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Steve Lunetta: Dept. of Dumb Ideas Part Deux

Posted: August 12, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 12, 2013 2:00 a.m.

I could not resist it. After my son and I found the Department of Dumb Ideas at Los Angeles City Hall, we had to find the corresponding office at the city of Santa Clarita.

We ventured into City Hall and began to ask where to find the mythical department. After numerous blank stares, one of Frank Ferry’s staff members gave us a knowing wink and nod and pointed to the downward stairs at the end of the hallway.

Apparently, Frank’s folks are quite familiar with this office.

Descending the stairs, we encountered a dark and dusty hallway that led to an ornate door at the end. Approaching the portal, we saw the sign that announced "Santa Clarita Department of Dumb Ideas. Lose Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."

We knew we were in the right place. Upon entering the doorway, we were startled to find an old man behind the counter with a straggly beard and a "Vote for Mayor Dude" T-shirt. It was the same old man we saw in Los Angeles!

"Wow, you sure do get around, old timer," I observed. "Didn’t we see you down in L.A.? Still doing the Duck Dynasty look?"

"Why you sure did, Mr. Lunetta! But we heard that things were very busy up here so we had to rush in support to help. Dumb ideas take immense support and your little city has been working overtime"

"Whatever do you mean?" I queried.

"Mr. Lunetta, think about it. Look at how we’ve snarled traffic in the downtown area with the Traffic Circle from Hell. We’ve got cars backed up in every direction.

"We cleverly figured out detours that take people right past William S. Hart’s front door! The docents tell us that visitors to the mansion are up 50 percent!"

"That must also scare the buffalo," I observed.

"No such thing! The city lets the kids ride the buffalo for two bucks a pop. We’re making money hand over fist. Because there is nothing else to do while sitting on a side street in Newhall waiting for traffic to move."

I disagreed, "but I hear the traffic circle will be a good thing. It will allow traffic to move more freely and provide an area for artwork."

"Yeah, and I’m Little Orphan Annie. Frankly, if you think the traffic circle is bad, you should see what we are doing over on Avenida Navarre.

"We ordered our Public Works Department in April to pave the streets intersecting Navarre. All that black asphalt looked very nice."

I had to ask. "Then what happened?"

"We intervened! We had Edison come in, tear up the fresh asphalt two weeks ago and put in new cables! And now the streets have to be re-paved all over again! We are still trying to recover from the hilarity of that one."

"Oh, my goodness." I was shocked. "You mean to tell me that these streets have been paved twice in four months? Who is accountable for this? Do the utilities not talk to the city?

Dirty T-shirt man responded: "Well, of course they do. They have very productive meetings. Last month, we brought jelly doughnuts and Starbucks.

"We talked about how much better the Dodgers are playing, the cost of Obamacare to all the public-sector rubes, and how we are going to fix the next City Council election. A very productive meeting."

"But you didn’t coordinate this project between Edison and the Public Works Department? How much money did that cost us?" I was furious.

"What do we care?" He shot back. "Our job is to come up with bad ideas and watch the city act on them. In the Navarre case, we didn’t need to do much. We just helped facilitate the poor planning and communication needed to make this project an overpriced failure!"

"What about the residents of the area? Did you think about them?"

"Heh, yes, we thought about them. But they are sheep — like most of the residents of this town. They won’t complain.

"Most are commuter residents like you who will har-umph at the mess and delay but drive straight to their house and watch the latest news on the royal infant," insinuated dirty-beard.

"I think you will find us far more in-tune than you realize. Have a good day, sir."

And with that, I turned on my heel and vowed never to return (at least until the next time I need a story vehicle).

What do you think, Santa Clarita? Should someone explain the errors and costs of the Navarre boondoggle? I think so.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and really likes stories like this (thanks, Vicky!). Keep ‘em coming, my neighbors. He can be reached at


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