Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Whistleblower's steadfastness, well-timed FOIA requests + WaPo's Lisa Rein = evidence of public safety at risk

Below is yet another striking example where
FOIA requests and interviews at the right time,
plus some hard, critical questions asked by
someone unwilling to look the other way,
Steve T. Mackey, has lead to evidence of
shortcuts on
public safety and plain old
incompetence in a national transportation
plan of consequence, WMATA's proposed
Silver Line

The eye-opening Lisa Rein article on train
safety referenced below in the WaPo editorial
that ran on Thanksgiving, complete with
diagrams and photos, is at:

Some excellent photos that pinpoint the exact
area under discussion -which is two Metro
stations past where I used to live, and
near a very popular Applebee's in McLean
that my friends and I used to frequent
are at:

And since it wasn't in the papers down here,
I can tell you that they had a crash there on
Sunday with millions of dollars worth of

See also:

http://wtop.com/?nid=600&sid=1825327 and

And don't overlook the obvious -this is
precisely what a first-class editorial looks like.

Compare and contrast with the shallow LCD
silliness that passes for big-thinking editorials
in South Florida's newspapers, esp. the ones
dealing with immigration policy. Latin America
politics, public corruption or anything having
to do with real estate.

Washington Post

Supporting evidence
'You don't build bridges without testing.'
Thursday, November 26, 2009

THE MANAGEMENT and contractors involved in building one of the largest public infrastructure projects in the nation -- the $5.2 billion extension of Metro to Dulles International Airport and beyond -- suddenly stand accused of slipshod procedures and casual neglect of critical safety issues.

It's a damning indictment. The senior federal official with direct responsibility for transit has charged the project manager, Washington's airports authority, with submitting an "unresponsive and inadequate" plan to test crucial support structures for a planned bridge that would carry Metro trains over Interstate 66. Other officials with intimate knowledge of the project to build Metro's Silver Line are alarmed that safety tests that should have been obvious and obligatory were neglected or resisted by the contractors, a partnership between civil engineering giants Bechtel and URS. A whistleblower who formerly oversaw construction of the bridge has quit the project. And crucial documents appear to be missing.

These and other serious matters, raised in a report Sunday by The Post's Lisa Rein, have cast a shadow over the 23-mile Silver Line project. They will continue to darken perceptions of it unless they are addressed thoroughly, quickly and with an unstinting focus on safety. To its credit, the airports authority now appears to be doing just that, although it has not laid out its plans in detail.

The root of these concerns is the strength and integrity of a number of existing support structures -- concrete-encased steel pilings driven deep into the ground and each designed to withstand 70 tons -- that are to be used as foundations for the bridge. These foundations, built in 1977 in anticipation of Metro's eventual extension, were all but forgotten until workers came across them two years ago. Project engineers then decided to save money and time by using 11 of them as footings atop which pillars would be built to support the bridge.

It seems plain that the money saved by not having to build these foundations from scratch should be used to test the load-bearing capacity of all the underground pilings -- especially given their age and the apparent disappearance of original construction records. That sort of testing is exactly what Steve T. Mackey, the project's former chief bridge manager, insisted on. Incredibly, Mr. Mackey was overruled by a supervisor, and his attempts to alert the Federal Transit Administration about his concerns were ignored (outrageously) for more than six months; he resigned last year. "I'm old enough to know you don't build bridges without testing," he said.

There are some troubling questions here. One is whether the airports authority, which owns the project and the problem -- and is therefore responsible for a solution -- has the expertise, experience and muscle to manage this project. The authority did little to inspire confidence when, pressed to submit a testing plan by the feds, it merely wrote a cover letter for one submitted by the contractor, known as Dulles Transit Partners. Now the authority says all 11 structures will be tested.

Another question is why Dulles Transit Partners resisted testing every one of the foundations, as appears to have been the case. Was it because of cost, or the risk of disruption to service on the Orange Line or I-66, or because some forms of testing can actually harm the structures?

We make no presumption about the condition of the 11 existing foundations; as far as we know, and based on the limited tests that have been performed, there is no evidence to suggest they are unsafe. We understand that testing all the foundations could temporarily disrupt Orange Line service or require briefly closing part of I-66. It's also possible that tests could trigger cost overruns. What's critical is that the airports authority, as the project manager and owner, comes up with an informed, independent and transparent plan based on the most exacting safety and engineering standards. Nothing short of that will restore the public's confidence in Metro's most ambitious expansion plan to date.

Reader comments at:


There are a lot of well-educated professionals in
Northern Virginia
who believe a tunnel would be
better and cheaper (and faster) for the
Corner/Route 7 area than an elevated line,
including many of
my friends who have offices
near there.

Their slogan is 'It's not over until it's under."


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#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016

Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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View of Rio De Janeiro from my room.

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"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Sept. 1962. #MLK I was a young kid living in #Memphis with my family that April night in 1968 when we returned home from a trip to #McDonalds and like so many nights before, I raced to the TV set in the living room to beat my two younger sisters to be the one who turned on the TV. As my parents walked in and settled down on the family couch, to see what was on TV, literally, within one minute, came the Breaking News that Dr. King had been shot elsewhere in the city. And the news only got worse as the night went on as news soon confirmed that Dr. King had died as a result of the assassination attempt, and soon there was widespread looting and violence in Memphis, the very things he had adamantly opposed. Eventually came the news that the city was under curfew, and sometime before midnight, because my family lived in a new-ish apt. complex that was on the same road as the nearby Armory, my parents and I and many of our neighbors watched in silence from the sidewalk/curb as tanks driven by members of the mobilized National Guard drove towards downtown Memphis, because the city's powers-that-be had decided that this would show the people who was boss. As my mother tells the story, one of my neighbors remarked on the irony of U.S. Army tanks being used to try to stop violence by Americans who were upset about the murder of a great man who had won the #NobelPeacePrize. It was the first time I remember ever hearing this strange word: #irony.

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When you leave but bring the spare key because it is yours to keep.

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2 0 1 7. I made new mistakes and old ones again. I learned things I didn't know and I things I had already learned the hard way but needed to repeat either way. I fell in love again and again, with the same man, and realized that is the way to do it. I stopped thinking life happened to me and started enjoying taking control of what tomorrow would entail. I wrote even when it hurt and I apologized even when they didn't. I almost gave up but woke up and stood up and spoke up and didn't budge and moved on and forgave myself for not always knowing what to do. I decided the most important thing is to be proud of who I become and to make sure she is someone to be proud of. All I truly have is the opportunity to be whoever I want to be, and knowing that is everything.

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I'm not the only poet in this relationship ❥

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The boyfriend of Mikaela -Malin and Jennifer's sister- wrote above: "Honey, you are my everything, my dream, my imagination, my reality, my future. Sounds like something that I would write to someone special -and have!
FYI: There are 10 photos below, including a rare one of yours truly!