Marin County: What it’s like to live in one of the most affluent and liberal outposts in America

Marin County — blessed by nature and haven to the rich.  It’s where I live.  My house is blessed by nature and my neighborhood is a haven to the Marin middle class (a middle class that works ridiculously hard and pays obscene sums of money for the pleasure of living in a beautiful place, with a temperate climate and excellent public schools).

Marin County is also one of the most liberal and, therefore, reactionary counties in America.  Norman Rogers captures it perfectly:

The population of Marin is overwhelmingly white, Democrat, and financially well-off. In 2008, nearly 80% of the vote went to Obama. The main minority consists of Spanish-speaking immigrants who prosper by providing services such as gardening, house-cleaning, and child care. The going rate for babysitting is close to $20 an hour. Although official statistics say that the Hispanics have low incomes, those statistics are based on the assumption that landscapers and babysitters, often in the country illegally, carefully report their earnings to the government.

[snip]

In Marin there are shared values, and it is expected that the residents will toe the line. One of those shared values is a kind of make-believe tolerance. The reality is that the inhabitants of Marin are just as conformist and narrow-minded as are the inhabitants of flyover small towns ridiculed by Hollywood or Ivy-League sociology professors. Deviations from expectations will usually generate silent disapproval rather than verbal correction. However, if you depart too far from expectations, you may experience vigorous disapproval.

[snip]

Marin political ideology is nominally progressive or liberal. But for local issues, virulently reactionary politics is the norm. It seems that the typical resident of Marin wants everything to remain exactly the same as it was on the day he moved to Marin. A hilarious example of this was the 1977 water crisis. A two-year drought caused the reservoirs to run nearly dry. The situation was saved only by building an emergency pipeline that was run on the surface of the 6-mile-long Richmond San Rafael Bridge to bring in water from water agencies that had better planning or weren’t suffering from political opposition to everything new. Thirty-five years later, the problem still exists, and the water district is still proposing solutions that are shot down by anti-development Marin people.

[snip]

Smart people lacking a solid education are susceptible to crackpot ideas, be they global warming, the evil of plastic bags, radio waves making people sick, or Steve Jobs’ theory of healing cancer with nutrition.

You can read the rest here.

From reading the last paragraph Rogers wrote, you might think that Marin County is a bizarre combination of NIMBY-ism, hard Left politics, and reactionary fervor because the people are uneducated.  In fact, the contrary is true:  they’re over-educated, and their politics are a perfect reflection of people who drank the Kool-Aid in the Ivy League colleges, and ultra-liberal State Universities, or at even more ultra-liberal “liberal” arts colleges.  These are all people who Left their expensive universities for well-paying jobs, and are now making sure that the rest of America goes broke.  I know these people well, and I can assure you that most don’t have a mean or manipulative bone in their body.  In other words, Marin does not boast an army of mini-George Soros clones.  They actually believe that their ultra-liberal politics will indeed create the rising tide that lifts all boats.  Thus, Marin is populated by an army of those mindlessly indoctrinated by Soros’ ideas.

That’s Marin.  And these are three stories ripped from today’s headlines in the Marin Independent Journal.

First, we learn that Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, one of the major arteries in Marin, is finally going to undergo an upgrade.  This is a road that varies between four lines and two lines as it wends its way from Larkspur, which is on the Bay, to Olema, which is kissing cousins with the Pacific.  It travels through pretty suburban communities (including ultra-rich Ross), verdant Pacific forests, and ends up in a little hippy-dippy town.  During the morning and evening commute, it’s a nightmare, with traffic going at paces that would bore a snail.  It’s an old road that has completely decomposed in the more westerly segments, and it does not serve the modern community’s needs very well.  A little improvement would be useful, even if it was only timing the traffic lights better.  Which gets us back to the upgrade.  This is what it takes to improve a road in Marin:

It took three years of study, more than a dozen community meetings and county hearings and countless hours by public works staffers who hurdled a gauntlet of challenges outlined in a $1 million environmental analysis. But shovels finally will hit the ground this summer on repair of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard through Samuel P. Taylor Park.

