🗳 November 2020 Ballot Analysis – The People

One of the key hallmarks of this election season will be the need to vote early (and not, as Trump says, to vote often). So to that end, I’m beginning my ballot analysis as early as possible.This post looks at the candidates for the legislature, other state-wide offices, and local offices. I’m not covering the Presidential election in this post: you probably know where I stand on that one, and I don’t believe there is anything that could get me to vote any way that furthers the term in office of the current occupant of the Oval Office. B”H 2020.

But as for the other offices… note that for most of these, we’ve seen the matchups before from the primary, I’m only revisiting that assessment if my candidate from then is no longer on the ballot, or if events have caused a reassessment of my position. ° indicates an analysis repeated from my primary analysis in March 2020.

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🗳 November 2020 Ballot Analysis – The Propositions

One of the key hallmarks of this election season will be the need to vote early (and not, as Trump says, to vote often). So to that end, I’m beginning my ballot analysis as early as possible. California has published the list of qualified ballot measures for the November ballot, so what better place to start. This is especially true because as of Labor Day weekend, there were twelve statewide ballot measures! So let’s start going through them. My starting point on this analysis, as I don’t have the ballot pamphlet yet, is Ballotpedia. This post covers the 12 measures on the California State Ballot, plus two local measures that will be on my ballot: a #DefundThePolice related measure on the LA County ballot (Measure J), and an LA Unified School Bond measure (Measure RR). Note that this was written Labor Day weekend, so we may learn more about all of these.

Tomorrow I’ll post my analysis of the people on the ballot.

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🛣 Headlines about California Highways for August 2020

Where is the time going, as the days turn into  months, and the months seemingly just go on. It seems like just yesterday it was May and June and I was reworking the site. But through it all I’ve been collecting headlines. So take a read through these, and when you are ready, let’d discuss…

[💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; NVR/Napa Valley Register; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News]

  • Late July 2020 Update – Ridge Route Preservation Organization. Not much to report. I recently sent a letter to the Angeles National Forest, which we have confirmation they received, to get more information about ongoing issues. Two of the issues were regarding the gates. Now, as has been stated here many times, we want them open. While we have keys, we don’t really want to “need” them. However, with the gates being left open by others or being damaged, it tends to hurt our cause more than help. If the gates are open when they aren’t planned to be, why help to open them?
  • 💰/SJMN Current rules for I-880 carpool lane, and what will change. Q: What are the rules for the Interstate 880 toll carpool lanes under construction in Fremont? The signs imply that it is OK to use the lanes for no toll due to testing, even during normal carpool hours. If regular carpool rules are still in effect, this can be confusing.
  • Caltrans to Begin Construction on State Route 99 Live Oak Project. Construction crews are scheduled to start work Monday, July 27, on a major pavement and streetscape project on State Route 99 in Live Oak. Roadwork will take place in various stages from south of Pennington Road to north of Ramsdell Drive. Caltrans reminds residents that local businesses will be open during construction.
  • Highway construction project completed in northern SLO County. A highway improvement project in northern San Luis Obispo County is now complete. The project took place along eight miles of Highway 101 in the San Miguel area from north of Monterey Road to south of the East Garrison overcrossing near Camp Roberts in Monterey County.
  • Sonoma County to limit road spending cuts as state, other local funds decline. Sonoma County is preparing to put off or scale back some road maintenance projects while sustaining a core group of other upgrades to its sprawling network of rural roads, moves that officials say are the result of a multimillion-dollar funding shortfall for public works set in motion by the pandemic recession.
  • 🚫/NVR New plan looks to create a better Imola Avenue in Napa. Aproposal to transform car-centric Imola Avenue into a road that also emphasizes walking, cycling and mass transit comes with an estimated $14.3 million price tag. This 3.5-mile-long street is a hodgepodge of eras, looks and neighborhoods. Some parts have sidewalks, others don’t. One section passes homes, another bustling shopping centers, another vineyards, another the oak-covered hills of Skyline Wilderness Park.

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🗯️ Equal Chance, Equal Footing

Yesterday, while writing my post on Trump’s meaning of the “American Way”, the phrase “Equal Chance, Equal Footing” when mentioning White privilege. Society has been pushing the “Equal Chance” notion for years — essentially, it is this notion of color-blind and other forms of supposed race / sex / gender / etc. blindness in academics, hiring, promotion, policing. But aside from the fact that it has never been truly and consistently implemented, it is also a meaningless notion unless everyone starts from the same place.

