And sometimes, just drunks.

“God takes care of babies and drunks.” So goes the old saw.

Click through and take a look at the most loathed man in three states today, Michael Gagnon, whose drunken driving (.25) killed five members of a family traveling through Ohio three nights ago — a mom and four kids including, yes, a baby. Their minivan looked like it had gone through a wood chipper.

And he gets a cut on his chin. If he doesn’t wish he was dead already, I suspect he will soon enough.

Posted at 5:00 pm in Current events |
 

29 responses to “And sometimes, just drunks.”

  1. Danny said on January 2, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Hmm, looks like some Baltimore county residents died in that crash too. I grew up very near to Parkville. The family name did not ring a bell though.

  2. Andrea said on January 3, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Yes, the Baltimore Sun and local tv stations are covering this story pretty heavily as well. The parents and the children they had together were residents of Parkville, MD. The husband’s children from a previous marriage lived in Michigan and they were returning from a holiday visit with them. I can’t fathom how drunk you would have to be to not realize that you are driving the wrong way on a major interstate for four miles. This story was on Nancy Grace last night and they played some of the 911 calls of other drivers trying to get police to stop this guy, as well as the employees of a Taco Bell where he stopped before getting on the interstate who realized how drunk he was. The first of several calls came in at 10:47 and the accident happened at 10:55. The photos are horrific and heartbreaking.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_county/bal-md.crash03jan03,0,2967861.story

  3. Dorothy said on January 3, 2008 at 9:22 am

    We saw the color pictures of this in the Dispatch and it was just revolting. The drunk driver’s brother said they’d been drinking in a motel. His big complaint: now he’ll have to visit his brother in prison for the rest of his life. No mention of the five dead people and what their survivors are going to have to face for the rest of THEIR lives.

  4. Jeff said on January 3, 2008 at 9:53 am

    I’ve gotten to know three different cops pretty well over the years, and each of them said the acid test of the job is standing over the moaning drunk by the side of the road, after having seen the crushed bodies of (elderly couple/mom with child/tennager) cut out of the other wreck for the ME van. All three said the impulse to unsnap the holster is amazingly powerful, even if it’s just to scare the inebriated manslaughterer into enough sobriety to grasp the magnitude of what they’ve done. It isn’t about shooting them so much as wanting to use your power and authority to force them to look at what they’ve done.

    Not unsnapping your holster is when you become a cop, they tell me.

  5. Jeff said on January 3, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Oh, and re: yesterday and architects. I’ve dealt with four across three church building projects, and my personal batting average is .250 — one listened and tried to find a creative way to give us what we needed on the budget we could afford, and yes, he challenged us a bit, too.

    The other three were pompous twits who wanted to build/create/sculpt a work of art on our dime, plus another buck and a half we didn’t have. Two of them figured out how to bill us to within a smidge of what they’d have gotten for building the crumpled hat or tinfoil boat, once we realized they were never going to give us a church a) that you could use for worship, b) that had restrooms, and c) wouldn’t leak from skylights like a sieve within a decade (hey, i gotta think about my colleagues i’ll never meet, but who would curse my name as they struggled to replace a simple light bulb, as i did some of my predecessors). One gave us a building that bid at exactly twice what our highest number had been; we’d said halfway through the design phase (i.e., lots of asking questions but no listening, with much watch checking), ‘what if we can’t afford to do it this way?’ and his response was that we’d be free to look elsewhere. After the bids, he said he misspoke, and that the AIA would be upset if he didn’t get the three-quarters design fee stipulated in the contract they signed (a month before i arrived, or i would have screamed stop, wait, having gone through this before).

    Anyhow, i love a good Frank Lloyd house tour as much as anyone, but i’m edging over into Alex’s territory on this one. BTW, the one “good” architect? Yep, female. Perhaps it means nothing, but she, um, listened. And it showed.

    Thus endeth the lesson for the day. Thanks be to Wright.

  6. Peter said on January 3, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Jeff, you’re hardly any better informed if you like the FLW house tour as much as anyone. Frank set the bar for not listening and doing things his way – after all, it was him that told clients “you may know what you want, but I know what you need”…the problem with a lot of architects is that they think they can pull that off because Frank could. You can, if you have the same amount of talent as Frank, which normally isn’t the case.