First, however, permits will be needed from agencies including the state Regional Water Quality Control Board and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The county public works crew has taken no chances, reviewing every aspect of the 5.2-mile stretch of roadway with regional officials who are expected to flash the green light for the project, estimated to cost $5.5 million.

“We’ve been talking with them for years about this, walking every foot, looking at each of the 72 drainage culverts” planned, said Public Works Director Bob Beaumont. “We’re looking forward to getting the project moving.”

Or, as put by Ernest Klock, the county principal civil engineer overseeing the project, “We’re ecstatic!”

[snip]

Because spotted owls nest in the area, construction is limited to weekdays from August to November, Beaumont said, noting that the birds, sediment affecting creek and fish habitat, redwood trees and other matters were among numerous constraints faced by project planners.

I’m all for preserving Marin’s beauty and character — after all, that beauty and character explains why we pay the big bucks to live here.  But a $1 million environmental analysis and a $5.5 million cost bill strike me as somewhat excessive for a repair that essentially boils down to less than five miles of road.  (The distance is my best guesstimate from reading the project’s description.)  That’s more than a million dollars a mile.

Not only are Marinites willing to spend vast sums of money to placate the Sierra Club gods, they’re also willing to whistle away even greater sums of money in homage to those same gods.  I’ve posted here before about a Marin community’s fierce resistance to a George Lucas project that would have created a gorgeous, pastoral office park that would have employed hundreds of people and brought in millions of dollars.  George Lucas eventually said “forget about it.”  He was in such a snitch that, not only did he ignore the county’s panicked blandishments offering to back down from some of its more extreme positions, he promised to sell the land to a low-income, high-density developer.  Other communities, less stridently liberal than Marin, are leaping on the opportunity to host Lucas’ project:

Local leaders hope Luke Skywalker will pack up his lightsaber and come to a galaxy not so far away.

The city is trying to lure George Lucas’ company Lucasfilm Ltd. — the force behind the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises — to Walnut Creek and entice the filmmaking giant to build a big movie production studio in the Shadelands Business Park.

This comes after Lucasfilm development arm Skywalker Properties yanked plans to build a film studio on Grady Ranch in rural Marin County last month. The surprising move came after decades of homeowner opposition and difficulty obtaining necessary development permits in Marin.

A pitch from the Walnut Creek city manager sent to Lucasfilm boasts of the city’s 97 percent business occupancy rate downtown, its health care facilities, open space, business partnerships and top-performing schools — not to mention two nearby BART stations, Mount Diablo and various housing options.

Hey, George!  That sounds like a good deal to me.

And finally, a look at one of the Congressional candidates in Marin.  The seat is open now, because Lynn Woolsey is retiring.  The current front-runner, Jared Huffman, is the candidate who passes for a “centrist” in Marin politics.  He’s not.  As I wrote in an earlier post, every one of his positions is consistent with the hard Progressive political menu.  Norman Solomon’s candidacy, however, proves why Huffman sounds normal:

Solomon, who has dedicated his life to political activism — opposing war, nuclear proliferation, nuclear power plants and environmental degradation — is one of a dozen candidates competing in the June 5 primary for the new 2nd District congressional seat.

[snip]

Solomon attended Reed College in Portland, Ore. in 1970 but only for about a month.

“The Vietnam War was raging,” Solomon said. “I found political activity much more compelling than sitting in the classroom. I went to just a lot of anti-war demonstrations in the late ’60s and early ’70s.”

[snip]

In 1972 when he and other protesters tried to blockade the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Solomon was Maced and sent to jail for four days.

“I studied nonviolence and practiced it,” Solomon said. “We were inspired by the civil rights movement and brought that to the anti-war and anti-nuclear movement.”

