"if you've never had the displeasure of working with a city authority in California it's hard to understand just how absurdly obtuse they could be"
Want an example?
My phone line had a LOT of problems until the phone company decided to re-build it end to end. It's still a bit problematic for the DSL [which throttles to <384k every time the phone rings, and I have to manually reset the modem to get "somewhat under 1Mbit" again, being at the limit of wire miles, LITERALLY on "the end" of the line - neighbor's phone line goes north, mine goes south - yeah], I asked about the 'undergrounding budget' and when the lines were going to go underground.
Well, snarkily the tech admitted that they couldn't get things done in a REASONABLE way. After all, for every 'nice neighborhood' or simply upper-middle or middle-class neighborhood [like mine] that they do, they'd have to do a POOR RUN-DOWN GHETTO neighborhood "to match".
So it's all about THE POLITICS, and not getting the work done efficiently, nor in a timely manner.
There is most certainly a budget for putting the wires under ground. But progress is BARELY moving, even ~20 years after I first heard about it. Remember "the tank" that went on a rampage in San Diego? I lived acoss the street from the National Guard armory at that time, the one where that guy stole the tank from. That's when I heard about the 'undergrounding' budget, as it became a matter of discussion due to all of the phone poles that got knocked over by 'the tank'.
Well, they fixed the phone poles after the tank broke 'em, but undergrounding the lines? It *STILL* has not happened!
It's amazing, clearly surprising, just how much GUMMING UP that gummint can do, when it puts it's filthy little "mind" to it. The political correctness, the vote-buying, the payola, the scams, the scandals, and ALWAYS pandering to "some group" to get votes. These people are truly APALLING, in the worst kinds of ways. But then again, we had Mayor Bob "Feelner" Filner, who went through a Harvey Weinstein experience a few years ago, basically did the SAME KIND OF THING, and finally the libs were FILLED UP with "Feelner". One of his biggest former supporters (a Demo-Rat woman, former city councilman named Donna Frye) basically went on a crusade to CRUCIFY him.
So yeah, here we are 20 years later, and NO UNDERGROUNDING, and my phone line really SUCKS because the 1970's copper wire is slowly deteriorating to the point where it doesn't right work any more. And re-building my line helped, but my DSL speed is still 25% below what it SHOULD be, even at THIS distance from the DSLAM.
And if they underground, they can run FIBER while they're at it, right? Or you'd like to think so... but THAT would make TOO MUCH SENSE, wouldn't it?