    Not to get too far off tangent, but two other comments:

    1. The AIA would be upset if he didn’t get the three-quarters design fee stipulated in the contract? That isn’t on a standard AIA contract, and besides, the AIA wouldn’t care if he got his money or not. They’re the lamest professional organization on earth.

    2. If you’re concerned about a job’s budget (and that sounds dumb, but there are projects where cost isn’t an issue…) you need to bring a contractor or management consultant on board early in the process to prepare budgets and monitor cost. It sounds like a lame excuse from me, but there really isn’t a reliable data base for construction cost. Sure, they’re R.S. Means reports and data books, but you have to consider that there are wide variances even in small areas (for instance, my sister lives 50 miles south of me, and construction costs in her area are about 60% of mine – and before anyone says it, both areas are under the same union jurisdiction). In addition, there’s no uniform reporting standard, and in some projects, the owner supplies and does a lot of the work, but those figures aren’t added in. Then there’s under reporting of numbers for tax and permit purposes, and over reporting for auditing and sales purposes. And in the past few years there’s been some really wild fluctuations in price; drywall partitions have gone up (and down) more than fifty percent in 60 days time. If controlling the budget is the primary concern, you need someone who does it full time to review it.

    In my practice, I set up a budget with the client at the begining, and then send schematic design drawings to a couple of contractors to get a rough order of magnitude price to see if we’re on track. That’s not the best way to do it, but it’s a reasonable way to see if you’re on course.

  7. John C said on January 3, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Interesting discussion re: architects. I’ll add this: It’s a fine line between listening to a client and just giving them what they want to collect a check. We redid our kitchen a while back. We wanted an island like everyone else. Several designers drew up plans including an island and were ready to go. But we didn’t choose them for one reason or another. Then a woman came in and told us our kitchen was too small for an island. She designed a peninnsula and it is beautiful. So, you see, she did not listen to us – disagreed with us, in fact – but gave us something more beautiful than we would have come up with. That being said, there are a lot of pompous architects out there that leave steaming lumps of crap for people to look at for years and years on end.

  8. brian stouder said on January 3, 2008 at 11:07 am

    The Toledo story is terrible in all that it says, and all the horrors left unsaid. Think of all the people who feel some ownership in this; the partying siblings (including his pregnant sister) of the drunken driver; the Taco Bell employees who might (incorrectly) feel guilty for not doing more to delay the guy (he may only have smashed into a different family, or caused some other catastrophe), and the motorists who caught a glimpse of the guy –or barely missed him, out on the interstate. Those folks are stuck with wondering what they might have done differently, that might have averted this specific cataclysm, just as the Taco Bell people (teenagers themselves?) are….and you know there are others. What about all the drunks who made it to wherever they were going that day? Will some of them take heed? This drunk’s barkeepers are criminally liable, and rightly so… one wonders about all the other barkeepers who have to decide whether a particular customer has had enough….or who don’t think about it at all.

    Jeff reminded me of an interesting sermon I heard while at Pam’s mom’s church last weekend. The pastor spoke about the time after the original Christmas, when King Herod became frustrated in his search for the Christ child and ordered the killing of all male babies under the age of 2 (pardon me if I am repeating the particulars inaccurately!)…and Joseph receives a vision that bad things are coming, and he needs to pack up Mary and the baby and move on down the road, immediately!

    And the pastor paused, and noted that hundreds of other moms and dads got no such Special Announcement from Heaven about bad stuff coming – and their baby sons were murdered in the streets (and Rachel was understandably inconsolable when her son was slaughtered)….and at this point I was fully engaged in the sermon, wondering where the pastor was headed. I was thinking of Samantha Power and her genocide book, and how humanity has always been so cruel, and how Power insists the US could do more to effectively oppose genocide, and how God Almighty Himself, specifically could have done more – but chose to save the one baby…..and the pastor veered off onto abortion, and lost me at the bakery.

    I have no idea how all this ties together, except that as I get older, the bright colors of the world become less and less dazzling

  9. Dorothy said on January 3, 2008 at 11:41 am

    “veered off into abortion” describes about 90% of the sermons we heard when we attended Mass while living in South Carolina. And it was the main reason we stopped going after about a year of trying to force ourselves to like the priests there. I just didn’t see how every single topic that the priest wanted to discuss somehow always got around to that topic.

