by Chris Reed | January 28, 2014 6:15 am
After rereading Attorney General Kamala Harris’ court filings from October and last week regarding the bullet train, I’m more convinced than ever that what we’re seeing from Harris and Gov. Jerry Brown is an elaborate charade to mask the fact that the governor no longer wants to fight for the bullet train. Why has Jerry given up? These factors all probably are part of his decision:
1. Legal obstacles created by Prop. 1A’s ban on subsidies and requirement that the initial segment have all funding and enviro reviews completed before construction begins.
2. The extreme unlikelihood of further federal funding. It’s not just because of House Republicans. It’s because discretionary domestic spending is going to be squeezed in perpetuity because of rising entitlement costs. It’s because of the silliness of the idea that the other 49 states would fund high-speed rail for one state and one state only.
3. The growing likelihood that the bullet train is going to be left far, far behind by other technologies that cost less but help the environment much more. The mass advent of driverless cars is now seen as inevitable by 2035 or 2040. What is the average Californian going to want to use: His cheap personal hybrid mini limo? Or a train, no matter how fancy or fast?
So how do Jerry and Kamala wind this down?
First the AG produces an astounding response to Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny’s initial Aug. 16 ruling that the California High-Speed Rail Authority didn’t have a legal business plan that identified funding sources for the first 300-mile segment or sufficient environmental reviews for that segment.
The response, filed in October, didn’t disagree. The AG’s office by this omission CONCEDED the state had an illegal business plan. It said, however, that the rail authority could continue for now, using federal funds only.
Then, last week, Harris completely reversed field with an appeal that claims that not only was Kenny completely wrong but that the whole idea that a court could get in the way of California’s executive branch is offensive. Here’s how AP reported this:
“A petition filed late Friday seeks an expedited review and asks the court to overturn two decisions that prevented the state from selling $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds. The lower-court rulings also require the high-speed rail authority to write a new financing plan.
“The governor, the rail authority and the state treasurer argue that the rulings prevent California from quickly starting construction on the $68 billion project. They also say it could hurt California’s ability to finance other voter-approved projects.”
This is from the Sacramento Bee:
“The administration said in a request for expedited review that ‘the trial court’s approach to these issues cripples government’s ability to function’ and could have implications for other infrastructure projects.
“The state argues the normal appeals process could take years to resolve and is ‘not a real choice.’”
This is a massive “bleep you” to the judicial branch of the California government. It argues that if courts can impede government projects or initiatives, whatever the circumstances, that is a bad thing. It argues that courts playing their standard watchdog role “cripples government’s ability to function.”
And it makes this argument to the CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT!
This is an appeal that’s designed to fail. Yeah, surrrrrrre, the justices will endorse this putdown and repudiate judicial authority by siding with Harris’ appeal.
I’m really enjoying this farce. And it’s only going to get better.
Hey, Sacramento beat reporters: When will any of y’all get around to asking Kamala Harris about the shocking change in her POV from October to last week?
If they can ignore the original lie of the bullet train — the evidence from 2008 that the rail authority never for a minute believed it could craft a legal business plan under Prop 1A — they can ignore anything.
Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2014/01/28/ag-bullet-train-appeal-courts-should-know-their-place/
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