High-speed rail is foolhardy

I agree with Gov. Jerry Brown's optimism for California, with the exception of high-speed rail.

Brown's State of the State address presents a hopeful future, but misses widely in advocating the $100 billion publicly funded high-speed rail system. The debt service alone will consume 10 percent of California revenues yearly.

A small fraction of this waste, $10 billion, can instead provide many new medical college campuses that can inexpensively educate thousands of professionals per year, increasing competition and reducing the cost of medical care delivery.

Only $1 billion per year can reduce tuition at California colleges and universities, allowing our children, instead of wealthy foreign students, to prepare here for California's best jobs.

Population distribution, topology and alternatives lead to successful operation of high-speed rail in some countries. Spain could not achieve success and is now closing routes that aren't economical.

This discordant swan song will be a terrible waste of precious California resources, crowding out much better uses. Brown has many good ideas, but this passion is foolhardy. The "speedy engine that shouldn't" must be derailed.

Buzz Pedrotti

Discovery Bay

Predictions just aren't realistic

When Gov. Brown presented his State of the State address on Jan. 24, he may have fooled many with his glowing predictions of how California is on the road to recovery but, in his heart, he knew he was dissembling.

His assurances that Proposition 30 and the improving economy will pull California out of its abyss of insolvency was all fanciful rhetoric, designed to mask the farce of newfound fiscal sanity in the world of absurd Democratic Party tax-and-spend philosophies.

As the Times indicated in its Jan. 27 editorial, the shaky platform from which Brown was cheerleading is constructed on hidden quicksand of government pensions, high-speed rail, the Twin Tunnel rejuvenation of the Peripheral Canal travesty, and the more than $200 billion concealed state debt that is ignored by politicians but which is a persistent specter.

Brown and the Democrats are leading California to an inevitable collision with bankruptcy and they have no realistic idea on how to avoid it. For all of you who continue to support Democrats, keep dancing, but remember the piper will be paid.

Ernest Hampson

Pittsburg

Brown's vision just smoke and mirrors

Of course not. Taxpayers in California are among the highest taxed people in our country in terms of state employment taxes, sales taxes, property taxes and vehicle license taxes.

Others states that burden their citizens far less in taxes balance their budgets, then why can't we?

Perhaps it is because our taxpayer base is diminishing as people and businesses are leaving our state in droves to escape the high taxes. In a recent report, the number of people on welfare outnumber the workers in 11 states.

Taxpayers are leaving and the tax takers are moving in our sanctuary state. How can anyone be optimistic about our future?

Gov. Brown's "optimistic vision" is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Jack Swagerty

Castro Valley