Tag Archives: Aaron Fukuda

High-Speed Rail Opponents Seek California Supreme Court Review – Press Conference on September 2 in San Francisco

HIGH-SPEED RAIL OPPONENTS SEEK CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT REVIEW

Attorneys challenging the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s bond funding will hold a press conference on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 to explain the petitions they are filing with the California Supreme Court. Michael Brady and Stuart Flashman, representing John Tos, Aaron Fukuda and Kings County, will offer copies of the Petition for Review they plan to file that morning.

Here’s the location, time, and date of the press conference:

Sidewalk in front of the California Supreme Court Building
350 McAllister Street, San Francisco
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 10:30 AM

In addition, Harold Johnson of the Pacific Legal Foundation will discuss the petition he will be filing on behalf of the First Free Will Baptist Church in Bakersfield. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association will also be represented at the press conference, barring scheduling difficulties.

The petitions ask the Supreme Court to review the Third District Court of Appeal decision overturning two trial rulings that had hamstrung Californiaʼs High-Speed Rail project. The Appellate Court ruled that “The Legislature appropriated the bond proceeds based on the preliminary funding plan, however deficient, and there is no present duty to redo the plan.”

The Court also held that no evidence was needed to show that it was “necessary or desirable” to issue bonds, reversing the trial court ruling that had prevented the sale of bonds and effectively erasing that provision from the ballot measure. Plaintiff’s lead counsel, Michael Brady, says “The Authority is now on life support; it has been granted a stay of execution by the Court of Appeal. This filing seeks to lift that stay.”

Stuart Flashman, co-counsel adds, “The Court of Appeal ruling overturns longstanding precedents in the interpretation of bond measures. If these decisions stand, voters will lose trust in future bond measures.”

Harold Johnson of the Pacific Legal Foundation says “The High Speed Rail project must be fully transparent and fully faithful to the law. Evading accountability can’t be allowed on one of the most expensive public works projects in U.S. history.”

The Tos Petition for Review will be available on the morning of September 2, at the bottom of the TRANSDEF web page, along with all documents from these two cases. Three other claims in the Tos case are still pending in the trial court.

You can also read the court decision and the petition for review at these links:

September 1, 2014 Tos / Fukuda / Kings County Petition to California Supreme Court for Review of California High-Speed Rail Decisions

July 31, 2014 California Appeals Court Decision in Favor of California High-Speed Rail Authority

Background

The Tos v. California High-Speed Rail Authority case was brought by a farmer, a rural homeowner and Kings County. It asked the Court to block the Authority from using bond funds because the project failed to meet the ballot measureʼs requirements.

In November 2013, Judge Michael Kenny ruled that the High-Speed Rail Authorityʼs Funding Plan failed to properly certify, as the bond measure required, that all needed environmental clearances had been obtained and that sufficient funding was available to complete the Merced-to-San-Fernando-Valley segment of the project.

In California High-Speed Rail Authority et al. v. All Persons Interested et al., Judge Kennyʼs ruling blocked the issuance of bonds because of another failure to satisfy bond measure requirements.

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

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Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) Express Support for Bill to Freeze Spending of Federal Funds While Courts Stop Bond Sales

On Monday, March 24, the California Assembly Transportation Committee held a hearing on Assembly Bill 1501, introduced by Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno, that would have prevented the California High-Speed Rail Authority from spending federal grant money on the bullet train while the courts continue to prohibit the state from borrowing money by selling Prop 1A bonds. Assemblyman Patterson noted that the state would be bound to matching any of the federal funding spent on the high-speed rail project.

Aaron Fukuda, co-chairman of the CCHSRA, testified as a key witness in support of AB 1501. A second featured witness in support of AB 1501 was Diane Friend, Executive Director of the Kings County Farm Bureau. In addition, Alan Scott and Frank Oliveira of CCHSRA spoke during public comment in support of AB 1501, along with policy consultant and CCHSRA ally Kevin Dayton of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC.