In the late 1970s, Solomon was sent to jail again, this time for 40 days, for repeatedly protesting for the closure of the Trojan Nuclear Plant, near Rainier, Ore., and mounting a nonviolent blockade of a train carrying nuclear warheads to Bangor, Wash.

[snip]

During the 1970s, Solomon also began doing freelance reporting for the Pacific News Service and became an associate of the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley. Articles Solomon wrote for The Progressive and The Nation, chronicling the exposure of members of the U.S. military to radiation during bomb tests, led to the writing of the first of his 12 books. In partnership with Harvey Wasserman, Solomon wrote “Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation.”

After Ronald Reagan’s election as president in the 1980s, Solomon and Anthony Guarisco, founder of the International Alliance of Atomic Veterans, traveled to Moscow where they organized a sit-in at the U.S. Embassy calling for the U.S. to join the Soviet Union in a halt to tests of nuclear bombs.

And on and on and on, with Solomon at the forefront of every single radical Left activity American politics could offer.  You won’t be surprised at his approach to the Iraq War:

Solomon published “Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You,” prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and made three trips to Iraq, one accompanied by actor Sean Penn, in an effort to head off the war. Solomon said that as the drum beat for war in Iraq grew louder, many liberal Democrats failed to speak out, just as they did initially during the Vietnam War.

Solomon said, “I understand the truth of the AIDS activist slogan that was adopted in the late 1980s: silence equals death.”

Interestingly, though, once you get past his past, Solomon’s laundry list of political ideas is virtually identical to every other Democrat candidate:

If elected to Congress, Solomon said his first priority would be to boost public investment in green jobs, education, housing, infrastructure, health care, public transportation, environmental protection and retirement security while cutting military spending, imposing a transaction tax on Wall Street, plugging tax loopholes for corporations and ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

I urge you to go to the newspaper article, scroll down to the bottom, and read Solomon’s specific political ideas, in his own words.  He is a perfect snapshot of the Progressive candidate, unleashed.  By the way, although I’ve never met him, I’d willingly bet that he’s charming at school cocktail parties and a nice guy to say “hello” to in the grocery store aisles (if you can even see him behind the cloth grocery bags stacked high in his shopping cart).  Marin liberals are very pleasant human beings, despite being animated by ideas that, if taken to the logical conclusion, would drag us through British politics, then Greek politics, then Cuban politics.

And now let me introduce you to Dan Roberts, a candidate who doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning.  In rational world, of course, if Marin-ites voted in their true self-interest (one that keeps Marin rich and beautiful, while preserving America’s overall strength and wealth), a moderate Republican candidate should sweep the board:

Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Dan Roberts was leading his troops back from a patrol through Vietnam’s Elephant Valley near Da Nang in 1966 when a mine exploded, killing one soldier and piercing Roberts’ left leg with shrapnel.

“I guess there was an element of shock and disbelief. I had these fragments of shrapnel going through my left calf,” Roberts said. After his radio operator had staunched the blood coming from his leg and bandaged the wound, Roberts said he “organized a defensive perimeter and helped the choppers come in to evacuate the wounded.” Eventually, he was airlifted out himself and sent to a military field hospital for treatment.

[snip]

Roberts grew up in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. His mother’s great great grandfather came to California in 1849 to mine for gold.  Roberts’ father worked as a Teamster warehouseman in San Francisco, and his mother was a full-time homemaker. Roberts attended Lowell High School [Ed.:  My alma mater too], even though it required more than an hour’s bus ride to get there.

Roberts said his family members were all “hard-core Democrats.” But Roberts’ politics took a different turn while he was earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University from 1960 to 1965. He paid for his education by working nights as a janitor and as a golf caddy on weekends.

“I saw the beginning of the takeover by the liberal elements of that wonderful institution,” he said, “and I objected to that.”  [He was right to object.  SF State, which boasts Angela Davis as a faculty member, is one of the most hard core Leftist schools in America, and a haven for antisemites.]

