Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Oh Bob!

Here's one of the Republican party faithful from out in Spot's neck of the woods, in a letter in the Strib on Tuesday:

It's time for everyone -- including gas tax proponents -- to take a step back, a deep breath and grab hold of a little logic. Regardless of whether the governor signed or vetoed the transportation bill (with the gas tax included), the money would not as yet have even started to be collected. So the reconstruction work on the I-35W bridge or any other bridge wouldn't even have been in the proposal stages, let alone under way.

That bridge, for whatever the reason, was destined to collapse. As of today, we don't know why -- 40-year-old bridges aren't supposed to just fall down. But I do know this: Even if we collect a dollar-a-gallon road tax, much of that money won't go where it is supposed to go. Just look at New Orleans and how it spent its levee money.

We've suffered a major catastrophe, and we have bonded the way communities are supposed to bond. So when I hear a politician say, "We're going to get to the bottom of this!" I cringe a little, because it really means, "We're going to pin this on somebody!"

Why not continue the bonding and healing process and leave the vendettas for another day?


Bob is, Spot almost need not say, an idiot. Let's count some of the reasons why, boys and girls.

First, the bridge's "destiny" was not to fall. If your people had taken care of it Bob, it would still be there.

Second, money raised by gasoline taxes are required by law to go into road transportation.

Third, while Bob almost certainly likes to think that "the levee money" in New Orleans was somehow stolen by all the darkies down there, there was and perhaps still is considerable confusion about whose responsibility the levees were:

But the officials still gave conflicting opinions about who is responsible for operating, inspecting, maintaining and making emergency repairs to the levees that protect the city.

Asked directly who was responsible for emergency repairs to New Orleans levees, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official and a Louisiana state official both said the Orleans Levee District -- at least in the early stages of an incident.

When the former president of the levee district -- a local body -- was asked, he said the responsibility "unequivocally" falls to the Corps of Engineers.

"I look at it from the standpoint, from my level as ... they are the head. They are the brains. They have the engineering, the design, the overall [expertise]," said James P. Huey, former president of the Orleans Levee District Board of Commissioners.

The confusion also was evident in the days immediately following Katrina, but with a different tilt, testified Col. Richard P. Wagenaar, district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers.

When corps workers attempted to reach the site to help, a local contractor turned them away, Wagenaar said.

"He literally blocked our equipment from operating on the bridge," Wagenaar said.

Committee members said the confusion over responsibility still has not been resolved.

"My mom didn't raise dumb kids, and I'm a little confused as to who has ultimate responsibility," said Republican Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota. [italics are Spot's]

If your boy Norm is confused, Bob, it has to be complicated, right?

Fourth, Bob, this session's veto was not the first time Governor Pepsodent vetoed a gas tax increase. He did it a couple of years ago, too, and he ridiculed a good man, Ron Erhardt, in the process. You might be interested to know Bob, although probably not, that the recently-successful ballot measure to dedicate all of the motor vehicle sales tax receipts to transportation was part of that same bill. Since it was a ballot measure, it went on the ballot for the voters over the governor's veto. The deferred maintenance on roads under Pepsodent's watch has become, well, huge.

Fifth, but certainly not last in importance, Spot has no desire to bond and heal with you and your ilk, you parsimonious scrub.

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