I don’t want to follow the rules, so please excuse me from doing so. But I do want the cash you have from folks who are following the rules. Pretty fair to me, don’t you know?
The folks at the California High Speed Rail Scam Authority have requested that taxes collected from carbon Cap-and-Trade requirements be used to build the rail system and … at the same time they have requested to be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act. So they want to take money from the taxes on Cap-and-Trade for a project that is exempt from proving it is not polluting the air of California.
Yes, they want the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, to exempt them from air quality requirements AND get money from those who are paying to keep in operation.
Oh, did you also know a bill has passed both the Assembly and Senate to ensure state agencies cannot split various boards and government regulators in to small groups of two in order to conduct business without having to have a public forum? It requires that all meetings be open. Opening meetings of state agencies and boards is another way to make sure things are transparent in our government.
I’m sure that if the High-Speed Rail Authority really had open meetings where they really listened, the whole outfit would have folded up its tents and gone away long ago. But they don’t hold these meetings to listen to the public. Nope … the meetings are held so we can listen to them expound the virtues of a rail system that is using technology from 40 years ago.
Sorry, folks. I don’t buy that, and most other folks don’t, either.
Many newspapers and other media are starting to call the whole thing, “Dead Train Walking.” The hoped-for private and federal funds have dried up. Investors are looking at the High-Speed Rail Authority like another Enron. A wonderful house of cards that will not only fall, but once it falls, it will burn, too.
This isn’t pretty, folks. There are various city and county governments suing the state over the rail scam. Groups of farmers and ranchers are doing the same. State agencies are reluctant to issue permits and even simple policy statements out of fear of a lawsuit.
All the time this is going on, the clock keeps ticking. The Proposition 1A that was passed has a time limit. Tick-tock-tick-tock…
Remember how we were told in a movie that was released in 2006 that the polar bear population will be affected because of global warming? Well, when the producer of that movie was born, it was estimated that maybe only 7,000 of those critters remained. Imagine the horror of knowing that today, only about 28,000 remain. Yes, you read that right.
Even the latest study by the United Nations had to admit humans can do little to affect the climate. Our good old planet is going to do just about whatever it wants to do, no matter what.
So here we are in the formerly great state of California, collecting money as a way to cap and trade carbon emissions to pay for something that can’t prove it will have the effect of slowing climate change.
Can we fix our freeways, roads and other forms of public infrastructure instead?
All of this doesn’t mean we can forget about where the High-Speed Rail Authority wants to route the damned train. We still have to fight to keep the tracks out of the Santa Clarita Valley. We cannot forget that. (Also don’t forget, regardless of what ultimately happens, the High-Speed Rail Authority will not allow the train to stop here.)
The folks at the High-Speed Rail Authority are indeed cunning and devious. They have to be. If they had a product to sell that we really wanted, they wouldn’t have a job. Instead they hold meetings in private, behind closed doors.
This is a very transparent way to run a state. It may be the most transparent government we’ve ever had. Jerry Brown said it, so it must be true.
We’ll see – because if he vetoes the bill that was passed with full backing of both political parties to open the meetings just to keep his railroad running, we’ll know.
Yes, the most transparent government ever – because at this point, what does it really matter?
It matters because our kids and grandkids are going to be left with a train we and they cannot afford.
Jerry Brown wants a legacy. We can give him one. He was building a train that will never run. He left, and it was stopped.
Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley, where he serves as executive director of the SCV Historical Society. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His older commentaries are archived atDManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].