[snip]

Roberts enlisted in the Marines in 1964. He had heard stories about military service from his uncles who served in the Navy and from other family members. He was motivated by patriotism, a yearning for adventure and a desire for excellence, which he associated with the Marine Corps.

After making it through Officer Candidate School, Roberts was sent to Vietnam in 1966 as a second lieutenant. He served as an artillery forward observer, slipping behind enemy lines to direct the fire of U.S. howitzers. After being wounded, Roberts had to relearn how to walk; his left leg remains partially paralyzed to this day. He served out the remainder of his tour of duty with a mortar battery.

[snip]

After leaving the Marines, Roberts earned his master’s in business administration at Loyola University Chicago by attending night classes while working as a salesman for the Monsanto Co. Then he returned to San Francisco, where from 1972 to 1987 he sold stocks and bonds for Dean Witter & Co., rising to the position of manager.

In 1987, Roberts left Dean Witter and founded his own investment firm, Roberts & Ryan Investment Inc. in San Francisco, which he continues to operate. There is no Ryan. Roberts tried to register the business simply as Roberts Investment but “every iteration of Roberts was taken.”

[snip]

Roberts’ wife died in 1985; his sons were 9, 15 and 17 at the time.

“So to some extent I had to play both roles,” he said.

[snip]

So far, Roberts has invested $160,000 of his own money in his congressional campaign. If he wins and goes to Washington D.C., Roberts said he will focus on cutting federal spending and reducing corporate and individual taxes.

“The government can never create a job,” Roberts said. “It just takes money from people who pay taxes and gives it to a third party. It’s a transfer payment at best.”

This is a man of substance, decency, and common sense.  As I said, he doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning here in Marin.  I deeply admire his willingness to join the battle though.  (Not surprising, I guess, given the fact that he’s a Marine.)

Please check out the newspaper article, scroll down to the end, and compare Roberts’ political positions with those that Solomon advances.  Roberts own website is here, if you’d like to make a contribution to his bravely quixotic effort.

Marin County — land of the rich and crazy.

 

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Comments

  1. Charles Martel says

    I’ll agree with you, Book, that the hard-core leftism of Marin politics often comes housed in sweet souls whom you’d be happy to have live next door. But I disagree that Marinites are educated or even over-educated. They are credentialed, which has little to do with being educated. An educated person knows how to think and how to apply logic. A credentialed person, at best, has a certifiable skill that he has been licensed to apply in the real world. But that credential does not mean that he has or leads a life of the mind.
     
    A longtime friend of mine (we’re heading into San Francisco this Wednesday to check out rooftop parks downtown) is a psychologist with a thriving practice helping corporations get derailed executives quickly back on track. He’s damned good at getting his patients to see how and why they’re coming off the rails. He says the fact that all of them are highly intelligent dramatically speeds up the process of gaining and applying insights: “They’re used to taking new information and using it in productive and efficient ways.”
     
    The problem is, my friend is a knee-jerk liberal. He was astounded to learn that I was tea Party member because all of the organs of “information” he relies on had told him I should be out queer bashing and knuckle walking. He once told me that after viewing a BBC-produced documentary on the assassination of JFK that it was LBJ who masterminded the crime. I was so appalled that I didn’t even try to introduce some sanity into the discussion. An educated man simply would have laughed at the BBC program and we would have had a great time discussing why it was so manipulative and lame.
     
    Another longtime friend recently retired from his position as CFO at a multi-billion dollar bank. He has an MBA in finance, seasoned by almost 30 years of post-post-graduate work on the job. He is a socialist. He reads the New York Times and Newsweek(!) religiously. Ironically, he is also an atheist of the variety who believes (but does not live as though he believes) that the universe is a meaningless, pointless place and that there is no such thing as free will. After he retired, he told me that he was going to write a grand essay on how high-tax societies create more wealth and enjoy higher standards of living than low-tax societies. This was just before Europe’s socialist schemes began unraveling and Obama’s spigot-style stimuluses began wrecking the U.S. economy.  
     
