From the Sacramento Bee, the who-ever-heard-of State Business, Transportation & Housing Agency has reviewed and cancelled a near $10 million contract with a San Francisco firm that was doing public relations work for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (more here). The Bee reported:
The order follows a report by The Bee on Wednesday that Caltrans agreed to pay a public relations company nearly $10 million for work on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, including hundreds of thousands of dollars to conduct tours and produce a video and commemorative book. [Acting Agency Secretary] Kelly ordered the contract’s cancellation after The Bee requested documents related to it.
As we discussed earlier this month, like the Orange County Transportation Authority, the State must have been in need of a spokeshole’s assistance for singing the praises of an inanimate object and spinning any negative publicity that, in this case, California’s version of the Big Dig (that is, before High-Speed Rail) had deservedly earned since Gov. Schwarzenegger supported its reconstruction and astronomical cost.
In 2005, then-Caltrans potentate Will Kempton (until he
gets pushed out leaves in February, Kempton is currently the OCTA’s $376k/pa CEO) said “we can get the…design completed faster and cheaper,” apparently without the help of a PR firm to assist him in lying about it. But now, Kempton believes the widening of the 405 Freeway requires a Measure M-funded $4.7 million PR contract — perhaps done by flaks like Master of the Universe Curt Pringle‘s fix-it firm which is now crying foul about the handling of the OCTA’s bidding process per the union-funded Voice of OC. Kempton also apparently doesn’t believe such work can be handled by OCTA’s large, internal outreach and spin operation.
Maybe it’s a good thing that the BT&HA wasn’t one of the boxes that Schwarzenegger planned to blow up –they actually saved us some money. Perhaps the OCTA Board can do the same and cancel the re-bidding of the flak’s contract that former OCTA Director Pringle managed to convince them to do.