“Brown Doggle?” Efforts to Use HSR as Cudgel Against CA Dems. Fizzle

The Browndoggle.”

This image was supposed to signify that California High Speed Rail was going off the tracks. Instead, it's a symbol of how efforts to use High Speed Rail as a cudgel have led to ruin. Image:##http://www.kfiam640.com/pages/jk2010.html##John and Ken Show##

Opponents of Governor Jerry Brown and the California Democratic Party have been slamming the California High Speed Rail Authority for years. The political strategy seemed to be working. Four years after voters approved a tax increase to fund a segment of what was promised to be a high speed train connecting Sacramento to San Diego, the project had morphed and grown more expensive. Voters were angry. Or so the polls said.

Earlier this year, the legislature approved a plan to build 130 miles of high speed rail in the central valley despite near-unanimous Republican opposition. One of the questions this election was whether Republicans could capitalize on the opposition to make gains at the ballot box.

Backed by funding from the oil and coal industries, and the non-stop nattering on the popular John and Ken Show, Republicans thought High Speed Rail was a winning issue.

They were wrong.

Despite a handful of Senators moving from the State Senate to Congress, Republicans actually lost ground in the Senate and now the Democrats have a super-majority in both legislative chambers. In other words, if this election was about high speed rail, voters gave Brown and his Democratic allies the ability to do what they want even if every Republican legislator votes against them.

“High Speed Rail had a goodnight, if indirectly,” wrote Robert Cruickshank at the advocacy California High Speed Rail Blog.

This ad didn’t work.

In Ventura County, Julia Brownley defeated Tony Strickland despite an organized campaign to paint her as a supporter of high taxes because of her support for California High Speed Rail. While the race was rated as a toss-up, Brownley won a Congressional seat held by Republicans by four points.

But while rail backers got good news, there was a dark lining for cyclists. State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-LB) was elected to Congress. While the extremely bike-friendly Lowenthal will be a welcome addition to Capitol Hill, his presence removes a key cycling champion from the halls of Sacramento where he authored and supported both of the recently vetoed 3-Feet Passing Bills.


  • Anonymous

    If the Republicans were fiscal conservatives, they would support a $68 billion project over a $150 billion project when both would achieve the same results.

  • ubringliten

    In addition, the devastation from global warming will cost much more.

  • Roadblock

    That anti-rail commercial looks pretty sweet actually. Train zooming around, no traffic…. How much does it cost to maintain the highway system in the same time that it takes to build HSR? Has anyone thought of calculating the cost of crashes, oil, and road maintenance and compare? 

  • Erik Griswold

    One of those trains is the Russian version of the German ICE3….so much for Mica’s Soviet-style rail.

    The rest is mostly the Dutch Railways Intercity trains, the Koploper (“Leader”) trains which aren’t TGV high-speed, but faster than much of what the USA calls intercity rail.

    And they run every hour at a set minute past the hour, sometimes twice an hour even.  And it serves the main airport and has for over 30 years.

    But who would want that evil socializmust reliable transportations?!?

  • Bikinginla

    Brownley and Lowenthal are both bike and transit friendly additions to Congress, which is something we desperately need to counter the small minds who gutted both in last year’s transportation bill. 

  • If I were still a voter in my home county of Ventura, that ad would’ve only cemented my vote for Brownley…

  • Anonymous

    It’s funny that they showed some modern, electric, and apparently well-maintained systems in that commercial– almost all better than anything we have. Maybe people who saw it said, “why don’t we have anything like that?”

  • calwatch

    Also Jeff Miller tried to use high speed rail to hang Major General Richard Roth for a state senate seat in radio ads heard on the John and Ken show and on TV. In fact high speed rail was the main thing they attacked him on. Miller lost by seven points. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=avtEGD_VaAk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4quDTyEbM48&feature=plcp

  • Great Article. I was enlightened by the specifics , Does anyone know where my company could find a template IRS W-2 version to edit ?


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