Home Mission News Videos Sign Up Donate Links CABlog Cars
top

The CABlog

Chronological List of links to articles, archived documents and external links

2022

October 24 - (CAB Letter to Mayor and Council of Goleta regarding project violations)
(Click to return to List)

October 15 - Due to the apparent fire dangers presented by both solar panels and lithium battery systems, local governments will have to spend money to inspect and adapt new Building Codes, especially in windy areas, high-fire risk areas and flood zones. (Paul Svacina, Civil Engineer, CAB)
(Click to return to List)

October 14 - Crews warn of lithium-ion batteries causing fires after flooding from Hurricane Ian
(Click to return to List)

October 09 - Man drove to death because NC City failed to barricade missing bridge shown on GPS map.
(Click to return to List)

October 04 - CAB's Letter to the Mayor and Council City of Goleta regarding the Proposed Patterson multimodal / bike path agenda
(Click to return to List)

October 02 - Just like the fully autonomous cars that we are all supposed to be driving by now, EVs are just going to take longer to become mainstream than media would like us to believe... there will be tremendous shortages of electrical infrastructure, lithium and nickel, leading to electrical and supply chain problems in the next five to 10 years, said Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda. (CNBC article)
(Click to return to List)

September 30 - Amtrak is trying to set up bus connections between Irvine and Oceanside to replace suspended train service between Irvine and San Diego caused by emergency repairs on the track. (article)
(Click to return to List)

September 18 - E-Bike Battery Fire Kills 8-Year-Old, Injures 2 Others, in Queens, NY. (article)
(Click to return to List)

September 8 - More than 13,000 people in Healdsburg, Santa Clara, Palo Alto and Alameda suddenly lost power on Tuesday evening, but it wasn't due to the heat, despite the media blame on hot Summer weather. Pleasant Knoll neighborhood in San Jose said they’ve been without power for nearly three days due to constant blackouts. PG&E said the situation is heat-related and had crews working on a blown transformer for several hours. (MSNBC article.)
(Click to return to List)

September 8 - San Jose It turns out these rolling blackout were the consequence of a breakdown in communication between the California Independent System Operator and The Northern California Power Agency. Healdsburg, Palo Alto, Alameda and Santa Clara are part of the power agency. The Northern California Power Agency released a statement saying one of their dispatchers misunderstood a message from the California Independent System Operator, and the agency began directing its utilities to shut off power. (ABC7News article.)
(Click to return to List)

September 7 - BART closed Pleasant Hill and Concord BART stations on Tuesday night due to track warping from the heat. (CAB wonders how the laborers in the 1800s were able to build safe track through desert, but BART fails.) BART reopened to single track service with bus bridges, officials say, and commuters are asked to plan for delays. A Flex Alert has been extended for the ninth straight day as the heat wave spikes up again for the Bay Area and rest of the state. Residents are advised to set thermostat "as low as 72 degrees before 3pm." (ABC7News article.)
(Click to return to List)

September 1 - Amazon facilities took all U.S. solar rooftops offline last year after flurry of fires, electrical explosions (CNBC article.) This reminds us of the exploding panels on homes north of Cathedral Oaks about 2 years ago, covered by KEYT, but not by SBNP. The home owners could not get electrical service in the canyon at a reasonaable cost, so they put in the panels, and when a wild fire came down the canyon, homes that caught fire with solar panels had them explode when engulfed. The County Fire pulled its units back when a house caught fire to avoid shrapnel.
(Click to return to List)

August 16 - Why can casinos build and open ahead of schedule, while roadway projects are typically behind schedule? (ABC10 Video)

August 15 - Lobero Gridlock has become the norm due to State Street closure. (email sent to CAB) ...

After attending a concert at the Lobero Theater on 8/12/22, the parking garage was thrown into total gridlock for over one hour.

Why?

Well, sure the attendees had to stop at a kiosk to pay for their parking, but that wasn't all. Anacapa Street was so heavily trafficked after nine at night, that it took a very long time to allow the cars to vacate the parking structure.

Why?

Because State Street was no longer there to relieve the flow of traffic. Chapala and Anacapa ARE State Street. Get rid of the park-lets, restore State Street, restore the flow of traffic from the parking garages, and allow the non-food businesses to prosper once again.

(This email commentary was forwarded to the City Council for Tuesday, 16 August 2022 meeting.)



July 28 - World Economic Forum calls to reduce private vehicles by eliminating 'ownership'

August 03 - An electric Jaguar I-Pace vehicle caught on fire and burned to ash in Florida while charging in the owner’s garage. This was not a slow burn, once the fire started there were multiple pops, and the car was just engulfed in flames rapidly.

July 27 - John Yi, executive director of pedestrian advocacy nonprofit Los Angeles Walks, said design of newest bridge in Los Angeles ($588 Million) was flawed from the start: “If you provide a concrete jungle gym, then that’s how people will use it."

June 24- Solstice Traffic Advisory - More blocked streets, and State Street businesses no longer have view of parade. (Editorial by Scott Wenz) ...

Santa Barbara’s Summer Solstice parade will take place on Saturday, June 25, 2022. Due to the closure of State Street, the parade will occur on Santa Barbara Street, between East Cota Street and East Micheltorena Street. Partial road closures around the Summer Solstice workshop (631 Garden Street) will begin around 7:00 a.m.

Complete street closures of the nine blocks of Santa Barbara Street (between East Cota & East Micheltorena Street), as well as east/west cross traffic for those nine blocks, will be diverted either onto Anacapa Street or Garden Street between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (estimated conclusion of the event). Santa Barbara Street will not be accessible to vehicles during this time.

Temporary no parking along the parade route (Santa Barbara Street and other adjoining cross streets) will be enforced. Vehicles parked within the no parking zone during the posted no parking times could be issued a citation and/or towed. No parking signs have been posted on the impacted streets.

All those people wanting to watch the parade that would normally purchase goods and services on State St. will not have that ease of access.

by Scott Wenz, President CAB


June 22 - $2.12-per-Gallon gasoline at Kansas City Filling Station Today.

June 10 - Californians are moving to Mexico to escape traffic and other problems. (Video from CNBC)

June 3 - A train headed to Munich from the popular mountain resort Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is preparing to host the G7 summit of world leaders later this month.
(Click to return to List)

June 2 - Transportation issues affect every aspect of life in the Nation and World. (Editorial by Scott Wenz) ...

In California, CARB (California Air Resources Board) stated in 2000 that the State would eliminate the measured 1960 air pollution by 2010. The CARB goals were achieved through innovation and technology, yet government continues to increase cost, taxation, spending and misappropriation of transportation.

