And now, an important message from Gov. Jerry Brown about infrastructure: “S*** happens.”

posted at 10:01 pm on May 7, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Let me offer a quote from Leslie Knope, fictional city councilwoman of the city of Pawnee, IN, in the sitcom, “Parks and Recreation.” She’s in a budget fight with libertarian Parks & Rec Director Ron Swanson over whether to fund a public putt-putt course, and offers this description of government’s functions:

“There are just certain things that you don’t cut! Schools, police, mini-golf, merry-go-rounds, parades, gazebo repair,” she coos before begrudgingly adding, “roads and bridges, whatever,” and back to cooing: “Pretty gardens, hummingbird feeders!”

And, that’s kind of the problem with a government that does too much that’s outside its proper scope. The putt-putt and the parades are so much more fun than the drudgery of infrastructure, and a government can commit itself to so many things, it ends up being no good at any of them. Most people, of any ideology, will agree that basic infrastructure like roads and bridges is a core government concern. After all, it’s the justification for every time politicians of any stripe beg for more tax money after having frivolously spent your money on things other than roads and bridges. (Although, it’s worth noting, government is by no means a necessity for building roads, as the citizens of Kauai found.)

Maybe in California, the state government should have torn itself away from condom delivery services and a $70-billion high-speed rail boondoggle that no one believes will actually be high speed to make sure the bolts on the $6 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge project weren’t broken.

Just three months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown stood on the Bay Bridge, pushed a glowing button that started a countdown for the Labor Day opening of the new span, and spoke loftily of exciting plans in store for the gleaming new structure.

“We’re going to have a bicycle race, running, walking — tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people,” Brown told a television reporter in a segment that ran just after the San Francisco 49ers lost the Super Bowl.

“It was big in 1936 when we were in a Depression,” he said of the first Bay Bridge opening. “It ought to be just as big this time.”

Tuesday, Brown had a saltier way of describing the moment he was in, after weeks of controversy over cracked bolts on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge that threatens to delay the opening: “Don’t know if it’s a setback. I mean, look, shit happens.”

The Democratic governor stressed that people shouldn’t “pull our hair out” over something like the structural integrity of the state’s most traversed bridge:

Brown since last summer has maintained unwavering support for the state’s construction and oversight of the new bridge, dismissing questions about its structural integrity.

He said this morning, “There are very professional engineers that are looking at this thing, and when they’re ready to give us their report, I think the public will be satisfied.”

Right now, the governor is “optimistic until proven otherwise.” Here’s the background on the cracked bolts, and Brown’s advocacy for this new span of the bridge. It’s not the first doubt about structural integrity the bridge has faced.

Three dozen cracked bolts — discovered by Caltrans bridge engineers in mid-March — on the new bridge’s single tower suspension span could throw a wrench into those plans. Administration officials may be forced to delay the opening of the new span of the Bay Bridge — in the works since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake — depending on the results of a study to be released Wednesday.

Since the bolts were discovered, Brown had refrained from commenting on a project that he’d embraced as far back as when he was running for mayor in Oakland and had pushed for a spectacular design that could serve as a “civic symbol” for Oakland, a triumph of design and function.

At the time, then-Gov. Pete Wilson sought a more utilitarian replacement span, which was panned by Elihu Harris, Oakland’s outgoing mayor, as “a freeway on stilts.” Harris, Brown and other leaders saw the new Bay Bridge as a gateway, a chance to show off the Oakland ports and hills.

“We want excellence, not average,” said Brown, who’d just been elected as mayor.

Focus, California. This is the important stuff. And, as President Obama says, don’t let experience with dangerous incompetence cynicism get you down.


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Funny how sh*t happens lol…

Oh well…

Scrumpy on May 7, 2013 at 10:06 PM

The Captain Packard pic would be better.

Electrongod on May 7, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Ain’t like I am ever gonna be on that bridge any time soon…

Screw it ;-D

Scrumpy on May 7, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Speaking of shit: What can Brown do for you?

Moose Drool on May 7, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Sh!t seems to happen on regular basis in California, yet the Californians keep voting for more sh!t to keep happening.

