CA High Speed Rail Authority Delays P.R. Decision

September 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The California High Speed Rail Authority put off a decision on whether to spend $9-million dollars to hire a public relations company.The authority's staff had recommended the board hire Mercury Public Affairs which is run by former members of Governor Schwarzenegger's administration.

Board members said they are concerned because the firm was chosen by a selection committee composed of three authority employees, two of whom previously worked in the administration.

The firm, Mercury Public Affairs, includes two former Schwarzenegger strategists. "It does not pass the smell test. The, the public relations firm is, is uh, reflective of a number of insiders who, who quite frankly, the uh, skids on this project were greased from the very beginning, it certainly has that odor to it, and I think the taxpayers should be outraged," said taxpayer advocate Jon Coupal.

The California High Speed Rail Board will reconsider awarding the contract at its next meeting on October 1st. There were eight other firms who bid for the contract to publicize its rail line project from L.A. to San Francisco.

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