    The last time I checked with him, his essay project is on hold. Has he changed his mind? No. An educated man, open to new information, would have. But to his mind’s eye, the “education” he received at his atheist father’s knee, and the memes he digests from the NYT and NPR, are all the education he will ever need. He’s just biding his time until the random, amoral universe comes to its senses and reasserts its one truth: high taxes—socialism—are good.
     
    I have other examples, but these two will do. I honestly do not run into many educated people in Marin, in the sense of people who would prefer to discuss ideas rather than things, or who can coherently discuss ideas without falling back on whatever duckspeaker pap the limited media they allow in their lives pushes at them on a daily basis.
     
    Like Book, I enjoy the company of my uneducated liberal friends. We scrupulously avoid politics and leave it at that. They know not to go there for two reasons: 1.) They become easily angered, which makes them lose control; and 2.) they are not masters of fact or logic, which belies their claim that they are “educated.”

  2. says

    Useful idiots will be put up against a wall and shot come the Revolution when their use ceases and they become an annoying obstacle of mindless drones. That is all. The difference isn’t between credentialed or education. the difference is between a person that thinks things because they were told by others, and a person that thinks things because that’s what they came up by themselves.

    The difference is thus between a shu student, who in martial arts simply copies forms and does as he is told without ever understanding or integrating martial theory, and the ha student, the student that learns by making martial knowledge his own. 

  3. Caped Crusader says

    Bookworm, “My Faithful Indian Companion”, (a little tribute to Elizabeth Warren), I know whereof you speak when exposed to NIMBY people, for in the summer of 1963 we were living on the campus of Colby College in Waterville Maine, taking an intense post grad medical course prior to starting residency. Most of our neighbors were East coast liberals (actually pretty nice, rational, and sane compared to today) and prior to that summer the civil rights struggle was almost an entirely Southern phenomenon. That summer it hit the big cities in the East with gale force and the NIMBY people were in unbelieving shock and awe; wondered and asked –”why is this happening to us, we are on their side?”. I well remember returning to our room at lunch one day to find one of our neighbors, a nice but quintessential NY Jewish liberal, greeting me ashen faced, by saying his father was unable to get to work because “they” had blocked the Long Island Expressway, and completely mystified as to why it was happening to “them”. He stated, “they would like to do more for ‘them’, but they just did not have the facilities to accommodate “them”. I always felt that this was a strange choice of words and when asked what facilities they needed, he was completely dumbfounded for an answer. As the unrest mushroomed, we relatively few Southerners spent the summer in LMAO mode.
    Proving that nearly everyone discriminates against some group, the local hospital refused to admit one of our classmates who was Hawaiian. Finally after the Southern group raising hell he was admitted and treated for a diabetic coma. And I thought it strange that all our Chinese or Japanese ancestry classmates were from Southern schools for they were, at that time in history, a very small part of our population.

  4. says

    Martel, I was talking to a Jehovah’s Witness about fear vis a vis self defense or the use of violence. I told him that often times people need either the strength of faith or the knowledge that they can handle themselves physically, before they can de-escalate violence. Your LibProg friends would be those people who lack either and would easily get angry and escalate a situation into conflict, whereas real pacifists, such as the Witnesses, avoid conflict and do not use violent words or actions. They avoid conflict because they have the confidence to do so. Others, like some of the people I know, avoid violence because they know that they are very good at violence and thus understand the consequences of violence, verbal or physical.

    The reason why many don’t invite Witnesses into their house or like talking to them is because they’re full of fear in their hearts. Fear that what they believe is wrong. Fear that by talking to someone else, their minds will be “re-brainwashed”. On top of the brainwashing they got from the Libprogs that is. I have no such vulnerabilities, thus I don’t feel fear, and without fear, there’s not much anger there either. Some people I know that tell me they want to learn self defense from me, won’t unlock or open their doors even in daylight while they are at home. That kind of fear, that says somebody will come in off the street and that they cannot handle that, so they lock the doors and close them…. is irrational. I far prefer to live in my world, where I don’t close my doors. I welcome almost anyone. And those that seek to do violence to me, will be welcomed into my home, and never allowed to leave except in a body bag. Life is very simple when people adhere to the truth of things and stop being scared of reality.

