Friday, June 6, 2008

No Way, Jose

Los Lagos Golf Course in San Jose, CA is a municipal golf course and it's right next to a residential neighborhood. It's kind of a weird spot for a golf course. Or for a neighborhood. I guess it depends on how you look at it. Anyway, the problem that was occurring was that, on occasion (with "occasion" meaning 48 times in the past 6 years, or 8 times a year on average) a errant golf ball would go flying through a window in someone's house. (One guy has had his windows broken six times. )

So far, over the past six years, the city has paid out $22,300 on claims from the damage caused by golf balls gone awry. That's an average of $464.58 per claim. (Hey, windows are expensive.) Now, according to the fine folks over there at the San Jose Mercury News, the city was tired of "fighting the steady stream of claims" and they decided that it would be better to install a bunch of nets around the perimeter of the course. That way the nets keep the balls from going into the residential area and breaking more windows.

What a great idea, right? Rather than spend $22,300 over the course of another 6 years, it would be a much better idea to spend $2.2 MILLION and have these nets put up. Wait. What?

Yes, $2.2 MILLION for a bunch of nets that hang from 140-foot tall metal poles. For those on the San Jose City Council, it was a better idea to spend ONE HUNDRED times MORE money than to keep "fighting the steady stream of claims". Who? Who in the hell thought that was a good idea?! HOW can that be justified? Just wait.

According to the city attorney, Rick Doyle, "Our largest concern is that some guy gets hit in the head." Yeah, well, my largest concern is that people with thought processes such as that are the ones that are entrusted to make decisions like this. Well, OK. I suppose I get that. But hey, Rick, you know what? S**t happens. Besides, what about all of the people who are ON the golf course?! Don't THEY run a risk of getting hit in the head with a golf ball?! What are you going to do about them?! I know! How about spend $20 million dollars on helmets for all of the golfers! That should do it!

Or hey, here's another idea. How about you put up a SIGN or two in the neighborhood that says, "You might get clocked on the ol' melon if a golf ball gets loose from next door. Just thought you should know. Have a nice day." It would cost just a bit less than your $2.2 MILLION for the nets. (Are these nets made out of sparkly diamonds? $2.2 MILLION?? Did you shop around before you bought those? Did you try Wal-Mart first?)
Councilwoman Madison Nguyen (which, for inexplicable reasons is always pronounced, "Win". I don't know why. I think they do it just to be tricky.) said, "The cost of putting up the nets is pretty steep, but it is a fraction of the cost of a lawsuit." A lawsuit?! For what?! A golf ball flies off the course and clocks someone in the head? Doesn't the course have, oh, I don't know, some freaking insurance?! I'll bet it's cheaper than $2.2 MILLION.

See, you have that backwards. $22,300 is a FRACTION of $2.2 MILLION. At that rate, if the claims keep coming in the steady stream that they have been (all 48 of them) for the past 6 years, then this investment will have paid for itself in only 600 short years. Congratulations, this could be one of the stupidest investments/purchases/decisions the San Jose City Council has made in a long time. What a freaking waste of money. Check back in the year 2608 to see how this turned out.

I am over this litigious society that the United States has become. I do not understand and I will continue to not understand why people feel that because something "bad" happens to them that they, for some reason, need to "get" something and the "something" is usually big ol' Scrooge McDuck sized piles of money. The frivolous lawsuits in this country are out of control. They are so out of control that everyone is running around trying to figure out how to prevent anything "bad" from happening to anyone. Well, here's a news flash: You can't! There are way too many people that already think that they and their children are precious little snowflakes and dandelions that should never, ever have to experience the slightest bit of grief and/or discomfort in their lives. And as a result, things that shouldn't be a big deal are because everyone is worried about a lawsuit. I'm over it.

But back to the $2.2 MILLION that was spent on these nets. I just checked the website of the company that makes the nets. According to their FAQs, the UV warranty on the nets is 6 years. I sure as hell hope that doesn't mean that the life expectancy of those freaking nets is only 6 years and that this softheaded City Council went ahead and spent $2.2 MILLION anyway on something that has a lifespan of SIX years.

Hmmm...six years. The number of years that there were 48 claims for a total of $22,300. A FRACTION of the $2.2 MILLION. But now, the $2.2 million has been spent and in six years, instead of only having spent another $22,300, the nets can be looked at again to see if they need replacing (I'm sure that there will be some sort of a clause somewhere that says something about the dangers of nets that are 6 years and 1 day old are a liability and they will have to replace them and that will cost MORE money! Brilliant. Way to go, San Jose.

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