Posts Tagged ‘pdf’

Burn: New UCLA Study Concludes California High Speed Rail Offers No Net Economic Benefits – “Simply Moving Jobs Around”

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Well this one is hot off the presses of the UCLA Anderson Forecast:

California High-Speed Rail and Economic Lessons from Japan

Jerry Nickelsburg
Senior Economist
UCLA Anderson Forecast

Saurabh Ahluwalia
Anderson School of Management
UCLA

June 2012

Here’s the start and the end – you’ll have to click above to read the whole thing.

“California High Speed Rail (CHSRL) is once
again in the news as the governor and state legislature
take up the issuance of construction bonds approved
by the voter passage of Proposition 1A of 2008.
Under “project vision and scope” on the CHRSL Authority
website are listed three categories of benefits:
economic, environmental and community.

In this article we focus on the economic benefits.
Specifically we look at economic growth and,
by implication, job creation. That is to say, we are
examining the benefit side of the equation and leaving
the cost side to other analysis.

Though CHSR Authority has developed and vetted a forecasting
model and has commissioned a number of economic
impact studies, these rely on relatively strong, though
perhaps plausible, assumptions. As an alternative,
we examine an actual case of high speed rail, one that
has been widely deemed a success, for evidence of
the magnitude of benefits measured by induced GDP
growth that one can expect from the building and
operation of CHSR over the next 40 years.
Our study of the Japanese Shinkansen system
from 1964 to present fails to provide evidence of
induced aggregate growth.

Rather, the evidence suggests high-speed
rail simply moves jobs around the
geography without creating significant new
employment or economic activity. That is not to say that
CHSR is not justified by population growth, pollution
abatement, or other factors. However, the evidence
from Japan is relatively clear. As an engine of
economic growth in and of itself, CHSR will have only a
marginal impact at best.

Governor Brown claims CHSR to be a visionary
project along the lines of the U.S. Interstate Highway
System, The California Central Water Project, and
the Panama and Suez Canals. As with these projects,
Governor Brown claims HSR will result in job
creation, economic development, particularly in the
Central Valley, the accommodation of population
growth and a cleaner environment.
The California High Speed Rail Authority
(CHSRA) has a set of studies demonstrating a sufficient
benefit cost analysis, a business plan that claims
operating costs will be covered by setting prices at
the currently charged airline prices for travel between
Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

The principal economic benefits cited by the CHSR Authority are the
creation of 100,000 construction jobs for the duration
of the project, operation and maintenance jobs for
the running of the trains, and the creation of 450,000
jobs and faster economic growth as a benefit of the
existence of the rail lines.

But, critics of the business plan abound. The
Board of Supervisors from both Tulare and Kern
Counties, counties who would presumably benefit
from the increased connectivity and economic growth
potential of CHSR voted their opposition to the program
as “currently constituted.

Moreover, questions have been raised about construction costs and timing,
environmental impact, operating costs and ridership
forecasts.

The State Legislative Analyst’s Office,
while not taking a position on the desirability of
CHSR, has critiqued the decision making process and
the quality of information available for legislators to
properly evaluate the issue.

 

 

Conclusions
In this study we have looked for, and failed to
find evidence of economic development that could
be clearly identified with the introduction or
operation of high-speed rail in Japan. This is surprising
because, at least for the Tokaido Line, conditions
were ripe for economic development. To be sure the
prefectures along the Tokaido Line grew. The late
60s and early 70s were a period of transformation and
growth throughout Japan. But the data don’t admit a
clear story that high-speed rail was in and of itself a
differentiating contributor.

Is it possible that absent high-speed rail Kanagawa
Prefecture would have grown more slowly? That
is an experiment that can never be performed. But
when we keep in mind that Japan’s growth in the 60s
and 70s were due to exports of goods and Kanagawa’s
main city, Yokahama, is a major port city for the
Tokyo area, it is easy to conclude that the economic
growth would have occurred with existing low speed
rail and truck transport.

The lessons for California are two-fold.

First, high-speed rail tends to create sprawl as it lowers
the cost for commuters and makes more far-flung
locations possible bedroom communities. This may
be considered a benefit by some and a detriment by
others.

