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Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Olog-hai on Sat Jun 2 16:03:18 2012

Oh, the irony.

Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown moves to protect high-speed rail project from environmental lawsuits

By David Siders
Published: Saturday, Jun. 2, 2012 12:00 am | Last Modified: Saturday, Jun. 2, 2012 12:08 pm
The Brown administration, laboring to start building California's high-speed rail project by early next year, is preparing a proposal to insulate the project from environmental lawsuits, limiting circumstances in which a court may block construction of the line.

The proposal, criticized by environmentalists as it emerged on Friday, would protect the $68 billion project from court-ordered injunctions that might otherwise be issued under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Except in the most serious cases of potential environmental harm, the proposed legislation would allow construction to proceed while the California High-Speed Rail Authority fixes any environmental flaws identified by a judge.

The proposal is likely to be considered by the Legislature this month or next. Environmentalists expected to be briefed by administration officials on the plan next week.

Dan Richard, chairman of the rail authority board, said Friday that the proposal consists of "pretty small, pretty technical" changes. It would allow a judge to block construction in major cases if opponents showed, for example, that an endangered species was threatened with extinction, he said.

Environmentalists are generally supportive of high-speed rail for the promise of mass transit. But the state's environmental quality act is its signature environmental protection, and environmentalists are almost certain to oppose the administration's proposal.

"I don't imagine that we're going to see something next week that will make us want to embrace these exemptions that they're going to be proposing," said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California.

Among other things, environmentalists have objected to the administration's plan to run high-speed rail over Pacheco Pass west of Los Banos, where they fear its effect on wetlands.

Phillips said the rail authority's concern about environmental challenges slowing the project is misplaced.

"Environmental review is not going to slow this project," she said. "What's going to slow this project is ineptitude by the high-speed rail authority, and that's what we have seen, at least in the last four years."

In addition to raising standards for blocking construction, the proposal would make it easier for the administration to modify parts of the project without redoing its overall environmental review. For example, the rail authority could move forward with its recently adopted and widely praised plan to use existing infrastructure in urban areas without exposing itself to new litigation.

Stuart Flashman, an Oakland lawyer who has sued the California High-Speed Rail Authority on behalf of cities in the Bay Area, said it "makes it a real long-shot" for an opponent to block potentially damaging construction in court.

"If the Legislature passes this," he said, "both the Legislature and the governor ought to be ashamed of themselves."

The state has previously protected major projects from environmental challenges. Brown, a Democrat, signed legislation last year accelerating judicial review of environmental challenges to a proposed football stadium in Los Angeles.

At the time, he said the project was necessary to "get people working" in California.

Proponents of the high-speed rail project have made the same argument about high-speed rail.

The project is a major part of Brown's agenda, and the proposal to protect it from litigation could be significant to his ability to start construction in the Central Valley by next year.

On Friday, the city of Chowchilla became the latest litigant to file an environmental lawsuit against the project.

Brown is seeking legislative approval this summer to use $2.6 billion in state rail bond funds and $3.3 billion in federal funds to start construction of the rail line.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said Friday that he expects a vote on that appropriation to come after the state budget is considered this month but before the Legislature recesses for summer.

Steinberg said he doesn't anticipate a major floor debate about the California Environmental Quality Act, but he said he wasn't aware of what Brown planned to propose.

"We'll listen to anything that the administration has to say about it," Steinberg said, "but it hasn't really come up directly."


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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Easy on Sat Jun 2 16:15:42 2012, in response to Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Olog-hai on Sat Jun 2 16:03:18 2012.

It's been the trend lately to shield large projects - both private and government ones - from environmental lawsuits and honestly it's much needed. CEQA is being used by lawyers and NIMBY's to extort developers and taxpayers making it difficult to build anything in California. And oddly enough it's Democrats that are removing the (unintended) teeth from CEQA.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Train Dude on Sat Jun 2 17:06:58 2012, in response to Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Olog-hai on Sat Jun 2 16:03:18 2012.

Oh the irony for sure. Extremist liberals don't know whether to shit or go blind.

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(G00GLE)

Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits


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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by WillD on Sat Jun 2 21:07:45 2012, in response to Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Olog-hai on Sat Jun 2 16:03:18 2012.

If reactionaries, NIMBYs, and entrenched interests are going to take advantage of the environmental review process to derail or inflate the cost of a project which can only have a beneficial environmental impact compared to its alternatives, then there is no question their efforts should be thwarted. CEQA was not contemplated to be an obstructionist tool, and its use by California's regressives runs completely contrary to the spirit of the law.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Jackson Park B Train on Sat Jun 2 21:32:44 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by WillD on Sat Jun 2 21:07:45 2012.

