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falling for Caltrans

By enelson
Thursday, May 24th, 2007 at 4:16 pm in Caltrans, Freeway collapse, Safety.

smoke-jumper.jpgPerhaps demonstrating how fast the melted MacArthur Maze — opening tomorrow— got rebuilt, Caltrans director Will Kempton will reach speeds of 125 mph when he jumps out of an airplane tomorrow.

And like all good politicians, California Transportation Commission member Marian Bergeson will attempt to bask in Kempton’s recent glory by skydiving with him.

Kempton, 60, is actually helping Bergeson celebrate her 83rd birthday with the 2 p.m. jump. The plane will take off from the Parachute Center in Acampo, as I learned in a press release today:

Bergeson and Kempton will jump from about 13,000 feet and reach speeds up to 120 mph while plummeting to earth.  They will jump individually, each accompanied by an experienced professional who has jumped thousands of times.

Bergeson has served more than 22 years in government.  She was secretary of education under Governor Pete Wilson, and she was the first Republican woman elected to the Assembly and the Senate.  She is currently a member of the California Transportation Commission. 

There have been many times in the history of Caltrans when some in Sacramento might have helped pack the director’s ‘chute for him and not checked it twice.

But with Kempton presiding over the faster and friendlier “new Caltrans,” I’d expect Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dale Bonner, his secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing, to be biting their nails until their smoke jumper lands safely. 

Smoker jumper photo from

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