When Vice President Gore stated, if nothing was done in a decade, the coast lines of the United States would be 1 foot under water. It did not happen. Yet Gore flies into the Santa Barbara on his private jet, in part on the $Millions he made in trading on the carbon scare he helped create. The massive political force created with the oil boogy man of the 1960's faced a loss of power and reason for existence. They quickly changed both the focus and environmental measurements. Without this neck breaking spin they were out of power.

The United States is now facing an energy crisis that was created by Washington. It started just under 2 years ago with the change of administration in Washington. With the combined Oil Reserves of Canada and the USA we were energy independent. This allowed this nation to be almost bullet proof from threats from foreign enemies. With cancelling of the pipe line Canada decided to sell its excess oil to the Western Pacific.

We are now facing a massive fuel inflation spiral, that is killing off the working poor and middle class. CAB has stated before that for every $50cent increase in the cost of gasoline there is between $100-$200 drain on the monthly discretionary income. You figure it out, if gasoline was just under $3.00 / gal for middle grade two years ago, and is now just under $6.00 / gal. How much money is being taken from your pocket? How much is not going to support middle class businesses?

If you agree with Washington published statistics stating we are faced with a 40 year high inflation the following should scare the daylights out of you! The grue of economics Yellen, just stated she underestimated that the inflation is not transitory, and it is a serious problem facing the nation. If you do not get it, this means the bank busting inflation appears to be long term.

The basis of this started with the impacts on transportation costs of operation and upkeep. Sacramento (read this as Gov. Newsom) stated this inflation is a serous problem and he would suspend the gasoline tax for 6 months benefiting the working poor and middle class. Has it happened? No.

Did the Gov. change his promise? Yes.

He is now talking about a serious delay in any transportation relief and giving people who do not drive gasoline vehicles money from the the supposed gasoline tax. Does that mean giving money to drivers of electric vehicles, or those riding buses? Yes, that is exactly what it means.

Has Gov. Newsom abandoned the taking of $6 Billion from the gasoline tax for bicycle paths? No. Will these paths transport lumber, food, and other resources that allow people to live? No.

Abandoning Energy Independence is crushing the nation, and more importantly the workers. Abandoning Energy Independence has cost us the ability to tell Western Europe we can and will step in to supply their natural gas and oil dependence on the killer nation Russia, under a dictator called Putin. This ability would make the world safer.

Why is Newsom talking with countries that wish this nation harm to import oil and gas? Where is the promised relief for the workers? Why is California intent on increasing the gasoline tax this year?

Transportation is not just on the roads. Where is the relief for aircraft? You know airplanes that are needed for fire suppression or medivac? How about the increased costs of rail, tilling farms, and shipping? When you pump water for city dwellers the energy costs are significant. Gov. Newsom just a few months ago stated there was not enough fuel for fire suppression aircraft.

When the economy of the Nation and the State of California is faced with crushing costs where is the promised relief? This issue is solely on the supply side. The oil and gas is available but only if government is willing to do what worked 2 years ago. When CAB was formed we never thought that the issues of transportation would be as expansive as they are today. The economy and safety of the nation is at stake.
by Scott Wenz, President CAB


May 20 - MBTA pulls cars from service after brake issue at Boston subway.

May 9 - It took only 4 years for San Francisco's Tenderloin to become a homeless and drug dealer paradise due to Mayor and City Council; how long will it take Downtown Santa Barbara? (video.)

May 2 - A warning about solar panels after man's home almost burns down. One in 10,000 appear to be catching fire. (CBSDFW video.)

April 15 - 39-year-old Robinson Lalin died at Broadway Station when his arm got stuck in the door of an MBTA Red Line subway and he was dragged to his death. The public event caused Mr. Lalin to suffer gruesome and fatal injuries. This may be the 5th such incident at the Boston subway.

March 31 - Growing agreement that government regulations are driving up the costs of vital infrastructure

February 28 - Is Santa Barbara declaring the most successful, legal business in town a public nuisance, instead of replacing previous traffic capacity?
(Click to return to List)

February 26 - CAB attended the Solvang financial projections this morning at the Solvang Council Chambers. ...

One of the primary reasons we were there were requests from residents of Solvang to help get Copenhagen Dr. reopened.

It was interesting that Staff presented the results of a survey that favored keeping it closed. Out of 7,000 residents there were only just over 3% response.

Staff stated this regardless of the numbers was statistically significant. What is concerning about this is this is similar to the County's survey for the Santa Ynez Valley Bike plan. CAB has made it a point to do its own survey emphasizing locations where the middle class working sector frequent. The outcome of our survey was a resounding NO to the County's plan.

During the Council discussion the take away for CAB was that Copenhagen is not that important to tourists, BUT is very important to "LocalS" who know how to avoid the congestion on 246 Hwy when weekends, tourist season, and holidays like Danish Days, and Christmas.

Just like Santa Barbara and Goleta when 101 congests, there is significant traffic on Hollister/Via Real etc. the "LOCALS" use these routes. The comments for keeping Copenhagen closed, sound very similar to the "Keep State St. Closed" ....

The council discussion made the point that Solvang is a road constricted location and there is need to help make traffic flow for both locals and businesses.

CAB was asked by Solvang Locals to attend a traffic discussion at Solvang Council approximately 4 years ago. It was a time when anti car groups including the bike guys, street narrowing factors wanted to build roundabouts on primary business streets (e.g. Pine and Alamo Pintado/246). The general public came out and significantly handed these groups and the City's traffic engineer their collective heads. CAB comments were the cherry on top of the sunday.

You will remember that 2 years ago the recall election and the public pressure forced out two council members, and convinced the very unpopular Mayor not to run for re-election.

The anti car - shut down the streets groups are back - with a more subtle message. Similar to what they used in Santa Barbara after having serious setbacks a decade ago.

It is very important that the Council hear at Monday's full Council Session that there needs to be a) reopening of Copenhagen for local circulation and, b) there needs to be every effort to widen streets where there is room (Alamo Pintado, Pine etc.) for both parking and increased traffic as Solvang grows. The "Least Use" Planning groups are trying to get back in power with a soft glove. There was a subtle inference that roundabouts need to be in Solvang Proper.

The Council session ended ~12:00 PM and I did a number of things a) walked all of the streets within 3 blocks of 246 in Solvang, I then drove 246, Alamo Pintado, the 4 major streets in Los Olivos, and then drove down to Buellton went into the primary shopping center on 246 to watch traffic flow and directions.

