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It’s Groundhog Day In Santee

Monday, October 18, 2010
posted by Bob Siegel

Most of you have heard the phrase, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times.”  This is especially true for an unusual story told in the  film, Groundhog Day which I had the pleasure of introducing my girlfriend to over the weekend, courtesy of DVD.  The movie is some twenty years old by now, so I’m not sure how she missed it, but I was glad she had. It actually added to the fun. I enjoy sharing favorite movies, vicariously watching them afresh through the reactions of one who had not gone down that trail before. Of course, after the movie was over, both of us felt like we had watched about fifty showings in a row. This is because of the premise; Bill Murray awakening every morning to the same obnoxious Sonny and Cher tune blasting out of his Bed and Breakfast room’s radio alarm clock at the commencement of shivering, icy cold Groundhog Day, a 24 hour period Murray is destined to repeat over and over.

A number of years ago, there was talk about turning Ground hog Day into a Broadway musical. Shepard Smith, of Fox News, shared a brief report: “And if you liked the movie Groundhog Day, you’ll be interested to know that there are plans for a new musical version on Broadway.”

At this point, Shep glanced down at his desk,  then looked up with the same expression and said once again, “And if you liked the movie Groundhog Day, you’ll be interested to know that there are plans for a new musical version on Broadway.”

Clever movie. Clever version of the news. Unfortunately, those of us who live in the modest, little city of Santee, California have been experiencing a not so clever Groundhog Day of our own. A couple of weeks ago, signs were posted in front of every house on my block, explaining how our streets were going to be repaved between the hours of 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM on a forthcoming date.  No cars were allowed on the streets during road construction. This meant each and every resident either had to park their car around the corner the night before or rise and shine before 7:00 AM to  relocate the vehicle. Otherwise, your car is stuck in the driveway and you can’t leave your home all day. You could miss work, or miss a doctor’s appointment, or miss an opportunity to go out and buy lunch should your refrigerator not be stocked. On the other hand, stranded people would still be able to watch TV, possibly another showing of Groundhog Day. In any event, the city was right on the ball, giving us plenty of notice a whole week before the road construction was slated to begin. And heck, how big of a deal could it be to move our car just this one time in exchange for a smooth, pot hole free street?

When D Day arrived, I moved my car the night before. Most of my neighbors chose the early bird option but crack of dawn rising is not numbered among my unique talents. Oh sure, I’d heard of such things as morning, but that’s not quite the same as actually experiencing the phenomenon.  In any event, it never mattered when I moved my car. Indeed, my car didn’t need to be moved at all. At the end of the day, nothing had been done to the street. There wasn’t even the slightest hint of change. Actually, I take that back. There was something new, a new date on a new slab of cardboard slapped and pasted over the original day and time, informing us of an alternative rendezvous with road construction, postponed and rescheduled for a future morning.

And so, a couple of days later, I moved my car again, this time dealing with dawn and awakening before 7:00 AM. What happened at the end of the day? Herman’s Hermits would put it best: “Second verse, same as the first.”  No paved road. Another remarked sign instead. This temporal loop has happened  multiple times now.  I actually lost track of the exact number; somewhere between 5-6 repeat performances creating a whole new interpretation of Deja vu.   As one might expect, there has not been so much as a hint of apology from the city of Santee and their accomplished collection of bureaucrats. We, the citizens, are expected to either move our cars or face the possibility of being stranded every time they put up that stupid sign. They, on the other hand, seem to feel no obligation to follow through with their part of the deal. Of course, that one day I decide not to worry about moving my car will be the same day those 7 dwarfs finally show up ready for road work and singing, “Heigh- ho!”

Didn’t our local government ever learn that it’s impolite to keep breaking a date, especially after promising that long term, solid paved relationship?  How’s this for our tax dollars hard at work? Not only does our money pay for the pavement, we also pay for the red cones, and staked signs telling us about the road construction. And then, each time the project gets delayed, we are paying for whomever the city hires to go around and change the date on the signs for the umpteenth time. I suppose I could write a letter to the city and complain but I doubt that any of these officials are actually losing any sleep over this phantom project that the rest of us are forced to literally lose sleep over. It’s not as if we can fire one road construction company and hire another. Government doesn’t work that way which is why I just can’t wait to see what government does with our health care as they head toward that  coveted single payer system. I’m sure it will be delightful!

Some might argue that I should still write a protest, just to let my voice be known. Not a bad idea. Then again, I can’t help but wonder: Who would be hired to read such letters and how much of our tax money goes to pay them?

Also by Bob Siegel: Is it biblical for Christians to be involved with politics?

Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at Comments to posts are discussed by Bob over the air where anyone is free to call in and respond/debate. Call in toll free number: 1-888-344-1170

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10 Responses to “It’s Groundhog Day In Santee”

  1. Brian Jones says:

    Consider your “protest” adequately written. I know me saying “I’ll look into it” doesn’t fix the problem, but I will.
    I hope your new pavement is a pleasure to drive on.
    Brian Jones

  2. Bob Siegel says:

    My thanks to Brian Jones

    I know you to be a man of integrity. As you can see, I was having fun with the subject matter, but yes, it is a real issue and I do appreciate you looking into it.

    Warmest Regards

    Bob Siegel

  3. Thor's Assistant Rostra Administrator (Thor's Assistant) says:

    Real action, right here! Bob, we dub thee the Turko of Rostra!

  4. Bob Siegel says:

    Many thanks. I hope I can prove to be worthy of this unique honor:)

  5. D7 Voter says:

    Move to San Diego. You won’t have to worry about your streets being repaved – ever!

  6. Brian Jones says:

    I sure do like D7 Voter’s response.

    We are trying to stay ahead of the potholes in Santee. The good news (and friendly correction to the article), in Santee we can fire one road construction crew and hire another, because we sub-contract to private companies. And when they don’t do their job properly they are not asked to come back. Now your comment regarding “health care”, that’s still accurate.

    The reason for the delays was the uncooperative weather. Unfortunately, that does not excuse the poor communication to the neighborhood and we will do better next time.

    Bob, I know this does not fix the past problem, but I assure you the city manager is on this and will make the necessary improvements.

  7. Jim Sills says:

    Well done, Councilman !

  8. D7 Voter says:

    I concur with Mr. Sills. Good Job Mr. Jones!

  9. Bob Siegel says:

    To Brian Jones:

    First, many thanks for looking into this. I do need to mention that in all the days this was delayed, it rained only once that I can recall. Even a notice which (finally) came out a couple of days ago offering the very first explanation/apology, said it was due to “weather and UNFORSEEN conditions.”

    This was the only point I wanted to make, but only for clarification, not to sound ungrateful for your efforts. Again, I do appreciate that you looked into this.

    Warmest Regards

    Bob Siegel

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