Jerry Brown excuses government incompetence: 'Sh*t happens'

Thomas Lifson
A massive screw-up by the state of California is being brushed off by Governor Jerry Brown with a barnyard expression: "Sh*t happens." The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, a multi-billion dollar endeavor, turns out to have used faulty bolts to fasten the bridge to its pier.  "A third out of 96 threaded steel rods -- 3 inches thick and 9 to 24 feet long -- snapped in early March after crews tightened them down with nuts," writes Steven Harmon of the Bay Area News Group.

The new bridge was to open on Labor Day, but there may be delays as engineers struggle to come up with a solution. A new span has been needed since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which revealed that the old eastern span was in danger of collapse in another temblor. A new bridge was proposed that could have been quickly built using existing technology. But instead, Californians are waiting many more years using a vulnerable span, and paying a multiple of the costs of the original proposal thanks to none other than Jerry Brown. Harmon writes:

 Since the bolts were discovered, Brown had refrained from commenting on a project that he'd embraced as far back as when he was running for mayor in Oakland and had pushed for a spectacular design that could serve as a "civic symbol" for Oakland, a triumph of design and function.

At the time, then-Gov. Pete Wilson sought a more utilitarian replacement span, which was panned by Elihu Harris, Oakland's outgoing mayor, as "a freeway on stilts." Harris, Brown and other leaders saw the new Bay Bridge as a gateway, a chance to show off the Oakland ports and hills.

"We want excellence, not average," said Brown, who'd just been elected as mayor.

Here is innovative, expensive, and troublesome design that met Brown's standard of excellence:


Here is an example of the type of "freeway on stilts" that Brown derided as inadequate, the Benicia Bridge over the Carquinez Straits, finished in 2007, a structure I travel on a few times a month, and which I regard as attractive and very easy to drive on.


It is unconscionable that so many lives have been endangered, so many billions squandered, and such incompetent management employed. If one were to apply a two word obscene expression to the matter, I would choose a different one than Governor Brown, and the second word would be "you."

A massive screw-up by the state of California is being brushed off by Governor Jerry Brown with a barnyard expression: "Sh*t happens." The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, a multi-billion dollar endeavor, turns out to have used faulty bolts to fasten the bridge to its pier.  "A third out of 96 threaded steel rods -- 3 inches thick and 9 to 24 feet long -- snapped in early March after crews tightened them down with nuts," writes Steven Harmon of the Bay Area News Group.

The new bridge was to open on Labor Day, but there may be delays as engineers struggle to come up with a solution. A new span has been needed since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which revealed that the old eastern span was in danger of collapse in another temblor. A new bridge was proposed that could have been quickly built using existing technology. But instead, Californians are waiting many more years using a vulnerable span, and paying a multiple of the costs of the original proposal thanks to none other than Jerry Brown. Harmon writes:

 Since the bolts were discovered, Brown had refrained from commenting on a project that he'd embraced as far back as when he was running for mayor in Oakland and had pushed for a spectacular design that could serve as a "civic symbol" for Oakland, a triumph of design and function.

At the time, then-Gov. Pete Wilson sought a more utilitarian replacement span, which was panned by Elihu Harris, Oakland's outgoing mayor, as "a freeway on stilts." Harris, Brown and other leaders saw the new Bay Bridge as a gateway, a chance to show off the Oakland ports and hills.

"We want excellence, not average," said Brown, who'd just been elected as mayor.

Here is innovative, expensive, and troublesome design that met Brown's standard of excellence:


Here is an example of the type of "freeway on stilts" that Brown derided as inadequate, the Benicia Bridge over the Carquinez Straits, finished in 2007, a structure I travel on a few times a month, and which I regard as attractive and very easy to drive on.


It is unconscionable that so many lives have been endangered, so many billions squandered, and such incompetent management employed. If one were to apply a two word obscene expression to the matter, I would choose a different one than Governor Brown, and the second word would be "you."