Click photo to enlarge
The new Bay Bridge suspension tower
Everything on today's menu is high-fiber and low-fat. Consume as much as you wish: Recent developments with the Bay Bridge have been more than a little unsettling. You'd like to think that steel anchor rods designed to protect the $6.4 billion project during an earthquake wouldn't fall apart the first time workmen tightened the bolts.
On the other hand, this story has done wonders for taking people's minds off the $5 million opening-weekend festivities the Metropolitan Transportation Commission had planned to celebrate the completion of a job well done. You will recall that a year ago we were warned about materials used in constructing the bridge. "The Bay Bridge -- 100% foreign steel," read a billboard paid for by The Alliance for American Manufacturing. The organization's executive director, Scott Paul, chastised Caltrans for using Chinese manufactured steel on the suspension span.
There's only one problem with that warning: The flawed steel rods that have caused the alarm were manufactured in the USA. It's unlikely that most East County commuters have heard of INRIX -- a self-described "leading international provider of traffic information and driver services" -- but it's a good bet they'll question the company's recently released sixth annual Traffic Scorecard Report.
The section of Highway 4 between Hillcrest and Somerville roads, which sucks the "rush" out of rush hour every weekday, is ranked as only the 50th most congested traffic corridor in the nation. The report doesn't say who did the rankings, but we can be pretty certain he doesn't live in East County. We understand that Richmond's fine civic leaders are distraught over all the gunplay in their community, and we know city councils think they can right every wrong with new laws, but when both the police chief and the district attorney's office say it's a really bad idea to create a local gun-control bill, it is probably time to back off the notion.
Maybe Richmond council members should get back to doing the two things they do best: demonizing Chevron and arguing among themselves. It's time for everyone who stood up to the Contra Costa Fire District, voted against the parcel tax and sought Chief Daryl Louder's ouster to pat themselves on the back for what they've accomplished.
Four stations have been closed, two more appear to be headed that way, Louder's resignation is effective Oct. 31, and the understaffed firefighting operation is stretched to the breaking point. It shows what you can do if you want something badly enough, because this definitely qualifies as bad. The wisdom of sequestration is finally beginning to sink in. Until mandated federal budget cuts forced the National Park Service to comb through its expenses with a fine-tooth comb, we had no idea that John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez and Eugene O'Neil National Historic Site in Danville were such massive contributors to the national deficit. If number crunchers are serious about getting the country into the black, they probably should take a good, hard look at that lavish Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Memorial Park in Richmond. It was surprising to read that UC Berkeley students recently lobbied for new state oil and gas extraction taxes, asking that proceeds be used to help reduce their tuition.
What are the odds that Berkeley's enviro-conscious students would find any benefit in fossil fuel production?
Contact Tom Barnidge at email@example.com