You must actually want to see the polis improved. How Periclean of you!

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Dan on Sun Jun 3 11:15:47 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by WillD on Sat Jun 2 21:07:45 2012.

So in other words, legitimate opposition to a taxpayer-funded project is now illegal?

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Train Dude on Sun Jun 3 11:17:39 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by WillD on Sat Jun 2 21:07:45 2012.

So you don't care about the environment? How unliberal of you.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by WillD on Sun Jun 3 20:28:13 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Dan on Sun Jun 3 11:15:47 2012.

Not at all. Who said anything about their opposition being made illegal? They are more than free to oppose the project. However they are lying to the courts and their fellow residents when they couch their opposition in terms of the HSL's environmental impact. This move forces them to be more honest in their rationale behind opposing the project. These opposition groups and their claim that their NIMBY and BANANA concerns represent legitimate environmental concerns only serve to further inflate the project cost as the CHSRA is forced to jump through the hoops they set up.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by WillD on Sun Jun 3 20:30:41 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Train Dude on Sun Jun 3 11:17:39 2012.

So you want to see the law perverted and abused by special interests bent on forcing the state to spend billions of dollars or face a crippling reduction to the state econonmy? How very unconservative of you.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Rockparkman on Sun Jun 3 20:53:26 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by WillD on Sun Jun 3 20:30:41 2012.

All Conservatives HATE mass transit because it is a community endeavor while the private auto is just that, PRIVATE.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by brightonr68 on Sun Jun 3 21:09:32 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Rockparkman on Sun Jun 3 20:53:26 2012.

"All Conservatives HATE mass transit because it is a community endeavor "

WHAT?

First conservatives do not hate mass transit

Conservatives hate over paying for services that may or may not be needed. Last I looked one could drive or fly between the two locations at a cost to taxpayers of $0

Transportation should not be something that has to be subsidized when there are options that exist other wise. If it was really needed private concerns would put in money to make it happen at a price the public will pay for.

A perfect example is the NYC subway system. The system was financed through real estate sales along the line and there was a real need. Need is defined as enough customers who would ride the line to make it profitable.

This is the justification for the 7 line extension

The Liberals have the wool pulled over every ones eyes.

The whole environmental review process has been set up as a liberal employment program. Lawyers writing and arguing over none sense for years driving up the cost of the project. The corrupt unions over charging for no show labor.

If the public agreed to fund this project, then Jerry Brown is correct in wanting to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits. My only problem is that is this project is doomed as most of the Oboma-nomics boondogle high speed rail projects

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Olog-hai on Sun Jun 3 21:17:11 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by brightonr68 on Sun Jun 3 21:09:32 2012.

It's a liberal politician blocking the Rockaway Beach line.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by WillD on Sun Jun 3 21:17:13 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Rockparkman on Sun Jun 3 20:53:26 2012.

All Conservatives HATE mass transit because it is a community endeavor while the private auto is just that, PRIVATE.

Except that with the declining gas tax revenue those "private" cars are publicly funded to a degree equal to, or greater than many transit systems. It's a privatization of mobility and a socialization of the cost to provide that mobility, regardless of whether someone owns the car to utilize that investment in mobility for a select group.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Train Dude on Sun Jun 3 21:27:24 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by WillD on Sun Jun 3 20:30:41 2012.

The California High Speed Rail project is a truncated version of its former self but at a much higher price. Getting less for more may be a good thing to democrats and liberals but to the 51% who pay federal taxes, its a waste of our money.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Train Dude on Sun Jun 3 21:28:49 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Rockparkman on Sun Jun 3 20:53:26 2012.

I CALL




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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by WillD on Sun Jun 3 21:42:19 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by brightonr68 on Sun Jun 3 21:09:32 2012.

Conservatives hate over paying for services that may or may not be needed.

You mean like the highways that are now financed to the tune of more than 52% from the general fund?

Last I looked one could drive or fly between the two locations at a cost to taxpayers of $0

Sure, cause the FAA is 'profitable', the FHWA receives no government funding, and the time wasted while driving has no impact on the economy. No, wait, turns out the *exact* opposite is the case. You're using *more* government subsidy driving or flying between two cities within 300 miles of each other than if you'd ridden Amtrak. A profitable high speed rail line would only further reduce that government investment to the point where only the capital cost of the infrastructure is being financed by the government.

Transportation should not be something that has to be subsidized when there are options that exist other wise.

