Patterico's Pontifications

7/17/2017

This Is Where Big Government California-Style Leaves You

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:22 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Fox News has the details:

Months after heavy rains ravaged roads and bridges in Northern California, officials in Santa Cruz County say it could still take more than a year to repair all the damage, especially in the mountains that are home to several thousand residents.

That’s too long for the Santa Cruz Vigilante Pothole Brigade, a group of intrepid locals who’ve raised money and manpower to do the job themselves.

The brigade is comprised of moms and dads, firefighters, entrepreneurs and fearless do-it-yourselfers fed up with tire-popping potholes – and a county public works agency telling them to just be patient.

By now, all of you know the libretto to this comic-tragic opera. Are there earnest citizens who just want to make their community a better place to live? Absolutely:

“People were giving us lists of where the holes were,” says volunteer Launy Senee, “and we would drive around and find them, and we just started getting people together and self-training ourselves, and filling the potholes.”

Using their own pickup trucks, they back over the repair job several times, smoothing the patch with their tires. Each job takes about five minutes.

“It’s just terrific to be a part of what we need to do to keep the place going,” Senee said.

Is there also an officious by-the-book bureaucrat who resents some peon citizen encroaching upon their territory and uses the scary chimera of a lawsuit to dissuade citizens from helping out? No doubt:

“We can’t have people running out into traffic and filling up potholes by themselves,” said Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin. “It just could end up impeding our efforts to actually fill more potholes if we end up getting sued because we’re letting people do this.”

I can only hope that Jason Hoppin sincerely hates the part of his job where he is called upon to stifle citizen initiative, but this being a deep red blue county in a deep red blue* state (Hillary Clinton won Santa Cruz County with 74% of the vote last year compared to her 62% overall margin in the state), I would have to bet that someone in Jason Hoppin’s position has a political philosophy which dictates that the citizen has no business trying to perform a service provided by the state, no matter how inefficiently the state provides that service. Fortunately, the intrepid pothole repairers of Santa Cruz County aren’t backing down:

The Santa Cruz Vigilante Pothole Brigade is in negotiations to become officially sanctioned, like volunteer firefighters.

But [Brigade Leader Larry] Mcvoy said he and his band of road warriors will continue to pave over problems and help their community – whether the government approves the group or not.

This immediately reminded me of a similar story I had heard several years ago, when a group of business owners in Polihale State Park on the Hawaiian Island of Kuai decided that waiting two years for the state government to fix a washed-out bridge leading into the park was unacceptable, so they rebuilt the damn thing themselves in eight days. Once upon a time America used to be a place where this was commonplace. Sadly, these kind of stories are now newsworthy.

Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.

* Correction: Kevin M. points out that I have mixed up the red state/blue state thing. To this day I still want to associate the far left with the color red, just like Lenin meant us to do. Post corrected above with thanks to Kevin M.

– JVW

29 Responses to “This Is Where Big Government California-Style Leaves You”

  1. My home state is all jacked up:

    CA Legislators are about to require that private-sector workers in the home-care industry provide a wide range of personal information—home address, email contact, cell-phone number—to any labor organization that wants it. Those unions would then be free, at their discretion, to pester these workers into joining the union……

    ……Ironically, Democratic legislators often have tried to enhance the privacy of public employees with a variety of bills. Yet when it comes to private-sector employees, the Legislature is more than happy to let union organizers know exactly where they live—and even have access to their cell-phone numbers and email addresses.”

    http://reason.com/archives/2017/07/07/california-legislature-looking-to-give-u

    As I said in another thread regarding Obamacare, that bill was just the beginning. Unionizing private workers (and funneling their dues to the Democrats’ campaign chests) is one of the next objectives.

    harkin (23c945)

  2. The officisl process for filling potholes is in gridlock, or contrained by the budget process.

    Donald Trump got his start in matters of public affairs with something like this:

    ( thirty thirty one years ago)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wollman_Rink

    The rink was closed in 1980 for a proposed two years of renovations at $9.1 million. Six years after the problem-plagued work was still not completed by the city, Donald Trump persuaded Mayor Ed Koch to let him complete the work in four months at $3 million in order to have it open by the end of the year. Trump finished the job in just four months at a final cost 25% below the budget and for no profit. [3][4] Koch initially objected but later agreed. The city had originally planned to employ the resource-saving – but largely untested – chemical compound Freon to generate ice, but instead time-proven brine was used. The rink reopened to the public on November 13, 1986.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  3. If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?

    Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

    But it is only the socialists who say that if the state does not fill the pothole, then no one shall fill it at all.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  4. Solid comment, Frederick. I might substitute the word “statist” where you use “socialist,” but otherwise I think it’s spot-on. Glad to have you here in the discussion.

    JVW (2b202c)

  5. Would this be pot-hole-fillers leads to volunteer highway construction by eager volunteers?

    I didn’t wish to limit the possibilities.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  6. I know Rand Paul is careful when he talks about funding highways. Mostly he likes offshore money as a revenue source. Tempting the Banksters with 5% tax rate for funding. After that’s gone his revenue source is not clear.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  7. JVW, if only this was a deep-red state. I think you have your colors mixed up.