JimLennon on May 7, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Let me offer a quote from Leslie Knope, fictional city councilwoman of the city of Pawnee, IN, in the sitcom, “Parks and Recreation.” She’s in a budget fight with libertarian Parks & Rec Director Ron Swanson over whether to fund a public putt-putt course, and offers this description of government’s functions:

“There are just certain things that you don’t cut! Schools, police, mini-golf, merry-go-rounds, parades, gazebo repair,” she coos before begrudgingly adding, “roads and bridges, whatever,” and back to cooing: “Pretty gardens, hummingbird feeders!”

wait, what just happened

Axe on May 7, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Maybe in California, the state government should have torn itself away from condom delivery services

wait, it happened again

Axe on May 7, 2013 at 10:10 PM

*checks pulse*

*rubs eyes*

Axe on May 7, 2013 at 10:11 PM

…smoking too much SH!T!

KOOLAID2 on May 7, 2013 at 10:11 PM

Yes, things happen. And liberals never are at fault. It’s always ‘something else’.

Which begs the question: “Since liberals always claim to be ahead of and on top of all things, how can there possibly be failures when liberals are in charge?”

Liam on May 7, 2013 at 10:11 PM

And now, an important message from Gov. Jerry Brown about infrastructure: “S*** happens.”

Having stolen that line from Forrest, Brown has proven Forrest is smarter than him.

rukiddingme on May 7, 2013 at 10:12 PM

When you need a bridge to collapse while 5,000 commuters are on it, be sure to look for the union label.

Bishop on May 7, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Maybe in California, the state government should have torn itself away from condom delivery services

Which is more important? Bolts or dolts?

LeftCoastRight on May 7, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Old joke from back when I lived in CA:

“What’s orange and sleeps 10?”

A CALTRANS truck.

Hope that it’s crappy bolts and not crappy engineering or this puppy is going to give the Big Dig a run for it’s money. Ironically, right next door to the new bridge, the old bridge is still intact. It was probably built by conservatives.

GeeWhiz on May 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM

When you need a bridge to collapse while 5,000 commuters are on it, be sure to look for the Chinese union label.

Bishop on May 7, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Chinese steel, they decided to save money.

riddick on May 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Administration officials may be forced to delay the opening of the new span of the Bay Bridge — in the works since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

New York can’t build a skyscraper in 11+ years, California can’t revamp a bridge in over twice that time.

Left Coast Right Mind on May 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Fly me to the moon.

VorDaj on May 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Bridge over troubled waters? Bridge to nowhere? Yep, dump happens. ;-)

tommy71 on May 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

The fridge has cracked bolts? Who cares? ;-)

tommy71 on May 7, 2013 at 10:22 PM

New York can’t build a skyscraper in 11+ years, California can’t revamp a bridge in over twice that time.

Left Coast Right Mind on May 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Brown, then mayor of Oakland, wanted a pretty bridge while having no money to pay for it to begin with. It took years for state to finally say, You want pretty you pay for it.

I am happy to say I am now an ex resident of GULAG.

riddick on May 7, 2013 at 10:22 PM

And now, an important message from Gov. Jerry Brown about infrastructure: “S*** happens.”

That’s what you say when you don’t have Republicans to blame, as is the case in Kalifornia. They have been under Democrappic rule for decades, so the Dems can’t blame anyone but themselves.

And, as we all know, they can never blame themselves for failure. It’s always someone else’s fault.

Hence, “S*** happens.”

UltimateBob on May 7, 2013 at 10:25 PM

and a government can commit itself to so many things, it ends up being no good at any of them.

To be fair, governments start out being no good at anything. Government is a necessary evil that must be strictly limited and constrained, lest it consume in flame the society it is supposed to be working for.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 7, 2013 at 10:26 PM

‘Shit happens.’

Moonbeam had better hope that nothing ever happens to that bridge. If there should be a defect – design, materials, etc – that causes deaths and injuries, a Johnnie Cochran is going to make the Governor eat those words so much that he’ll be begging to hear ‘If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!’

Resist We Much on May 7, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Maybe in California, the state government should have torn itself away from condom delivery services

Which is more important? Bolts or dolts?

LeftCoastRight on May 7, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Nuts!

all right, I apologize for that right there.

