California’s Attack on Rule of Law

Morris Brown, founder of Derail (a citizen group opposed to California’s high speed rail project) writes over at Fox and Hounds Daily that newly enacted California Assembly Bill 1889 is unconstitutional.

Brown could not be more on the mark. In 2008, the California legislature had placed a number of protections in a Proposition authorizing bonds for California’s high speed rail line. These were intended as enticements to voters to approve the proposition. The legislature and Governor promised. The people approved. And, now the legislature and Governor have gone back on their promise.

In short, the legislature and Governor have revised the conditions of the proposition, something that requires a vote of the people. With respect to high speed rail (and perhaps other propositions) California has replaced rule of law with rule of men (and women). That this should have occurred with respect to a voter approved proposition is particularly egregious, since such measures (such as initiative and referendum) were Progressive Era reforms, under Governor Hiram Johnson in 1911, intended to permit the people to take legislative authority from the legislature and governor when they felt it appropriate.

Meanwhile, the California high speed rail project has become a legendary “white elephant,” with costs going through the roof and little hope for achieving the promised travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Brown’s analysis can be accessed here….