Monday, March 17, 2014

Thea Selby appointed to high-speed rail board

 Selby gave the Bicycle Coalition a blank check

From a California High-Speed Rail Authority press release:

The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors Chair Dan Richard issued the following statement today upon Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez’s appointment of Thea Selby to the Authority’s Board of Directors: “Ms. Selby’s appointment to the Board of Directors represents a continuation of the Authority’s commitment to working with a variety of stakeholders. She brings a long legacy of supporting transportation projects in the Bay Area, particularly high-speed rail, and will be a valuable asset to the Board,” said Chair Dan Richard.

That is, Richard understands that Selby won't be asking any bothersome questions or voting against whatever he wants to do. Selby ran for District 5 Supervisor in 2012, a campaign of happy-talk and bullshit. She's been particularly awful on the massive UC housing project on lower Haight Street. She seems to think the garish murals on the property and her cutesy, "silly bunny" eyesore project somehow made it okay to allow UC to rip off that public property to fatten its real estate holdings.

Fortunately for California taxpayers, the high-speed rail boondoggle seems to be in its death throes. Selby's recent op-ed in the Examiner provides a sample of her mindset, which is why Richard rightly assumes Selby will be a team player. Selby compares the high-speed rail project to building the Golden Gate Bridge:

Once the voters approved a bond, financing was neither clear nor easy to come by. Ferry companies and others launched lawsuits to stop the bonds from being issued. There were no companies willing to take on the issuance of the bond until Bank of America stepped up.

But the state legislature created the Golden Gate Bridge District, the voters approved the construction bonds, and the bonds were serviced using bridge fares. That special interest litigation wasn't serious enough to even delay the project, which came in under schedule and under budget.

Selby finishes her op-ed with a rhetorical flourish:

The California voters decided and passed a bond to be spent on high-speed rail in 2008. That train has left the station, and that money can’t be spent on anything else. And we decide as well which politicians we want to vote for. There are the ones like Gov. Jerry Brown who steadfastly and unwaveringly support California high-speed rail and work to make the vision a reality. And there are those who look for an opening and think they found it in the wind currently blowing on this latest visionary infrastructure project. It’s up to us to decide.

Actually, it's now up to the courts to decide. According to opinion polls, most Californians now oppose the project and would like to see it on the ballot again so they can reject it. And according to Judge Kenny, that money can't be spent on high-speed rail, since it doesn't conform to what the state's voters voted for in 2008, though that litigation process isn't over yet. Gavin Newsom understands that the money for the project simply isn't there, while Governor Brown is trying to hijack cap-and-trade money for high-speed rail, which even Democrats oppose.

Selby clearly doesn't know or understand any of this, which is why Richard is pleased to welcome her on board the train to nowhere.

See the Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail for the best analysis of the project's many shortcomings. 

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At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should run for District 5, Rob, you would be a shoe in. Everyone there hates bikes and trains.

At 8:46 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

How about using the bond money to pay back the bond? Surely that would be allowed.

At 1:15 PM, Anonymous sfthen said...

This Thea Selby is obviously yet another "Urbanist" who grew up in the suburbs somewhere else but now thinks they're the first to ever live Car-Free right here in the Big City.

At any given time in San Francisco there are three- to four-hundred thousand people living Car-Free but these Selby types are so myopic they think they're on the vanguard of some New Urbanist revolution and that the world will be a so much better place when everyone recognizes this and thinks exactly like they do.

Sort of like the future depicted in "The Giver", Selby could be the one who says, "When people have the freedom to choose they choose wrong."

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

How about not spending it at all? Especially on a project significantly different than what we voted for in 2008. That's why Judge Kenny is holding a hearing on that issue this Spring.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"You should run for District 5, Rob, you would be a shoe in. Everyone there hates bikes and trains."

Better yet, why not put high-speed rail back on the ballot so voters can get it right? The answer is the same when you ask that question about the city's Bicycle Plan: the authorities and the special interest groups---the unions on high-speed rail, the Bicycle Coalition and City Hall on the Bicycle Plan---have too much at stake to let that happen.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First step is running for District 5, though. Then Mayor, and Governor of California, where you can finally eliminate the funding for all the bike and train projects. Beats whining about being censored on Streetsblog and taken off Haighteration's blogroll.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

If this blog bothers you so much, why do you read it? You should stay over at Streetsblog where you'll never read anything that disturbs your worldview, which holds that Bikes are Good, Cars are Bad, and trains, however ruinously expensive, are Cool because they aren't cars, right?


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