Railing For and Against Pringle, Umberg, High-Speed Rail

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Curt Pringle

If they go to their graves winning no more recognition for their years of public service, Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and ex-Assemblyman Tom Umberg can be comforted by the fact that they at least received a shout out from the California High Speed Rail Blog, which applauds both in the post titled "Orange County Takes Over the CHSRA Board."

The CHSRA would be the California High Speed Rail Authority, the state agency planning a future high-speed rail network in the Golden State. Pringle was just elected chairman of the agency's board, while Umberg was elected vice-chairman.

Sayeth the blog:

Pringle is a moderate Republican; Umberg is a Democrat who narrowly lost a primary for a State Senate seat to Lou Correa in 2006. Both are well-known in Sacramento and may have better relations with the Legislature than Quentin Kopp [who is stepping down as chairman after two terms].

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Tom Umberg
Oh, it's stranger than that, Herr Blogenstein. As recently rehashed here, Pringle and Umberg once represented the same Assembly seat simultaneously. Sorta. Umberg beat Pringle in the 1990 Assembly race, but two years later the district boundaries were redrawn and Pringle won one side and Umberg the other. Pringle eventually rose to be speaker of the Assembly briefly, and though he'll spout off come election time about his conservative cred, he's pragmatic enough to be all about the tax money when it comes to bringing a high-speed rail stop to the Land of Disneyland. As he says in the CHSRA press release announcing his ascension...

"High-speed trains are needed in California. The state must find a viable surface transportation alternative to ease auto and air traffic congestion between major urban centers and high population growth areas like the Central Valley."
While the high-speed rail bloggers are bully on Pringle and Umberg, not all the 53 comments left to that post were as charitable.

Some fears are expressed that Southern California high speed rail projects will vault ahead of northern ones in priority and funding, and that a Chamber of Commerce poster boy like Pringle will look out first for wealthy landowners and developers rather than figuring out a way to move the most people (regardless of their incomes, political parties, campaign contributions, etc.) from one point to another.
Oh, and then there is this:

"Don't trust Pringle he hired security guards to keep Latino voters from voting in the '80s!" writes "anonymous" of the infamous poll-guard scandal that continues to dog Pringle. Adds "Spokker": "By the way, Pringle's first idea is to put armed guards in front of train stations with signs that say, 'Non-citizens can't ride trains.'"

In fairness, there were also comments that suggested Pringle could work better with the agency staff than his predecessor did, that he'll now be able to formally kill the competition magnetic levitation (maglev) line that's also supposed to wind up in Anaheim, and that he'll make the whole thing look more like an all-of-California project than simply a Bay Area one.

A "looking on" also had this keen observation:

"BTW, add into the equation of Orange Co. taking over, Will Kempton taking over the Transportation Authority down there. Talk about a guy who knows everybody in DC, he is it. Guess where what area he is going to be pushing for Fed funds..."

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