  10. nancy said on January 3, 2008 at 11:50 am

    When I tried to reconcile with the church after Kate was born, I, too, found the constant emphasis on abortion to be jarring. I could have handled it, however, if the priest hadn’t taken yet another turn on the path and started inveighing against birth control one Sunday. “I tell young couples, using the Pill is like taking a drug to stop your heart,” he said. I gathered up my toddler and left with no regrets.

  11. Jeff said on January 3, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Went off into abortion? Owwwww. You had me wanting to know where he’d preach from out of that very troubling question re: Herod, and gutsy choice to even go there . . . but to abortion? Yeah, i guess slaughter of the innocents can fit that, but you still got a big hangin’ theodicy question there.

    A wise preaching prof once said in sermon evaluation, “Trust your inattention — if your mind wandered, odds are most people went off mentally, too.” Beware the bakery.

    Peter, you sound like one of the good ones! I’ll repeat — my data set is not a true sample, just anecdote (and the plural of anecdote is not data!), though one of many among clergy. And is liking Wright a vast inconsistency? That’s my point, sort of — the hobgoblin of little minds . . . i could never live in Fallingwater, but i’ll always be glad i visited. And a friend pastors one of Wright’s church designs, albeit one they got most of the skylights out of before it was built; he loves it.

  12. Connie said on January 3, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve done four buildings with 3 different architects, have just killed another due to property issues, and have 2 waiting for bond approval, with two more architects. We have always interviewed architects carefully and focussed on listening and communication in that process.

    One of our most recent projects – the one that has died – drew a proposal from a big name architect. No, actually a BIG NAME architect. His proposal was all about how famous we would be if we built a BIG NAME ARCHITECT building. We didn’t hire him.

    I have also had the experience of coming into a new job at the tail end of a building project that was a disaster. The architect and the customer had barely been speaking since midway through the project. The punch list was a mess. My favorite item on the punch list: Drivers can not use drive-up book return because turning radius in the drive does not allow cars to get close enough to actually drop their books in the return. Sounds like a design problem to me.

    On the first plan go round this particular architect designed a garage that was smaller than the bookmobile it was intended to house. When this was pointed out to him, he merely noted that there were smaller bookmobiles available on the market.

  13. John C said on January 3, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    I have almost as much frustration with the Catholic church as the next guy and have had my fill of abortion sermons as well (including at my sister’s wedding!). But I will say this: We currently attend a Catholic church that’s about a mile farther from our home than another church (which is less than a mile away.) People ask us why and we say we just feel better there. The priest is a gentle soul. The parish is older and a bit more diverse. But it occurred to me as I read the earlier posts: I haven’t heard an abortion sermon there in the 6-plus years we’ve been attending.
    I am, however, preparing for my every-four-years test of faith, as various bishops come out with all manner of inane pronoucements visa-vis Catholics, abortion, and voting.

  14. Connie said on January 3, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    On the subject of abortion: On NPR news I heard Huckabee’s anti Romney ad, the one he decided not to run but did play for the news media. One of his anti Romney lines was that Romney created a state wide health insurance plan with a $50 copay for abortion. My reaction was, So what?

  15. Colleen said on January 3, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Huh. The only mention of abortion I’ve heard as I’ve been “re-Catholicizing” has been during the prayers, and not more than a few times. NEVER in a sermon. And never in RCIA, either.

    I’m liking the priest more and more.

  16. Jeff said on January 3, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Having helped to heap disdain on the Columbus Dispatch, let me give credit where credit is due — this is a cool story and well told, no matter what your faith perspective starts with:

    http://dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/01/03/icon.ART_ART_01-03-08_A1_HQ8US3I.html?sid=101

    Money back offer on your enjoyment of this article . . .

  17. Julie Robinson said on January 3, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    As a Lutheran, I always enjoyed visiting Catholic churches since they felt so familiar. But I was really turned off by the priest’s abortion rants at a wedding we attended. He also made it clear that no one could commune who didn’t accept the full tenets of the Catholic faith. I’d never been turned away from the Lord’s Table before; in fact, I believe that’s why it’s called the Lord’s Table, not the Catholic’s or Lutheran’s Table.

