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California high-speed-rail project receives Senate OK

Original post made on Jul 6, 2012

Construction of California's controversial high-speed-rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles is ready to launch, following a dramatic vote by the state Senate Friday afternoon.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 6, 2012, 4:41 PM

Comments (142)

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Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I want to salute Sen. Joe Simitian for having the courage to go against his own party and oppose this HSR fiasco. That was very impressive, Sen. Simitian. I doubted you would oppose the Brown move, but I was wrong, you did. Bravo to you!

Too bad one more Democratic State Senator didn't have your insight and courage, since Brown won by 1 vote.

I will now vote AGAINST Jerry Brown's income tax initiative in November. He apparently is willing to commit California to building an HSR system and let future generations pay the bill. This is a sorry day for the bank account of the State of California.


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Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Insanity. Pure unbridled insanity.


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Posted by full speed ahead
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Simitian is just playing CYA with his big dollar campaign donors. A real leader would push to get this project done quickly and save taxpayer dollars in the long run.

Not supporting HSR is like the wimpy politicians who failed to support BART around they bay decades ago, leading to the inefficient hodgepodge transit system that we have today. HSR will work if everyone gets behind it instead of whining and stalling all the way.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Can we sue to stop this boondoggle? Seriously. I have lost faith in the legislators who continue to squeeze every last dime that they can from taxpayers and spend it on pet projects.

WE CANNOT AFFORD THIS RIGHT NOW!!!

Unfortunately, Governor Moonbeam will continue to cater to corrupt union leaders and build this monstrosity that few will ever ride.

We need new leadership in this state that understand frugality and fiscal responsibility.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm

@full speed ahead

Actually, if most of the posters here had their way, both BART and Caltrain would be shut down.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm

@Robert from another community. Don't quit your self-appointed job as a HSR booster to become a mind-reader.

Not a single person whom I know who opposes this HSR fiasco favors shutting down BART or CalTrain.

Hearty congratulations on continuing your impressive streak of erroneous, evidence-free speculations.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by bill g
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm

There is no comparison between BART and HSR. The former was a limited project with almost guaranteed ridership. The latter is a costly dream that uses money California doesn't have.

It will require heavy subsidies as every similar railroad world wide does. We are now guaranteed to be taxed forever to support this program. Oops. Our children will taxed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

It's time to recall Governor Moonbeam.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Howard
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Certainly we can afford it. We should have done it 50 years ago. Sen. Simitian's stance was a cowardly cave-in to Nimbys.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm

@Howard: "Certainly we can afford it." Howard, it is FAR FROM CERTAIN. Are you aware of how much debt California is carrying these days? Do you care? "What's another $100+ billion in debt for California? Certainly we can afford it." Apparently it's not a big deal in your mind. After all, future generations will cover it, right Howard? And to think that I was raised to think that one should live within one's means and allocate scarce precious resources to the things that mattered most. How old fashioned.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Governor Moonbat
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Governor Brown just rubbed Palo Alto's nose in brown. The limousine liberals in Palo Alto just got screwed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Sad day for California indeed. We don't even have good bus/regional transit, and traffic across Palo Alto is dreadfully snarled.
Thank you Mr. Simitian for your dissent.

I won't be voting for the Brown Tax Increase, and neither will a lot of us "limousine liberals."

Time to leave the state.

PS my limo is a Honda.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm

@ Howard: How can we "afford it" at a time when our state is perpetually BILLIONS of $$$ in the red each and every year? Is there a secret bank account that California has somewhere?

Personally, I am tired of being the bank account for pet projects by out-of-touch tax-and-spend politicians. This state is becoming a laughing stock to the rest of the country for taxing the heck out of us, still remaining in debt and then coming up with new and exciting ways to spend the money that we don't have.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Dear Gov. Brown,

My house is under water and my kids are drinking powdered milk. Do you think this is the right time to invest in Bentley?

Thanks for the advice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Dear Gov. Brown,

My house is under water and my kids are drinking powdered milk. Do you think this is the right time to invest in Bentley?

Thanks for the advice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Thank you, Senator Simitian for your no vote. Sounds like the on land equivalent to the bridge to nowhere.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Happy
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Thrilled to know that HSR is going forward. (I am not a "shill" as I have no ties to that industry whatsoever or anyone standing to get jobs/money from the construction.)

I am just happy this state is finally moving forward on this and I will get to travel through California on HSR. Great news.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Sad day. This has nothing to do with NIMBYisms -- it has everything to do with the fact that the state cannot afford it (WE cannot afford it), the rail authority cannot be trusted, and the costs have quadrupled since voters cast their vote. Would I rather see money go to a poorly-funded, sure to be cost-drain pet project, or put that toward education? This is the worst thing I've ever seen Brown push. Every independent agency that has studied this proposal identified serious flaws on all fronts -- funding, revenues, ridership, costs to riders, trip time SF to LA, job creation, community disruption, not to count the out-dated technology proposed. I hope we as voters can do something to reverse this plan.


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Posted by Maxie
a resident of University South
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Incredible. The gall to cry wolf on the states finances and then to waste billions in a poorly planned project. Let's make them pay in the voting booth. Oust those who voted for the boondoggle and vote against the giving them more money.YpmcJ


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm

@Robert: "Not a single person whom I know who opposes this HSR fiasco favors shutting down BART or CalTrain." Nayeli, whose post is two above yours, is very anti-Caltrain and has posted her opposition here frequently.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm

We are doomed by the morons we elect.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Profligate; imprudent; unwise.

The ridership projections are pure fantasy, based on illogical & unreasonable assumptions.

A sad, sad day for California.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm

@ Donald:

Easy there, Donald. I am NOT opposed to CalTrain or BART. I simply think that they are poorly run and follow an unsustainable fiscal plan.

Moreover, I am NOT opposed to the idea of a HSR. I am opposed to spending BILLIONS of $$$ that we don't have on a project that few people will use. If California politicians could show that they understand the concept of fiscal discipline and didn't bow to the whims of corrupt union leaders, then the cost of our "projects" would decrease sufficiently enough to lower the cost of building.

If the HSR cost just $10 Billion, it might be reasonable. However, we all know that this thing will ultimately cost $100-150 Billion (or more) over 30 years (or longer). If it is ever completed, it will be used by the same percentage of California residents as the overpriced and underutilized CalTrain in the Peninsula.

In other words, these out-of-touch spendthrift politicians are spending an extra $100-150 Billion (taken from taxpayers) to support fast train rides that will be enjoyed by only a tiny fraction of residents who want to travel that route and don't mind buying tickets that will cost TWICE that of air travel.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chuck
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Maybe California should build a space shuttle to Mars -- it would be about as practical as a high speed rail.

It's time we take back control of our run-a-muck state government and put this senseless project on the voter ballot. The people of this state can then send HSR to the graveyard once and for all.

I now regret voting for Jerry Brown.