26 February 2022 THE ENTIRE VALLEY FROM 101 TO 154 WAS BOOMING. I was amazing on a off period for tourists Solvang and Los Olivos were jammed packed with people buying that got there by AUTO. The weather was nice with sunshine but not hot (more then 72 degrees)

Anyone that has like minded friends in the Valley needs to rally for re-opening of Copenhagen and planning for wider commercial streets in the future.

by Scott Wenz, President CAB


February 25 - The truth about hydrogen - Some say it's the fuel of the future that will soon power large parts of our economies. Others say it's just a hoax, and not supported by science for automobiles. (video by Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster)

February 21 - A hotel caught fire after an electric scooter battery exploded, according to the Daytona Beach Fire Department. (article)

February 20 - Lawrence Jones investigates California's homeless crisis. (video)

February 19 - Community auto group enduring city discrimination were not informed about Sacramento city leaders' plans to establish tax funded homeless and drug user camp at Miller Park, historically used for family gatherings. (video)

February 14 - Corn-based ethanol is at least 24% more carbon-intensive than gasoline due to emissions resulting from land use changes to grow corn, along with processing and combustion according to the National Academy of Sciences, contradicting previous USDA research claiming biofuels to be relatively green. (Reuters article)

January 25 - Why Electric Vehicles Have A Fire Problem (Video)

January 20 - About half of Biden administration’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grants fund non-transportation projects.
(Click to return to List)

2021

November 03 - Homeless Services: Waterfront Regional Action Plan - City of Santa Barbara - City TV (video)
November 01 - Vanpools: The forgotten mode of mass transit
October 6 - The important economic factors rarely mentioned in infrastructure debates
August 03 - Important Meeting for Mission Creek Bridge at 2PM on August 10.
June 08 - Homeless relocation favors a Santa Barbara hotel. News Channel 3-12 (video)
June 07 - MBTA says issues with wheelsets led to Orange Line derailment in Nassachusetts.
April 6 - Santa Maria City passes regulations for Mobile Commercial Car Washing. Ordinance No. 2021-02 in Santa Maria Municipal Code will require operators to pay a fee, pass a test, provide bond, insurance, City indemnification and may be subject to a criminal misdemeanor if any violation is found.
February 2 - Santa Barbara State St. Dead America Series 2021 - The Real Talks Tube (video)
(Click to return to List)

2020

September 13 - Legislative Items of Interest.
August 5 - Businesses Protest SB Spending Unfunded Millions to Place COVID-Control Housing in Old Town.
June 3 - City Sends Dozens Of EVs Straight To The Crusher (article). Blue Indy parking spots returned to use (video).
May - MTD Continued to increase spending on shuttles over 20 years, while cutting service again and losing money.
May 21 - County proclaims requirements for "RISE" re-opening businesses with new restrictions, including drive-through service for restaurants, which the City rejected in the past?
April 16 - California gasoline prices are more than double than in other states.
March 15 - Why does Santa Maria have nearly the lowest auto insurance rates in the State of California?
March 7 - SONAR from Santa Ynez Valley is questioning the Santa Ynez River Trail project.
February 6 - Goleta has no replacement lights in stock for newer crosswalk, causing closure.
(Click to return to List)

February 6 - After only 10 years of service, about 1000 wind turbine blades are being replaced, and $675,000 to bury the turbine blades indefinitely in Wyoming landfill.
(Click to return to List)

2019

August 26 - San Diego parents buy $400 bus passes, and then routes are cut.
August 7 - The red-tape straitjacket of the City’s Community Development Department (for small businesses).
August 21 - Walmart Sues Tesla Over Solar Panel Fires, to Remove Panels from 240 Stores. Walmart states at least seven of its stores that used Tesla's solar panels caught fire. The retail giant says Tesla committed "gross negligence".
August 2 - From a "Green Living" website, an article on why people do not like mass transit.
July 24 - New Angled Parking at East Beach Puzzles Drivers.
July 23 - San Diego finally had enough scooters littering the streets, and over the weekend of July 20, 2019, the City impounded over 2,500 dockless scooters and bicycles with fines of $65 each.
July 15 - Letter to Mayor and City Council Regarding Continuing MTD Failures.
March 31 - The media does not report many electric scooter accidents, but injuries are increasing in number, as in this San Diego brain injury.
(Click to return to List)

2018

December 3 - CAB does not advocate for or against California Senate Bill SB50, but wants everyone to read this state wide bill, which would change the character of cities in California. Introduced on December 3, 2018 by Senator Wiener, it is set for hearing April 24. Click here to view sponsors and progress.
October 25 - Last year Santa Barbara County paid a firm to develop a map that shows evacuation routes, so why are the Cities of Carpinteria, Goleta, and Santa Barbara continuing to build curb bulbouts and other obstructions along those evacuation routes, and to narrow the streets when automobiles are the most used form for evacuation?
May 8 - A first: Crews attack solar panel fire in Cornelius, Oregon
(Click to return to List)

2016

October 26 - Vice President Joe Biden Does a Burnout In His Corvette Stingray (Jay Leno’s Garage video), and reminisces about the days when his father would let him borrow cars from an auto dealership for school dates..
May 5 - Firefighters state that solar panels are risky during fires, may collapse roof, explode, keep firefighters away. (WPRI video.)
(Click to return to List)

2013

December 19 - Tesla, Irvine Fire Dept Disagree Over Cause Of Garage Fire. (Yahoo/ Reuters article)
(Click to return to List)

2010

February 22 - Planning Commission Recommends More Street Narrowing?
February 1 - Did car tax drive deficit?
(Click to return to List)