    Conversely, we used to attend a rural church with lots of farmers. We were discussing adding on to the building and which architect we should hire. I’ll never forget the red-faced dairyman who stood up, removed his cap, and said, “Archey-tet! We don’t need no danged archey-tet!” And indeed, none was hired and no addition built.

  18. John C said on January 3, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Here’s a theory about Catholic priests that just popped into my head. Let’s toss out the very small number of truly evil pedophiles. Left behind are the rest of the priests. My experience (45 years of life as a Catholic, 8 years Catholic school, 4 years Jesuit Catholic High School, 4 years Jesuit Catholic university) tells me there are more lame priests than good, but that the good ones are truly great, the kind of people who inspire, comfort, enrich. What is the overriding fact of the priests life? Denied sexuality. How about this? The lame ones channel that sexual energy into a sad authority trip. The great ones channel it into a deeper spirituality and show us a better, kinder, shall we say more Godly way. Hmm.

  19. brian stouder said on January 3, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Say – Three Cheers for NN.c’s proprietress, who would have EVERY RIGHT to expound on her two feet of fresh snow (or is it closer to three, now?), or on the Hawkeye climax (along with much of the rest of the media) – but who has instead resisted the urge (if any) and served up other good stuff instead, these past few days.

    HIP HIP –

    congregation HUZZAH!!!

    HIP HIP –

    congregation HUZZAH!!!

    HIP HIP –

    congregation HUZZAH!!!

  20. Colleen said on January 3, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    I attended a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church with my husband for about a year before we were married there. Only members of the LCMS can partake in communion. Not Catholics, Not Presbyterians, not ELCA Lutherans. So it’s not just Catholics.

    A priest explained it to me this way….communion means “I am in common union with these people. I believe what they believe.”

  21. Kim said on January 3, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Our Episcopalian priest makes a point of saying before communion, arms outstretched as he motions toward the 17th century silver that contains the bread and wine (actual body and actual blood, according to my scary missouri synod upbringing), “This is the Lord’s table. All are welcome. Come.” My mom, a Catholic, won’t for fear of I don’t know what. I told her if Osama bin laden is still out there without repercussion God isn’t going to smite her over a little body and blood. Just a guess.

    Oh, and my stepfather has long said, in complete seriousness, he thinks the proper punishment for certain offenders is to put ’em in a chipper. This is before “Fargo”. And yes, he is a Catholic who refuses to take communion from anyone other than an official Catholic priest.

  22. del said on January 3, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    John C’s comment about the fine line between architects just givin’ folks what they want to collect a check reminds me of situations I’ve been involved with over the years; contractors who make promises they can’t keep, collecting some $$ and getting their customers over a barrel. Beware of the lowballer. And as for AIA contracts you should know that there are many varieties that protect parties differently.

  23. Dorothy said on January 3, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    John C. I like your theory and the way you expressed it. We really like our new church here now, and the priest is first rate. He’s a gentle soul, too, and just this past week I found myself thinking that I like him second best of all the priests I’ve known. No one will ever outrank Fr. Robert Murphy, who was the pastor at my church when I went to Catholic grade school for 8 years. He really was a saintly and inspiring man.

  24. Deborah said on January 3, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    OK, now you’re hitting my hot button. I’m a graphic designer, I work for a large corporate architecture firm. My husband is an architect with his own practice. It is our experience that there are good designers and bad as in every occupation – there are good practitioners and bad ones, you have to do your homework to find the ones that work for you… plumbers, seamstresses you name it. Also, architects get blamed for a lot of the problems in the realm of the built environment when it is sometimes (dare I say often) the result of poor craftsmanship or just plain incompetence on the part of the building contractors. European architects who do work here in the US often lament this fact. The best designs poorly executed by incompetent builders are rarely the fault of the architect. Architects are often highly educated (my husband is a Harvard grad), extremely hard working souls who really know how to get things built well.

  25. michaelj said on January 4, 2008 at 4:56 am

    Architects know how to do renderings. Pictures of how the results will appear. If they really want to tell you how a building will turn out, they’d let you talk to a spec writer that knows what materials can be used, and how they’re applied, how they can be used, and to their junior associate designers that know how things can actually be built. Architects, in general, know nothing about either, and don’t care.

    In larger firms, guys that might once have known something about building real buildings that real people might inhabit drink coffee around fax machines and dream up ways to market their practices, to enhance their partner disbursments. Partnerships are earned by landing big fish with pretty pictures, drawn by somebody making dick.