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Posted by Joan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Joe Simitian deserves our praise---he is the lone voice in the wilderness of stupid and short sighted thinking. This would not have approved in the first place if the voters knew how poor the planning was. One would also think there must be some big money lobbying put on those who did vote for it. I am also VERY disappointed with both Rich Gordan and Jerry Hill for supporting it. There are too many cuts going to the most vulnerable in our State to spend funds on this boondoggle.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I'll be back!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm

The twain in my brian is insane I know, but I gotta help my friends make a lot of that dough.
Sorry no money for kids health
Sorry no jobs
Sorry no, no no no
What? Train? It go fast, take people, colorful, pretty train? Me get money from dummies. Many dummies here. Ha Ha Ha
What they can do? Sue? Sue who? Me? No me, me in charge. Me and friends get very rich.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Thanks to the HSR vote, I will now vote "No" for any tax increase that is placed on the November ballot. I refuse to give my tax dollars to people who have no fiscals sense or control whatsoever.

I encourage others to do the same. Vote "No" on any tax increase in November.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LA- next stop
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Can't wait to ride the high speed rail right down the middle of Palo Alto!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm

the scam continues.

130 miles of farmland will be torn up for slow speed rail and that's where it will end.

It will never come to Palo Alto or Los Angeles or anywhere else


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Liberty
a resident of University South
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Why does everybody keep calling it "high speed" rail?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Brown Train Station
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Thanks, Governor Brown, for cutting Palo Alto in half with the high speed rail.
I suppose the new railroad stops will be named Governor Brown Station, Nancy Pelosi Station, Harry Reid Station and of course, Barrack Hussein Obama Station.
Palo Alto has just been kicked in the teeth by the Democratic party.

P.S. I'm sure some so called PA liberal will try to delete this comment as objectionable.


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Posted by Waste, waste, waste!!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Did you know that China is not building anymore HSR they are presently planning to build more than 100 airports throughout their country and manufacturing their own fleet of passenger aircraft.

China has decided that the flexibility of flying smaller numbers of people to many different locations is far preferable in the 21st century than transporting many passengers between two fixed points on a set of fixed rails.

China sees the advantages of the flexibility of the U.S. airline industry. Meanwhile, California is planning on building a hugely expensive HSR which will rely on transporting many hundreds of passengers on each trip, and if I want to go to John Wayne airport I'll fly.

California is retro and stuck with 20th century technology.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by It's about time
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 7, 2012 at 1:54 am

This is excellent news! Shame on Simitian for being such a turncoat and succumbing to typical Republican ignorance. Fortunately for all of California (and America too) Simitian failed. Finally America can enter the modern age in rail transportation. It's as if the rest of the world was in the jet age and we were still floundering around in prop planes. This is definitely a historic moment and makes one proud to be a Californian.

In the relatively near future we can at least look forward to electrified Caltrain service now that Simitian has been rendered helpless in defeating that effort. The current city government will be long gone by the time HSR actually reaches Palo Alto and by that time I predict Palo Alto will be anxious to get (and will receive) an HSR station. It will be exactly the same as the current downtown station except with electrified track and raised platforms for level boarding.

All the dogmatic opposition to HSR (like comments above) will be a distant memory by the time direct service from Palo Alto to LA or Sacramento begins. Most people in Palo Alto will be wondering "why the hell were those people opposed to it back then?"


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 3:09 am

@Happy: So you favor this HSR project because, in your own words, now "I will get to travel through California on HSR."

Well, bully for you, Happy. BRILLIANT ARGUMENT! Most compelling!

So for you, California public policy is to be assessed based on its potential to amuse/entertain/provide fun experience to those it affects. Wonderful!!!


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 3:30 am

Basically, when it comes right down to it, Brown borrowed hundreds of millions of additional dollars to 'bribe' -- insert localized pork benefits into the bill at the last minute -- a number of Demo State Senators to side with him, thereby putting California "on track" to go $150-200 billion deeper in debt, assuming this fiasco project ever gets built, and increasing the chances of voter rejection of Brown's tax increase proposal in November.

Some posters here purport to be "proud" of the Cal. State Senate for passing this thing, as if they did it on the basis of principle or an honest assessment of the merits of the case. Sorry, gang, it barely passed only because Jerry Brown borrowed even more money that the State doesn't have to corral the votes of Senators who need to be re-elected and can now point to the pork that the have brought back to their districts. PATHETIC. This is American politics at its worst and we will pay for it bigtime down the line. This process makes a bloody mockery out of the notion of rational legislative process. The Democratic legislature followed Brown and refused to allow the public to vote to revoke the slim approval it gave the deliberately deceptive Initiative proposal foisted on it in 2008. Instead, Brown effectively bought Senators' votes by adding huge localized slices of juicy pork to the bill in exchange for their bad-faith votes on this HSR. Nauseating. This is one of the most depressing and cynical exercises in shoving things down the throats of the electorate that I've ever seen. I will now vote "no" on Brown's attempt to raise taxes to cover the deficit since he felt fine with the state taking on about another fifth of a TRILLION dollars ($200 billion) for this HSR project.


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Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2012 at 4:28 am

With HSR we will be able to travel at high speeds within our bankrupt state.

Why isn't there a referendum on this project on the 2012 ballot?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:23 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The ONLY way HSR might succeed is if it were optimized to haul express and freight.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:59 am

Web Link

"intense lobbying by ...labor groups" and "in recent days...more State funding for existing rail projects to.." buy votes from reluctant Dem reps.

The usual...borrow money from our kids to pay for current dreams. Govt Unions pushing to break the future for our kids. Unaccountable elected officials being bribed to take money from our kids for the "now".

When will we learn to live within our means? When will we learn that our children are not our milk cows?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 7, 2012 at 6:27 am

"When will we learn to live within our means? When will we learn that our children are not our milk cows?"We learned to live within our means under President Clinton, then came the unelected Dubya..


 +   Like this comment
Posted by club for no ggrowth
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 7, 2012 at 6:38 am

Ever notice how so-called fiscal conservatives never whine, cry and stomp their feet when its republicans that borrow and spend?

I challenge any of the posters above to show us their posts from 2007 or 2008 when Ush was doubling the national debt and leading America to its trillion dollar deficit.

They. Can't. Do. It.

Take Perspective for example. Playsthe role of fiscal hawk.

Unless its a republican.

HSR keeps getting approved. Whiners go away. Quit your obstruction. Build it.

Dont listen to the same trogladytes that stopped BART from being built in san mateo and santa clara counties.
America needs to rebuild.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 7, 2012 at 6:49 am

borrowing money from the future for something that has no hope of earning its own way out of debt is not "growth", it is "debt".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 7, 2012 at 7:12 am

Where does the idea that it passed by one vote come from.
Can't you people read.
Go California.

Palo Alto, The train is leaving, Get on the train.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Billy Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 7, 2012 at 7:19 am

Perspective hides from the direct assertion of the "club" post. Challenged to show a link to posts of his when he challenged republican borrow and spend policies, Perspective runs and hides under his bed.

"borrowing money from the future for something that has no hope of earning its own way out of debt..."

Wrong.

Borrowing for job creation works. Jobs create revenue and economic growth, allowing the debt to be repaid - real world evidence? Bill Clinton created 23 million jobs and delivered 2 budget surplus's.

Borrowing for infrastructure works. Infrastructure allows a country to compete and rise above third world competitiveness.

But seriously folks, Perspective shrivels when asked about hypocrisy in never objecting to government spending when it's the GOP doing the borrowing. Where's his posts from 2007 and 2008 that "club" asked about?

Reagan tripled the national debt by spending to get out of recession, Bush doubled the debt again after being handed a surplus from Clinton.

