Anything look familiar?
Life’s little ironies come home to roost for Obama. While he’s busy building a Watergate-like case against himself, he was busy building a Watergate fairy tale years ago in his autobiography. Below you can read my December 2012 update of the Obama Watergate hearings’ false memory (otherwise known as a lie).
First, however, we have Chicago blogger John Ruberry to thank for reminding us that the Watergate hearings began 40 years ago today, on May 17, 1973.
- As the Obama White House continues to get pummeled over its involvement in the Benghazi, IRS, and AP phone records scandals, an ominous anniversary arrived today. On this day in 1973, the Senate Watergate hearings opened.
This question, uttered by Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN) during those hearings, is as timely as ever: “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
Against this background, the Obama Watergate fairy tale holds even greater significance. The answer, of course, is he didn’t know nuthin’. He never does. Facts escape him. Obama lives in an upside-is-down in-is-out fiction-is-truth Alice-in-Wonderland world.
Here’s that oldie-but-goodie from December 23, 2012:
This is totally amazing! Finally! Finally! Finally! Someone has finally had enough of Obama’s mind-numbing narcissism!
Emily Yoffe spelled it out in the left-leaning Slate.com: “Today We Are Gathered … To Hear More About Me. President Obama was supposed to eulogize the memory of Sen. Daniel Inouye. Instead he told us about his favorite summer vacation.”
This is one of those topics I thought I had nearly flogged to death — Obama’s telling and retelling of his fairy tale about his childhood visit to Chicago.
First, though, here’s what Yoffe had to say:
- Obama likes to see events through the lens of his own life’s chronology. Thus we learn that Inouye was elected to the Senate when Obama was 2 years old. Now you could make this relevant by describing how Inouye worked to send federal dollars (you don’t have to call it “pork” at a funeral) to transform Hawaii’s roads and schools, for example, so that the Hawaii Obama grew up in had the kind of facilities people on the mainland had long taken for granted. But no, we simply learn that Inouye was Obama’s senator until he left the state to go to college—something apparently more momentous than anything Inouye did during his decades in office.
Obama acknowledges that as a young person he was unaware of politics, and thus Inouye. But then something important happened that made young Obama pay attention to the first man to be elected to Congress from Hawaii after it joined the union. When Obama was 11 years old he went on vacation with his family, and those paying their respects to Inouye got to hear a long description of this amazing trip, from Seattle to Kansas, from Disneyland to Yellowstone. They heard of the young Obama’s happiness whenever the motel had a pool or an ice machine. And finally, as the people must have been twitching in the pews wondering where this was all going, we get back to the late senator.
It turns out the Watergate hearings were taking place at that time, too, and Obama’s mother watched them in their various hotel rooms.
Surprisingly, Yoffe also noted: “That Obama in some way may have been inspired to a political career by a man who overcame prejudice and later became Obama’s colleague is a fine point to make. But it is an incidental one to the life being celebrated. … Obama never really gives us a sense of the life being celebrated.”
That would have been the man he was there to eulogize — Senator Daniel Inouye.
As Daniel Greenfield noted at FrontPageMag.com, “The Senator, like the rest of humanity, only exists for the enlightenment and entertainment of Barack Hussein Obama. His life story is a footnote in Obama’s own.”
But that’s Obama. It’s ALWAYS ALL ABOUT HIM.
Caught up in the Obama spin machine, Yoffe failed to dissect Obama’s claims about his childhood visit.
In all fairness, Yoffe gets a bit of a pass. She was not the first to get caught up in Obama’s retelling of the story without questioning the details — although we do have a new embellishment. Obama added info about his “happiness whenever the motel had a pool or an ice machine.”
But here’s the truth, which I have been reporting for several years now. The last update came from July 2012:
One day after announcing that the “biggest mistake” he had made during his first term in office was “putting policy over storytelling”, Obama delivered yet another version of his childhood vacation to the mainland.
Keith Lang at The Hill reported:
- President Obama took another opportunity to subtly ding Republican opponent Mitt Romney for his wealth Friday by remarking in a campaign speech that childhood family vacations were taken on Greyhound.
Speaking in Virginia Beach, Obama said that his family did not often fly when it took vacations during his childhood.
“I was up in Ohio talking about, you know, my favorite vacation,” Obama said Friday. “When I was 11 years old, my grandmother and my mother, my sister and me, we traveled the country.
“But we didn’t do it on jets,” Obama continued as his audience laughed. “No, we took Greyhound and the train. And I think twice we rented a car.”
A few months earlier, in May 2102, I related Obama’s own words from Dreams From My Father (page 144). All added emphasis is mine.
- I have been to Chicago once before. It was during the summer after my father’s visit to Hawaii, before my eleventh birthday, when [my grandmother] Toot had decided it was time I saw the mainland of the United States. …
We traveled for over a month, Toot and my mother and [my sister] Maya and I — Gramps had lost his taste for traveling by this time and chose to stay behind. We flew to Seattle, then went down the coast to California and Disneyland, east to the Grand Canyon, across the Great Plains to Kansas City, then up to the Great Lakes before heading back west through Yellowstone Park. We took Greyhound buses, mostly, and stayed at Howard Johnson’s, and watched the Watergate hearings every night before going to bed.
He also mentions they stayed in Chicago for three days, he thinks in July, even though he remembers the weather being “cold and gray.”
As I have repeatedly said, this is target rich territory for Google.
We start with dates. Barack Obama was born August 4, 1961. Barack Obama Sr. returned to Hawaii briefly in December 1971.
Barack Obama Jr. would have turned eleven in August 1972.
We now have a window. The three days spent in Chicago would have been between December 1971, when Obama’s father visited Hawaii, and August 4, 1972, the date of his eleventh birthday.
Except that, in May 2012, Obama changed his story. He did this again in the Inouye eulogy. He says he was eleven when they made the trip.
Now for the Watergate hearings on tv.
This one is way too easy. Pay close attention to the dates and the answer is self-evident.
You see, it was on the night of June 17, 1972, when “five burglars were arrested in the Democratic National Committee offices” in the Watergate Building in Washington, DC.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications informs:
- The U.S. Senate, by a 77-to-0 vote, approved a resolution on 7 February 1973, to impanel the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities to investigate Watergate. Known as the Ervin Committee for its Chairperson, Senator Sam Ervin, the Committee began public hearings on 17 May 1973, that shortly came to be known as the “Watergate Hearings.”