    We come back to the ultimate truth at the end. Whatever the Left accuses us of, was only ever true of the Left.

  5. SADIE says

    “Thirty-five years later, the problem still exists, and the water district is still proposing solutions that are shot down by anti-development Marin people.”
     
     
    “They actually believe that their ultra-liberal politics will indeed create the rising tide that lifts all boats.”

    All good members in standing of the Dry Dock Committee, no doubt.  

  6. jj says

    It’s interesting to me to read what it takes to get 5 miles of road repaired in Marin, but I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a west coast disease.  The state of Washington will likewise spend years – literal years – talking about it before they do anything.  The city of Seattle features a waterfront viaduct, that was badly damaged in the Nisqually earthquake in whenever-the-hell it was, so long ago back in the 1990s I don’t even remember.  It’s a mess, and ought to be an embarrassment to any American city: chunks fall out of it, it shakes and rolls, every month they shut it down for a weekend day so they can measure how far it’s sunk.  (About four inches so far this year, which is a moderate performance, given that they’ve been measuring this for damned near twenty years.)  By a week after the earthquake the engineers reported that the road was no longer safe, and needed to be replaced.  They’ve been talking about what to replace it with, and how to go about it, ever since.  It looks like there’s going to be a tunnel, and the waterfront will be completely remade, to basically be a big park.  Very nice.  residents of the city of Seattle are being asked to vote on this “deep-bore” tunnel this fall.  That they have already voted on it on five previous occasions – this will be the 6th – seems not to matter.  We have to be really, really, really, really sure that this is what Seattle wants to do.  (There being no other practical option would make it easier, you’d think – but you’d be wrong.) 
     
    I think they figure that if they talk about it long enough, the next earthquake will just bring the goddam thing down, and they won’t have to pay to demolish it.  There’ll be a few lawsuits for wrongful deaths, etc. – but they’ll be cheaper than yet another study.  (Oh boy, do we have a library of studies!  I bet the studies have cost a billion dollars, there have been so many of them in more than a decade.)
     
    I’m from New York.  You can laugh at New York if you want to, you can justify calling it by any epithet of which you can think, you can say just about anything, but you know what?  New York works.  It functions.  Something breaks, it gets fixed.  If a road needs to be repaired, then the mayor – no matter who it is – I lived through plenty of them, right up to Bloomberg – eventually says; “Fix the goddam road.  Now.”  And the meeting moves on to the next thing.  New York rude, right?  But the goddam road gets fixed.  There’s a minimum of BS.  I look at Seattle, it’s nothing but BS.  So is LA, Portland Oregon, Sacramento, and, evidently, Marin County.  Talking it nto death, endlessly talking, endlessly studying, never quite getting around to doing anything until long after anybody who gave a damn has died – that’s a west coast disease.  Maybe the west coast disease.     

  7. says

    America is actually composed of several sub-cultures, which people aren’t normally aware about. The West coast is one culture, headed by California being the richest and most populous state. Then New England is its own sub culture or even subcategory of sub cultures. Then there’s the Mid lands, what people call fly over country, which is sort of centered by Colorado in the middle and Montana in the far north. Then we have the South, composed of various states from the southwest, Texas, to the southeast, Florida.

     If it wasn’t for the US Constitution and several attempts backed by war and violence, the US would have easily fragmented into various different nation-states, all shared by a common language. And the world would have been a very different place.

     These sub-cultures can often times co-exist in the same city. But the moment they destroy the US Constitution’s power over the US, then nothing else holds them together.