But this is where Equal Footing comes into play, and it is often the most important piece of the puzzle. You can’t have equal chance if your starting point isn’t equal. Equal footing means, for example:

  • Equal risk of the police targeting you and your family
  • Equal opportunities for education in schools that provide the same learning experience
  • Equal economic comfort for families so that parents have time to spend with children
  • Equal access to job
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Equal appraisals of home and people, independent of racial and economic factors

When we talk equality, often the focus in on the legal aspects. Do these groups have the same rights as others? Can a {woman, LGBT…, black, hispanic, asian, …} do the same thing as {white, male, straight) can do? But equality is more: It is equal chance, and most importantly, having an equal footing.

When you hear talk about “privilege”, it is often a reference to unequal footings. Being white in America gives you a better footing — less chance of bad police interactions, growing up in better neighborhoods, more opportunities in school, more opportunities in jobs, etc. Being male in America gives similar advantages due to societal biases. Similar if you are in the predominant religion – some form of Christianity.

If we are to achieve true equality, we have to work for more than just being equal under the law. We need to be equal under societal customs; we need to provide equal footings. We then need to make sure that are our processes are also equally blind — and that means not only blind to the first level aspects (skin color, orientation, sex, gender, religion), but equally blinds to the second level aspects (what school you went to, where you live, what you wear, how you speak, etc.). True equality is a triad: level, footing, chance. Right now, we have a very wobbly 3 legged stool.



🗳 Struck by a Statement

While reading a summary of the closing night of the RNC, I was struck by a statement of President Trump:

“This election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life, or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it”

Understand what is being said here. The “American way of life” Trump seeks to defend is one in which:

  • The wealthy get wealthier, and the poor … get poorer or stay the same.
  • The Whites retain their privilege in society.
  • Women remain 70% citizens, and decisions about their bodies are made by men.
  • Blacks and minorities are inherently viewed as something untrustworty.
  • Militaristic policing is acceptable.
  • Bending, exploiting, and cheating the system for personal gain is acceptable
  • The rules don’t matter if you have wealth.
  • Religion should dictate the rules we follow.
  • The dictates are caring about yourself, and leaving others to fend for themselves.
  • Election interference by foreign governments or to benefit the party in power is acceptable.

The supposed “radical” movement is one that believes the notion of equal justice applies to all, and that injustice to one is injustice to all. The “radical” movement believes that for society to be healthy, everyone needs the ability to be healthy — in mind, body, and spirit. The “radical” movement believes that government should work FOR the people, not for their personal gain or the gain of their friends. Oh, and that “equal justice”? That also means that wealth does not allow you to bypass justice or societal obligations: you are part of society, you are subject to the rule and you pay for the upkeep of society. Oh, and that “radical” movements believes elections should be fair, and that every citizen should vote and have that vote counted.

Funny, but I don’t see the “radical” group as destroying America. I see them preserving and defending the ideals that made America great, not the invasive attitudes that are destroying it. I see this radical group as building America back, better.

B”H 2020.


🗳 What To Look For at the RNC

On August 24, the Republican National Convention (RNC) starts. As I watched the closing hours of the Democratic convention, a number of questions came to me. As you watch the RNC, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:

  • Would President Trump give out his personal phone number and encourage someone to call him just to talk? If that person did, would Trump make the conversation about him?
  • Does the Republican Party/Trump have a specific health care plan? Does it cover people with pre-existing conditions, and does it make health care possible for people who lose (or do not have) employer provided health insurance?
  • Does the convention/Trump emphasize that the lives of minorities matter, and discuss specific ways of ensuring that they do?
  • Does the convention/Trump use coded language, such as an emphasis on “law and order”, “the blue line”, or raising the fear of “low income people” in “nice suburbs”?
  • Does the convention/Trump embrace the immigrant and the refugeee?
  • Does the convention/Trump celebrate diversity? How diverse was the speaker line up, vs. tokenism (i.e., just a few minority speakers thrown in to break the whiteness)?
  • Does the convention/Trump talk about economic adjustment for all, or do their economic plans only benefit those who currently have?
  • Does the convention/Trump guarantee to strengthen, not weaken, social security?
  • Does the convention/Trump guarantee a reliable and speedy postal service?
  • Does the convention/Trump emphasize the power of your vote — the power of every vote — and make clear they will do all they can to make sure every citizen can vote and every citizen’s vote is counted?
  • Does the convention/Trump recognize their failures in the handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, and they offer specific fact based solutions moving forward?
  • Does the convention/Trump indicate that they will listen to experts, or will they just follow popular opinion and pundits?
  • Who did the convention indicate was the strength of the nation: the people, or the president? To put it another way: Was it about you, or was it about Trump?
  • Was there any acknowledgement of any mistakes made during Trump’s first term? Any administration, being human, makes mistakes.
  • Does the convention/Trump embrace all in the country, even the other party, or do they speak only to their base?
  • Does the convention/Trump present a plan to address climate change and the impacts of increasingly severe weather incidents, or does they ignore it or treat it as a hoax?
  • Do they accept responsibility for any of the problems of the last four years, or is always blamed on someone else (Obama, Biden, Clinton, Democrats, etc.)
  • Does the convention/Trump condemn white supremacy, white supremacists, and racism and antisemitism?
  • Does the convention/Trump embrace peaceful protest, or do they say it must be subdued?
  • Does the convention/Trump demonize the other party, or do they recognize that multiple views are a hallmark of this country?
  • Does Trump show vulnerability as a person? Do they describe the hardships that shaped their life and help them emphasize with the common citizen?
  • In Trump’s acceptance speech, is it coherent with clear thoughts? Are there complete and coherent sentences? If it is being read from a teleprompter and not off the cuff, does it sound like it is a passionate belief from a positive speaker, or someone who is uncomfortable?

