California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA

California Historian, Louise Nelson Dyble, on the Golden Gate Bridge and TJ Kent: Oct 14th in Berkeley; Oct. 16 in Oakland

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Paying the Toll

Past CSA President, Louise Nelson Dyble will be appearing at University Press Books in Berkeley to present on her recent book, Paying the Toll: Local Power, Regional Politics, and the Golden Gate Bridge. She will also be presenting on seminal UC Berkeley and City of Berkeley planner, TJ Kent, at the Planning History Conference that weekend. See the University Press Books event here. See the SACRPH, Planning History Conference, program here.

The announcement from University Press Books:

Louise Nelson Dyble, author of

Paying the Toll: Local Power, Regional Politics, and the Golden Gate Bridge

Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 5:30-7:00

The impact of the Golden Gate Bridge on the San Francisco Bay Area has been much more than visual—toll revenue has allowed the small group of appointees in charge of the structure to build a minor political empire, shaping the regional landscape and economy in the process.  Even though the agency responsible for the bridge was extremely unpopular and its officials were notorious for crooked dealings and mismanagement by the 1960s, they were able to defend its autonomy by actively opposing oversight, fighting investigations, and spurning reform.  Ultimately, they insured its survival beyond the retirement of construction bonds by expanding operations to include mass transportation—a guaranteed money-loser and perpetual reason to collect tolls. Paying the Toll traces the development and the influence of the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District from its creation in the 1920s through its metamorphosis into a regional transportation authority in the 1970s.  Drawing upon previously unavailable sources, it provides an inside view of the high-stakes bureaucratic power politics carried out in the shadow of the bridge.

Louise Nelson Dyble is Assistant Professor of History at Michigan Technological University.

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