Daily Post 3/17/2011 Page 1Insider blasts rail authority
The California High-Speed Rail Authority, which wants to build acontroversial railroad on the Peninsula, is getting harsh criticism from anunusual source — one of its own board members.Quentin Kopp yesterday slammed the authority for its multimillion- dollarcontract with the public relations firm Oglivy, which is trying to sell the publicon high-speed rail.“The criticism from the Legislature, the media, academia ... hasworsened since Oglivy started draining taxpayer money and nothing hashappened,” said Kopp, a former judge and state legislator. “It saddens me,it’s a struggle.”Kopp said he’s told State Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg thathe doesn’t wish to be reappointed to the board. In his place, Steinberg isexpected to appoint union leader Bob Balgenorth, president of the stateBuilding and Construction Trades Council, Kopp said.Kopp, 82, paved the way for the rail authority board with a bill heintroduced in 1996 while in the state Senate. But Kopp has increasinglygrown at odds with his fellow board members. Last year, he went after boardChairman Curt Pringle and member Richard Katz for holding public offi cesthat were incompatible with their rail authority board seats. Kopp’s call for adiscussion on the issue was denied, but after a state attorney generalinvestigation, Katz stepped down. Pringle remained because he was termedout as mayor of Anaheim, the incompatible office.‘Runaway contract’“It’s been sad to observe the incompatibility of public office, the conflict of interest problem which still exists today, and then this runaway contract withOglivy,” Kopp told the Post.Kopp said Oglivy has been paid $2.5 million in 14 months “with nodiscernible results.”Kopp also had a sometimes tumultuous relationship with rail critics inthe mid-Peninsula. In fact, in August, the rail authority instructed Kopp andformer rail board member Rod Diridon not to talk to mid-Peninsula railgroups.Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the fi nal hours of his governorship,replaced Diridon, a former Santa Clara County supervisor, with Los AngelesBusiness Journal publisher Matt Toledo. Some seats on the board areappointed by the governor while other board members are selected by theSenate leader.