I think as you answer those questions, and compare it with the DNC, Biden’s story, Biden’s emphathy, Biden’s plan, and Biden’s acceptance speech, you find there is only one way forward.

Vote Biden/Harris. Make sure you vote is received and counted. Let’s return to normalcy and both sides talking to each other. Let’s build back better.

[Text “VOTE” to 30330 to learn how to make sure your vote is received and counted.]

ETA: PS. If you think this list is not-so-thinly veiled subject criticism … it is. But then think about what each question is implicitly criticizing, and whether you are OK with that. If you are, think about what that says about you as you vote to keep things going the way they are. However, if you are not OK with what is going on with this administration, then vote to make a change.


🛣 Changes to the California Highways Website – August (well, late July) 2020

Now that we are past the site rework, we can return to the normal round of updates: going through the headlines, email, and AARoads; what the legislature did; and the CTC minutes. A few final rework notes: I’ve discovered that the site works much better on mobile devices if you use it in LANDSCAPE mode; I haven’t yet found a way to make it scale right automatically in portrait mode. Suggestions are welcome on that. Also, if for some reason you’re still seeing the old site, clear your cache! Lastly, if you referred to hwystart.html, change that reference to ROUTE001.html. The page hwystart.html (which was just a copy of 001-008.html) was a kludge to reflect the fact that I couldn’t predict aforetime what the first highway grouping would be. Now I can.

One additional introductory note: As I was working on this update, a few kerfuffles occurred on the Facebook groups Freeways of Los Angeles and Historic US Highway 99, as a result of people sharing pictures from Michael Ballard’s excellent site without giving credit to Michael’s site (something those of us with long-time sites are sensitive to, as many in the “Internet generation” believe that if something is posted on the net, it is there for the taking)*. Related to this is the disappearance of the FB group California’s Historic Highways** and the self-ghosting of Joel Windmiller. I don’t want to open up the credit debate — credit should always be given, and hopefully I’m getting better on that (and if I err, let me know and I’ll correct); further, with appropriate credit, I believe much of our use is fair use and educational, especially when only a focused portion of an image is used or a segment or summary of text from a site is used with credit and a pointerHere’s the real question in all of this ⇒ Facebook would allow me to create a group to go along with the page I already have for California Highways. Should I? I would ensure there is moderation that insists on credit and no political discussions; I would attempt to recruit some co-administrators that also have pages on the net, are roadgeeks of long-standing, and who understand the issue. However, having experienced attempting to moderate a FB group in another area (I attempted to move my Mail.Liberal-Judaism Mailing List to a FB group), I know their moderation system is not to my liking (for example, you can’t moderate those leaving comments, and you can’t easily send mail back with the message requesting specific changes). Moderation also takes a fair amount of time (which will be an issue when the world returns to normal), and opens one up to liability issues largely due to the cluelessness or carelessness of others. Please let me know your thoughts via email to webmaster@cahighways.org; and as always when you post on FB or elsewhere, credit your sources.
[*: Note that these were not formal copyright complaints, and that no one is looking for payment or planning to involve the legal system. That’s why I didn’t use “free for the taking”, as I’m not looking for payment. This is, in a sense, like the Gnu Copyleft, only the basic term is: give credit to the original source. 
❚ **: Or at least I can’t see it, which means I was kicked out with no message or reason, which is equally problematic]

Related to the above, and seeing that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are in mid-September this year, possibly before the next big round of updates: If I have used material from your website or a post, and have neither credited you at the point of use or recognized your contribution on my sources page, I sincerely apologize and want to make things right. Please let me know the occurrence, and I’ll make sure that credit is given, or remove or rework the offending material. If you have lifted material from my website, don’t worry. I won’t be coming after you. All I ask is that you credit (by name, and by URL link) to the original source so that readers can investigate my site for the most up-to-date information.

