Thursday, October 25, 2007

This town is talking about only two things: Mr. Piece of Shit Skinhead, whose attack on the Ecuadorian girl has been televised around the world, and the disastrous commuter train situation.

Interestingly, there hasn't been a bunch of soul-searching and meditation on institutional racism around here, the way there always is in the States when something like this happens. For example, look at the "Jena 6" case: six black teenagers in Assboink, Louisiana stomp a white kid half to death, for whatever reason, they get charged with attempted murder, and garments are rent among the illustrated and enlightened. Here there's been a great deal of condemnation of Mr. Scumbag Skinhead, but no self-questioning by society.

Meanwhile, the State Development Ministry has admitted that the AVE to Barcelona won't be in service until at least January, if not February.

La Vanguardia blames it on a combination of the inefficiency of the state, regional, and municipal governments: "Negotiations about this section of the AVE go back to the end of the Nineties, with the PP governing in Madrid, CiU (governing the Generalitat), and the Socialists, Communists, and later also ERC (governing the city). The three sides negotiated from different perspectives. Those in Madrid planned a line in the straightest line possible. Others wanted to go toward France, and the others wanted to develop the city. Some wanted the line to go through Cornellà, others through the Vallés, and the third to the airport and La Sagrera. The solution was to take the choice in the middle, to Sants, for many the worst possible solution."

Those responsible seem to have: underestimated the difficulty of tunneling through the soft soil of the Llobregat delta; rejected the possibility of using an underground tunneling machine, choosing instead to dig a trench to be later covered; set an unrealistic target date for the AVE's completion for electoral reasons; underestimated the possible consequences of working too hastily; and not planned for the possible transportation problems the construction would cause.

So La Vanguardia editorializes today on the fires in Southern California: "In any case, the management of emergencies and internal security in the United States is not sufficient. The policy of reducing the structures of the states leads to situations that make them ineffective, as is happening now in California."

Huh? I thought part of the story of these fires is that the government's crisis management HAS been effective this time, especially at the state and local level--precisely the opposite of New Orleans, where state and local government performance was truly lousy. And what does all of this have to do with "reducing the structures of the states," which I think means cutting the budget? Besides that, California HASN'T cut its emergency management budget, and neither has any other administration.

Says Eusebio Val: "Exactly as happens in Florida with hurricanes, in California massive urbanization has invaded formerly protected areas. If you defy nature, it will take revenge...More and more construction is happening in frontier areas between what is urban and what is natural; this increases the dangers."

Seems to me that whenever any city anywhere in the world expands, it grows into areas that were once "natural" and non-urban, no? So why is this particularly problematic in San Diego and not, say, Barcelona?

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