2009

October 29 - Mayor Gavin Newsom - prevents city police from automatically impounding cars driven by "never-licensed drivers".
October 27 - More bulbouts on Bath Street.
October 7 - Fix101.org endorses candidates for 2009 City election.
September - CAB Letter about Cold Springs Barrier.
September 8 - Narrow streets and passage ways.
August 5 - Ghosts of "alternative transportation".
August 5 - The Global Climate Agreement - Lots of Pain; No Gain".
July 12 - No Human answering MTD phone.
July 10 - 16th Annual Cruise Night Car Show and Street Party July 18.
July 3 - Suicides by Train Cause Delays.
June 6 - High-Speed Rail Financial Quagmire.
June 25 - Multi-Family Unit Contractor Employee Arrested for Embezzlement.
June 5 - High-Speed Rail - Wrong Road.
June 2 - Taken for a Ride: High-Speed Rail.
May 21 - Shooting Oneself in the Foot.
May 19 - CHP Holiday Maximum Enforcement.
May 12 - Wheels and Waves postponed, then canceled.
May 8 - CAB HEALTH ADVISORY.
May 3 - Mass Transit Pandemic.
May 1 - EPA and SBCAG.
April 30 - Vice President recommends against mass transit.
April 25 - Mass Transit Pandemic.
April 19 - Earth Day Ironic Humor....*S*.
April 16 - Caltrans unqualified workers.
April 6 - Silly traffic study and heart attacks.
April 4 - Tea Party Rally.
April 2 - Fallacy of Hybrids.
April 1 - California Sales Taxes going UP.
March 30 - Screams of indignation ...Cabrillo Blvd.
March 25 - SB City Digging the hole deeper...
March 22 - Milpas Roundabout Flip
March 20 - CDC identifies new "disease"
March 19 - Major Accident at Milpas Roundabout
March 12 - Best served COLD?
March 8 - Many Problems with High-Speed Rail
March 6 - Dru van Hengel drives to Roundabout
March 4 - LA Mayor Elected to- Fix the Potholes, Widen the Streets, & Increase Traffic Flow.
Feb. 11 - Santa Barbara City Council Tables Decision on De la Vina and State Street Intersection. (Part 1 of 3)
(Click to return to List)

2008

December 23 - Comments on Guest Opinion by Lois Capps.
November 26 - Summerland Retaining Wall Project on Route 192.
November 9 - Milpas - Light Traffic, Heavy Backup Video.
October 29 - Pedro Nava Avoids Debate.
October 28 - Capitola Measure D.
October 4 - Milpas Hazardaround Traffic Video.
July 3 - Amtrak Train Collides With Car.
June 2 - Is SB Commuter Rail Now Dead?
June 1 - Rail Study States Feasibility is LOW.
(Click to return to List)

2007

November 20 - Train Collisions are Serious.
October 24 - Hit and Run Bicyclist.
(Click to return to List)

2006

2006 and before - Half of the people do the work, the other half get over time (pay). - Quote repeated by State Workers at Caltrans Construction Office in Santa Barbara.
(Click to return to List)

Below is a compendium of CABmails and contributions by Past CAB President Scott Wenz, and others.

2020 May 21 - County Sends Businesses Requirements for "RISE" Re-opening Businesses.

Santa barbara County is requiring restaurants to implement "Worksite Specific Plans" which include proving "drive through options for customers." For the past 30 years, Santa Barbara County has been reluctant to approve drive-through restaurants. The County should be asked if their policy of not approving drive-through service will continue to be rejected when the State is requiring such service as an option.
(Click to return to List)


2020 April 16 - California gasoline prices are more than double than in other states.

AAA reports that gasoline prices in California are more than double the prices in Texas, Michigan and other states.
(Click to return to List)


2020 March 15 - "All American City" Santa Maria has nearly the lowest auto insurance rates in the State of California.

This city has relatively lower accident payout rates, and wide streets with plenty of vehicle capacity and sight distance. Roads are in good condition, with few bushy medians, rare bulbouts and roundabouts, and pedestrians and bicyclist commuters seem to stay on the side streets, which also have generous 1950's traffic design. The era of "the American Dream".
(Click to return to List)


2020 March 7 - SONAR from Santa Ynez Valley

is questioning the Santa Ynez River Trail project near Fjord Drive and private park property behind homes. SONAR is asking residents to show up at the meeting in Buellton on April 7 (click here.)
(Click to return to List)


2020 February 6 - Report of Goleta crosswalk closed for repair because no spare lights are in stock.

The City apparently fails to keep stock of replacement parts for traffic controls.
(Click to return to List)



2019 August 26 - Parents Protest Cuts to School Bus Routes

San Diego parents protest that after buying $400 bus passes, the bus service cut routes so their children can't get to school on the bus.
(Click to return to List)


2019 July 24 - Santa Barbara is experimenting with backing angle parking on Cabrillo Blvd

Drivers are puzzled at parking encroaching into roadway at East Beach.
(Click to return to List)


2019 July 15 - Comment letter Sent to Mayor and Council Regarding MTD and Santa Barbara Shuttle failure.

Since 2006 the MTD has admitted that their service is suffering from decreasing traffic circulation and decreased service frequency. Noozhawk published statement is "Downtown-Water Front Shuttle......Shows Steep Decline." Ridership has decreased during the past 15 years, while we are subsidizing the MTD at a greater percentage, so why does the Traffic Circulation Committee continue to support it?
(Click to return to List)


2010 February 22 - Planning Commission Recommends More Street Narrowing

Despite the huge budget deficit, the Planning Commission has recommended more street narrowing funded with increasing taxes: numerous projects for "Safety Upgrades" and "Infrastructure Improvements" are partially funded by Measure A, which was advertised to widen the freeway, but actually causes destruction of the traffic flow of this city, such as bike lanes, "Pedestrian Enhancement" and the costly "Pedestrian Refuge Island Program". We think that the "refuge islands" cause obstructions which hinder6 safe travel of pedestrians and vehicles. Instead of watching for traffic, the pedestrians and drivers both have to watch for the various curbs and bulbouts so they do not trip or hit the curb, thus not being able to see crossing pedestrians, and swerving bicycles and vehicles. The curbs are frequently graded poorly such that water from poorly maintained irrigation projects collects at the ramps. Therefore these curb modification projects are costly safety hazards.
from http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/Documents/Advosry_Groups/Planning_Commission/Current/02_Staff_Reports/2010-02-18_February_18_2010_FY_2011_Streets_Capitol_Improvement_Program_Budget.pdf
(Click to return to List)


