From WILL PARRISH
A parade of classic cars led the way last Thursday afternoon, November 4th, as CalTrans celebrated Opening Day of the Willits Bypass. A bulletin relased by Big Orange’s legendary propaganda shill, Phil Frisbie, Jr., stated that the Chevy Bel Airs and Ford Thunderbirds would be ferrying the likes of Assemblymember Jim Wood and Willits City Councilmember Bruce Burton across Little Lake Valley’s beleaguered wetlands as a representation of “the more than six decades that have passed since the conception of the bypass.”
It’s fitting that CalTrans invoked the 50s origins of this $300 million anachronism with so much relish at this opening ceremony (Big Orange also threw in a wildly disproportionate amount of vapid patriotism, but since it took so long to get this project past the US Army Corps of Engineers, hey!, why not?). The Willits Bypass is a relic of the 50s in the worst sense, recalling a time when the US squandered precious environmental, financial and human resources on the creation of American Suburbia, severely wounding this nation’s urban core regions and giving rise to the most urgent problem humanity has ever faced: the global climate crisis.
Philosopher Louis Mumford wrote his classic The Highway and the City in 1958, which included the following assessment of the highway construction binge’s impacts: “In many parts of the country, the building of a highway has about the same result upon vegetation and human structures as the passage of a tornado or the blast of an atom bomb.”
If Mumford’s words seem exaggerated, keep in mind that the federal government was at the time considering using atomic detonations as a means to improve human transportation and commerce in a literal sense. In 1958, the US initiated Project Ploughshares, so named for the idea of converting nuclear bombs into a tool of “peaceful” engineering, akin to the Biblical concept of beating swords into ploughshares.