Axe on May 7, 2013 at 10:26 PM

New York can’t build a skyscraper in 11+ years,

Left Coast Right Mind on May 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

How things have changed. The Empire State Building went up in less than a year and a half – during a depression. And it took a direct hit from a large airplane and stood strong.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 7, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Fkn awesome. CA, you never cease to amaze. At least the Central Valley has a little bit of sense. We ain’t all bad.

arnold ziffel on May 7, 2013 at 10:31 PM

The Park and Recreation bit could be Cincinnati today. They just tried to sell all our parking meter leases to a private company for 30 years so that they could fund the city for 2 more years without laying off anyone in fire or police. They were so close to doing it. Then someone went to court to have it stopped. And they want to put in a $50 million streetcar that is problematic at best. So we’re fighting that too. So big layoffs for fire and police looming, severe budget problems, but we’re going ahead on the streetcar.

Paul-Cincy on May 7, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Many a morning I found myself with the pedal through the floorboards trying to get back to NAS Alameda before muster. Alas, there were times I didn’t make it and found myself getting piss-tested by the MAA in lieu of getting officially reported.

That original Bay Bridge is one fast ride, if you actually go the speed limit other cars will sideswipe you right off the thing in anger.

Bishop on May 7, 2013 at 10:36 PM

If I was a california commuter who waited 24 years for this Signature bridge to get built and it did not work I would be very torn to say whether it was a signature for how Jerry Brown works or California doesn’t work. Wait until Brown’s high speed train to nowhere transitions from “rails to trails” after it goes broke.

KW64 on May 7, 2013 at 10:37 PM

At least Cali saw a huge profit on that $3 billion investment in embryonic stem cell research. If they hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have seen all the great advances that embryonic stem cells have brought us, like … and … and, uh … If it weren’t for the all-important embryonic stem cell research that Cali funded then people would still be dying, unlike today when no one in Cali dies.

Priorities.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 7, 2013 at 10:38 PM

“We want excellence, not average,” said Brown, who’d just been elected as mayor.

This joker can’t even speak the language. I guess the word “mediocrity” lies outside of his vocabulary. He would have been better off saying,

“We want excellence, not wee wee’d up stuff.”

At least, that sort of idiot-speak has the Precedential seal of approval and is accepted by all Ivy League institutions.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 7, 2013 at 10:42 PM

When it come to steal, Chinese is their middle name.

SparkPlug on May 7, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Alameda

Bishop on May 7, 2013 at 10:36 PM

Hey! That’s where they keep the nuclear wessels.

Axe on May 7, 2013 at 10:46 PM

Chinese steel, they decided to save money.

riddick on May 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

If they did and didn’t test the bolts, their “very professional engineers” are friggin’ idiots.

Socratease on May 7, 2013 at 10:52 PM

If they did and didn’t test the bolts, their “very professional engineers” are friggin’ idiots.

Socratease on May 7, 2013 at 10:52 PM

Anything more complicated and/or critical than consumer electronics that comes from China should be subject to testing before use out of pure survival. That includes toys, parents of HA.

MelonCollie on May 7, 2013 at 10:56 PM

“We want excellence, not average,” said Brown, who’d just been elected as mayor.

I mean, look, shit happens.

I might have excused that as naïveté of what the reality of being a Governor is like. But Brown’s been California’s Governor before and has no such excuse. I guess he’s just a special kind of stupid.

Socratease on May 7, 2013 at 10:58 PM

Shit happens! At this point, what difference does it make??? The adults are in charge here…

supernova on May 7, 2013 at 11:07 PM

Sheesh.

My poor state, no longer so golden.

Bob's Kid on May 7, 2013 at 11:11 PM

What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember…
The way we were…
The way we were…

claudius on May 7, 2013 at 11:21 PM

I yield to no one in my admiration of MKH but this wanton use of “begrudgingly” for the proper “grudgingly” must end. Sticking a “be-” in front of a word is not an intensifier; it’s just stupid. Yet it seems to be happening with increasing frequency. This is one mere example in a saddening trend.

Next thing you know people will be using “cohort” to indicate a compatriot or conspirator. Oh.
Yeah.
Looks like that battle has been lost.

Words have meanings, and by allowing their meanings to be the flavor of the day we dilute precise speech. This enables post-modernist relativism, foolishness and playground semantics.

I’ve no kick with humorous wordplay, but when professional writers buy in to the bastardization of the language we lose the ability to communicate effectively. Do, perhaps, recall how words have shifted their meanings in the recent past. The old “abortion means choice” dodge and countless others. If words become as slippery as fish, a true debate is impossible.

