Monday, July 11, 2011

$600 Potholes

The City of Seattle today announced that it is selling one of its transportation storage yards to the State of Washington for nearly $20 million.  Here is the actual street location.

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Both the city and the state are broke so this is typical of the accounting games they are playing in order to balance their budgets.  I wouldn't be surprised if next year the state sold it back to the city and tried to book a profit.

But one of this storage yard sale provisions is that the funds, $19.6 million to be precise, can only be used for "transportation purposes."

So, with great fanfare and public pride, the City of Seattle today announced that $3 million of these funds will be used to employ 21 people to fill 5,000 potholes.

There is no dispute that Seattle has MANY potholes that need filling.

But do the math.  $3 million divided by 5,000 potholes means each one costs $600 to fill.


Let's assume the city is actually twice as efficient as it believes it is.


Seattle's profligate public works spending is out of control with the most visible dollars being spent on bike trail projects that few people support.

Case in point, a $10 million bike path to connect two roads that are connected to each other already.

Or $80,000 for art for a bike trail.  Yes, $80,000 for up to four pieces of art.

Or $14 million to complete a bike trail that even advocates say does not need completion.

Mayor Mike "McSchwinn" as he is called by critics, needs to understand that the quality of everyday life in Seattle is quickly deteriorating and the lack of expensive and artsy bike trails is not the reason.

Crime is the culprit.  Specifically, the petty criminal acts caused by the so-called "homeless" population of Seattle that range from car theft, assaults, prostitution, drug trafficking, and more.

Just this weekend, two vagrants got into a knife fight outside the Washington State Convention Center and one was stabbed.  Not in the middle of the night, but at 3PM in the afternoon while the streets were filled with conventioneers, shoppers, and hotel guests.

Tourists visiting Seattle get to see not only murders and attempted homicides right outside their hotel doors but also can take in all the new homeless encampments springing up everywhere around the city.  Here is one such camp just four blocks from the mayor's office in City Hall.  This collection of garbage that meth addicts and alcoholics call a "home" stinks of urine, feces, and rotting trash even from a distance.

So today we learn that Seattle has received a $20 million windfall and will spend part of the sum filling potholes at $600 each.

I bet within the next few weeks the mayor will announce a new bike path initiative for the rest.

Residents of Seattle, like me, are waiting for someone to come to the defense of civilization.