Except that Obama now says he was eleven when he made the month-long trip.
The Watergate hearings ended August 7, 1973. Obama’s family could have watched the hearings during the summer of 1973 except for the inconvenient fact that his father had visited Hawaii in December 1971 and the following summer was in 1972. Obama can’t have it both ways.
Why does Obama keep changing and embellishing this story?
Because he can and no one in the partisan media is going to call him on it. So, he spins and he twists and he turns the same tale over and over again. It gets the applause and that’s all that really matters to him — ever.
In December 2012, long-time Obama dissecter Jack Cashill also noted Obama’s Chicago trip lie:
- The story of the trip set up the punch line. He told Inouye’s mourners that “my mother that summer would turn on the TV every night during this vacation and watch the Watergate hearings,” and he was forced to watch, too. Of course, the senator who “fascinated” him most was “this man of Japanese descent with one arm, speaking in this courtly baritone, full of dignity and grace.”
This story would work only if Obama had toured the United States during the summer of the Watergate hearings, 1973, when he was eleven years old going on twelve, but in his memoir Dreams from My Father, he tells another story — a much more specific one. Yes, he made the same trip, but he did so “during the summer after my father’s visit to Hawaii, before my eleventh birthday.” This would have been 1972, when Watergate was still a third-rate burglary that had gotten little media traction.
Cashill added one more detail that further shatters Obama’s story:
- In Dreams, Obama mentioned a Kansas City stop along the way, and Madelyn [Dunham]‘s youngest brother in suburban KC would later provide photographic evidence of the same. He confirmed the year as 1972. This disparity did not stop Obama from relating in Dreams how in that elusive summer he “watched the Watergate hearings every night before going to bed.”
Again, in Obamaland facts do not matter. His parallel universe version of reality always does.
Wonder if we’ll be treated to yet another version of Obama’s Watergate fairy tale sometime today? It’ll be a good distraction for the lapdog media to spread, will it not?
Joe Battenfeld, Obama knee-deep in Nixon-esque scandal, Boston Herald, May 14, 2013:
- President Obama’s second-term campaign slogan was “Forward,” but instead we’ve got cover-ups, congressional investigations and the government persecution of political opponents and reporters.
That sounds like “backward” to me. All the way to, say, 1972.
Who would have guessed that just a few months into his second term, President Obama would be compared to Tricky Dick. … [Read on.]
In his excellent article on the finally-emerging details on the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. Benghazi compounds during which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two ex-Navy Seals, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, lost their lives, Doug Ross sums up how the Obama administration and the media handled the situation, consistently using tactics that they began in 2007 during the presidential campaign continuing through today:
- So twisted and despicable is the Obama administration that it was willing to lie to the American people to retain its white-knuckled death grip on power.
So invested in the progressive agenda is the fascist media that it was willing to go to the mat to suppress the truth . . .
Unrepentant Communist revolutionary terrorist Bill Ayers, the keynote speaker at the annual May 4 “commemoration of the National Guard shootings at Kent State in 1970 that left four students dead”, could not help himself from, once again, revising the facts of historical events.
Ayers said that “people can’t equate the bombings that he and others in the Weather Underground did 40 or so years ago with the April 15 twin bombings in Boston that killed three people.” Delusionally he claimed: “No one died in the Weather Underground bombings.”
Jim Mackinnon, reporting on the event in Akron, Ohio’s Beacon Journal, writes: “In his talk to the crowd, Ayers mentioned that in 1970, he lost three friends in the Weather Underground, including his lover, Diana Oughton. He did not explain in his talk how they died – they were killed when nail bombs they were making in a Greenwich Village townhouse blew up.”
Ayers also said that his equally-unrepentant Communist revolutionary terrorist wife, Bernardine Dorhn, “spoke several years ago at a Kent State May 4 commemoration.”
The aging Ayers appears to have a convenient case of progressive senility, as wife Dohrn spoke at Kent State numerous times more than forty years ago.
Here’s what I reported in October 2008:
We begin with a November 1996 book review by John Mage of Victor Rabinowitz’s Unrepentant Leftist: A Lawyer’s Memoir. Rabinowitz provided some interesting information about Dohrn and the path she led before becoming a full-fledged domestic terrorist.
Rabinowitz and Leonard Boudin were partners in the law firm Rabinowitz Boudin which defended an assortment of leftist clients.
Following Rabinowitz’s death November 16, 2007, at age 96, Marjorie Cohn wrote in Monthly Review that, in addition to defending “known Communists” in the McCarthy hearings before the House Un-American Activities Committee and having defended the “Cuban government’s nationalization of U.S.-owned property” in the U.S. Supreme Court, Rabinowitz Boudin “counted as clients Daniel Ellsberg, Paul Robeson, Julian Bond, Dashiell Hammett, Dr. Benjamin Spock, the Rev. Philip Berrigan, Alger Hiss, the Black Panthers, the Salvador Allende government in Chile,…. During the Vietnam War, the Rabinowitz Boudin firm represented hundreds of men facing the draft or criminal charges for refusing induction due to their opposition to the war.”
In 1967, Rabinowitz was president of the National Lawyers Guild, described by some as a Communist front group, he had helped co-found. John Mage wrote in 1996:
- Almost all the organizations in which members of the Communist party took a leading role in the 1930s and 1940s were purged and/or destroyed. By the late 1960s, there were left some (not large) labor unions and the National Lawyers Guild. Victor Rabinowitz, reflecting on the achievements of a distinguished career, places first his role in preserving the National Lawyers Guild. It is today an effective nationwide organization, many thousand strong, committed to the goal of radical social change. It is an important exception to the prevailing rule, and Victor’s pride is justified.
Victor’s credible account is that the community of 1930s lawyers in and close to the CPUSA preserved this organizational treasure, more or less intact, through the great storm in order to hand it over to their 1968er successors.