Let us not allow that to happen.

MKH, kindly remove the “be” from your “grudgingly” and use your influence to assure that this ghastly linguistic foul gains no further purchase.

Uncle Pinky on May 7, 2013 at 11:23 PM

MEXIFORNIA!!!!

They are already corrupt, most of SoCal is Mexican, and Sacramento is as stupid as the rulers in Mejico City!

PappyD61 on May 7, 2013 at 11:25 PM

New York can’t build a skyscraper in 11+ years, California can’t revamp a bridge in over twice that time.

Left Coast Right Mind on May 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Oh, New York can build a skyscraper in less than 11 years. It just can’t do it when government gets involved, as with the WTC project.

As for the Bay Bridge, it sounds more like the unfortunately too-common practice of companies on government contractors using less than top quality materials for their multi-million dollar projects (even before Sandy hit New York, the half-billion dollar South Ferry station built with 9/11 recovery funds was leaking like a sieve because the contractor skimped on the waterproofing).

At least Caltrans caught it before it turned into the Bay Area’s version of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

jon1979 on May 7, 2013 at 11:26 PM

You get the government you deserve

Iblis on May 7, 2013 at 11:31 PM

You’ll have to pardon the voters of Kalifornia. They’re a product of it’s WONDERFUL educational system. As for Moonbeam; he talks a lot of shit. But you have to admit, he delivers it!

GarandFan on May 7, 2013 at 11:35 PM

Well, lets be fair to Gov. Moonbeam…

In the end, do you really think the 4th largest Democratic voting state in the Union will be allowed to fall into the crapper?

Nope: If you folks liked the bailout of the Auto industry & TARP, you’re gonna LOVE the check Obama is going to have cut for California!

BlaxPac on May 7, 2013 at 11:38 PM

There are a lot of comments in this thread, some of which I agree with and others not so much. Just a few additional thoughts:

01. At the time when it became apparent that the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge needed to be replaced, California was still at the top of its game. In fact, it probably had another 15 years to go as the best deal in town. So I don’t fault the original planners for picking a more expensive design, as opposed to the less expensive options (read: Dumbarton and San Mateo bridges). Those are indeed “freeways on stilts”, as the original critics would have it.

02. California took its time with this decision partly because the old bridge, after repairs, was still fully functional and has been in continuous operation since then. Although its seismic weaknesses had been fully revealed and it was no longer a long-term option, it still worked. But if you look at it, boy is it ugly. And I say that as someone who drove across it every day for the better part of five years. The new bridge is intended to be seismically survivable. Anyway, the “24 years in construction” criticism isn’t really valid, because there has always been an alternative route which still works.

03. The decision to use Chinese steel was a completely “rational” capitalistic decision. They were the low bidder. Personally, I wouldn’t trust a Chinese company as far as I could drop-kick its board of directors, but that’s an inspection and testing decision, not a short-term economic calculus. Rather than impose tariffs on Chinese imports, I would subject their products to testing on this side of the Pacific, rather than trusting that the Chinese inspectors got it right. Let them revise their bids accordingly, and let the chips fall where they may.

As someone who missed the death and destruction on the Cypress Structure and the Bay Bridge by just a few hours, I’m not that upset that they are trying to get it right this time. There are many problems with California’s state government and its policies, but this isn’t really one of them.

HTL on May 7, 2013 at 11:38 PM

Always enjoy your writing BTW, and your all too infrequent televised appearances. Next time Juan Williams tries to talk over you I dearly hope you will stomp on his instep, for there are many who would actually prefer to hear what you have to say rather than his pettifogging excuses.

It’s just that watching a good word like “begrudge” die right before my eyes makes me a touch cranky. Back in school, I went a little loopy on a fellow who said he was “beholding the record” for some stupid thing or another. “Looking at it, were you?” I interrogated. “Don’t have a dictionary, do you?” I queried. “Who’s a big prat? It’s you.” I concluded. My professor enjoyed it, but the poor chap had no idea what had happened.

Now I strive to correct the excess of “be-”-nonsense, but I shouldn’t have sprung into it before noting the usual excellence of your writing.