Great, then go back and undo the conservatives signing on to the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act because it was sheathed in a faint veneer of defense spending. That destroyed private, profitable industries and replaced them with socially financed mobility for a select subset of the population. Until you can do that, don't complain that the government is financing transportation alternatives to the government financed transportation services that are no longer economically sustainable.

If it was really needed private concerns would put in money to make it happen at a price the public will pay for.

Sure, just like those "private" toll roads we had to bail out when the cost of gas spiked, their revenues dropped, and they couldn't make their bond payments. The economic impact of truly profitable transportation, particularly within our current extremely inefficient modal setup, is ridiculously disproportionate. The *only* way to get profitable intercity transportation with our current technology is to achieve the energy and labor savings present in high speed rail lines.

A perfect example is the NYC subway system. The system was financed through real estate sales along the line and there was a real need. Need is defined as enough customers who would ride the line to make it profitable.

Except that the tax increment financing will more than likely not live up to its predictions because they neglected to provide access to the extension with additional stations, the up-zoning has largely failed, and the real estate market has slipped (to say the least). One need only look to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's failed bid to use TIF to finance his heavy rail alternative to the LRT based Transit City system to see the utter disaster that tax increment financing can create.

The whole environmental review process has been set up as a liberal employment program. Lawyers writing and arguing over none sense for years driving up the cost of the project. The corrupt unions over charging for no show labor.

Oh please. Your partisan inanity is completely and utterly baseless. The conservatives have just as much to gain from the environmental review process as anyone to the left. Surely you don't think those engineering companies are run by left wingers. The process exists to weed out lesser amounts of government spending on smaller projects and force spending on large, expensive projects that will guarantee greater profit margins for the engineering and legal firms.

If the public agreed to fund this project, then Jerry Brown is correct in wanting to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits.

Great, and the electorate did approve the project by a plurality. Your support for Governor Brown's defense of the CHSRA is noted.

My only problem is that is this project is doomed as most of the Oboma-nomics boondogle high speed rail projects

In other words you hate it because Obama supports it. So you're simply stating your opposition to high speed rail results from your Obama Derangement Syndrome. Never mind that the California High Speed Rail project will reduce the government subsidy provided to operate intercity trips between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Never mind that it will grow the economy of both the anchor cities and the cities of the San Joaquin Valley. You're not much of a conservative if you're willing to forego the principles of the ideology you purportedly subscribe to simply because you dislike the politics of someone espousing a method by which we can achieve those goals.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by WillD on Sun Jun 3 23:28:27 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Train Dude on Sun Jun 3 21:27:24 2012.

The California High Speed Rail project is a truncated version of its former self but at a much higher price.

Huh? The trains are still going to run from San Francisco to Los Angeles. And the price is now given in year of expenditure dollars, which means they've actually reduced the cost relative to the 2008 estimates given in year of appropriation dollars. So how exactly is it any shorter or any more expensive?

Getting less for more may be a good thing to republicans and regressives but to the 51% who pay federal taxes, its a waste of our money.

Fixed that for you. If you support leaving our intercity transportation infrastructure in the current bimodal air and road morass then there is no ambiguity that you're in favor of spending more and getting less.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Rockparkman on Sun Jun 3 23:42:08 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by brightonr68 on Sun Jun 3 21:09:32 2012.

You're a fucking idiot.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by brightonr68 on Mon Jun 4 00:17:18 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Olog-hai on Sun Jun 3 21:17:11 2012.

Politicians will of all parties will do what gets them elected and the money flowing in to them

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by brightonr68 on Mon Jun 4 00:29:30 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by WillD on Sun Jun 3 21:42:19 2012.

"You're not much of a conservative if you're willing to forego the principles of the ideology you purportedly subscribe to simply because you dislike the politics of someone espousing a method by which we can achieve those goals. "

Your right I am not a conservative at all. I am a realist.

Many of the point you make are valid.

The fuel tax should be raised and if you follow what is going on in congress there are proposals on the table to back door in such a raise by switching to a cost per mile fee due to the fact that as more hybrids and electric cars hit the road, then the amount of gas sold will decline.

FYI the FAA is profitable if you account for all the taxes paid by private sector airlines and there employees.

Your response shows tons of bias that does not agree with the majority of the population of this great nation.

These high speed lines are also a major terrorist target that is much harder to defend then an airport

"In other words you hate it because Obama supports it. So you're simply stating your opposition to high speed rail results from your Obama Derangement Syndrome. "

I do not like his political approach to the issue. Throw hug sums of money at projects in order to make a big headline. The same problem I would have if any politician did it.


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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Train Dude on Mon Jun 4 00:42:18 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by WillD on Sun Jun 3 23:28:27 2012.

