Friday, February 18, 2011

A Judge Warren sighting

For the first time in several years, retired Superior Court Judge James Warren was spotted getting a morning coffee to go at Cafe Abir in the heart of District 5. Warren got some notoriety as the judge in the dog mauling case, the 101 California shooting, and the litigation on the garage under the Concourse in Golden Gate Park, which is where I saw him in action on the bench in 2005. 

Back in 2004, he made an important---and excellent---decision on that case; I still have a dog-eared copy in my files. He also gave us the original injunction in 2006 against the city in the Bicycle Plan case, but, alas, retired shortly thereafter, and the case was reassigned to Judge Busch. Warren is now working for "JAMS"---Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services.

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High-speed rail in trouble in China

Wuhan – Guangzhou High-speed Train

Today’s NY Times
tells us there’s big trouble in China with its HSR system—shortcuts undermining quality control, high ticket prices, corruption, crushing debt:

A 2010 analysis by China Minsheng Bank, reported this week by Caijing, found that the [rail] ministry’s debts equaled 56 percent of its assets and could reach $455 billion, or 70 percent of its assets, by 2020. In his last months on the job, Mr. Liu had begun an aggressive program to deal with the debt by selling stakes in the railway to investors like large state-controlled banks.

The Minsheng report suggested that the high-speed network may remain a money-loser for the next 20 years, despite heavy use. Ticket prices — several times those for a conventional train — have led to a backlash among some Chinese. The timing of Mr. Liu’s dismissal may be significant: He was fired at the end of China’s Lunar New Year holiday, when trains are jammed, tickets are scalped at exorbitant prices and passengers are angriest.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration thinks the US should spend $500 billion on a high-speed rail system!
See this also on China's HSR.