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Originally published May 26, 2013 at 5:30 AM | Page modified May 26, 2013 at 3:41 PM

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A little fractured thinking over I-5 bridge collapse

The Wrap by Ron Judd

Seattle Times staff columnist

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Golly, a 15% cost of living raise for the CEO and a knife in the back of suppliers. ... MORE
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So now they tell us.

All these years, most of us have been tooling along over many of the state’s 362 “fracture-critical” bridges with nary a concern. And we might as well keep those blinders on, says Jugesh Kapur, former head of bridges and structures for the state Department of Transportation: “It doesn’t imply anything bad about the bridge,” Kapur told The Times in the wake of the Skagit River bridge collapse. “It just means that if a certain component fails, it can lead to the complete collapse of the bridge.”

Oh. Well, if you put it that way.

Mr. Wrap always encourages aspiring writers to avoid redundancy. Bridge designers — please go right ahead.

Meantime, everyone just carry on and move quickly to the other side.

More shaky foundations:

Speaking of Dysfunction: Some people got all worked up upon hearing that numerous other bridges along the Interstate 5 corridor are considered by the feds to be “functionally obsolete.” Again, no biggie: U.S. Reps. Jim McDermott, D-Baghdad, and Doc Hastings, R-CO2, have carried the same federal rating for decades.

Cash-Strapped: No pay raise for Gov. Jay Inslee this year, says the state body that governs public salaries. The guv’s salary will remain at $167,000 — not counting, of course, his lucrative Nike loafer contract.

Just a Thought: Perhaps Inslee can get a low-interest loan from friend and former colleague Norm Dicks, D-Country Club, currently enjoying an extremely lush retirement at taxpayer and lobby-firm expense.

Speaking of Raises: So heartwarming to learn of a well-deserved 15 percent cost-of-living-large raise (to $21 million a year) for Boeing’s Jim McNerney, the chief architect of the permanently unprofitable 787 Dreamsmoker. Same for the modest 80 percent boost, to about $29 million, for civic hero Howard Schultz, chief architect of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Please Remove Your Shoes: A faithful Wrap reader asks: When McNerney says Boeing suppliers that refuse to lower their prices will be relegated to a “no-fly list,” does that mean he’s equating them with suspected terrorists? McNerney’s ire, and a small Leatherman, could get a person to Gitmo awfully quick.

Meanwhile, Over at SeAdderall Seahawks HQ: Quite the little drug culture they have going on at Pete “See No Evil” Carroll’s club. Summoning 10 minutes of grave concern for cameras, Coach Pete likened the team’s most recent drug-bust and DUI troubles to patiently dealing with recalcitrant children: “You can turn your back on your kid if you want, but I’m not doing that,” he said. Should someone break it to Pete that these aren’t kids and he’s not their dad?

Tax Depredation: Inslee has signed a bill that will raise the price of personalized license plates to help bolster the state fund to “monitor wolf recovery and prevent wolf-livestock conflict” as well as compensate livestock owners for losses. A wolf in Stevens County reportedly already has ordered a special plate reading, “COYOTE.”

And Finally: Major hats off to the quick responders and especially one victim — Dan Sligh of Oak Harbor — who showed nerves of steel of a much higher grade than that collapsed bridge in securing and removing others from the icy Skagit River. Take the rest of the weekend off.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at or 206-464-8280.

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About The Wrap / Ron Judd

"The Wrap" appears on Sundays, highlighting the absurd and providing the punch line to the week's news headlines.


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