Uncle Pinky on May 7, 2013 at 11:41 PM

Most people, of any ideology, will agree that basic infrastructure like roads and bridges is a core government concern. After all, it’s the justification for every time politicians of any stripe beg for more tax money after having frivolously spent your money on things other than roads and bridges.

Tell me about it. We just voted down another tax levy for “Streets” here, mainly because the last six such levies (prior to 2005) resulted in no street repairs at all, but tons of money spent on hiring multiple “executive assistants” for every city official. Our mayor, a GOPer, has no say in the matter; if he vetoes anything like that, the city council- all Dems- just override his veto.

If this levy fails, as five have done in the last eight years, all is not lost from the spendthrift city government’s POV. They’ll just have the County Treasurer hire a “consulting firm” to re-evaluate all the property values in the city- upward. They’re only supposed to do it once every three years; they’ve done it five times in the last six, each time “coincidentally” after a tax levy failed at the polls.

I’m wondering how much of the “rising home values” The One blathers about are simply such “re-evaluations” for tax purposes. All I know is, there’s no way I could ever sell my house for what the city claims it’s worth, which is almost twice what I paid for it eleven years ago.

I’m just glad I paid cash up front for most of it and have a very small mortgage. My property taxes constantly going up, however, are no laughing matter.

clear ether

eon

eon on May 7, 2013 at 11:45 PM

Out here in my neck of the woods in Texas they keep paving the local FM roads. They usually make them wider when they pave them, too. This is kind of amazing, because some of them are pretty decent before they even start work. They do this, evidently, because they can. And, they do it with private contractors.

trigon on May 8, 2013 at 12:31 AM

in the works since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

I was twelve when that quake hit… I still remember the windows shaking like hell even while being 100 miles from the bay area.

oryguncon on May 8, 2013 at 12:38 AM

So very proud of our state’s eloquent Chief Executive.

socalcon on May 8, 2013 at 12:50 AM

I was twelve when that quake hit… I still remember the windows shaking like hell even while being 100 miles from the bay area.

oryguncon on May 8, 2013 at 12:38 AM

I was 33, and somewhere over Colorado but heading back to SFO when the captain of the plane made an announcement over the speakers that there had been an earthquake and that The City was in flames. An error on his part, as it turns out.

On the other hand, I had a client in the Scotts Valley area whose house was basically over the epicenter (Loma Prieta), and got bounced off of its foundation. It took her (and her family) years to recover.

I also had friends in San Francisco who had their power out for about 24 hours, for the first and only time in their memory (from 1964 to present). On the other hand, their house also survived the 1906 earthquake, so perhaps it’s just exceptionally sturdy.

In any case, a significant event by any objective standards.

HTL on May 8, 2013 at 12:57 AM

California Dems can paraphrase Pogo: We have seen the s**t, and it is Us!

socalcon on May 8, 2013 at 1:00 AM

Oryguncon and HTL,

I think the point of

in the works since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

is that the Leftist powers that be have had a near quarter century to address the matter.

socalcon on May 8, 2013 at 1:05 AM

HTL on May 8, 2013 at 12:57 AM

Scotts Valley was a good deal closer to the epicenter than San Francisco was. I was about 4 miles away from it in Capitola. It was quite a ride.

trigon on May 8, 2013 at 1:14 AM

Back in the heyday of big government, California built big things that worked. Now it’s all boondoggles and broken bridges.

myiq2xu on May 8, 2013 at 1:24 AM

I was about 4 miles away from it in Capitola.

I was 10 miles from the epicenter (as the crow flies) in South San Jose. There was a whole lotta shakin’ going on.

It was one of those moments where you fully appreciate the power of Mother Nature and realize exactly how puny humans are in comparison.

myiq2xu on May 8, 2013 at 1:27 AM

is that the Leftist powers that be have had a near quarter century to address the matter.

socalcon on May 8, 2013 at 1:05 AM

Sorry, I just have to correct you. The governor when the earthquake happened was George Deukmajian, a very conservative Republican. He was followed, from 1991-1999, by Pete Wilson, also a conservative Republican. Gray Davis followed for almost four years, but was followed by Arnold Schwarzenegger until 2011 (and Ahnuld wasn’t a liberal, at least not until the voters rejected his conservative referenda). So, in the 24 years since the earthquake, conservative/Republicans have been in charge for at least 18.

