[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
82°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 16
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]


Commentary by Betty Arenson
| Friday, Mar 16, 2018

It’s hard to believe we’ve been haunted by Jerry Brown’s “Unicorn Legacy of the Bullet Train” for 10 long years.

In keeping with Brown’s typical fairy-tale wishes, this toy had no reasonable plan, or candor, in mind as to practicalities in building it or in operating it. The only concrete part of the scheme is that it was to be sold to voters so the sycophants could declare, “hey, it was voter-approved.”

Once again, the public was deceived by Sacramento’s lies of Proposition 1A.

Gullible people liked the “feel” of high-speed rail transporting people from L.A. to San Francisco. Others knew better.

Nearly four years ago, I wrote and gave these facts on how Jerry Brown Inc. sold his maniacal legacy:

* Before promotion 1A began, somebody with the checkbook had already spent $58 million on consultants, impressive brochures and European travel (enamored with Japan’s system and others) without “one inch of track.”

* $33 billion final cost for 800 miles of track;

* (to be) completed by 2020;

* no increase in taxes, yet “appropriates money from the general fund to pay bond principal and interest;”

* travel time from L.A. to San Francisco in 2 hours, 40 minutes, for $50 (per ticket);

* no subsidies necessary for operational expenses;

* all funding and environmental approvals will be obtained before construction starts.

* Shortly the reported cost tripled. Channel 7-NBC San Diego covered a news conference as late as Nov. 6, 2011, giving a figure of $98.5 billion with completion stretched to 2033.

* Mysteriously, the number shrank to $68 billion; the $33 billion vanished.

An October 2015 Los Angeles Times headline read: “$68-billion California bullet train project likely to overshoot budget and deadline targets.” There have been numerous negative headlines about this massive taxpayer onus since that time. The latest projected figure is $77.3 billion, with expectations of the cost being $100 billion.

That’s about right. The politicians sell it at $33 billion but it’s really $100 billion. That cost is now coupled with a completion date of 2033.

Inarguably, this project was ill-conceived. The crux of the debacle was the absence of any credible explanation on building it. Other components causing skyrocketing costs are:

* Continuing changes; more here, less there;

* Needed land has not been acquired timely and property values are increasing;

* More land is needed;

* More necessary utilities are needed;

* Safety barriers are required keep the bullet train from crashing with private freight trains;

* “so-called third-party negotiations were difficult;”

* Lawsuits exist, and more are threatened (taxpayers must pay those bills).

One contractor, “Spanish construction giant Dragados, was hired in 2014 and as of six months ago, had not started construction. They are “seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in additional payments.” They are contracted to build only a 65-mile section.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office gives a dismal report about funding risks. Attracting outside investors would need California to offer ridership-revenue guarantees. However, back in 2010, the LAO opined that “appears illegal.”

Quentin Kopp, retired judge and Bay Area politician, was once chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority and helped sell the bullet train to voters. He’s now suing to stop it, saying, “It is foolish, and it is almost a crime to sell bonds and encumber the taxpayers of California at a time when this is no longer high-speed rail. … And the litigation, which is pending, will result, I am confident, in the termination of the High-Speed Rail Authority’s deceiving plan.”

One year ago, the state Legislature allowed the Rail Authority to sell “voter-approved” bonds, calling it a “milestone.” The angered Kopp responded: “It’s deceit. That’s not a milestone, it’s desperation, because High-Speed Rail Authority is out of money.”

Baruch Feigenbaum, an assistant director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, agrees with Kopp. The Rail Authority’s own hired analyst reports this system will not be self-sustaining but will require “massively high-ticket prices” or $100 million of taxpayer money annually.

Environmental attorney Stuart Flashman, co-litigant with Kopp, says the “often-promised environmental benefits” won’t happen. Other countries have shown no decrease in cars on the road, and initial construction alone of the system will generate “more greenhouse gases that the train could recoup in 80 years.”

A rowdy taxpayers’ revolt is long overdue in California.

Betty Arenson is a Valencia resident who believes in the Constitution in its entirety and that laws should be upheld and apply to everyone equally.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

3 Comments

  1. Quentin L. Kopp says:

    Ms. Arenson is perhaps half accurate in her diatribe about the “Crazy Train Gets Crazier.” Do not be deceived by her references to me. I support, and have since 1994 as a State Senator, genuine high-speed rail. The present plan is conventional diesel rail, not high speed. High-speed rail is electrified by definition, and usually runs on dedicated tracks. That means dedicated to high-speed rail and not shared with commuter or freight trains. It would be helpful if Ms. Arenson understood those points. Jerry Brown did not “sell” high-speed rail in 2008, as voters approved Proposition (not “promotion”) 1A. After becoming Governor in 2011, he embraced the project and has done so since, disregarding the present plan’s violation of Proposition 1A and promises to voters and taxpayers.

