Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Meter Muggings

Not that the meters don't "mug" us for the hourly rate or the extended hours, there's also a real mugging issue with the meters.  Now that it's getting dark earlier, trying to feed the meters after 6:00pm poses a safety issue, especially at some of the meters outside the direct downtown area.  This was expressed to me by a young woman the other night who felt "creeped out" while feeding a meter in a very dark area near the Cinegrill.  There's no light around the meters (except for a minor glow from the small screen), and I can imagine the possibility of someone getting mugged while their attention is diverted to the meter.  I'm not trying to inspire some criminal activity, here, just pointing out, as was expressed to me, that there is a real safety issue with meter hours extended into the dark evening hours.  Another good reason to roll back the meter hours to 6:00pm

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Race

A good article on the District 3 race from the Trib...

Retiree taking on incumbent in Council District 3

Feel free to comment on the article here on on the Trib site.

Thanks for your support...


Monday, October 14, 2013

Parks and Port-a-potties

Click on the pic above...  it's an 11th Ave Park scene...  on a slow day.  Over the years, this park has seen a big increase in usage, from kids soccer to cricket contests.  Some days, the park is filled with sports participants, friends, and family.  The parking lot is filled, and spaces along the street are jammed.

Now look closely in the expanded pic, at an item circled on the left side...  One (1)!!! port-a-pottie for this park!  Here's a close up:

We are going to spend $110M (now $116M) on a new performance arts space of dubious need, yet we can't afford to install dedicated rest rooms in our parks.  Can you imagine what that port-a-pottie must look like after a day of kid's soccer?

Somehow, I think this city has its priorities confused...  Let's take care of what we have before we build something new.


For a number of years, the city has partnered with individual homeowners to install additional streetlights in cooperating neighborhoods (usually block by block).  I recently talked with an Avenues resident who brought up an interesting issue.  The city no longer maintains these added streetlights.  He, a retiree, has taken on himself the task of replacing bulbs, repairing light sensors, and even testing downward reflectors to reduce atmospheric light pollution.  He does this for several, but not certainly not all, blocks in the Aves.

Which brings up the question...  since the city now charges homeowners a streetlight fee on their water bills (essentially a property tax increase), why isn't the city now maintaining these streetlights?  Why does it fall to individuals to do the maintenance (hauling ladders around, contributing new bulbs)?  And what happens if this gentleman falls off the ladder one day (he's not getting any younger)?  Are there liability issues?  Anyway, if homeowners are paying a new fee, I think there's every expectation that these supplemental streetlights should be maintained by city crews.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cleaner Air

My comments at the Clean Air Forum last week:

Air quality is the responsibility of all of us, each one of us as individuals.  Our life style choices, our daily decisions, all affect our air quality.  We like to blame Kennecott, the oil refineries, our neighbor's SUV, even the Governor (and I suspect he deserves a fair share of the blame for lack of leadership on this issue), but it all comes down to each of us as individuals.

Most of us would like to make better decisions that reduce our contribution to air problems, and it helps to have good alternatives, particularly when it comes to transportation.  In this valley, we need better public transportation.  UTA should be congratulated for its excellent light rail system; however this has come about by sacrificing bus service to our neighborhoods.  In the Avenues, we now have worse bus service than several years ago.

I realize expanding public transportation options comes with a cost.  I'd support an increase in the sales tax allotment going to UTA if they would use it to expand service and lower fares.  I know tax is a dirty word around here, but it's not as dirty as our air in January.

In the eastern cities and European cities, public transportation is well integrated into daily lives; however, out west, it seems that we still have the old one man, one horse mentality.  Thankfully that may be changing.  Some recent studies indicate that the younger generation is buying fewer cars, even less likely to get driver's licenses.  I hope UTA jumps on this trend and provides the transpiration options that enhance this trend before people get frustrated and return to car purchases.