Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oroville Versus Flint, $840 Billion

It appears that loss of the Oroville dam in CA will be headed off. The 200K people that were evacuated have returned, we hope for good. Interestingly, the population of Flint Michigan was once 200K people as well.

Remember 2009 when BO assured us that he was going to "invest" $840 billion in "shovel ready" projects? We never really did hear a lot about what happened to that money "Cash for clunkers", $500 million lost on Soyndra, a few crony payoffs to ACORN and others. While the media is quick to find the shortest path between a government failure and a Republican in office, $840 billion can be thrown to the winds of political graft by a Democrat and nobody even expects that it will be linked up to fixing things like water systems in Flint or giant dams in California.

It isn't hard to find out a trail of what has happened at Oroville.

In 2005, DWR applied for a renewal of its operating license for the Oroville hydroelectric generating facilities. During the relicensing process, Friends of the River, Sierra Club, and the South Yuba River Citizen's League filed a motion to intervene in the relicensing. These groups alleged that the emergency spillway in Oroville should be classified as an "operational/auxiliary" spillway and should be armored with concrete, citing the potential for erosion and downstream runoff impacts. During the proceeding, FERC confirmed that the emergency spillway was properly designated and that it met all FERC engineering guidelines.

We all know the government of California is 100% lefty ... yes, yes, they elected Schwarzenegger, however he ran and governed as a Democrat with an R next to his name, and since the legislature was all Democrat, he really had very little choice. Unsurprisingly, Oroville is a near disaster that seems devoid of political recrimination.  The other underlying reason that we hear little about it is because the "extended drought in CA due to global warming" has been in the news for years, and they haven't figured out how to spin the end of it yet. The Oroville situation shows that the drought is over, which if one was rational and consistent would be a statement on global warming. It is of course not to be taken as such -- drought proves global warming, heavy rain proves global warming.

How is it though that when organizations like the Sierra Club are filing suit in 2005, such a project never gets funded as $850 billion is getting sprayed around? Nobody cares -- "BO was a great president, Trump is a disaster", thus saith the NY Times.

Michigan government is more varied than I would have assumed -- a pretty decent mixture of D and R.  They voted D for president from '92 on up to Trump. So since '92 they have been considered mostly a blue state. However, after the really heavy D cities -- like Detroit and Flint, went into bankruptcy (how does THAT happen?), they ended up electing an R (Snyder) to clean up the disaster as governor. Part of that cleanup involved putting managers in to try to fix the city finances, which resulted in moving to Flint river water in 2014 that ended up leaching lead out of old pipes -- which nobody expected.

Naturally, since a Republican was in the governors office, perfect knowledge of potential problems is supposed to be assured, and when something bad happens it is nearly assuredly due to "racism" -- NPR liked to run shows with crying black mothers talking of how the Republicans purposely poisoned her children. What would one expect?

The moral of the story? Government screws up a lot -- and often in BIG ways. It's a bi-partisan problem -- but don't expect anyone to connect at least half the dots for you.

Prediction though -- if Trump does any sort of a "public works / stimulus, etc", it will be a DISASTER according to the news!

When R's screw up, the media lets us know -- it is because they are nasty, racist, incompent, etc.

When D's screw up it isn't really a "screw up" --- it is like an "act of God", except D's generally don't believe in him, so it is "bad luck". Nothing to see here folks, move aloing.

A cynic like me looks at this and says "elect Republicans" ... at least they will get a TON of oversight from the media, and there is a "chance" they might improve because of it. They will still be working with a unionized beauracracy with no competiiton, protected jobs, etc, but at least THEIR jobs will not be guaranteed, so they might yell lounder at the union folks that they can't fire!

It isn't much, but at least it is SOMETHING!
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