Which just means this is not a petty, partisan political issue.

HTL on May 8, 2013 at 1:32 AM

The bridge should be successfully completed by 2025. About five decades before the high speed rail is done.

jukin3 on May 8, 2013 at 1:36 AM

Scotts Valley was a good deal closer to the epicenter than San Francisco was. I was about 4 miles away from it in Capitola. It was quite a ride.

trigon on May 8, 2013 at 1:14 AM

First, let me say that I envy anyone who gets to live in Santa Cruz/Capitola. Crazy people, but what beautiful country.

Then, I will say that I think my Scotts Valley client might have actually lived in Capitola. She just reported being knocked off her feet in the hallway, and being unable to stand up until the earthquake was over.

Being a California native myself, and having been through a number of notable earthquakes (including Northridge, Joshua Tree/Landers, Coalinga and Morgan Hill), I can only say that I was impressed by her reports.

HTL on May 8, 2013 at 1:46 AM

Senile dimwit. He has needed to be the center of attention his whole life. Shallow does not even touch him.

pat on May 8, 2013 at 2:14 AM

The bolts in question are American made.

There was a problem with Chinese steel plates a year or two ago.

BVM on May 8, 2013 at 2:28 AM

The people of California voted for the turds, and now they’re getting what they deserve. Idiot libs.

HiJack on May 8, 2013 at 5:15 AM

The New Democrat cri de coeur: “at this point, what difference does it make!”

MTF on May 8, 2013 at 6:12 AM

24 f…ing years, and it still hasn’t been replaced.
But, look over here at the new shiny high-speed rail thingie we’re going to build for you from nowhere to nowhere.

Another Drew on May 8, 2013 at 7:24 AM

The Captain Packard pic would be better.

Electrongod on May 7, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Will this suffice?

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bigmacdaddy on May 8, 2013 at 7:39 AM

Underground campaign slogan from 1966 (Reagan v. “Pat” Brown):
If it’s Brown, flush it!

It’s really true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Another Drew on May 8, 2013 at 7:40 AM

24 f…ing years, and it still hasn’t been replaced. But, look over here at the new shiny high-speed rail thingie we’re going to build for you from nowhere to nowhere. Another Drew on May 8, 2013 at 7:24 AM

Send that fast train to Vegas baby. We’ll take your money and give you “free” drinks and show tickets in return.

Mojave Mark on May 8, 2013 at 7:43 AM

Six Billion Dollars to replace a bridge that did not need replacing. Six Billion Dollars down the toilet on what amounts to the World’s Largest Outdoor Sculpture.

You, and all the people you know, could pay taxes for ten lifetimes and not come up with enough money to pay the money wasted because Jerry Brown looked out his window one day and decided that a bridge was ugly.

Haiku Guy on May 8, 2013 at 7:44 AM

Sorry, I just have to correct you. The governor when the earthquake happened was George Deukmajian, a very conservative Republican. He was followed, from 1991-1999, by Pete Wilson, also a conservative Republican. Gray Davis followed for almost four years, but was followed by Arnold Schwarzenegger until 2011 (and Ahnuld wasn’t a liberal, at least not until the voters rejected his conservative referenda). So, in the 24 years since the earthquake, conservative/Republicans have been in charge for at least 18.

Which just means this is not a petty, partisan political issue.

HTL on May 8, 2013 at 1:32 AM

While the point is taken that there were republican governors, I have to correct you.

Pete Wilson was not “conservative”. Being republican and conservative are not the same thing. Schwarzenegger was never conservative. He talked a good game for awhile, but he caved and turned liberal as soon as his popularity took even the slightest hit.

One cannot look at California of the last 30 years, republican governors or not, and not admit that the leftists have ruled it completely. Now, the bridge issue may not be a “petty partisan issue”, but it does in fact demonstrate the problem with having government do too much. When gov’t is focused on all kinds of things it should not be involved in, core gov’t functions, like bridges and roads, suffer. I can’t see how that is a controversial statement. Perhaps this particular issue would have occurred regardless, but perhaps not.

