Editorial cartoon, Feb. 15, 2021

It might be fraud

In the 7 February 2021 Sunday edition of the AV Press, an AP article by Kathleen Ronayne outlined the costs for the California High Speed Rail.

For the 119 mile section of track from Bakersfield to Madera (population 66,000), the cost so far is $13.8 billion or about $100 million per mile.

The grand total for the High Speed Rail Phase 1 project currently is $81.7 billion or $158 million per mile (as reported by US News and World Report last year and this AP article). Projected estimates for Phase 1 are $100 billion for completion from the original 2008 overall costs of $40 billion. This is about $200 million per mile for Phase 1. Costs are expected to escalate.

To put these costs into perspective, the overall costs for the depression-era Works Progress Administration cost $200 billion in today’s dollars. The WPA employed about 8 million people from 1935 to 1941 and improved our entire country’s infrastructure still being used today.

So, let’s review this High Speed Rail project so far: Huge cost overruns. Not “high speed.” Six years in work with approximately 5,000 construction workers. Small amounts of Phase1 progress. No one is held accountable.

If it looks like, walks like, and smells like fraud ... it is.

Yvonne L. Des Lauriers

Palmdale

Safety and dignity

In a recent Dear Annie column, a contributor wrote, “I’ve been at my current job for nearly 10 years. But over the last year, I’ve become very discouraged, as the pandemic has helped shine a bright light on my employer’s true character.

“He has asked us to work in unsafe conditions this entire pandemic, exposing us to risk every day so that he can continue to rake in money through his business. The greed and lack of regard for his employees have been truly eye-opening.”

The writer’s story is a quintessential example of the commodification of labor power and, therefore, human beings’ objectification within the capitalist system. To the capitalist, human labor power and human beings themselves are commodities no different from, say, pig iron or electricity.

Generally speaking, labor power is the capitalist’s most expensive commodity. So it only makes sense that employers would expose workers to “risk every day” to extract every bit of surplus value/profit possible. It is a highly rational behavior carried out within the context of a highly irrational system of production.

One may view the employer as lacking character. But, while understanding that today’s “socially responsible” capitalist is tomorrow’s bankrupt capitalist, such behavior will not be eliminated until private ownership of the means of production is stopped.

What should be eye-opening is the reality that workers produce (all) economic wealth. As such, workers need to stop begging for humane treatment and tend to their humanity by taking social ownership and democratic control of the means of economic production -www.slp.org/pdf/statements/siu_chart.pdf

Only by eliminating the capitalist system and its labor market in which human beings are treated like pork bellies in the pork belly market can workers expect proper safety and dignity within their workplaces.

Guy Marsh

Lancaster

Checks and balances

Cannot wait to get my stimulus check and see all the televisions that Wal Mart will put out on the floor that are $1,399 this time around.

Also cannot wait till gas goes to $4 plus a gallon again. Maybe the check will cover rampant inflation that will soon be here.

I am going to donate mine to people in need that actually will benefit from it. I do not care who is in office but I do not recall in history reading about the kings of the United States signing executive orders.

What happened to the checks and balances that were in place. It is amazing to see how we just let things happen and also another question where is all the California lottery money that was supposed to help our schools? I know it’s the Gavin Newsome slush fund!

Jordan Eisenman

Lancaster

Get off the coal train

Saturday, (11/14/20), I read in the “Money & Markets” section of the AV Press, that in the USA the fossil fuel “coal” will provide a quarter of all energy production beginning 2021.

According to the article, ”That’s because natural gas prices are rising making cheap coal more attractive to electricity providers who can easily switch between the two energy sources. As a result, coal production is expected to increase 20% next year.”

This all fine and good for the coal industry, its coal production, and shipment workers. However, it is not good for our nation’s overall heath and our efforts to reduce climate change.

Our Lancaster Mayor, Mr. Parris, is on the right path to make hydrogen fuel our future. Europe and Asia knows this. Lets wake up America. We are the only world power that must learn that without the elimination of fossil fuels, our planet is doomed.

Gordon Jefferson

Lancaster

Thinking alike

We read the “letters to the editor” to find at least two sides to a story, but find they are just a pack of lies, except those who confirm our own opinion.

Thomas Gallagher

Lancaster

Why ask why?

How come they have to verify every signature on the recall Governor Gavin petition but they didn’t have to verify all the mail in ballot signatures for the last presidential election.

How come some want to hold president Trump responsible for his words when if you have a D next to your name you can spew any vile thing you want and not be held accountable. Hypocrisy? No just politics as they know it.

Want your schools to open? Get rid of the teachers unions you can be guaranteed the schools open the next day safely. Doesn’t matter that they say they are doing it for the children that is nonsense they are doing it for the money.

Steve Brewer

Rosamond

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