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California High Speed Rail Opposition

SACRAMENTO - August 9, 2018 State Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) submitted written testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, entitled "Continued Oversight of the California High-Speed Rail Project."

The Honorable Jeff Denham, Chairman
U.S. House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Denham:
Thank you for this opportunity to present testimony to your subcommittee and thank you for investigating California's proposed so-called High Speed Rail Project.

As you know, the leadership of the California High Speed Rail Authority has for years played a shell game with revenue projections and estimated costs. The ever-changing, so-called "business plans" are little more than slick public relation pamphlets - long on rhetoric and short on details.

One of your own House colleagues - then-Democrat State Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Mark DeSauliner - saw through the High Speed Rail propaganda and voted against this hare-brained scheme five years ago.

DeSaulinier stated the true cost of High Speed Rail, if it ever even gets built, will probably be closer to $350 billion rather than the $90 billion fantasy estimate from Governor Brown's public relations shop.

The High Speed Rail Authority has also continually pitted community against community in bidding wars to secure the so-called "maintenance hub."

They have dangled this stale carrot up and down the Valley from Castle Field in Merced County, to the BNSF facility in Fresno and down to Bakersfield in Kern County.

Is the location for the maintenance hub finally and officially set yet? No, of course not.

How could the maintenance hub be set with the final route of High Speed Rail still up in the air?

In fact, the leadership of High Speed Rail can't even tell the public how they will get their train over the Tehachapi range or how much that will cost.

Just saying "I think I can, I think I can" may work in cartoons but NOT when you're playing with billions of dollars in taxpayers' money.

They are even still promising to get from San Francisco through the Central Valley all the way to LA in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Now that is one for the storybooks!

Putting up a couple of overpasses and trestles in the flat lands of the Central Valley is the easy part and they are already being referred to locally as the "Stonehenge of Fresno" because they most likely will just sit there as is for the ages.

So let's see: no realistic business plans, no private funding, no more federal funding, no maintenance hub location set, no determination of final routes, and no idea how to get the train over the Tehachapi's.

Not exactly a plan coming together, is it?

Frankly, the best thing that could happen when Governor Brown is finally forced out of office next year would be to shut down the High Speed Rail Authority, turn over all the equipment and completed work to Amtrak and let them use it to improve existing rail service in the Valley.

At least that would plug the money drain and perhaps something useful could come from this after all.

Thank you for your consideration.
Andy Vidak
Senator, District 14

Rodent & Bed Bug Infestations on the Rise Throughout California - SACRAMENTO, CA (May 23, 2018)
While ants continue to be California’s most frequently reported pest problem, the state is experiencing a significant upward trend in reports of rodent and bed bug infestations, according to a survey released today by the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC).

The findings are contained in “What’s Bugging California Survey, 2018,” the first annual industry survey of the state’s licensed pest control operators.

Just over half (51.25%) of the respondents said the most rapidly growing reason for commercial and residential customer calls were to eliminate infestations of rat and other rodents. The second fastest growing problem was for bed bugs (25.62%), according to the survey.

The survey results were taken from responses of 160 representatives from major pest control companies located in every region of California, said Chris Reardon, PCOC’s executive director. According to the survey, the following represent California’s Top 6 Problematic Pests for consumers and businesses: 1.Ants; 2.Rats & Rodents; 3. Wasps & Hornets; 4. Cockroaches; 5. Bed Bugs; 6. Spiders.

Reardon noted that controlling these and other pests is essential to protecting public health because they can spread a wide range of diseases, including salmonella, West Nile and Zika viruses, bubonic plague and other fatal illnesses.

“The ability to effectively manage pests is a key advantage that differentiates our society from Third World countries,” he said. “Our industry believes access to pest control should be a fundamental right for Californians, who need to be able to protect their families, homes and businesses.”

Murrieta - Ongoing issues with Mosquitos and Complaints

Heavy rains exacerbate the mosquito problem in Riverside County and residents are advised to monitor and report mosquito breeding grounds in visible and hidden detention basins in their area.

One such visible detention basin in Murrieta is over 30 acres in size and located along Monroe and Jackson Ave. This huge detention basin, only one of many in Riverside county, saved developers millions of dollars in flood control infrastructure.

Some of these basins are not easily monitored as they are hidden below ground, such as one that was approved for the Meadowlane Condos on Adams Ave in Murrieta. According to the public hearings, the drainage channels on the property eventually drain to a grassy slope at the northerly corner of the project and fills a basin that when full will spill excess waters over into the Line E flood control channel on Adams Ave. Be especially watchful of these types of breeding grounds as they are not monitored nor under any mosquito abatement spraying program.

While the risk for West Nile, Zika, and malaria are currently low in Riverside County, it is advised to be proactive in protecting yourself, your family, and your pets from bites. Dead birds in the area are an indication of local disease carrying mosquito breeding grounds.

Residents are advised to call the Riverside Vector Control office at 951-766-9454 to report a mosquito problem.

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