Pay No Attention To That Backhoe Behind The Curtain

I love government. No, really. I’m a grade A, government nerd. I even still believe in the system and its potential to do good things.

Which is why when I read about public officials doing things tailor-made for Leno’s inane monologues, things that add fuel to most people’s “I hate government” fires, things that give people one more reason not to vote – or worse, to vote for bad things proposed by other government-haters – I weep.

To wit – this item via BoingBoing, from a Chron article. Warning: Before reading further, we here at Metroblogging would ask you to take the proper safeguards to prevent blunt-force head trauma. Because the following story may induce sever head-slapping, now might be a good time to put on a boxing glove, mitten, or just grab something soft and fluffy, like a pillow, or your cat. Thank you:

Schwarzenegger creates, then fills Potemkin pothole
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger dispatched a road crew to a residential street in San Jose to create a pothole, which he later turned up and filled, grinning for news-cameras and declaring his willingness to increase funding for transportation projects. The Potemkin pothole was later sealed by a roadcrew with a gigantic roller truck,

Porrovecchio and his business partner, Joe Greco, said that at about 7 a.m. they became fascinated watching “10 city workers standing around for a few hours putting on new vests,” all in preparation for the big moment with Schwarzenegger.
But their street, he noted, didn’t even have a hole to pave over until Thursday morning.

“They just dug it out,” Porrovecchio said, shrugging. “There was a crack. But they dug out the whole road this morning.”

“It’s a lot of money spent on a staged event,” said Matt Vujevich, 74, a retiree whose home faced the crew-made trench that straddled nearly the whole street. “We still have the same problems. Everything’s a press conference.”

To those worried about the cost, a spokesman tries to put to rest those fears:

Stutzman, the governor’s communications director, told reporters that “the staging of an event like this is paid for out of the governor’s California Recovery Team account,” which pays for many of the governor’s political activities, “so there’s no taxpayer expense.”

Oh, I’d say it’s a costly affair either way.

And to giving us that simulacrum-angle this story so desperately needed, the director of SJ Mayor Ron Gozales’s communications said the “event involved ‘not exactly filling a pothole, but it represented the pothole aspect’ of the transportation funding measure.” Actually, that’s not a simulacrum – which is a representation of something that never really existed at all (think Tomorrowland). Potholes are a problem. But you’d think Schwarzenegger could’ve filled on that needed filling, instead of creating his own. Maybe he’s the simulacrum.

I’ve worked in government. They aren’t all like that. I promise. And the more we pay attention, the fewer of that sort there’ll be. Okay, I’m off the soapbox now.

1 Comment so far

  1. Jason S. (unregistered) on May 28th, 2005 @ 9:13 am

    That’s really wacked. I wonder if years of Hollywood produced this mentality of staging-things-like-this-is-okay.

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