Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It turns out that during Governor Jerry Brown's China trip a couple of weeks ago, and, despite his strong and expressed desire for state-owned China companies to invest in California projects whilst he was touring China, the California HSR project the foundational two San Francisco Lennar housing projects at Hunter's Point and Treasure Island that were propositioned fell through first. This, apparently because of the US tax and other laws require transparency (per SF Chronicle's Andrew Ross column) and possibly an unwillingness of SF Mayer Ed Lee and others to succumb to the deep level of involvement that the Chinese insist upon when they agree to build major infrastructure projects, as is normal in third world developing nations, notably Africa but also southern Asia.

Nevertheless, keep an eye on China investment for future HSR contracts because China's state-owned companies can easily be low-bid contract costs.

Best regards.

=====Original Post: 03/26/2013=============
Calif. HSR and China ... Is the big dig Central Valley contract imminent?

The Daily Caller article about California Fracking (03262012) triggered this additional Freemotorist Comment from Jerry Brown's comments about Fracking: "we’re not jumping on any ideological bandwagons,” Brown added" 

Freemotorist follows-up on Brown's comment to extend them to the majority of Californians High Speed Rail concerns and, now, polled HSR opposition majority:
Righto, this from a man who had three full blown corruption events under his Oakland mayorship, accepted California public unions' collective bargaining--which neither his father-governor, nor FDR did knowing the likelihood of corruption. The obvious, corrupting, conflict-of-interest that has corrupted politics that turned California to a dirty brown state from The Golden State that Hiram Johnson so carefully set up to keep politics clean. 

Brown eagerly pursues this terrible, unnecessary, sneaky (you haven't seen anything yet!), dishonest, fraudulent, and, of course, bankrupting PPP-Corporate Cronyism. Just see the Nov. 2008 HSR campaign contributors (and those names who gave through Labor's Calif. Alliance for Jobs (CAJ) organization as well), then compare the list to the current Cal HSR contractors and vendors--wow, what a fantastic ROI! for some.
Brown wants to add this California High Speed Rail (HSR) project for his mantle via the corrupt and ruled unconstitutional fraudulent Nov. 2008 ballot measure (3rd CA Appellate Case ( http://www.hjta.org/press-releases/pr-jarvis-wins-major-victory-california-voters ).

--China's state-owned Railway Corporation Group will be the low-bidder (and riddled with corruption like most HSR projects worldwide) to kickoff construction in July 2013 between Madera and Bakersfield. http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/12/siemens-and-kawasaki-angry-at-chinese-hsr-plans/

I expect an imminent announcement during or before Brown's China trip this April 2013 (next month). 

Here's why I believe the pieces to award the major construction contract to China are in place:
-- Brown's April visit, ostensibly to visit the newly reinstated California Trade Offices that will facilitate this and other investments in California, especially San Francisco (Folsom St project, etc)

-- Secy of State John Kerry plans to visit China in April as well (CCTV)

-- China's Xi Jingpin was elected up from VP to President, 2 wks ago, for the 10 year term. (CCTV
-- --Brown met with Xi Jinping last Feb. 2012 in LA to beg China's involvement in CA HSR.(Multiple sources, per web search) http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/02/16/chinese-vice-president-to-visit-la-thursday/

--The newly reconstituted China Railway Corporation Group which was $300 Billion in debt from all of China's rail and its other infrastructure construction projects in China and developing nations. (CCTV). HSR debt is a major components of 3 of the 5 financially troubled 5 EU PIIGS countries.

--Thus, China Railway Construction (CRWOY?  stock symbol) is now positioned early and swiftly to "invest" and manage the California project as one of its "Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) lead contractors.  California Labor will love this, eh? 
-- China Railway was inserted into the huge Lennar (think Pelosi kin) SF 12,500 Hunter's Point housing project as General Manager as part of the contract.  (SF Examiner, by Will Reisman., December 2013 and on-air KCBS a.m. Commentary by Phil Matier) 

--Not coincidentally, San Francisco is the northern terminus of CA's proposed HSR and Caltrain commuter rail electrification construction project and MOU.  (Bay Area News Group, SJ Mercury News et al). 
Note: Sun Tzu: The Art of War:  wrote "Be Swift" ("The Nine Grounds" chapter) and "One who takes position first on the battleground and awaits the enemy is at ease." 

--The November 2012 Prop. 30 tax ballot measure now provides the $180Million/year bond interest payments from the General Fund.  This, rather than to support California's needy courts, education, public safety, health and welfare programs that were cutback, as the voters were led. 
--New Prop. 30 new taxes will pay for HSR's California Infrastructure Revenue Bond sale of over $3.3 Billion of the last week or so. (KCBS) 
This provides the California financial security to China and other PPP members.
Yep, Jerry Brown, unlike his destructive "small is beautiful" first term, now has no idealogy, . Such is this failed Jesuit free-spirited Democrat governor.

More corroboration about an impending China-California HSR announcement, I believe..

--Treasury Secretary Lew was in China last week.  (CCTV)

Remember, Federal $3+ Billion will be involved in Calif. HSR, is not stalled by the Federal Sequester issue, thus, providing more assurance to the Chinese to invest in the HSR project.

--As recently as late last month, CEO Jeff Morales confirmed the project is on track to start construction in July 2013 in the Central Valley.  (Bay Area News Group).

--As Melissa Griffin mentioned in the March 24, 2013, S.F. Examiner article about the Democrat Legislature's denial of Senator Harkey's request for an HSR audit  of contracts already let,"...Speeding Out of Control", California taxpayer's can expect that the less-than-scrupulous HSR project contracts will have deliberate  huge and exceptional cancellation clauses' penalties to dissuade opponents of the HSR project and voters in a future initiative from killing the project.

