts and bolts right for large scale safety-critical systems isn’t a fast process, even when the underlying concepts are sound….

    Zorro Reply:

    Yep, it will be a good long time before this goes from an idea on paper to something that can be proven to either work or be just another dud. Not every idea works beyond paper, a lot are flops.

    Clem Reply:

    And for those of you wondering: TRL is Technology Readiness Level, the fancy way of saying that an idea is half-baked.

    Even if you made the pod system work perfectly, the Achilles’ heel of the Hyperloop is the minimum safe headway. The spacing between pods will kill passenger throughput, compared to HSR. This is why fixed guideway systems engineers figured out that it made sense to couple the wheeled pods together into larger units known as “trains”.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    JB from SV Reply:

    Wood gas powered vehicles. Very low tech.

    Clem Reply:

    Hilarious and spot on for Musk’s Hyperloop idea!

    Isgota Reply:

    Hey! There are already cars and trucks running on compost. Well they run on biogas and anaerobic digestion is a bit different from composting but compared with hyperloop there are a handfull of TRLs ahead ;)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    We must kill the old way of thinking

    JB from SV Reply:

    And then, amazingly, CBOSS takes TRL in the negative direction. They took a 9 down to a…7? 6?

    Jerry Reply:

    Forget Hyperloop. Now Musk wants to drop a couple of thermonuclear weapons on Mars to make it more habitable.
    Maybe then, Hyperloop on Mars.

    Zorro Reply:

    Nukes would only blot out the sun on Mars, the blast(s) would make a Nuclear Winter, Mars would see the last of the atmospheric CO2 freeze, Mars would then not have an atmosphere, Musks latest idea would just create a Vacuum, a real dead planet, totally stupid.

    Clem Reply:

    Mars is already a dead planet.

    Danny Reply:

    geekdom is fashionable now, and Musk’s nuke-happy proposal shows what his hyperloop game is–he’s lining up with the Tesla/Edison/Jobs/Galileo/Wright Bros. scientist-showman archetype; he wants to be that “so crazy nobody’s thought to try” guy like Tony Stark (who appropriately is always nearly undone by his inability to examine himself and his place in the world)

    and people who sneer at creationists squee and tell us we have to learn how to be starstruck again; we saw this with PRT and ET3 and Shweeb and the Moller Skycar and the constant spate of glossy, beatific CGIs that we could’ve had yesterday for half the price were it not for those mean ol’ oil companies: of course the intent is to create a new technocratic supercorporation, but the narrative remains intact

    in fact the fact that it’s always going to BE a promise is what makes it so attractive, scribbling plans for meltdown-proof reactors and drafting Martian constitutions

    past failure feeds future failure: people need to read their Loren Eiseley and their Joseph Corn before their Wired

  18. JB from SV
    Sep 11th, 2015 at 23:21

    Off Topic.
    I am sure the earth-fill dam holding Upper Crystal Springs Res. was built with a large safety factor. If a quake were to cause the upper dam to fail and overcome the Lower Crystal Springs dam then Caltrain/HSR would find itself with a few miles of track under water and under loads of debris. From down town San Mateo the temporary delta would spread down the low neighborhood streets from Hwy 92 to the Broadway station. The delta would be guided by the 101 sound walls. The spillway is between hills until it approaches El Camino which crosses the creek at 31 ft. Many neighborhood streets go from there down to sea level. Good idea to build a reservoir on top of a tectonic plate.
    57,910 acre-ft of water at about 280 ft above sea level.

    Clem Reply:

    The upper dam (under highway 92) is no longer a dam, since upper and lower reservoirs are linked with culverts and always at an equal water level. As for the lower dam, it survived the 1906 quake.

    JB from SV Reply:

    Sorry, I was talking about the earth dam at San Andreas lake. I forgot the two lakes have different names.
    They are making improvements to the system.

    JB from SV Reply:

    These improvements included more than doubling the width of the spillway at the 1880s dam, thickening and raising the height of the wall atop the dam, constructing a new, larger concrete stilling basin at the bottom of the dam to accommodate the increased flow from the wider spillway, and completing erosion control work below the 140-foot-tall dam.

    “By completing these critical upgrades, the SFPUC will be able to ensure minimum water service to one million people in San Mateo and San Francisco counties within 36 hours of a major earthquake,” said Project Manager Tasso Mavroudis.

    JB from SV Reply:

    J. Wong Reply:

    Yes, SFPUC has been spending big bucks ($5b) to bring up the system’s earthquake readiness.

  19. Scramjett
    Sep 15th, 2015 at 16:55

    “Eventually, the good guys will win.”

    You poor, delusional, bastard. If it’s one thing I’ve learned from both the last 40 years of American History, world history and the last 20+ years of my life, it’s that the good guys NEVER win! Star Wars may be just a movie, but one of the things that was true from those movies was that the Emperor seized power and had fundamental control for DECADES! Even with his death, he so altered the political climate of the Galaxy that nothing like the Republic ever existed again (if the upcoming movie is any indication).

    George Lucas got that from one very reliable source, HISTORY! The “good guys” of the Roman Empire never succeeded (unless you want to call the Visigoth’s the “good guys,” except that they weren’t) and the Empire collapsed, the European political landscape was fundamentally altered and endured over a millennia of dark ages and/or tyrannical monarchy’s.

    Trust me, the good guys will not win.

    PS – In case some of you think I am attributing all of the above to this one political defeat, I am not. This is just one in thousands of political defeats compounded with incompetent, idiotic, compromise happy progressive leaders that are leading to the inevitable and increasingly unavoidable collapse of the country.

    Oh, and I just watched John Oliver’s latest show. That just added to the depression.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If there’s one lesson to be learned from the fall of Rome it would be to place your most important texts on a really durable medium and bury some copies very securely.

    Fanatics don’t generally tolerate the good stuff. One pope said he burned every copy of Cicero he could find. Do you think any copy of Suetonius’ “Lives of the Famous Whores” survived?

    I have a notion the Romans thought hand written papyrus scrolls cute and toney. Big mistake.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’m generally a pessimist, but I’ll point out the two things I am optimistic about:

    (1) market forces are going to kill oil and coal. Solar and wind have passed the price point where they’re going to wipe them out. It’s one of the few things which makes me optimistic.
    (2) our current pro-fossil-fuel leaders are unutterably stupid. Consider Rajoy in Spain with his “tax on the sun”. This causes worldwide revulsion, mockery, and hostility. These leaders will be replaced. Even if they’re replaced by terrible people it’ll probably be an improvement. I always point out that life under Stalin was far better than life under the last Tsar.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Those slow moving windmills are blinking ugly – they are like a billboard grinding the natural world is dead.

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