So the Peer Review Group of respected rail and transportation professionals analyzes the latest business plan from the California High-Speed Rail Authority and finds it profoundly flawed, and Tom Umberg, chair of the CHSRA board, promptly rips the group for “analytical deficiency.” You heard right: The overseer of the bullet train boondoggle — whose agency has been trashed by independent experts for years for deceitful estimates of ridership, project cost, ticket cost, job creation and pollution reduction, and whose staff can’t craft a legal business plan that avoids future taxpayer subsidies — doesn’t have a thimbleful of credibility. But he somehow thinks he’s got sufficient credibility to question a group of respected rail and transportation professionals. The punch lines write themselves. Drum roll, please.
Top 10 Reasons Tom Umberg Should Not Have Gone There
10. John Perez’s pre-2011 resume has more credibility than the CHSRA.
9. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s CHP detail has less to hide than the CHSRA.
8. John Burton’s behavior toward female reporters and aides is less creepy than the CHSRA’s relationship with the truth.
7. Linda Ronstadt’s nasal septum, circa 1979, had fewer holes than any random single paragraph of the CHSRA’s business plan.
6. Newt Gingrich’s first two wives have more good things to say about Newt than the flacks who were paid millions by the CHSRA have to say about the agency.
5. James Cameron admires CHSRA’s ballsy audacity. (“You’re putting the first segment in the Central Valley???? Hahahahahhahahahaha. Good one.” Goes silent and waits for response. Eyes widen. “You’re serious. Good God.”)
4. George W. Bush admires the CHSRA’s management acumen.
3. Barack Obama admires the CHSRA’s readiness to blindly and wantonly spend money as fast as it can be printed.
2. Bernie Madoff admires the CHSRA’s poker-faced con game.
1. Yo, Tom Umberg, it’s a hanging curve, sorry, man: If anyone alive is an expert on “analytical deficiency,” it is the men and women of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
I will miss the bullet train when it is gone. It is my favorite fodder figure — a grotesque cartoon that I predicted would be a grotesque cartoon for years and years. How much money will California waste on it before the plug is pulled?
The over-under at the Calwhine Sports Book is $1.9 billion.
Great, just great.