Republican hypocrisy knows no bounds, as much as they want to rewrite history to suit their little fantasies, we know the truth.

Clinton created jobs and balanced the budget. Name a republican who has done better.

Name one who even came close.

Build infrastructure. Rebuild America. Get America prepared for a recovering economy.

Build HSR. Build California. Build America.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thomas Paine IV
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 7, 2012 at 7:51 am

Our local assembly member Rich Gordon showed great loyalty by voting FOR high speed rail. His campaign contributors received the vote they paid for. The rest of us are just screwed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 7, 2012 at 9:25 am

Paul Losch is a registered user.

Bad outcome.

I am reminded of a remodeling project in my part of Palo Alto that is off and on, due to the escalating costs and the home owners not able to fund it the way they expected to do so (AKA banks.) The wonderful house has been completely gutted, and the best they can afford to do at this point is build out a few rooms of a 2800sqf remodel. I feel very sorry for them, but their situation has some parallels to HSR.

The money to build out CAHSR is not there. I have opined on numerous postings that there are numerous reasons at a policy level why this concept does not make sense for California.

I will add two more--

Number 1: at what sacrifice to other crucial programs, such as education, will forgo funding in order to finance HSR?

Number 2: how will the airlines, airports, and all that attend them will respond to this? They are much more agile about how to provide service up and down the state. HSR is not offering a competitive alternative to travelers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 9:31 am

If you think CHSRA has been difficult to deal with up until now, just you wait. They have been emboldened. You can forget the shared use model. Get ready for a noisy, 30 foot, four track, ugly monstrosity cutting our town in half. If being a NIMBY means caring about our local environment, then call me a NIMBY. It's our town, and this is a local forum. It's not just the residents along the tracks who will be affected. Entire neighborhoods will see their property values plummet, which will affect tax revenue for our schools and the local economy. Many other towns in the state will be similarly affected, and that economic impact is not even considered in the project's outrageous and rising price tag.


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 9:54 am

Think of it as a reverse big dig. At least in Boston they ended up under grounding an unsightly elevated structure. We'll have all of the cost, only we will be doing exactly the opposite, constructing a similar structure to the one that the Bostonians worked so hard to undo.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:45 am

>If you think CHSRA has been difficult to deal with up until now, just you wait. They have been emboldened

Probably so.

It was no secret that HSR would be a four-track system, probably elevated, prior to the vote on the $10B bond. Our city council fully endorsed the initiave. It was the reflexive 'green' thing to do. Now they wring their hands, nervously, as they watch HSR's inevitable march through our town. Of course, they regret the fallout from their endorsement, and have done the pivot to reflect public disgust (finger in the air politics).

Yet, we see the same basic group supporing the composting plant in the Baylands. If it sounds green, and is claimed to prevent global warming, it will get approved. No matter how much it costs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:03 am

...and we wonder why the rest of the country now rolls their eyes at this state that used to help lead the nation?

We have legislators who want to spend the money that we don't have on a project that few will ever use.

Why can't we pass an amendment that would restrain our elected legislators from spending BILLIONS of $$$ on new projects when the state's budget is in the red?

If these spendthrifts want to build an HSR, then let them WAIT until the state actually has the money.

They will spin this many ways, but they will never explain that this money will come through taxes and fees IN ADDITION to what we are already paying. And, of course, when this boondoggle is in need of more BILLIONS because of mismanagement, new regulation and other new "necessities," we will be forced to be squeezed yet again.

Then, when we realize the enormous cost per ticket and operating cost for this boondoggle AFTER it was built and paid for, most of us will be driving our electric cars and taking next-generation airliners to Los Angeles the few times we ever go.

BTW, I agree with the notion that we did NOT vote for this. We voted for $10B...period. OR, are these silly legislators going to deceptively "deem it passed?"


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

None of the conservatives who pop up here each time there is an opportunity to slam so called liberal projects have been astonishingly mum when Republicans spent us into permanent debt and deficits. You notice how the name George W Bush, who inherited a surplus and balanced budgets and turned them immediately into gargantuan debt and deficits through wars of choice and dumb tax breaks for the super rich is never mentioned anymore by those hypocrites. Borrowing trillions for stupid wars his great, joining the industrial world in developing fast, mass public transportation is bad and "borrowing from the future". In their parallel reality, parasite capitalism Romney style is good,but borrowing money, during unprecedented low interest times for infrastructure and job creation is bad.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:43 am

@ daniel: Nonsense. This isn't about "conservatives vs. liberals." It is not about "us vs. them." It is about FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Regardless of who is in power, the notion of spending money that we don't have on a system that few will ever use is lunacy.

How many times will YOU use this (if it was ever built)? If it costs 2-3 times more than air travel to Los Angeles, is less safe and slower -- will you still be inclined to use it?

Sadly, there just isn't enough physical business traffic between this area and Los Angeles to justify spending $100 Billion on building a faster train to connect these two hubs.

And, of course, the biggest issue is COST. The state doesn't have the money. So, if we were to take your same argument and throw it right back at you, we have to ask why you were angry during the Bush Administration about reckless spending but are remarkably silent now.

:-\


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Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

@daniel: Yes, HSR is, by and large, a 'liberal' project (save the world, provide union jobs, etc.). However, there are some big business interests who also support it (large constructions firms, many of them not headquartered in CA). In the end, it is largely a wasteful jobs bill and payoff to the unions. Notice the heavy partisan support by the Dems.

One question for you: Where is all the private capital investment that was promised to build this thing?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lazlo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:52 am

Thanks to the over 70% of Palo Altans who voted for Measure 1A back in 2008 in favor of the high speed rail and green lighting billions of tax payer dollars to fund this new choo choo train. Now it would seem y'all have buyers remorse or voted for this measure in ignorance. If you are unwilling or unable to educate yourselfs prior to voting on important issues, please refrain from voting.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:56 am

"Train to Nowhere...."

Maybe they can hire school kids to build it, since there won't be enough money for schools, so kids may as well get something out of it.

Also, if you are over 50 or 60, you may not live long enough to get to ride it. Think about it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:58 am

And, daniel, we should never be so fanatical as to think only in partisan absolutes.

Most voters are not confined to political parties "til death do they part." Most voters are impartially enlightened enough to avoid being "conservative" just to be "conservative" and avoid being "liberal" just to be "liberal." Rather, most voters are ISSUES voters. They vote according to their conscience without being aligned solely to a perceived ideology or political party.

In this case, the majority of California voters oppose the HSR. To suggest that the State -- which is almost evenly divided with 1/3 Liberals, 1/3 Conservatives and 1/3 Moderates -- is driven solely by party politics is just folly. There are Liberals, Moderates and Conservatives against this. There are Green, Democratic and Republican and Libertarian party members against it.

Unfortunately, the legislature once again did not reflect the views of the people of this state. They also are attempting to spin this via a partisan rhetoric. Thankfully, most voters aren't fooled.

It is just a good idea that just isn't that pressing of a need and is too expensive to construct at this time in California. We don't have the money to construct a fast and overpriced train that will be used by a very few.


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Posted by Who will use it?
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

While it's expected to take a whopping nine years more to build, perhaps President Obama can roll in when it IS finished, visiting Palo Alto on his way from LA and from seeing his actor friends that are raising money right now, to get him re-elected.

