The Santa Clarita Valley now has its own Occupy movement.
All the requisite accoutrement were present.
Guy Fawkes vigilante mask from V for Vendetta. Check.
Signs, armbands and buttons declaring “99%”. Check.
A civil engineer decrying the state of the city’s bridges. Okay, that’s a little different.
Tuesday late afternoon as the sun was drawing long shadows at a bridge at the intersection of Alamogordo Road and Bouquet Canyon Road, members of the Occupy SCV movement gathered.
The collection wasn’t large. Maybe enough folks to invite over for a large – dare I say it – tea party. Let’s call it about two dozen people from elementary school kids to elder citizens, with a sprinkling of college age boys sporting hoodies.
“Many have asked Occupy SCV why choose this bridge, and this issue for your first action?,” said Grant Colet, Occupy SCV member and reader of my mind.
Colet reiterates the axiom that all politics is local.
“It is fitting therefore that we have chosen a local bridge as a symbol for how the 99 percent have been done a disservice by our current political and economic state of affairs,” Colet said.
The bridge in question that crosses Bouquet Canyon Creek at Alamogordo Road has been identified by the website Transportation for America as structurally deficient and they indicate a dozen more with a similar grade in Santa Clarita.
Details on the bridges can be found by clicking here.
Sherry Ann Lima, a Saugus mother of six, believes the answer to solving the unemployment issue and bringing our nation’s infrastructure up to a passing grade can be found in the American Jobs Act. She describes it as a “win-win” but knows where the buck stops.
“Why then won’t representatives like Buck McKeon want safe bridges and roads for our people? To this date he has still not worked with the president on this very issue,” said Sherry Ann.
Civil Engineer Steven Brandt compared the crumbling infrastructure to the lack of progress from the government.
“When something falls apart we don’t just put it back together. Because if we put it back together it will just fall apart again. We have to look at how it was designed initially to see why it fell apart then we change the design, we improve the design,” said Brandt.
What he sees in the Occupy movement is the chance for people to rethink how society is designed. One of the fundamental principals he understands as an engineer is cooperation.
“You cannot build something unless you have partnership and teamwork between all the trades that go into making something functional,” said Brandt.
In society right now Brandt doesn’t see cooperation.
“A lot of people are making money by keeping us apart. And to make money is wonderful, but if you make money by destroying the fabric of society that is not wonderful,” Brandt said.
For a look at the nation’s structural report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, click here.