Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bridges Versus Green Jobs

According to news reports,
Washington state was given a C in the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 infrastructure report card and a C- when it came to the state's bridges. The group said more than a quarter of Washington's 7,840 bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
Instead of spending money on bridges, our Congressional delegation brought home the bacon for programs like the scandal-ridden Puget Sound Partnership (PSP).
Puget Sound Partnership, with a two-year $15 million budget, has helped direct some $400 million in state and federal funds spent by "partner agencies" the past two years. Its $15 million budget includes $4 million in outside contracts for education, monitoring and other efforts.                           -- 2011 article in the Kitsap Sun


  1. Oh don't forget the National Monument!!!

    Cantwell said that she did everything she could except "get a tattoo" to get the National Monument signed. While she was doing everything, apparently no one was doing anything for our basic infrastructure needs.

    Golly gee thanks. That National Monument thing makes me feel so much safer with 25% of the Skagit I-5 Bridge in the drink.

    Rotting schools, rotting bridges, rotting economy, rotting community, but what we really need is more environmental regulation in our rural counties, more land set aside for "protection", and more grants to hold god-awful coordination meetings run by some horse's ass consultant.

  2. I'm glad no one was killed in the bridge collapse. It's a miracle.

    But doesn't your heart go out to all the salmonids that must be inconvenienced by the twisted steel and ruined cars in their habitat?


  3. An oversized tractor-trailer struck the bridge and it collapsed. Wow! A bridge of cards.

    I wonder how long before the Friends capitalize by blaming the bridge collapse on global warming and ocean acidification instead?

    The answer is to have larger shoreline setbacks and bigger buffers. That's always the answer.

  4. See al those first responders N-S I-5 and frontage roads on Skagit. Boats zipping in and out under bridge, anybody see divers to save us in a sunk car in time to save us or our children? Got to love that overtime, instead of fixing things we spend our money (or our government does on benefits, pay increases, pensions etc.)on supporting the government to our detriment. At least I feel safe knowing Mt. Baker road will not collapse! How far over budget is that now anyway? Ask the county, they can't tell you. But hey, who cares. Hundreds of employees sitting in our vehicles doing ,what? Road is closed, what more can they do? Overtime, Baby! Look at the footage.

  5. Say what?

    $400 million channeled through Puget Sound Patronage to partner groups who were given offers they couldn't refuse?

    A least we got a great new bridge built over a stream that a few fish swim around in occasionally.

    Alas Babylon

  6. One overloaded truck may have taken out a section of a our interstate system. Damn terrorists, we must find the group behind this!

  7. The TH is spot on, the entire country's infrastructure is falling apart because instead of using taxpayer money to do what gov't is suppose to we spend it on grants to study frog mating habits, welfare, food stamps, Obamacare, war, foreign aid, and everything else under the sun,
    So much for the "stimulus" that was suppose to be used to repair of all things...BRIDGES!
    TH you didn't put up the scariest stats, the fact that almost all the bridges in Skagit County are over 50 years old, with I believe two older than 90 and considered to be at less than 60% functional...but hey, Ranker is focusing on the really important stuff, like more grants for his phoney enviro business and the uneccessary MRC.
    Now we'll get to see the circus of finger pointing in Olympia, but hey, we know most of the voter dolts will keep voting for demapublicans and republicrats.

  8. Infrastructure is boring.

    Environmentalism is, or has been, sexy.

    You don't get your picture in the paper or an award for saving bridges. You get Humane State Legislator of the Year for banning shark fin soup.

    If you're a narcissistic glorymongering attention seeker, where are you going to spend your time?

  9. Well golly, speaking of narcissistic glorymongering attention seekers, He Hath Spoken!

    Who says a little disaster in your district isn't a great chance for a photo op with the Great and Good. Kevin must be feeling relieved no one was hurt, otherwise he'd have to work harder. We actually elected this Critically Annoying Official (CAO) to public office?