With that said, now on to the updates:

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways in July 2020

July saw a settlement into a new normal: wearing masks, working from home, scanning headlines, and so forth. There was still news about the highways, but it seemed to be lighter and more in the maintenance area. Of course, the biggest news came in the middle of the month, when I announced that the site redesign was completed for my website, California Highways.  Some of the highlights of this redesign includes:

  • A new non-icon navigation bar on each page, with improved section and internal page navigation.
  • A floating menu available wherever you are on a page.
  • Restructuring of the individual highway pages to be one highway per webpage. Old links still work.
  • Reworking of the individual highway pages to provide internal page navigation to specific sections or sub-sections.
  • Reworking of the naming index to go directly to the definition of the name.
  • Reworking of image callouts so that they should resize on smaller windows
  • Review of every page on the site.

For mobile devices, the site still looks better in landscape mode. I still need to figure out how to make portrait mode work better.

But, besides that, what other headlines were there in July? Funny you should ask:

[💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; NVR/Napa Valley Register; DB/Daily Breeze, DR/Solano Daily Republic; SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; BJ/Bizjournals]

  • SoCal to Las Vegas train project gets approval to build along 15 Freeway. A plan to build a high-speed train between Southern California and Las Vegas got a boost Tuesday after the rail company in charge of the project received permission to build along Interstate 15. XpressWest entered into a lease agreement with the California Department of Transportation to construct the rail line on I-15’s median, Caltrans announced in a news release. Approximately 135 miles of the 170-mile rail system will be in California. The project will be privately financed and will cost about $7 billion, according to 2018 estimates.
  • 💰/SJMN Golden Gate Bridge officials probe ‘singing’ noise on span. The Golden Gate Bridge district began plans this week to study a new noise emanating from the bridge that can be heard for miles on gusty days. The sound is the result of fast northwesterly winds passing through new railings and wind fairings on the western side between the two towers as part of on ongoing wind retrofit project. It has been described by the district as “singing,” but some local residents during Friday’s bridge board meeting had other choice words, calling it screeching that sounded like torture and saying it caused such physiological distress that it was impossible to ignore.
  • Legal ruling could unleash delayed funding for Bay Area transit, road projects. A state appeals court has upheld a lower court’s ruling allowing a 2018 voter-approved toll hike on state-owned bridges in the Bay Area to stand, a move that could finally unleash up to $4.5 billion to pay for regional road and transit upgrades, including projects tied to Highway 101, SMART and Highway 37 in the North Bay. A three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco issued its decision on Monday, siding with the Bay Area Toll Authority following oral arguments in late May. A planned appeal to the state Supreme Court, however, could further stall the funding and delay dozens of projects that depend on it.
  • 💰/SFC Golden Gate Bridge’s new hum louder than expected; officials explore options to fix handrails. Golden Gate Bridge engineers knew the span might sing once its new handrails were installed, but they never expected the bridge to wail as loudly and off-key as it does on profoundly windy days. With the graceful bridge becoming known for its discordant tune, as well as its famously good looks, bridge officials told the district’s Board of Directors last week that they’re trying to tone down the noise a bit.
  • Marin transit agencies in line for $77M more in aid. Marin County transit providers are being recommended for nearly $77 million in additional federal relief funds, but officials say this will only forestall service cuts unless more aid becomes available. A panel created by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission made a recommendation this week on how to disburse the remaining $508 million in relief funding among 27 Bay Area transit agencies. The money is coming from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.
  • Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration – Route 20. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposes to improve a curve, replace guardrail, and widen shoulders on State Route 20 at post miles 19.1 through 19.6 between Fort Bragg and Willits in Mendocino County. The replaced guardrail and curve realignment would bring this section of highway up to current standards and the shoulders will be widened to create bicycle lanes. The Initial Study is available electronically by visiting the Caltrans website at: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-3/d3-programs/d3-environmental/d3-environmental-docs/d3-mendocino-county.

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