Second, the claims that a multiplier effect (or
economic development effect) of 450,000 jobs as a
result of the introduction and operation of CHSR are
not likely to be realized. There may be good reasons
to invest in CHSR including the possibility that
CHSR is the optimal infrastructure investment for a
growing population; but the economic argument, the
jobs argument, does not seem to stand on very solid
ground.

OMG, It’s a Huge, Brand-New, 137-Page Cycling Safety Study from the Mineta Transportation Institute – Here’s Your Free PDF

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Here it is:

Promoting Bicycle Commuter Safety(PDF 2.2MB)

Big, in’nt?

And oh, did I say “brand-new?” What I meant to say was slightly dated. Check it:

Click to expand

(“Procedural review?” The Ghost of Mr. Anderson lives on. Injunction junction, what was your function?)

Now, realize first that everything in San Jose is named for Norm Mineta, and here you go:

“Study Shows How To Improve Bicycle Commuter Safety; SF Bay Area, Portland, OR Are Case Studies

Mineta Transportation Institute’s free report evaluates risks, safety, planning, enforcement and more.

SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 22, 2012 — The Mineta Transportation Institute (transweb.sjsu.edu) has published a report that leverages literature review and case studies in the San Francisco Bay area and Portland, OR to recommend ways to improve safety for bicycle commuters. Promoting Bicycle Commuter Safety includes chapters on risks, application of social psychology to bike safety, dimensions of effective practices, and more. The report also includes illustrative tables and photos. Principal investigator was Asbjorn Osland, Ph.D., with several chapter contributors. The 157-page report is available for free PDF download from transweb.sjsu.edu/project/2927.html.

“A basic premise in this report is that cycling should be encouraged because as the number of cyclists increases, the attention of motorists and safety improve,” said Dr. Osland. “However, an important caveat is that the number of cyclists must be commensurate with the infrastructure built for cycling to enhance their safety. This report discusses and evaluates various bicycle commuter settings against a framework of what are called the 5 Es – engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, and evaluation.”

Dr. Osland noted that, of those five categories, engineering is essential because the infrastructure is vital to protecting cyclists. Education is emphasized because safety is the central focus of the report. A number of case studies was included, and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in the Portland OR area was prominently featured as an effective example of the “education” and “encouragement” dimensions of the 5 Es. The report concludes with a discussion, and it notes the need for continued research or evaluation, with particular reference to using the social psychological model.

As part of the literature review, researchers found a large amount of crucial data, including:

–  In 2008 males accounted for 87 percent of bicycling fatalities in the
U.S. More cyclists are male, but females may follow the rules more.

 –  Bicycle accidents that involved a motor vehicle were a very small
percentage of all bicycle accidents; however, the vast majority of fatal
bicycle accidents involved a vehicle. This is why engineers suggest
keeping cyclists separate from vehicles.

–  Too many cyclists violate the rules of the road, yet enforcement is
often lacking.

 –  Driver aggression, drivers “squeezing past” bicycles when there isn’t
enough room for them to safely pass, and cyclists riding poorly were
mentioned as problems in the Berkeley surveys.

–  A lack of empirical data on outcomes makes it difficult to identify true
best practic­es regarding safety education programs. However, wearing
helmets, maximizing conspicuity, and maintaining one’s bicycle in good
working condition while following the rules of the road seem logical.

Tables in the report include those detailing bicycle rider injuries and fatalities; risks associated with riding against traffic, with traffic, and on sidewalks; bicycle stress level values and components; comparison of several bicycle trip factors in the U.S. and Northern Europe; and more.

Illustrations include before-and-after photos of street redesign; examples of safety posters; a children’s bike rodeo; an example of a “bike garden” in Switzerland, where cyclists can practice safety skills; bike safety web pages; street markings and signs; and more. Of special note are the maps detailing the city of Berkeley, Calif. bicycle boulevard network, built on existing and newly-created calmed streets.

