O'Connell's Street Without Joy

by CalWatchdog Staff | September 7, 2010 10:16 am

Anthony Pignataro: I saw a lot of things driving into San Luis Obispo County this morning — rolling hills, wineries, a road sign indicating bear-crossing, a California Highway Patrolman rousting a homeless man from a freeway gully, the intersection where James died in 1955 and something strange and disconcerting called “The Jack O’Connell[1] Highway.”

How could this be? I asked myself as I drove past the sign, which marks a stretch of Highway 46[2] near the tiny town of Cholame. Not only is he still alive, but he’s also still in government — he’s the current state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Turns out the road is an honor for something O’Connell did while a state senator. Usually highways get named after cops killed in the line of duty, but in this case, the road name comes from a slightly different action.

“Jack O’Connell was a state senator authored the resolution that made that segment of Route 46 a double-fine zone as part of an overall safety enforcement effort on the route,” states cahighways.org[3], a website billed as providing “everything you ever wanted to know about numbered highways in California.

Put simply, the Legislature named a stretch of road after O’Connell because he pushed through a bill that doubled fines on that road.

How heroic.

Posted Sept. 7, 2010

  1. Jack O’Connell: http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/bo/jk/
  2. stretch of Highway 46: http://www.cahighways.org/041-048.html#046
  3. cahighways.org: http://cahighways.org

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2010/09/07/8559/