Tomorrow, May 19, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation will open another rail line – an extension of the current Silver Line – from Culver City out to Santa Monica. The long months of construction are over and the trains are ready to roll. Hurray for the Los Angeles mass transportation system, such as it is.

Meanwhile, hot on the mass transportation trail, our roving reporter George Packard was out roving, probing and digging for news about the subway tunnel construction on Wilshire Blvd – an extension of the MTA Purple Line – also out to the beach. However this current stage of the construction process, unfortunately, will only take us to the VA hospital (a bit past Westwood). Originally, way back in the 1980’s, the Purple Line was slated to extend to Santa Monica. But the tunnel was only half completed due to huge unexplained, over-budget costs. And instead of finding where all the money had disappeared, (a big hole) our city’s leaders simply stopped the construction at Western Bl and called it a day. I remember that after the fiasco, a new contractor completed the Red Line out to North Hollywood under budget in record time.

So, George Packard, roving reporter for Bumbastories was out roving. Roving for a scoop, busy with his investigations. (Actually, George was simply peeking through the fence at another big construction site – one of many on Wilshire – to see what the heck they were doing. IMG_1399

And there was old friend Bill Ruiz, engineer for the project. Bill, who George met earlier this year while doing some other intense investigative reporting, had talked about his love for his job. “I love digging tunnels,” he had said with a grin.

Although it was nice to see Bill and to talk with him again, George Packard was nonetheless professional and hard-hitting in his interviewing style.

PACKARD: “So tell me, Bill. Why is this construction taken so long? Why are you guys so effin behind schedule?

IMG_2043 BILL: No. It’s not that bad. We’re not so far behind schedule.

Hard-working, serious people like Bill Ruiz inspire confidence. Ruiz further explained some technical aspects of the construction plans. Bill happens to be a man who loves his work. His business that day was to extract a buried 20 ft. long steel-reinforced concrete stantion from the ground. His team had a cable looped around the stantion, which they then attached to their derrick in an attempt to shake loose and lift out the stantion.

George Packard, who was strangely reminded of childhood tooth-pullings, walked on in search of further breaking news stories. But not before wishing Bill Ruiz and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation the very best! Three Cheers for the subway!