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November 16, 2011     The Julian News
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DIFFICULTY THIS WEEK: * * * November 16, 2011 California Commentary Fast Train Backers Pulling Fast One On Taxpayers by Jon Coupal Imagine you see an ad in the newspaper for a very fast, shiny new sports car at a low, low price. Tempted, you grab your wallet and rush to the dealership where you agree to buy this dream car. But as soon as you sign the contract, the sales manager locks the doors and tells you the cost is three times higher than the advertised price and you will not be allowed to leave until you agree to pay. Not only would you feel cheated, you would also be the victim of fraud, robbery, false imprisonment and probably a few more felonies. Well, this is exactly what is happening to California taxpayers, except it's not a sports car we're being forced to buy, but a fast train. In 2008, voters narrowly approved a $10 billion down payment on the construction of a high speed rail network between the Bay Area and Los Angeles that promoters said would cost a total of $33.6 billion. A year later, the High Speed Rail Authority, overseeing the project, said the train would actually cost $42.6 billion. No problem - hey, what's another $9 billion between friends? Now, they're reporting it will cost $98.5 billion, three times the original estimate. What's worse is they're saying, because we agreed to buy the train at $33.6 billion, we're obligated to pay the entire $98.5 billion. To put this in perspective, California's entire 2010-2011 General Fund budget was about $91.5 billion or $7 billion cheaper than the train. Prior to the 2008 vote, the Reason Foundation and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation sponsored "A Due Diligence Study" of the HSR plan which found the high speed train would cost much more than promised, possibly as much as $100 billion or even more. One of the study's authors, Joseph Vranich, who is also one of our h~ition's top authorities on high speed rail, also warned the project would be a boondoggle. In fact, he testified before the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee that the project was S poorly planned that it was the first high speed rail proposal he would be unable to support. More recent studies by the University of California and Legislative Analyst's Office have cast further doubts on the feasibility of the fast choo- choo. The Legislative Analyst's Office found not just that the costs were understated but also found fault with the High Speed Rail Authority's structure and its management by consultants and appointees who are not even required to have relevant expertise. The fact that the Authority management has no clue what they are doing shows. But while they have admitted they drastically underestimated construction costs they still promise the train will turn a profit and - try not to laugh too hard - they even promise the train will create over 1 million permanent jobs just by putting a fast train between Los Angeles and San Francisco. However, the Reason/Jarvis study that accurately predicted construction costs to be understated also found ridership predictions wildly overstated. High speed rail backers cheerily prognosticated the train would eventually make lots of money by estimating a ridership intensity (a measure of demand for rail service) that is 30 times higher than the high-speed Acela Express, which links business centers in the dense Northeastern corridor. They even estimated higher ridership intensity than in Japan and Europe. If construction does begin, the most optimistic result will be a stretch of track running from Bakersfield to Fresno, if it even gets that far. High speed rail boosters still think private investors are going to want to pour billions into their poorly planned project, but most investors are not in the habit of flushing their money down the drain. On top of that, there are still expensive right-of-way issues to be resolved. Many years ago voters in Los Angeles were promised a "subway to the sea" that would stretch to the ocean at one end and across the San Fernando Valley on the other, in return for a sales tax increase. After several decades, and still no subway to the sea, voters were told that this time officials were serious; they really would build that line to the beach, if voters would just agree to another sales tax increase. Sound familiar? That's right California Taxpayers, you can have a shiny new train if you are willing to commit to paying three times the advertised price. The HSR project, which has yet to break ground, is rapidly moving from bad public policy to outright rip-off. And if the past is any indication, if given a month or two, the Rail Authority will come by Linda Thistle 1 8 3 7 8 3 9 4 8 6 3. 9 4 3 8 9 1 1 4 6 7 Place a number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, ,each column down and each small 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. * Moderate ** Challenging *** HOD BOY[ 2011 King Features Synd., Inc. The Julian News 13 I~0 HOMES . CABINS . LAND . RENTALS . PROPERTY MANAGEMENT . VACATION RENTALS www.julian-realestate,com I ILovely 3 Bed/2 1/2/Bath home in beautiful Wynola Estates. All level, beautifully landscaped 2.7 acres. Offered at $375,000 This Cuyamaca Lake view custom home in on 4+ acres 3 br, 2ba, 3 car garage, guest suite, 1330 sf bonus room and many custom features 3 Bdrm/2 Bath on 1.36 acres in lovely Pine Hills. Detached office/art studio. Garage, Handicapped Accessible. 