Gazing across the demolition site at the tall state office building and the smaller Earl Warren Supreme Court Digs, one can’t help noticing the large wall that isn’t there to obstruct the view.
The earth shook beneath the California Supreme Court building in San Francisco on Monday and no one was surprised.
It’s not that anyone in the complex that also houses the First District Court of Appeal and the Administrative Office of the Courts can forecast earthquakes. It’s just this wasn’t a natural event.
Shortly after 1:30 p.m., construction workers tearing down the old Public Utilities Commission building on the other side of Polk Street took down one of the last — and biggest — walls left standing.
“This will be our largest wall dropped to date,” the contractor warned the AOC on Monday morning, “and although we will be taking every means necessary to cushion the blow, expect a rather pronounced ‘boom’ at this time.”
No kidding. After the jump, a hell of a thud.
The wall measured 25 feet by 120 feet. And when it fell, the ground shook.
“It wasn’t so noisy as it was rock ’n’ roll,” said one AOC staffer who didn’t want to be named.
There was no “boom,” this person said. “But it sure felt like an earthquake.”
The initial warning from the contractor — which was spread to employees by the AOC’s Office of Emergency Response and Security via email — advised to be prepared for a shake between 10 a.m. and noon. But it came much later.
Noise isn’t new around the Earl Warren and Hiram Johnson buildings. Last Tuesday, thousands of people showed up outside for the big Prop 8 ruling, shouting pro and con chants that evolved into taunts of “shame, shame, shame” when the court upheld the measure.
Then on Friday, a couple hundred union workers gathered to protest the state’s forced furlough days for the courts.
It’s always something. But it’s not often the collapse of a neighboring building.
— Mike McKee