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Official: Nearly Sure No Fault Under Big-Dollar Tower In Tinseltown

Morris Newman on
Aug 27, 2014

It's hemi-semi-official: In the opinion of one of the state's leading geologists, no earthquake fault lies beneath the immense Millennium office development in Hollywood. That is the expert opinion of Stephen Testa, who is executive director of the State Mining and Geology Board. Unlike several other geologists who have addressed the board in this case, Testa is not a consultant for the Millenium project. He testified on August 13 that a much-debated official geological map of the area was probably wrong for suggesting the possibility of a fault beneath the aforementioned real estate development. (Please note the word "probably.")

That finding undoubtedly comforted multiple developers in the hot Hollywood office market. Understandably, those developers had been discomfited by the suggestion that the earth could open its maw and inhale their buildings like a hungry whale making a canapé of some unrepentant Jonahs. In an earlier posting about this controversy, at http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3451, we made merciless fun of the developer, based on an admittedly uncharitable suspicion that he might be trying to change the rules of reality to soothe his nerves (and those of his investors). Testa, however, is a nationally recognized expert who knows more about this subject than the rest of us. Hell, he probably knows more about geology than I know about anything (except maybe the holograms that can be seen on certain vinyl LPs of the Psychedelic Era, when they are spinning on a turntable).

But even with Testa's assurances, some developers in Hollywood may still feel nervous about even the mere possibility of an earthquake fault beneath their properties, however unlikely. For those irrational few who decline to take the word of an expert in the absence of absolute certainty, we offer the following magic formula:  

Take some earwax of a City Council member (or her planning deputy), a hair from a politician's toupee, a gram of perspiration from a lender, and an ounce of sand from the shoe of a consulting geologist. Mix these ingredients together in a poultice. Add some glitter, just for looks.

Proceed to rub this poultice onto the structural columns of a billion-dollar building currently under construction. (This process is best undertaken under the light of a full moon, preferably in the presence of a coyote, who embodies the spirit of survival in the Hollywood Hills.) Finally, with great solemnity, intone the following:

Yo, Cosmic Cartographer! It's me, your favorite developer:
May all cracks in the earth be removed from this damn earthquake map,
Yea, even unto the dotted lines indicating conjectural faults.
May this blight be removed from the rocky underpinnings of my lovely asset.
Let no troublesome finding be found under my foundations.
Let no unforeseen condition bust a move on my big-ass building.
For I have skin in this game, mine own precious skin.
Let not my building wiggle in some weird-ass seismic dance,
Let nothing jiggle or shake not specifically architected to do so,   
Nor let this development, which I love like my own child,
Be swallowed up by the earth like that guy in the Bible whose name I can't remember.
Get me out of this crisis, O Cosmic Fixer! Take away my seismic blues.
Make that map say: ‘Move along, people, no fault to see here.'
Thanks, Buddy, I owe you one. Anything, you name it. 

As with all magic formulae that appear on this site, typically under the byline of our most questionable reporter, this incantation has a good likelihood of success most of the time. (By way of disclosure, you should also know that our staff geologists, who are fictitious and do not otherwise exist, say this same incantation has the habit of failing, and I mean catastrophically, at least once every 50 years or so. (Which could be tomorrow morning; you never can tell with geologists.))

If you think about it, though, one failure in 50 years is pretty good odds. Hell, I wish my desktop only failed once in 50 years… Pardon me for a second; my iPhone is ringing. (Hello? Your sheep gave birth? And the lamb had HOW many heads?...Yikes! I mean, what are the odds of that?)

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