    I am a plaintiff in a pending lawsuit in which Stuart is not a “co-litigant” with me. He is co-counsel for eight other plaintiffs and me, together with Mike Brady of Redwood City. The basis of the suit is legislative action in 2016 to appropriate without voter approval $715,000,000 from the Proposition 1A general obligation bond issue of $9,950,000,000 to defray the $2,000,000,000 cost of electrifying the Caltrain commute train from San Francisco to San Jose. I am a plaintiff not because I have soured on high-speed rail, which operates successfully in 11 other nations in Europe and Asia, or I oppose the electrification of Caltrain. I support the electrification of Caltrain, but not using money voters approved for a specific purpose, and not Caltrain electrification as such. Parts of Ms. Arenson’s column which are accurate is that further federal funds are prohibited by House of Representatives legislation, which although never adopted by the U.S. Senate, as a practical matter means no federal funding until another Obama-type becomes President and Pelosi becomes Speaker again. Arenson is wrong in stating: “One year ago, the State Legislature allowed the Rail Authority to sell ‘voter-approved’ bonds . . .” I explained above the nature of such legislative action which is the subject matter of the above-mentioned lawsuit.

    I recommend Arenson interview people who know the subject matter before writing such inaccuracies as if she’s a version of Donald Trump.

  2. C.R. says:

    Came here to say what Mr. Kopp said. Please fact check Ms. Arenson’s “columns” before posting.

