Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 – 12:00 am
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 – 7:49 am

On Monday, the Assembly Transportation Committee held what was supposedly an oversight hearing on the state’s nascent bullet train project.

It was a joke.

The committee’s chairwoman, Long Beach Democrat Bonnie Lowenthal, beamed as the boss of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Jeff Morales, emitted bland assurances that the project was proceeding smoothly and tossed a couple of softball questions.

But when Fresno Republican Jim Patterson tried to ask some pointed questions about the project, the first phase of which runs through his city, Lowenthal cut him off, saying it was time to “move forward.”

Later, when Lowenthal opened the hearing to the public for a very few minutes, a construction industry representative tried to complain that the High-Speed Rail Authority is insisting that potential contractors must sign “project labor agreements” that, in effect, reserve jobs for unionized workers. But she cut him off as well.

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