Friday, August 23, 2013

Kopp: Governor's comments on HSR "irresponsible"

by Kathy Hamilton
August 22, 2013

Judge Quentin Kopp, former High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman, has been an avid supporter of High-Speed Rail for decades. But his feelings have changed, not because the concept of high-speed rail is a bad one, but because “the project is not being lawfully executed as it was envisioned or voted on by the public.” 

Going one step further, he signed a declaration as an expert witness in the Tos/Fukuda/Kings County lawsuit, also called the Prop 1A suit, writing about the illegalities of the project. Part 2 of the case will be heard later this year. 

One of Quentin Kopp’s complaints is that high-speed rail money is being used for local transit: giving bond money reserved exclusively for high-speed rail to Caltrain on the Peninsula. He believes what’s needed is a fully grade separated 4 track system. Kopp says, “It is the only way they could make the speed, the times, the revenue, and not have a subsidy.” 

Regarding the ruling of Judge Kenny, retired Judge Quentin Kopp thought, “the ruling was extremely well-written especially on the technical issues concerning mandamus claims and the judge was very clear on the ruling.” 

Judge Kopp was surprised at Governor Brown’s comment about there being “lots of room for interpretation when the ruling was unequivocal." He thought the governor’s comments were “irresponsible comments of the worst kind. On the face of it both the words and actions of both Jerry Brown and the Authority Board Chairman, Mr. Richards, appear irresponsible.”

“Any progression of the project should be after the remedies hearing and perhaps even until after the finish of part two of the Tos/Fukuda/Kings County lawsuit, which could begin sometime in November,” said the former HSR Authority Chairman. Kopp believes that this ruling could affect the result of the Bond Validation trial set for September 27, 2013 and does not believe that the State Treasurer Bill Lockyer will consider selling the state bonds for the project until the Tos case is fully heard and decided...

In Judge Kenny's ruling, “The Court further notes that Section 2704.08 (d) requires the Authority, prior to committing any proceeds of bonds for the project, to prepare and approve a second funding plan and submit it to the Director of Finance and the Chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget committee, along with a report prepared by independent parties [required by statute]." 

The Authority has not submitted a second funding plan yet however they have been engaged in property acquisition activities in Fresno. They are also actively working with Caltrans on the construction project for relocation of Hwy 99 in the Fresno area in connection with the High Speed Rail Project...

Does Quentin Kopp think there was a path to a legal project for what the Authority is planning today? He did not think so. He felt a revote about what is proposed today would end up not passing...

Mr. Kopp makes two parting predictions. First, under the leadership of Senate President pro-tem, Senator Darrell Steinberg, the legislature will attempt to pass a new law that will exempt the High-Speed Rail project from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Second, that a bill will be floated to assign all cap and trade revenue to the High-Speed Rail Project. If moves like this were attempted, it would be proof positive the Legislature and the Governor believe there is real danger in the court's ruling. This would be seen as attempt to legislate their way out of a court ruling and evade the protections in Prop 1A that people voted for. And last, this would send a message to the public about the damage and danger of what a supermajority party can do...

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NOPNA betrays the neighborhood

After supporting both the Fell/Oak and the Masonic Avenue anti-car bike projects, the folks at NOPNA are now trying to mitigate the damage those projects---eliminating more than 250 parking spaces---will do to the neighborhood. Both projects (see this and this) were based on phony "safety" claims from the Bicycle Coalition and the MTA:

The North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association, in conjunction with the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association, has recently submitted over 300 signatures for a petition to establish a new Residential Parking Permit Zone (EE) in the neighborhood. 

This petition was the result of a number of drivers (no pun intended):

The loss of parking due to the recent safety upgrades on Fell and Oak

The potential loss of parking from future safety upgrades and traffic calming on Masonic

The increase in number of RV-type vehicles parking for extended periods along the panhandle, with the appearance of people living in them

The increasingly[sic] difficulty residents have expressed in looking for parking close to their residences.

Michael Helquist, one of NOPNA's "friends,"
after he fell off his bike

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Crybaby jihadist at Guantanamo

More evidence of how the US is torturing those poor Moslems at Guantanamo. Oh, when will the brutality stop! From the New York Daily News:

A jihadist charged in the deaths of 2,976 innocents on 9/11 threw a hissy fit in court Tuesday---over lunch food.

Ramzi Binalshibh had a meltdown because he believed the U.S. military withheld olives and honey from his meal. “There are big problems with the food that was provided,” Binalshibh angrily told the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, through a translator. “It is a form of psychological torture,” he growled...

Navy Capt. Robert Durand, a spokesman at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the 9/11 defendants are being held, said Binalshibh received a “freshly prepared standard detainee halal meal” but “complained that his lunch did not include condiments such as olives and honey”...but he said a typical halal detainee meal usually includes a lamb, chicken or beef entrée, with rice, beans, chickpeas, hummus, pita bread, fruit and salad. 

Binalshibh provided the 9/11 attackers with money and help in finding flight training. He was supposed to be one of the 9/11 hijackers himself, on orders from Osama Bin Laden, but assumed a supporting role after he was denied a U.S. visa four times, authorities alleged. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

The whiny jihadist and his co-defendants have staged courtroom stunts before, beginning with their circus-like arraignment in May 2012, when Binalshibh stood in open court to pray despite scheduled breaks for that purpose.

Thanks to Jihad Watch.