CalWatchdog Morning Read – January 17

  • Bullet train report prompts renewed criticism, investigations
  • Trump unpopular in CA, but not all of his ideas
  • Can’t predict ACA repeal impact without replacement in mind
  • All Democratic eyes on Senator Feinstein
  • Silicon Valley’s Thiel mulling gubernatorial run

Good morning. The bullet train faces renewed scrutiny after a report surfaced suggesting massive cost overruns. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, a “confidential estimate by federal regulators that the cost of California’s bullet train project could jump significantly has prompted critics of the $64-billion Los Angeles-to-San Francisco rail effort to call for new investigations and proponents to disclaim reports that project costs are growing.”

“State officials have accused The Times of mischaracterizing its findings. In a letter to members of the Legislature, the California High-Speed Rail Authority accused The Times of incorrectly using internal deliberations to suggest cost overruns and delays that are not borne out by facts.”

“But critics of the project said the federal analysis validates their concerns that the state will be saddled with multibillion-dollar unbudgeted costs for the foreseeable future.”

CalWatchdog has more. 

In other news:

  • Trump: “California’s expectations for Donald Trump’s presidency are in the cellar, with little more than a third of voters believing it will be a success, a new Hoover Institution Golden State Poll shows. But a plurality of voters holds more positive than negative views about some of Trump’s more controversial positions, including his call to restrict immigrants from certain countries, end sanctuary cities and to deport undocumented immigrants.” Politico has more. 

  • ACA repeal: PolitiFact CA checks the accuracy of Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon’s claim that an ACA repeal could cost the state 200,000 jobs. Here’s a hint: You can’t measure the impact without knowing what the replacement is. In fact, CalWatchdog wrote something similar recently.

  • Musical chairs: “As top California Democrats plot their future career moves, a critical piece of information is missing: Will Sen. Dianne Feinstein seek re-election? Speculation about the 83-year-old senator’s plans took on new urgency this year, as ambitious statewide politicians decide whether to run for governor with Gov. Jerry Brown termed out. News that Feinstein was fitted with a pacemaker last week reignited the parlor game, with California political circles discussing anew what the procedure might mean for the veteran lawmaker as she evaluates her options.” The Los Angeles Times has more. 

  • 2018: “Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire and outspoken Donald Trump supporter, is considering a 2018 bid for California governor, according to three Republicans familiar with his thinking.” Politico has more. 


  • Assembly in at 1 p.m., Senate in a 2 p.m. 

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events announced. 

Tips: [email protected]

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