My dad was a floor layer before he became a general contractor. Millions of tourists have walked and continue to walk on my dad’s work.
Many visitors who visit Yosemite make sure to stop off at the Ahwahnee Hotel. The floors are my dad’s work. That was long before he became a general contractor.
Once he became a general contractor, he bid on projects across the continental United States. Most of the time he got bonuses for jobs that were well done and completed before due dates – but there were a few times he had to eat unforeseen problems. He never, ever went back and asked for more money. That would be a violation of his morals and a violation of the bidding process.
The builders of the overpass at Highway 126 and Commerce Center Drive have asked for another $600,000 to finish the project (here’s the story). When the lowest qualifying bid is submitted to the county, the county accepts the bid – and that should be it. The project has to be completed within those parameters. If unseen complications arise, then it should be on the contractor. Unseen complications are always part of the bidding process.
If contractors know there will always be a bailout, then why not bid low on all projects?
All contractors should have to play by the same rules. If this project were being done for a private company, there would be no asking for more money; the contractor would have to suck up the expense and deal with any unforeseen problems.
But this is not for a private company. It is for the county, and the taxpayers will get the bill.
The taxpayers will foot the bill for a project that came directly out of the “One Valley, One Vision” plan. One Valley One Vision is the same plan that oversaw and is still overseeing the collapse of a protected ridge at the Commerce Center. The same plan that is allowing Newhall Land and Farm to destroy natural habitat in a riverbed so they can build 21,000 homes in a flood plain. This is the same plan that allows a massive landfill to ignore its contracts with a neighboring town in order to become one of the largest in North America. The same plan that allowed large building projects all over the valley that were poorly designed so that water would not be allowed, or would be severely limited to seep back into the ground. One Valley One Vision is the same plan that has eroded the natural beauty of this valley so that money can blindly expand without sustainable measures in place.
Maybe before we blindly pay for blunders and unforeseen disasters, we should revisit the One Valley One Vision plan. Make it sustainable growth without destroying the beauty that makes us the Santa Clarita Valley.
Imagine the disaster and the death toll if Interstate 5 had a massive wreck traveling southbound, before the 126. Combine that with a huge fire starting near Castaic, and the residents would have no way out. They will be sitting there in their cars in gridlock, begging for help as they watch the encroaching fire.
Yet they, too, keep building, and at the Castaic Area Town Council meetings, they have brought up the dangers of having one way out.
What happens when the 21,000 homes are established in the Santa Clara River bed, and they have the storm of the century? People will die.
The taxpayers will have footed the bill for all of these blunders, and those who made the profits will sit and watch, free from cares. The taxpayers will not only have paid for the deaths of others, but the destruction of our natural beauty, as well.
Something is wrong with such a system.
Steve Lee is a Val Verde resident.