2010 February 1 - Did car tax drive deficit?

As negotiations get under way on the California State Budget – especially its $20 billion deficit – numerous remedies are being advanced, including tax increases. One old idea is to bring the car tax, also called the vehicle license fee, back to 2 percent of the vehicle’s value, where it stood when Gov. Schwarzenegger took office in 2003 and immediately cut the tax back to its previous level of 0.65 percent.
Just a year ago, in February 2009, the governor reversed himself, signing into law a bill passed by the Legislature that almost doubled the car tax rate, from 0.65 percent of value to 1.15 percent of value. The tax increase lasts until June 30, 2011. But some have called for it to go even higher – back to the 2% of value of 2003. Dan Walters, dean of California state journalists, has brought this up many times since 2003.
“A higher car tax makes purchases of cars more expensive,” Esmail Adibi explained; he’s director of the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research and Anderson Chair of Economic Analysis at Chapman University. “It discourages buying new cars, especially expensive ones. So the state doesn’t collect as much sales tax.” He said people either buy cheaper cars, thus paying lower sales tax, or postpone buying a new car entirely, thus paying no sales tax – or car tax – at all.
It’s worth noting that there’s a difference between tax rates and tax revenues. Tax rates are the percentages of income, sales, or something else that the government tries to get from taxpayers. Tax revenues are the amounts it actually gets. Raising rates doesn’t necessarily translate into increasing revenues.
Moreover, buying a car means paying not just the car tax, but the underlying sales tax, which currently runs as high as 10.75 percent, the highest in the nation.
Tom McClintock, now a U.S. congressman, told me that (Gov. Davis') raising the car tax at first hurt the state budget. He pointed to budget figures (Schedule 6, Appendix Page 13 of this .pdf) showing that, from fiscal 2001-02, general fund revenues rose more than $8 billion, to $80.6 billion. By contrast, the next year, fiscal 2003-04, which included the car-tax increase, general fund revenues dropped almost $4 billion, to $76.8 billion.
Then, cutting the car tax back in 2003 actually was “a big economic stimulus for California, particularly in car buying.” When the car tax fell off in 2004-05, revenues rose again, more than $5 billion, to $82.2 billion.
The Power Information Network, an affiliate of J.D. Power and Associates, the market researching firm. An Oct. 23, 2003 summary of the study noted: Since California’s higher vehicle registration fees went into effect on Oct. 1, new light-vehicle retail sales in California have dropped significantly….
Put another way, the gap between the two numbers for auto industry retail sales — 35 percent compared to 18 percent — was 17 percentage points. That’s how much would have been lost in sales for the whole year, had the tax continued. So, in 2002: the $98 billion in sales times the 17 percentage-point decline in sales equals a sales tax cut of $16.7 billion. Now, the state sales tax rate then averaged approximately 8 percent. So, 8 percent of $16.7 billion is $1.336 billion in lost sales tax revenue.
The same thing has happened the past year. The Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association said Thursday that registrations of new cars and light trucks in California declined 28.3 percent last year compared with 2008 – steeper than a 21.2 percent decline in the U.S. market.
CNCDA’s figures – compiled by Malvern, Pa.-based Auto Outlook Inc. and one of several key reports of annual car sales statewide – showed 1,038,271 registrations last year, compared with 1,447,460 in 2008. CNCDA Chairman Tom Hoffman stated, “New vehicle sales in 2009 were less than half the sales just four years ago and represent the lowest sales volume in California since 1975.”
As to the budget, Senator McClintock said the 2009 Schwarzenegger overall tax increases were supposed to bring in $13 billion in more revenues. “Instead, it decreased – dramatically. Revenues dropped $10 billion for the April-December 2009 period, compared to the April-December 2008 period.” He said the only part of the tax revenue equation that rose was the corporate tax, which went up $2.4 billion — and that was the one major tax whose rate was not increased. John Seiler, an editorial writer for 19 years at The Orange County Register, currently is a reporter and analyst for Calwatchdog.com. His email: writejohnseiler@gmail.com.
from http://www.calwatchdog.com/2010/01/30/did-the-car-tax-worsen-california%E2%80%99s-budget-deficit/
(Click to return to List)


2009 October 29 - Mayor Gavin Newsom - prevents city police from automatically impounding cars driven by "never-licensed drivers".

Mayor Newsom of the City of San Francisco has issued a policy encouraging vehicle use in the City of S.F.
"San Francisco has a new policy, starting on Nov. 1, that prevents city cops from automatically impounding cars driven by giving never-licensed drivers 20 minutes to find someone with a valid license to drive their car. Only if an unlicensed driver is caught again within six months, is there an automatic 30-day impound, which can cost around $2,500."
So "otherwise law-abiding residents" now refers to people who only violate federal immigration law and the state law that requires that drivers have valid licenses. (And auto insurance.)
"We recognize that this is a problem within the Hispanic community, where people working here can't get a driver's license because of their immigration status," Police Chief George Gascon told Matier and Ross (of SF Chronicle). Gascon believes that locals will buy better vehicles -- not "throwaway cars" -- if they believe they can keep them."
This means that citizens who have lost their license will have their cars impounded, while illegal immigrants with no license will not lose their cars.
"The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety updated its study of fatal accidents last year and found that from 2001 through 2005, 20 percent of fatal car crashes involved one or more unlicensed or improperly licensed drivers. In California, 29 percent of fatal crashes involved an unlicensed or invalidly licensed driver."
"San Francisco -- with BART, cable cars and Muni. If Newsom and company don't think people without licenses should be limited to the bus, then why spend more than $700 million on public transit each year? Talk to City Hall about how expensive it is to park, and city solons will tell you there is no right to drive. But if you break federal immigration law, they'll work on it."
Why spend any more money on bike paths when San Francisco -- has less then 1% (Official city statistics) of its commuting by bicycles?
Sent by Scott Wenz
(Click to return to List)


2009 October 29 - More curb bulbouts on Bath Street.

The intersection of Bath and Ortega is restricted as City constructs curb bulbouts at this location, which will result in decreased space for bicycle traffic and parking. The bicyclists will now have to swerve from the edge of the street into vehicle traffic to pass through the intersection. Perhaps they will ride (illegally) on the sidewalk more often?
(Click to return to List)


2009 October 7 - Fix101.org endorses candidates for 2009 City election.

Few organizations are dedicated to decreasing our traffic problems and fighting the "re-engineering the public's commuting habits", a quote attributed to Councilman Grant House. One such organization, Fix101.org, has sent the following statement:
For the Santa Barbara city vote-by-mail election, we support Dale Francisco for Mayor and we support Frank Hotchkiss, Michael Self, and Justin Tevis for City Council as they are for widening Highway 101 ASAP and they promote reasonable transportation policies that are cost-effective. Please spread the word by forwarding this email to your friends who live in the city of Santa Barbara.
Sent by Gregory Gandrud of Fix101.org
Note: Streets 'R Us has also endorsed these candidates.
(Click to return to List)