    Kevin Ranker

    "Just left the scene and briefings with governor, Skagit County Commissioner Sharon D. Dillon, Mayor Jill Boudreau and Reps Kris Lytton and Jeff Morris. The fact that no one lost their life is a miracle, but it is not entirely luck. Our first responders from Washington State Troopers, to Skagit County Sheriffs Deputies to firefighters from throughout the region to US Customs and Border Patrol to citizens who happened to be on the river responded immediately and professionally. Further, the Governor, Mayor, Commissioner and your legislators were all on scene quickly making sure all resources were available. While the closure of I5 will cause significant hardship to the region and state, tonight I am filled with appreciation that three Washingtonians were pulled from the Skagit River and are alive this evening."

  10. Kevin Ranker, River Hero!

  11. He tweeted while rome burned.

  12. In the context of damage caused by efforts to 'save the environment' and offering a rather elegant solution for those concerned about CO2 emissions, here is a very interesting TED Talk addressing desertification. There is hope for us yet!

  13. Kevin Ranker
    Playing Himself
    Starring In:

    "A Bridge Too Far"

  14. Yup. $9 billion in funding for the EPA (clean air & water) and $684 billion in defense. Damn environmentalists are killing this great nation's infrastructure!

  15. @12:13

    The Pentagon did not destroy our local bridge. Plus, your thumbnail analysis is flawed. The armed services are the responsibility of the federal government, so there are no state or local expenditures for Defense. In addition to the Defense Department expenditures for the environment (which is in the billions), add to the EPA budget the billions spent by the states, add the billions that are built into every federal or other government project as environmental reviews, but which are budgeted under other departments and line items. Calculate the drain on our economy by pointless and bad environmental regulation like the CAOs.

    Of course you won't. You don't even know where to begin to calculate negative externalities associated with fanciful and needless regulation. You'd rather get it wrong easily than get it right by educating yourself and doing some work.

  16. Real environmentalists aren't killing the nation's infrastructure, just the phony ones who run for office from here and the ones who haunt the PSP offices, the conservation district, our planning department, and our non-profits.

  17. @12:00

    That was an awesome TED Talk!!!

  18. In the further interest in facts, there is a spin that the truck that hit the side of the bridge was illegally over-loaded.

    It was not. The truck was fully permitted by the State of Washington to carry this specific load. A local escort accompanied the truck and was a normal operation for this type of work.

    If Ranker or anyone else trying to score points on this tries to spin otherwise, these are the facts, as reported so far. This is an old bridge, built in 1955 or thereabouts, inspected and repaired several times while Ranker was in office. I do not ever recall Ranker raising issues of regional public infrastructure. But he does like to haul in money for silly construction projects like the Brickworks. His priorities are really confused.

  19. I think the bridge photos actually can provide a tangible example of "harm to functions and values".

  20. Listen you Heronistas or whoever you are, where are you going with this? How can you even begin to imply that this bridge failure is Senator Ranker's fault. You go too far.

  21. The point is that Sen Wanker has appropriate scores of funds, as have other legislators for shit we don't need. We need to replace failing infrastructure.
    No one said that Wanker did this.

    It's probably GWs fault anyway right?

  22. No one more thrilled about the bridge collapse than Shireene Hale. "Whew, I'm out of the headlines for now". "Back to concocting half baked agenda driven regulatory schemes that benefit my husband".

  23. And what about those Pictometry flights. Haven't forgotten about that.

    What the hell is the flight schedule?

    And yep, seems to be that the obliques will be shot hell or high water and any one can buy them later on ... including the County if they wan to change their minds again later on.


  24. Sen. Ranker was in Friday Harbor today to appear at an emergency session of the County Council around noon.

    Here is the video of this session:

  25. @12:56

    You obviously don't understand how overload permits work in this state.

    This truck may have been permitted, but that means nothing in terms of its operation. The permit identifies the size if the load, with primary focus on axle weight. Width and height are included, but it is the carriers responsibility to survey the route to determine where height restrictions may exist, and identify where route alterations may be necessary. I can get a permit to haul a 20' tall box through Seattle on I5, but I'm gonna need to survey the route, cause it isn't going to work on the freeway alone.

