Jack Ohman

The Great Wall of California, another legacy project, maybe

Gov. Jerry Brown, with one of his endearing tossed-off remarks that creates cartoons and columns, suggested last week that California might put up a wall if Donald Trump becomes president.

“If Trump were ever elected, we’d have to put up a wall to defend ourselves from the rest of the country,” Brown said.

Or at least certain counties in Nevada. You know how those people are.

Brown then walked it back. And just in case his joke didn’t work, he added, “By the way, that is a joke. We don’t like walls, we like bridges.”

Of course, the last bridge California built over in the Bay Area hasn’t been all that great. Maybe we should stick to walls.

Or, as a famous Californian and president, Richard Nixon, once observed about the Great Wall of China, “What a great wall.” The other famous Californian and president, Ronald Reagan, was more interesting in tearing down walls. So California has a long political interest in walls.

How would this Great Wall of California work, anyway?

Of course, all the big legacy infrastructure ideas Brown loves would have to be approved by the Legislature, and this project makes high-speed rail and twin Delta tunnels look like a pleasant afternoon Lego project in comparison.

Once we’ve written the bill to construct a wall, naturally we’ll need lots of lobbyists to make sure it’s constructed properly. The tobacco lobbyists will want to make sure that 25 percent of the laborers are smokers, and Big Pharma will want to make sure absolutely no one can sneak through the wall up to Canada to buy cheaper prescription drugs.

Leaders of the state of Jefferson will want their own separate wall inside their heads to keep alien broadcasts out. The Bay Area will also need its own wall to make sure no aggressive foreign power can come in and destroy them, by lowering rents.

Sacramento will want its own wall to double as a levee with machine gun-equipped guard towers to keep Los Angeles away from the river. A wall should probably be put up protecting Angelique Ashby from knowing her own district’s crime statistics. Another smaller wall will be built keeping Ashby’s husband from posting Facebook comments.

A wall between DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl is probably a sound investment, too, and it should be heavily soundproofed.

Naturally, we’ll have to agree on a design for the wall that incorporates California’s aesthetic ethos. A Jeff Koons design would be really shiny and colorful, and we could all argue about how my kid could have designed that wall.

Apple could do a stark, beautiful design for the Great Wall of California, too, but of course wouldn’t want to have any of the actual assembly done by Americans.

Once the wall is built by Caltrans (expected completion date: 2064, factoring in Chinese part retrofits), we’d have to set up a new California state agency to administer it: CalWall.

The director of CalWall would also have to be selected from a carefully vetted group of highly qualified individuals well-trained in engineering and administration, or some termed-out assemblyman from Encino.

You’re probably wondering precisely how we’re all going to pay for the Great Wall of California. Who isn’t? It’ll cost billions. Tell me where we get that kind of money. The astronomical sum involved would surely make the cost prohibitive, right?

Don’t worry. I have a plan.

Start a petition signature-gathering company. They make tons of money.

And you can sign the latest ballot petition calling for the rejection of the Great Wall of California.

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