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The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail

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Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Just like this movie, the California High-Speed Rail has become our Money Pit, but unlike the movie, this is no laughing matter.

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.

What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at 110 mph in large sections of the rail, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033.

With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.

The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.

At this point, it might be cheaper and faster to build a Death Star instead. Not to mention more useful.

This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.

This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped. Those billions can be used to help repair our roads, highways, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, and critical infrastructure.

If elected to be California’s next State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, I will look at all legal means to cut funding to this project. In my opinion, if we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and thus the Controller may have the legal authority to stop payment until the project complies with Proposition 1A.

I hope, I won’t have to do this, and the Legislature does its job and kills this project. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to this money pit.

Alternatives to the HSR

High-speed rail was well-intentioned but the reality is, that HSR is extremely expensive and it is obsolete technology. We must look at new innovative ways and look to future technologies of the 21st century not technology from the 1970s.

If we want an alternative to the HSR, there are two promising technologies that might be the future of transportation in California. The first is HyperLoop. Speeds-up to 700 mph, more affordable to build and operate, and could be used to transport cargo cutting down traffic congestion on the roads. This could be ideal for long distances.

 

 

The second alternative that is ideal for larger metropolitan areas and fast enough at 200 mph for longer work commuting trips is the skyTran. This is also much cheaper and better than the HSR.

 

 

Regardless, of what we do and decide, we must look beyond the current paradigm and have a vision that looks to solve the problems we have now and will face in the future. It’s time we dump the HSR and look to the future, not the past.

 


Konstantinos Roditis is a candidate for California State Controller. You can learn more about his campaign at cacontroller.com, and you can follow him on Twitter & Facebook.

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Democrats

When Joe Biden first ran for president, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hadn’t been born

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When Joe Biden first ran for President Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hadnt been born

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in October, 1989, well into George H.W. Bush’s term in the White House. Had then-Senator Joe Biden had his way, he would have been sitting in the Oval Office around the time the young Congresswoman was born.

Biden’s first run for president wasn’t much of a run. He had plagiarized components of speeches made by Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labour Party. What made it worse is that he even mimicked personal details of Kinnock’s speeches that talked about family, something that drew ridicule and condemnation as it seemed likely he fabricated aspects of his life to match that of Kinnock.

But that’s not going to be the issue for Biden in 2020. His real problem is his label as a moderate without any leftist-favored intersections of race, gender, or sexual preference. This isn’t the time in history for a Democrat to win the nomination by relying on the Establishment wing of the party. Many Democrats still blame the DNC for supporting Hillary Clinton as the reason Donald Trump is President today. Had they backed the favorite Democratic-Socialist of 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), his supporters believe he would have been able to defeat Trump. We’ll never know, but that won’t change the challenge Biden has with his reputation of being in the murky middle.

As Rush Limbaugh pointed out, Biden may be the best chance the Democrats have of defeating Trump, but he doesn’t really stand a chance in the primaries. This may be true despite his frontrunner status. Since most of the candidates are pushing further and further to the left with their radical policy proposals, whichever one emerges as the last hyper-leftist radical progressive standing will draw in the support from the others with very limited upside for Biden once the radicals start falling off.

No matter which way you cut it, Biden is going to have to lurch to the left to try to suspend disbelief among the primary voters who want to see more Justice Democrats and fewer Establishment Democrats in office. Biden may have too much history as a moderate to suddenly paint himself as a progressive, but that won’t stop him from trying.

Will age and a long history of White House ambitions harm Joe’s chances? Absolutely. The New (Justice) Democratic Party of AOC doesn’t want an old white guy representing them. They will do whatever they can to make him leave the race.

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Democrats

Joe Biden invokes Charlottesville to announce his presidential campaign

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Joe Biden invokes Charlottesville to announce his presidential campaign

The worst kept secret in DC has finally been made official. Former Vice President Joe Biden has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President. The Establishment wing of the party is mostly rejoicing.

Unlike many who have already announced their candidacy by going on talk shows for the audience energy, Biden’s announcement came in the form of a video, reminiscent of how Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy in 2015. In the video, Biden claims to have been driven to run against President Trump following the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally and protests in which counter-protester Heather Danielle Heyer was killed by a white supremacist. It wasn’t the event itself but the President’s infamous reaction to the incident that Biden claims was his inspiration to run.

He joins a crowded field as one of the two frontrunners. Former candidate and current Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is ahead in some polls, behind in others, but the two are far ahead of the rest of the field.

Some doubts sprung up about whether or not he would run following a report by former Democratic lawmaker Lucy Flores that Biden inappropriately touched her and kissed her on the back of her head without permission. She was appalled because, among other things, she hadn’t had time to wash her hair that morning.

Now that it’s official, Biden is sure to continue making waves. Whether or not he has enough support from the moderate wing to overtake the other candidates, nearly all of whom are radical progressives, remains to be seen.

