Sunday, March 23, 2014

When smart people are dumb 4

Maureen Dowd on Governor Brown in today's New York Times (Palmy Days for Jerry):

He’s never seen “Chinatown,” but he’s trying to deal with the drought by fixing the state’s unsustainable water transport system, which his dad helped put in place and he himself tried to fix 30 years ago. And he’s still fighting for his dream of a high-speed train from Sacramento to San Diego, a project bogged down in lawsuits. He takes a white model of the train from the window and lovingly places it in the middle of a big picnic table, noting that he has liked trains since he was a kid. He said he wasn’t upset when Newsom joined the opposition last month. “I don’t think he has repeated the comment, do you?” he asked an aide.

Both Dowd and Brown earn the dumb label for this. "Sacramento to San Diego"? That's for phase 2 of the project, assuming that phase 1 ever gets built, which is very unlikely. Phase 1 of the project is supposed to be between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

"Bogged down in lawsuits"? Well, yes, but only because the project's latest incarnation is not what the state's voters voted for in 2008, not to mention that there's not enough money to even start building the system.

Gavin Newsom first voiced his doubts about the high-speed rail project in May of last year. Last month he repeated those doubts (California high-speed rail dealt blow by Newsom's about-face):

Although he was an early and ardent supporter of the bullet train, Newsom said in a phone interview Tuesday that "it's not the same system that was being promoted" when it first came before voters in 2008. "We were selling a $32 billion project then, and we were going to get roughly one-third from the federal government and the private sector," he said. "We're not even close to the timeline (for the project), we're not close to the total cost estimates, and the private sector money and the federal dollars are questionable"...The lieutenant governor first disclosed his opposition to the high-speed rail project in an interview with a Seattle radio station last week[sic]. "I am not the only Democrat that feels this way. I am one of the few that just said it publicly," he said. "Most are now saying it privately."

Governor Brown relies on an "aide" to learn about where Newsom stands on the project? Like a lot of bigshots, Brown outsources his reading/thinking to others. That he hasn't seen Chinatown---the best movie ever made about California---and fiddles around with a toy train makes him sound like a backward 12-year-old.

An analysis of the project's latest business plan: If you build it they will not come.

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