- As the 1960s began, the Guild began to focus much of its efforts on fighting for civil rights for black Americans. Part of the reason for the Guild’s newfound emphasis was pure opportunism: a means of acquiring new membership, both black and white (interestingly, one of the Guild’s black members was elected to Congress in 1964: John Conyers (left), one of the more liberal Representatives currently serving in the House. The Guild defended rioters and others involved in civil unrest as the 1960s progressed, and “helped” the U.S. war effort in Vietnam by encouraging young men to become draft evaders and then defending them. Guild lawyers were active in defending such “movement” participants as “demonstrators” arrested during the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention riots and members of the militant Black Panther Party in their many run-ins with law enforcement.
John Mage now literally drops the Bernardine Dohrn bomb on us:
- Victor places the transition as beginning in 1967, when he was President of the Guild, and culminating in the memorable electrically tense Boulder, Colorado convention of the National Lawyers Guild of the summer of 1971. In August of 1971 many of the best of the youth movement against the Vietnam War had just gone underground (the “Weathermen”). Bernardine Dohrn, leader of Weatherman, in 1967 had been hired by the national office of the Guild as a student organizer.
Student organizer! Hold that thought!
In a May 1998 interview with ZMag, Dohrn was asked
- In terms of Columbia SDS, you have Dave Gilbert still locked up. In other countries they give amnesty to political prisoners. In the U.S., that doesn’t happen. Why do you think the establishment’s so reluctant to release some of the activists from the 1960s? And, in terms of the Columbia Revolt and student activism, what was Dave Gilbert’s role?
Still-unrepentant Dohrn answered (emphasis added):
- I met David in 1967 when I spoke at Columbia Law School to organize a Guild chapter there. Then saw him during the November 1967 anti-war Rusk demonstration. I met Teddy Gold both of those times, too. Teddy, who died in March 1970 in an explosion at a New York townhouse, was an activist and a leader of the SDS chapter at Columbia.
David, you know, is one of those brilliant figures who was a real intellectual. A classic Columbia student. A political economist, who loved to talk theory. Who, if it hadn’t been 1968, would surely have become a professor and an academic and written books. Who was and is a gentle person.
But David and Teddy, like all of us, were thrown into this, were lucky enough, really, to be offered the opportunity to step into this cauldron. We felt the world didn’t have to be like this.
Oh, yes. It has been assumed by those of us who don’t know better that it was Bill Ayers (right), who came out of the 1969 Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) National Convention as one of three Weatherman leaders along with Mark Rudd and Jeff Jones. But on numerous listservs and in several articles, as well as in Rabinowitz’s memoir, we find Dohrn called the Weatherman leader — whether because she was the first to physically walk out at the convention, or because she was actually viewed in that leadership role — is not for us to determine. But she is, in fact, often referred to as the Weather leader.
Brian Hect wrote February 16, 2005, at FrontPageMag.com:
- But Dohrn’s initial foray into the legal field was short-lived—she quickly became even more extreme than her NLG comrades (no small feat) and branched out as a leader of some of the most ultra-radical elements within the anti-Vietnam war movement.
Sadly, when we find the words Communist, ultra-radical, and student organizer within a few short phrases, our ears perk up.
But John Mage has even more to satisfy our interest (emphasis added):
- Many of us at Boulder had been brought into the Guild by Bernardine and none would dispute Victor’s characterization of her as “brilliant” and with “inexhaustible energy.” As he says, “in her travels around the country she spent half her time organizing antiwar demonstrations and the other half organizing Guild chapters to defend the demonstrators.”
Did you get that? This is just so, so …. Alinskyesque? Identify a problem, then agitate for the “solution”. It’s no wonder Obama fits so well into the Hyde Park radical niche.
Columbia University 1968
Confirmation comes from that May 1998 Dohrn interview (emphasis added):
- Thirty years ago Columbia University was the scene of “The Battle Of Morningside Heights”—when Columbia President (and Institute for Defense Analyses Director) Grayson Kirk called in 1,000 NYC police to clear the campus of protesting students on two occasions—711 students were arrested, 148 injured, and 120 charges of police brutality were filed.
In July 1968, following the revolt, a National Lawyers Guild activist who coordinated some of the legal defense work on behalf of the arrested Barnard and Columbia students, Bernardine Dohrn, became a national officer of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
Democratic National Convention 1968
Additionally, in the interview, Dohrn says that she helped plan the Guild’s legal support for the August 26-29, 1968, Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago.
In a 1996 retrospective, PBS Online NewsHour writes
- But the 1968 Democratic convention was less notable for its politics than for its televised display of social unrest and national disunity. The country had reached the boiling point. Two American icons, Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy’s brother, Bobby, had just been assassinated. Everyday, young American boys were being slaughtered in a war that, for many, had already lost its meaning. War protesters decided to gather in Chicago and send a message to candidate Hubert Humphrey and the Democratic party. But Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was unsympathetic. He posted 12,000 police officers on the streets, and called in the Illinois National Guard. Television cameras recorded a bloody riot as police arrested over 500 people in clashes that injured more than 100 police and 100 demonstrators.
Finally, we get to the Dohrn-Kent State connection.
In a June 1974 American Opinion article, Alan Stang provided some contemporary graphic information about how well Dohrn’s SDS agitation worked:
- So it was in Chicago at the 1968 Democrat National Convention, where students got their skulls fractured when their leaders attacked the police. And on May 4, 1970, on the campus at Kent State University, in Ohio, the revolution finally killed four students. The anti-American Conspiracy had the martyrs it needed. The killings at Kent State have been used to radicalize students across America—and around the world. And recently, after four years, a federal grand jury indicted eight members of the Ohio National Guard, which was also victimized at Kent State. Their conviction would mean another disaster for America. …
For instance, in the fall of 1968, Kent State was treated to two appearances by Mark Rudd, the S.D.S. Ieader who had led the seizure of campus buildings earlier that year at Columbia University in New York. Another frequent visitor was Bernardine Dohrn, an S.D.S. official who calls herself a “revolutionary Communist,” and who according to James Michener, in Kent State, told the students: “They’ve shot blacks in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and they’re certainly going to shoot whites here.”
