Corzine and the seat belt

After a respectful moment of sympathy for Gov. Corzine’s pain, and his family’s:

and another to wish him a full recovery:

what the hell is the matter with him? How could the chief executive of a state routinely put the chief executive of his state, elected by and responsible to the voters to discharge his duties for a full term, at risk of death or injury for something so self-indulgent as not wearing a seatbelt? Not to mention that a governor has some duty to model responsible and rational behavior. If the motor pool were found to have neglected maintenance of the brakes or tires of a governor’s vehicle, heads would roll, and rightly so. Apparently he routinely doesn’t wear a belt: Corzine is not just being stupid, he’s acted recklessly and put the welfare of his state at pointless risk, just as surely as if he decided to take up bungee jumping or Russian roulette while in office. This is really, really, bad behavior.

[UPDATE: Andy Sabl points out that bungee jumping is not as dangerous as it looks. The facts matter here (and per-hour-of-participation sports risks are actually not that easy to find). Plug in your own genuinely dangerous behavior – BASE jumping? free rock climbing? ]

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.