    [Ugh, so true. I keep associating socialism with red, for obvious reasons. I’ll correct that. Thanks Kevin M. – JVW]

    Kevin M (752a26)

  8. Jason Hoppin lives in his moms basement,
    a true lefty cellar dweller.

    mg (31009b)

  9. Y’all do realize that the natural and inevitable response by the Peoples’ Republic of Alta California is going to involve threats of arrest, fines, imprisonment, and civil forfeiture? Then they will carry out those threats. Followed by harassment of employers and families of the road repair brigade, and the employers of the families of the road repair brigade.

    It is the Leftist way.

    Subotai Bahadur (769b57)

  10. Kevin,

    I just imagine that JVW is using deep red to represent the communists that they really are.

    Like our new visitor.

    NJRob (7f4bec)

  11. Yup. They’re FREEEE-EEE to not only GOFUNDTHEMSELVES, but if they want to reduce their cost, hump that asphalt baby!

    Hey! We could do health insurance with that exceptional idee!

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  12. Now Jerry Brown promises to only use that additional gas tax and registration fee ONLY!, and he means it, on fixing our roads. That’s good enough for me…lol.

    I fink I could be a sTrumpet.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  13. How about putting slot machines in hospital lobbies for funding surgery?

    Lotto tickets would have appendectomy credits you could exchange for the dollar equivalent to say, chemotherapy..

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  14. You could even combine multiple winners with just one redemption fee, but it would only apply to one procedure.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  15. Sorry, but there has to be rules…

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  16. I just don’t think the volunteer angle will work. People like to get something beside civic pride to live on.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  17. Where my Pop lives in the Mother Lode (Sierra foothills), the county road dept is responsible for keeping the drainage ditches on the sides of the road clean and clear, because they are in county ROW (Right-of-way for city folk), except they don’t.

    If you call them and tell them they’re full of sediment etc. they are more than happy to drive out, look at it, shoot the breeze for as long as you want and tell you they’ll put it on the list but the best thing would be for you to clean it out yourself. They NEVER come back.

    Everyone just cleans their own and grouses about govt. workers.

    ===========

    5 – “Would this be pot-hole-fillers leads to volunteer highway construction by eager volunteers?
    I didn’t wish to limit the possibilities.”

    Great point. These people are eager to repair something that needs fixing but is being ignored.

    Kind of makes you think about which communities have citizens willing and eager to make things better and which sit back and think only government can provide the service. If you compare the two types you’ll not be surprised which are cleaner, have less crime and also lower rates of unemployment, illiteracy and illegitimacy.

    It’s almost as if providing for one’s self improves the general welfare of the community.

    harkin (23c945)

  18. Unfortunately, filling a pothole with asphalt isn’t how you really fix a pothole. Seems simple enough, but that doesn’t really work, unless its just a surface blemish.

    Most potholes caused by rain are the result of water getting beneath the road bed, and washing away the support under the asphalt. Filling in the hole with more asphalt doesn’t address the erosion below that caused the hole.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  19. Up here in Chicago, that is how the City repairs potholes, on arterial streets, in-between doing a full repaving. They bring a big truck, shovel some asphalt into the pothole, and back up over it with the truck, tamping it down with just the tires. What these California folks are doing. And they just keep on rolling down down the street from pothole to pothole.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. Unfortunately, filling a pothole with asphalt isn’t how you really fix a pothole.

    I doubt very much it’s asphalt. Probably just cold patch, which is better than nothing, even sand is better than a hole. It can prevent not only further erosion until a permanent fix is made, but also damage to vehicles or even loss of life. Ask any motorcyclist.

    harkin (23c945)

  21. JVW (2b202c) — 7/17/2017 @ 3:25 pm

    I concur. Welcome, Frederick.

    felipe (023cc9)

  22. The problem with the pothole brigade is that they’re spreading asphalt, not wealth.

    Dejectedhead (6b323c)

  23. “……every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on.”

    Almost like when some say the news media is a danger to western civilization, others imply they want no news media at all.

    harkin (23c945)

  24. Unfortunately, filling a pothole with asphalt isn’t how you really fix a pothole. Seems simple enough, but that doesn’t really work, unless its just a surface blemish.

    Most potholes caused by rain are the result of water getting beneath the road bed, and washing away the support under the asphalt. Filling in the hole with more asphalt doesn’t address the erosion below that caused the hole.

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591) — 7/17/2017 @ 7:35 pm

    That’s correct, but most patching is just that. It’s just temporary till they get around to digging up a larger area and fixing the problem… if they ever fix it.

    NJRob (7f4bec)

  25. When you have choose between guns and butter
    https://www.ft.com/content/75d43c06-6afc-11e7-b9c7-15af748b60d0

    narciso (d1f714)

  26. Greetings:

    In the US Navy (especially Pac Fleet), they refer to what the government did as “protecting the rice bowl”. And I bet that a lot of rice gets eaten down Santa Cruz way.

    11B40 (6abb5c)

  27. Btw you know that whole kerfluffle with the irs, sometime back.

    narciso (d1f714)

  28. Frederick, I so agree with your observations. People think bureaucrats and politicians and “leaders” are removed and elevated above us mere mortals, when in fact they are the same, warts and all. Why we persist in looking to them to solve problems that the last batch of them caused is a strange phenomenon.

    Patricia (5fc097)


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