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Fast, fresh and tasty | P.21 JANUARY 6, 2012 Volume 19, NO. 51 INSIDE: MOVIES | PAGE 24 650.964.6300 Kasperzak, Inks named city’s mayor, vice mayor 2011: The year in photos By Daniel DeBolt T MICHELLE LE School children let their imaginations soar at Yuri’s Education Day in April at Moffett Field. Voice photographer Michelle Le takes at look back at 2011 through the lens of her camera, starting on page 16. Report: Halt state funding for high-speed rail By Gennady Sheyner C alifornia’s quest to build a high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles suffered a heavy blow Tuesday when a peer-review committee recommended that state legislators not fund the project until major changes are made to the business plan for the increasingly controversial line. In a scathing report, the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group found that the business plan the California High-Speed Rail INSIDE Authority unveiled in early November offers inadequate information about funding, fails to answer the critical question of which operating segment will be built first and features a phased-construction plan that would violate state law. The group, which is chaired by Will Kempton, recommends that the state Legislature not authorize expenditure of bond money for the project until its concerns are met. The report deals the latest of several recent setbacks to the project, for which state voters approved a $9.95 billion bond in 2008. Since then, the project’s price tag more than doubled and several agencies, including the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Office of the State Auditor, released critical reports about the project. High-speed rail has become particularly controversial on the Peninsula, where several grassroots groups have sprung up in the last two years to oppose it. Menlo Park, Atherton and Palo Alto had filed a lawsuit challenging the rail authority’s environmental analysis and the Palo Alto City Council last month adopted as the city’s official position GOINGS ON 27 | MARKETPLACE 28 | REAL ESTATE 29 | VIEWPOINT 20 a call for the project’s termination. In its letter to the Legislature, the peer review group highlighted some of the same flaws that local officials and watchdogs have long complained about, most notably a deeply flawed funding plan. The project currently has about $6 billion in committed funding and the rail authority plans to make up much of the balance from federal grants and private investments — investments that would be solicited after the first major segment of the See HSR, page 11 he City Council’s senior member, Mike Kasperzak, took the center of the council dais Tuesday after his colleagues followed tradition and unanimously elected him as mayor. In a system where each Mike Kasperzak member gets a turn for a year of running meetings, setting agendas, cutting ribbons and representing the city, Vice Mayor John Inks Kasperzak was next in line. Council member Tom Means nominated John Inks as vice mayor, who also won in a unanimous vote. Kasperzak gave a brief, optimistic speech, noting that the city had experienced council members at its helm and strong finances. “We are lucky this will be the fourth year coming together for this council,” he said. “This city is in a great position, we’ve got strong finances.” “It really does give us the resources to carry on through this economic cycle,” which may be ongoing, he added. He said his top goals would be promoting public health and civic engagement through a new online forum the city may open up. Last week Kasperzak noted interest in a new privately run See MAYOR, page 9

Mountain View Voice 01.06.2012 - Section 1

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