The Jury Talks Back

7/17/2017

This Is Where Big Government California-Style Leaves You

Filed under: Uncategorized — JVW @ 1:22 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 county in a deep red 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.

– JVW

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