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CHSRA Land Grab SCAM, now passed through Assembly

Original post made by Parent, Charleston Gardens, on Aug 10, 2013

Please be aware that the California High Speed Rail Authority is now poised with this law, already approved by the Assembly, that will allow them to acquire (eminent domain) MORE LAND than it needs for High Speed Rail, and then sell or lease that extra land for revenue. Without oversight. They euphamistically refer to this as streamlining the land acquisition process to speed the HIgh Speed Rail project along.

So, any guesses where this might be a lucrative scheme for CHSRA? Don't worry Palo Alto, it would probably only directly effect those places where real estate values are the highest, and likely to be wildly profitable for CHSRA...

Morris Brown provided this info:
"A copy of a letter sent by Assemblymen Patterson and Bigelow requesting an audit of the Land Acquisition activities of the CHSRA can be viewed at"

Web Link

From this letter, Point 8 reads:
"The Authority is sponsoring AB 481 (Lowenthal), which will enable it to generate revenuefrom the sale or lease of acquired land that is not needed for high-speed rail purposes. Howmuch "nonoperating" land does the Authority project it will acquire? Is this projectionreasonable and necessary? For what purposes does the Authority plan to lease this land, andhow much revenue does it expect to generate?"

Of course, this audit request will undoubtedly be denied because these are republican Assemblymen and the legislature is completely controlled by democrats that can't love the CHSRA HSR/Big developer/Big union land grab scheme enough.

More info on AB481, already passed in the Assembly:
Web Link

Hopefully those of you concerned by this tactic will write to the Democratic legislator(s) that you voted in last time, to let them know you don't support this SCAM.

Comments (17)

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Posted by anon
a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Aug 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Add to that this insult to CA's environmental laws....

"SACRAMENTO -- California's high-speed rail project is no longer subject to the state's rigorous environmental laws after a federal transportation board ruled that it has oversight of the project, the state attorney general's office argues in a brief filed Friday. "

Web Link


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Posted by member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm

I can't figure out how this became a Republican / Democrat issue. Governor Brown is heading up the effort at relaxing the environmental laws with the approval of the California Senate which is headed up by a Democrat. A land grab is a land grab no matter who is doing it. No one can gain from this except the people that are actually managing the land grab. So zero in on who is responsible for overseeing this and it will become clear what is behind it. I am thinking that there is oil under the land that can be obtained by fracking? Or some other
value that is not obvious at this time? I believe that the land is not useful for farming due to high mineral content. There is another section in the forum in which ABAG is being explained. Those two articles need to be connected to figure out the full story. There is an attempt to "regionalize" the discussions so the pieces are not connected.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Member, There's a very good reason why they are insisting that HSR MUST run directly through the middle of the most high value real estate in the Peninsula (or for that matter, through the entire state). This may or may not be an issue for the Central valley farmland, doubtful they have much incentive to overbuy there - but the HSR is coming to a neighborhood near you soon enough. Perhaps think about the value of real estate a little closer to home...


Makes alot of sense now why they refused an Altamont pass to I5 route - there's hardly any developer/union profits there to be had in real estate development...

And of course, there's a very good reason they finally put the SF to SJ section last on the list. It take this kind of crap off the radar of the residents of the Bay Area until its MUCH too late. SF to PA was just way too involved in the details and became very cumbersome for CHSRA to move about their business below the radar.

You are absolutely correct about the connection to the ABAG (mandated development) story line and this one. Its important to look at who is behind this kind of governmental power grab. I frankly don't care who it is - demo or repub - whoever it is needs to be stopped.


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Posted by We're number 16!!!
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

[Portion removed.] Every major country in the world is building infrastructure to compete in the future. There are at least 15 industrialized countries with more HSR than the US. Look at China, the #1 competitor for the US in almost all areas.

China is building 16,000 miles of HSR on top of what they already have. Some folk posting here think we can not do anything as well as China.

Most Americans think we can do better. I do. [Portion removed.]

Just remember that as you read the loud protests from a vocal few on this board (the anonymous few.)

