{ metropolis devoured }
a tribute to my san francisco

3/4 oz scotch whiskey
3/4 oz local politics
1/4 oz public policy
1/4 oz disaster preparedness
1/2 oz alamo square

Shake over neighborhood dives & venues, strain into a chilled cocktail dress, garnish with a sprig of gov 2.0, and serve.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Cosco-Busan flavors our waters:
oil spills, Coast Guard really misses the boat on this one.

This week has full of strange and unwelcome occurrences in the beautiful and temperamental city. It's also been an entire year since the inception of my "grown up" blog, which I conceived during the election week of 2006 while working for the infamous Chris Daly (congratulations on the brand new baby, dude! She's just a little kitten.) For what it's worth, congratulations to me, too, as I've never been able to stick with a writing project before.

The election itself was uneventful, which more than balanced the chaos that ensued the following morning, when a cargo container ship leased by South Korea's Hanjin Shipping Company plowed into a support tower of the Bay Bridge. The bridge sustained no remarkable damage, so for the most part traffic was not affected. The incident would have been a minor scuffle had the collision not ripped the hull, allowing nearly 60,000 gallons of toxic shipping fuel to leak out into the bay, causing an environmental and economic state of emergency.

So far the stories coming out of this incident carry a couple of conflicting messages. A Thusday, Nov 8 press release from the US Coast Guard indicates that the operator of the boat and the crew were tested for drugs and alcohol within the necessary two hour time limit of the incident. Note, this statement was released to the public 32 hours after the incident occurred, not immediately after the crew had been tested (if they were actually tested when the USCG says they were). The same day, the Coast Guard notified NBC-11 that they were unable to locate and test the pilot of the boat when they boarded it, so his alcohol and drug test was not performed until 26 hours later. Eleven hours later, the Coast Guard retracted their statement regarding the unavailable pilot. Anyone else think that a) the pilot of the ship, as its main operator, would have been a difficult target to miss, and one would think he'd be the first person aboard the USCG would question and test; and b) the USCG is not without a public relations person, so they would not arbitrarily send out a press statement with such egregious misinformation.

Five days after the incident, the consequences of the oil spill are dangerously visible: local beaches are closed off with HazMat signs, dozens of sea birds have been found dead due to exposure to oil and hundres more are being cleaned and moved to rehabilitation facilities, a coalition of professional cabbers have voluntarily called off the crabbing season due to contamination, and local environmental group Baykeeper says that volunteers will be needed for cleanup efforts for the next few weeks.

EDIT 11/15: Coast Guard Captain responsible for the inadequate response to the oil spill, providing misinformation to the public, and mishandling the alcohol/drug test situation is dismissed. Do you remember that show? I guess in modern terms, he's Nexted. Next!


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