Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ya Can’t Make This S—T Up

San Francisco would be expected to be the place where you would find the most wasted taxpayer money for Democratic pet projects. You wouldn’t be far from wrong in assuming that. Even when the city (along with the state department of transportation) spends federal funds on a worthwhile project, they will always find a way to spend large sums frivolously along with it.

And so it is with the highway improvements needed to repair the approaches to the Golden Gate Bridge. In 2009, the Obama administration used federal stimulus money to fund a major portion of the $1.045 billion project which widens, improves and adds seismic protections from Doyle Drive in the Presidio to the actual approaches to the bridge. So far, not too outrageous. State and federal highways have long benefited from government/private business cooperation and the project generally inures to the public benefit. In other words, people who paid the taxes which funded the projects generally got their money’s worth.

But government has a way of gilding the lily with little “additions” that drive the cost up with no discernible public benefit. San Francisco is the capital of the ecoweenie, feelgood, waste the taxpayers money nation, and it found a way. With the help of the EPA, the Department of the Interior, the Presidio Trust, the National Park Service and a couple of local busybody ecofreak organizations, the government spent over $205,000.00 to relocate (drum roll)—a bush. You see, the bush ended up smack dab in the footprint of the new roadway.

This poor little orphan bush had struggled mightily to hide behind other less honorable bushes and trees, so until the clearing began, nobody noticed that such an important bush existed in the way of the new approaches. Aha!, you say. Just another bush. But you would be wrong. It’s the beloved and rare arctoslaphylos franciscana commonly know to us commoners as the Franciscan manzanita. Wild Franciscan manzanita had been considered extinct, but somehow some sneaky manzanitas elsewhere had managed to produce this orphan.

The cost of the removal on top of all the studies to determine that the bush was indeed a Franciscan manzanita was approximately $100,000.00 alone. The total also included the replacement of the bush with a less endangered species somewhere along the side of the new roadway. On top of those costs, an additional $5,000.00 for each of three botanical gardens to house the progeny of the orphan has been set aside, plus another $1,500.00 for long-term storage of 300 seeds collected from the orphan (now the “mother”) bush. How a “mother” plant produces fertile seeds without a “father” remains unknown.

Now exactly what makes this wild bush so important and so unique? Simple. It’s “wild.” As opposed to the hundreds of Franciscan manzanitas that grow in domestic gardens and nurseries. As the wild manzanita began to disappear when patches of wilderness in San Francisco were covered over with urban development, manzanita fanciers collected them and grew them at home or in nurseries which provide decorative flora for gardeners and landscapers.

But the ecoweenies didn’t want to hurt the wild manzanita’s feelings, and got massive government machinery in motion to relocate the poor little orphan. Here are some interesting facts that I didn’t know, and perhaps you didn’t either. There is a hierarchy of flora. This “wild” manzanita got special attention because it popped up on its own with no human assistance. If it was grown in a botanical garden, however, it would be called “extinct in the wild” but would still have ecoweenie protection. The hundreds (perhaps thousands) of these bushes grown in residential yards and pots are simply called “domestic.”

So if you took the orphan bush, mixed it in with those in botanical gardens, and threw in a few hundred domestic manzanitas for good measure, could the “experts” tell which was which? The answer is “no.” They are absolutely, 100%, botanically identical. There are no hybrid Franciscan manzanitas, nor are there any genetically-altered Franciscan manzanitas. There are only Franciscan manzanitas, wild, domestic, or protected.

So after $205,000.00 plus, what have the ecoweenies actually protected? An orphan purebred Franciscan manzanita transplanted to a protected location to keep it from mixing its seeds with manzanitas which aren’t purebred Franciscan. There are different variations of the manzanita bush throughout California, and the orphan-savers don’t want those mongrel strains mixing with the noble Franciscan variety. I guess it’s OK to spend an extra quarter million on translocation (the ecoweenie word) rather than just planting it somewhere else.

Here’s the best part. The cost of a purebred Franciscan manzanita at reputable local nurseries is about $15.98. But then it wouldn’t be “wild” and therefore wouldn’t require several dozen overpaid bureaucrats to study it and move it. In fact, you could pay for the nursery’s bush and move it yourself in the back seat of your car or the bed of your truck.


Tennessee Jed said...

I'm speechless. May the dung from 205,000 camels infest the town hall from here to eternity.

BevfromNYC said...

Oh, wouldn't it be fun to screw with their heads and start planting these little bushes in every location that is about to be "renewed"? If they are genetically identical, who's would be the wiser?

Joel Farnham said...


Only in America do humans actually can waste money on a "wild" domesticated bush. We must be rich here to be able to afford this. How many sponsors miraculously appeared to pledge their undying love, support and dedication to prying a few measly dollars out of those mean Republican hands for this helpless orphan?

Did the ecoweenies take to the streets in manzanita cover garments. Is there a designated manzanita ribbon for one to give silent support? You know, a ribbon that says "I care more than you about manzanita bush!"

Unknown said...

Tennessee: My sentiments exactly.

Unknown said...

Bev: The gummint would instantly find a way to claim that large-scale domestic manzanita-growing was causing an ecological disaster by bastardizing the wild manzanita.

It would be better to form a manzanita special forces underground first. Then, they could do a quick strike in which they grab all the wild manzanitas, mix them in with hundreds of domestic manazanitas, and plant them all together in one manazanita forest. Either the gummint would have to destroy them all or leave them all alone, since there's no way to tell which is which.

Naw, that wouldn't work either. That would put several thousand "experts" to work for the gummint doing extensive, expensive, tax-payer funded research to find the nonexistent difference. And since they wouldn't find a difference, they'd just lie about it, tie it to man-made global warming, and start a whole new ecofreak movement. Al Gore could write a book called Manzanita World in the Balance.

Unknown said...

Joel: The beauty of the Gaea-worship movement is that as long as the ecoweenies have all these super-agencies beloved by the Democrats as cover, they can collect most of their fees and other remuneration before the public ever finds out about it. If the public ever finds out about it.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Now that man has transplanted it it is a domesticated manzanita. That is how we domesticate things we capture or dig up and corral or transplant so we can HAVE them.
They should have simply moved people away from it to at least 1/2 mile. Or a bridge over it of course placed so as to not impact the soil reasonably near the dear sweet thing. And of course placement of the bridge could not shade it at all.

T-Rav said...

It's too bad someone with some common sense and notions of the greater good didn't get out there at the outset and set the darn thing on fire. Of course, if they had, they probably would have been thrown in jail and been stripped of all their possessions, so I can understand why not.

Unknown said...

Tehachapi Tom: You are making the major mistake of using common sense and logic. If that became the norm, you would putting a couple million government bureaucrats and junk scientists on the unemployment lines.

Unknown said...

T-Rav: Alternatively, the bush might have caught fire, but not been consumed, started handing out commandments, and selecting a sane person to take his people out of the house of junk science bondage. Oh, well, I guess that only happens once in the history of mankind.

StanH said...

The lunatics are indeed running the asylum…just wow.

Unknown said...

Stan: I was having computer problems. Sorry to be so late getting to your comment. And indeed that is exactly who is running the asylum. Another reason why I say you can't make this stuff up.

Post a Comment