It may be impolite in civil society to say we told you so, but we did.
Consider the all-too-predictable news that planning costs for the state's ill-advised high-speed rail are already nearly $100 million more than anticipated, much of it going to consultants and pay raises for employees. We have barely stuck its toe in the water on Gov. Jerry Brown's monument to himself and costs are already soaring. So we have decided to create the above monument to the governor's legacy in the hope that maybe it will be enough for him to just make this abomination go away.
For we are certain this will not be the last cost estimate obliterated on this project, supposedly priced at $69 billion. In fact, we expect the real cost to double that figure.
The reason, you see, is that money doesn't seem to matter when it comes to high-speed rail. It appears that Brown is so desperate for a legacy that he is willing to spend whatever it takes to fund projects on a par with those of his famous father, former Gov. Pat Brown.
It reminds us of auto pioneer Henry Ford and his son Edsel. Like Pat and Jerry, the two worked in the family business together, but often saw things very differently. Like Jerry, Edsel tried desperately to live up to the accomplishments of his father and was, by some measures, successful. Unfortunately for Edsel Ford, however, his name will forever be linked with abject failure because of the colossal flop of a much-hyped line of automobiles that posthumously bore his name.
We think high-speed rail is Jerry Brown's Edsel.
It is a semi-fast train to nowhere that will either collapse under the weight of its own ridiculous assumptions, which are too numerous and grand to detail here, or will be so grotesquely overpriced as to profusely bleed money from the state's general fund leaving little for such mundane things as schools, health care, public safety and the social safety net.
In 2008 taxpayers authorized issuance of $9 billion worth of bonds toward construction of a high-speed rail system that ostensibly would connect the Bay Area with Los Angeles and would stretch from Sacramento to San Diego.
Not long after that, of course, the recession hit and then a management shake-up. After that, the nature of the project changed dramatically. Cost predictions skyrocketed, while planned service was cut.
Once Brown was elected governor in 2010, he could have called a time out and traveled the reasonable road back to the voters. He did just the opposite. He hired political operative Dan Richard, a former BART director and PG&E executive, to ram the bond sale authorization through the Legislature.
While lecturing us about the need to see "the Big Picture," Brown painted anyone who questioned the concept, plan or cost of his monument as either small-minded or obstructionist. Meanwhile, he used the full weight of his office to pressure lawmakers to pass the high-speed rail authorization even though all objective measures showed the public had clearly turned against the project.
Like his father, Brown was able to make the Legislature bend to his will. But instead of a world-class university system or a visionary and necessary water-delivery system, Jerry Brown's name will be forever linked to a misguided, dysfunctional and doomed train system.