Oh, wait. President Obama disregarded Palo Alto a few months ago, passing the city right up, with no explanation. Maybe he & Governor Brown took their families to a lovely California park, one that will soon be closed, due to lack of funding to keep it open.


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Posted by Bill Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

nayali "In this case, the majority of California voters oppose the HSR."

??????

Funny, I though it passed with the voters. Are you talking about a poll?


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

@ Bill Acres:

The majority of California voters (but a slight majority) agreed to spend $10B on this in 2008.

Most polls indicate that the project has fallen out of popular support with the majority of voters. In fact, it wouldn't pass again if it were put up to a vote.


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

"Funny, I though it passed with the voters"

What passed with the voters in 2008 bears no resemblance to the monstrosity that was just passed in the senate. The estimated cost alone is completely different. HSR would never pass a popular vote now according to the polls.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pavoter
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Gov Brown wants me to vote for his fiscal fix but he's willing to put our CA budget in a further crisis by pushing HSR? How dumb does he think we are? I will not vote for his package. And it is very wrong for Brown to threaten to increase UC/State tuitions and reduce the school year if he doesn't get what he wants.

Where are the pension reforms and reducing gov't waste?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

So Nayali wants to pay attention to polls now, after the voters have spoken about HSR.

Yet when it comes to prop 8 threads, nayeli has told us to ignore the polls showing Californians supporting equality, herr claim shouted "the voters have spoken!"

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm

The only time that Jerry Brown was ever truly honest:

Web Link

He is prepared to milk us for everything that he and corrupt union leaders want to get out of us.

When the budget isn't balanced, he is prepared to blame everyone else.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Nayeli makes good points - the voters voted on one thing. It was bait and SWITCH.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nuts and Screws roll to California
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm

California is the laughing stock of the nation. I guess we are getting what we deserve. Governor Brown is a funky, career politician.
The Southgate neighborhood will be obliterated. Old Palo Alto will lose its desirability. A sad day for Palo Alto and our grandchildren.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Josh
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Robert, I am a Democrat, opposed Prop 8 and initially supported this in 2008.People like you, Bill and Gov. Brown make me ashamed to be a Democrat.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by It's about time
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Infrastructure is an INVESTMENT.

comparing Infrastructure investments to Health and Education is a false dichotomy.

We need BOTH Infrastructure AND Health and Education spending. We plan for the future with the acknowledgement that our children and those not yet born will be the prime beneficiaries of this project.

Do you people really think that if this project was killed the Republicans and Simitian (their Democrat lap dog) would be lobbying for a 9 billion investment in our education system?

Since when are the GOP friends of Health and Education spending?

We all know their true motivations are always "starve the beast". They have never reconciled the fact that the unique strengths of the American capitalist system has always been it's quasi-socialist nature. Infrastructure investment is the key ingredient letting us maintain our 1st world nation status.

Many of you people need to spend a bit more time looking in the mirror. Ask yourself "what are your true motivations?" Are they short term, insular and petty or are you thinking long term about the best interests of our society in general?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by it's about time
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

@Waste, waste, waste!!

The reason China is investing so much in air travel is that it's current system is so ridiculously out dated and inefficient (kind of like the current state of rail transportation in the US). By economy of scale when China invests in infrastructure it eclipses everything else in the world. The fact the majority of all new airport construction in the world is in China is magnified by the slow down in the rest of the world's economies.

Have you looked at a map of the Chinese rail network? (FYI-China is a big country!). There are vast remote areas in difficult terrain which cannot be reached efficiently by either road or rail. So, yes of course it makes sense to invest in air travel there. Considering the state of current American politics it's unlikely we would be able to make a similar investment in our own air travel system even if it was necessary.

You make the false assumption like plenty of people around here that railways are out-dated technology. Imagine if by historical accident aircraft were invented before railways? The invention of the railway would be heralded as this advanced form of transportation with low coefficient of friction that does not unnecessarily waste energy fighting the laws of gravity. It's all about PHYSICS, not your prejudices about what's "old timey vs. modern".

Air, Road and Rail are all evolutionary adaptations to serve different transportation needs. Each has it's own inherent efficiencies and advantages over the other. Saying one is technologically superior to the other is pure IGNORANCE.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm

The voters approved a $10 billion bond measure for High Speed Rail provided it did the following:

* Train service from Anaheim to San Francisco in less than 2 hours, 40 minutes

* Cost of $40 billion or less; balance of funding to come from federal government or private sources

* Completion by 2021

* Profits from the Anaheim to San Francisco to fund connections to Sacramento & San Diego

* NO operational expenses subsidized by the state.

You can be pro-HSR, and still be against the state legislature approving the first $4 billion in bond money, because the conditions attached to the bond measure are not being met.

Which is why future bond & tax measures will have a difficult time passing - voters cannot trust their elected representatives to honor their the terms of the ballot.


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Posted by it's about time
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm

@ Joan,

while you are giving Simitian your praise; please also let him know he is an EMBARRASSMENT to his entire district [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Thanks in advance for your assistance. It is very much appreciated!

(If all Democrats were like Simitian I would switch to the Green Party in no time flat)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by it's about time
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm

@ daniel,

you are right on. The HYPOCRISY around here stifling but sad to say that is to be expected because "THIS IS PALO ALTO" after all.

Every day it seems like Palo Alto is less of a community (or group of people living within a larger whole as citizens of the bay area or state) but as a group of self-indulgent individuals living in their own self defined PRIVATOPIA.

The "fiscal responsibility" mantra is clearly a white-washing effort to hide their true motivations. As you implied, where was the "fiscal responsibility" outrage during the IRAQ WAR BOONDOGGLE? It was clearly in someone else's backyard so Palo Alto did not care!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by crys
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm

goodbye palo alto


 +   Like this comment
Posted by it's about time
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm

@ Terry,

So you say:

"We are doomed by the morons we elect."

That is very true, but unfortunately SIMITIAN has already reached his term limit so you do not get the PLEASURE OF VOTING HIM OUT OF OFFICE!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Put Californians First
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Nayeli,

Thank you for your words of wisdom! They are refreshing and remind me of what made Palo Alto a great place to live for so long.

Don't mind the pests who continue to antagonize you. They are just trying to goad you into something. Don't fall for their tricks and simply ignore them.

We don't always agree on everything, Nayeli, but I appreciate your family story of perseverance and how you always provide a good basis for your views.

High Regards,

Put Californians First


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm

@ Put Californians First:

Thanks. I do get a bit exasperated by the way some people conduct themselves and play into their hands.

I do respect their right to have an opinion. However, they meander from the topic into pointing at people (or what they think of people). And, of course, like the legislators, they don't respect the voice of the people. If they did, they wouldn't be afraid to put this up for a vote again.

But, you are right: It is probably best to simply ignore them. :-)


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Posted by it's about time
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Ok Palo Altan,

(you say)

"Get ready for a noisy, 30 foot, four track, ugly monstrosity cutting our town in half."

What is it that you like so much about the current situation? Do you find those diesel fumes intoxicating? You like the noise of the horns and bells at every crossing?

Does news of accidental deaths at grade crossings and suicides at remote easily accessibly parts of the ROW add a little more DRAMA to your life? Many of us do not need that kind of DRAMA. We just want a railway ROW designed as it should be for any developed urbanized area.

