The Bridge Between Expectations and Reality

The front page/above the fold story in The Daytona Beach News-Journal today told of an inadvertent misspelling of “Intracoastal waterway” by some jackleg at the Army Corps of Engineers who mistakenly wrote “Intercoastal” on a marker near the new Tom Stead Veterans Memorial Bridge.

The slip was apparently caught by a retired firefighter living in a condo near the bridge – who is clearly as bored in retired life as I am. . . 

Now, Volusia County Engineer Tadd Kasbeer – the same county engineer who oversaw the bridge project at a cost of $47 million and an interminable delay of over 18 months – will now launch an investigation not seen since the Lindbergh kidnapping to determine who is responsible for the typo:

“Kasbeer said late last week he hadn’t seen the signs, but after he was told about the misspelling he said he planned to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Maybe Detective Kasbeer can expand his inquiry just a tad? (I know. . .)

The fact is work on the bridge still isn’t complete – with cracks in the structure (described as “superficial” not “structural”) actively being repaired. 

You may recall that the concrete cracking followed the mismeasurement of the handrail, followed by ADA compliance issues, etc., etc. – which means Volusia County still doesn’t know how much will be deducted from the contractor’s final paycheck – “That amount is still being resolved. . .”

Whatever. 

The fact this nonsense took up most of the front page (and half of 2A) tells you things are slow in the newsroom. 

We have entered the political doldrums – that natural sense of dysphoria that follows hard-fought political contests as we seek answers and take stock of all we have gained – and lost. 

Just don’t get your hopes too high. 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I know in my heart things won’t appreciably change, regardless of who we have elected to office. 

That’s not how the “system” works.      

As the excitement of the election season subsides and we try and make sense of things in the aftermath, I am left with a feeling of ambivalence – an emotional hollowness that comes from the knowledge that our lot in life won’t get appreciably better regardless of who we hitched our political wagon too.

If I learned one thing in over 30-years in local government, it is that a change in policymakers rarely equates to differences in service delivery – waste collection, water, sewer, inspections, fire protection, law enforcement – those core essential services we often take for granted. 

That is because so much of the mechanics of government are controlled by department heads who are experts in their field – under the direction of the city or county manager – and, when done right, these public utilities and services are delivered to our homes almost unnoticed. 

Regardless of who we elect to high office, there will be little perceptible change – because ‘them’s the rules.’

Not necessarily a bad thing, either.

This year was different in many ways, as our “leaders” at the national, state and local level took what should have been a public health crisis and turned it into a political football – allowing the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker to become amateur epidemiologists – arbitrarily shutting down commerce and quarantining healthy people in their homes using draconian “lockdowns” and “mandates” to achieve a goal they cannot articulate or understand.

Unfortunately, some of our local politicians became intoxicated with their newfound power – and we have been living under a now meaningless local “State of Emergency” ever since. 

In the past nine-months, undermining the constitutional liberties and civil rights of ostensibly free men and women has gained bipartisan support – as an increasingly larger percentage of the population support suspending religious services, placing limits on private gatherings, and even limiting any speech arbitrarily determined to be “misinformation.”

Welcome to 1984.

Now, with dubious virus casualties on the increase nationwide, rather than admit these tactics have been largely ineffective at curbing a community-acquired illness, we hear rumbling of even more drastic lockdowns in the near future – because, when something is proven not to work, most government hacks take that to mean just add more of the same and hope for a different result.

In the aftermath, I am not sure this has anything to do with fighting a virus – and everything to do with further polarizing the American public for purely partisan reasons.

Your thoughts may differ. And that’s okay. . .

But in an era where We, The Little People, are treated like mushrooms – kept in the dark and fed bullshit – it is all speculation.

Traditionally, we could look to the once venerated media for help – but not anymore – they were the first to sell their souls to the Gods of Political Slant and Mediocrity

To those we recently elevated to high office – be prepared for a culture shock as you take your seat on the dais of power – and come to realize how little influence you have over an entrenched bureaucracy and the forces that control it. 

And to those watching from the cheap seats with me – don’t let your expectations exceed our collective reality.

That’s a recipe for disappointment.

What I do know with absolute certainty is that Tadd Kasbeer and his fellow bureaucrats will spare no expense getting to the bottom of the Great Sign Misspelling of 2020 – an endeavor of absolutely zero consequence to anyone or anything – a pursuit that best represents the ridiculous nature of government oversight in this foul age where no one in a position of power is held accountable for anything.

Ever.   

Don’t expect that to change.

10 thoughts on “The Bridge Between Expectations and Reality

  1. “Dubious virus casualties?” In the last 3 months I have lost one 58 yr old friend in Melbourne and another older (read: my age) acquaintance in Fort Lauderdale to the virus, and know several others who have been stricken but survived. An old friend in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa was unable to get his injured wife admitted to the local hospital in timely fashion last week due to the ICU capacity being maxed out due to the virus. I am surprised and disappointed you aren’t taking this more seriously. Stay healthy, and wear a mask.

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    1. Thank you, Steven. I wear a mask in public – and follow the other recommendations of the CDC – but I simply do not believe the numbers put out at the state and national level are trustworthy.

      Sorry for your loss – and thanks for reading.
      MDB

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Got my new yearly beach pass yesterday and took a nice ride and sat in my suv looking at the waves and the hell with politics and assholes.When a doctor shocks you 5 months ago and says you have cancer and you can only take chemo pills for it you realize life is too short to really give a crap about Biden,Trump or Denys

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  3. As soon as I read “planned to get to the bottom of what happened “ I pretty much knew where you were going. It was a simple error. Fixit we won’t be mad 😡. lol

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  4. The sign at the Canaveral National Seashore boat ramp south of New Smyrna Beach read “Boat Lunch Area” for years. Last March I posted it one of my Facebook fishing group pages. A complete new sign was posted a week later. New sign looks great, guys… thanks.

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