  8. says

    Marin is a good example of a topic I raised before. Revolutions are supported typically by two classes, the lower slave or servant class and the rich politically connected class. The middle class is in the way of the Revolution and is usually the first one to be executed with extreme prejudice, but they aren’t the last ones. Usually the last ones to go are the rich classes themselves. After having funded the revolution, after having given their social imprimatur to the revolution, after having used their power to allow the revolution to occur, they have destroyed the very status quo that gave them power, security, and wealth. They do so in the belief that they can “control” the uneducated, dumb, mob that they own because they pay for the care of said mob. But usually the Revolution, once in power, purges the useful idiots from the face of existence.

     They believed so in Iran. They believed so in Cuba. They were wrong. And they will be wrong in Marin too.

  9. Charles Martel says

    jj, yesterday I was on the road that goes past San Quentin prison toward East Bay. There’s a great view south to the eastern section of the Bay Bridge, which is being rebuilt in response to damage from the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. 
     
    1989! Twenty-three years ago, and only now are the powers that be within 12 months of completing a supposedly quake-proof successor span. Much of the years-long wrangling was over the design of the new eastern approach. East Bay mayors wanted a “signature look,” and delayed the rebuild by a dozen years until they got what they wanted.
     
    What they wanted is a 525-foot-high suspension bridge tower—a totally unnecessary add-on to the original concept of a 10-lane viaduct leading up to the island tunnel that marks the bridge’s halfway point. Their side of the bay, they argued, “deserved” a tower to rival the four iconic towers of the western section of the span.
     
    But what really makes the whole project even more surreal is that the suspension bridge is “self-anchored.” The cables that its tower supports up wrap around and meet themselves in a groove around the roadway level. They are not held taut or anchored externally in a solid concrete box on nearby Yerba Buena Island, which would make them almost impervious to the effects of an earthquake.
     
    No. The geniuses who designed the self-anchoring bridge have assured us that it will be able to withstand any foreseeable earthquake. I love that. The engineers are like Pentagon types who are always preparing in earnest for the last war. Every earthquake ever recorded has a distinct “signature.” Its wave patterns and oscillations are unique. Yes, the self-anchored suspension bridge will survive every earthquake that’s ever occurred until the one that’s never been planned for comes along and works against the tower’s natural defect, namely, that one unexpected jolt or jump will collapse its support of the roadway.
     
    Adding insult to injury is that the steel for the tower was made in China. The first steel components were rejected by U.S. inspectors who found grave faults in them. But the Chinese “fixed” the problem, and we have been reassured since then that the tower is made from the finest Chinese steel. Obviously my concerns about the thoroughly corrupt nature of the Chinese economy and the possibility that American bridge inspectors are under immense pressure to now accept Chinese tower components is simple paranoia on my part.
     
    Still, I feel that the possibility has been ruined that I can ever again say, “If you believe that, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.” The idiots who run California have already bought an overpriced bridge in the Bay Area, and the main components of the damned thing are cheap Chinese crap steel and the egomania of our local engineers and politicians. Once again, reality trumps satire.

  10. MacG says

    “They actually believe that their ultra-liberal politics will indeed create the rising tide that lifts all boats.”
    Since these types are PC color blind they cannot see that it is a red tide they are creating…works on a coule of levels.

    If we could just melt the ice in the glass of water then we’d have more water…

    What they cannot see is beyond the first impresion.  Recently there was a call to dredge Richardson Bay to alleviate the flooding along the low lying bicycle path and roads in the area rather than raising the roads and bike path.  Sounds good till one realizes that it could be dredged a mle deep and it would still flood at high tide. Fill it in and put in a sea wall will help which come to think of it it is what nature is doing at the moment.

  11. SADIE says

    “Sounds good till one realizes that it could be dredged a mile deep and it would still flood at high tide.”

    Is that a direct quote from “drain the swamp” Nanoo-nanoo Pelousy? ;)

  12. says

    Book, what kinds of professions do the people there tend to follow? That is, what is Marin “exporting” to the rest of the country to pay for the goods & services which it is importing in considerable quantities?