The complete 157-page report, including an application of models to the 5 Es, is available for free PDF download at transweb.sjsu.edu/project/1003.html

ABOUT THE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Asbjorn Osland, Ph.D., is professor of management at San Jose State University. He received his doctorate and MBA from Case Western Reserve University. He also holds a Master of Social Work and a post-baccalaureate in accounting. He has taught full time since 1993. Before that he worked in Latin America and West Africa for 13 years for Chiquita Brands, for ten years in several countries for Plan International, and for the Peace Corps in Colombia. His research interests include case writing, business and society, and international HRM, with over 60 published articles, cases and chapters, and a comparable number of conference presentations..

ABOUT THE MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues, especially as they relate to transit. MTI was established by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and was reauthorized under TEA-21 and again under SAFETEA-LU. The Institute has been funded by Congress through the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration, by the California Legislature through the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and by other public and private grants and donations, including grants from the US Department of Homeland Security. DOT selected MTI as a National Center of Excellence following competitions in 2002 and 2006. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI’s focus on policy and management resulted from the Board’s assessment of the transportation industry’s unmet needs. That led directly to choosing the San Jose State University College of Business as the Institute’s home. Visit transweb.sjsu.edu

OMG, Now You Can Read “The Real Ed Lee – The Untold, Untold Story” Book Online With Searchable Text – Just Click the Link

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Apparently, there aren’t enough printing presses available in the Bay Area to keep up with the enormous demand the public has for The Real Ed Lee – The Untold, Untold, Story.” 

(Uh…, moving on.) 

Anyway, the upshot is that now you can see the text online in a searchable format. See below.

(Or kick it old-school with Bluoz, your choice.)

Click to expand

To review:

“The book goes through the details of how Lee rose through the ranks at City Hall, along the way approving a couple of fraudulent vendors and getting caught up in Willie Brown’s sleaze. It discusses how his campaign is taking credit for other people’s work and ideas. It describes how he promised over an over not to run, then went ahead and did it anyway. It’s got a great picture of him steering a 139-foot yacht with the caption “I’m on a boat.”

(Nice link there, Tim Redmond – I hadn’t made the connection.)

All the deets:

“The Untold, Untold Story” Goes Online - Leland Yee campaign can’t print “The Real Ed Lee” book fast enough for demand

SAN FRANCISCO – The reviews are in and the “The Real Ed Lee: The Untold, Untold Story” is a smash hit!

Has a serious political point, but it’s actually funny, sometimes really funny, and it’s much easier to read than the plodding “Ed-Is-Greater-Than-God” prose of the original…. For once, we have a campaign piece that made me laugh instead of crying. - San Francisco Bay Guardian

OMG, A new best seller to be! – Some guy on the internet

Everyone is talking about it! – SFist

The 55-page parody shows Lee on the cover as downcast, grumpy and triple-chinned. The book recounts dozens of previously published stories detailing everything from the two district attorney investigations into alleged ethics violations by his supporters and alleged cronyism. – San Francisco Chronicle

The 56-page booklet is heavily footnoted with URLs – The Bay Citizen

I totally LOL’ed – The San Francisco Citizen

((*sound of crickets*)) – Interim Mayor Ed Lee

The slim volume oozes sarcasm as it covers the history of Ed Lee’s tenure as mayor, including his promise to not run for a full term and charges of inappropriate campaign donations from contractors. - San Francisco Examiner

This is the first “hit” recipe in political history. - Eric Jaye

Less than three-months hence, Lee’s campaign is beset by multiple criminal investigations into alleged campaign money laundering, ballot tampering and other campaign election violations. – Fog City Journal

[Ed Lee staff] were pretty disgusted by it. – Tony Winnicker

Painstakingly put together to resemble the original propaganda mailer to the smallest detail. The type fonts are identical. The jaunty writing style is mocked all too well. – SF Weekly

The Leland Yee for Mayor campaign has already distributed thousands of “The Real Ed Lee: The Untold, Untold Story” to voters throughout San Francisco, however, the demand for the book has been so great that today Yee’s campaign launched the book online at http://www.lelandyee.com/the-untold-untold-story.

“We can’t print the books fast enough,” said Jim Stearns, Yee’s campaign manager. “Now that it is online every San Franciscan will have the opportunity to read this accurate account of our interim mayor and be able to compare his tarnished and corruption-filled record to Leland Yee’s 23 years of leadership and experience fighting for our community, especially seniors, students, and the most vulnerable.”