B Whitiker - not a fan of having to post under "We're number 16!!!"


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

@#16:

So easy to lob name calling slights like "horse and buggy" or NIMBY while,conveniently ignoring the completely out of control costs of construction and operation. Also ignoring that the funding model is highly flawed ($0 private investment to-date) and that revenue forecast is entirely without realistic data.

Nothing against HSR. Totally against any project that will cost the taxpayers billions of dollars with no hope of paying its debts, let alone come close to breaking even.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Robert, that certainly is one of the favorite flawed logic rhetorical arguments trotted out by the HSR proponents. Something like... Dad, all my friends have their tongues pierced...

There are lots of things China does that US doesn't do. You suggest we should do whatever China is doing eh?

And yet, through all of your nonsense, you don't explain why 15 other countries including China having HSR explains why US Citizens should allow the CHSRA to seize property they don't need for building HSR, and turn around and sell that extra property or lease it for profit - for government revenue. Without any oversight on their property seizing activities.

Oh, I see, you ARE suggesting we do things just like China does.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Let alone that China HSR is a 100% communist government funded program and has absolutely no accountability in terms of covering both building and operating costs through fares/revenues.


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Posted by We're number 16!!!
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm

You guys sound like Russell Long or perhaps the libertarians that were against the interstate highway system: "a public-works, government-owned boondoggle that was modeled after the National Socialist autobahn system in Germany."

After all, Ike's baby was based on Roosevelt's (eek! FDR the socialist!) Federal-Aid Highway Act of '38, and later, 1944.

How's that? Nazi's and socialists in the same post - a Double Godwin Winner!

Opposition to the interstate highway system from the horse and buggy crowd? Of course. Here's a comment about the precursor to the interstates: "The president's political opponents considered the "master plan" to be 'another ascent into the stratosphere of New Deal jitterbug economics,' as one critic put it."

Just the same ol' fifty years latter about HSR, from the same mindset that would have sunk America in the 50's.

China and leading industrial nations are forsaking austerity and building infrastructure to be more competitive for decades to come. Your kids and grandkids depend on us to make the proper choice - rebuild America to stay competitive. It was the American spirit in the 40's and 50's, making core investments that lead to the America boom in the last half of the century.

Keep the American spirit alive, rebuild now for our grandkids to thrive.

Say no to the austerity types, the naysayers. Americans can do it. Create jobs now and in the future!

B Whitiker - not a fan of "We're number 16!!!"


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Number 16, more of the same non answer., utterly irrelevent rambling. And yet still no defense of AB481.

Still not OK to pass new laws that increase the power for CHSRA to seize more private property than they need, frankly any property they fancy - without oversight, and then turn it over for profit, in order to create a new government revenue stream. Here's a news flash - its not THEIR PROFIT to make,

Frankly, I don't care much about the history of what occurred under FDR, Nazi's, Socialists, horse and buggy crowd, or whatever other bizarre crap you're rambling on about - the labels and references you're throwing around are meaningless drivel and have no bearing on what's going on now. What matters is happening now, here, and the ABUSES of the LAW that are occuring now, which are threatening our cities, our properties, our rights. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by We're number 16!!!
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Parent: Sorry you didn't see the parallels with the horse and buggy crowd that whined about the interstate highway system, try reading it again. With the goggles off.

To shorten my point: HSR is a good idea, it passed. I am so tired of the near constant petty whining and bickering about it, how literally every aspect has some element that is the end of the world to you folks. It's like the boy who cried wolf. I quit reading the noise from the anti-HSR side awhile ago because it's near constant - everything is a massive government conspiracy, everything is a giant union power grab, everything is corrupt politicians, everything all the time. Signs on lawns 2 miles away from the tracks saying it's going to ruin the neighborhood. On and on.

I read the antiHSR posts early on, and didn't necessarily disagree, but it just went on and on. Of course, to question just gets you blasted! The screeds about being a neophyte, a political stooge, or a union thug, or whatever, just got old.

