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Earthquake Scare Deemed "Bunch of Hooey"

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Or so says Beyond Chron of recent prophecies foretold by the Chron (and, lest our short-term memories fail us, the History Channel). Fearmongering— not engineering— is the true cause of this latest round of earthquake rhetoric; after Loma Prieta, such fears are justifiable, concedes B.C.'s Randy Shaw. The imposition of additional seismic retrofitting laws onto homeowners, landlords, and tenants, however, will end in the same sort of displacement that L.A. suffered after laying down such a law. Though they've been trying since 1995, engineers haven't yet convinced City Hall that San Francisco must be retrofitted right now or we're all gonna die!!! Back in '92, building owners were forced to install "bolts plus" masonry reinforcements; renters felt the burn of retrofit construction and costs, before the Building Commission stepped in to referee the situation in 1995. Nobody likes to be hit with extra expenses (unless they involve, like, Saint Croix or the Maldives or Iceland). So sure, landowners were pissed. And yes, they'll probably be miffed once more should the city pass a new set of ordinances. Many San Franciscans, Shaw argues, "would rather see the public spend money on lowering infant mortality, improving indigent health care, and housing those without homes than on a speculative, billion-dollar new retrofit plan." What that plan actually is, and why, exactly, it won't work is neither here nor there (read: absent from the missive). And so we ask: babies or buildings?
· The Chronicle’s Phony Earthquake Scare [Beyond Chron]