The Most Magnificent Report a Government Agency Has Ever Published

By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on at

True art can come from unexpected places. Like the State of California Department of Transportation, whose Project Report #0712000035 was shaping up to look just like Project Report #0712000034 — until an enterprising young staffer decided to give it a little flair.

The government is not known for its design acumen, from its egregious abuse of PowerPoint to its insane Clipart mis-0steps. But an anonymous employee in charge of creating the cover for Caltrans' 1,316-page report on a highway and railway — the High Desert Corridor — in southern California had other ideas. If you don't want to ruin your expectations for all other government reports forever by actually inspecting this thing (below), let me summarise a few of the highlights for you:

  • A peyote eagle riding an experimental racing bike
  • A glowing turtle whose shell is emblazoned with BRAD's name
  • A yellow rose floating amid a field of futuristic wind turbines
  • Two neon hatchbacks rolling down a ghostly desert highway
  • A beautiful butterfly

So who is this mysterious Brad? The LA Times investigates:

The desert tortoise was named for former San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, a champion of the High Desert Corridor project, Kosinski said. After six years in public office, he lost a primary election for a U.S. House seat in 2012. "It's really nice that someone thought of me," said Mitzelfelt, reached by phone in Kentucky, where he now lives.

He may have lost his election, but his legacy lives on, riding the lilac shell of a lone California tortoise as it crawls across the great desert in the sky. [LA Times; Under Consideration]