Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Did you ever see that movie "Dave" that starred Kevin Kline and was about the doppelganger who posed as the president married to Sigourney Weaver? (Wow - - doppelganger and Sigourney both in one sentence - - a spelling challenge). But, back to the question. Did you ever see that movie?

In one scene sequence, Dave invites his accountant buddy, played by Charles Grodin, to help him come and look at the country's books to squeeze out some money for a homeless shelter. In then end, they cull some of the pork and voila! they have funding for a shelter.

While I was reading the SF Chronicle today, I had a "Dave" moment. On the front page was the typical blather about how CA doesn't yet have a signed budget and that Schwarzenegger (yet one more 25cent word) is going to try to get it together by making dramatic cuts in education funding. CA is already ranked 47th in total student spending - - less than Tennessee!! Yes, please let's cut the education funding. This makes sense???

This kind of stuck with me as I traversed the rest of the paper and headed towards the "Bay Area" section. This section is most often where I find the stories that bring a smile to my face. Not because the are traditionally funny, but because they are so illustrative of some of the absolute stupidity that can make up the daily news in SF. Beyond that, there are the obits and I have a thing for reading those (a question for another day). In any event, today in the Bay it was reported that there were only 34 suicides in '08 off the Golden Gate bridge. This was slightly higher than in past years, but given the economic conditions of the state and the country - - are we not surprised that this number wasn't higher? Yet, I digress.

The connection here is that the tiny little blurb on page B3 reminded us Californians that we were going to be doing something to stem this flow of jumpers. We were going to help our fellow humans. Yes! We are going to spend $50 million dollars to build a snazzy little safety net under the bridge to catch those poor souls that wish to leave their earthly bounds sooner rather than later. $50 million. $50 million!!!!

So, in my "Dave" moment - - I thought - - $50 million to build a net to catch 34 people (and possibly not all of them California Residents as I could imagine that to some out-of-state suicidal folks there might be some last ditch poetry in making a final pilgrimage to the Golden Gate and going out in style).??? OR, here's a thought - - how about we forgo the net and, oh I don't know, do something better with the $50mil. Like, hmmmm, what? Give it to the damn schools.

And, the worst part is that there are surely a million other stupid projects like this going on all over California - - not to mention the US as a whole. Makes you wonder how the folks righteously serving these projects justify taking money from education to fund their absurdities. Like the new project that will study why the regular alligator at the SF zoo randomly attacked the Albino alligator and bit his toe. We're gonna spend a few hundred thousand to come up with the following: "because he's an alligator". Surely that's worth spending the money as opposed to buying text books for second graders? Go us.


K said...

Wow. More than $1 million per jumper.

Were you still in DC when the guy threatened to jump off the Wilson Bridge and held up rush hour for four hours before being rescued? By about the second hour, the whole city was rooting for him to jump just to get on with rush hour. I imagine California residents would feel the same way about the bridge net if they thought about it.

Chris said...

To find out where your CA tax dollars go, you can check out the California Piglet Book, most recent version is 2006, but it'll serve the purpose. Check it out - it's crazy what we spend money on.