Members of the staff at the regional S.D.S. office in Cleveland constantly made the short trip to Kent, where they propagandized and recruited. A student revolutionary told Michener: “We established our communes in three Ohio cities, one in Columbus, two in Akron, two in Cleveland. The idea was to teach severe discipline. Every single decision—was a girl member entitled to buy an ice cream cone?—was decided by group discussion. The object was to produce revolutionaries programmed to obey orders, even if they involved severe personal sacrifice or death. You surrendered all personal money, idiosyncrasies and will power, assured that you would come out of the experience with total dedication.” …
So the purpose of all this agitation at Kent State was to recruit as much cannon fodder as possible, and then to provoke a “major confrontation.” When it came, it would be neither accidental nor spontaneous. It would be exactly what the revolutionaries wanted. …
At a meeting in Williams Hall on April 28, 1969, revolutionary Communist Bernardine Dohrn said that people fighting “oppression” would have to carry weapons for “self defense.” …
Bear in mind that we have room here to cite only a few examples of the inflammatory agitation and propaganda on the campus at Kent State for almost two years. The evidence establishes—in the words of the revolutionaries—that the goal of S.D.S. was to provoke a violent confrontation in which somebody would be hurt, or even worse.
Yes. It is indeed sad that the day has arrived when a once proud Communist revolutionary terrorist exhibits loss of memory to the ravages of old age — if only that were true.
It’s no longer just a rumor. Billionaire Penny Pritzker will be Obama’s nominee as the next head of the Commerce Department. CNN’s Political Ticker describes Pritzker thusly:
- Pritzker is chief executive of the Pritzker Realty Group and is one of the wealthiest women in America. Forbes estimates her fortune at $1.85 billion, making her the 271th wealthiest person in the country.
She is also a philanthropist and major Democratic donor who acted as the national finance chair of the president’s 2008 campaign and a campaign co-chair in 2012.
While all true, it’s only a wee bit of the story. Pritzker turned the nomination down in November 2008. Here is what I wrote then:
The Politico’s Mike Allen reported:
- Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker, national campaign finance chairwoman for the Obama campaign, has taken herself out of the running to be secretary of Commerce, a Democratic official said.
“She fears problems with her confirmation based on past business dealings,” the official said. [...]
Officials said she was not vetted.
My response was: Well there’s a surprise! Not!
Earlier in the day, on November 20, 2008, Uppity Woman posted that Obama was considering the Mother of failed sub-prime lenders for Secretary of Commerce position. (Also see her earlier post, Obama’s Finance Chair Failed Bank Owner Penny Pritzker, reposted from April 3, 2008.)
. Also see Steve Bartin’s May 2, 2013, post Obama Nominates Sub-Prime Penny Pritzker for Commerce Secretary at Newsalert.com.
On a list of ten questions he’d like then-Senator Obama to answer, author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson listed the following as number 6:
- The head of your campaign finance chair is Penny Pritzker. Before taking over Obama´s campaign finances, she headed up the borderline shady and failed Superior Bank. It collapsed in 2002. The bank engaged in deceptive and faulty lending, questionable accounting practices, and charged hidden fees. It made thousands of dubious loans to mostly poor, strapped homeowners. A disproportionate number of them were minority. Why does she still have a principal financial role in your campaign?
John Courtney, commenting in March 2007 at Bob McCarty’s BMW blog, asked
- … when is someone going to talk about Obama financial campaign chairman – Penny Pritzker, that cost the Federal Government – taxpayers one billion dollars when Superior Bank failed, and 450 million dollars still owed to the FDIC – and they gave her 15 years to pay back – no interest, if Obama get elected is he going to waive this money owed, all the people the work so hard for there money Obama talks about, hundreds of them, lost there money at Superior Bank, Ms. Pritzker is the only one that made out on that deal.
For those who do not know, “billionaire business mogul” Penny Pritzker was named in January 2007 as Obama’s national finance chairman. She was also on the finance committee for Obama’s 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate. In August 2001, Penny, Thomas, and Nicholas Pritzker were described as “struggling with a complicated legacy”—”a vast real estate and Hyatt hotel empire”—left to them by its founder, Jay Pritzker, the New York Times reported. In 2005, Forbes counted Penny Pritzer among The 100 Most Powerful Women, as well as a member of the Forbes 400.
About the Superior Bank failure
The Chicago Sun-Times reported August 3, 2001:
- Superior Bank, half-owned by the wealthy Pritzker family, was shut down by the FDIC Friday after a bailout plan by the Pritzkers, who own the Hyatt Hotel chain, and their partner, New York real estate developer Alvin Dworman, fell through. The bank failed because it had lost nearly all of its more than $2 billion of assets on bad loans to high-risk borrowers, federal regulators said.
The FDIC reopened the bank Monday as Superior Federal and is seeking a buyer and a new CEO.
Superior’s failure could cost the FDIC $500 million or more–some observers now are pegging the loss at closer to $1 billion, one of the largest bank failures ever.
On September 11, 2001, Ellen Seidman, Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, told the Senate Banking Committee:
- Superior, which had assets of $1.8 billion as of June 30, 2001, became critically undercapitalized largely due to incorrect accounting treatment and aggressive assumptions for valuing complicated financial instruments known as residuals. “The risk from a concentration in residuals at Superior was exacerbated by a faulty accounting opinion by the institution’s external auditors that caused capital to be significantly overstated, and by management and board recalcitrance in acting on regulatory recommendations, directives and orders.”
The New York Times reported December 11, 2001, that the Pritzkers had agreed to pay a “record $460 million” spread out over 15 years to the federal government to avoid being punished” for Superior Bank’s failure. It was “the largest settlement ever in the failure of a banking institution. The failure itself is one of the largest in the last decade, one that some estimate could cost the government up to $1 billion.”
“Regulators said Superior had collapsed because of poor lending practices and sloppy bookkeeping,” the Times wrote. “The bank specialized in loans to people with poor credit histories, a practice called subprime lending.”
The Times also reported that the Pritzkers, who “have a long and troubled history in the S.& L. business” and “once battled the Internal Revenue Service over estate taxes, … also agreed to cede 90 percent of any money they might recover in separate litigation with the government.”
The Obama Subprime plan
Max Fraser wrote January 28, 2008, in lefty The Nation:
- Barack Obama’s proposal is tepid by comparison, short on aggressive government involvement and infused with conservative rhetoric about fiscal responsibility. As he has done on domestic issues like healthcare, job creation and energy policy, Obama is staking out a position to the right of not only populist Edwards but Clinton as well.