    Secondly, my pilot car needs to be equipped with a height indicator that is equal to the height of my load. In the case of this accident, the car was, but it was running too close to the truck, and there was no time for the driver to deviate his path.

    So... In reference to your remarks, yes they had a permit, but otherwise this was an illegal haul over an otherwise useful bridge.

    I'm not saying it was a great bridge, but had the truck not impacted 1/2 of the upper support spans, it would have been fine. Blaming this one on Ranker is a stretch.

  26. I don't think anyone has blamed Ranker for the bridge accident, I think the comments mean to say that the good Senator's mental focus is usually in some useless direction.

    Well, useless to the public, not useless to him.

    As an aside; it has long been recognized by "those in the know" that almost the entire West Coast's reliance on HWY 5 is and is a disaster both waiting and happening.

    Compared to HWY 5 our ferry system might get high marks.

  27. @ 6:46 PM

    Obviously you seek to protect Senator Ranker while placing blame on the operators who clearly know their business and were playing by the rules.

    Ranker's policies will be examined in more detail in the months to come, on public infrastructure and on special construction projects he favors. It is a question of priorities.

    So far he has been an ocean champion. Many would welcome a champion on regional transportation issues. There is no blame, just legitimate questions.

    This event happened on Ranker's watch. The economic impact to San Juan County at the beginning of the tourist season is a huge issue. Ranker is now at the center of that, fairly or not. Who said life was fair?

    Ranker took certain responsibility when he was elected. How he will address this issue in the days and months ahead remains to be seen and will be watched with interest.

    But let's get back to the facts as they are being reported. For example, the driver voluntarily provided a blood alcohol test, there was no issue and the driver was released.

    The article referenced earlier was very specific: "The trucking company said it received a state permit to carry its oversized load across the bridge." You are correct in that article goes on to quote state officials as saying "It's their [the operator's] responsibility to make sure the load they have can travel on that route." And, that Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste blamed it on the too-tall load, referenced in Ranker's remarks during today's Council emergency session on the matter.

    However, the article states: "Department of Transportation had approved of the company's plan to drive the equipment along I-5 to Vancouver, Wash." DOT also noted there are no signs leading up to the bridge stating the bridge height. This is a remarkable oversight.

    The company and operators clearly have substantial experience. This is what they do for a living. And in fact they retained a local escort familiar with the route to accompany them. That's all standard operating procedure as I am sure you are aware.

    There will of course be an investigation and much will come out. However to flat out claim the load was "illegal" at this point in time seems a bit inflammatory at best.

    That you would make such a claim while simultaneously downplaying any responsibility of a public official speaks for itself. For example the lack of clear signage leading up to the bridge would have been a simple matter for a public official to address years ago.

    I believe readers can sense the spin machine cranking up in the background. It would not be surprising if Ranker pulled every string he could to pin this on the operator. Not surprising at all.

  28. That last comment is worthy of a "Don Pencil Lengthy Statement" award.


  29. Why did the Council have an emergency meeting? Theatre? What was the issue? What were they going to accomplish?

  30. Is it true? The oversized load was all the GHMB appeal documents?

  31. Yes apparently the Friends were in the process of serving a response memo on their CAO appeal. You remember, that CAO they demanded the County to pass into law ... so they could appeal it.

    As to that emergency meeting, well yeah, like, get our Senator in this room right now. Got some 'splainin to do boyo. Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. Economy. Jobs. All DEPENDENT now on ECO-TOURISM. What will the Ocean Hero do to get on message out there to make sure that bridge collapse won't collapse the one remaining economic sector we have.

    After having choked out all other sources of local enterprise with insane regulations and Friendly fussbudgets trespassing and snooping around.

    We also get to learn that the Mayor of Friday Harbor has a phobia of bridges. Yet another good reason to live on an island.

