Friday, July 08, 2005

R2 unit

Blasted R2 unit can't sit still. Chased the stupid bugger all over the galaxy. Took concrete and some serious welding to get the bum to sit still long enough to get a bloody photo. All the while the dumb thing keeps saying brapp...brapp...brapp... and then spits out a quart of water.

Photo by Leo

What the heck is it?
Some sort of an irrigation pump, maybe?
This looks like a piece of Johnny McClain's waterworks infrastructure. But, dang, the guy is good with duct tape!

***BACKGROUND for the outsiders: a big, ham-fisted fellow named John McClain owns seven water companies -- like the Seven Fabled Cities of Gold -- that supply water to rural sectors here in Southern Arizona, including Leo's home. Because of his and his son's mismanagement of the system, state regulators forced the business into receivership, so the companies are being run by an independent water association for the time being, and meanwhile the McClains are seeking bankrupcy protection, and the system is falling apart. In the past, expert witnesses have testified before state utilities commission hearings that the McClain system is worse than those in Third World countries.***

Because he is a fair fellow, Leo has said his water service was actually better when McClain was in charge. However, it was a system on the verge of collapse. McClain was not making capital improvements. His methods of construction were shoddy and not within code. He was keeping the system patched with what amounted to bubble gum and baling twine. The train wreck was coming. You can hear the rail cars piling up in the hinterlands, where Leo lives.
Anyone who ever owned a pre-Jetta Volksagen, esecially the buses, can testify that certain machines require certain tools. In the VW case, a tool box with bailing twine, many kinds of tape (not just duct)popsicle sticks, and JB-Weld was not uncommon. I agree with Ted on the fact that the McLain systems were on the edge of fault. He was in a wee bit over his head. I do, however, take umbrage at the government taking control of, what was, a free market business, failing or not.

Funny thing. They took over his companies nearly 2 years ago, knowing the faults he is blamed for then. Why are the systems failing now? What did they do for 2 years?

As a consumer, at this remove, I see no difference, except for the ineptitude of bureaucracy. I could always get a McLain employee on the phone or, at least, get a call back within an hour. Now? No one calls back.

This is background too. This is also real-time, in the moment, response from someone affected by this debacle. The Corporation commission doesn't know jack about anything besides running business. Maybe McLain doesn't know how to run business. Me? If there's no water, I'd rather be pissed at a person I can respond to (whom I can forgive) than an ever-bureaucratic commission that hasn't got the humanity to even feel bad about it.
Good point, Leo.
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