My Comments Posted on – New California High-Speed Rail Website

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Councilman Brandau: Thank you for your leadership in developing this DamTrain campaign to remind Californians that the $68 billion High-Speed Rail project between San Francisco and Los Angeles (scheduled to be finished in 2029) is a misplaced priority.

You and all of the people who signed the petition need to overcome three major obstacles:

1. Big-Money Interests: The California High-Speed Rail Authority benefits politically from the power and money of major construction and transportation infrastructure corporations and labor unions. See the top-40 donors to Proposition 1A at

2. Ideology/Philosophy/Theology: California High-Speed Rail is a fundamental component of a movement to stop global climate change while moving society away from capitalism and toward social democracy. A significant percentage of Californians are committed to this movement and will never be turned away from their support for this project.

3. Culture Clash: People of the coastal cities and people of the inland rural areas have sharply different views on California High-Speed Rail. (Note that Prop 1A in 2008 won the support of 78% of voters in San Francisco while winning only 53% statewide.) These are two different cultures, and each one has disdain for the other. Supporters of high-speed rail sometimes portray themselves as bringing the gift of civilization and enlightenment to what one commenter on this site rudely describes as “the backwards-thinking Central Valley…” And the people of the Central Valley are aware of this condescending attitude and don’t appreciate outsiders trying to change their “way of life.” Common ground is elusive.

Current strategies challenging the project as it is advancing now: (1) advance credible lawsuits pointing out that the state is not complying with what the voters approved in 2008 as Proposition 1A; (2) limit or prevent federal and state funding for the ongoing operations of the California High-Speed Rail Authority; (3) make California legislative candidates accountable to the voters in 2016 for their support of California High-Speed Rail at the expense of other priorities; (4) identify generous sources of funding to qualify a statewide ballot proposition to amend or repeal Proposition 1A and its authority for the state to borrow $9 billion via bond sales for high-speed rail.

DamTrain makes California voters aware in 2015 that supporting high-speed rail while neglecting water storage and conveyance is a poor policy choice. In the 2016 elections, California voters will learn which candidates support this poor policy choice.

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