2009 September - CAB Letter about Cold Springs Barrier.

I found it disappointing that Mr. Alfonso would write such misleading statements about the Cold Springs Bridge barrier project. After my 18 years of experience in building bridges, I believe that this project will waste a million dollars but not protect any people.
Maybe the jumpers wish to end their lives in the "solace that comes with the forest," as Mr. Alfonso writes.
Certainly more people die each year on the railroad tracks in Santa Barbara, and on our substandard highway 101. I have seen human remains on the tracks here, so I believe that the deaths are under-reported, but I have not heard of anyone wanting to build a fence. What? A fence does not stop the trespassing? That is correct, and wasting a million dollars to add a "barrier" on a bridge also will not stop desperate people.
Just look at Anapamu Overcrossing, with its multitudes of covered graffiti. Over a million dollars was spent to retrofit this outdated bridge, yet people regularly climb on it to spray paint, so why would not a desperate soul climb any barrier to commit suicide? Have Glendon and Alfonso forgotten who jumped off Las Positas Overcrossing in the 1990's?
Forcing people to jump off bridges in town will add danger for people traveling on Highway 101. Human carnage on the road is very distracting to drivers, promoting accidents and death. Who mentions the traffic deaths of innocent people caused by the delay of the highway widening that was promised by Measure D in 1989 and still has not happened during the 20 years of this tax? Now we have Measure A, and the highway upgrade is still not guaranteed.
The Unions seem to favor these Special Interest projects like barriers, instead of logical and reasonable traffic planning, which seems to have died in Santa Barbara, even though the number of traffic planners hired has skyrocketed.
Since the County is bankrupt, should not the government return to the basics, to protect the lives of men, women and children on the streets and sidewalks, instead of pandering to unqualified planners and utopians?
Paul Svacina, P.E., President, Cars Are Basic .org
Published by Santa Barbara News-Press on September 24.
Note: the News-Press reported that within a month suicide jumpers jumped from the beach cliffs, the Granada Parking Garage and two were killed on the train tracks.
(Click to return to List)


2009 September 8 - Narrow streets and passage ways.

I am watching KCET World. In Naples, Italy, the city has a real problem with crime including theft. The primary problem is the traditional narrow streets give great advantages to criminals, that in turn discouraged tourists.
The city has had to hire "guides" and "security experts" (former thiefs) to educate tourists as to the dangers of the streets.
Note here......the reason most cities of post Rome rule had narrow streets was the breakdown of security due to the invading foreign troops of the Moguls and Vandals. Narrow streets allowed the residents to create traps for anyone breaching the defending walls of the city. As a history major I took two courses in the influence of events on buildings. Both classes the instructors emphasized that in societies where people were safe the roads became wide and often were used as view corridors. Wide to handle the increased commercial and pleasure use, and wide to look down. Buildings were intentionally crowded to the edge of roads as part of this defensive "trap" design.
Setting back buildings from the edge of the street to help create this view and provide a "green" belt along the roads was also a direct result of a prosperous and safe society.
Sent by Scott Wenz, Past President
(Click to return to List)


2009 August 5 - Ghosts of "alternative transportation"

Poltergeist have nothing on the strange and extremely expensive "alternative" transportation policies currently reported and supported by most of the South County Transportation Committee of Santa Barbara County. It is "Business as Usual" promoting and backing supposed politically popular decisions for failed bike policies and the economic Black Hole of Passenger Rail. Forget in first world economies there no NO high or medium speed trains in urban light rail systems that break even over time. They wind up as subsidized operations of gigantic proportions.
Who do you think will pay for these ongoing subsidies?
Is it Robbing Peter to Pay Paul? The current push for "alternative transportation" is more of the same as the Gerrymandered 101 In Commotion (Motion) committee of years back. Sandbagged membership, on this supposed "balanced" advisory committee, projected rail costs. The minimum subsidy for the then proposed rail between Ventura County and Santa Barbara would have been ~$14.95 per ride per direction with the commuter paying $10.00 per ticket per direction for a total cost of ~$25.00. LOSSAN reported the need for over $700 Million in rail repairs before it could properly operate. It will cost much more now. Ongoing rail maintenance, capital replacement costs, and personnel costs only make sense where population densities are in the millions (destination to destination).
These progressive ghosts are clearly out to destroy economic and "free" choices of transportation. In the process they trash the democratic constructs of this nation and a free capitalist society. Locally they are attempting to or expanding expensive services in the time of Severe Recession. They want to build new lines and services that increase payrolls when the responsible decision would be quality repair and preventative maintenance of CURRENT transportation infrastructure. Santa Barbara's Council recently voted to build 28 congestion causing expensive and hated bulbouts.
Timely repairs or replacements of current infrastructure is the key to moving forward, and elimination of deficits.
Camouflage of the true costs of "subsidized" buses running from north county to Santa Barbara and Ventura to the Santa Barbara makes it seem rational to extend these deficit creating routes. Putting lipstick and high heels on this mind set and it is still ugly. They may think it is sexy but isn't. Again the question is, when the average taxpayer is begging for relief who is going to pay for it?
Voters were misled to support transit taxes in 2008. They were told partial truths about the State's High Speed Rail fantasy, and locally Measure A as proven by the recent calls to "determine" how to spend these tax dollars. When businesses, and corporate entities charge more for goods and services to pay the government they are nothing more then hidden tax collectors. For what, promises.....? This is like telling the 18 year old high school sweety you are waiting for the right time to divorce. Not going to happen but that is all the taxpayer needs to know.
"They're Back!"
by Scott Wenz
From the Pacific Coast Business Times. This is one dedicated source with excellent news and information.
(Click to return to List)


2009 August 5 - The Global Climate Agreement - Lots of Pain; No Gain"

Right now, U.S. negotiators are pushing for a one-sided international climate agreement.
It lets countries like China, India and Mexico off the hook, while Americans are forced to make enormous personal sacrifices. It will hit consumer pocket-books hard through higher prices for energy and consumer goods.
According to a recent U.S. Department of Energy study, the agreement will seriously damage our economic growth. And because it will be cheaper to make things like cars, steel, cement and chemicals overseas, that’s where American jobs will go.
Most Americans think this is a lot of pain for no gain. Here’s what a few concerned groups have to say:
"The impact ... would be a bureaucratic nightmare for the small business community ... the obvious consequence would be the destruction of American jobs." -- Small Business Survival Committee
"... the resulting economic dislocation ... would far outweigh any potential environmental benefit. Additionally, this would be a largely self-defeating policy that leaves all developing countries exempt from any meaningful discipline to curb emissions." -- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
"... people in developed countries will bear the costs of tight restrictions and higher prices for energy use." -- Consumer Alert
"U.S. farmers and ranchers may be placed at a serious disadvantage with agricultural producers in countries which do not plan to reduce greenhouse gases." -- American Farm Bureau Federation
Please, Mr. President, don’t commit the United States to sign an agreement that’s harmful to America (and has no benefit.)
Sent to the CAB email by
Coalition For Vehicle Choice.
(Click to return to List)


