Friday, April 16, 2010

Fiscal Responsibility

It's not like I like to complain... but there's so much to complain about.

This morning I ran into construction traffic on my short one mile commute to work. Remember the stimulus bill in the fall of 2008 that was so urgent that even Senator John McCain left the campaign trail to run back to Washington to vote for it? It was so urgent that the money is JUST NOW being spent ... the summer before the mid-term elections and right before the primaries. "Hey, you idiots back home... look at the bacon I'm bringing back for you!"

Locally what I'm seeing is a lot of unnecessary construction work, which means that for a short time union-carded construction workers are employed, workers they hope will run to the voting booth and/or donate money to their campaigns. On Berry and Wayne, two one way streets in downtown, they have about a half mile of lanes orange barrelled off so they can... What? Fix potholes? Repave? Dig up and repair the aging sewer system that some government organization is mandating we fix at a cost of millions of dollars?

Nope. They're replacing each of the curb corners that meet the street with the new handicap-enhanced curbs. Now it's not like the curb corners are sheer drop-offs that would be difficult for someone in a wheelchair to navigate. Nosir, they are already sloped nicely, making it a joy and a breeze for those on bikes, pushing baby strollers or in wheelchairs to cross the street. I estimate there are about 100 corners in the area in question and I can't imagine that some construction crew is doing each corner for less than a thousand bucks. So at a minimum it is costing your children and grandchildren $100,000 to handicap corners that are already handicapped. Add in the cost of interest and you can probably double that. Add in the fact that I'm probably way low on my estimate and it's probably half a million for these unnecessary improvements.

Also being done in my immediate area is the repaving of State Street. They recently repaved a section just east of North Anthony... and then repeatedly dug it back up to do repair work and patched it so that a brief stretch is like driving over a corrugated tin roof (and I would know). But instead they are doing a stretch just west of North Anthony... the part that's in pretty good shape. This strikes home personally because THEY PUT A GIANT "CONSTRUCTION AHEAD" SIGN IN MY YARD! Okay, technically it's not in my yard but rather in the park strip... you know, the bit of land between the sidewalk and the street that I don't own but I'm responsible to maintain? Plus they spray painted all over the street and curb in front of my house to mark that there were no gas, cable, or electric lines directly in front of my house. So now when we open the front door we are greeted with a giant orange sign. We've been told that it will be there through mid-summer. I plan on mowing AROUND it through mid-summer and if they want it trimmed around the city can do that when they mow the center strip. I'm sure my neighbors will love it but my I don't plan to string five or six shorter cords together so my electric-powered weed trimmer can reach. And of course they can't place this giant sign in the median strip that runs down the middle of our boulevard because the laws state that is has to be on the right-hand side. Grumble grumble grumble.


Uvulapie said...

Correction: I counted and there are exactly 50 curbs being "fixed" plus another ten I saw on State Street. Plus the road sign said that construction spanned 1.3 miles. Just keepin' it real.

Ricky H said...

Nothing like having a bowl-side seat, as your tax dollars are being flushed down the toilet of bureaucratic balderdash. I feel your frustration. And I resent the misuse of other folks' hard earned money, spent in the name of doing stuff for folks like me that was neither needed nor wished for.

As pointless and wasteful as it all is, I hope they at least do a decent job of sloping the unnecessary curb cuts. I can attest (from much personal experience) that a high percentage of curb cuts around this once great (but still pretty darn good) nation of ours were installed by retarded monkeys. It had to be retarded monkeys, because a retarded human would've taken one look at the dimensions required for a safe curb cut, and the dimensions of the curb cuts that are too often sloppily constructed, and would've said, "Hey, that ain't right." But a retarded monkey just shrugs and says, "oo-oo ee-ee oo" -- and then goes and takes a nap in the truck (as visions of overtime pay dance in his undersized cranium).

But what can you do? If you complain too much, you'll be accused of hating either wheelchair users, retarded monkeys, or both. Or maybe they'll just say you hate America. Either way, they'll bend you over, like Ned Beaty in Deliverance, and...well, to you what they're doing to our country as a whole (no phonetic pun intended).

Perhaps you can assuage your frustration by making another pilgrimage to the Black Buggy (which your wife reviewed earlier). I'll wager that a piece of their coconut cream pie will put all the nonsense of the world into a healthier perspective.

Uvulapie said...

For all the work being done not much is being done. All of the curbs are already sloped and are wide enough to wheelchair access. However they are putting in a two foot white section of bricks with bumps on them, supposedly for traction though I've seen more than one instance downtown where these bumps have been worn down to nothing and not replaced. And it doesn't seem to me that two feet is just narrow enough so that it would nicely pass under both wheels of most chairs, not that I'm an expert of chairs.

So the retarded monkeys win again!