Off Beat: Penny for your thoughts?
Did you enjoy the gridlock on Wednesday?
The 10th Street Bridge heading into Marysville wasn't. The Fifth Street Bridge, which everyone tries to use when No. 10 is blocked, wasn't much better.
So did it always have to be this way, that Yuba-Sutter, an area with two main bridges linking the two counties, would never get a third?
Back in 1994, voters in the two counties had the chance to stand up and say yes to a sales-tax increase.
The half-cent increase was supposed to raise enough to make Yuba and Sutter "self-help counties," meaning that the locals were willing to fund a portion of the bridge cost.
In addition to the bridge, the "self-help" tax increase would also help pay for the Marysville Bypass and major improvements also on 99/70.
So this was an advisory vote, not the real thing. That seemed kind of odd in itself. Why not just put the question on the ballot? Oh well.
"We should always remember in the long run let's get back to the people and ask the question," then-Yuba City Councilwoman Karen Cartoscelli, who came up with the idea for an advisory measure with City Administrator Jeff Foltz, said. "It gives information and we get information and it doesn't cost anybody a lot of money."
Yes, not spending a lot of money is always a big thing in Yuba-Sutter. Just look around.
As things turned out, voters in Yuba-Sutter voted down the advisory measure. There was no sales tax increase.
Four years later, in April 1998, the head honcho at Caltrans, James van Loben Sels, had a media event along with some local elected officials atop the Shanghai Bend Road levee.
"Here's an opportunity to build a new bridge to connect communities," van Loben Sels said.
Everyone seemed to assume the bridge would be erected by 2010.
The elected officials who appeared with van Loben Sels were equally upbeat.
"We're delighted to have the Caltrans chief here today," Yuba City Mayor Lee Welch said. "It shows a commitment to both communities to build the bridge in a time period they have indicated. It's a great day."
Yes, a great day.
Wednesday wasn't a great day if you had to drive from Yuba City to Marysville.
There will probably be plenty of not-so-great days in the future, as traffic increases and the bridges clog.
But you got what you wanted, Yuba-Sutter. No sales tax increase.
Enjoy those few extra coins in your pocket as you sit in traffic.