“The Real Ed Lee: The Untold, Untold Story” is a response to a book produced by one Ed Lee’s billionaire IE committees, which falsely glorified the interim mayor and ignored the multiple scandals and ethics violations of his campaign. The highlights of “The Real Ed Lee: The Untold, Untold Story” include Lee becoming interim mayor on false pretenses, his approval of fraudulent contracts, giving “golden parachutes, embracing cronyism, failure to follow ethics laws, illegal campaign contributions, money laundering (well, the first time), voter fraud, and the city’s future if Ed Lee were elected. The book also includes “Willie [Brown] & Rose’s [Pak] ‘No Longer Secret’ Make-A-Mayor Recipe.”

By comparison, Leland Yee has released several detailed plans on job creation, environmental protection, transportation, and schools. Maybe the most important of his plans – “An Independent City Hall” – would clean up City Hall, bring real transparency and accountability, kick out the powerbrokers, and return our local government to the people. To read Yee’s plan, visit http://www.lelandyee.com/issues/plan-for-an-independent-city-hall/.

Here It Is: The Entire “The Real Ed Lee – The Untold, Untold Story” Scanned-In for Your Pleasure – Read the Whole Thing

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

You remember this?

Well, now it’s time to read the whole thing without you having to leave your iPad or whatever.

It’s courtesy of the ever-resourceful Bluoz.

Here’s just one page:

Via Bluoz – click to expand

(Remember that one from former Mayor Gavin Newsom? “You’re not just changing your mind. You’re breaking a promise to these people.” That was just 2.5 months ago. Oh well.)

All right, enjoy!

Uh Oh: Adachi, Alioto-Pier, Avalos, Chiu, Herrera, Rees, and Yee Call for Election Monitors – Improper Votes for Ed Lee

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

[UPDATE: Word on the street this Election Eve 2011 is that Secretary of State Debra Bowen is sending election monitors to town for Our Big Day tomorrow.]

Candidates Bevan Dufty, Tony Hall, Phil Ting, and Ed Lee took a pass on signing this particular letter, but everybody else is on-board, looks like.

(Sure is odd having the City Attorney calling in the Feds, non?)

Anyway, check it, below.

Open-air voting booth tent, Chinatown, San Francisco, USA – Ed Lee Gets It Done:

Adithya Sambamurthy, The Bay Citizen

Here it is: USDOJ-CASOS-LETTER

“October 23, 2011

The Honorable Thomas E. Perez
Assistant Attorney General
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Attn: Civil Rights Division, Voting Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Transmitted by fax: (202) 514-0293

The Honorable Debra Bowen
CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE
Attn: Election Fraud Investigation Unit
1500 11th Street, 5th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Transmitted by fax: (916) 653-3214

Re: Request for federal observers and election monitors in San Francisco

Dear Assistant Attorney General Perez and Secretary of State Bowen:

We write to bring to your attention news reports and accompanying videos that may indicate violations of federal and state laws intended to protect voting rights and to assure the integrity of our electoral process.

In light of published accounts in the San Francisco Chronicle* and Bay Citizen** about electioneering activities by the SF Neighbor Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011, we request that your respective offices immediately detail federal observers and state election monitors for San Francisco’s mayoral election, which is currently underway.

According to these published accounts, these electioneering activities target Cantonese speaking voters in San Francisco, and may potentially impinge on their federally protected voting rights, and also violate provisions of the California Elections Code and other laws.

These suspect activities include the following:

• Testimony by independent witnesses that SF Neighbor Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 staff were completing ballots for voters.

• Testimony and video evidence that SF Neighbor Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 staff employed plastic stencils and handled absentee ballots in such a manner as to prevent voters from marking their ballots for other mayoral candidates.

• Testimony that SF Neighbor Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 staff, as apparently ineligible third parties, received and collected into plastic bags voted ballots from voters, taking ballots into their possession.

• Testimony and video evidence that SF Neighbor Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 staff interfered with the secrecy of voting. If true, these allegations and other conduct may violate the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965, and California Election Code provisions pertaining to electioneering, corruption of voting, the Voter Bill of Rights, and other laws.

