Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Cascadia 9.0 Quake will be about 1000x Worse than the 6.0 Napa Quake

Remember earthquake ratings are on a log scale, so each integer, from 6 to 7, 7 to 8, and 8 to 9, represents a 10-fold increase in energy. From 6 to 9 is 10x10x10 = 1000 more energy!

If earthquake prep is cited as a reason for a "third bridge," it's a lot cheaper to do a retrofit.

A bare-bones seismic retrofit doesn't fit on the chart
For hardly more than we're spending on the widening of Wallace and Glen Creek, we could retrofit one of our bridges to withstand the Cascadian Subduction Zone 9.0 "big one" earthquake.

For the cost of three Wallace and Glen Creek widenings, we could reinforce both bridges.

Seriously, why is this even a debate?


Jeff Schumacher said...

Your last question hints at the answer: it isn't a debate. Of course it should be the debate, but unfortunately the debate is erroneously framed as whether to ease congestion or do nothing. And frankly, the word "debate" has no resonance with our current city council meetings. Their meetings seem to consist of prepared remarks and unanimous votes.

Mike D said...

This is from the Urbanophile

Local level government...political leadership is corrupt. And the corruption is right out in the open and takes the form of transactions that aren’t illegal.

For example, a transaction to shove millions of dollars into the pockets of a crony is often done completely in the open. It’s championed by the political leadership and often the press as well. ...It’s duly voted on by the city council. There was no quid pro quo transaction involved, only campaign contributions, hope for future employment, or various personal connections, thus nothing illegal was done. It’s the same with some privatization contracts, various laws and ordinances prompted by lobbyists, etc.

Francis Fukuyama describes this...

The trading of political influence for money has come in through the backdoor, in a form that is perfectly legal and much harder to eradicate. Criminalized bribery is narrowly defined in U.S. law as a transaction in which a politician and a private party explicitly agree on a specific quid pro quo. What is not covered by the law is what biologists call reciprocal altruism, or what an anthropologist might label a gift exchange. In a relationship of reciprocal altruism, one person confers a benefit on another with no explicit expectation that it will buy a return favor. Indeed, if one gives someone a gift and then immediately demands a gift in return, the recipient is likely to feel offended and refuse what is offered. In a gift exchange, the receiver incurs not a legal obligation to provide some specific good or service but rather a moral obligation to return the favor in some way later on. It is this sort of transaction that the U.S. lobbying industry is built around.

Reciprocal altruism, meanwhile, is rampant in Washington and is the primary channel through which interest groups have succeeded in corrupting government. As the legal scholar Lawrence Lessig points out, interest groups are able to influence members of Congress legally simply by making donations and waiting for unspecified return favors. And sometimes, the legislator is the one initiating the gift exchange, favoring an interest group in the expectation that he will get some sort of benefit from it after leaving office.

Rules blocking nepotism are still strong enough to prevent overt favoritism from being a common political feature in contemporary U.S. politics (although it is interesting to note how strong the urge to form political dynasties is, with all of the Kennedys, Bushes, Clintons, and the like). Politicians do not typically reward family members with jobs; what they do is engage in bad behavior on behalf of their families, taking money from interest groups and favors from lobbyists in order to make sure that their children are able to attend elite schools and colleges, for example.

We see the same at the local level. In fact, today you almost have to be an idiot to engage in old school bribery. ...You simply write campaign checks and at the appropriate time taxpayer money will come your way. Or you’re a journalist carrying water for the power brokers (or a candidate) who expects to be taken care of later. Or you’re on the government side of a privatization deal and later on take a job with the contractor via the revolving door. Or you run a non-profit that collects bigtime government grants with the unstated expectation that you won’t cause trouble. (I know multiple personal examples of non-profits who had grants revoked or threatened to be revoked by governments in retaliation for having the temerity to tell the truth about some boondoggle). None of these are illegal. They are generally done right out in the open. And the top power brokers and politicians are generally involved and hence have zero interest in reform.