California Roundup: Would the Bullet Train Be Good for the Jews?


* We're still Number One at something! California leads the nation in anti-Semitic incidents, according to ADL's 2009 survey.

* Belt-tightening is for people who actually work for a living: AFSCME Local 1902 responds to the state's financial crisis by demanding the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California hike workers' pension payouts by $70 million. (This is on top of a 2 percent pay increase water workers got at the beginning of this year.

* Believe in the Bullet Train, dammit! California High-Speed Rail Authority hires Ogilvy to produce favorable poll numbers, then heads to Washington to seek another $2.3 billion. Results show 34 percent strong support, and 42 percent support with reservations. Dan Walters explains some of the reservations, including the fact that every study of the project—most recently one from the University of California's Institute of Transportation Studies—shows it to be hopeless. Reason has plenty of coverage of the Rail Authority's tangled leadership, the destruction of property that would result if the train ever got built, and the magical thinking that has kept this vaporware project alive for 14 years.

* More Bell ringing: Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley joins California Attorney General Jerry Brown in investigating voter fraud and conflicts of interest in the troubled City of Bell. Previous Reason coverage.

* My ballot smiles and never frowns: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sues A.G. Brown for writing what it calls a misleading ballot description for Proposition 23. The poorly polling initiative would suspend Gov. Schwarzenegger's statewide global warming law until the economy becomes less awful.