Caltrans assigned one of its own, Duane Wiles, to do the seismic testing on the new bridge span. In an area bounded by both the Loma Prieta and San Andreas faults, this is a very responsible position. Wiles wasn’t up to the job:
A Sacramento Bee investigative report found that Wiles failed to properly conduct tests on the Bay Bridge’s new span and dozens of other bridges, fabricated results on at least three Caltrans projects, often discarded his raw data files and inflated his overtime pay. Perhaps all this was merely the side effects of personal problems Wiles was experiencing at the time, as he faced felony charges for a sex crime against a child.
That’s bad. Here’s worse: Alert employees had given Caltrans notice about Wiles’ ineptitude three years before a whistleblower approached the Sacramento Bee. Caltrans did nothing. Then, when the reporter approached Caltrans asking about Wiles, Caltrans’ first response wasn’t to fire Wiles, but to move him to a less visible job.
Again, the Wiles’ adventure wasn’t unique. If you take this bureaucratic instinct to protect its own, and combine it with an environmental zealotry that actively seeks to return California to a pastoral, pre-industrial (and very poor) age, and you end up with the sorry history of a regulatory decision that, when it goes into effect, will make trucking prohibitively expensive in California.
There’s nothing unusual in California about a pro-environment, anti-business regulation. What is unusual is that trucking regulation was based upon provably false data. Even more unusual is the fact that the California Air Resources Board, which promulgated the regulation, knew that the data was false, termed the falsity a “distraction,” passed the regulation, and suspended the malfeasor for a mere 60 days. Balancing those 60 days out, however, was UCLA’s decision to fire the professor of epidemiology who exposed the fraud. UCLA reached this decision because the professor’s work was “not aligned” with his department’s academic mission. (The professor has appealed that decision and is still working.)
Crazifornia describes a dysfunctional state, one that can best be summed up as a banana republic governed, not by oligarchs, but by a toxic mix of environmental fascists, greedy unions, corrupt or ideology-driven legislators, and all-powerful bureaucrats. But before you get too angry at these jackals, perhaps you should reserve your wrath for the ones who truly deserve it: the California voters.
Despite a dying economy, a feckless government, and dangerous corruption, voters are undeterred. It sometimes seems as if all 100% of the 47% who won’t be voting for Romney are voting in California. If you don’t know what California voters look like, I certainly do:
It’s probably too late to save California. Laer tries to inject some optimism at the end of each chapter and in the conclusion to his book he notes that voter patterns might finally be changing (although recent polling data makes me less optimistic). As cities go bankrupt, gas and food prices rise, businesses bail, and the California middle class becomes poor, some of the voters might finally be growing up. Whether they can reverse California’s downward trend remains questionable. Laer has some excellent suggestions for getting the political pendulum unstuck from its far Left position, but it will be ugly, and it will have to be carried out by people who have been subjected to one hundred years of California’s Progressive propaganda.
When you read Laer’s book (and I hope this review has convinced you to do so), you will see that it is a profound morality tale about what happens when America’s green, anti-capitalist Progressivism gains the upper hand in government. So remember, only you can prevent the Crazifornication of America.
* In the interests of full disclosure, Laer interviewed me regarding some of my own experiences as a public school student in San Francisco, and he includes parts of those interviews in Chapter 7. Plus, I get an awfully nice thank you in the Acknowledgements section.
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