You actually think the current situation helps unify the community? An elevated or partially elevated ROW will allow a significantly more porous boundary between the two halves of of the community.

When Caltrain is electrified they will be able to economically increase service levels to the same frequency as BART. More frequency = more ridership = better coverage of costs = less people driving = less pollution and less greenhouse gasses. WHY DOES THAT SOUND SO BAD?

Oh, yes now I remember. You people vigilantly fought the concept of grade separating the crossings. Now you get to spend that much more time waiting in traffic. OH WELL, GOT TO TAKE THE GOOD WITH THE BAD I GUESS!

I was reading a recent book on Palo Alto and it was interesting to learn the Embarcadero underpass was a New Deal public works project. The city couldn't get it's act together to fund it themselves and even then there were critics of the project. They probably would of called it a 'boondoggle' if into misappropriating terminology as much then as they are now. Good thing for all of us the opponents to that failed.

Now that government stimulus spending could of helped us avoid more of the same problems the community fought it again. History repeats itself. In irony of all ironies that money gets diverted to the central valley ICS to allow more time for the peninsula to work out the finer aspects of ROW design and Palo Alto blasts the CAHSRA for that as well.

WHAT ARE PALO ALTO'S TRUE MOTIVATIONS IN ALL OF THIS? (It's a rhetorical question of course - we all know the answer).

So we currently got 3 grade separated and 4 non-grade separated crossings in Palo Alto. 3 down and 4 to go. It really shouldn't be too hard. Too bad infrastructure improvements move at the pace of molasses around here. The delays are doing nothing to improve the quality of life in this community.


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

@ Nuts and Screws and Crys:
You are absolutely right. Southgate will suffer. Other neighborhoods too. All for naught. This is a sad day for Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm

@it's about time:
Why would you be reading a book about the history of Palo Alto? You are obviously disgusted with Palo Alto. I would turn the question around. What are your motivations?


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Posted by Bill Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Nayali: I wasn't complaining about semantics, I was highlighting your falsehood regarding the voters who actually voted for HSR and those recently polled about HSR.

"The overwhelming majority of California residents who were polled OPPOSE this"

There ya go, you finally got it right -- those POLLED, not VOTERS which is what you falsely claimed several times.

Which, therefore, makes you a hypocrite.

When discussing Prop 8 last month and before, your attitude was "too bad, the voters have spoken, who cares about current polls" Web Link

Now, you are using the reverse of your Prop 8 argument, essentially: "too bad about the voters, the polls now agree with me".

Hypocrisy, that's all. I'm amazed it took you so long to get it. You may continue with your hyperbole and ranting about HSR, something the voters and our elected officials have approved.


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Nice try, Bill. The 2008 proposition bears no resemblance to this.


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Posted by Bill Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm

PaloAltan... sorry you missed the obvious point also - it's about Nayali's hypocrisy in using one form of debate in the prop 8 thread, and the exact opposite in the HSR thread.

To wit:

When discussing Prop 8 last month and before, Nayali's attitude was "too bad, the voters have spoken, who cares about current polls"

Now, nayali is using the reverse of his Prop 8 argument, essentially: "too bad about the voters, the polls now agree with me".

Not once did I compare Prop 8 and HSR, only Nayali's hypocrisy between the two while arguing HSR.

Sorry you missed the obvious. Nice try.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Prop 8 never changed. The HSR proposal did. BIg time.


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Posted by stew
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm

when gov moonbeam was gov in the 70's, CA schools were among the best in the nation. Now, they are among the worst, maybe Mississippi is still holding the bottom spot. With Gov moonbeams second turn, CA schools have come full circle. I guess Brown wants them to be #1 in something, and I guess #1 worst in the country is his goal. But at least we will have some rail track in the central valley, probably not electrified, and probably no trains to even roll on them, but by god we'll have some track to hold up to the rest of the nation, when they wonder what ever happened to California.

Simitian did the right thing and voted no on this boondoggle. A result will be that I, and I gather many others, will turn their backs on the Democratic party. Idiots.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm

What about the new classroom buildings going up at PALY so close to the tracks? Why are they being built until the "dust settles'. Isn't it dangerous to have this situation so close to school buildings? The Paly football field? Where will that go? How a about The Stanford Park Hotel, the PA Clinic Parking garage, andits new Sports Med and Dermatology building? Mega $$$ John Arrillaga wants to put a performing arts center where McArthur Park is now? Get real. This is all getting 'curiouser and curiouser". I also read that three senators-all Republicans from the Central Valley didn't show up to vote. Why???


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Josh
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Bill, I think that it is clear that the current plan for the HSR is not the one many of us supported. I don't know how it is possible that a man like you cannot see that. Several people are trying to point this out but you simply ignore it or cannot understand a simple point they are making. You are beginning to sound like a dropping faucet or warped record. You are accusing Nayeli of hypocrisy but the show doesn't fit in this case.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 8, 2012 at 1:37 am

Josh, with all due respect, I have not stated many particulars, or a point of view regarding HSR. You can probably guess I am mixed about it, in favor of some aspects (*strongly* in favor of building infrastructure) and concerned with others.

The thing that jumped out at me while perusing the thread was the hypocrisy displayed by Nayeli. It consisted of two clear points:
- When discussing Prop 8 last month and before, Nayeli's attitude was "too bad, the voters have spoken, who cares about current polls"

- Now, Nayeli is using the reverse of that Prop 8 argument, essentially: "too bad about the voters, the polls now agree with me".

I had zero intention of getting blasted by several posters about prop 8 - again, I have made no reference to prop 8 other than with the hypocrisy shown by Nayeli in Nayeli's argument above that differed so dramatically between HSR and prop 8.

Some people get the point, others do not. Oh, well. Been a long day...

...have a great morning.


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 8, 2012 at 6:36 am

Jerry Brown had absolutely nothing to do with the deterioration of the California public schools in his first term as governor. It has always been one of the disastrous effects of Prop 13 and no governor since, Democrat or Republican, was able to reverse the slide. it's so typical of conservatives to create a mess and then blame others for it. A perfect example is the horrendous mess that Obama inherited from Bush and company which he is now blamed for, while the conservatives are doing everything in their power to make the economy even worse and don't allow anything substantial to be done to fix it, while blaming him for the slow recovery.


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Posted by pavoter
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

@Bill, even if you are correct that Nayeli is a hypocrite, that doesn't mean that Nayeli's comments are always wrong. Your harping on argumentum ad hominem doesn't advance your position at all.

I don't get how we can pay for this HSR. Also, how will it help create jobs other than temporally? How many passengers would actually use this SF to LA train once it is completely built? I still need to rent a car in LA, and then figure might as well drive.

I won't vote for Brown's plan this November because he is not dealing with the larger problems of pension reforms and eliminating wasteful programs and redundant agencies.


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Posted by Brown fans n e way?
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 8, 2012 at 11:39 am

Posters who claim they won't support Brown and the state this november because of this seem a little disingenuous, in my opinion. I may wrong of course. And I will be attacked of course. But I don't thyink any of the posters claiming to not vote because of this would have supported Brown and the state anyway.

As well, it seems fair to point out someone using a debate technique based on hypocrisy. Funny so many attack that as ad hominem. It's the post, not the poster.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Brown fans n e way?
The recent Field Poll found that there was a significant number of people who were then inclined to support this fall's tax initiatives would switch to opposition with the passage of HSR.

