Other non-news. San Diego is still searching for a place to site a new airport. This discussion has been going on since about 1984. They've narrowed the search down to 9 possible locations, at least 4 of which are so preposterous as to not deserve comment. When the Pentagon announced the latest round of Base Closures, the Port Commission in San Diego prayed that either the Mirimar base, or the San Diego Marine Corps recruiting depot would close. Alas, neither did. As it happens, those two sites are the most logical place to relocate or expand the existing airport. The Marine Corps Depot sits immediately adjacent to and North of the current airport. Its size would allow the current airport to remain and build at least two new runways. San Diego is the largest big city airport to have only 1 active runway - and their passenger volume is about 3 million more than PDX.
More non-news. San Diego continues to fill its coffers from overtime parking fines. I'm convinced that overtime parking is the biggest revenue source outside property tax. In 1989, parking past the meter time was a death-penalty offense; now they've dropped the death penalty in favor of a fine that will cost anyone $60 minimum for the first offense, and $120 and "booting" for the second offense. They use collection agencies to recover unpaid parking fines and they don't give a damn whether you're visiting or permanent.
The one astounding fact is that San Diego has grown more than Portland since 1989. In itself, this is no surprise. The surprise is that San Diego's traffic situation has not changed since then. We were able to drive at all times of the day, over dozens of freeways and in all directions and never once encountered a traffic jam that would rival a normal mid-day on any of Portland's freeways. I can't figure out how they've managed that feat of incredible traffic engineering. I do know that CalTrans - the agency responsible for building and maintaining freeways - can lay 5 miles of driveable concrete freeway in a day, once all the preparations are done. In Oregon, we have Highway 26 (the Sunset Highway), which has been under construction since about 1974 and shows no sign of completion. Were it in California, the Sunset would have been widened, repaved, widened again, and repaved multiple times and would be 8 lines by now.
Oh well, in the absense of any significant PERS news this week, I thought I'd share these thoughts on how things are elsewhere in the concrete jungle of California. The PERS Board meets today, but I'm not in any condition to go -- too much unpacking and bill paying to escape. Hopefully, one of my friends will send me a shout out about what happened so I can post it here over the weekend.