Are “Wimps” Blocking High Speed Rail?

Colorful language in new video released by Jerry Brown allies

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger once famously compared California legislators to "girly men" during a budget fight.

 Gov. Jerry Brown's labor supporters are now employing similar language, suggesting that opposition to the state's embattled high speed rail system is a matter of spinelessness.

"Wimps didn't build California", the new YouTube video says in part.

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Developed for the California Alliance for Jobs, the three-and-a-half minute video was released on the same day that the High Speed Rail Commission approved a new business plan for the project.

That vote sends the plan to the legislature, where the project---which has drawn fire due to cost and ridership projections--faces a crucial vote this summer.

The theme seems appealing to the governor, who--Schwarzenegger-like--told KGO Radio on Friday that lawmakers should "man up" and make necessary budget cuts.

On the broadcast, he defended the high speed rail project. The timing of the video in coordination with the commission vote marks an escalation of a campaign by the governor's supporters to counter negative publicity from legislative critics, as well as questions raised by the state auditor. Brown has been an outspoken supporter of the project.

The video uses a clip from his most recent State of the State address, in which he asserts that California citizens don't want to back away from the project.

"I know this state and the spirit of the peoplewho chose to live here," Brown said in the speech excerpt. The YouTube video compares the conflict to previous disputes over building the Golden Gate Bridge, the Central Valley Project, BART, and the Los Angeles Metro transit system.

The video says that the High Speed Rail project would provide "tens of thousands" of construction jobs, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and cut greenhouse gas emission "by 3 and a half million tons annually."

Critics in the legislature are vowing to seek another statewide vote to see if the public has had a change of heart. California voters approved $9 billion in bonds as seed money in 2008.

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