You guys might as well be putting it in ALL CAPS ITS SO TERRIBLE THE WHOLE THING OMIGAWD THE WORLD IS ENDING QUICK RUN AND HIDE BY THE WAY WHY CANT YOU READ THIS ARE YOU LISTENING YET - ISNT A CONSTANT RANT REALLY ANNOYING - HOW ABOUT WHEN WE DO ALL CAPS - RUN AWAY HSR WILL MAKE US COMMUNISTS HSR WILL STEAL FROM YOU HSR WILL STEAL FROM OUR KIDS ARE YOU STILL READING RUN FOR YOUR LIVES.

See? Actually wasn't mocking you, but that's what a lot of people see, if they even look at HSR threads any more. That goes double for the lefties on their issues as well. Just thought you guys would have learned. Constant screaming just becomes noise.

Example: Noticed any Occupy protests lately?

See?

B Whitiker - not a fan of "We're number 16!!!"


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Number 16, so I take it you actually then have no defense of AB481, and/or no interest in defending it - other than you are tired of the conversation and have nothing more to add.

(In case you didn't catch it, AB481 is a brand NEW development, a new law sponsored by the CHSRA to increase their power to seize private property for non HSR purposes, and turn it over for profit. Without oversight.

If that severe overstepping of our rights, and the potential for abuse of their power to sieze property in your town(?) is not of interest to you, boring and ho hum, and sounds like nothing more than more of same ole same ole, there are several other threads available on Palo Alto online you might want to check out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2013 at 10:56 pm

I love it. Full and total avoidance of answering the questions of cost and the impossibility of coming close to breaking even on the project. Soak the taxpayer. Nice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by We're number 16!!!
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 12, 2013 at 10:13 am

"If that severe overstepping of our rights, and the potential for abuse of their power to sieze property in your town(?) is not of interest to you, boring and ho hum, and sounds like nothing more than more of same ole same ole, there are several other threads available on Palo Alto online you might want to check out."

Yup. About what was expected. Completely over the head. A swing and a miss. What should one expect from a bunch of anonymous posters?

DONT FORGET TO USE ALL CAPS AND SCREAM LOUD AS POSSIBLE WHEN THE NEXT HSR OUTRAGE HITS!!!!

The horse and buggy set would have used all caps if they could have when they were screaming that the interstates were "a public-works, government-owned boondoggle that was modeled after the National Socialist autobahn system in Germany."

Bet y'all are a conversational hoot at a cocktail party. I'm out - continue to talk among yourselves, you obviously prefer it that way. See ya. Have fun.

B Whitiker - not a fan of "We're number 16!!!"


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Blurt a few more childish name calls, avoid discussing the financial facts and run away. Very mature and responsible discourse...not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm


I tried to copy a link to the New Yorker magazine, but you can look it up yourself, it is the lengthy article detailing China's appalling highspeed rail disaster/crash/corruption. I hardly think the operations of mainland China are something we want to emulate here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by C Little
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 12, 2013 at 10:05 pm

B Whitaker: some of us were able to read and get your point without taking offense. I too, have seen yard signs (in San Mateo) a couple miles form the tracks claiming the neighborhood would dissolve or disintegrate or something when HSR happens. The shrillness does get old. Also - great quote from the opposition to the interstates as a comparison. No one wants to see themselves in that. They won't. As you said - it's the goggles.


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Posted by member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Today's SF Chronicle has article on Elon Musk's idea of a capsule like vehicle called Hyperloop that rides on air and is on a platform over existing highways - like I-5. It would take 0.5 hour to go from SF to LA and not be on the ground as a danger to other traffic. I can get on board for that. The best part is that the existing highways, as well as AMTRAK rails are already dedicated property. HSR is running into a road block because it is trying to ride outside of existing transportation routes. The huge budget assigned is in part for the purchase of the land. I could have gotten on-board with HSR if they started with the Capital Corridor using existing land rights and logical point-to-point destinations. Current plan makes no sense and budget is to buy land - in part. The legal battles over the land alone will increase the cost beyond current projections.


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