Library’s California Research Bureau (CRB) offers specialized library
services to unique users. Working for lawmakers and other elected officials,
CRB researchers gather and analyze data from disparate sources and then
consolidate it in annotated reports for those California policymakers.
One of the most
recent CRB reports,
Timeline of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Seismic Retrofit: Milestones
in Decision-Making, Financing, and Construction, chronicles the delays and
funding battles of retrofitting and ultimately rebuilding the San
Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The Timeline culls crucial events from the
mountains of reports and analyses connected to the Bay Bridge project and lays
out the events briefly and chronologically to assist decision-makers in moving
forward with this important project.
Assemblywoman Wilma Chan
requested the report from the CRB in an effort to provide a clearer
understanding of the Bay Bridge retrofit history, including the fact that the
bridge’s cost has risen from $2.6 billion in 2001 to $5.1 billion today.
Chan says, “Anyone who wants a straightforward account of the history of the
Bay Bridge retrofit saga will find this report invaluable.”
Chan, chair of
Joint Legislative Audits Committee at the time of the Bay Bridge request,
represents the 16th Assembly District in Alameda County, which includes the
cities of Oakland, Piedmont, and Alameda. She had previously used the CRB to
create visual displays showing traffic congestion and highway projects in
Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
research requests, like Chan’s for the Bay Bridge retrofit, can turn into front
page headlines, so the CRB combines the expertise of librarians and
researchers to ensure a meticulous product.
For the Timeline, CRB
researcher Daniel Pollak, a M.S. in environmental policy and a former research
assistant at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms
Control, teamed with CRB information services staff members Dan Mitchel and
Carolyn Zeitler, to locate and analyze 124 online, State Library and Caltrans
library sources related to the Bay Bridge and to sift through Oakland’s
Metropolitan Transportation Commission hard copy file documents.
The resulting annotated
chronology’s purpose was not to tell the reader what to think about the Bay
Bridge controversy, but to put in sequence the often confusing and tangled
events that led to the current predicament.