Episode #02- 01/21/19

The Honorable Quentin L. Kopp

Quentin L. Kopp is a retired Judge, former State Senator, and former Chairman of California High Speed Rail Authority. He served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of San Francisco in 1979.  As Chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA). Kopp worked to lead statewide efforts to develop an 800-mile high speed train network linking northern and southern California with fast, reliable, and environmentally friendly trains capable of traveling at up to 220 mph (350 km/h). To help fund the project, Kopp led efforts to pass Proposition 1A in November 2008 – a $9.95 billion bond that has created the momentum that has led to the project receiving billions in federal funds. Today Kopp has become one of the train’s staunchest critics.

Episode #01- 01/14/19

Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times National Correspondent

Ralph Vartabedian, a national correspondent at the Los Angeles Times, joined the newspaper in 1981. In his many reporting assignments, he has written on Toyota vehicle defects, presidential candidates, the New Orleans levee failures, the defense industry, the Columbia space shuttle accident investigation, nuclear weapons, tax collection abuses, and the California bullet train, among much else. He won the 2015 Gerald Ford Presidential Foundation award for defense writing, as well as Loeb awards in 1987 and 2010. He was also a Pulitzer finalist in 2010, among many other career recognitions. In 1989, the Delta Mu Delta honorary society at California Polytechnic University school of business gave Vartabedian a special award for integrity. He covered aerospace and defense issues for 10 years at The Times, covering the military buildup that preceded the end of the Cold War and its decline afterward. He spent five years as a Washington, D.C., reporter for the paper and then four years as the deputy business editor. He previously worked at the Minneapolis Star and the Kalamazoo Gazette. Vartabedian is married to Jeanne Wright, a freelance writer. Born in Detroit, he graduated from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in journalism.