Both Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol are integral parts maintaining our safety and ability to travel across our mountain roads. When service becomes compromised, everyone must step up to the plate, commuters included.
The facts are simple. Our roads began falling apart long before Valentines Day, with repairs happening only when the collapsed culverts formed deadly sinkholes and loss of roadway, even though identification and repairs could have taken place long before a threat to human life occurred.
As for the Valentine’s Day collapses, with the state of substandard roadways, catastrophe was inevitable. An instant draconian realignment of traffic patterns took place onto already dangerous roadways with numerous deadly head-on traffic collisions.
Early morning commutes shifted to before 3 a.m. School buses were on the roads at 4 a.m. The extensive and observable misconduct of commuters passing on double-yellow lines and curves was immediately untenable.
I asked state Commissioner Annis and Sheriff Bianco to immediately mitigate this problem. Nothing happened. Weeks and weeks passed, then Capt. Mike Alvarez said the California Highway Patrol is not typically on the road before 6 a.m. unless there’s a traffic accident or incident.
Our kids and the commuting public needed their oversight and management immediately after this realignment. None was to be found for months.
Finally, only after Highway 74 was opened and months after the February road collapse, the California Highway Patrol announced maximum enforcement within the Anza and Wilson Valley areas. I consider this an example of non-responsive governance.
I am a government servant. I regularly reflect on how to improve my service. More important, I take all constructive criticism to heart.
I expect nothing less from law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, snowplow operators, road repair crews, water distribution/treatment technicians and our elected officials. Circling the wagons, flashing badges and politicians justifying their conduct to cover up non-responsive governance is arrogant and abusive. No government employee or service is above self-reflection and improvement.
On a personal note, I was criticized and likely lost friends for pointing out this non-responsiveness. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.
Jeff Smith
Pine Cove