Working in the construction industry (albeit in another state), I know full well how terrible governments are when it comes to construction. They put way, way too many non-construction things into construction for political reasons. for instance – requiring “minority” or women owned businesses to get so much of the work, requiring the payment of union wages, splitting up contracts (i.e., having to bid out the HVAC, Electric, sitework, etc. separately), and a myriad of other stupid, cost increasing and quality reducing measures for silly political agendas. This is why gov’t construction is always at least 25% (usually more) more expensive than private construction and also why gov’t construction usually is not remotely as good quality as private construction and also usually takes significantly longer.

When your concerns are not building the best bridge at the lowest cost and instead your concerns are making sure each constituency gets something out of the project, then you are not going to get a quality and efficient end result.

Again, this may not be what led to the problem here, but I would not be surprised if we can trace the problem back to some decision that was based on politics rather than on sound construction principals.

Monkeytoe on May 8, 2013 at 7:54 AM

We have his twin here in Minnesota…separated at birth at the skull and neither got the brain….

crosshugger on May 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM

I was a native Northern Californian up until moving out in 2004. Was there for Loma Prieta. Ironically had spent the previous weekend in the Santa Cruz area because my brother got married at Pasatiempo. I was on vacation, the power went out area wide and I went into work to help. As a hospital, they had generator power. Saw the Marina District burn on live television and again on the way home from work that night. Could see the fire across the bay…

I lived about six minutes down the freeway from the collapsed area and my only personal issue was the power outage. It was the only quake in my life that caused me to eventually get up and react, and that was not because of it’s perceived strength, but due to it’s duration. Any other quake made me play ‘guess the point on the Richter Scale’, if ykwim.

GeeWhiz on May 8, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Well, you know that the reason that conservatives don’t like big government?

Unlike Dems and liberal Republicans (Schwarzenegger), bankrupting cities and states, conservatives don’t know how to manage it.

This, again, is from the liberal slogan machine.

Axeman on May 8, 2013 at 8:23 AM

One cannot look at California of the last 30 years, republican governors or not, and not admit that the leftists have ruled it completely.

Amen to that. Between the legislature and the idiot citizens who would vote for anything via the proposition process, the state has not been ‘run by republicans’ for decades. And I agree, Pete Wilson was not conservative, nor was Arnold. Arnold was a compromise because the idiot left couldn’t stand McClintock who was the conservative candidate and absolutely the sane budget numbers guy. They went haywire when they discovered that he was prolife. (Even though governors don’t have squat to do with impacting Roe v Wade.)

So as a result we got Arnold, who indeed caved when he came up against the union machine. Who worked very hard to maintain the status quo, and won.

And my favorite moment of the recall was the debate. One of the other dem candidates was Bustamante who also happened to be the attorney general under the recalled Gray Davis. When asked ‘why under YOUR watch did the budget deficit grow to six billion dollars and he leaned into the microphone and lamely said ‘Uh..that’s because we spent more than we took in”.

X number of years later, CA’s budget deficit is now SIXTEEN billion dollars.

Sorry but it’s delusional to think that CA’s money mismanagement is the result of republicans is kneejerking political opposition blame. Between an entrenched Democratic legislature and and overwhelming Democratic constituency, with a dash of gerrymandering with districts, the reps have been outgunned and outnumbered for basically forever. For if it’s not the Dems authorizing spending, it’s the citizens authorizing spending by merely voting. If you’ve got enough signatures, you can get a prop on the ballot and it can be voted in, and no one has to prove that the state can afford to pay for it. It just becomes law…and has. Over and over and over.

And now they’re reaping what they’re sowing. If the overall economy in that state doesn’t improve, their only hope is to repeal Proposition 13 to increase property tax revenue because they’ve nickeled and dimed every other possible area. But if they do that, anyone who is middle class or below that owns their property will immediately be shoved out of their homes because no one would be able to afford them.

And the only people left in that state would be the indigent and the uber rich. A state that will collapse under it’s own weight. And the left will wring it’s hands saying ‘I don’t know how that happened. It must have been some rep in 1906 that did it’.

GeeWhiz on May 8, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Notwithstanding all of the above,

We here in Texas love Gov. Moonbeam Brown as he is sending us here in Texas, new citizens with money, money to buy homes, cars, boats, and all the other stuff they need to be Texans such as guns and ammo.

He is sending us jobs in the companies who are moving here from his nut job liberal over taxed, over regulated, Climate Change beliving, Greenpeace, Earth First state.