Additional evidence: The commercials against June's tobacco tax initiative. The biggest explicit theme was that the state would send many of the jobs out-of-state, which has been an argument against HSR as a jobs engine. Another theme was that the voters couldn't trust the state to spend the money wisely or effectively. That campaign moved voter sentiment over 20% (and defeated the initiative). This indicates that those arguments are very potent with voters.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm

@"Brown fans n e way":

I can assure you, my friend, that as a life-long progressive, I was planning on supporting the Brown tax initiative in November, and I would have if Brown hadn't put forward that pork-infested legislative package and essentially bought the votes of Democratic legislators who were on the fence by sending millions or tens of millions of dollars their ways so they could brag to their constituents and get re-elected.

But now, in light of that chicanery, I will definitely be voting against Brown's tax initiative. He is not going to get away with forcing us and our kids to pay for his fiasco legacy project to the tune of, I estimate, a fifth of a TRILLION dollars, and then turn around and harrangue us to agree to pay more taxes to prevent the "trigger cuts" from being enacted. His strategy is pathetic: bribe the legislature to agree to massively increase California's debt so he can pay back the construction company and labor union interests that contributed to his campaign against Meg Whitman (with the expectation that he'd come through for them on HSR) AND THEN try to make the public feel responsible for the terrible consequences of the mega trigger cuts that will be made if his initiative is not approved. I WILL VOTE AGAINST BROWN'S INITIATIVE IN NOVEMBER AND PERSUADE AS MANY OF MY FRIENDS TO DO LIKEWISE. Enough public policy to pay back campaign debts and with no respect for the starving of public education and the financial albatross being put on the necks of coming generations of Californians, all to pay back campaign debts. Jerry Brown is a corrupt political hack and he should be sent back to the Jesuit seminary where he may have studied and should have failed "ethics" in an earlier life.


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Posted by Josh
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Bill, I don't know how you can continue to take something that Nayeli said about Prop 8 and the paper's rescinding of an endorsement and equate it as hypocrisy in this issue. Others including Nayeli have already stated how Prop 8 passed by a majority vote and sentiment has changed slightly in statewide polls. Nayeli's point seemed to accept that fact even if it questioned just how evenly divided polls reflect the public feels on the issue. However, no voters in California ever voted for this current monstrosity. So you are comparing apples and oranges and calling the farmer a hypocrite for treating them as separate issues. I do think that you are focusing on your hatred for Nayeli and her positions instead of this topic. I think that proving Nayeli wrong has become your great white whale, Ishmael.

I wholeheartedly agree with Nayeli on this issue. Voters never approved this and sentiment on the issue has changed more than any other issue over the last few years.


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Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

The reason we have Amtrak and CalTrain is because there was no more money left in the passenger rail business, so the railroads got out. There was too much competition from autos and airplanes starting early in the last century, breaking the railroads' near monopoly on land passenger travel. Nowadays the railroads only haul freight. Why does CA HSR expect things will be different?

I have already sent in the form to reregister as an independent, so disgusted am I with the Democrats in this state who have clearly been bought off.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by rick
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I voted for HSR...and regret it.
If polled or we get a referendum, I would vote against it now.
concept great; current plan - a boondoggle.
this should not be a partisan issue. I'm a Democrat and I'm glad Simitian voted against this. I'm pleased to find the Republicans finally on the side I agree with, but that doesn't make them right about everything else. And the Dems who supported HSR aren't wrong about everything else. This is a poorly conceived plan, with little chance of success, in violation of many of the Prop A safeguards, bearing little resemblance to what I voted for. Hopefully, it can be stopped in court.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lazlo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Blah, Blah, Blah....the choo choo train is comin' and billions of taxpayer dollars will be spent thanks to the overwhelming support of Palo Alto voters on Prop 1A in 2008. Sorry you didn't read the small print or now have buyers remorse. Whining and pointing fingers only completes the ignorance cycle. Always amusing how Palo Altans believe they are somehow more highly educated and smarter than other communities in the Bay Area but are quick to run and hide and blame others when they make irresponsible decisions affecting others. Thanks again Palo Alto!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm

@Lazlo:

1. "billions of taxpayer dollars", yeah, about 200-250 billion, just for construction, not to mention what will happen if it the system runs in the red and the people have to bail it out with more taxes or bonds.

2. Prop. 1A didn't pass "thanks to" the overwhelming support of Palo Altans. We contributed to it, but, alas, it won by 664K votes (52.7% to 47.3%). Checked the population of Palo Alto lately?

3. I read the fine print in the 2008 election pamphlet very carefully and the details re route were not there and the cost estimate proved to be an outright lie.

In short, while there are a couple of nice digs in your post, substantively it's way off the mark. I hope it felt good for you to vent against "Palo Altans," of which you are apparently one. Go figure.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Indignant
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Thank again, reflexively Democratic peninsula residents. I hope you know who's fault it is for this idiotic nightmare (look in the mirror).

Your Democrats would rather fund a wasteful choo-choo than fund education.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm

If this thing ever goes operational, there's a bright side to low ridership: when the employees go on strike for higher wages, nobody will notice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm

NEWSWEEK: Why High-Speed Trains Don't Make Sense

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Happy
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Funny. I had a post pointing a couple of things out that just disappeared. It was not edited, no, just completely obliterated. So here are my points again:

- The city of Palo Alto is already divided into sections that are not that permeable, both by Caltrain and by some expressways such as Oregon. HSR will not make it worse.

- The noise situation is actually very likely to improve compared to the diesel driven, horn blowing Caltrain, once everything is electrified. Keep in mind HSR will not be going at its full speed on the peninsula.

- Many people are for this HSR, including myself and I am not young, I am in my fifties.

- HSR will be good for the state. It is a needed investment in infrastructure and transportation in spite of the arguments that the local NIMBYs try to use.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by HighSpeedStupidity
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I voted against this mess; and I am annoyed that more of Californians did not do their diligence and kill this when we had a chance. (ahem: city council...)

You can redeem yourself and reverse your stupidity in one way only: start a recall proposition on HSR. Dig into your pockets everyone - this is going to take some real coin to stop the train. But it will save us $$$ in the long run.

Another thing we can do is pass an anti-stupid proposition. It should require every bond measure to go through probationary period where every taxpayer gets a voluntary bill for 5% of the cost of the "passed" bond. If half the taxpayers pony up the voluntary funds the the bond moves forward. If not, your money is returned and the bond is dead.

Forcing people to put some skin in the game would clear out a lot of wooly-headed thinking we suffer in this state.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Another way to people to express their dissatisfaction is to vote for some else besides Rich Gordon, Jerry Hill or Paul Fong for state assemblyman.

One of the main reasons these guys voted for the HSR is that they think there are no consequences - the majority of the citizens need to show them that there is consequence, and vote them out of office.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm

@Happy:

1. "HSR will not make it worse." Nonsense. If CHSRA has its way and the system is put on a berm, there will be a high wall on both sides. Didn't you ever see the McFall visualization? Check it out on YouTube. Used to be there. That would make the division of Palo Alto MUCH WORSE.

2. I reserve judgment on that. It will depend on a number of variables, including the aerodynamic shape of the train, whether it's above or below ground, the nature of the walls, and the nature of any horns on both CalTrain and HSR. It is FAR FROM CLEAR that the "noise situation" is "very likely" to improve if HSR runs through Palo Alto.

