Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gavin Newsom, Governor Brown, and the Crazy Train

Photo, Ken James, Bloomberg

Willie Brown in today's Chronicle:

Water, high-speed rail, social programs: Californians deserve a debate on the issues in this election year, and if Gov. Jerry Brown won't play ball, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom ought to offer to do it for him. For months, Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari has been stalking the governor for a debate. Brown is ignoring him. I can understand the governor's tactic. No politician wants to give an opponent a free platform, not when the opponent is trailing by 20 points in the polls. I say, bring in Newsom. He wants to be governor, so he might as well get in a few practice rounds with the opposition. Kashkari wants attention, and going up against Newsom would certainly get him some. They are both young and in the same intellectual weight class, and have about the same reach when it comes to delivering a punch. It would be a made-for-TV matchup.

Governor Brown won't agree to that. Maybe Willie Brown doesn't read the Chronicle, but it reported earlier this year that Newsom now opposes Brown's dumb high-speed rail project (California high-speed rail dealt blow by Newsom's about-face).

Newsom first signaled his dissent on high-speed rail last year.

The Chronicle's Debra Saunders understands that Governor Brown is a phony. After all, shit happens:

...The governor likes to portray himself as a tightwad who wants to get good value for taxpayer dollars. Yet Brown has been remarkably uncurious about the bad decisions that led to [the Bay Bridge]cost overruns. Regular commuters pay an extra $1,000 a year in higher tolls to pay for bridge work; Brown seems to be Zen with that. He just wishes the press would accept that post-construction glitches are part of nature. The engineers are responsible? It so happens Neel Kashkari, Brown's Republican opponent in the November election, has two degrees in engineering. "The delays, the cost overruns, the fact that people were dissuaded or ignored," Kashkari told me, "all of those things speak to a culture of mismanagement."

While the signature design made the 2.2-mile span more complicated than your average bridge, its glitch-rich roll-out does not bode well for the $68 billion high-speed rail project, which Brown hopes will seal his legacy as a visionary. Kashkari calls high-speed rail the "crazy train," and wants to stop it: "Can you imagine the complexities, the cost overruns, the mismanagement if they actually try to build a 400-mile train?" Yes, I can...

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