Edwards’s plan includes a mandatory moratorium on foreclosures, a freeze on rising interest rates for at least seven years, federal subsidies to help homeowners keep up with payments and restructure loans, and explicit measures to rein in predatory lenders and regulate the financial sector. Clinton’s plan is weaker–a voluntary moratorium, a shorter freeze, less commitment to new regulations–but she has promised $30 billion in federal aid to help reeling homeowners and communities.
Only Obama has not called for a moratorium and interest-rate freeze. Though he has been a proponent of mortgage fraud legislation in the Senate, he has remained silent on further financial regulations. And much like his broader economic stimulus package, Obama’s foreclosure plan mostly avoids direct government spending in favor of a tax credit for homeowners, which amounts to about $500 on average, beyond which only certain borrowers would be eligible for help from an additional fund.
… When asked if Obama would hold these financial institutions accountable for losses incurred by homeowners and investors, his campaign refused to comment.
See next page
Today, for the first time, the public and members of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board will get to “weigh in on the bids and bidding process” since contractors’ bids for the first section of a high-speed rail between Madera and Fresno were announced. The winning bidder, Tutor Perini, is connected with Richard Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
This is not new news. In March 2012, the High-Speed Train Talk blog pointed out that “Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, husband Richard Blum [is/are] involved in organizations owning land through which the rail corridor passes.” I’ll leave that hot potato issue to others better informed about it than I.
However, regarding today’s hearing, the Fresno Bee reports:
- At their meeting Thursday in Sacramento, board members will receive an update on the bids submitted by five contractor teams this year. The prices of each bid were announced last month, following a three-month analysis of the bids’ technical merits during which the prices remained sealed, according to the rail authority.
A consortium of Sylmar-based Tutor Perini, Zachry Construction of Texas and Pasadena’s Parsons Corp. was deemed to be the “apparent best value” with a low bid of about $985 million — the only one of the five bids to come in at less than $1 billion.
But the bidding process has come under scrutiny because, months before the contractors submitted their bids in January, the agency’s executive leadership altered the threshold for evaluating the proposals without approval from the authority board.
What was initially adopted in March 2012 as a rigorous and competitive way to ensure that only the three most technically sound bids would be considered for the contract morphed into a “pass/fail” analysis requiring contractors to only meet “the minimum elements required” to advance in the competition.
The Tutor Perini consortium had the lowest technical score among the five bidding teams. The second-lowest-cost bid — less than $1.1 billion from a joint venture of Dragados SA of Spain; Samsung C&T America, a subsidiary of South Korean multinational Samsung Group; and Pulice Construction Inc. of Arizona — received the second-highest technical score.
- Elizabeth [Goldstein] Alexis, a co-founder of the watchdog group Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design, argued that the bid review process ultimately used was not properly authorized and that the Tutor Perini team’s selection should be invalidated.
On April 18, the Los Angeles Times reported:
- The technical score is based on safety measures, engineering, scheduling, quality of design, project approach and solutions to possible construction problems.
In March 2012, the rail authority’s board set up a two-step process for weighing the bids. In the first step, the bidders were supposed to be narrowed to three based only on a technical evaluation. Only the bids submitted by the remaining contenders would be opened. The winner was to be selected on a combination of price and technical scores.
Under that process, the Tutor Perini consortium and another team led by Skanska, a Swedish company, would have been eliminated after the first round, leaving groups led by Colorado-based Kiewit and two teams led by Spanish firms, Dragados and Ferrovial.
The board adopted the two-step process, which the agency’s staff said would create competition and obtain quality technical proposals for the first 200-mph rail system to be constructed in the United States
“We think we’re going to get strong technical proposals, and we’re going to get some very well thought-out plans from these proposal teams,” Thomas Fellenz, the authority’s attorney, told the board last March. “And we’re making it very competitive, because, you know, if you are not in the top three, you’ll be dropped.”
Fellenz said at the time that “non-substantive” changes could be made in consultation with board Chairman Dan Richard.
The agency changed the evaluation process in July, according to an agency spokesman. The official did not provide details of the internal process used to alter the criteria. But he said the state potentially would save hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the decision to change the evaluation criteria.
Ms. Alexis of Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design protested, arguing that the “change in evaluation criteria has invalidated the bidding process.” “This is not a non-substantive change,” she said. “I don’t see any indication that the board approved this.”
Future problems hiding in plain sight?
“In the end,” LAT’s reporters wrote, “the state placed far more weight on price than the technical evaluation, which is contrary to the best practices suggested by some construction industry groups.” The article continues to explain possible future speedbumps:
- The Design Build Institute of America advises public agencies to put greater emphasis on technical merit to avoid later problems on a project.
“Smart public owners across the country are moving in that direction,” said Rex Huffington, an official at the institute. “This best practice is even more critical on complex projects.”
The state completed only about 15% of the design of the first segment when it sought bids from the five teams.
The technical proposals could be critical. Building the first section will require a massive engineering feat on a tight schedule that includes cutting a 1.7-mile trench through Fresno, erecting a 1.2-mile viaduct and using giant hydraulic jacks to create a tunnel beneath California 180 in the Fresno area.
Tutor Perini is one of the largest contractors in the country. Critics have complained that the firm tends to bid low to win contracts and then seeks change orders and contract amendments that increase costs.
The firm has handled many major construction projects successfully. But it also has been embroiled in controversies involving accusations of overbilling, fraud and shoddy workmanship related to the Los Angeles subway, San Francisco International Airport and public works projects in New York. Those matters have cost the builder tens of millions of dollars in legal judgments, settlements and penalties.
- His joint venture of Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons has submitted the “best apparent value” bid of $985 million for the first segment of the rail line, below the $1.09 billion proposal by the next-lowest bidder. Rail officials had estimated the cost of the first segment at $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion.
A U-T Watchdog report … focused on persistent criticisms of Tutor and his firms over the years. Tutor was unavailable for comment, but the Watchdog reached him by phone on Tuesday.
“You’re picking up on the 20-year-old (baloney) that we get jobs and we get a lot of change orders, right?” he asked. “And you still believe that (baloney)? I am getting tired of refuting it. It’s just such drivel.”
Eleven major projects in the San Francisco Bay Area completed by Tutor in the last 12 years cost local governments $765 million more than they expected, or 40 percent above the initial bids, according to an August report by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a media partner of U-T San Diego.
