Thursday, April 26, 2012

High-Speed Rail and Democratic Party Morality

Here's an interesting letter to the editor in the San Mateo Countil Daily Journal. The writer states:

April 23, 2012, 05:00 AM
I fully support Russ Cohen’s April 14 guest perspective on California High-Speed Rail. High-speed rail has been studied by disinterested parties several times over and the conclusion is always the same. It is not economically feasible and, as Cohen says, it will seriously jeopardize the delivery of education, social services, and other important aspects of the state.
Nevertheless, it is astounding to see many California Democrat politicians continue to say, “I support high-speed rail because I am a Democrat.” I have the following suggestion for all those who think they should still support high-speed rail even if neighbors’ houses get bulldozed, houses that represent a lifetime of hard work and saving which they will not be able to recuperate. 

Listen to the words of President Obama delivered in the 2011 State of the Union address. The supreme Democrat leader said the following concerning how our country operates politically when compared to others:
“Of course, some countries don't have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they build a railroad, no matter how many homes get bulldozed. If they don't want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written.”
Isn’t it ironic that the Democrats are ignoring the words of their most important representative uttered in the most important occasion? By ignoring all the studies and making light of the life devastation that the project will entail are these Democrats choosing to behave like leaders in totalitarian countries? What is a Democrat if he/she abandons the basic Democratic agenda? I concur with Russ Cohen. High-speed rail should be dumped now, period.
Jenny Lau

I call your particular attention, above, to a quotation by President Obama made at his 2011 State of the Union address.  His exact words.

Nonetheless, we are watching exactly this process taking place, promulgated by my Democrats, ostensibly in the name of jobs and a bolstering of the economy. Is hypocrisy the right word here? Actually, it's more ironic and frightening than that.

It is the Democrats who identify themselves as the Party of the weak and the oppressed. The poor and the handicapped, the young and the very old. We think of ourselves as the Party of compassion, the protective friend of the less fortunate.

Yet, here we are, shoving a super-expensive luxury train down California's throat, a train that only the affluent will be able to afford to ride.  

The rail promulgators continue to lie to us about everything in order to advance their agenda.  And that agenda, it turns out, has little to do with building a train -- itself a terrible idea -- but instead has to do with obtaining the promised $3.5 billion from Washington to be poured into California's economy.  In short, this shameless project is about nothing less than political, predatory, venal greed.

At this moment, barring a miracle, I see nothing impeding the beginning of the construction process in the Central Valley, although the rail authority plans are even now, foggy and unclear.  Farms will not be completely taken through eminent domain (although perhaps some will be), instead they will be divided in half with the taking of a 100ft. wide corridor for the train's right-of-way.  Under such circumstances, the farm owners would be better off if the rail authority did take the entire property.  They will also take homes, businesses and other rural and agrarian properties such as dairy farms.  

The Central Valley farmers have already calculated their losses under such circumstances.  Their sacrifices, especially with properties that have been in their families for generations, will be enormous. And totally unnecessary.

Why?  Because, ultimately, no high-speed rail will be built there. The rail authority will run out of funds and there will be no further funding for many years, if ever.  There will be around 100 miles of track, useless unless Amtrak chooses to use it.  

At best, it will be many decades before any high-speed rail CAN operate on those tracks.  In other words, in order to get and spend the $3.5 billion ARRA stimulus funds awarded by the DOT, the Governor of California is eager to impose a brutal and destructive scar down the Central Valley gratuitously. . . . for nothing. 

Is that how Democrats should demonstrate their leadership, or is it merely sucking up to the construction Unions who support the Democrats with their generous campaign contributions?

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