The prospect of construction jobs in the recession-weary Central Valley has long been a selling point for proponents of California’s $68 billion high-speed rail project.
A controversy has arisen, however, since officials pledged in December to reserve a portion of those jobs for certain disadvantaged people.
In addition to veterans, former foster children and single parents, the classification includes high school dropouts, the homeless and people who have been convicted of a crime.
“There’s another chapter in the high-speed fail saga, and I almost can’t do this one with a straight face,” Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, said in a recent installment of “Are you kidding me?” — a video series in which Jones vents political frustrations. “What a social engineering disaster this is going to be, and add to California’s laughing-stock reputation.