  32. Where was our glorious senator, Kevin Ranker? He was too busy pushing his far left wing enviro-nut agenda to worry about silly little things like roads and bridges. This is what happens when extreme leftist trust fund babies like Ranker, who has never held a real job in his life, control the state purse strings. Ranker is, and always will be, a tool of the extreme enviro-left.

  33. Heronistas...I kind of like the sound of that

  34. @ 8:47

    You got it all wrong! The bridge going out is exactly part of Ranker's "far left wing enviro-nut agenda". Think about it: how are you going to get rid of all the pesky meat robots so the archipeligooo can revert to its natural state? You are going to kill off the last, albeit pathetic, economic engine we have here.

    Ranker tore the bridge down! Personally! That will kill the economy, which will cause more people to leave! That will allow the rewilding of the archipeligooo! It is brilliant. Oh, he's a devious one, that wanker. What we need is a libertarian superhero to swoop in and save the day! Anybody know one?

  35. No one has stated the oblivious yet.....
    "wow, that bridge is all Dorfed up"

  36. @ 9:20 AM

    That is an intriguing theory of what they are now calling the "illegal overload."

    Were any precautions taken against Swelled Head Clearance? No! Where was Ranker that night? He won't say! Does he have an alibi? No!

    Fiendishly clever. Clamp off all sources of economic activity and funnel it down to tourism and then cut off the road access for the evil carbon spewing automobiles that bring millions of smug self satisfied eco-tourists to OVERLOAD the Anacortes ferry (ever seen Memorial Day traffic down the spur road in Anacortes?)

    Oh, and speaking of ferries, why are they out of commission so often? The Sealth is just now coming back on line.

    Mere coincidence?? We think not! The Truthiness is Out There, and so are we!

  37. The emergency was that Wanker desperately needed to assemble a group of officials so he could be the center of attention for 20 minutes. The point of the meeting was to transmit fawning saccharine compliments to one another, drop names, and continually interrupt the proceedings by saying "I'm getting texts right now from the Secretary of Transportation."

    Wanker could barely even stand to look at Jarman, so instead he flirted with Hughes for much of the time. During the emergency session, Ranker was so sweet on Hughes that I felt we were watching the budding of another beautiful state-county bro-mance in the form of Ranker-Hughes, the likes of which we haven't seen since the bro-mance between Stockdale-Fralick.

    God help us if we ever have a real disaster. Ranker would run right to make-up to get on Anderson Cooper.

  38. Those in the know are watching Lovel Pratt's "re-entry" as she begins to glow red-hot with her heat shield rapidly disintegrating. It'll take awhile for burn-out but it is inevitable. Look! Up in the air! It's bird, its a plane! No it's Comet Pratt!

    She is getting back to work, doing what she does best, setting out to destroy local family owned and operated businesses, and she is especially interested in those few remaining on Spring St. in Friday Harbor, and one in particular she has lavished personal attention on in years past.

    Lovel didn't hit the reset button so much as just hit the replay button because that is all she knows how to do. Word has it that she continues to be in denial over losing to Bob Jarman. A fluke. She deserved to win. She was meant to win. She had all the money. She did a makeover and starting wearing decent street clothing.

    Jarman really shouldn't be there. He is sitting in her seat. Obviously Senator Ranker is confused as well. Lovel has moved her council sessions in exile to the Bean and can be seen in serious consultations with various county staffers and Faceless Friends.

    Maybe she will do a guest column for Sharon Kivisto. We can hardly wait. She could call it "Zombies in Paradise."

  39. @ 10:42 AM

    Um. Watching this emergency session, it seems like the only Council member with established public safety credentials was cut out of the loop. Check it out. Watch carefully.

    If you can stomach Ranker taking up most of the session talking about himself and "name dropping" via texting in real time during the discussion. How rude.

    Jarman was the only person asking brief, sensible questions and actually cutting to the chase.

    We are so blessed to have Bob on board. Only adult in the room.

