Hoisted on their own petard

Hoisted on their own petard 09/20/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail After shocking the state by asserting that the California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA, did not apply to the High-Speed Rail project, the  California High-Speed Rail Authority is about to taste comeuppance. The Tos plaintiffs, who challenged the HSR project’s compliance with the HSR bond measure’s taxpayer protection provisions, have struck back. They filed papers to join in a motion seeking to halt the state’s validation proceedings. The rationale is priceless: Because the expectation of CEQA compliance is written into the HSR bond measure, plaintiffs claim that the project cannot use bond funds if CEQA compliance is abandoned. Since the preemption issue will be determined in the appeal process, plaintiffs…

Continue reading

Validation: It’s a Funny Concept

Validation: It’s a Funny Concept 08/22/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Fearing an infinite number of lawsuits challenging the issuance of High-Speed Rail bonds, the California High-Speed Rail Authority filed an arcane  legal maneuver in the Sacramento Superior Court, seeking to force anyone wanting to sue to put up or shut up. The maneuver is called a Validation  Suit. After the Authority has filed its Opening Brief, it asks all persons that are interested in challenging the issuance of bonds to come forward to file an Objection. After the Authority files a reply brief, the Court will then rule on whether challenges to the issuance of bonds are forever banned. An especially fascinating aspect…

Continue reading

Killer Ruling on HSR Compliance

Killer Ruling on HSR Compliance 08/16/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Court Rules High-Speed Rail Not Compliant with Bond Measure Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny issued a ruling Friday that the Funding Plan for the $8 billion High-Speed Rail project in the Central Valley is legally defective because it fails to meet the requirements of Proposition 1A, the High-Speed Rail Bond measure. The landmark case, Tos v. California High-Speed Rail Authority, was filed by a farmer, a rural homeowner and Kings County. The Court agreed that the Authority’s Funding Plan failed to validly certify that for the Merced to San Fernando Valley segment of the project, all environmental clearances had been completed and that sufficient funding…

Continue reading

HSRA seeks federal protection from lawsuits

HSRA seeks federal protection from lawsuits 08/09/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail  The California High-Speed Rail Authority filed a brief today asking the State Court of Appeal to dismiss the Atherton petitioners’ appeal on the grounds that the federal Surface Transportation Board had asserted federal jurisdiction over its project. This brief involved a massive amount of gall, seeing as the High-Speed Rail Authority had not applied to the STB for permission to construct its project until very recently, long after all the briefing in this case had been filed. All materials related to the appeal are available here. Tags: CEQA, HSR Litigation

Continue reading

Historic Court Hearing on May 31

Historic Court Hearing on May 31 05/27/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Department 31 of Sacramento Superior Court will be the location of the oral argument scheduled for 9 am on Friday, May 31, 2013 in the case Tos v.  California High-Speed Rail Authority. The Tos plaintiffs, two farmers and Kings County, are asking the Court to declare that the Authority has failed to meet the statutory requirements of Proposition 1A. Two out of ten claims asserted by the plaintiffs will be argued on Friday, with the balance to be considered after a decision is issued. Plaintiffs assert the Authority’s Funding Plan failed to validly certify that for the Merced to San Fernando Valley segment of…

Continue reading

Atherton Appeal Now Submitted

Atherton Appeal Now Submitted 01/25/13 Filed in: High-Speed Rail The briefs in the Town of Atherton v. California High-Speed Rail Authority appeal have now been submitted to the Court of Appeal. They are posted at the bottom of this page. The next step will be Oral Argument at the Court of Appeal. This case is significant, in that a victory for Appellants could invalidate the ridership model, which is the foundation of all the EIRs the CHSRA will rely on for its Central Valley project. It could also force a whole new EIR, which would review the alternative of an Altamont Corridor in a less- biased manner. Tags: HSR Litigation

Continue reading

TRANSDEF Presents at Annual TRAC Meeting

TRANSDEF Presents at Annual TRAC Meeting 10/27/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail The 2012 Annual Conference of the Trainriders Association of California was held in Berkeley today. TRANSDEF was invited to co-present the keynote address, along with the Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design (CARRD) on the topic of Where is High-Speed Rail Going in the Near Term? Elizabeth Alexis of CARRD began with a presentation which laid out the complete picture of what is funded to proceed in the next few years. David Schonbrunn of TRANSDEF then delivered an explanation of why rail advocates are suing CHSRA, entitled Fighting for What Could Be. Directly relevant to the Opposition brief filed in Atherton III, Caltrain’s Marion Lee presented a…

Continue reading

Our Legal Team Has Been Busy

Our Legal Team Has Been Busy 10/17/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Round 2 On October 15, 2012, petitioners in the Atherton I and Atherton II cases filed their Appellants Opening Brief, challenging several elements of a  largely favorable court ruling back in February. For the brief, and details, see this page. Round 3 Two days later, our team filed an Objection to the Authority’s Return on the Writ. This is a procedure in which the High-Speed Rail Authority,  represented by the Attorney General’s office, is seeking to demonstrate that it has completed a series of actions ordered by the Court, back in February. The Authority claims that its April 2012 Partially Revised Final Program EIR complies…

Continue reading

Taxpayer Lawsuit Against HSRA Files New Complaint

Taxpayer Lawsuit Against HSRA Files New Complaint 07/06/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail Attorney Michael Brady, representing plaintiffs John Tos, Aaron Fukuda, and Kings County, filed a lawsuit back in November 2011, asserting that no Proposition 1A funds could legally be spent on the proposed Central Valley project by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The Authority  struck back and asked the Court to dismiss the lawsuit in a motion called a Demurrer. After the Court sustained the Demurrer with leave to amend on June 22, Attorney Brady filed a Second Amended Complaint on July 6. Because the  State Senate was debating a funding measure for High-Speed Rail that afternoon, he brought with him one…

Continue reading

HSRA Approves Pacheco Yet Again

HSRA Approves Pacheco Yet Again 04/19/12 Filed in: High-Speed Rail On April 19, in accordance with writs issued by the Sacramento Superior Court in response to litigation by TRANSDEF and its allies, the CA High-Speed Rail Authority rescinded its previous certification of the 2010 Revised Final Program EIR for the Bay Area to Central Valley portion of its HST project, and rescinded its approval of the Pacheco route. After that action, the Board certified a Partially Revised Final Program EIR and adopted the Pacheco route. While the result was the same as its 2010 action, this time was different. Authority…

Continue reading