The PJ Tatler

Your tax dollars at work: $150,000 to study if sailboats "scare birds"

In the long sordid history of nanny-state enviro-fascism, this may take the prize as the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars and most breathtaking example of leftist bureaucratic insanity:

City of San Francisco to squander $150,000 to determine if sailboats scare birds.

No, I am not making this up:

To keep the big America’s Cup contest afloat, San Francisco has agreed to spend $150,000 to study whether the racing boats — and their towering sails — will scare birds on the bay.

The study, which will be conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, is part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by a group that included former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.

“It’s not that we’re trying to head-shrink the birds,” said Mike Lynes of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. “But when they take off because they are frightened, they expend energy, and that can affect their health.

Oh, the humanity! The poor birds may simply die of exhaustion having to to take flight every time they see a scary sailboat!

I mean, it’s not like seagulls would normally spend 18 hours a day flying around in powerful winds or anything. They are a retiring and sedate species!

In defense of SF’s city government, it wasn’t their idea originally to embark on this worse-than-useless study: they only did so to fend off a lawsuit by extremist environmental groups (headed up, ironically, by a former city supervisor) who goal is to stop the America’s Cup race at all costs, because activities that are fun and enjoyable for human beings are verboten.

But the city should not have caved. They should have called out the “green” activists and refused to accommodate their lunacy. The goal of the nuisance lawsuit is not to actually succeed in legally stopping the America’s Cup, but rather to create such a bothersome gauntlet of expensive legal actions, protests and negative publicity that the boosters who brought the race to San Francisco will simply give up trying in the future, fearful of repeat lawsuits.

If you give an inch to the bureaucratic terrorists, they’ll take a mile, and then your whole territory. Unfortunately for the taxpayers of San Francisco, there are a substantial number of local politicians who openly sympathize with the extreme environmentalists’ agenda, so they were more than happy to waste money, as an object lesson in what happens when you violate Gaia.

Lesson for other local governments: Fight back!