2009 July 12 - No Human answering MTD phone line

Today I was walking to my appointment, and I passed a woman in a wheelchair at a bus stop at about 5:50PM. She asked me to look at the schedule for the next bus because it was set too high for her to see. I told her that she missed the last bus by 20 minutes. I called the MTD number, but the voicemail stated that no one is available after hours. She asked me to wheel her down the street because she was scared to navigate around the telephone pole and the curbs, which had been built around the neighborhood near Cottage Hospital, until she was able to go down the street by herself. I hope that she made it. So much for the heavily subsidized bus service.
(From a member.)
(Click to return to List)


2009 July 10 - 16th Annual Cruise Night Car Show and Street Party in Glendale on July 18

Glendale officials announced today that rock and roll legends Sha Na Na will headline this year's entertainment at the 16th Annual Cruise Night Car Show and Street Party. The event will be held on Saturday, July 18, from 5:30-10:30 p.m. on Brand Boulevard between Lexington and Broadway.
From KRLA Radio.
(Click to return to List)


2009 July 3 - Suicides by Train Cause Delays

Several local organizations have pushed Caltrans to take about $1 Million from the Highway 101 widening project and build a tall barrier on top of the Historic Cold Springs Bridge, supposedly to reduce the 1/year suicide rate. Some professionals believe that this will only cause suicides to increase in the City of Santa Barbara from overpasses and on train tracks.
On July 4, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that "An Amtrak commuter train struck and killed two pedestrians in separate incidents in Berkeley and Oakland Friday afternoon, according to train officials and the Alameda County Coroner's office."
Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole stated that after an investigation into the first collision, the train was given a new crew. The train continued south about 1:50 p.m.
At about 2:15 p.m., the second collision with another pedestrian occurred, Cole said. The train was taken out of service for the day and its 15 passengers were transferred to another train. (Note that there were 15 passengers on the train- not very economical.)
Deputy Coroner T. Engel of Alameda County said Friday evening that both victims appear to have been killed instantly by blunt trauma, and that the incidents are "both possibly suicide."
One reader commented- "they need to make it easier to jump off the golden gate bridge, so the trains (Amtrack & CalTrain) can stop killing people."
(Click for SF Gate News article by Kelly Zito,Jim Doyle, Chronicle Staff Writers)
(Click to return to List)


2009 June 25 - Multi-Family Unit Residential Contractor Employee Arrested for Embezzlement.

The SB Daily Sound reported that a bookkeeper was arrested for writing company checks to pay her personal bills, and other embezzlement, from Melgoza-Odale, Inc., a construction company listed as a "multi-unit residential" company. She alledgedly admitted to using the company account to pay personal bills, and a police search recovered financial records confirming the allegations, reported Eric Lindberg.
(Click to return to List)


2009 June 6 - High-Speed Rail Financial Quagmire

Paul, I was very disappointed when voters approved the measure for high speed rail. There are so many reasons why this should never happen, but there are those who will prosper from it, and the voters will have it shoved down their throats. I believe the ballot measure stated $9 billion, and the naive voter didn't read the fine print. As we know, $9 billion is only a down payment. (From a high-level Transportation Design Engineer.)
(Click to return to List)


2009 June 5 - High-Speed Rail - The Wrong Road for America

Just like the Santa Barbara Traffic Department, City Council, Mayor and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, California is also neglecting infrastructure while planning huge, expensive projects that have no value basis in reality. When the cost of land and infrastructure is combined with the questionable environmental impacts, is such waste of money justified in an ailing economy?
The facts show that the anti-car fantasy begins to look more like a nightmare:
* no congestion relief
* no energy savings
* no environmental benefits
* no carbon reduction
* huge taxes
* if there is profit, selected private corporations get it
* if there is loss, taxpayers eat it
* rail use is declining in countries with high-speed rail
* humans and animals on tracks have no chance with a 200mph train
Doesn't it make you wonder why politicians are eager to get their private corporation buddies multi-bilion dollar contracts during hard economic times?
SBCAG.org posted an article exposing the fallacy of High-Speed Rail.
(Click to return to List)


2009 June 2 - Taken for a Ride: Pros and Cons of High-Speed Rail

One of the most active topics on the Machine Design forums has been the pros and cons of rail lines. Now that gas prices have begun to creep up again, it might be a good time to revisit the idea. It is all the more interesting in light of the Obama administration's plans for a new national network of high-speed passenger rail lines. Proponents want to put up 10 intercity lines running between 100 and 600 miles long. They say the result will be less traffic congestion, less dependence on foreign oil, and an improvement in the environment.
Yet if the experiences of Europe and Japan are any guide, high-speed rail lines will do none of those things.
Wisdom on this subject comes from Randal O'Toole, an economist and public policy analyst who has studied rail use. He points out that mass transit carries only 1.5% of all urban travel in the U.S. Transit ridership did indeed rise slightly last year when gas prices went to the moon, but the increase was a meager 3.4% over the year before. The effect on traffic congestion was insignificant.
Adding high-speed trains to the mix is unlikely to change things. For proof, says O'Toole, look at Europe and Japan. The average resident of Japan logs only 400 miles/year on bullet trains. In France the figure is 300 miles/year. And despite a lot of subsidized train lines in Europe and Japan, the car is still the preferred mode of transportation in those parts of the world. Europeans drive for 79% of their travel; residents of Japan, over 60%. In the U.S. the figure is about 85%.
Such statistics tend to shatter the American stereotype of Europeans as inveterate train riders. The reality is that in Europe, bus and rail lines are becoming less popular. Between 1970 and 2000, bus and rail travel there lost "market share," dropping from 23.2 to 14.9%, with the difference made up by more travel by air and by car.
And it turns out that rail transport isn't particularly "green." Light rail consumes about as much energy per passenger mile as the average passenger car. Measured this way, neither heavy rail nor commuter rail is as fuel efficient as an ordinary Prius.
The situation is similar for emissions of greenhouse gases. Electricpowered transit is "green" only when its electricity comes from nuclear, hydro, or renewable sources. In places where most electricity comes from burning fossil fuels (as is the case in the vast majority of U.S. locales), rail transit generates more greenhouse gas than cars.
Surprisingly, there is a much simpler way to reduce greenhouse gases and use of petroleum than with expensive and hardly used rail lines: Stick with ever more fuel-efficient cars and coordinate traffic signals. The Federal Highway Administration claims three out of four traffic signals aren't properly coordinated with their neighbors. In fact, one signal coordination project in Silicon Valley that cost $500,000 saved motorists about 471,000 gallons of fuel annually, more than paying for the project in the first year. Figuring 19.5 lb of CO2 emitted/gallon, estimates are the project cut greenhouse-gas emissions at a savings of about $200/ton.
The problem with such common-sense ideas, of course, is that they can't generate the kind of front-page news that trumpets boondoggle rail projects.
(From Machine Design, By Engineers, For Engineers)
(Click to return to List)