Given their gravity, the importance of protecting voting rights, and assuring voter confidence in our electoral processes, we believe federal observers and election monitors are immediately warranted, and that further investigation by your respective offices would be well advised.

Sincerely,

Jeff Adachi, Public Defender

Michela Alioto-Pier, Small Businesswoman and Mother

John Avalos, Supervisor, District 11

David Chiu, President, Board of Supervisors

Dennis Herrera, City Attorney

Joanna Rees, Entrepreneur/Educator

Leland Yee, State Senator

cc: U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón

*“Witnesses: Ed Lee supporters mark others’ ballots” by John Coté, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 21, 2011, http://bit.ly/o3rB9C; and “Ed Lee backers said to fill in ballots for others” by John Coté, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 22, 2011, http://bit.ly/mPvarB

**“More Fraud Accusations for Lee Supporters” by Gerry Shih, Bay Citizen, Oct. 22, 2011, http://www.baycitizen.org/sf-mayoral-race/story/mayor-ed-lees-campaign-supporters-1/”

Trees vs. Trains: High Speed Rail Project Threatens Stanford’s Iconic Redwood – “El Palo Alto” is Directly in the Path

Friday, November 5th, 2010

El Palo Alto, aka the Stanford Tree, is smack dab in the way of California’s High Speed Rail project, according to Doug Ray over at the Peninsula Press.

Appears as if the NIMBY’s of counties San Mateo and Santa Clara are gaining speed in the battle of HSR – how much will it take to buy them off?

El Palo Alto, back in the day. It’s still there, for now:

Click to expand

Will CA HSR run over Stanfoo’s famous, fun-loving mascot?

Only Time Will Tell

Resolved: California’s High Speed Rail Authority Ought to Respond to this Readable Report from the NIMBYs of Palo Alto

Monday, November 1st, 2010

I think our California High-Speed Rail Authority should respond to this recent report:

The Financial Risks of California’s Proposed High-Speed Rail Project: A Review And Assessment Of Publicly Available Materials

(I don’t think they will, but I think they should.)

It would be easy to go point by point. See?

This is just for starters:

Of course a lot of the rich people of Counties San Mateo and Santa Clara wouldn’t want more RR tracks in their backyards even if they didn’t have to pay for it – that’s what makes them NIMBYs. And the principal author frets about the effects of HSR on tony Atherton, CA. But these Peninsulans deserve an answer from the authoritahs, do they not?

Point by point, that’s the way to do it.

Just saying…

“We do not oppose high-speed rail in concept. It seems to work in parts of Europe and Japan and possibly elsewhere. The 2008 Prop 1A promise that captured many voters was that the California High-Speed Rail (CHSR) would not cost the taxpayer a penny. After months of work on this report, we are forced to conclude that the Authority’s promise seems an impossible goal.”

AUTHORS

Alain C. Enthoven – Marriner S. Eccles Professor of Public and
Private Management (emeritus), GSB Stanford; President,
Litton Medical Products; Economist, Rand Corporation;
President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service;
Baxter Prize for Health Services Research; Fellow American
Academy of Arts and Sciences; Founder, Jackson Hole Group
(BA Economics, Stanford; Rhodes Scholar–Oxford; PhD
Economics, MIT)

William C. Grindley – World Bank; Associate Division Director,
SRI International; Founder and CEO, Pacific Strategies, ret.
(B Architecture, Clemson; Master of City Planning, MIT)

William H. Warren – 40 years of Silicon Valley finance, sales
and consulting experience, management, including CEO of
several start-ups, Director/Officer at ROLM, Centigram, and
Memorex (MBA, Stanford)

RAND Corp: GPS Snitch Units in All Cars Could Enforce New Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Tax

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Oh man, you drivers out there, you’re out on the road more and more every year* but the amount of gasoline and diesel ‘n stuff you buy isn’t keeping pace. So when people like you trade in their big old fuel-guzzling SUVs for Toyota Prius hybrids, the amount of gasoline they buy and the concomitant tax they pay to the Govmint goes down, let’s say by a half or two-thirds.

