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August 16, 2013



Finally something sensible from a court. We need to stop this thing in its tracks. I agree. I want to hear every candidate tell us clearly where they stand on high speed rail.


Brown: Ruling won't stop high-speed rail plan
By Juliet Williams
Associated Press
POSTED: 08/20/2013 06:14:35 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that a judge's ruling that California's $68 billion high-speed rail plan has not followed the terms approved by voters will not stop construction of the project, which is among his top priorities.

The ruling raises some questions about the plan, but "it did not stop anything," the Democratic governor told reporters during a Lake Tahoe summit.

"There's a lot of room for interpretation, and I think the outcome will be positive," Brown said of the ruling late Friday by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny.

The judge said the California High-Speed Rail Authority's construction plan broke promises made to voters in 2008 in Proposition 1A, which said financing and environmental reviews would be in place for the entire first "usable segment" before construction would start on the nation's largest infrastructure project.

Instead, the rail authority has identified funding for the first 130 miles and has completed about 30 miles of environmental review ahead of the likely signing of a construction contract later this month.

The judge said the rail authority abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law, and the Legislature relied on that plan in July 2012 when it approved $2.9 billion in bonds, allowing the state to tap into $3.3 billion in federal funding.

Still, Kenny declined to halt funding and has asked lawyers to submit additional briefs regarding a possible remedy before he schedules another hearing.

The rail authority should not continue work in the Central Valley until after the judge's decision, said Aaron Fukuda, a landowner in Hanford, 35 miles south of Fresno, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

"Are they going to, in their arrogance? Absolutely. No question in my mind," he said. "The public needs to be aware of just how rogue this agency is."

The judge said that Proposition 1A appears to leave it up to the "Legislature's collective judgment" to decide whether the funding plan complied with the ballot measure.

High-speed rail officials note that much of his ruling hinged on the 2011 business plan, which pegged the total project cost at $98 billion and since has been overhauled to accommodate concerns of residents in the Central Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula.

Attorneys for both sides were still reviewing the ruling to determine what it means.



Embezzler was hired by CA high-speed rail agency
Published: August 29, 2013

The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. A woman who embezzled $320,000 from a California state agency was later hired by the state's High-Speed Rail Authority and she said nobody asked about her background.

Carey Renee Moore spent two years in state prison after pleading no contest to felony grand theft in 2007.

Prosecutors said she embezzled $320,000 in 2005 when she worked as a procurement officer for the Department of Child Support Services and used it to buy a television, hot tub and other items, including pornographic videos, handcuffs, whips and chains.

Moore, who at the time was called Carey Renee Aceves, was working for the state Board of Equalization when she was arrested in 2007. She was in the process of being fired but resigned before the action became final and so no record of her crime was placed in her personnel file, The Sacramento Bee ( http://bit.ly/141r1Z6 ) reported Thursday.

In 2011, Moore was hired by the High-Speed Rail Authority. Her job included making travel plans for officials.

Her state job application didn't ask whether she'd been convicted of a crime because the State Personnel Board had removed that question and transferred it to supplemental forms for jobs that required background checks, such as law enforcement.

Nobody else asked Moore whether she had a criminal background and "I wasn't going to get a job if I said it," Moore told an unemployment insurance appeals judge last October.

"I went through State Personnel Board language to make sure there was no reason I couldn't or shouldn't do this," she said.

Her cover letter and job applications described Moore's time away from the state as a "four-year voluntary resignation" to fulfill "family obligations" due to "personal family circumstances," the Bee said.

At the rail authority, Moore got a good review, a raise and a promotion. However, her past surfaced when the Franchise Tax Board began garnishing her wages to collect more than $373,000 in restitution.

When a rail official asked about the garnishment, Moore said it was for taxes she owed while working at the child support department, the Bee said, citing a copy of a dismissal notice.

She was fired in July 2012 for lying to secure her job.

She filed but then withdrew an appeal. She also won a battle over whether she was entitled to unemployment benefits.

Rail authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley declined to comment on Moore's hiring, saying it was a personnel matter, the Bee reported.


Before we get all excited about the latest bill Moonbeam has signed, as reported here: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2013-09-07/brown-signs-high-speed-rail-bill-legislation-protects-two-track-system-on-caltrain-right-of-way/1774924.html

"Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday restricted high-speed rail through the Peninsula to a blended, primarily two-track system to minimize impacts to communities along the Caltrain right-of-way.

“This is really exciting,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who authored the bill.

The bill was also coauthored by fellow Peninsula legislators Assemblymen Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, and Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco.

Hill’s office said the legislation eliminates local concerns that the California High-Speed Rail Authority may revisit a four-track option. The rail authority had assured Hill the four-track system would not be built but the governor’s approval gives local agencies like Caltrain veto-authority if the idea rises again."

---We need to keep in mind that Brown can and will go back on his promises or prior legislation or court rulings whenever he pleases. You can just reread the second comment on this post to see that.

pat giorni

On Thursday, November 8, the second part of Tos et al, v. California High Speed Rail Authority, Sacramento Superior Court Case No. 34-2011-00113919 will be heard to determine if it is legal to issue the $9 Billion High Speed Rail Bonds for construction in the Central Valley, or any other venue, for a substantially revised project that the electorate did not approve. After cordially contentious debate some months back, the Burlingame City Council voted 3-2 approval of a $5000.00 contribution to the Tos legal defense fund. Despite optimistic reports, HSR will not lay dormant for the next 15 to 20 years. There has not been, nor will there be, any legislative relief to safeguard the Peninsula and Burlingame from a multi-track buildout.

So come Election Day I will confidently cast my ballot for Ann Keighran, Michael Brownrigg, and Russ Cohen because I am assured that only these three candidates understand the nuances and recognize that judicial remedy is our last best hope. These three stewards will hold steadfast in their determination to override opposing Council members’ reluctance to fully engage in new or current litigation in opposition to a project that will never bring any long term economic benefit to San Mateo County.

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