A California High-Speed Rail Authority representative claimed that Cap and Trade auction allowances (described by some as “taxes”) would match the federal funding. Representatives of the California Labor Federation, the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, and individual construction trade unions spoke in opposition to AB 1501, along with representatives of high-speed rail interests.

Assemblyman Patterson had hoped the committee would pass his bill to the Assembly Appropriations Committee in order to trigger a fiscal analysis. Instead, the Democrat majority on the committee rejected the bill on an 11-4 party-line vote.

Watch the video of the AB 1501 hearing (starts at 20:50).

“Courts Are Not Entitled to Rewrite Legislation” – A Response to Governor Brown’s “Arrogant” Demand to Borrow $8.5 Billion for California High-Speed Rail

As the California High-Speed Rail Authority chafes at the bit for groundbreaking and moving forward with construction of the first 29-mile segment of rail between Madera and Fresno, it has also petitioned the California Supreme Court for extraordinary action to overrule two Superior Court decisions and allow it to sell Proposition 1A bonds. Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) and its allies object to this desperate scheme to get quick cash and roll over voters who approved a different project.

A brief filed on behalf of Kings County residents John Tos and Aaron Fukuda and the County of Kings asks the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District to “reject this arrogant request.”

While Courts are empowered to enforce legislation, and to interpret legislation when the Legislature’s intent is unclear, Courts are not entitled to rewrite legislation. That is particularly the case when the legislation involved is a bond measure presented to and approved by California’s voters.

In 2013, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge ruled that neither the authorization for issuing bonds from the California High-Speed Passenger Train Finance Committee nor the funding plan put forward by California High-Speed Rail Authority met the requirements of Proposition 1A, the statewide ballot measure voters approved in November 2008 to authorize the state to borrow $9.95 billion for the rail system through bond sales. In other words, voters approved borrowing money under certain conditions, but the California High-Speed Rail Authority now wants to borrow it under different conditions.

Remember that Proposition 1A told voters they would get a $45 billion complete high-speed rail system connecting San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego. Now it’s a $68 billion “blended plan” between San Francisco and Los Angeles in which the first and last parts of the journey (the “bookends”) are not high-speed rail. Construction of a new high-speed rail segment is most immediately planned for bisecting or demolishing more than 1,100 properties between Merced and Bakersfield.

Read the brief at Return by Answer and Supporting Memorandum of Points and Authorities of Real Parties in Interest John Tos, Aaron Fukuda, County of Kings to California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Petition for Extraordinary Writ of Mandate.

Hanford Sentinel Newspaper Profiles Co-Chair of Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA)

The Hanford Sentinel newspaper posted today (March 15, 2014) an article by reporter Seth Nidever profiling Aaron Fukuda, a co-leader of Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA). Read the article here:

Gaining Steam: Hanford Engineer’s Life Took a Surprising Turn When He Learned High-Speed Rail May Cut Through His Property – by Seth Nidever of Hanford Sentinel – March 15, 2014

Aaron’s story presents a local perspective of the community leaders in Kings County who have led the successful court actions to make the California High-Speed Rail Authority accountable to the People of California. Aaron often says that “If our government doesn’t bother to follow the law, why bother to have laws? Just have a dictatorship.” When his private property was threatened by a government agency that compromises the law in the pursuit of “Progress,” Aaron was inspired to democratic activism.

Challenging a government agency assigned to build the most-expensive construction project in human history is not a task for the timid or uncertain. Powerful and wealthy interests (such as the Top-40 donors to Proposition 1A) are intent on seeing California High-Speed Rail built through the middle of prime agricultural farmland in the San Joaquin Valley – and beyond. The project’s chief political advocate – Governor Jerry Brown – is held up as a modern-day philosopher-king by some political commentators. This is serious business.

To contact CCHSRA leaders with press inquiries or proposals for financial assistance:

Aaron Fukuda – afukuda77 [at] gmail.com – Cell: 559-707-8928

Frank Oliveira – frank.oliveira [at] me.com – Cell: 559-469-6685