Suspiciously missing Millennium Tower documents seem suspiciously missing

This is my favorite high-stakes slow motion train wreck. When the tower inevitably falls over causing hundreds of millions in damage, and thousands in casualties, it will be easy to find all the cartoon villains who are responsible for bad decision-making. My heart goes out (preemptively) to the unwitting victims that will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hopefully, all the developers, contractors, politicians, and all those who refuse to take the tower down piece by piece have offices in the building for the exciting, final chapter.


I want an engineer to tell me why they can’t just drill the other side and let it sink so that it is level. instead of keep on drilling the side that is sinking.


Perhaps they were in a stack of papers that fell over?


That and the Bay Area Transit Center 'Not to code:' Cracked beams at Transbay Terminal preventable


Have they considered renaming the Millennium Tower to the Titanic Building?


Y’all need to step up your headline game. This post could have been titled:

Ron Hamburger Grilled by City Supervisor, Can’t be Flipped


Honestly, and tho I haven’t seen it, I think this sounds like the IRL whatever the new Adam “Tits Magee” McKay is so amazing movie is. It doesn’t sound like Moonfall with Halle Berry, which seems similar but more exciting because the monster from the Abyss is in it.

Either way the movie sucks and they need to stop.




Have they considered bringing in Mystico and Janet?


Or have a billionaire strap rocket engines to it to settle their contest?


It’s hard for me to see how this could have happened without at least some SF officials being paid off.

It’s possible of course. People can just be dumb. But the circumstances leading to this situation seem to require such a specific, anti-professional, consistent blindness and wilful stupidity that significant money is the only ultimate motivation I can think of.


They may not have considered it because it seems crazy on the surface. And it’s quite possible that once you dig into it, it may be less crazy than continuing with Plan A which never goes as expected. I’ve seen plenty of cases like that in my career in software.


In general, bribes are used to motivate officials to take action on another party’s behalf. But when all that is required is that an official do nothing—or just do their job incompetently—then laziness is often all that is needed.

It’s not like the people who designed and built the building especially wanted to make it unsafe either; nobody benefits if this tower tips over. It was just a case of a lot of people doing their jobs badly.


Well you can get partway through a project with incompetence and then someone at least partly competent writes a report that says “this thing is screwed”, at that point management can either hush it up and hope luck will win out for them, or at least time (I think CA has some crazy law that makes it extremely hard to sue for damages if a decade has passed, even if the issue is rough to spot)…or they can spend a lot of extra money, time, and maybe lose the permit and lose all the money they already put in.

The same can happen with people being generally competent, and running into bad circumstances as well (that is the risk of large projects…but the risk should be for the investors, not the people who buy the housing!).


Few weeks ago on PBS, NOVA was exploring tall buildings and the problems that come with them. Sure enough, they did a bit on the Millennium Tower … and I thought yeah, they’re gonna expose this farce with the solid science and critical thinking that one would normally assume a prestige show like NOVA does.

They discuss the historical sinking & leaning, “But a fix underway will make all right” and then interview Mr. Hamburger regarding the new piles… and by the end of that segment… he left with the impression that this fix is guaranteed to solve all the problems caused by the nearby Metro station construction (not short piles or incompetent engineering, it was a that hole across the street, eh?)

After watching it, I was a bit dumbfounded. There’s controversy regarding Mr. Hamburger’s involvement and professional impartiality but yet they presented him like he’s competent and has it all under control.

So when they do shows about medical stuff… now you gotta wonder what sort of quacks they’re dealing with.

NOVA took a bit hit in credibility AFAIK.


Sure, it’s possible. But if laziness, this is a kind of laziness that puts the officials themselves at risk. So it seems less likely they would risk their cushy job without any counter incentive.

The people making the building have an incentive to believe their methods will be safe - it will save them money. So I can understand their dumb actions from that side.

But an official could be quite lazy here and still be saving themselves from any risk. “The regs require this number of pylons sunk this deep. Do your plans do that? …No? Then you have to make the plans do that. Not my problem.”

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Maybe they can just declare the building dead and quietly move it to Scotland. I hear that’s all the rage these days.


No less than it puts the designers and builders at risk.


Sure, but the designers and builders have a money incentive for their stupidity. I can picture what could cause such wilful blindness on their parts: the possibility of making more money by saving cost.

It’s hard for me to see the SF officials taking this risk without some similar incentive affecting their thinking.


If this building goes down then it’s not going to help their future employment prospects.

The SF officials are just as prone to laziness as anyone else. It’s easier to rubber-stamp a building permit or an inspection report, and most of the time they can do so without consequence because most of the time the engineers putting up the building are competent enough to do their job right.