In its determination to satisfy the continual demands of Wall Street investment houses for more profits, Orange County's Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) wants to go billions of dollars further in bond debt by building a 16-mile tollroad linking state route 241 with Interstate 5.
But in 2008 the California Coastal Commission rejected the plan and the TCA appealed that decision to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, who ultimately also determined the proposed road violated the California Coastal Act.
The following year TCA lawyer Robert D. Thornton filed a federal Freedom of Information Act with the Commerce Department for records pertaining to the unfavorable ruling and were given access only to seven full documents out of 281.
The TCA filed a lawsuit claiming the federal agency improperly withheld records.
This week inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, U.S. District Court Judge Josephine Staton Tucker formally handed the TCA another defeat.
In a 10-page ruling, Tucker declared that the TCA is not entitled to the withheld records because they were properly exempted from disclosure by federal law as part of the internal "deliberative process" used by the Commerce secretary.
In 1996, the TCA laughably hailed its San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor as the world's model for transportation projects. Within a year it became obvious that the agency's usage projections were worthless, deceitful numbers concocted only to sell bonds and make billions of dollars of profit for powerful Wall Street investment houses. That road is now a debt-ridden financial nightmare that will cost more than $12 billion more than originally claimed.