“Pumpkin Launch” A Metaphor for Redevelopment Failure

Mistakes were made...
Mistakes were made...

The OC Register reports about a strange event that went awry: a pumpkin launched from a pnuematic “cannon” by engineering students overshot its target and crashed through the scoreboard of the CSUF football field.

So why is this an apt metaphor for Redevelopment? Consider the venue: a football stadium financed by the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency for a football program that was disbanded the year after the stadium was built . Then consider the dopiness of the event itself. Then reflect upon the fact that the participants didn’t seem to have a clue what they were doing – missing their mark by 120%.

And finally, the cavalier attitude of the event organizer: damage was minor, and “They had no idea how far it was going to go,” (Keith) Brush said. “You know, with engineering projects, they usually don’t work out the first time.” And of course the the ultimate subjective stamp of approval that would have done any Redevelopment Director proud: 3000 kids had a good time. And of course we can’t put a price tag on that, now can we?

At least the pumpkin launch damage will only cost a few thousand bucks to fix (just wait’ll CSUF gets done with that bill!). Fullerton Redevelopment boondoggles cost a lot more.

9 Replies to ““Pumpkin Launch” A Metaphor for Redevelopment Failure”

  1. pleeease, this metaphor is worse than glen beck’s glass office building metaphor to describe the Obama adm. youre stretching with this one

    1. whatsamatter, the idea of a flying pumpkin smashing through an unintended target doesn’t remind you of the complete absurdity of Redevelopment and it’s incompetent practitioners?

      It does me!

  2. let’s put hackerman, keller, bankhead and jones in that pumpkin launcher and launch them across the mississippi into Chicago!
    if they miss the target, oh well…
    those pumpkin heads are just a bunch of “Jacks”!

    1. I seem to recall it was in the neighborhood of $12-15 million. In today’s terms that would be closer to $25 million in construction value plus inflation.

      The payback was supposed to come from revenues at the hotel on Nutwood that CSUF had a share in – or maybe it was a ground lease. It would be interesting to see how that stands.

      Comically, the Agency also fronted cash for a big fundraising drive on behalf of CSUF get get dough rolling in. The fundraising consultant ended up pocketing more than he raised.

      As Molly McClanahan explained without a whiff of self-reflection or irony: hindsight is 20/20.

      The architect of the entire scheme was one Dick Ackerman – friend of Redevelopment and government overreach.

  3. One of the comments on the Register site mentioned that they had an errant pumpkin last year that went into the parking lot.

    It adds a bit to the redevelopment metaphor – be sure to ignore the failures of the past!

  4. #8, how right you are! You see the circumstances have changed. We can’t be judged by the past since there are now new standards and new criteria for success. In fact, we can never be judged since we will always make sure the standards keep changing! Can’t hit a moving target. Especially with a pumpkin!

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