Skip to comments.Bill would expose high-speed train contractors with Holocaust ties
Posted on 06/22/2010 9:00:03 PM PDT by Willie Green
Train companies and foreign governments that helped support the Holocaust could be barred from working on the California high-speed railroad under a new bill in the Legislature.
The legislation would not exempt governments or companies such as France's bullet-train operator, whose locomotives once transported prisoners to concentration camps, from bidding for a piece of the state's $43 billion project starting next year.
But it would allow the California High-Speed Rail Authority to disqualify any of those companies or governments based solely on their ties to World War II atrocities, specifically from 1942 to 1944.
If contractors fail to provide evidence they played a role in the Holocaust and officials later find they did they would face stiff penalties. The contractors would not be able to bid on any state projects for three years and face a fine equal to double the cost of their initial bid, or $250,000, whichever is larger. They could also be sued by the firms that came in second or third in the bidding.
Firms should begin bidding on the project next year, with virtually all the $43 billion in construction costs up for grabs among private companies, plus nations with high-speed rail experience, such as China, Japan, Germany, France and Spain. Construction on the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles line, including the section that will run along Caltrain tracks, would begin as early as fall 2012.
The high-speed Advertisement rail project is a hot topic in the Bay Area, which has the third-largest Jewish population of any metropolitan area in the country, according to the Jewish Community Federation. But it was high-speed rail supporter and Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Los Angeles, who on Friday introduced AB 619, the "Holocaust Survivor Responsibility Act."
"When I think about what (Holocaust survivors) went through, they basically escaped death, some of them literally jumped off the train, their entire families were killed," said Blumenfield, who is Jewish.
"That history could chase them across time and country, and there could be a train made by the very same company (that took them to the camps) less than a few miles from their house," he said. "If that company hasn't made amends by then, that to me is unconscionable."
Although not named in the bill, Blumenfield makes note of one company in particular: SNCF. Otherwise known as the French National Railway Corporation, SNCF now operates most of France's rail system, including the TGV high-speed trains. Blumenfield claims they profited off transporting prisoners from France to concentration camps in Auschwitz, Buchenwald and elsewhere, and have not made proper reparations.
Attempts to reach SNCF representatives Monday were unsuccessful.
California has about 30 Holocaust survivors, and most are at least 90 years old, according to Blumenfield's office.
The bill heads to its first hearing June 29 before the Assembly Transportation Committee. The rail authority said Monday it has not yet taken a position on the bill.
What fresh hell is this?
Stupid all around. Light rail=failure in the works. I guess it’s eternal inherited guilt.
Wouldn't that be the whole dem party?
Three cheers for pointless feel-good bureaucratic red tape.
Why not pick a Chinese or Japanese company? After all, their hands are clean/sarcasm
I still would like to see high speed rail in India...cars packed inside, 900 people on the roofs and hanging off the sides, while traveling at 100+ mph.
This is pretty much the official announcement that California is not interested in the best design for whatever rail it chooses.
As if this idiot pol boycotts all companies that were involved in WW2 Germany in any way...
For example, Bayer (which for a while was part of IG Farben, maker of Zyklon B). Does the pol boycott all of these Bayer products? He never took an aspirin?
How about boycotting companies that worked for Stalin?
But the financing from banks that made money from slavery is OK ? Good luck finding a bank that didn’t.
And what about US rail companies who had less than perfect relations with US Indians?
Or US Indian tribes who had less than perfect relations with each other?
Or the Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, Cambodians, Russians, Elbonians, the possibilities for paralyzing political correctness is endless!
Maybe there is a Canadian company trying to bid. I can’t think of too many Canadian atrocities (but I bet other FReepers will!)
Boycott Hollywood? No Sunday New York Times Magazine Section? Mon Dieu!
Well, the whole industrialized world traded with Germany before the war, the USA in particular. So we need aliens (of extraterrestrial type, not of Mexican one) to do it, since nobody on this planet qualifies for the job - even though the crime in question happened 65+ years ago, with hardly any participants of it still living.
Another option, of course, is to ask for help from non-industrialized countries, those that haven't known about World War II because they had no radio or newspapers. Perhaps a few of those could be found somewhere in Africa. They, politically, will be excellent candidates. On the other hand, if you want the trains to actually run you might need help of Germany ... which doesn't qualify.
However in a sane world California would simply say that it's unfair to punish grandchildren of people who were involved in war crimes. It's not like modern companies, governments and young people have anything to do with those events.
Hell, i am ok if they just ban all companies from bidding on a public rail system...HeHe...
Bet he gets the New York Times.
He he indeed! Imagine a proposal for a private rail line, that pays its way through ticket sales rather than tax confiscation!
There could be a conservative edge to this after all!
It is one way the US can keep out foreign vendors. Problem is Germany and France can return the favor in the future by stipulating no American company that had a history for being involved in the slave trade and the near genocide of the American Indians can bid in their projects.
Because it’s great to retaliate against companies that 60 years ago may have done something in another country that we now find bad. After all, now that 4 generations of management and stockholders have come and gone, it’s best to start a trade war...
A Canadian moose bit my sister...
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