    When architects get to court, as they usually do on large projects, it’s everybody else’s fault. In fact, it’s usually the fault of moronic and greedy owners and contractors, but the blame almost always devolves to subcontractors that did what they were told by architects, usually against their own warnings and advice. Everything lands in court, and everybody eventually splits the cash. Except the little guys.

    So, since the boomtime Raygun years the money has been changing hands but never stopping with the people who do the work or the people who know how it ought to be done.

    It’s interesting, it’s all about language. Architects use the word ‘involved’ all of the time. As opposed to ‘I decided’. Instead of saying ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’ or ‘I know’, Architects (pardon the capitalization, that’s the way we do it in AIA documentation) seem to have been trained at RISDee or Penn State or whatever to say I suppose, you know if you did that , well, maybe. Oh, and I may have been asked to consult on that.

    The people that do the real work, and still know what they’re doing, aren’t payed well at all, but they know design and figure partnership and bucks are only a kiss away. Sleaze factor. I don’t think most of these people succumb, because they’ve grown up seeing their designs usurped by the very guys they’ve seen usurp their ideas to land the bigger bucks for other office plums and those dinner dates and marketeering.

    Modern architecture is exactly like MadMen on HBO, without the Scotch. Mies van de Roh sold people on the beauty of faceless and indifferentiable steel boxes with vaguely green glass.

    But as usual I’m beside the point. The point is that art is art and, by its essence and nature is impractical (beside the point). Architects are for people to whom price is unimportant, and they sure as hell know nothing about wiring and plumbing.

    If you’re Mad Ludwig and you don’t care what it costs, hire an architect. If you live in the real world of cash on the barrel head, if you need advice about a house you own, or that you’re thinking about acquiring, get a licensed home inspector, for all the good that that will do (they’ll be working with the real estate lady, and probably having an affair with her). Or, you could get a plumber and an electrician or a construction spec writer. Architects (like advertising) would cease to exist without somebody telling them what was possible and how to do it, and that it actually mattered.

    My apologies to Deborah. Not all architects are poseurs with no societal value. Just most of them when they hit the big time and turn into showmen and Mickeymarketeers. Ever hear of those panes of glass showering down on people walking near the Hancock and the Copley T stop in Boston?

    IM Pei designed the Hancock with apparently no consideration for the wind tunnel effect of an insular city with higher winds than Chicago built an airplane wing tower of glass along the lines of cowpaths, on backfill. Because he could. Mr. Pei graduated from MIT and the Harvard School of Design. The building looked cool and actually mirrored the eights practicing on the Charles. Some engineer (a few million bucks and several 4bys of plywood in) finally figured out how to make it work. They put in sensors that tell the automatic temperature control system to suck in when the wind sucks out.

    Mostly, architects know nothing about materials and applications in my experience, and, in my experience, they care less about their lack of knowledge, the building should be what it wants to be.

    I once had an argument about wood for carels in a public library. The designer said ‘they want to be Pau lope’. I said he should use red oak, which is endangered, but at least it’s farmed, and the cost difference was monumental. Mortally stupid idea.

    Pau lobe is a gorgeous and incredibly hard (think drill press through iron bars, and everything pre-drilled, like a prefab metal building) wood, that costs a fortune and does cause Brazillian farmers to cut vast tracts of rain forest land to get at. This was a public project, so it required public hearings. When this subject and its cost came up, I pointed out that pau lope was endangered in the rain forest. Far as I know, it wasn’t, but it was a liberal town in Massachusetts and the deal was done. Case closed, but my architect said, ‘OK, red oak, but it wanted to be pau lope’. And I thought I did a good thing stiemying a visionary’s conversation with the wood. It wasn’t like calling Pablo Picasso an asshole, which nobody ever did, more like saying three noses was one to many.
    But I had to interrupt what seemed to me udtter nonsense.

    That’s architecture. I understand his artistic instincts and those carels would have been beautiful and jackknife-proof, but, give me a break. Now maybe somebody will find her initials carved inside a prepubescent heart of love, sometime in the future, no thanks to the thoughtless architect. And those people in Newton saved a bunch of cash.