  40. Heronistas sounds a bit sexist. Probably should be Heronistas and Heronistos.

  41. @11:38
    What county staffers has Lovel the Pratt been schmoozing with?

  42. @11:38

    Actually, that would be a good question to ask Lovel ...

    It will come out soon enough.

  43. @ 12:07 PM

    Let's add cute green berets to the Trojan Heron shopping cart along with those coffee cups and T-Shirts. We're going to need lots of them.

  44. So silly that Mr. Ranker felt a need to come to Friday Harbor to ... create?..."emergency" routes.

    All you have to do is google alternate routes. Oh me oh my that guy is so ridiculous. Just shamefully so. Laughable if only he wasn't "real".

  45. It gave Kev an opportunity to leave the office early and start his holiday sooner. Wonder if we got billed for a plane ride, since it it was "official" business.

  46. For those who missed the emergency council meeting, here's a partial transcript, of our Senator's opening remarks:

    Sen Ranker: The details of my life are quite inconsequential.

    Council Chair Person: Oh no, please, please, let's hear about your childhood.

    Sen. Ranker: Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Some times he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical, summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of 12 I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it's breathtaking, I suggest you try it.

    Council Chair Person: You know, we have to stop.

  47. Folks, you gotta knock this stuff off. I know it IS fun, sometimes I laugh so hard the wife asks what is going on?

    For sure, we now have a full time implant tooling away to make mockery of the TH. Well, so what!

    Believing in total free speech as most on the TH do, it is interesting we got this individual on-board.

    I believe if we can produce the usual content we all respect here, this person will maybe come to realize, responsible government can happen. And that is the only goal most of us hope for.

  48. @8:32

    For those who might not know, the earlier quoted dialogue posted by a commenter is from Austin Powers.


  49. Watching Ranker make public mockery of us all ... "name dropping by texting" to draw attention to himself ...

    This is very, very silly. So is Austin Powers.

    Senator Ranker is just not the best embodiment of responsible government. Responsible government, however, is certainly possible.

    Is it true the TH has hired a full time intern? The FOSJ have had interns for years working as implants.

  50. This is all pretty lukewarm satire isn't it? Think about the Onion, Saturday Night Live, Oliphant political cartoons. Sometimes the satire does get a bit strong around here but I've noticed that it is usually pretty specific and targeted and it doesn't linger, we move on. Does Kevin deserve all these barbs?

    Those in the know understand that this is actually how Kevin himself behaves, behind closed doors, to other people. He has for years. Kevin operates as a back stabbing malicious gossip monger generally on the attack to ruin someone's good reputation. His own handlers encourage him, its important to make examples of others, in order to earn fear and respect. Is this good public policy? Nope, and not the tone we need set by our public officials.

    So, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    If Kevin will start to behave himself where it really matters, in his personal relationships to constituents, perhaps he will be more deserving of compliments. He is not exactly the adult in the room, and we can do better.

  51. @9:42

    I agree. Kevin has little or no integrity.

  52. Listening to the dignitaries at the press conference Governor Inslee had Friday with Sen Cantwell and others, I picked a possibly helpful line. Senator Cantwell said they would make the bridge repair process as quick as possible. She said that she would help make all permitting processes as expedient as possible.I believe this means the environmental,archeological,etc studies would be waved.We should watch this process carefully and use it our property rights defense when needed.

  53. 7:21PM
    I only respond because of the gross error of the comments, for almost forty years I have known the practice of Navigating oversized loads throughout the nation, it is indeed the trucking company's responsibility to navigate the routes and determine the clearances. many if not most of the clearance information is not posted along the way. the load therefore was indeed unlawful for the load onboard. Permits do not license negligence!

  54. Trojan Heron Readers are indeed Victims of a management of their very own employees that should be serving the client they serve, and that pays their salaries. In my house when the accounts are down we all equally accommodate the shortfalls. We all take pay cuts, we give up essential services, like dentistry insurance, optical insurance, beef entertainment, autos and even food.
    our county managers have no clue the cuts that we that are providing a job to our government workers do and are taking.