Past Features

June 24, 2017

Floundering border wall plans

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Union Tribune-- June 23, 2017
Trump border wall misses start date
    The Trump administration has yet to award contracts to build prototypes of a U.S.-Mexico border wall even though construction was originally pegged to begin this week in San Diego, public records show.
    While money for a full wall along the 1,900-mile Mexican border has not been approved, Congress did allocate $20 million for prototypes that attracted hundreds of bidders from across the country.
    Homeland Security had planned to begin construction on four to eight 30-foot tall prototypes Thursday near Otay Mesa. The location was still a dusty field this week, and Customs and Border Protection, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from the San Diego Union-Tribune, said no contracts have been awarded.
    Border Protection spokesman Rick Pauza confirmed Friday that bids are still being reviewed but that prototype designs “will be selected for construction in Summer 2017.” [...]
    Prototypes must be 30 feet tall, can't be climbed and constructed to prevent digging below the wall for at least 6 feet. Roughly 460 companies replied to requests for proposals to build the wall prototypes, including 23 in San Diego County.
Solar Panels
    President Trump has been floating the idea of using solar panels to pay for the border wall, a keystone of his campaign. At a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, the president said he would use solar panels to build the wall.
    “I'll give you an idea that no one has heard about yet,” he said. “We're thinking of building the wall as a solar wall so it creates energy and pays for itself. This way, Mexico will have to pay much less money.”
    Las Vegas-based Gleason Partners submitted a proposal for a solar panel wall in March that argued it would cut down on the cost to build and pay for infrastructure needs once it is up and running. Owner Thomas Gleason said Thursday that while he's not sure if he's in the running for a government contract, it's OK as long as he got the president's attention.

Glenn Spencer -- June 24, 2017
The impossible takes a little longer
   I understand President Trump's problems in dealing with the entrenched bureaucracy at Customs and Border Protection, but they cannot be blamed for silly ideas such as a 30-foot-high solid border wall that Border Patrol agents can't see through, or solar panels facing south that would be short work for Mexican gunmen.
    It is no wonder that the technical people at CBP are missing deadlines. There is an old saying, “The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.”
Note: US News recently ran a graphic of a Gleason solar panel laying pretty flat (about 7 degrees) - difficult to hit with gun fire.
    That is fine for the summer, but in the winter the panels would have to be raised to about 45 degrees --- a good target.