3. As for your third "point" -- many people are for this HSR and not all are young -- that's not exactly news. The initiative wouldn't have gotten 52.7% in Nov. 2008 if there weren't many folks in favor of this HSR, even if they didn't know what they were voting for. But at bottom who cares that "many people" are in favor of it? No one is denying that. The key issue is this:

what are the consequences of going ahead with this HSR project, with this CHSRA in charge of it, at a cost of about a fifth to a quarter of a TRILLION dollars, with the lousy quality of the predictive studies adduced in support of it, at this point in California's history when things that really matter to California's future, like education, are in desperate condition? Next to that consideration, the obvious fact that many -- although according to the most recent polls less than a majority -- favor this HSR doesn't strike me as being a strong reason for proceeding under the circumstances.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 9, 2012 at 12:33 am

The opposition to HSR always reminds me of this:

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 9, 2012 at 7:34 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2012 at 9:39 am

The support for HSR always reminds me of this:

Web Link

:-D


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

"- HSR will be good for the state. It is a needed investment in infrastructure and transportation in spite of the arguments that the local NIMBYs try to use."

I keep seeing this, but I never get facts to back this up.

HSR doesn't carry freight, which is more important that passengers for commerce. Remember, it's mostly big 18-wheelers that run the I-5 corridor.

There's already too much airport capacity between Northern and Southern California. Oakland, SJC, Burbank and Ontario are losing flights even today. And, by the way, 737s and A320s can carry freight, which is more than what HSR can do.

It also doesn't solve the more pressing need of local transit. Electrification of Caltrain doesn't do anything without an effective VTA and Samtrans feeder system.

So, what are the facts?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2012 at 10:05 am

Can we say STUPID!
STUPID move PA


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark this moment for election day.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2012 at 10:24 am

Rich Gordon and Jerry Hill voted for this. Remember that on election day. I will.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2012 at 10:25 am

I do believe in rail travel and I do think a HSR between the major California (and further north) cities makes sense. But I don't like the present idea on the table.

It is not in the best interest of the State the way it is presently designed. An East Bay route with a spur to San Jose and a spur to San Francisco with the main line continuing to Sacramento seems to be much more inline with future development.

The estimates make it much too expensive for something that is very limiting in future development particularly as funding and power supplies are not well formulated.

However, rail links are going to continue to be a better option than flying - particularly if local public transit is set up to meet the first and last miles requirements. These are pretty poor at all airports and getting to SFO or SJC before taking a plane, plus the endless security lines, makes a 50 minute flight a several hour experience at both ends.

In Europe, major cities throughout the continent are successfully linked by rail. A London business traveler will consider a train for a trip to Manchester, Edinburgh, Paris or Brussels as a more suitable option. The fact that there are so many 1st class coaches on these trains being used by business travelers show that it is time and ease of availability rather than cost which is the important factor.

I personally don't like air travel anymore and I know many, many people who feel the same way. It is no longer the way to go. I would much rather let the train take the strain rather than travel light for the flight.


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Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 9, 2012 at 10:33 am

"particularly if local public transit is set up to meet the first and last miles requirements."

That's a big IF. Even with Metrolink investments, how can anyone say you can get around LA without a car with a straight face?

As for security lines - how long before HSR has its own terrorist attack before we see endless security lines there?


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Posted by Herman
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2012 at 10:43 am

I'm a lifetime Democrat, but if we don't get more reasoned politicians who know how to balance a budget for the long term (and who think like Nayeli), California might as well be Greece...might already be Greece.


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Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm

If you build it they will come.


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Posted by capt America
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I am a lifelong conservative and I am appalled at what has become the Party of No, and the America Last brigade of the selfish and the nimbys.

We used to build things in this country that allowed America to lead the way. Now, nothing. California might as well be like somlia. Or Greece.

Makes me wonder what today"s America Last crowd thinks we SHOULD BUILD, other than nukes. Monuments to Reagan?


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Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Anytime I see a comment from Adobe-Meadows (first on the drop-down) or states that they're a "life-long xxxx," you know it's got to be suspect.

That last one has both. Hilarious.


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Posted by Put Californians First
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm

John, isn't that what they said when they built Alcatraz? Isn't that what they said when they built every failed airline, sports franchise or restaurant? I am not sure that it is wise to rely upon wisdom taken from a fantasy film about baseball ghosts in Iowa when it comes to spending billions on a train.

capt America, California is already like Greece. We don't have any money but we have legislators who continue to spend as if we did. I just hope that we don't suffer the same fate as Greece.

Has anyone considered the enormous cost of HSR when compared with other countries? We cannot compare the desire to build an HSR with existing systems in smaller countries like Japan or those in Europe. It seems that we are following the pattern of the Chinese. However, the Chinese spent less to build 4,000 miles of track throughout their country over five years than California will spent on one line from San Jose to Los Angeles. It cost China $110 Billion because they didn't worry about regulation, private property concerns, environmental issues, wage requirements or union demands. This is why they were able to build it quickly and efficiently. However, their ridership is still low even though the majority of the population doesn't have other forms of transportation. Some are pretending that California residents will give up cars, air travel, bus travel and other means of transportation in favor of expensive HSR tickets that will only get you as far as a Los Angeles train station. If ridership is low in China, what will it be in California? Will legislators penalize residents in order to artificially increase demand for HSR travel?

As always, our legislators are placing all of their chips on the most optimistic estimates. Once it fails to attract many riders, they will start pointing the fingers and discussing ways to spend even more money to make it better.

Put Californians First


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

@John: John, you really need some new material. Singing that same tune over and over and over again doesn't make it any less false. Wake up!


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Posted by capt America
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm

toady - you got it. The capt was mocking; was a response to similar trolls who make the silly statements like...

I'm a republican all my life, but I'm not voting for Mitt because he won't release his Tax returns. Or...

I'm a lifelong dem who will never vote for Brown again because blah blah blah

I put all those into your catagory of Adobe Meadows posts. Complete and utter noise. No facts.


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Posted by Ernie
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 9, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I had no idea there were so many HSR shills lurking on-line. Are you all thrilled to have something to boast about, after all, it's been a few years since Parsons-Brinckerhoff (the architect, and driving force behind the CA HSR project) swindled the Mass tax payers out of several billion dollars over the Big Dig project they spear headed? The CA haul will be potentially hundreds of billions in reward.


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

Even if California had a huge budget surplus, the HSR opponents would still be vociferous in their opposition to the project. The reason is that it's a communal project. They would gladly pull out all the trees in Yosemite and replace them with condos and strip malls, but heaven forbid we should do something that benefits the public and moves our antiquated and car-centric transportation system into the 21st century.


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Posted by Steve Ly
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm

When pro-transit commentators point out problems with the proposed California high speed rail system, you know it's flawed. How bad is it? Read this:
Web Link


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Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

"Even if California had a huge budget surplus, the HSR opponents would still be vociferous in their opposition to the project. The reason is that it's a communal project. They would gladly pull out all the trees in Yosemite and replace them with condos and strip malls, but heaven forbid we should do something that benefits the public and moves our antiquated and car-centric transportation system into the 21st century."

