Or, are you just happy to see me?
So, it turns out our company has a nepotism policy. What’s nepotism? No, it’s not that stuff your mom put on cuts you got when you were young.
According to my trusty…dusty…dictionary on the shelf – OK I just lied now; who still has, let alone uses an actual dictionary? Actually, I just Googled it like any lazy bastard does these days. Also, what’s the over/under on the number of comments I’ll get from people saying they have AND still use an actual book-like dictionary? I say 5. And, I’m taking the Under.
Back to the story…
Nepotism is defined as: favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.
Pretty straightforward. For those who don’t know the word kinship, let me put it this way. Willy on Duck Dynasty often says one of the main drawbacks of working with his family is that he can’t fire his kin.
Kin is family.
So, it turns out our company, for some reason or another (cough cough lawyers) has a nepotism policy. Which, in the end, is probably good as I’d rather not see Cubicle George’s offspring running through Cubeville. <shudders>
What does this have to do with bullet trains in your pocket you may ask?
Well, turns out our beloved government has no such policy it would appear. There are likely tons of examples of nepotism in the state, local and federal halls of government, but I’d like to focus on one a little closer to home (mine anyway).
California’s adopted Great, Great, Great (?) Grandmother, the 70+ term Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Here in California a few years ago our moronic voters decided that having a high speed train that went from the north powerhouse Bay Area to it’s equivalent in the south, the LA basin which would whisk riders along the over 400 miles of track quickly enough that one could get form SF to LA in roughly 2.5 hours.
Our great voters passed what’s known as Prop 1A back in 2008 to the tune of $9.95B worth of bonds to get ‘er started.
So, how’s it going? How many trips have I taken up/down the great state viewing the awesome sites of the Central Valley?
Well, none of course. They haven’t even started the damn thing yet.
Oh, ok, how many will I take once it’s done (if I’m still alive)? Likely none. And, I’m not alone. Here’s why:
First off, there are roughly 2 flights from the Bay Area to the LA area every hour of every day today which takes about 1 hour and the cost, if you plan ahead, is only a couple hundred bucks.
Originally, a ticket on the train we were told would be about $50 per person each way. OK sounds better. Last year, that estimate went up to $81 and if you wanted the express ride (umm isn’t that the point of a “high speed/bullet train”?) it would be upwards of $120.
So, it costs as much as airplanes and takes longer, plus has to go through the thriving metropolis’ of Hanford and Sylmar. Awesome. And, I’ll still need to rent a car once I get to where ever because California has a huge lack of decent metro public transit.
OK so that $9.95B will cover the cost right? Hold your horses (they’d be cheaper and likely faster). Here’s what the SJ Merc had to say a few weeks back:
California rail leaders said Tuesday it will cost an extra $97 million in office and field work to design the rail line, which has famously seen its construction cost double to $69 billion since voters approved it five years ago. The extra state and federal funds set aside for planning will wind up in the pockets of private consulting firms, including some that earn billions of dollars in annual revenue.
Yes, cost overruns are the norm (shouldn’t be, but are). But, you see that last line there: The extra state and federal funds set aside for planning will wind up in the pockets of private consulting firms? Shocking, I know. But, it get’s worse…
A few days ago it became known who the first phase construction contracts would go to. This is big news as it would create a lot of jobs and as noted above, put a lot of money in the pockets of someone. So, who is the someone?
Who the heck is Perini-Zachary-Parsons? Well, it turns out one of the lead investors of Tutor Perini is none other than Richard Blum. Who the heck is Richard Blum? None other than the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Gee I wonder why it is people have a disdain for the so called 1%.
Funny how the mainstream media has yet to run with this (not really if you know California politics and the media).
Oh and by the way, the first section of track which goes from Nowhere California to just south of Nowhere California will end up costing just over $985M. Or….$35M per mile!