  3. Denny NNWofLA says:

    C’mon guys, Betty has a long history of presenting her conservative nonsense and being critical of anything she deems as progressive. Facts, not so much. She is a living example of what watching FOX NEWS does to the mind.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Oct 4, 2018
Local entrepreneurs, industry leaders and business owners are looking for employees who can communicate clearly, whether writing or speaking; effectively collaborate on teams; and quickly make decisions that benefit both the company and its customers.
Tuesday, Oct 2, 2018
Canyon Country is known as a major residential area in our City, as well as a popular commercial and retail spot.
Monday, Oct 1, 2018
In her message for October 2018, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste invites the community to the annual State of the City Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018
Not being able to record and document what Knight and Hill stated during the debate makes it difficult for our community to hold both of them accountable to what they say.
Friday, Sep 14, 2018
Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage have different benefits and costs that you should consider based on your personal needs. Medicare open enrollment season runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and it’s a good idea to know how the two types of Medicare work before you select one.
Wednesday, Sep 5, 2018
In his September column, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin outlines the city's 'Heads up' safety campaign against distracted driving and walking.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Family Focus Resource Center at California State University, Northridge will host its annual Special Needs Resource Fair – a daylong celebration focused on connecting families with special needs children to resources that can help them thrive – on Sunday, Oct. 21.
Oct. 21: CSUN Hosting Special Needs Resource Fair
The city of Santa Clarita will be hosting earthquake drills at City facilities to help train the community how to properly drop, cover and hold on during an earthquake as part of The Great California ShakeOut at 10:18 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18.
City Encourages Residents to Participate in Great California ShakeOut
(CN) – Sears, once a powerhouse of American retail, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday and said it will close 142 stores amid mounting debt.
Sears Files for Bankruptcy
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN head softball coach Tairia Flowers has released the 2019 schedule, featuring 24-of-49 games that will take place at Matador Diamond.
Matadors Release 2019 Softball Schedule
The Fort Tejon Historical Association will be presenting the Death of Peter Lebeck and Candlelight Ghost Tours at Fort Tejon State Historic Park on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 4:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Oct. 20: Fort Tejon Candlelight Ghost Tours
If you like the excitement of finding treasures, then ARTober is the month for you.
Abandoned Art Project SCV to Begin Oct. 15
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]
A free LifeForward workshop hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley is scheduled at Savia Community Center, 23780 Newhall Ave in Newhall on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 20: Life Coach Laura Cazares to Speak at Zonta Workshop
The Child & Family Center's 15th Annual Kid Expo will be held at Golden Valley High School on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 21: Kid Expo at GVHS to Benefit Child & Family Center
Los Angeles County had higher influenza activity in the 2017–18 season (Oct. 1, 2017–May 13, 2018) than the previous five influenza seasons, according to public health officials' Influenza Season Summary.
More County Influenza Deaths in 2017-18 Than in 5 Previous Seasons
CSUN students will explore the collective consciousness of men of color at CSUN’s biannual Men of Color Enquiry and Student Research Poster Session on Friday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 26: CSUN Looks to Inspire Men of Color with Research Session
The Master's men's soccer team's 1-0 win over the Warriors in Santa Barbara Saturday was a sweet one for The Master's University head coach Jim Rickard and his Mustangs.
TMU Men’s Soccer Team Edges Westmont Behind Garcia Sosa Goal
The Master's University's women's soccer team suffered a 2-0 loss to No. 11 Westmont on Saturday in Santa Barbara.
TMU Women’s Soccer Team Falls to Westmont on the Road
Despite The Master's University women's volleyball team's 3-0 loss in Santa Barbara, ending a 12-match winning streak, the No. 11 Mustangs remain in first place in GSAC standings.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Win Streak Snapped in Santa Barbara
Celebrate the harvest season with storytelling through dance and drums under the oak trees at Placerita Canyon in the Nature Center's outdoor amphitheater on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 3: Free Volta Drum Dance at Placerita Canyon Nature Center
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Oct. 15-21, 2018.
Features, TV Shows, Spots Now Filming in SCV
Southern California Edison is monitoring weather conditions and has additional crews at the ready to respond to possible power outages and dangerous wildfire conditions due to Santa Ana winds and low humidity predicted through Tuesday night.
SCE Monitoring High Wind, May Kill Power to Avert Downed-Line Fires
A red flag warning issued due to gusty high winds and low humidity will remain in effect through 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Red Flag Warning Flies in SCV Through Tuesday Night
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station have arrested nearly 70 people in a series of crime suppression operations during October, according to station officials.
SCV Deputies Arrest Nearly 70 in Crime Suppression Operations
Ahead of Election Day Nov. 6, airwaves and mailboxes across California overflow with expensive campaign advertisements, among them ads urging yes or no votes on state ballot measures.
Century-Old California Direct-Democracy System Now ‘Pay-to-Play’
John Bulinski has been appointed the director of the California Department of Transportation's District 7, and will oversee the freeway system in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, Caltrans announced Monday.
John Bulinski Named Caltrans Director for LA, Ventura Counties
1939 - Second, larger OLPH Catholic Church dedicated on site of first (10th & Walnut, Newhall) [story]
Here is the Week 8 roundup of Santa Clarita Valley football scores.
Santa Clarita Valley Football Roundup
1980 - Phillies beat Royals in Game 1 of World Series; Hart grad Bob Walk is winning pitcher [story]
1876 - Town of Newhall founded at Bouquet Junction (moved 2 years later to present location) [story]
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has introduced a motion to bring forward a public health-centered effort to address the emergence of diseases that have impacted the county, especially among the homeless population.
Barger Urges Effort to Curb Spread of Disease in County Homeless Population
CalArts student Hanna Kim (Film/Video BFA 19) won the gold medal for Animation (Domestic Film Schools) during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 45th Student Academy Awards ceremony Thursday night.
CalArts’ Hanna Kim Wins Gold in 45th Student Academy Awards
Here's a look at how The Master's University's sports teams rank in the latest polls.
TMU Mustangs Sports: A Peek at the Polls
The Valley Industry Association will present a California State Assembly 38th District Candidate Forum at its monthly business luncheon at Valencia Country Club on Tuesday, Oct. 16, starting at 11:45 a.m.
Oct. 16: Assembly 38th District Candidates to Face Off at VIA Forum
Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station arrested a man in Oakland suspected of robbing a business in Castaic on Oct. 5, according to station authorities.
SCV Detectives Arrest Castaic Robbery Suspect in Oakland
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Oct. 16, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Oct. 16: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Los Angeles County election officials are alerting residents about a misleading robocall now circulating that wrongly claims there is an error in one of the ballot titles for the Nov. 6 General Election.
Voter Alert: Beware of Robocalls Making False Statements
The California Highway Patrol has received a federal grant to develop the Get Educated and Ride Safe, or GEARS, program to promote motorcycle safety and awareness.
CHP Receives Grant to Boost Motorcycle Safety, Awareness
The city of Santa Clarita will present three music-related sessions at the 2018 Arts Symposium at The Centre on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Oct. 20: Art Symposium to Stage 3 Music Sessions
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reminds residents to protect themselves from flea-borne typhus by using flea control products on pets and avoiding wild or stray animals.
Public Health Asks Residents to Help Prevent Flea-Borne Typhus
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested an Antelope Valley man on multiple charges after a traffic stop in Canyon Country.
AV Man Arrested on Multiple Charges in Canyon Country