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Why full-blown #NeverTrumpers on the right are wrong to embrace Democrats

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Why full-blown NeverTrumpers on the right are wrong to embrace Democrats

In 2016, I supported Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for the GOP nomination. I supported him all the way through to the Republican National Convention and was among those holding out for the tiniest possibility that he could somehow be gifted the nomination by a magical “conscience” vote. When it didn’t happen, I skulked off knowing candidate Trump would bring about challenges for the nation if he won. But…

… and this is a big but…

… there was absolutely no scenario that would have made me wish for, cheer on, or vote for Hillary Clinton.

She was bad. This new batch of Democrats running for the White House are even worse.

I am no longer a Republican. I had high hopes for a third party I co-founded, but it went in a different direction from where I initially wanted to take it, so now I’m officially an Independent. But one thing hasn’t changed. There is still absolutely no scenario in which I could support socialism-loving, pro-abortion, anti-gun, big government preaching Democrats. Even the “moderates” in the race are lurching to the left. If Joe Biden ends up winning the nomination as the only semi-rational Democrat (almost) in the race, I still couldn’t support him.

Today, there are still plenty of things President Trump does that discourage me. His bump-stock ban opened Panora’s Box for future gun confiscations and his administration’s push for Red Flag Gun Laws is only Constitutional if you eliminate the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments. I am often struck with hope that deals are in the works to finally end his destructive tariffs, but there’s always a roadblock. As North Korean dictator Kim Jong un visits Russia’s Vladimir Putin, I’m reminded of the debacle we witness as the “negotiations” to end their nuclear program were completely botched.

But here’s the thing. He’s our President. From the beginning of his administration, I’ve consistently said I’d praise him when he does right and I’d criticize him when he does wrong. This type of intellectual honesty is not present in either the #AlwaysTrump camp nor the #NeverTrump camp. Just yesterday, I Tweeted agreement with three out of four points Charlie Kirk made about the President’s successes. By mentioning there wasn’t really a North Korean deal in sight and it should’t be considered a victory, I was summarily attacked for being a “pearl clutching” Democrat or something like that.

The same happens when I praise the President, only much worse. I won’t even mention the things that are sent to me on social media, through direct messages, and via email. Many of the folks who followed me when I supported Cruz are terribly offended by my support for the border wall, for example. They tend to forget that Cruz supports the wall as well as the fact that we desperately need it. To many #NeverTrumpers, any praise for actions the President does, even if they’re conservative, is a betrayal to the credo of “orange man bad.”

I wish the President would let someone read his Tweets just to prevent him from embarrassing himself. I wish he’d alert his staff of policy changes instead of making them react to Tweets. I wish he’d stop talking about how great he is all the time. I wish he could be a statesman instead of a strongman. But as our President, he has my support. As someone who has reversed many of the evils from the previous administrations, he has my praise. As a President who is willing to acknowledge Israel as a sovereign nation and our ally, he has my pleasantly surprised smile.

One does not have to gush over the President to be a supporter. One does not have to hate everything he does to be critical. It’s preferable to look at each individual action and determine if it’s good for America or not. That level of intellectual honesty is sorely needed right now, but instead it is conspicuously absent. We are polarized. Either Trump is evil or Trump is godlike depending on which tribe you’ve sworn your allegiance to. Personally, my allegiance is to my God, my family, and my country, and I am fully capable of molding my support or not for individual policies, choices, or words based upon these three criteria.

Sometimes I’m asked how I can be a Christian and support a man who is clearly not. I look to Daniel, Joseph, and others for guidance in situations like that, but I also remember Romans 13:1:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

I do not have to support the President’s adulterous affections or misogynist statements in order to support many of his policies. But perhaps most importantly I cannot justify supporting the existential threat of socialism just because I object to our leader’s personal sins. I wouldn’t leave my wife alone with him, but that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to his desire to end visa overstays.

Then, there’s the issue of abortion. Can a Christian say, “Trump is too sinful to support” and then support a pro-abortion Democrat as a result?

Lastly, there’s the challenge of pushing the conservative philosophy, an act that superseding my personal feelings about President Trump. He is malleable. We’ve seen this time and time again, especially when he’s been on the verge of shifting to the left on important issues. Those who incessantly oppose him cannot help sway him towards the right side of an issue. If they’re attacking him when he’s being conservative, their attacks on him when he’s being progressive are meaningless.

It’s time for #NeverTrumpers to ask themselves if we’re really better off with someone they like better even if that person is a pro-abortion, anti-gun, socialism-loving Democrat. The right answer is obviously “no.”

Petition Capitol Hill for Term Limits

Sign the petition. We demand Congress immediately put together legislation that spells out term limits for themselves. Americans need to know who is willing to suppress their own power for the sake of the nation. This can only happen by bringing legislation to the floor.

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