LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN The absence of Helps, RenÈe Medley, Sashalee Forbes, Carmelita Griffiths and Jeanine Williams, and the possible deployment of St Jago teammate Shanice Reid to the 400m leaves defending girls’ Class One 100m and 200m champion Natalliah Whyte in a league of her own this year. Helps, Reid, Medley and Forbes, Griffiths and Williams were second, third, fourth and fifth, sixth and seventh in the Class One 100m final last year. Together, those circumstances force fans to look to Class Two for quality depth and mass speed. Calabar’s Dejour Russell and Tyreke Wilson, first and second in the 100m, both return. Wilson will want to add the Class Two title to the Class Three version he won over Russell in 2014, but the big boy will want to repeat. If their starts are better than they were last year, fast times are possible. The best group of speedsters are probably in the girls’ Class Two category. Defending champion Shellece Clarke of Edwin Allen has been winning since her Class Four days, but her hand could be full at Champs this year. Not only must she cope with last year’s Class Three winner Kimone Shaw of St Jago, she probably will have company from Sheneil English. In Class Three, English beat both Shaw and Clarke at 200 metres while attending Hydel High. Now she is Shaw’s teammate at St Jago and missed the 2015 season of Champs eligibility because of the switch. Since then, the smooth running English has reached the World Youth 200m final. Recently, she opened her 2016 with a trip over 400 metres. Shaw is the best starter of the three, but the other two are great finishers. The last time they all met in a Champs 100m, the order was Clarke – English – Yanique Dayle of Hydel – Shaw. That was two years ago. All have improved, and a run at Helps’ Class Two record of 11.50 isn’t out of the question. – Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980 With Michael O’Hara and Shauna Helps gone a year early from Class One, the search for speed might settle in Class Two when ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships arrives in March. That’s where Calabar’s potent sprinters dominated last year on the boys’ side. Edwin Allen did likewise amongst the girls but may have challengers this year. O’Hara, Edward Clarke and Raheem Robinson, the top three from the Class One 100 final are gone. So is Okeen Williams who was fifth. That should leave the way clear for Raheem Chambers, St Jago’s former Class Two and Three 100m winner and Nigel Ellis of St Elizabeth Technical who has already shown promise over 200 metres this season. If Jevaughn Matherson of Kingston College bounces back from a wretched 2015 campaign, he could be a threat. He broke Chambers’ Class Three record, and when the St Jago speed merchant set the Class Two record of 10.29 seconds in 2014, Matherson was a splendid second in 10.37, a fine time for a first-year Class Two athlete.
“Candidly, unless somebody in the Senate and the Assembly takes ownership and responsibility for high-speed rail, it will never get anywhere,” he said. The author of the high-speed rail bond measure, former Sen. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, was forced out of the Legislature in 2002 by term limits and is now in Congress. The project, if completed, would link San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco and Sacramento with trains running at top speeds of more than 200 mph. A $9.95 billion bond would provide about half the money needed for a startup line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Supporters hope to get the rest of the funding from the federal government and possibly private investors. The $37.3 billion public works bond package includes $19.9 billion for various transportation projects, but only $100 million of that could help pave the way for high-speed rail by eliminating some points where roads would cross the tracks. Here are some of the other bills facing votes this week at the Capitol: Public Financing – Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is trying to weaken the influence of wealthy campaign contributors by convincing her colleagues to approve a bill that would allow partial public financing of state races. The measure is on the Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendment Committee’s agenda on Wednesday.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – California’s attempt to build a high-speed rail system is headed for the siding again, pushed off track by the $37.3 billion public works bond package lawmakers approved earlier this month. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to sign the four measures that make up the public works package this week, placing them on the November ballot for voters to consider. That means that a $9.95 billion high-speed rail bond will be pushed back again, likely to the November 2008 ballot. “With $37 billion in bonds on the ballot, including (nearly) $20 billion for transportation, I don’t think anybody realistically believes that high-speed rail has a chance of being passed,” said Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont. “We’re going to have to pull it back for two years.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsSupporters tout high-speed rail as a much-needed alternative to crowded freeways and jammed airports as the state’s population increases over the next 20 years. But it’s had difficulty getting rolling. Lawmakers approved the rail bond measure in 2002 and put it on the November 2004 ballot, then decided the state faced more pressing needs and bumped the bonds back to this November’s ballot. A bill by Torrico would delay the vote until 2008. It’s scheduled to be taken up Tuesday by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, predicted lawmakers would approve the bill and send it to Schwarzenegger, who signed the earlier legislation delaying the vote on the bonds until this year. Perata said the high-speed rail project needs a champion in the Legislature to give it chance to become a reality.