That’s good for Prius drivers but bad for the govmints. This chart from a big new report (free .pdf) out of California’s own RAND Corportation think tank ‘splains it all. See? You people are out there clogging up the roads and tearing up the streets 100% more than you were in 1980, but you’re only buying 50% more fuel:

You drivers are paying more in tax but not as much as if you would be paying if you were taxed by the mile. (That makes you a deadbeat in the eyes of the Powers That Be.)

And things are only going to get “worse” when Tesla Motors’ mainstream Model S hits the streets in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, “late 2012,” right? Electric car drivers pay no gas tax at all, so how are we going to make sure that they pay their fair share to repave our streets ‘n stuff**?

The RANDian eggheads looked at these issues and, out of 15 ideas, decided that these three would be the most practicable: 

What if the authorities put a GPS unit in your car or motorcycle? Not the regular kind of GPS receiver, the good kind, the ones that use differentials or whatever to pinpoint your whereabouts down to a couple yards on a 24-7 basis. 

You don’t like that? Well how about a cell phone in your car next to the engine that would call the government on a regular basis to rat out how miles you’ve driven the past week?

You don’t like that neither? Well how about a system that ID’s your car when you buy gas and then computes your Miles Driven by looking at your particular model’s EPA rating?

And let’s say this all gets implemented in five years. 

Or instead, our electeds could simply raise gas taxes a bit, but that’s not something that they like talking about doing.

Of course they could make this new VMT proposal “revenue neutral” by getting rid of or lowering per-gallon fuel taxes that you pay today. Once a system like this is in place, taxes would correlate more directly with miles driven – it’s up to you if you like that or not.

Welcome to The Future.

Speaking of 1980:

My uncle has a country place
That no one knows about.
He says it used to be a farm
Before the Motor Law.
And on Sundays I elude the Eyes,
And hop the Turbine Freight
To far outside the Wire
Where my white-haired uncle waits.

See how this libertarian, Canadian Power Rock Trio story ends after the jump.

*Not so much this past year or two, but you’ll be out there in force again soon enough.

**And maybe that’s the way it should be. I know all the arguments you’re thinking about - this is a political question, of course.

(more…)

Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads – The RAND Corporation’s New Report About Iranian Leadership

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I don’t know, you might find this fresh report from the RAND Corporation about leadership dynamics in Islamic Republic of Iran worthy of attention.

Anyway, the price is right – it’s a free .pdf so take a gander, if you want.

Here’s the intro:

Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads

An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics

By: David E. Thaler, Alireza Nader, Shahram Chubin, Jerrold D. Green, Charlotte Lynch, Frederic Wehrey

The Islamic Republic of Iran poses serious challenges to U.S. interests in the Middle East, and its nuclear program continues to worry the international community. The presidential election of June 2009 that returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power and led to broad protests and a government crackdown presents yet another cause for U.S. concern. Yet the U.S. ability to “read” the Iranian regime and formulate appropriate policies has been handicapped by both a lack of access to the country and the opacity of decisionmaking in Tehran. To help analysts better understand the Iranian political system, the authors describe

  • Iranian strategic culture, including the perceptions that drive state behavior
  • the informal networks, formal government institutions, and personalities that influence decisionmaking in the Islamic Republic
  • the impact of elite behavior on Iranian policy formulation and execution
  • factionalism, emerging fissures within the current regime, and other key trends.

The authors observe that it is the combination of key personalities, networks based on a number of commonalities, and institutions—not any one of these elements alone—that defines the complex political system of the Islamic Republic. Factional competition and informal, back-channel maneuvering trump the formal processes for policymaking. The Supreme Leader retains the most power, but he is not omnipotent in the highly dynamic landscape of Iranian power politics. The evolving role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the vulnerability of the elite “old guard” to challenge, and the succession of the next Supreme Leader are key determinants of Iran’s future direction. In light of complexities in the Iranian system, U.S. policymakers should avoid trying to leverage the domestic politics of Iran and instead accept the need to deal with the government of the day as it stands. Moreover, they must take as an article of faith that dealing with Iran does not necessarily mean dealing with a unitary actor due to the competing power centers in the Islamic Republic.