Today is Juneteenth: A day that commemorates when word of the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of the slaves reached Texas in 1865. As a friend wrote: “Though Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox over two months before, and what was left of the Confederate government had declared itself dissolved four weeks before, Texas had continued to hold out. The Confederacy west of the Mississippi was effectively governed by General Edmund Kirby Smith, who paid little attention to Jefferson Davis. (And so the area was often called “Kirby Smithdom”.) Kirby Smith finally surrendered his troops on June 2, and it had taken the Union several days to load a force under General Gordon Granger and sail it to Galveston. Once there, General Granger promptly issued his decree (on June 19, 1865), at last giving the freedom that the Emancipation Proclamation had declared at the beginning of 1863, two and a half years before.”

Thought the Civil War has been ended for over 150 years, and although Civil Rights and equality of all races is the law of the land, it appears that that message hasn’t penetrated across all of this country. There are still pockets where White Supremacy reigns or defacto exists, there exist a culture of white privilege and white superiority in law enforcement and so many other areas. Spreading the word of emancipation and equality didn’t end on Juneteenth — it just began. We need to keep spreading the message that equality of the races (and indeed, equality without qualification) is the law of the land, and that racism in any form has no place in this nation.

Let’s keep fighting for the equality that is the law.


📰 Words Matter

The other day, I saw a post on Facebook musing on the phrase #BlackLivesMatter. It pointed out that this was a bad choice of phrase, as it invited the “AllLivesMatter” response. What was needed was something more active; the poster suggested #SaveBlackLives . The advantage, claimed the poster, was that this was less susceptable to “SaveAllLives” (for that is clearly not their position). Believing something matters is much weaker than actually wanting to save the lives.

I bring this up because of the current trending #DefundThePolice notion. The vast majority of people do not understand what that means: they believe (as evidenced by Trump’s recent tweets) that it means a desire to eliminate the police departments. But those who know understand that #DefundThePolice means to move away from the notion of militaristic “policing” as practiced today, to a position of community-based public safety. It means not having our police department be the first line of defense against mental illness and poverty based crimes. It means addressing the underlying problems that leads to the crime, and not meeting the symptom (the actual violation of the law) with violence and anger. It means having community-based officers working with, and being part of the community — not being an outside adversarial force.

Our words matter, and #DefundThePolice is misleading. May I suggest instead: #SafetyNotPolicing , or the positive spin: #FundPublicSafety or #FundCommunitySafety . We need to make it clear we want to go beyond “reform” of existing institutions and their cultures, to reformation and creation of new institutions, with new cultures focused on community engagement and safety.


🛣 Updates to California Highways — May 2020 Parts II and III

May 2020 Part III:

Added historical information and naming pictures to the following routes, my research(1)Ā and information from Corco(2), Denis Wolcott/Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project(1):Ā I-710(1), I-880(2).

Joel Windmiller has been posting historical information about route adoptions to theĀ California’s Historic HighwaysĀ group on Facebook. With his permission, I’ve started grabbing that information and incorporating on the corresponding pages for the current highways. This resulted in changes to the following routes:Ā Ā I-5, USĀ 40, USĀ 50, RouteĀ 65, RouteĀ 70,Ā RouteĀ 89, RouteĀ 99, RouteĀ 113, RouteĀ 244,Ā I-680, I-780.