  13. Danny Lemieux says

    No, by all means, Monseigneur Hammer, please do keep the anecdotal descriptions of your liberal fauna friends coming. They make for a most interesting anthropological discourse on the life and habits of Homo erectus megadufus

    David Foster …excellent question! Somewhere, somehow, there must be a rationale. Is it food sources, nesting habits, lack of predators…?

    In the islands of the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, many bird species became flightless, as there was no need to escape (nonexistent) predators. Eventually, these birds just sat around, gorging themselves on fattening food and  mating prolifically with one another to produce vaste hordes of similarly stupid and vapid youngsters. The day came, of course, when they could only look with uncomprehending puzzlement as sailors arrived to make of them a ready harvest for food. And so thus did the Great Dodos finally serve their purpose and become extinct.

     

  14. Charles Martel says

    David, law, medicine, real estate, finance, and consulting. One of the reasons why San Francisco, which is one-tenth the size of New York and one-fifth the size of Los Angeles, has such clout for a small city (800,000 people) is that it has attracted a core of savvy bankers and lawyers who help the yokels down in Silicon Valley with their loans, liens, and liaisons. The region has also always had superlative medical facilities, so it is very much catnip for the best and brightest.
     
    Marin itself produces almost nothing,* save great terrain and a mild, sunny climate that attracts those smart San Francisco go-getters. After a hard day in the Financial District duking it out with uptight Londoners, New Yorkers, and Hong Kongers, what better reward than to escape to a soothing, almost minority-free suburban paradise? 
     
    (* The county still has great dairies and oyster farms. Our artisanal cheeses have won international honors, and our bivalves, downed raw or slathered with hot BBQ sauce and accompanied by a locally brewed beer, are almost good enough to make an atheist believe in God.)

  15. USMaleSF says

    I don’t know if any of you remember the 1980 film about Marin, “Serial”, with Martin Mull and Tuesday Weld. Available on DVD. Not much has changed.

  16. MacG says

    USMaleSF the only difference now is that the hot tubs are purified through a bioswale and the peacock feathers are sustainbly farmed. :)

  17. BridgeDesigner says

    Not to get off topic, but $5.5 million for five miles of road is not completely out of line. In New York State (outside NYC) we ballpark complete reconstruction of a road (rip it out and put it back brand new) at $1 million per lane-mile.  Of course that’s also why it’s the treatment of last resort.  There are cheaper options.

    Environmental process is a killer for any infrastructure project, though. I never like that our process takes 12-18 months, but compared to three years? Sheesh!

    • says

      You’re not at all off-topic, BridgeDesigner. You’ve simply highlighted the insanity that is modern infrastructure work. The Left keeps touting what happened in the 1930s as the Progressive role model (Hoover Dam and other WPA projects), but those projects would never happen today.

      I was talking with DQ at lunch about the fact that today’s modern infrastructure projects are proof positive that government projects, while they may provide jobs, never produce wealth. If a private corporation ran a project the way the government does, that corporation would be out of business in a couple of years, because wealth would have drained away. As John Stossel pithily said in his book No They Can’t, “Creating jobs is not difficult for government. What is difficult is creating jobs that produce wealth.”

  18. BridgeDesigner says

    Infrastructure provides jobs, but fewer than you might think. There seems to be a 1930′s mindset in the political sphere that we still build things with wheelbarrows and shovels. A good equipment operator is the product of years of practice. They do not grow on trees. Due to mechanization, the heavy construction industry is less elastic tha it was 80 years ago. Dumping cash into infrastructure produces continued employment for the currently employed and more dollars chasing an essentially fixed pool of talent and equipment. In the short term, one finds higher prices but do it long enough and I’d bet you could build another economic bubble.

  19. corstar7 says

    Wow, thank you so much for writing this! Finally, people saying what many have been thinking and have known for a long long time, Marin has gone off the charts Left and most people I know are leaving! :(

Trackbacks

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