Friday, February 19, 2010

San Francisco Circling the Drain

It is a microcosm of what is wrong in California.  The place many people relish seeing fail.  The place from which the country is often lectured on how to live, yet to those who live there a place about which anyone with a cogent thought, liberal, conservative or whatever, can only shake their head. 


In a world where the "big papers" seem to be little more than mouthpieces for the pap politicians feed them, where the National Enquirer actually reports more investigative reporting than the Washington Post, tabloids like  SF Weekly actually try to make a business out of reporting.  There may be a business model that could keep print media relevant in the age of Twitter News.    


I have lived in San Francisco, and I love it.  The old Tony Bennet Standard it relevant and real to me.  But...as a community it is a parody of reality.  In the link is a Benjamin Wachs  column by a writer who has been covering the City for years.   He later resigned, penning a final, acid farewell.  One can only speculate on the reasons, but one has to be encouraged by his position.  Here is the link to that swan song.


And the underlying reason in my view is that the population is entirely transient.  No one contemplates raising a family there.  Go in, make money, have fun, get out.  Or as Joel Kotkin tems it, "San Francisco is Disneyland for adults, or a place people go until they grow up."  To me, the Bay Bridge is a metaphor of the entire Bar Area fiasco.  


Remember the 1989 World Series between the A's and the Giants- interrupted by a catastrophic earth quake?  The Bay Bridge, linking the two cities was found to be unsafe afterwards.  It was deemed unable to withstand another quake.  Roll the calendar ahead, oh, say about 2o years.  The issue surely would have been addressed, and the ugly old functional structure fixed.  In any SANE reality, yes.  But in the Bay Area?  Hahahahahahahahaha!  


You see, this blighted bridge, this affront to architecture, has become too essential as a landmark to fool around with.  No, not that other, orangey bridge, we are talking about the BAY BRIDGE!  For god's sake, don't change a thing!  Just keep sending over 259,000 vehicles across it and hope there won't be another quake in San Francisco.  


The infighting and conflicting committees solutions were unable to produce a solution that the public would accept.  There were real, important aesthetic issues at stake.  No on wanted to fix a public danger with a bridge any less ugly than the original!  So for 2o years the competing political and public factions battled any plan, and the public played Russian Roulette on the way to and from work each day.  That is San Francisco.  

2 comments:

Ted Amadeus said...

'Frisco makes you wonder just how long Californication's "dependent individualism" can subsist before sliding off into the ocean?

Paul said...

This blog is not political, but the column in the SF Weekly may be significant as a sign that more than conservatives are fed up with politicians sans accountability.