I submitted the I-1068 petition half full of signatures. I’m pretty happy with that, even though it’s a drop in the bucket when compared with the overall signature requirement. If you’re still interested in signing the petition, no worries, you can still sign the petitions at these locations. Today was merely the deadline for submitting them via USPS.
Archives for : Washington
Like many folks around the region, I have in my hands a petition for I-1068: the Marijuana Reform Act, taken from a copy of The Stranger. This act calls for the removal of civil and criminal penalties of marijuana possession and use. I’m not normally a fan of initiatives but I feel that this is one area where our representatives have absolutely failed us, time and again, and will continue to do so for generations. Although this act would have no bearing on the federal government it is an enormous step in the right direction.
They need about 300,000 signatures in order to meet the legal requirements and have a buffer to cover for rejected signatures (which run at about 18%, apparently). Each petition sheet only has 20 blanks and I hope to fill them all. 4 down, 16 to go. Don’t be surprised if I come a-beggin’ for a signature.
In the Times today: Sims proposes bringing back bus-wrap ads.
Sims now proposes that the council allow partial-wrap ads that would leave a 15-inch band of glass unobstructed. “If that provision is repealed, Metro would like to sell a limited number of partial-wrap buses,” [Sharron] Shinbo said.
She said Metro estimates it would make $275,000 in 2009 and $408,000 in 2010 with 25 partial-wrap buses.
Metro’s problems are fueled by a spike in diesel prices and, most important, a sharp reduction in sales-tax revenue. Metro’s two-year, $1.1 billion operating budget is funded mainly by a sales tax of 0.9 percent, or 9 cents per $10 purchase.
Ron Sims, supposed champion of mass transit who is strangely opposed to light rail, is in favor of returning us to the days of the ugly ad-wrapped buses. The original wrapped buses were “full-wraps”, which meant that if you were a passenger, you could not easily see out of the windows. The new proposal is better, if you’re of a certain height, but (incredibly) they’re far uglier.
I agree with Councilman Bob Ferguson’s sentiment: “[Bob Ferguson] added he would support wrapping bus windows when county executives agreed to wrap their office windows.”
Now, let’s do the math real quick on this. According to this article, Metro’s biannual budget is $1.1 billion dollars. The partial-wrap ads being proposed are projected to pull in $275k in 2009. If my calculations are correct, 275,000/1,100,000,000 is 0.025%. Ron Sims’ solution to Metro’s funding woes (brought on by increased diesel prices and reduced sales tax receipts) is to whore off the buses for a measly 0.025%.
While wrapping buses would bring in just a fraction of the money needed to erase the deficit, Shinbo said, anything helps.
“Anything helps” might be true if this matter were not distracting the council from real solutions that have at least single-digit impacts on the budget. The time, energy, and money spent studying, debating, and voting on this matter is appalling. I am disappointed that Ron Sims continues to push this as a solution.
Not only do they provide bizarre images to include on MySpace, to appeal to the under 18 voting crowd I presume, but they try to suggest that voting in the primary actually matters. It doesn’t. It’s the equivalent of a CNN web poll, for the Democrats, completely non-binding. It’s pretty much the same for the Republicans — 51% of the delegates are drawn from the vote, but it doesn’t matter because the few individuals that comprise the other 49% hold the real power (unless all 51% of the voters happen to pick the same candidate, which they know is unlikely).
That the primary is run through “official” channels makes the joke all the worse. It’s this sort of obvious illusion of choice (on par with the infamous “Stadium votes”) that furthers voter apathy and discontent.
I wrote an email to our Secretary of State outlining my desires, included below, if you want to read it. Re-reading it now, I see some issues with it, but oh well: what’s sent is sent.
Yeah, I’m not going to be shedding any tears over the loss of the Sonics, should they actually make good on their threat to leave town. Let some other state’s suckers^Wresidents pay hundreds of millions of dollars so a few people can toss a ball around.
If only our political leaders could have handled the “Qwest Field” and “Safeco Field” disasters the same way.
I wrote this letter to my representatives this morning. The core idea is that banning cell phones won’t improve safety (because it’s only one distraction, popularized by the media simply because cell phones have spread so rapidly), and that one of the best ways they could help make the roads safer is to enforce a safe driving distance. I’m sure this will all fall on deaf ears, as banning cell phones is the flavor of the month.
(Edit: I was wrong about deaf ears. Representative Dave Upthegrove agreed. Neat. Edit2: Rep Shay Shual-Berke wants to do more research on the subject. Also indicated that there isn’t a law that would cover text messaging already — I’m surprised there isn’t a law about having to watch the road while driving, but I haven’t done days of research on this subject though.)
I am writing to urge you to reject legislation that would outright ban operating cellular phones while driving.
There were accidents before cellular phones existed, and there will be accidents after we all use brain implants to communicate. Cellular phones are simply the current “whipping boy” of the press. The fact is that a core skill involved in driving is the ability to manage distractions, be it the radio, screaming kids in the back seat, flashing lights from an emergency vehicle, kids playing along sidewalks, etc.
If a person lacks this critical skill, then they should not have accepted a driver’s license in the first place, and we should seek to prevent them from obtaining one if at all possible.
Banning the use of cellular phones will do little to improve road safety.
I do not believe that it is safe to send text messages while driving, but I suspect that is already illegal under at least one law, so additional law seems highly unnecessary; perhaps at most existing law could be tweaked. In any case, I would not be entirely opposed to legislation addressing this issue, as by necessity it requires a person to look away from the road for an extended period of time.
As an alternative, I would urge you to encourage the House in any possible way to increase funding to enforce safe driving distances. New technologies are making this more practical, and it could make a real positive difference on our roadways.
Seattle Bus Service, as described by the Seattle PI. I do agree with the general premise, that the current bus system is woefully inadequate. Full busses and infrequent trips just means less “new” riders, forcing more people to drive.
However, it seems to me that if Seattle really wants better bus service for their residents, they should create their own bus system, and let the King County system concentrate on the outlying areas and bringing people in to and out of the city. That should mean more frequent routes for Seattle residents (since the trips are shorter), and less overcrowding on the routes that leave the city.
I’d love to see the pseudo-anonymous “Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board” writer attempt to get in to town, riding the bus, from outside of town — they’d get to learn how to deal with full Park & Rides, late (or worse: early) busses that run once per hour, standing room only *every day*, etc. If Seattle funded their own bus network, perhaps King County could improve our service.
Seattle was already interested, at least at one point, in creating an incredibly expensive monorail network, with very few stops. That same money could have bought a lot of busses that could have served thousands of stops, without major construction efforts.