The U-T quoted Kevin Williams, a former San Francisco contracting officer who has testified in court against Tutor. Williams predicted the construction tycoon “is going to make up the difference somehow by lowballing. That is as old as history itself in the construction industry.”
Tutor’s companies have a long history of courtroom battles in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, where officials in 2002 accused him of deliberately bidding low and then charging more for an airport expansion.
Unsurprisingly, Tutor also said “he expects to get the contract for the first segment — a 28-mile stretch from Madera to Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley — and then compete for the other segments of the $68 billion project.” When asked whether he could guarantee to hold down costs, Tutor responded, “What do you think a contract is? I am not on a cost-plus. Our contract is a guarantee. I swear to God.”
- Tutor said any increased costs could be caused by the rail authority, not his company. For instance, the plans call for rail officials to make land available so the builders can meet the quoted schedule.
“Say they don’t turn them over. There’s delays, there’s costs,” Tutor said. “These aren’t huge. They are not major. They are nothing extensive. And my assumption is that high-speed rail, like all owners, budget a certain amount for those issues that are beyond anyone’s control.
“It’s nothing major and it never spirals out of control,” he added. “That’s media (baloney).”
Time will tell — if Tutor Perini gets to keep the contract.
- I don’t have a dog in this fight, at least not yet. None of us knows enough about any of these five bids to make an informed comment on which one was the best. We don’t know whether the Tutor Perini bid has serious technical flaws or whether it is just fine and the other bids are simply overengineered. Until we are able to see details we can’t make informed assessments.
I will say that I personally believe that we should be prioritizing technical quality over cost in assessing bids. But again, until we see details of the scoring process and the bids, we’re not in any position to do more than wildly speculate. It’s no surprise that [high-speed rail] opponents have chosen to do exactly that.
I also observed yesterday that this could get interesting when we find out who (possibly unilaterally) changed the rules that allowed Tutor Perini to win the bid in the first place. Now we know. The Fresno Bee explained:
- Officials with the rail authority said Wednesday that the changes to the bid-evaluation process were made with the goal of ensuring the lowest possible price for technically sound bids, and done in consultation with board member Michael Rossi, who heads he authority’s finance committee. The consultation chores were delegated to Rossi by board chairman Dan Richard, who stepped away from all of the discussions involving bidders or changes to the request for bids because he had once worked as a consultant for Parsons Corp.
Who’s Michael Rossi?
In August 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Michael Rossi to the California High-Speed Rail Authority board. Rossi replaced Republican David Crane, who had been appointed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This came a week after Brown appointed Rossi as his unpaid jobs czar. The position did not require the state’s Senate confirmation. The official announcement reads:
- Michael E. Rossi, 67, of Pebble Beach, has been appointed Senior Advisor for Jobs and Business Development in the Office of the Governor. In this role, Rossi will be the point of contact between California’s business and workforce leaders and the Administration; he will streamline and invigorate the state’s economic development infrastructure; and he will advise Governor Brown on regulatory, legislative and executive actions needed to drive job growth.
From 2005 to 2008, Rossi served as an advisor and senior member of the operations team at Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. and as chairman and chief executive officer of Aozora Bank, taking it public in November 2006. From 2007 to 2008 he also served as chairman of GMAC Residential Capital, LLC. Rossi was retired from the private sector from 1997 to 2005. He was vice chairman and chief risk officer of BankAmerica Corporation and was the chairman of its Fiduciary and Investment Policy Committee from 1993 to 1997. Previously, he was BankAmerica’s chief credit officer and held various executive positions including running BankAmerica’s Commercial Banking, Global Private Bank, Asia, Latin America, Commercial Real Estate, Corporate Real Estate, Personal and Corporate Trust and Cash Management divisions. He also served as the senior credit officer of BankAmerica’s World Banking Group.
Rossi currently serves on the Advisory Board of Shorenstein Properties LLC, the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Monterey County, Special Olympics Committee of Northern California and Claremont Graduate University. He is also a senior advisor to the San Francisco 49ers.
Rossi is a former director of North Hawaii Community Hospital, BAWAG Bank (Austria), Pulte Homes, American Bankers Association, Monterey Institute of International Studies, American Graduate School of International Management, University of California at Berkeley Art Museum, Del Webb Corporation, BlueLinx Corporation, San Francisco Opera, National Urban League, Union Pacific Resources, Lifesavers, American Diabetes Association of California and United Way of Northern California. He was a member of the nominating committee of the Bankers Association for Foreign Trade and was the president of its Board. He also served on the President’s Campaign Cabinet for University of California at Berkeley.
Rossi received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
There’s your answer — Big Banking.
Here’s the “more”
As always, there’s more to the story. In April 2009 I wrote about Comradess Barbara Lee and her merry band of ‘Red’ men and women:
- “One wishes Ms. Lee were just a clueless liberal, but her history leads me to conclude that she is the kind of ‘San Francisco Democrat’ that former United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick criticized in 1984: someone who ‘always blames America first’.”–John Fund, WSJ, 09/17/01.
Mark Hemingway’s April 17, 2009, NRO article Comrade Barbara, about Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)’s new book, Renegade for Peace & Justice, set off my ‘Red’ alarm.
In his observations from the book, Hemingway made mention of Lee’s numerous visits to Cuba and her “fondness for Castro”. He wrote:
- Lee’s fondness for the brutal dictator probably stems from the fact that he helped her good friend, Black Panther leader Huey Newton. Accused of killing an underage prostitute, assault, and tax evasion, Newton went to Cuba for three years in the mid-1970s rather than stand trial.
Although that may be true, Lee’s “fondness” for Cuba was exhibited in more recent events. J. Michael Waller wrote April 7, 2009, at PoliticalWarfare.org:
- Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) is making headlines again as only she can – by being on the wrong side once again.
Her latest hobby horse is her recent trip to Cuba for a visit with Raul Castro (right) – Fidel’s little brother who for decades ran the army, secret police, intelligence services, hard currency laundering operations.
Lee led a congressional delegation to Havana for a 4-1/2 hour meeting with Raul Castro, telling reporters, “All of us are convinced that President Castro would like normal relations and would see normalization, ending the embargo, as beneficial to both countries.” Reuters reported that Lee’s delegation “avoided specifics” with Castro “but were struck by his humor, impressed by his involvement in Third World causes and firm in their belief that he wants to end U.S.-Cuba enmity.”
