Does the Wet Suit You

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Silly Streets

By J.J. Gasparotti
By J.J. Gasparotti

Contests and awards are a wonderful way to document and celebrate accomplishments in any area of human interest.

How about the Completely Silly Streets Public Works Olympics? We would need to be upgraded in league level because of our fat wallet. Rather than being in a league with cities our size, like Banning or Beaumont, our spending could place us in competition with Los Angeles or San Diego.

We’d have a strong entry in “Money Wasted on Unnecessary Street Improvements.”

Our Catalina Street roundabout project would be a sure winner. Even though the City Council denied the last-minute requested gold-plated curbs, dollar for dollar, it’s still the most egregious waste of money anyone has seen in a long time.

Not to mention the extra points due to difficulty the project gets for removing 13 visitor accessing parking places in the Coastal Zone. We did get a coastal permit, right? Oh well, what can they do?

Then there’s the “Filthy Sidewalk Smear in a Tourist Town.”

The 335-foot-long sidewalk smear near an ice cream or gelato shop on Coast Highway is a prodigious effort in length, width and duration. It should qualify for extra points for difficulty due to the fact the city has special tax funds dedicated to the steam cleaning of smears like this.

Last year, only half the special funds budgeted for steam cleaning sidewalks were spent. From the life span of this smear, let’s assume money is being saved this year as well.

Our best entry would be “The McBride Cup for Fastest Street Sweeper.”

When you divide the number of miles of streets requiring sweeping weekly by the hours of actual sweeping per week, our resulting speed of 97 miles an hour is unrivaled. Not even Los Angeles sweepers reach this speed. It’s even more impressive when you consider our terrain, narrow streets and limited sweeper day parking restrictions.

The one area where we’d never have a chance is the “Overflowing Beach Trash Can” category. The state parks always win. They’re the DMV of beach trash.

With our upcoming “Village Exit,” we look to be on track for more quality entries next year. The $11 million price tag is the result of timing putting the project at a high point of the economic cycle. The great recession and today’s boom have caused a real shortage in the construction industry. Prices are up everywhere. Quality is a challenge.

Poor old Village Exit. All that money for the low bidder and only a paint job for the sewage sludge digester tank.


J.J. Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11 years old. He has loved it ever since.

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