Ridgecrest suffered the worst earthquake in Southern California in the last 20 years and as ‘experts’ descend on the area there is good news and bad news. As the Los Angeles Times reports, structural engineers “descended on Ridgecrest expecting to study destruction… [but] they found relatively little.
“Yes, mobile homes were torn off foundations, chimneys fell, gas lines leaked and some homes caught fire. But overall, most buildings did fine — and many businesses were up and running within a day or two of the biggest shock, a magnitude 7.1.”
One California Earthquake Authority engineer said she was “just amazed.”
Normally California ‘experts’ will condemn the growth of suburbs, referring to the houses of Californians who can’t afford to live in the city or don’t want to live in the city as the dreaded “urban sprawl.”
Only this time the suburbs were a lifesaver.
The Times explains, “The Mojave Desert town remained largely unscathed because its building stock was relatively new and remarkably resilient. Many homes are one or two stories, built in the 1980s. It lacks the kind of structures that experts say are most vulnerable in a big quake — unreinforced masonry, brittle concrete, so-called soft story apartments and single-family homes not bolted to their foundations.”
That’s where the good news ends.
When a 7.1 magnitude earthquake is moved into say the Bay Area — also known as the city where the ‘experts’ think everyone should live — “A U.S. Geological Survey simulation said a plausible magnitude 7.1 earthquake on the Hayward fault in the Bay Area could kill 800 people, burn the equivalent of 52,000 single-family homes and displace 400,000 people, worsening the region’s housing crisis.”
An earthquake is an instant worsening of the “housing crisis,” so Keith Porter, a famous earthquake engineer at the University of Colorado Boulder proposes to gradually worsen the housing crisis. “People think a new building is earthquake-proof. But really, all it’s supposed to do is not collapse and kill you. The damage can be so costly that you can’t afford to fix it; that it doesn’t make sense to fix it.”
His solution is to revive a bill vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown that would have instituted a get-tough construction coded requiring that “buildings usable after a major earthquake.”
The problem? Right now, 50 percent of California’s unaffordable housing costs are due to government regulations. This new code might make buildings useable after an earthquake, assuming anyone could afford to live there before the earthquake.
Rather than retrofitting existing structures at fantastic expense and requiring earthquake-proof buildings in the future, wouldn’t it make more sense to simply require earthquake insurance with rates based on a building’s survivability?
Then the private sector could take care of the problem. Homeowners and tenants who want to be totally safe can pay for the structural improvements or rent certified apartments, those who don’t want to improve their house will pay higher home insurance premiums or live in non-certified housing and those who want to roll the dice without insurance can do so with the knowledge there will be no government help after a quake.
Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.