The meeting between Castro, Lee, and five other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, took place in secret without the customary presence of a US State Department official. No reporters attended, and according to the New York Times, Cuban television, which covered the visit, offered no details of what was said.
Xinhua, the Chinese propaganda agency, described the Castro-Lee meeting as a “closed-door discussion, whose details were undisclosed.” [...]
Congresswoman Lee has some explaining to do. Her secretive Cuba trip looks like a replay of what she did more than 25 years ago for Castro’s Grenada ally. Anything Lee says or does on Cuba is suspect. So is anything that other lawmakers do with her.
Major US and European news organizations covered the meeting but did not publish a list of the members of Congress (left) in the meeting. The Cuban Communist Party daily Granma stated that the lawmakers were: Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Melvin Luther Watt (D-CA), and Barbara Lee. “Also particpating were Patrice Willougby, executive assistant to the [Congressional] Black Caucus, and Eulada Watt, wife of Congressman Melvin Luther Watt,” according to Granma.
Granma added that also attending CBC’s meeting with Castro were high-ranking members of the Cuban government:
- [...] Political Bureau members Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, and Pedro Sáez Montejo, first secretary of the Provincial Committee of the Party in Havana; Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla; Dagoberto Rodríguez Barrera, deputy foreign minister; and Jorge Bolaños Suárez, head of the Cuban Interests Section in the United States.
Politico reported April 9, 2009, that, after the meeting, Lee and CBC members praised Castro as “warm and hospitable during their visit” and “call[ed] for an end to U.S. prohibition on travel to Cuba.” “The fifty-year embargo just hasn’t worked,” said Lee. “The bottom line is that we believe its time to open dialogue with Cuba.” Reflecting on her moments with Castro, Lee said, “It was quite a moment to behold.”
Note that Watt’s wife, Eulada, made the trip to Cuba as well.
What are the odds that POTUS Obama would name a Friend of Castro to such a prestigious office in his administration?
No sooner did I post on the award of a multi-million dollar contract for a California high-speed rail project to Tutor Perini, Zachry, Parsons, a firm connected with the spouse of Sen. Dianne Feintstein, than I received a comment asserting that the contract selection process had been transparent and aboveboard.
It took no time at all to discover that that claim may not be accurate.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that all is not “go” for the projected July groundbreaking:
- . . . the rail agency is coming under new scrutiny from the state Senate Transportation Committee, which is looking into the bid evaluation process for the first 29-mile segment of rail bed through Fresno. The authority’s staff changed its bid evaluation criteria last year, after the agency’s board initially set up a two-step process that would have thrown out contracting teams with the two lowest technical scores.
The board gave the agency staff permission to make non-substantive changes to a so-called term-sheet that spells out detailed contract terms. But the bid evaluation process was not among the items on the term sheet, records show, raising questions about whether the changes were authorized. Officials have not yet explained how the decision to change the review process was made.
“The committee has some concerns and we are going to look into it,” said Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), the transportation committee chairman.
When the bids were announced this month, a construction team led by Tutor Perini Corp. of Sylmar had the lowest technical score, but was ranked highest because of its relatively low price of just under $1 billion.
The authority has defended the bid review change, saying it was designed “to increase transparency and gain greater value for the project.” The rules were not altered to favor Tutor Perini, which has a long history of government contracting in California, officials said. Tutor Perini officials did not respond to a request for comment.
The rail agency said the altered bid review process may have helped save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.
But Elizabeth Alexis, a co-founder of the watchdog group Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design, argued that the bid review process ultimately used was not properly authorized and that the Tutor Perini team’s selection should be invalidated.
Alexis and other critics are concerned that the authority is trying to reduce upfront cost estimates at the risk of a lower-quality project or future increases in outlays to complete the system.
Stay tuned. This could get interesting when we find out who changed the rules that allowed Tutor Perini to win the bid.
In our most recent book, Fool Me Twice, Aaron Klein and I reported on the $8 billion high-speed rail funds in the 2009 Porkulus bill. As bad as the following excerpt painted the picture, it gets much much worse. Read on.
We wrote in the section “Bullet Trains to Bankruptcy”:
- In the original “stimulus” bill, Obama included $8 billion for high-speed rail and called for $1 billion per year for five years in his proposed budget to get his projects “off the ground.” Grant awards were designated to lay the “groundwork for 13 new, large-scale high-speed rail corridors across the country . . . part of a total of 31 states receiving investments, including smaller projects and planning work that will help lay the groundwork for future high-speed intercity rail service,” as the White House claimed in April 2009.
Grant awards were not announced until nine months later (January 28, 2010). Almost two years after that, in November 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that 2012 was “shaping up to be the year of significant high-speed activity.” Contracts had been let by states for design work, planning work, construction materials, and supplies.
A closer look at one of these high-speed rail projects is instructive. Stanford University economist Thomas Sowell wrote at the end of January 2012 about California’s prospective “Bridge to Nowhere.” Sowell pointed to Japan’s famous high-speed rail system between Tokyo and Osaka, in “one of the most densely populated countries in the world.” The “bullet train” carries 130 million riders a year. He compares this to the proposed first leg of California’s system, the route between Fresno and Bakersfield Tokyo has a population three times that of San Francisco and Los Angeles combined. Fresno and Bakersfield are much smaller communities in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley. The 2010 population for all of San Joaquin County was 685,306. “You can bet the rent money that high-speed rail traffic between Fresno and Bakersfield will never come within shouting distance of covering the operating costs,” Sowell wrote. “Some people have analogized putting such a rail line between these two towns to the infamous ‘bridge to nowhere’ in Alaska.”
Why is the project in the sparsely populated Valley? Politics. It’s about politics. If the high-speed train started where California’s governor, Jerry Brown, and Obama wanted it to go—between the mega coastal cities—environmentalists, and politicians connected with environmentalists, would lie down on the tracks to stop the trains, Sowell wrote. Instead, California gets federal taxpayer dollars, and Brown and Obama look like heroes.
