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Los Gatos Main Street Bridge Love Locks Controvery is Preposterous

Trying to understand how the world works, I ask questions.

I cannot think of a more appropriate tempest in a teapot than the tiny controversy of the love locks on the Los Gatos Main Street bridge.

Frankly, I'm wondering why we can’t find some really more significant wrongs to be righted with all of our righteous energy. I’ve seen the love locks and the fact that there is a controversy at all strikes me as absurdly ridiculous.

Since the early 1970s, I’ve been dealing with a discreet and personal disability that I don’t like to talk about but for a very long time it has kept me involved with numerous bureaucracies with specialized services and many levels and tiers and sub-strata and side compartments.

For some reason it seems that each of these “compartments” have their own set of rules, regulations, each with their own overdeveloped and little understood vernacular of three-letter acronyms and secret, ultra-important, privately held dialects.

The problem is, the ultra-importance is only important to them, the big fish in the little pond, all the little ponds, the tempests in so many tiny teacups. And the big fish, and all their supportive little fish, take all this “importance” so seriously. They will fine you or put you in jail if you don’t respect each and and every important thing that they cherish and fear in their particular pond.

How many big fish, in how many little ponds, did it take for the faceless “powers that be” to become aware of the locks on the bridge. And how many other big fish got involved enough to design, then print, then put up all of those faceless signs all along the bridge?

Oh, yeah, I wonder how many over-manned road crews it took to put up those plastic covered pieces of paper? How much did it cost the taxpayer to pay for these “important” attentions and actions? And why did they even bother with it in the first place?

Are the one or two dozen or so locks going to throw the bridge off balance and dump it down onto Highway 17? Are they going to blind the view of the picturesque freeway? Are they eventually going to rust and contaminate the cyclone fencing, which is covered in protective plastic anyway?

Why don’t these powers that be go down to some of the underpasses and overpasses in the area and get rid of some of the very obvious, ill-intentioned graffiti and leave these tiny, romantically intentioned little tokens alone?

The entire thing is simply preposterous. Why doesn’t the town manager or Los Gatos Town Council or whoever represents us, tell what ever department to leave our town locks alone? Oops, that’s just dragging in one more little pond and even more big fish.

 If anyone can’t tell, bureaucratic idiocy is at the very top of my list of things I feel free to bitch about, as much as I want.

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Gary Hinze January 24, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Review of Internet photos shows this will not end with a few dozen locks placed by locals. People in Los Gatos are talking about this as a major, worldwide tourist attraction. The fences will be completely covered in locks within a few years. It has happened in Europe and Asia within the half dozen years since this arose. I estimated the fence to be about 7 1/2' high. I paced it to 69 1/2 paces at 16 paces to 50'. That puts the length at about 217.19'. The screen is 1" pitch. That means there are the equivalent of 90 horizontal runs of 2,606 links and 2,606 vertical runs of 90 links, or 469,125 links. I estimate each link could hold four locks for a total of 1,876,500 locks. Internet listings show locks weighing from 3.2 ounces to 10.4 ounces. The average was about 4 ounces, 1/4 pound. (A scientific study would remove and weigh samples of locks from existing facilities, but I could not get grant funding for a world tour of Love Lock sites.) Love Locks need room for inscriptions so they might be larger than average, but this puts us at 469,125 pounds for one layer of locks. Perusal of Internet photos worldwide shows that locks are often applied in pairs and chains. When the last available clip point has been taken, people start clipping locks to other locks. That estimated 469,125 pounds per fence could easily double or quadruple to 938,250 to 1,876,500 pounds. I'd say a million pounds is a good enough preliminary estimate for purposes of discussion.
Dianna Bolin January 25, 2013 at 04:43 AM
Mr. Hinze, thank you for providing scientific, mathematical, photographic and other data. Although it is all well written and based in fact you are predicting the future looking into a crystal ball ball. This is Los Gatos not Asia. With that said, not attacking you personally, most disturbing, is the hateful comments of the people who oppose the locks. You provide data and attempted solutions. Thanks to the Museum the locks can move on. Most disturbing, it the hateful attacks that began over an act of love. Sadly, those who attacked will never apologize. We, as a community, should be ashamed.
Dennis February 26, 2013 at 10:45 PM
One very important fact missing Gary, the first lock placed on the LG Bridge was in 1997, yep! That was 16 years ago and there was 24 Locks removed in 2013, that averages 1.5 locks a year. So to keep with your theory it will take 1.25 million years to get to your 1,876,500 locks. The reason that makes the most sense to remove them, was "they pose a risk of hitting motorists on 17, if they fell off or where accidently dropped, etc". I support the love locks, but lets find a new place to put them!
Gary Hinze February 27, 2013 at 12:07 AM
As best I can determine from the record, the first lock was placed in August, 2012. There were 28 locks observed at one time in January 2013, when signs were posted prohibiting the practice, so uninterrupted growth was not observed. There were 35 at the Los Gatos Art Museum last Sunday. That's about 112-140 locks per year, in the beginning. This kind of epidemic spreads exponentially. It starts slowly and accelerates as word gets out. We have no reliable way of estimating the rate of growth in future years. That proponents were advocating this as a tradition and tourist attraction suggests a far greater rate of growth. The only example we have is Europe. The idea was first made public in an Italian novel in 2003. By 2007 it had become such a problem that jurisdictions had passed resolutions banning them and began cutting them down. It had also become a problem in Asia. If you look at pictures on the Internet you can see what has happened in only a few years. Structures are entirely covered in locks, several layers deep. There is another place for them. I was the first to suggest that idea. The Los Gatos Art Museum has installed two fence like structures for Love Locks. See my pictures on the Los Gatos Patch post on that event.
Gary Hinze February 27, 2013 at 12:27 AM
I uploaded photos of the Love Lock sculptures at the Los Gatos Art Museum.

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