Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Beach Commute

When I drive to work from the San Fernando Valley to West Los Angeles, this is what I see along the Pacific Coast Highway. Not bad huh? There are no tall hotels on the beach blocking the view, no huge banks of pisos waiting for British tourists. Yes, there are houses on the beach, but it is a HUGE fight to get one built. The reason for this is The California Coastal Act. Passed in 1976, it sets rules for development along 1,100 miles of coastline.

On my long list of things that have happened in California long ago and that will happen in Spain - is this kind of legislation. If they don't they are crazy. I really don't understand how developers got away with such murder in Spain. BILLIONS of Euros in bribes given to government officials in order to build crap - and lots of it.
This reminds me of a joke told to me in Madrid by my friend Fernando. I will butcher it here for you now:

A Spanish public works official goes to Germany to see his counterpart and exchange ideas. The German official, pointing at a highway, says to the Spaniard, " Hey, see that eight-lane super highway over there? The German gestures to his shirt pocket, "10% for me - oh yeah". Suitably impressed, the Spaniard goes home. One year later, the German visits Spain. The Spanish public works official says to the German as he points to an empty field, "Hey, see that eight-lane super highway over there"? Confused, the German says, "No". The Spaniard points to his shirt pocket smiling broadly.

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