Now we learn, via Wynton Hall at Breitbart.com, that a construction firm deeply-connected to Richard Blum, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband, has won a contract for a California high-speed project:
- Sen. Diane Feinstein’s husband Richard Blum won a construction contract for California’s high-speed rail project, reports the California Political Review.
Author Laer Pearce says Perini-Zachary-Parsons, a construction group partially owned by Blum’s investment firm, Blum Capital, and their investors, bagged the nearly billion dollar contract:
“The Perini-Zachary-Parsons bid was the lowest received from the five consortia participating in the bidding process, but ‘low’ is a relative term. The firms bid $985,142,530 to build the wildly anticipated first section of high speed rail track that will tie the megopolis of Madera to the global finance center of Fresno. Do the division, and you find that the low bid came in at a mere $35 million per mile.”
This is not the first time Feinstein has come under scrutiny for cronyism using taxpayer dollars.
A recent study by the Reason Foundation found that the California High-Speed Rail System will lose between $124 million to $373 million a year.
By the way, Hall’s calculation is a bit off. Do the math: divide that $985 million by 25 miles.
Here is the Fresno to Bakersfield leg of the system, a distance of 114 miles:
- The section travels south through the center of the southern portion of the San Joaquin Valley. Stations will be in the cities of Fresno, where it will connect with the Merced to Fresno section, and Bakersfield, where it will connect with the Bakersfield to Palmdale section.
Recall that the 2010 population for all of San Joaquin County was 685,306. The population of Madera County, for which the city of Madera serves as county seat, was 150,865 in 2010. The city of Madera had a population of 61,416.
The distance from Madera to Fresno is a mere 25 miles, less than 25% of the Fresno to Bakersfield leg.
Note that as the pieces of the project become smaller and smaller, the cost continues to rise disproportionately. Out of a proposed 800-mile high-speed rail system, a mere 25 miles has been funded — and that singular piece to a senator’s spouse’s firm.
Also ask yourself why the population of a county with approximately 150,000 (and about 60,000 living in its county seat) needs high-speed passenger rail to transport a small percentage of its residents 25 miles distant to another county seat, where less than half its nearly one million residents reside. It is highly unlikely that the people residing in the fifth largest city in the state have a burning need to travel to a less significant city.
Can we explain it by ethnicity? What makes Madera, with its low median income community, so important? Could it be that Madera’s ethnic population is more than 76% “Hispanic” and about 17% “white” (and Fresno is less than 50% “Hispanic” and 30% “white”) — with more than 30% born in Latin America (and only 11% of the same in Fresno)? Is it about Democrat voters?
How about cheap labor? Major industries in Madera are “Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting” (28%) and manufacturing (14%), as compared to only 5% agriculturual workers (and no manufacturing) in Fresno.
Are we to believe that the residents of 76+% “Hispanic” Madera are just busting to invest their big agricultural earnings in the “global finance center” of Fresno?
The first week of March, Madera County Supervisor David Rogers proposed a money-saving alternative for the route between Merced and Fresno:
- Supervisor David Rogers, who represents the Chowchilla area, wants to convince the California High-Speed Rail Authority to use about 30 miles of partially abandoned freight railroad right of way between Merced and Mendota and to enter Fresno from the west along a short-line freight railroad. Doing so, he suggested Thursday, would enable the rail authority to almost entirely bypass Madera County — which is suing to stop the high-speed train project — and save the state a pile of money.
Rogers presented his idea at the San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee meeting in Fresno. The committee advises the California Department of Transportation on its operation of Amtrak’s San Joaquin passenger trains, but has no jurisdiction on the state’s high-speed rail plans.
Rogers said he has no detailed analysis of potential savings, but said he believed the state could save huge sums by using an existing rail corridor and not having to fight with property owners to buy the needed right of way. Additionally, he said, it would eliminate the need to disrupt or relocate roads, utilities and other infrastructure through the city of Fresno along the rail authority’s chosen route along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks near Highway 99.
Rogers, who opposes the high-speed rail project, said he would prefer an upgraded Amtrak San Joaquin service with trains running at 125 mph instead of a separate high-speed line with trains capable of 220 mph through the Valley. “But if they insist on building a brand-new system … they have to look at the cost of doing it efficiently,” he said.
“There are literally millions to billions to be saved,” Rogers said.
But Diana Gomez, Central Valley project manager for the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said Rogers’ proposal comes at least two years too late for serious consideration because the state is only weeks away from choosing a contractor to build the first sections of the line from Madera through Fresno.
The authority finalized its choice of a Merced-Fresno route last May, selecting a “hybrid” route that follows the Union Pacific Railroad freight tracks near Highway 99 between Merced and Chowchilla, wanders east to follow the BNSF Railway tracks east of Madera, and then returns to the UP/Highway 99 corridor from the San Joaquin River to downtown Fresno.
Although not being familiar with the locale, my “gut” tells me that there’s a pile of money to be made with all that property acquisition and road, utilities, and other infrastructure relocation. It’s always about the Benjamins. How likely is it that Blum Capital and its investors stand to gain a tidy sum? Right.
Well, somebody twisted some arms because on April 2 it was announced that Madera County had dropped its suit against the California High-Speed Rail Authority:
- A divided Madera County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to drop the county’s lawsuit against the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
The county was one of several parties that sued the state agency last year over its environmental approval of the Merced-Fresno portion of the proposed statewide rail system.
Manuel Nevarez, appointed to the board last month by Gov. Jerry Brown and a vocal supporter of high-speed rail, tipped the supervisors’ scales.
You read that correctly. Gov. Brown pulled an Obama by rigging the vote.
All other lawsuits against the 60-mile stretch of the “proposed rail route between Merced and Fresno” were reported as settled on April 18.
Tutor Perini, Zachry, Parsons
- Tutor Perini is based in Sylmar and were the lead contractors on the BART to SFO project and the Alameda Corridor rail project. Parsons was also in on BART to SFO, is a “general engineering consultant” for Caltrain, and worked on the Channel Tunnel, Taiwan HSR, and the Northeast Corridor. The website indicates the consortium is Tutor Perini and Parsons, so I’m not quite sure where Zachry fits in. They’re based in Texas and have done a lot of highway projects there. They were also a partner with Cintra in the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor.
Hmmmm. Wonder how many of these projects were funded with taxpayer dollars — voted into existence with the aid of Sen. Feinstein?