He is like pure gold to us. Please keep it up California loons.

Texas

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 8, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Cali-for-a-loon-ya, Democrat hell made by loons.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 8, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Amen to that. Between the legislature and the idiot citizens who would vote for anything via the proposition process, the state has not been ‘run by republicans’ for decades. And I agree, Pete Wilson was not conservative, nor was Arnold. Arnold was a compromise because the idiot left couldn’t stand McClintock who was the conservative candidate and absolutely the sane budget numbers guy. They went haywire when they discovered that he was prolife. (Even though governors don’t have squat to do with impacting Roe v Wade.)

So as a result we got Arnold, who indeed caved when he came up against the union machine. Who worked very hard to maintain the status quo, and won.

GeeWhiz on May 8, 2013 at 8:43 AM

I wish I had the energy and time to go back and dig up the debates about Arnold versus not recalling Gray Davis. A ton of people on this site argued that we should elect Arnold because he was an electable “R” (an argument that happens every election). I argued that Arnold was, at best, a moderate Republican and that we would be better off allowing Gray Davis to remain in office to allow dems to take all the blame for CA’s problems. I knew that Arnold would cave and become liberal and allow – by dint of being an “R” governor – dems to claim the Republicans are just as much to blame for CA’s problems. I am certainly not right about everything, but I was 100% right about that and don’t understand how everyone else couldn’t see it coming. To me, it was completely obvious. A Hollywood actor married to a Kennedy, who really did not have that many conservative type positions although ostensibly a republican? Who could possibly have believed he would move left.

Monkeytoe on May 8, 2013 at 9:13 AM

“S*** happens.”

And, the doting media provides Teflon shoes to Democrats, so it doesn’t stick to them.

Fallon on May 8, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Monkeytoe on May 8, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Being in my mid-fifties, I’ve watched California from a distance for about half a century. And I long ago concluded that anyone who wanted to be Governor of that mess had to have a screw or two loose.

And yes, I’m including Ronaldus Magnus. Hey, everybody’s entitled to at least one enfants perdus in their life. The trick is to survive it. That, he achieved. And reaped the appropriate reward;

A forlorn hope is a band of soldiers or other combatants chosen to take the leading part in a military operation, such as an assault on a defended position, where the risk of casualties is high.

The French equivalent of the forlorn hope, called Les Enfants Perdus or The Lost Children, were all guaranteed promotion to officer rank should they survive, with the effect that both enlisted men and officers joined the dangerous mission as an opportunity to raise themselves in the army.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forlorn_hope

cheers

eon

eon on May 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Sh*t happens where opportunity meets incompetence.

b4itsover on May 8, 2013 at 9:50 AM

there are many problems with California’s state government and its policies, but this isn’t really one of them.

HTL on May 7, 2013 at 11:38 PM

Sorry but Caltrans, a state run agency, has many in-house materials testing labs.

Somewhere they either screwed the pooch, or got hoodwinked.

Either way, they dropped the ball.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM

To be fair, governments start out being no good at anything.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 7, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Pfft. There’s plenty of things they’re good at! Obstruction, red tape, wasting money, sloth, greed, incompetence……..

And it took a direct hit from a large airplane and stood strong.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 7, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Arguably, the plane that hit the Empire State Building wasn’t that large compared to the ones that hit the WTC.

B-25 Mitchell 68′ wingspan, 35,000lb max TO wt
767 156′ wingspan, 350,000+lb max TO wt

GWB on May 8, 2013 at 11:13 AM

As Victor Davis Hanson has pointed out, as big a mess as California is in, they aren’t anywhere near broke yet. The Democrats have a few years and many businesses and rich people who won’t run away for a long time, and what is left of their lucrative agriculture sector can’t just pull up and move elsewhere.

They are in a death spiral, all right, but it is a long, slow one. The California electorate won’t really face that sobering wake-up call for years to come. But when they do, you don’t want to be caught holding their bonds, state or municipal.

Adjoran on May 8, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Shame on you, Jer – and you with that expensive Jesuit education.

It’s “feces occur”.

mojo on May 8, 2013 at 12:58 PM

And most of the recent tax increase, sold on the idea that it would go to the schools, is going to prop up the pension system instead.

Who needs textbooks anyways?

PattyJ on May 8, 2013 at 1:38 PM