Worked my way throughĀ the 2020 SHOPPĀ adopted at the May 2020 CTC Meeting.Ā The State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP)Ā is the State Highway Systemā€™s ā€œfix-it-firstā€ program that funds the repair and preservation, emergency repairs, safety improvements, and some highway operational improvements on the State Highway System (SHS). By continuously repairing and rehabilitating the SHS, the SHOPP protects the enormous investment that has been made over many decades to create and manage the approximately 50,000 lane-mile SHS. Much of what is in the SHOPP is significant work, but not at the level of interest that impacts these pages. For example, SHOPP funding that simply rehabilitates existing roadways, improves drainage, fixes landscaping, repairs storm damage, adds ADA cutouts, and such does not make a long-term historical impact on a route, or make changes that sometime in future years might be curious about. Some other SHOPP changes, however, are of interest: new roundabouts, potentially rumble strips, realigning a roadway for safety, replacing a bridge — all can impact the pages. All projectsĀ  funded by the SHOPP are limited to capital improvements that do not addĀ  capacity (no new highway lanes) to the SHS, though some new auxiliary lanes areĀ  eligible for SHOPP funding. The SHOPP portfolio of projects is updated every two years, carrying forwardĀ  projects programmed in the last two years of the preceding SHOPP and making those last two years of projects the first two years of projects in the new SHOPP. There are also “long lead” SHOPP projects, which require more than four years to develop due to complex environmental and preliminary engineering work. The 2020 SHOPP contains 40 Long Lead projects, valued at $2.93 billion. These projects are authorized to start work on the Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED) phase. Separate authorization addresses the construction phase. Projects are generally divided into nine broad categories: Major Damage Restoration, Collision Reduction, Mandates (such as reserves for relinquishment), Bridge Preservation, Roadway Preservation, Mobility, Roadside Preservation, Facilities, and Multiple Objective.

Contrast the SHOPP withĀ the STIP, which was incorporated in the main May updates. The STIP is a multi-year capital improvement program of transportation projects on and off the State Highway System, funded with revenues from the Transportation Investment Fund and other funding sources. STIP programming generally occurs every two years. With respect to highways, the STIP has two types of projects.Ā Capacity Increasing Highway Operational Improvements, which are improvements that expand the design capacity of the system, and thus are not eligible for SHOPP funding. If regional, they are nominated by the regional agency; if statewide, Caltrans nominates them.Ā  Examples of such projects would be HOV lanes and interchanges, interchange design modifications and upgrades to accommodate traffic volumes that are significantly larger than the original design capability of the existing facility, or truck or slow vehicle lanes on freeways with six or more lanes. There are alsoĀ non-capacity improvementsĀ that could be funded through the SHOPP, but which can be implemented faster through the STIP.

My review of the adopted SHOPP resulted in updates to the following routes:Ā RouteĀ 1, RouteĀ 3, RouteĀ 4, I-5, RouteĀ 9, I-10,Ā RouteĀ 12, RouteĀ 13, I-15, RouteĀ 17, RouteĀ 20,Ā RouteĀ 22, RouteĀ 25, RouteĀ 26, RouteĀ 29,Ā RouteĀ 33, RouteĀ 35, RouteĀ 36, RouteĀ 37, RouteĀ 39,Ā I-40, RouteĀ 41, RouteĀ 43, RouteĀ 49, USĀ 50,Ā RouteĀ 51, RouteĀ 52, RouteĀ 59, RouteĀ 68,Ā RouteĀ 70, RouteĀ 74, RouteĀ 79, I-80, RouteĀ 82,Ā RouteĀ 84, RouteĀ 88, RouteĀ 96, RouteĀ 99, USĀ 101,Ā I-105, RouteĀ 110, RouteĀ 120, RouteĀ 121,Ā RouteĀ 128, RouteĀ 133, RouteĀ 138, RouteĀ 140,Ā RouteĀ 145, RouteĀ 154, RouteĀ 162,Ā RouteĀ 165, RouteĀ 175, RouteĀ 180, RouteĀ 184,Ā RouteĀ 190, I-215, RouteĀ 217, RouteĀ 223,Ā RouteĀ 237, RouteĀ 245, RouteĀ 299, USĀ 395,Ā I-405, I-580, I-710.Ā The RouteĀ 39Ā item is particularly amazing: a Long-Lead item “Near Falling Springs, from 1.8 miles north of Crystal Lake Road to RouteĀ 2. Rehabilitate and reopen a 4.4 mile segment of RouteĀ 39.” Who woulda thunk, right? Even more amazing is the schedule: it is programmed in FY26-27, with construction scheduled to start May 2027.

May 2020 Part II:

Completed the update for format and memorial names. Next up: The SHOPP that was approved at the May 2020 CTC Meeting.