4 Redwood Decks. II Panoramic View Home on 8.41 acres, 2 garages, 2,756 sq.ft. 6 bdrm/3 bath, remodeled. REDUCED TO $549,000 REDUCED TO Truly custom in Julian Estates, 3 bedroom, 3 bath, den, 2 car garage on 6.89 acres. 2 master suites, one handicap accessible. Mature forest plus orchard and horse property. 896 sq. ft. Upgraded 2br/lba cabin with 2 fireplaces and 2 covered patios. 37 Acres. Year-Round Creek ....................... ............ :iiiiiii ! iCi i ;i?:iiii iili /?i:: ...... Great Locale, ample parking, easy access, well on property, 2 well maintained buildings and a 700 square foot rental cabin. 3Bd/2Bath, 1703 sq.ft, on 2.51 acres. Customized 2006 Solar Home in Cuayamaca Woods. Well - 92 gpm. Panoramic Views! REDUCED TO $307,500 Business sold separately Julian Estates - 3 bedroom, den, 2 bath, 2 car garage, 2200 sq. ft., 4.42 acres. Wood Interior, Lodge Feeling. ~/4.32 acres on Eagle Peak Rd. Septic, Well, Electric, Panoramic Views $175K "~/2.5 acres - Harrison Park, well, electric. $99,900 .49 acres - Harrison Park Lot - ready to go! - $30,000 "~/5 acres Harrison Park with well & electric. $109K 8 acres - Pine Hills -Perc test, Septic Layout & Surveyed. Panoramic views Electric Nearby REDUCED TO $160K and 6.32 acres - Pine Hills - Incredible view lot. Completed Perc Test, Survey and Septic Layout. REDUCED to $175K ~ Both lots at a discounted rate of $320K up with new cost estimates that will make the $98.6 billion look like a pittance. Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- California's largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers' rights. Happiness & when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony. -- Mahatma Gandhi ACROSS t -- Mahal 4 Parisian pals 8 Choose from a group 12 Fuss 13 Color quality 14 On the briny 15 Old com munication method 17 Bit of banter 18 Come- stibles 19 Stallion or mare 20 Malaria symptoms 22 Transaction 24 Tranquil 25 Pollen- caused allergy 29 Under the weather 30 Cupid's yokemate 31 Is for you? 32 Short-term employment 34 Schleps 35 Shake- speare's river 36 Cockpit VlP 37 Steeple 40 Regimen 12 w 15 20 21 -- I 24 h -- 29 32 by l a weaver 37 38 41 It was British writer and humorist Jerome K. Jerome who made the following sage observation: "It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." According to an international survey of taxicab drivers, passengers who use cabs in London are twice as likely as those in eight other major metropolises to leave a laptop behind when exiting the taxi. Sharks can live for a century or more. 46 49 Crossword 41 Lumber 42 Spring parade leader 46 Initial stake 47 Birthright barterer 48 Old studio letters 49 Parapher- nalia 50 Sommelier's offering 51 Stitch DOWN 4 42 43 44 45 47 50 4 Friend of and-field D'Artagnan athletes 5 Disposition 27 Therefore 6 Hostel 28 Take a break 7 Get a 30 Bear lair glimpse of 33 Pantry 8 Wheedle 34 Stead 9 Addict 36 Resentment 10 Not so much 37 Booty 11 Tardy 38 Corn 16 Verse concoction 19 Weapon's 39 Tittle handle 40 Actress 20 Alkali Cannon neutralizer 42 Kitten's call 21 Festive 43 "-- was 1 Noisy dance 22 Pythias' pal saying .... " 2 Oklahoma 23 Watchful one 44 Scratch out city 25 Vagrant 45 Promptly 3 With glee 26 Some track- 20~ t King Fcalures $3 nd.. Inc. Velcro came to market in 1957, after a Swiss inventor named George De Mestral spent nearly 10 years developing the idea. His inspiration came to him in 1948 on a hike, when he had difficulty removing tenacious little burrs from his clotheS. He reasoned that if he could create synthetic burrs, they could be used as fasteners. The Parker Brothers game Monopoly is the best-selling game in history. It0s available for purchase in 28 countries, and it can be played in 19 different languages. If you speak some French, you might know that the phrase "tout a I'heure" means "see you later." You might not realize, though, that that phrase is the origin of the English term "toDdle-Do." Chances are, there's a Park Street in your town. It's the most common street name in the United States. Europe is the only continent without a desert. Even icy Antarctica has deserts -- including the world's largest cold desert. Thought for the Day: 'We need' anything politically important rationed out like Pez: small, sweet, and coming Out of a funny, plastic head." -- Dennls Miller Friendship is Love, without his wings. -- Lord Byron Worst for Your Lun ll 2. Mining/ 3. Transportation 4. Automotive 5. Baking 6. Bartending 7. Textiles 8. Health care 9. Manufacturing 10, Construction Source: health.corn Weekly SUDOKU Answer Z 9 11 L 9 6 g 9 6 # L 8 L S L 6 8 L ~ I~ 9 ~ # L 9 g 6 L 8 8 6 ~ L 1~ Z g 9 9 L Z 9 6 ;~ # 6 ~ 9 L 9 L t, L 98 b 6 L It L g 996 L -- I(.mg Crossword -- Answers Solution time: 27 rains. Itl ~IS ,IV IIO ,tV ~1(] M3S OHW N33 1112 101 son 3UV W 31A I|| 3SW r~-5- v ] ]in via IN vl A "]''~ I I -].iv ~1 -fie vl __|| fIN A V dl IN 0 C]iVl i I l li r ~.LI 2011 King Features Syndicate, Inc.