Curt Pringle donned two transportation hats earlier this year to tell the top staff member of the High-Speed Rail Authority, in no uncertain terms, that Anaheim wasn’t going to move the site of its planned ARTIC station.
As Voice of OC reported yesterday, the January email exchange between Pringle, who is mayor of Anaheim and chairman of the nine-member High-Speed Rail Authority, is what sparked the ongoing conflict of interest challenge to Pringle and another board member, former Los Angeles Assemblyman Richard Katz.
“‘In reading your e-mail’” then High-Speed Rail Executive Director Mehdi Morshed replied to Pringle, “‘ I had difficulty separating the message from the mayor with that of the chairman of the authority. I will try to address your statement briefly here as that of the chairman….’”
Excerpts from the emails were reported in today’s Los Angeles Times.
Pringle was angry, according to the Times story, because high-speed rail planners wanted Anaheim to move the planned $180 million Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) station from one side of the 57 freeway to the other, possibly interfering with parking at Angel Stadium.
“‘This borders on complete incompetence,’” the Times said Pringle wrote Morshed. “I am very angry…. I am NOT KIDDING!”
The Attorney General’s office is expected to release an opinion soon about whether Pringle, who is termed-out as mayor on Dec. 7, and Katz, who serves on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the board of Metrolink, were in violation of the state’s “incompatible offices” law which prohibits holding two or more offices in which the duties may conflict.
Katz has said he will resign from the high-speed rail board effective Dec. 1.
Ironically, while Pringle was able to help Anaheim, Buena Park, just down the road, was fighting its own battle with the High-Speed Rail Board over demands by rail engineers that it tear down its new rail station to make way for the high-speed trains. The planned $43 billion rail system is supposed to run from Anaheim to San Francisco.
In another development, the San Mateo County Times reported that a coalition of 27 House Republicans, led by Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, wants to pull back unspent stimulus funds, including about $2 billion now designated for high-speed rail in California. Without the money, the train project would he halted.