Tag Archives: Jeff Morales

California High-Speed Rail Summer Highlights, Part 1: Lack of Leadership

Contrary to the claims of the taxpayer-funded California High-Speed Rail Authority Communications Department, the summer of 2017 was grim for the future of California High-Speed Rail. Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) continually tracks developments (or lack of developments) for this costly, misguided high-speed rail plan. We see several trends ongoing with this project. The first is Lack of Leadership.

On April 21, 2017 the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced that on June 2 its CEO Jeff Morales would leave the position:

Big Change in High-Speed Rail: CEO Steps Down, Says New Leader Needed – Fresno Bee – April 21, 2017

There were high expectations for change:

Leadership Turnover at the California High-Speed Rail Authority Could Signal Shakeup – Los Angeles Times – May 1, 2017

But perhaps it can be said that great leaders never fade away. Two months after his alleged departure date, Jeff Morales was still on the Authority payroll:

California Bullet Train Chief Executive Is Still on the State Payroll – Two Months After His Exit Date – Los Angeles Times – August 4, 2017

As of October 10, 2017, no one has taken his place as CEO. It wasn’t that there weren’t qualified candidates. CCHSRA ally Kevin Dayton applied for the CEO position:

Applying for New CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority: My Cover Letter  – California Policy Center – May 2, 2017

In fact, ten days before the CEO announced his departure, Dayton had critiqued the leadership performance of the $383,000 per year CEO and found it wanting: 

Is the California High-Speed Rail Authority Paying for Legendary Leadership? – California Policy Center – April 21, 2017

Meanwhile, other top executives at the California High-Speed Rail Authority have announced their departure:

Another Key California Bullet Train Executive Is Leaving – Los Angeles Times – October 5, 2017

Granted, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has long been notorious for staff vacancies and turnover. For a few years, the Authority was producing a “California High-Speed Rail Authority Position Summary and Vacancy Report Executive Summary Report” such as this:

California High-Speed Rail Authority Position Summary and Vacancy Report Executive Summary Report January 2016

But it now appears that employees of California High-Speed Rail are taking the advice that former California Republican Party chairman Shawn Steel recently gave to the people promoting the project:

California’s High-Speed Rail Promoters Should Heed the Wisdom of Rats – Sacramento Bee – August 29, 2017

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CCHSRA, Attorney Michael J. Brady Weigh in on Fresno County Board of Supervisors Decision to Approve Resolution, File Amicus Brief

Hanford, CA July 30, 2014 – Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability applaud the Fresno County Board of Supervisors for their decision Tuesday to approve both a resolution to oppose the California High-Speed Rail Project and file an amicus brief.

CCHSRA’s Co-Chairman Frank Oliveira said of yesterday’s 3-2 decisions: “The Fresno County Board of Supervisors, after years of scrutiny, has recognized that the high-speed rail plan is fiscally irresponsible and impossible to achieve without bankrupting the County and the entire state. The current design is a flawed plan; high-speed rail is achievable in California, but not with a flawed plan. We applaud the supervisor’s courage and decision.”

Attorney Michael J. Brady came to both meetings to present fact-based testimony before the board, while the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) was represented by CEO Jeff Morales on July 15 and Vice-Chair Tom Richards on July 29. Mr. Richards is also a Fresno area businessman and developer.

“The most dramatic thing about the July 15th and July 29th hearings was that several supervisors had sent detailed questions to the Authority since 2012 about their specific concerns, including supervisors such as Mr. Perea,” said Brady. “These questions were never answered, when they could have been answered. Any public official would be very angry at this failure to respond when their community is being so dramatically affected by a project like this. This failure to respond to important concerns fully justified the withdrawal of support.”

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors resolution of opposition also stands alone as the only one in Fresno County on file re: the controversial train project. Any prior resolutions supporting the project from Fresno County will now be removed from the record.

The vote was taken two weeks after the resolution to oppose the project was first presented by District 5 Supervisor Debbie Poochigian on July 15th. An amicus brief to support the Tos/Fukuda/Kings County Proposition 1A lawsuit against the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) was presented by District 2 Supervisor/Chairman Andreas Borgeas at Tuesday’s meeting.

 

Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group based in Kings County whose members reside in the city of Hanford and surrounding rural areas, along with other Californians who are affected by the high-speed rail. The group has been in the forefront since June 2011 attempting to get the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) and its board to be in full compliance with Proposition 1A which the state’s voters passed in November 2008.

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For more information, please visit us at http://www.cchsra.org and/or contact Shelli Andranigian at andranigianmedia7@att.net. Thank you.