The dog that didn’t bark: More evidence top Dems want bullet train gone

The dog that didn’t bark: More evidence top Dems want bullet train gone

dog.didnt.barkThe California establishment fights dirty when it comes to direct challenges to its priorities and the people it wants to protect the most.

The CTA blocking efforts to make it easier to remove classroom sexual predators and instead passing legislation that gave such predators new protections is one example. Another is the state Public Employment Relations Board making insane arguments, such as asserting the provisions of a 1971 state law mandating teacher performance be part of job evaluations should be subject to collective bargaining now — and in every school district! Another is the Legislature passing a bill that would have led to even more shakedown lawsuits in response to corrupt trial lawyer scams targeting minority small businesses.

This ruthless extremism is on particular display with direct democracy. The Attorney General’s Office under Bill Lockyer, Jerry Brown and now Kamala Harris has a horrible record of crafting ballot language for initiatives and constitutional amendments — language obviously meant to push voters one way or the other when it comes to signing petitions or voting, whether it be for union power plays or on social issues like gay marriage.

So guess what happened Tuesday? The Secretary of State’s Office released the official title and summary for a proposed anti-bullet train ballot measure prepared by the AG’s office, and it seems downright reasonable and fair:

“HIGH-SPEED RAIL. FUTURE BOND SALES. NEW TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGIES. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Prevents sale of high-speed rail bonds previously approved by voters for construction of a high-speed rail system, except to fund any segment already under construction. Permits construction of first segment of the high-speed rail system to proceed, if Legislature consents, to allow comparison with other transportation technologies that deliver speeds exceeding 250 miles per hour or energy efficiencies exceeding 120 miles per gallon or equivalent. Authorizes state to acquire/dedicate right-of-way and contract with private developers to construct and operate new transportation technology pilot projects for comparison with high-speed rail. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Impact to state debt-service savings ranging from zero to about $650 million annually from not using state bond funds to construct high-speed rail, depending on how this measure is interpreted and the resulting reduction in bond funds spent. Potential state costs in the hundreds of millions of dollars to the extent that the state is not reimbursed by private developers for right-of-way acquisition for the development of transportation pilot projects. Potential reduction in state and local tax revenues of tens of millions of dollars annually for a few years, resulting from a loss of federal matching funds.”

Dems ready to bail on bullet train without admitting as much

Kamala-Harris-handsSo what’s going on here? Why is Kamala Harris playing fair?

I think it’s more evidence for my theory that Dem leaders from Gov. Jerry Brown down privately agree with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and want the bullet train gone before it becomes Big Dig West — but they want to do so without blood on their hands or without admitting they championed a fiasco. Instead, they can lamely blame “declinists” and mean people who opposed the bullet train from the start.

How are they going to pull this off? Through intentionally inept lawyering. As I wrote last fall for this site:

“In California Attorney General Kamala Harris … office’s ‘remedies’ brief in October responding to Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny’s Aug. 16 ruling that the bullet train had an illegal business plan and inadequate environmental reviews, there was no challenge to Kenny’s findings. There was just the assertion that work on the project could continue using federal funds. …

“It seems awfully problematic for the state to concede its plans break the law yet still want to proceed with a $68 billion project. But that appears to be what has happened.”

Touting ludicrous legal theories with knowledge they’re ludicrous

Here’s more from CWD in January on the the second round of legal responses from the state to anti-rail authority rulings:

“For five months after Judge Kenny’s ruling, the Brown administration didn’t question its legal reasoning one bit. Now the administration accuses the judge of ‘erecting obstacles found nowhere in the voter-approved bond act’ of 2008 that provided $9.95 billion in bond seed money for the project. Huh? How can the governor and attorney general make this argument now when they didn’t before?

“Maybe because they know how ludicrous it will look to sober observers, and they like that it looks ludicrous.

“Look at the bigger picture. Two plus two equals four, people.

“By asking the California Supreme Court to weigh in quickly, and by using an obviously flawed legal argument in doing so, Jerry is angling for a prompt resolution to the bullet-train saga — before more money is spent and before eminent domain is used to seize perfectly sound homes, farms and businesses in the Central Valley.”

Now there’s more evidence for this thesis. If Kamala Harris really wanted the bullet train, her MO would have been to write another slanted ballot summary and title.

She didn’t.

Sherlock Holmes would know what to think of this. It’s the dog that didn’t bark.



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