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<title>Bill Wattenburg’s Background: Public Confrontations</title>


<h1>Public Confrontations</h1>

<p>The episodes that follow show that Wattenburg seemed to delight in exposing the failures
of over-confident engineers who managed public projects. His style, however, was not just to
criticize them. He typically offered them a better idea or a clever design of his own which he
then contributed free of charge to the public agencies in question. The trouble seems to have
started when they said that his ideas wouldn’t work or that he didn’t know what
he was talking about. (See <a href="BART.html">BART</a>, <a href="GoldenGate.html">Golden
Gate Bridge Barrier</a>, and <a href="BlueWater.html">Blue Water</a> projects described below.)</p>

<p>We were rather astounded at what we found from database searches of newspaper and wire
service stories on Bill Wattenburg. At first, we were ignoring those on “Willard”
Wattenburg, “William” Wattenburg, “Professor W. H.” Wattenburg,
and “Ben Wattenberg” because we thought they were all different people. Then we
realized that all but “Ben Wattenberg”, the columnist, are Bill Wattenburg. He has used
“Willard” and “Professor W. H.” at various times and places for reasons
of his own. His most recent mention in the New York Times uses “Willard”. We asked him
why. He said that his driver’s license says “Willard”, so when he was out of the Bay
Area he told press people who might have wanted to check up on him that his name is Willard Wattenburg.
Sometimes the press was confused and used “William”. He said he never bothered to correct
a reporter. Apparently, the importance of building national name recognition as media personality Bill
Wattenburg did not occur to him.</p>

 <li><a href="BART.html">Fixing BART Safety</a>(Bay Area Rapid Transit System)</li>
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 <li><a href="dial-a-ride.html">Dial-A-Ride Carpooling</a></li>
 <li><a href="MeasuringOilTanks.html">Don’t Call the FBI!</a></li>
 <li><a href="GoldenGate.html">Golden Gate Bridge Traffic Barrier</a></li>
 <li><a href="BlueWater.html">Blue Water (Copper) Contamination in Homes</a></li>