The Buzz: Jerry Brown’s new push for high-speed rail: Get old people off the road

March 18, 2014 


A high-speed train moves through a wind farm in an illustration of the California high-speed rail network proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who joked Sunday: “There’s a lot of old people who shouldn’t be driving.”

NEWLANDS AND COMPANY INC. — California High-Speed Rail Authority

  • At the Capitol

    An electronic milking cow named Buttercup and exhibits on advances in aquaculture will take over the west steps of the Capitol Wednesday as the California Department of Food and Agriculture once again hosts its annual Ag Day. The informational event, celebrating the state’s agricultural community, starts at 10:30 a.m. for elected officials and their staff, then opens to the public for education and healthy treats at 11:30 a.m.

    – Alexei Koseff

Brown’s new rail pitch:

Get old people off road

Gov. Jerry Brown has a new argument for high-speed rail: Get senior citizens off the road.

“There’s a lot of old people who shouldn’t be driving,” the Democratic governor joked at a dinner hosted by labor leaders in Sacramento on Monday night. “They should be sitting in a nice train car working on their iPad, having a martini.”

Brown, who will turn 76 next month, has other means of transportation, as he is chauffeured by a California Highway Patrol officer. He has made high-speed rail a priority of his administration, despite legal setbacks, funding uncertainty and a fall-off in public support.

Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari, the two main Republicans bidding to unseat Brown this year, have hammered him on the project.

But Donnelly, a Twin Peaks assemblyman, and Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury Department official, are little known to the electorate, and the prospects of either beating Brown in this Democratic-leaning state are slim.

Brown suggested as much Monday.

“I won’t talk about my opponents,” he said, “because most of you don’t know their names.”

– David Siders

Worth repeating

“There may have been mistakes in the way some of this was handled.”

Michael Peevey, California Public Utilities Commission president, responding Tuesday to a state Senate committee that grilled him about excluding the public from meetings in San Diego last year

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