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GOTV for CA-Prop 1A and HSR

by BruceMcF Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:11:37 PM EST

Californians have a special privilege this election year. Note only do you have an opportunity to participate in the election of Senator Obama as President, but you have the opportunity to lead the nation with a massive step toward a more Energy Independent, environmentally responsible transport system.

From the CHSRA:

Now, most people on this site do no live in California, but there's no telling how far and wide email networks go, so here goes ...

But, California doesn't get a say in this election, its electoral college votes are locked up

If you have ever corresponded with a Californian on the Presidential election, it would not be surprising to read this one. But remember: its really only the local elections that the vote of you and people you know are going to ever be able to swing.

Today, Californians are voting in the Presidential election so they can tell people that you helped elect Obama.

And besides ... the HSR is close. It is, in fact, an uphill fight. And since Obama and Biden are supporters of HSR, Prop 1A gives Obama supporters in California a way to vote for Obama that is not a foregone conclusion. They have an opportunity to give Obama/Biden a first policy victory today, on election day.

Fighting for an Obama win on Prop 1A

The latest poll (previous diary) shows Prop 1A leading, but below the 50% threshold needed to pass ... 47 for, 42 against. And there is a tendency for undecideds to vote no on Propositions. So it is essential to get to undecideds and convince them of the important of supporting Prop 1A.

If you need further arguments for HSR, go to the California HSR blog, and links there to various HSR supporting site.

But the main ones:

  • In tough economic times, it is important to be frugal. The HSR line will cost $45b to provide capacity that would cost $100b+ to provide with road and airport spending
  • Tough economic times are the time for government to do important public works ... that last two recessions saw unemployment continue for two years after GDP started to rise, so the HSR works will get underway as California needs the public works spending to help pull employment out of the doldrums
  • Two hours forty minutes LA to SF means that the HSR will capture a substantial part of the air travel market, and that will save a substantial amount of crude oil and CO2 emissions

Most important, though, passing Prop 1A will encourage policy makers all across the US, who understand the energy and environmental benefits of improved rail infrastructure, but are convinced that rail is seen as "backward" and "yesterday's technology". For rail, HSR is just the leading edge ... its the camel's nose in the tent.

That is, after all, why the anti-transit people are in California with a war-chest to spread lies about Prop 1A ... because they know that passing Prop 1A will make it politically easier to get wins on local rail for transit, rail infrastructure for freight, semi-High Speed Rail here in Ohio with the Ohio Rail Hub connecting into the Midwestern Rail Hub to our west and the Keystone and Empire Corridors in Pennsylvania and New York to our east ... and if Prop 1A goes down in defeat, all of those become incrementally harder to win.

So just like helping get out the vote for opposing Prop 8 and Prop 10, getting out the vote in support of Prop 1A is something progressive Californians can do to make it easier for progressive policy to win across the country.

Its an uphill fight ...

... its a tough fight, given that beating the "No" vote is not enough ... 50%+ is needed. So the 47 pro / 42 against poll tells us that its an uphill fight.

Of course, the fact that its an uphill fight is why GOTV is important.

But, how can I help GOTV from Europe?

If you are not in California, consider emailing the above YouTube clip to any Californians on your email address list, and asking them to pass it on.


Under the subject line, "Join Obama in supporting HSR, Yes on Prop 1A"

If only a substantial fraction of Prop 1A undecideds who support Obama also vote yes on Prop 1A, it can pass.

... with some slight editing to address it to a European audience.

And no, I am not above begging for diary rec's on Agent Orange ... I am, after all, below a peon, and need all the help I can get.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:16:02 PM EST
... with 95% of precincts reporting and 52%+ Yes, it looks like the California HSR is going to go ahead.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 12:45:32 PM EST
Indeed. Victory looks certain. We are going to bring California into the 21st century.

It's worth noting that several other passenger rail projects met with voter approval. Los Angeles County approved Measure R, which will among other things finally build the Subway to the Sea and possibly/probably complete the Green Line to LAX. Sonoma and Marin Counties approved the SMART, a passenger train service in those suburbs north of San Francisco. BART to San José is too close to call.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 01:12:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I understand, BART needed 66% to pass, which seems an extraordinarily high level ... even getting things through obstructionism in the US Senate only needs 60%.

The Overhead Wire has a rundown on a range of transit measures in the US on Tuesday ... except for light rail going down in Kansas City MO, it was a good night for both transit and regional rail.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 06:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
California has this ridiculous rule, put in place by conservatives in 1978 as part of their effort to break government, that says any tax increase must be approved by 2/3 of voters. This produces absurd situations like that in San José, where 66% of voters - a landslide margin in any other race - isn't enough to pass a 1/8 cent sales tax.

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Thu Nov 6th, 2008 at 12:00:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... any such limit at 60%.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Nov 6th, 2008 at 09:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
$10-billion bullet train is approved.

By Eric Bailey and Michael Rothfeld
7:42 PM PST, November 5, 2008
Reporting from Sacramento --

Voters may have banned same-sex marriage, but they rejected a measure that would have required parents to be notified before a girl could obtain an abortion. And they turned down several big-ticket funding initiatives while backing the most expensive of them, a nearly $10-billion bond to build a bullet train.

# 1A: High-speed rail  Yes 52.1%  No 47.9%

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 11:56:12 PM EST
I only got to read your diary in full and watch ther video now. I must say, I am very impressed by the professionality of the video: it packed a lot of arguments visually. You see:

  • downtown access,
  • speed,
  • noise protection in urban areas,
  • being faster than road,
  • scenery,
  • linkup with other public transport,
  • boost for other public transport,
  • boost for local development (they really emphasized that one).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 6th, 2008 at 02:15:55 PM EST
Voters passed Proposition 1A (Phase I, $9.5B min. GO capital requirement to bond the project) by a slim margin. MSM estimates the CA current state budget deficit ranges $17B-$21B. Nearly simultaneously, Schwartzeneger announces that the state requires a 1.5% increase to the sales tax rate to raise approximately $10.8B over the next fiscal year. (Let's assume the executive office revenue model accurately forecasts consumption trends over the next 12 to 18 months.) "Phase I" financing is roughly equivalent to projected revenue from Ahnie's sales tax increase.

What is so tragic about this inevitable state action is that current market conditions pit voters for Prop 1A against legislators seeking capital primarily to fund legacy obligations such as public services, pensions, and Medicaid/Medicare dollars. In a decent world, they would be working together to discount debt service. A sales tax increase would be justifiable investment capital, regardless of class-politicking, simply because anyone could visualize how project completion serves the broadest number of beneficiaries. Sales tax is one reasonable and reliable source of revenue to service HSR financing.

Another would be millage. And another would be state marginal income tax rates. Taken together these measures would absolutely mitigate (reduce) federal grant dependencies and investors' (abnormal) expected rates of return.

Cue "progressive" economists who warn, "This proposal is regressive, unfair to millions of working- ...uh, middle-class families. Sales taxes require them to bear a disproportionate shares of the tax burden funding state welfare ...uh, programs." That is true but does not address coherently the fact that "working poor" disproportiately utilize mass transit, so equally" subsidize" POS fares  through sales levies.

Cue "free market" economists who warn, "high-income households may decide to utilize mass transit, if sales tax (and millage and higher marginal income tax rates) 'subsidy' low-income household transportation. Everyone knows there is no profit opportunity, if fares do not capture the cost of capital (trade in the secondary bond market)."

Proposition 1A financing, in part:
The other part is a pdf also available at the official site.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 6th, 2008 at 05:29:13 PM EST

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