It is important to remember that California politicians, ex-politicians/rail zealots, and their hired consultants who peddle these snake-oil tax-funded public projects with deliberate and fraudulent, exaggerated or understated, numbers (2.5 hours to LA, $40 Billion in 2008 ballot for the whole, ultimate project, exaggerated ridership and alternative highway costs, etc) are have never been subject to civil fines, penalties, let alone well-deserved fraud or racketeering criminal charges, jail, and fines.  They ought to be. Crimes, like those that private individuals would face for defrauding a public entity so openly,  would clean up a lot of this crap, save tax dollars, and right California's finances, and be sure that those who do this in tax-funded project after tax-funded project for their own glory--won't do it again...they would be in jail!


Friday, March 22, 2013

In a recent exchange with a new Civil Engineering graduate who lives in Newark, Ca, but whose first professional job he snagged is up I680 in Walnut Creek, Ca, the importance of California's freeway system for our economic vitality became immediately apparent.  

Our freeways, and thus our economically beneficial auto-mobility are being deliberately starved for funding in the S.F. Bay area by the Democrat monopolized  Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Bay Area Toll Authority members. They are led by the Executive Director, Steve Heminger, the modern day Herod-like Bureaucrat of the Single Occupant Vehicle driver; buttresed by Democrat-approved anti-automobile state legislation from the likes of our Senate's Socialist Pro-Tempore, Darrel Steinberg's SB375 (it demands a reduction of VMT without regard to VMT-to-GDP benefits, etc) and Fran Pavel's original AB32.  

I welcomed the new grad-new hefty salaried engineer to the real world of salaried, upwardly mobile exempt professionals who pay a lot of taxes which, in turn, get redistributed to those less desirous to make the sacrifices necessary earn a living in long days, often around 12 hours per day and who must suffer from MTC/BATA's socialist, social engineering transportation policies.  The latest of these are the expanding extortionist ripoff of Toll Lanes, such as those beginning in Democrat-monopoly led Santa Clara County's SR237 which the SCC VTA recently proudly boasted of its success in garning more money from SOV drivers who, first paid for its toll lane, believing it wouldl be for all general "mixed use" drivers, but VTA then converted it to a carpool HOV lane for 8 hours per weekday, but now, has increased the hours of SOV exclusion extended so more SOV drivers will be coerced to either pay a Heminger-fetish of variable Congestion-Priced amount (approaching a $1.00 -per mile cost, with no firm upper limit), or, sit in the remaining two lanes each way for hours longer--and denied access even on off hours except for the few ingress/egress gaps.  All this increased Toll Lane-related congestion  

The coming I680 toll lanes, too, will make this newbie S.F. Bay Area salaried professional's bad, bad, bad,  SOV (Single Occupant Vehicle) commute more difficult and/or expensive, and later even worse, during future punishing (and wholly unnecessary) toll lane hours on I-680.  MTC/BATA extortion of precious earnings from desperate-for-employment wage-earners, including those who earn good salaries and contracts that are enabled only by their highway auto-mobility, is, to me, a nearly criminal perversion of the role of public servants, whether elected or appointed. 
Congestion-Priced toll lanes create congestion artificially in those bad, bad, bad, SOV lanes of freedom that will never be expanded as long as the Democrat's can coerce (per former Federal Transportation Secretary LaHood's 2009 speech to the National Press Club) to decide to use the government-induced congestion brought on by the scarcity of highway and lane funding reductions--and tolling to increase commute to/from work costs.

The newbie commuting engineer has an alternate transit opportunity, BART, which reaches from Newark to Walnut Creek, but, of course, to government his extra time to use even this frequent, high-capacity, backbone bay area rail transit service may not work for him due to his variable hours' exempt-type work schedule. I've asked that if he tries BART sometimes, his comments would be of interest and learn from, especially compared to the benefits of SOV freeway travel, coffee-in-the-car, music, hands-free conference call participation, and other conveniences,  My ultimate interest to have BART Around The Bay (my other blog), to replace the deadly, outdated, congesting, disjointed Peninsula Caltrain Killtrain (3 people already dead this year on its urban tracks, as usual and consistent with the 12-16 who die each year on its tracks, like clockwork). BART is safer and would be optimized and better balanced if it went all the way around the Bay, two ways, as a "one-seat" rail transit solution to meet burgeoning job growth in the Bay Area, especially Silicon Valley and the Peninsula. See other blog discussions earlier here and in the BARTAroundTheBay.blogspot.com site.

I commuted for 3 years from South San Jose to Livermore (contra-commute), then for a year to Redwood Shores, then 15 years to Palo Alto, all with long hours just to get and keep good job$ for a nice lifestyle and more.  This was ONLY enabled by our publicly-owned freeways to allow maximization of salaries matched to my education and experience, not where I lived (i.e., Ninotchka-like Soviet ABAG T.O.D. stack & pack housing). 
Thus, I am intrigued by his situation and thoughts on his new work/mobility experiences and the value of freeway-enabled auto-mobility, its induced economic freedom, economic growth (including more taxes!), economic opportunity, and time value benefit. The late California Assemblyman, Walter Ingalls (who fought Jerry Brown1/Gianturco to get an 8-lane design width for SoCal's I-15 corridor) said that many people who use freeways don't realize that they are the most heavily used public buildings in the state, only horizontal, that's all.  Unfortunately, Big Government, Social Engineering Control-your-life Democrats take them for granted so easily-- except to extort money from hapless motorist, taxpayer, victims (and voters!). 
A Freemotorist