Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Makes Me Want To Jump...All OVER Politicians!...

What WILL they think of next? The following article (I forgive any of you for finding it too lengthy or boring to read to its end) was published locally here in Seattle regarding our infamous "suicide bridge". It appears the governor of my fine state is willing to SINK (pun intended) millions of dollars to add a 1/2 mile fencing around and under SUICIDE BRIDGE while cutting MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM THE STATE COFFERS TO FUND MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT!!! No wonder people jump here...there's no money to assist them in ongoing treatment if they don't have really good insurance OR don't qualify for state medicaid, which is also cutting HUNDREDS of people from their rosters because of funding issues.

I guess the politicians better start planning for fences around all the tall buildings in Seattle, around other over passes, making sure no one owns a gun, limiting the number of prescription pills one can obtain in a bottle, decreasing all carbon monoxide fumes known to man, and prohibiting the sale of rope. THAT ought to eliminate suicides in our city...FER SHUR...

Now excuse me while I go answer the phones installed on this bridge to discourage jumpers...I'll have to dust them off first from lack of use...

State budget includes suicide fence on Aurora Bridge

Story Updated: Dec 18, 2007 at 2:40 PM PST
By Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) - Gov. Chris Gregoire is hoping to take the Aurora Bridge off the list of most popular bridges for committing suicide, by putting $1.4 million in her supplemental budget proposal to begin building an 8-foot suicide-prevention fence on the historic landmark.

More than 40 people are known to have jumped off the bridge in the past decade. Most years, three or four people jump, although nine leapt to their deaths in 2006, tying 1972 as the worst year on record for known suicides from the Aurora Bridge.

The Seattle bridge has the second-highest rate for bridge suicides in the nation, Gregoire said, but doesn't come close to No. 1, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, where about 25 people are known to jump to their deaths each year.

"Installation of an 8-foot suicide-prevention fence with illumination on the Aurora Avenue Bridge will help make the bridge safer and can help prevent suicides," the governor said in budget documents released Tuesday.

She said she plans to put additional dollars in her budget proposal for the 2009-2011 budget period, and estimated the total cost of the project would be $7.5 million.

The half-mile bridge built in 1931 carries State Route 99 over water at its highest point, 155 feet above the channel connecting Lake Union and the Lake Washington Ship Canal north of downtown. But many jumpers fall on solid ground, sometimes onto a parking lot in a former warehouse district that has morphed into a trendy area full of office buildings, shops and restaurants.

The people who work under the bridge or live in the neighborhood should get the credit for the fence money in the governor's supplemental budget, said Stan Suchan, a spokesman for the Washington Department of Transportation.

"That project largely exists because of community involvement. The community is passionate about this," Suchan said. "I do share their concerns and I'm eager for the project to move forward."

The project is complicated by the bridge's status as a national historic landmark, and by the fact that the steel-truss bridge carries 45,000 vehicles a day on one of the main north-south routes through Seattle and requires careful, frequent safety inspections, he said.

A year ago, his department worked with city officials and suicide-prevention experts to install six emergency phones and 18 signs on the bridge, for suicide deterrence. The signs encourage people to seek help instead of jumping.

Measuring the impact of those measures is not possible, said L.J. Eddy, the head of the Seattle Police Department's hostage negotiation team.

"Nobody can say, 'We saw an increase in calls or a decrease in jumpers,"' Eddy said a month after the phones and signs were installed. "And we can't measure the potential suicide person, who sees the signs and turns around."

Suchan said people in his department have already done some research concerning the fence, so the governor would have a good estimate to put in her budget, but the design and planning work will require the dollars she has earmarked.

Government officials had previously ruled out a suicide-prevention fence because it would complicate the inspection process. Because of its height and location between two hills, the bridge is inspected by a special truck that dangles a bucket carrying the inspector over the railing. Building up the height of the railings could hamper those inspections, Seattle transportation officials have said.

Transportation planners will need to find a solution that allows inspections, while still preventing suicides, Suchan said.

"It appears that fencing is the best solution," at least in the Washington Department of Transportation's opinion, he said, adding that the dollars the governor put in her budget match his department's proposal.

The bridge has been altered several times in previous decades - to improve pedestrian safety and to make it more safe in earthquakes.


harkoo said...

The mental health system is severely comprimised here in Maine also due to a budgetary crisis--services will be cut to the basics for the mentally ill. Here, however, people get guns and shoot themselves and each other in the long winter months when they are upset--alcohol is often a factor. A local fireman was just arrested for driving the firetruck drunk!

Miss Chris said...

I think this is proof that, as far as the government is concerned, there is no longer such a thing as common sense. They are always so eager to take away money for ridiculous things.

Bubbie said...

Logic has nothing to do with politics. Sadly it is they who are in need of mental health services it seems.

Diane J Standiford said...

Too bad the community there didn't think it through, person who wants to die will find a way. What is it with politicians and fences lately? Mental health is always hidden away. Always happens with what we don't understand or want to be bothered with.

Have myelin? said...

I took a "what should you be when you grow up" kind of test a few years ago and the results startled me.

It said, "Politican". (sp? brain fart) OMG!

So, I took my first class. Political Science 101. Made an A.

Also learned that I'd probably never make a difference. Now what was the question again?