News

High-speed rail chalks up legal win

Judge Culhane dismisses Menlo lawsuit

Even as news spread of a fresh lawsuit against high-speed rail, the beleaguered rail authority announced the dismissal of a different suit.

Filed in April by Menlo Park residents Morris Brown and attorney Mike Brady, the lawsuit asked the court to rule on how the California High-Speed Rail Authority can legally use $9.95 billion in bond funds.

The suit alleged that construction could not legally begin until the rail authority had enough money to finish what it started. According to court filings, the plaintiffs stated that since the project is "severely under-funded," starting construction would only waste the money.

The rail authority asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit in June, according to spokeswoman Rachel Wall, believing that it did not actually allege illegal conduct.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin Culhane sided with the rail authority on Sept. 21, calling the plaintiffs' claim "speculative" in his ruling.

"Although plaintiffs contend waste is imminent, the manner in which they have framed the requested relief reveals that plaintiffs are seeking an advisory opinion rather than an order that imminent waste be halted," the ruling stated.

Ms. Wall said that lawsuits over a massive infrastructure project like high-speed rail don't come as a surprise.

"We remain committed to working with the people in the communities statewide to help design the best project possible for the state," she said.

This was the second pro bono lawsuit Mr. Brady had filed against the rail agency, and the second dismissal.

The first suit, filed last year on behalf of Menlo Park City Council candidate Russ Peterson, asked the court to forbid the agency from starting work on the Peninsula segment without the consent of Union Pacific, which has ownership rights over the Caltrain corridor. That suit was dismissed in June.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Morri s Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 23, 2010 at 8:44 am

I am the plaintiff in this lawsuit.


The ruling that is referenced in this article was a tentative ruling.

Yesterday, Mike Brady at a hearing before the judge argued our case and asked for permission to amend the complaint.

The judge has agreed to review our request

Bottom line: The judge may deny our request in which case the suit will have been dismissed.

If the judge grants our request to amend, then the lawsuit is still active

morris brown


Like this comment
Posted by John McNary
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2010 at 10:21 am

If your lawyer didn't tell you that a judge's preliminary ruling is almost always the same as the ultimate ruling, then please find a competent attorney, You gave it your best shot, and the judge is gojng to rule that your suit was bullpuckey. You should have to pay for the goverment's lawyer, because you wasted our bond money hiring lawyers to answer your baseless claim.

Please be sure to report back to let us know exactly how many minutes of the judge's time (another tax expense) that you wasted before he dismisses your suit. I look forward to your next report.


Like this comment
Posted by Linfield Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm

It is hard to understand why the high speed rail authority took on the lawsuit problem by routing the train through neighborhoods that have proved to be litigious in the past.

Anyway, it would be awesome to see BART run all the way around the Bay. That would put an end to lots of driving pollution.


Like this comment
Posted by Gern Blanston
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Any "waste" attributed to Mr. Brown and Mr.Brady, both of whom are merely pursuing their legal rights in the matter, is absolutely insignificant compared to the taxpayer funds that have been squandered to prop up the losing proposition that is California HSR, at least as currently "planned" by the Authority. Honestly, Mr. McNary, you have no concern whatsoever for "waste" if you have no reservations about California HSR.

Gern


Like this comment
Posted by Frugal
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Mr. McNary from a nearby community.

How many more billions would you like to see potentially going down the drain before you would agree with the litigation that questions the data? Maybe you should look at some Pentagon projects too and but then read the UC Berkeley analysis of the the flawed projections.

Are you omnipotent?


Like this comment
Posted by In favor of HSR thru Menlo Park
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm

It is imperfect world, and HSR may or may not ever pay for itself.

But it is worth making an attempt at it - High Speed Rail will be great for the Bay area, Los Angeles, and the entire state.

I hate flying or driving to LA, but taking a train will be great.

There are a few vocal opponents of HSR, but the vast majority of community neighbors are all for it. Dismissals of frivolous lawsuits are a step in the right direction.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 23, 2010 at 3:21 pm

In favor of HSR thru Menlo Park: I couldn't agree more.


Like this comment
Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 23, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Again I am the plaintiff in this suit.

The judge today made the tentative ruling final, so the case is dismissed.

Morris Brown


Like this comment
Posted by Gern Blanston
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm

"In favor of HSR thru Menlo Park" wrote:

"It is imperfect world, and HSR may or may not ever pay for itself.

"But it is worth making an attempt at it - High Speed Rail will be great for the Bay area, Los Angeles, and the entire state."

Does the second sentence at all follow from the first? HSR will be "great" for the state even if it never pays for itself? Have you any idea how many people would disagree with this statement, even among the ranks which currently support the project? It is just this sort of non-thought, this "I hate flying or driving to LA, but taking a train will be great" nonsense which led to the passage of Prop 1A, and which continues to propel this poorly-planned disaster-in-the-making.

Gern


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2010 at 7:18 am

It has become quite clear that HSR will NEVER pay for itself. Which means a state that can ill afford to be pouring money down a rat hole will end up doing so. That means higher taxes or reduced services. Which wouuld you prefer In Favor of HSR? It will be one or the other, imperfect world or not.


Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Mr. Morris Brown-I just wanted to say, Sir, you are a class act. Thanks for sharing the judges ruling on this forum. I hope Mr. McNary acknowledges your doing so as well. I don't live near the right of way and HSR will have no direct impact on my daily life. I do oppose the project, but strictly from the standpoint that I do not think it makes financial sense, and I can think of many other things I would like to see tax dollars spent on.


Like this comment
Posted by lamethinking
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Just because "some" on here have any and all reasons to dislike this project means nothing to the millions that will ride it every year.This same type screams about Bart or transit and act like the 10s of thousands of people using mean nothing!


Like this comment
Posted by who's paying for this?
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Sep 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I'd love to be able to take a fast train to Disneyland. Even better, I'd like to be able to click my heels together three times and be magically transported to the magic kingdom. (Do you suppose the state would subsidize the ruby red slippers too?)

BART loses money to the tune of hundreds of millions a year and is facing a $7.5 billion capital funding deficit. So we can assume that HSR would scale up to annual operating losses in the tens of billions (or more) and even greater capital deficits, since the startup costs would take decades to absorb.

If HSR were solving traffic problems (but those are intracity, not intercity), if it was using forward-thinking technology instead of 19th century technology, if our state weren't facing massive deficits, and if HSR didn't threaten to cause great suffering to tens of thousands of people -- well, it might be a different story.

As it is, we can't afford HSR. Moreover, I predict it will never get built. But in the meantime, a lot of people will have profited.

Read more: BART might look to ads for financial help - San Francisco Business Times


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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