27 Jan

Season 2, Episode 4 – Jerry Brown Likes Trains

In this episode, technical stupidity aside, we talk about Kevin Kiley again in regards to his 10 Questions for Governor Brown as well and Joshua rips a little into his 10 Reasons to vote for Kiley.

We also look at Gov. Jerry Brown’s final State of the State address, specifically this nonsense:

The funds that SB 1 makes available are absolutely necessary if we are going to maintain our roads and transit systems in good repair. Twenty-five other states have raised gas taxes. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called for a federal gas tax because the highway trust fund is nearly broke.

Government does what individuals can’t do, like build roads and bridges and support local bus and light rail systems. This is our common endeavor by which we pool our resources through the public sector and improve all of our lives. Fighting a gas tax may appear to be good politics, but it isn’t. I will do everything in my power to defeat any repeal effort that may make it to the ballot.

Since I have talked about tunnels and transportation, I will bring up one more item of infrastructure: high-speed rail. I make no bones about it. I like trains and I like high-speed trains even better. So did the voters in 2008 when they approved the bond. Look, 11 other countries have high-speed trains. They are now taken for granted all over Europe, in Japan and in China. President Reagan himself said in Japan on November 11, 1983: “The State of California is planning to build a rapid speed train that is adapted from your highly successful bullet train.” Yes, we were, and now we are actually building it.

Like any big project, there are obstacles. There were for the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, for the Golden Gate Bridge and for the Panama Canal. But build it they did and build it we will — America’s first high-speed rail system. One link between San Jose and San Francisco — an electrified Caltrain — is financed and ready to go. Another billion, with matching funds, will be invested in Los Angeles to improve Union Station as a major transportation hub and fix the Anaheim corridor.

11 May

A Case to Recall CA State Senator Josh Newman

Newman-Ferguson

Today I will heading down to ARCO at 519 S. Harbor Blvd here in Fullerton to participate in the recall effort of CA State Senator Josh Newman. I will be there while KFI640’s John & Ken Show as well as KOGO600’s Carl DeMaio live broadcast while attempting to collect the required signatures. Many people will likely show up both for and against the recall and each will have their own reasons and their own beliefs. But why am I supporting the recall of Senator Newman?

I’ve been asked in various outlets and in person how I could support removing an official who was duly elected.

I’ve been asked if its fair to recall Senator Newman simply because he voted to our raise taxes.

I’ve been asked if there’s even a legal case to recall Senator Josh Newman.

I’ve also been accused of being used in a game of partisan bickering and political grandstanding. Being told that I’m nothing more than a tool of a party that lost all power when Newman beat Ling Ling Change thereby securing the Super-Majority for the Democratic Party.

I’ve also been yelled at quite a bit both online and off for my support of this contentious effort.

Obviously anything with a partisan angle or flair will allow people to adorn their blinders and lock arms with their tribe. For most the very answers to the above questions will depend on whom you ask being that (D)s will say that there is no case or justification for a recall whilst (R)s will clearly state the opposite.

None of that matters to me. As I have never been a member of a political party I am unaffected by tribal political grandstanding. Therefore I am going to answer these questions from the perspective of somebody who voted for Newman and yet is supporting his removal from office. Read More

23 Apr

Another Great High Speed Rail Train Robbery

Jeff Morales, the Chief Executive Officer for California’s High Speed Rail boondoggle is stepping down this summer. After goosing the taxpayers for about $2Million in Salary/Benefits since 2011 he finally has decided to step down before the High Speed Rail gets anywhere near completed or let alone high speed. From 2011-2015 Mr. Morales made just over $1.5Million in Salary/Benefits so unless he miraculously took a pay-cut in 2016 his total compensation comes near or just over the $2Million mark for 5 years of work. Great unaccountable work if you can get it.

Because he’s stepping down, and the position isn’t being eliminated, we’re going to have to replace him with some other goon who’ll get that fat paycheck. No wonder we keep needing to sell bonds to finance this nonsense boondoggle of 19th Century technology.

In the Press Release announcing Morales’ decision to leave they give some highlights of his tenure. Here’s a partial list with my notes in red:

  1. Injected upwards of $4 billion into California’s economy. Bond Debt with no way to pay for it. This is bad.
  2. Supported thousands of jobs in areas that have suffered chronic unemployment and put almost a thousand tradesmen and women to work. Make work jobs for the low-low price of $4 billion so far…
  3. Engaged well over 300 California small and disadvantaged businesses. What does “engaged” even mean here?
  4. Grown from just over a dozen employees to more than 200 employees. MOAR Bureaucracy! MOAR Make-Work! I’m not sure how that’s a good thing.
  5. Managed three successful procurement bids totaling more than $3 billion in contracts for 119 miles of construction, with each bid coming in hundreds of millions of dollars below engineers’ estimates. They are literally selling the point here that he spent $3 Billion. I could spend $3 Billion better for no money, let alone $500K/year. That’s another bad thing.
  6. Advanced the unprecedented environmental approval of the remaining segments. “Unprecedented”. In California? This stuff can’t be made up. For those who think environmental concerns in CA can EVER be “unprecedented” see: Smelt, Delta.
  7. Secured approval of the “d” plan for expenditure of bond funds, with first bond sales occurring this week. More plaudits for spending money we don’t actually have. He’s getting praised for saddling my kids with debt.
  8. Improved the right of way acquisition process, recovering from early delays. Improved? First of all this is something that should have been figured out BEFORE we started spending money and building Not Really High Speed Rail. Second the word “imrproved” is setting the bar pretty low here isn’t it?

I’d continue but you get the point I hope. This man is being applauded for spending money we don’t have, borrowing more money (bonds) we don’t have and getting things slowly moving on a project that will likely never get completed. Or if it does get completed won’t be used unless the State just bans all other forms of transportation. It seems the only thing High Speed about this project is the speed at which they spend money. I await finding out which HSR-Connected private firm Mr. Morales ends up working for after his departure.