Elected officials tend to forget that all the public cares about is results. There may be valid excuses behind failure to deliver or to act quickly, but that doesn’t matter to the average voter in the next election.
There is a major cruise line whose slogan is “exceed expectations”. Government officials, both staff and elected officials, must adopt this private sector approach to gain the confidence of the whole community.
Construction of the Bon Air Bridge in Larkspur began in 2018. It is still claimed that the span of the Corte Madera Creek will be completed in four years. We are in the spring of 2022. It is highly improbable. The construction of the 1.7-mile engineering marvel that is the Golden Gate Bridge took four years and three months. Environmental concerns are a cause of the long construction of the Bon Air Bridge, but this excuse does little to quell the frustration of motorists and cyclists.
It takes a decade to close the gap on US Highway 101 between Novato and Petaluma. The excuse is a lack of consistent funding. The result is a decade of delays.
As of 2019, the Sonoma-Marin Region Rail Transportation District has been working to expand its tracks to 3.2 miles from the Sonoma County Airport in Windsor. Result: a precise opening date remains ambiguous. In March 1900, work began on New York’s first subway. The 9.1 mile line with 28 stations was completed four and a half years later.
Until recently, it took 10 minutes to cross East Blithedale Avenue from downtown to Highway 101. Today, on some days, the same trip takes 45 minutes. The excuse is minor sidewalk safety improvements and untimely private construction projects.
The outcome parents wanted during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 were safe and open public schools just like their private and parochial school counterparts. The result of this failure was that teachers’ unions and elected school boards lost the credibility that it had taken them years to build.
Voters reward politicians who are seen to have delivered their work. Donald Trump has vowed to “own the libs,” to treat immigrants like scum and to express the rhetoric of white nationalism. His constituents gladly ignored the lies about revitalizing the coal industry or devising viable alternatives to Obamacare. They wanted Trump to infuriate their enemies with blood and that’s what they got.
Likewise, mediocre governor Gavin Newsom defeated the GOP-led recall in a landslide. He did so by keeping his promise to beat any candidate affiliated with Trump. Democrats cared less about the governor’s failure to reform the state’s failed unemployment service and more about the humiliation of their bloodthirsty enemies within the Trumpican party. Newsom delivered just that, a result putting him in excellent shape for his 2022 re-election bid.
This is the season when many pray for the spread of a contagion of kindness. Here’s a Christmas story about a Marinite trying to improve his homeland a bit.
Mack Bell became a Clean Mill Valley volunteer after reading articles about the community group on the neighborhood social media website Nextdoor. As he lives in the Tamalpais Valley, he and Olivia Jacob, board member of the Tam Valley Improvement Club, jointly adopted the Manzanita Park and Ride Lot with the support of Caltrans. Bell organized a cleanup two weeks ago with seven other “Clean” volunteers.
Bell found two pieces of luggage under the Highway 101 exit ramp in Manzanita near the Richardson Bay Bridge. He opened them to find clothes, Californian souvenirs and contact details. He called the owner, a visitor from Florida, who had his luggage stolen from the parking lot at Muir Woods National Monument on his honeymoon. The thieves threw the suitcases over a fence in Manzanita.
He returned the baggage and its contents to its rightful owner and washed the clothes before sending them, as Bell says, “Their current condition would have added insult to injury.”