    Architects are artists thrust into the real world, and they get corrupted by the need for money. Whoever designed the top of the Chrysler Building (and I’ll guarantee it wasn’t who got the credit for it) was, in my mind, a more brilliant artist than, say, somebody that dripped paint on a large canvas. More like somebody that did Nighthawks at the Diner.

  26. michaelj said on January 4, 2008 at 5:57 am

    Oh, and the drunk guy? Let him kill himself however he chooses, because that’s probably the way he feels now. Bet he wouldn’t write it off as inevitable.

    Carbon monoxide poisoning is apparently painless. None of the state offered options are. If people want to support the current death penalty options, make them say it’s for revenge, not deserved punishment.

    This wasn’t an offense against humanity compared to the invasion of Iraq, and the defender of the NatGuard Oclub walks free.

    The judge and the jury make up a social sampling that have surely driven a car with an illegal blood alcohol level. As have most of the people calling for this guy’s head on a pillory. There but for the grace of God. Maybe W can be on hand to mimic the condemned.

    It’s a lonely nation. Will the real Martian please stand up. No, that’s privileged. And he stopped cocaine some unspecified time ago. And we don’t torture.

    Isn’t torture a transitive verb that requires an object, or a human being?

  27. Kim said on January 4, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Michaelj, you are a gem. My experience w/architects has been similar, and I have several who are friends. It was funny to watch them evolve from eager student to eager marketeer listening for the cha-CHING! of the cash register. I imagine it’s been as funny for them to watch my evolution.

    You probably haven’t saved the people of Newton from themselves, but appealing to their crunchiness is a start.

  28. brian stouder said on January 4, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Well, I ain’t no danged arkee-tet, and we’uns has pounded on them enough….so next up for rotten tomatoes and general derision: Computer Consultants!!

    Apparently some of these folks couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel!

    Consider –

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22493399/

    an excerpt: A computer consultant driving a rental car drove onto train tracks Wednesday using the instructions his GPS unit gave him. A train was barreling toward him, but he escaped in time and no one was injured.

    The driver had turned right, as the system advised, and the car somehow got stuck on the tracks at the crossing. He jumped out and tried to warn the engineer by waving. He got out of the way just before the train slammed into the car at 60 mph, Metro-North railroad spokesman Dan Brucker said Thursday.

    Is that the stoopidest thing you ever read, or what? OK – so the guy was intently obeying his gizmo, and not actually paying attention to the real world, and got stuck on the tracks……

    but then he tried to ‘wave’ at the engineer, to ‘warn’ her….and the train was going 60 mph???

    I mean – I know it was a rental car and everything, and I ain’t no computer wizard or nuthin’, but it strikes that the thing to do was to put as much distance between oneself and the imminent crash-site as quickly as possible!! – and then call up Hertz and “warn” them that the car was going to need some repair work!

  29. MichaelG said on January 4, 2008 at 9:02 am

    I work as a construction project manager for the State of CA. Where it’s windy as hell and raining like — well, a lot. We’re looking for 10 feet of snow today in the Sierra. I work daily with architects and engineers. Don’t forget who does the structural, electrical and mechanical design in a project. And don’t forget the civils. As somebody pointed out, architects are like anybody else. There are good ones, mediocre ones and poor ones. Much of what people complain about is poor project management, not necessarily lousy design. A project is all of a whole. The three big factors are scope, schedule and $$. Those factors have to be understood by all involved parties in front and agreed to by all parties. Those factors have to be controlled and everybody’s expectations have to remain in line. False or mistaken expectations are big, big problems. Here, where I work, every project is subject to an estimate during the preliminary stages and re-estimated when working drawings are completed. Each project is also submitted to a constructability review wherein the plans are checked by the inspectors who will have to be on site during construction. Lots of things are discovered and fixed during these reviews. It’s not taken as a criticism of the Architect. Everybody knows that design and construction are two different things. These kinds of reviews and oversight go a long way to ensuring that a real, buildable, budgeted design hits the street. The process also builds great working relationships between all parties. We’ve put some really nice designs out there over the last several years — designs of which we can all be proud. Starting with the architects. By the way, we have increasing numbers of women working here as architects, engineers and project managers. Any of you with daughters or sons might point these types of jobs out to them. It’s a good and interesting career path. You also get out of the office a lot. Maybe even to Bakersfield.