Where is your proof of anything that you say? Blue ribbon in your hair or not, I find your numbers to usually be very wrong.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Olog-hai on Mon Jun 4 01:14:21 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by brightonr68 on Mon Jun 4 00:17:18 2012.

Well, I didn't mention parties. Ideology and (of course) money trumps any party label.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by WillD on Mon Jun 4 03:25:25 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Train Dude on Mon Jun 4 00:42:18 2012.

I know you're not big on reading, but you can find it all in the CHSRA Business Plan. That's a hell of a lot more information than any of the HSR opposition groups have provided, particularly regarding their funding sources.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by chud1 on Mon Jun 4 03:35:19 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Rockparkman on Sun Jun 3 20:53:26 2012.

i am a conservative and i love and foam at mass transit. i always take mass transit over driving.
chud1

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Charles G on Mon Jun 4 05:53:54 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Easy on Sat Jun 2 16:15:42 2012.

It is one of those great truths of our time. Only a Democrat may propose getting around environmental laws by ignoring them, because Democrats are the great protectors of the Earth and all things small and fluffy.

If Jerry Brown says don't worry about construction noise, traffic pattern changes or where construction debris shall be dumped then don't worry about it. Get it?

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Fred G on Mon Jun 4 06:09:57 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Charles G on Mon Jun 4 05:53:54 2012.

Well as a Republican you should embrace taking the teeth out of environmental laws :)

Speaking from professional experience, this wouldn't be the first time Republicans sided with the environmentalists in order to kill a project.

your pal,
Fred

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by WillD on Mon Jun 4 13:23:50 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by brightonr68 on Mon Jun 4 00:29:30 2012.

The fuel taxshould be raised and if you follow what is going on in congress there are proposals on the table to back door in such a raise by switching to a cost per mile fee due to the fact that as more hybrids and electric cars hit the road,then the amount of gas sold will decline.

That's all fine and well, but any proposal to rectify the decades we've allowed the gas tax to atrophy is a long way from becoming law. And with the political situation in Congress, with the lower house bent on running the country into the ground rather than govern responsibly, any legislation that hints of revenue increases will be extremely difficult to sneak through. Our highways are leaching off the general tax fund today, and that is unlikely to change any time in the future, mileage based taxes or no.

FYI the FAA is profitable if you account for all the taxes paid by private sector airlines and there employees.

Then lets see some numbers. The FAA receives at least 8 billion dollars a year, while airlines pay just 3 billion dollars in taxes dedicated to those finances. Service fees cannot be included because they are paid to a local authority for the airport upkeep, not to the FAA. You cannot include the taxation on the employees because those same taxes would be paid by the employees of any alternative mode.

Your response shows tons of bias that does not agree with the majority of the population of this great nation.

Yeah, so what? Why should I concern myself with the opinion of someone from Arkansas regarding high speed rail? A majority of Californians approved the high speed rail, and the representatives of the remaining 270 million Americans who do not live in the Golden State approved the high speed rail funding they are now accessing. If we let everything be decided by popular polls on a national level nothing would ever get built and we'd make most third world banana republics look like superpowers.

These high speed lines are also a major terrorist target that is much harder to defend then an airport

Oh please. Are you so desperate you're just making things up now? You sure as hell can't hijack a train and fly it into a building. High speed rail is not as conducive as either airliners or crowded commuter trains as targets of bombings. The lack of a pressurized cabin and the lack of standees both reduces the structural damage and reduces the number of people within the blast radius of whatever bomb is within the train. Ask Carlos the Jackal how his attempts to destroy a TGV in the 1980s went. Just two people were killed in his bombing and the train remained upright and on the rails.

I do not like his political approach to the issue. Throw hug sums of money at projects in order to make a big headline. The same problem I would have if any politician did it.

So you don't like it because someone took the same approach we use with the Department of Defense and applied it to infrastructure? Yes, how dare we spend government money on a long term investment in our future when we could burn it on bombs, guns, and other wholly disposable items.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Dan Lawrence on Sun Jun 17 17:29:43 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Train Dude on Sun Jun 3 21:28:49 2012.

Steverino, that's all Rockparkman knows. Like the Turtle, best to ignore him.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Rockparkman on Sun Jun 17 17:49:35 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Dan Lawrence on Sun Jun 17 17:29:43 2012.

You're a fucking asshole. Even the Turtle has your number.

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Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits

Posted by Dan Lawrence on Sun Jun 17 22:16:21 2012, in response to Re: Jerry Brown moves to shield CAHSR from environmental lawsuits, posted by Rockparkman on Sun Jun 17 17:49:35 2012.

YOU are the fucking asshole.

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