Bullet Train Uncategorized

What Will the Bullet Train Do?

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The most expensive public-works project in U.S. history

The most expensive public-works project in U.S. history

The Bullet Train will whisk passengers at 220 mph from Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes — half the usual six-hour car journey. That futuristic vision convinced California voters to approve a 2008 referendum authorizing a $10 billion bond package to help finance the train’s construction by 2029. The original projected cost was $33 billion. But from day one, the mammoth project has been plagued by lawsuits, land disputes, and budget overruns. Work finally got underway on the first $1 billion, 29-mile, Central Valley stretch of the 520-mile track in January — two years behind schedule. But with the projected cost swelling to $68 billion — the most expensive public-works project in U.S. history — and Republicans determined to derail the project, many wonder whether the bullet train will ever become a reality. “The project is about to enter a tunnel of uncertainty,” said political professor Jack Pitney. “We don’t know what’s on the other side.”

What’s stopping it?
First, there’s the question of land. The railway won’t travel along California’s heavily developed coast, but instead will cut a weaving pathway inland to the east, through the Central Valley. So far, California officials have acquired only 101 of the needed 526 parcels of territory needed to construct the first 29-mile, Central Valley section of the railroad. They’ve been hindered by multiple lawsuits from farmers, residents who live near the projected path, and environmentalists worried about the carbon costs of such a gargantuan construction project. But supporters say the bullet train would ultimately produce a steep cut in the number of carbon-intensive car and air journeys between the two cities.

Will the train get built?
It could go either way. As skepticism has grown, critics are trying to put a new referendum on the ballot to cancel the bullet train. So far, they haven’t gotten the necessary 500,000 signatures. But the project could be about to take on an unstoppable momentum: Thanks to a quirk in federal funding requirements, California will need to spend at least $4 billion on the railway by Oct. 1, 2017 — $3 million to $4 million every calendar day for the next 1,000 days. “Before, you never knew if and when the project would really get going,” says political scientist Larry Gerston. “Now, as those tracks get laid, mile by mile, it gets harder and harder to turn back.”

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, a Democrat, said he supports high-speed rail in theory, “but when you get into the details — I just don’t think people have put enough effort into the details.”

Musk’s high-speed alternative
For some transport visionaries, high-speed rail isn’t futuristic enough. Why plow billions into a bullet train that will already be outdated by 2030, they argue, when California could instead invest in genuinely cutting-edge transportation projects? The most revolutionary proposal to replace the bullet train is undoubtedly the Hyperloop. The brainchild of inventor and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the Hyperloop would zip passengers in capsules through a vacuum tube from San Francisco to Los Angeles at staggering speeds up to 760 mph — in just a half hour. The billionaire is so convinced his high-speed pods are the vehicles of the future that he’s now building a test track in Texas and raising funding for further research. He says the Hyperloop could be built for $6 billion to $10 billion — a fraction of the bullet train’s cost. “You could have about 70 pods between Los Angeles and San Francisco that leave every 30 seconds,” said Musk. “It’s like getting a ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland.”

 

 

Bills Civil Rights Uncategorized

SB 277 in California!!

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Don't the state do this to your kids.

Don’t the state do this to your kids.

SB 277 in California would force parents to vaccinate there children to go to school here in California. This should be a parents choice to vaccinate there children and not the State of California.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 277, as introduced, Pan. Public health: vaccinations.

(1) Existing law prohibits the governing authority of a school or other institution from unconditionally admitting any person as a pupil of any public or private elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center, unless prior to his or her admission to that institution he or she has been fully immunized against various diseases, including measles, mumps, and pertussis, subject to any specific age criteria. Existing law authorizes an exemption from those provisions for medical reasons or because of personal beliefs, if specified forms are submitted to the governing authority.

This bill would eliminate the exemption from immunization based upon personal beliefs. The bill would make conforming changes to related provisions.

(2) Existing law requires the governing board of a school district, at the beginning of the first semester or quarter of the regular school term, to make certain notifications to parents or guardians of minor pupils including, among others, specified rights and responsibilities of a parent or guardian and specified school district policies and procedures.

This bill would require the governing board of a school district to also include in the notifications provided to parents or guardians of minor pupils at the beginning of the regular school term the immunization rates for the school in which a pupil is enrolled for each required immunization. By requiring school districts to notify parents or guardians of school immunization rates, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

(3) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

If you live in California please call your state senator and say no to SB 277!

Here the The bill SB 277.

4th Amendment Civil Rights Uncategorized

California Court Revives DNA Collection

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California law enforcement officials can continue collecting and processing DNA

California law enforcement officials can continue collecting and processing DNA

Sacramento Bee 

California law enforcement officials can continue collecting and processing DNA from people arrested for felonies after the California Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case challenging the state’s policy of gleaning genetic material from felony arrestees. In December, a California appeals court declared unconstitutional a 2004 voter-approved law that expanded the state’s DNA-collection program to include all adults arrested for or charged with felony offenses. The decision dissuaded police officers from gathering genetic samples from people who had not yet been arraigned and prevented prosecutors from analyzing those samples before criminal charges were filed. “Most law enforcement agencies stopped taking DNA samples, or at least many of them did,” said Martin J. Mayer, general counsel to the California Police Chiefs Association and the California State Sheriffs’ Association. But the California Supreme Court has now agreed to hear the case. The decision effectively wipes out the lower court’s decision and the legal precedent constraining law enforcement.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to review this case, and look forward to their review and reversal,” said David Beltran, a spokesman for California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who had appealed the December ruling.

 “Under our state constitution, this program is unconstitutional whether or not it violates the Fourth Amendment,” said Michael Risher, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. “If the government wants to take a DNA sample from an individual, it can either get a warrant or it can convict that person of a crime.”

 

 

California law enforcement officials can continue collecting and processing DNA from people arrested for felonies after the California Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case challenging the state’s policy

4th Amendment