Uh, no.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lazlo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Thanks go out to Joe Simitian who co-authored the bill supporting HSR on the ballot and for spending the last 10 years promoting HSR and costing California billions of dollars for a choo choo train to nowhere. Thanks Palo Alto voters for supporting Prop 1A with an overwhelming vote that assured passage of Joe's HSR nonsense. Your insight will cost future generations of Californians billions of dollars for a train instead of education, infrastructure improvements, etc.... Thanks!


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Posted by Not Old Enough
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Folks,

Whenever our state population grows, will we build more freeway lanes? Will we build more runways? Will Telecom ever fully replace face to face for business or family? Since I believe the answers to all of these questions is actually NO, I'll continue to support HSR. I've lived less than a mile from Caltrain for fifty years, and I welcome a future of no crossing bells or horns, better air to breathe (without diesel exhaust), faster and more frequent train service, etc. I get all of that without even riding HSR to visit my kids or my father in law. Yes, my kids will pay for it, that is how bond funding works for water, for schools, etc. Don't delude yourselves, without this vote, the tax initiative is still going to be a close question because as Californians we have decided that we want more government than we are willing to pay for.


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Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm

"Whenever our state population grows, will we build more freeway lanes?"

Yes. Even if California were to finish HSR, it\ doesn't address where the freeway expansion actually is needed, which is for LOCAL TRAFFIC. Anyone who doesn't understand that fact is either not informed or being disingenuous.

"Will we build more runways?"

Well, given the lack of activity in OAK, SJC, ONT and BUR, not sure this is needed even if the population were to grow much faster than it currently is (which, by the way, is negative - more people are leaving california than coming)


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Posted by 1960Americangoldies
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

I had email the local representatives (Simitian, Gordon, Hill) prior to the vote opposing the HSR funding. Below is the email response. It is interesting in that Assemblyman Gordon apparently believes:
1. A guarantee from CAHSRA is worth anything, especially when they haven't altered their planning to reflect that "guarantee". I expect that he will be "Shocked, shocked to find out that there is gambling going on here".
2. Funding Caltrain improvements is justification for spending 9 times that amount on tracks to nowhere.
3. Ditto.
4. Minor improvements justify the massive costs.
In part 2, he expresses no commitment to building the overall system, but is willing to spend $6B on a segment that will go essentially unused.

==========================================
July 11, 2012

Thank you for contacting my office in regards to high speed rail.

There has been a great deal of media attention in the last few days over the Legislature's approval of SB 1029, the bill that authorized the expenditure of Proposition 1A funds.

Based on your communication with this office, I would like to share why I voted for SB 1029:

1. A guarantee that the blended system approach be used on the Peninsula, keeping any high speed rail trains within the current CalTrain right-of-way, should high speed rail ever become a reality
2. Funding to electrify CalTrain
3. Funding for similarly-critical improvements the Los Angeles Basin and for other rail transit service, including new BART cars
4. Authorized funding for a rail segment in the Central Valley that will improve existing AMTRAK service in that busy region.

It is equally important that I share with you what I did not vote for:

1. $65 Billion for a full high speed rail system
2. Any current or future plan for a full high speed rail system
3. Any environmental exemptions, including CEQA

Nothing in SB 1029 commits the State to any further high speed rail funding. The Legislature will have many additional opportunities to review, comment, and ultimately support or reject any future plans and expenditures on high speed rail.

I am proud of the work that I have done to transform this project. As one of the authors of the "blended approach", I know we helped change the direction of High Speed Rail. SB 1029 embraces and codifies the blended approach for CalTrain and any future High Speed Rail service, providing long-term protections for our region.

This project is far from perfect, the additional oversight and reporting requirements that SB 1029 placed on the High Speed Rail Authority are only the beginning. There is much more work to be done before California sees it first high speed train. I will continue to strive for a more sensitive, cost-effective, and sound project and am well positioned to do so for our community.

Sincerely,
Richard S. Gordon
Assemblyman, Twenty-First District


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Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Splitting hairs.

He voted to waste money on a useless train and basically hand the money to the special interest groups that will benefit from stealing taxpayer money.

It's really that simple, regardless of how many words he uses.

Time to eject Rich Gordon from his seat this November. Of course, given how knee-jerk Democrat the voters are here, this area is just going to continue to be taken for granted.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm

You don't get to vote against someone, you have to vote for someone else. So far the "anti-all-incumbent" philosophy has only resulted in more of the same, with new incumbents that people want to vote out at the next election. Start thinking and talking about who you want to vote FOR, not against.


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Posted by History not repeating
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Much of the New Deal public works projects built infrastructure where none had previously existed. Advances in technology (automobiles and airplanes) necessitated airports and roads. These means of transportation benefited more than those who just needed a job, or a quicker way to get somewhere . . . they assisted with encouraging and promoting business and manufacturing that aided the U.S. economy. The transport of goods and services, the burgeoning aeronautics and automobile industries, the creation of more and more jobs - all benefited. A train is duplicative; you can hop on a plane to get to Disneyland. Where is the long term benefit to grow our economy? Instead of a high speed train, focus on technology that will promote growth and jobs for years to come. Seriously, why are we not focused on clean energy??? Make real technology and real jobs for us and our children. We're smart people. Let's figure it out.


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Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2012 at 11:33 pm

"You don't get to vote against someone, you have to vote for someone else. So far the "anti-all-incumbent" philosophy has only resulted in more of the same, with new incumbents that people want to vote out at the next election. Start thinking and talking about who you want to vote FOR, not against."

Distinction without a difference. But you know what, that's how Obama got into the White House. Really.

For you Donald, let's make it easy, though, fellow Palo Altan (if you really are). Vote for George Yang. He's the only one running against Rich "Let's Assume Voters Are Too Stupid To Really Know What I'm Doing" Gordon in November for District 24.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2012 at 9:02 am

Toady, now tell me why I should vote for George Yang besides the fact that he isn't Rich Gordon (who I have never liked).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm

"now tell me why I should vote for George Yang besides the fact that he isn't Rich Gordon (who I have never liked)."

This is interesting. Have you voted for Rich Gordon, even though you don't like him?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm

No.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Then my work is done :-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I guess you set your standards low.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 13, 2012 at 5:26 am

4-14 billion in deficit spending every year in California. (Wide range, I know, but this is the reality of "budgets" without stop).
Web Link
So what does our illustrious State do? Commit to spending yet more billions.

C'mon, Californians! Get a grip! ANY deficit is rough, let alone a ballooning one, ballooned yet more by silly choices like this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 13, 2012 at 9:22 am

Actually it's called setting priorities. I've moved on to other things.


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Posted by Mickey
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

OMG! want to hear a joke, a fed employees making copies of case file for AG of CA, wonder how in the hell did it get pass when CA is broke, oh Sen Pelosi husband yanked her chain, give me or I'll want a divorce. LOL


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Posted by Hutch 7.62
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 6, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Good thing about all this is after the Dems get their way Palo Alto housing prices will drop to affordable level.

I don't know how you guy keep voting for the same idiots year after year. Anyone want to speculate how much money Dianne Feinsein's husband (Richard C Blum) is gonna make of the sale of the downtown post office?

Wake up America.


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Posted by Unaffordable
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

The state simply cannot afford this, even if it seizes by force the properties it needs. If this goes through, California will have to declare bankruptcy.


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