2009 May 21 - Shooting Oneself in the Foot

Last week (May 9) the City of Santa Barbara set up special traffic handling as a result of an ocean liner anchored off the harbor. What is so special about that?
On Sunday afternoon, with good weather, (3 May 2009) the City of Santa Barbara used traffic cones to remove parking and one full lane of traffic on the ocean side of Cabrillo Blvd. They created similar conditions to their planned changes to the traffic flow and parking on Cabrillo through their supposed unnecessary and ill advised "Sidewalk Improvements." It is called shooting one's self in the foot.
The resultant traffic congestion was a perfect example of how badly the City of Santa Barbara Traffic Division does their job. The vehicle backup directed to State St. was over 1 1/2 blocks from State St. past Chapala to the Veterans Building. The traffic was not close to the City's self described "Sunny, Summer, Sunday" (SSS), on the busiest stretch of Cabrillo Blvd. (Add to that the congested chaos caused by Jesusita fire evacuations May 6, and the dangerous agenda becomes clear.)
The "SSS" was designated by former Traffic Engineer George Gerth as the example of the highest use conditions experienced along the coast when this plan was proposed 8 years ago. The City deliberately created almost a year long narrowing of Cabrillo with Mr. Gerth declaring the congestion was too great to cointinue with the plan.
How is the City of Santa Barbara going to:
(a) excuse the congestion when the tourist really start coming to the harbor? (b) excuse the increased congestion resulting from the taking of street capacity/narrowing?
(c) excuse the significant reduced parking directly next to the harbor (placing greater pressure on paid parking)?
(d) as a result of the already proven congestion problems, and loss of parking violate the prime directive of the Coastal Commission to increase access to the coast (shuttles and buses have already proven not to accomplish in the face of this type of congestion)?
(e) excuse the increased problems from the not yet completed La Entrada complex?
The issues of traffic and parking were so significant 8 years ago, former Mayor Miller ordered Mr. Gerth to permanently remove this from traffic planning. Vehicle numbers have since increased.
It is time this waste of tax dollars be permanently stopped, and the flimsy excuse for continued destruction of access and emergency response corridors along the coast and harbor be stopped.
Paul Svacina, P.E.
President, CarsAreBasic.org
Printed by Montecito Journal on 21 May 2009.
(Click to return to List)


2009 May 19 - CHP Memorial Day Weekend Maximum Enforcement

Revenue enhancement was in full swing over Memorial day weekend as noted in CHP Memorial Day Weekend Maximum Enforcement.
The three-day holiday is a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) for the CHP. All available officers will be patrolling the roadways during the MEP, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 22 and extends until midnight on Monday, May 25.
The CHP’s maximum enforcement effort is also part of the state’s recently launched 2009 Memorial Day Next Generation Click It or Ticket mobilization. The start-of-summer campaign is supported by $3 million in traffic safety grants awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The CHP’s primary mission is to prevent loss of life and injury to all motorists. That mission parallels the Strategic Highway Safety plan, a roadmap for improving safety on the state’s roadways that all state traffic safety organizations follow. An element of the plan is to improve the use of passenger restraints.
The Memorial Day MEP is also an Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE) holiday. Operation CARE is a joint program of the nation’s highway patrols that places special safety emphasis on interstate highways during holiday periods. CARE highways in California include Interstates 80, 40, 15 and 5.
(Click to return to List)


2009 May 12 - Wheels and Waves postponed, then canceled.

The Wheels and Waves Cars Show scheduled for this weekend (March 16-17) has been postponed until the weekend of June 7th.
but Kanai'a Rig Run is ON at Leadbetter May 16.
(June 3 - Update - The Weels/Waves Car show in Santa Barbara originally scheduled for 16 May 2009, and rescheduled for 7 June as a result of the Jesusita Fire is now called. Please note they hope to return in 2010.)
(by Scott Wenz)
(Click to return to List)


2009 May 8 - CAB HEALTH ADVISORY

Cars Are Basic, Inc.(tm) has a number of allied health professionals as members including physicians.

BECAUSE OF THE ONGOING FIRE CAB URGES ALL PERSONS WITHIN 5 MILES OF THE JESUSITA FIRE TO:

1. LIMIT UN-NECESSARY HEAVY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - AIR BORNE PARTICULATE AND POSSIBLE TOXIC GASES

2. TAKE PLENTY OF FLUIDS DURING HIGH HEAT PERIODS

3. PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM ASH

4. IF YOU HAVE ASTHMA , COPD, OR CARDIO VASCULAR CONCERNS LIMIT ACTIVITY AND CONSULT A PHYSICIAN IF EXPERIENCING PROBLEMS

Click for sbcag.COM video of Jesusita Fire.
Click for sbcag.COM video with traffic congestion during fire evacuation.
Click for sbcag.COM video with fire truck delayed by State Street traffic.
Click for other video with fire trucks hindered by narrow road.
(Click to return to List)


2009 May 3 - Mass Transit Pandemic

Besides the false reasoning behind governments pushing mass transit on the public, there are serious problems caused by making people congregate in high densities and large numbers.
This photo (click) shows masked train passengers in Mexico during the so-called pandemic which reached Texas and California in April 2009. What if avian flu or some other disease spread through the United States and we all had to ride trains and buses because street capacity for automobiles had been reduced? During an emergency would you want your children to ride trains and buses, or would you drive them in your car?
It was predicted that the so-called Swine Flu pandemic (named "Mexican Flu" in Europe) of early 2009 will show that countries with lower-density living conditions and better hygiene habits will not have a serious problem, despite the increased stock market prices of the drug companies. The CDC states that about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes each year in the USA.
( from http://www.sbcag.com/mapofshameSBCity-2/transit-pandemic/ ) (Click to return to List)


2009 May 1 - What was that noise? Measure A going under the knife.

What was that noise? It was the post election "other shoe" falling from 10,000 feet with a huge thud. The problem is no one is listening

Just as the original Measure D was subverted from the beginning so now is Measure A going under the knife.

Caltrans walks into a meeting in mid county the first quarter of 2009, and told the residents regardless of what they want there will be a Hazardaround built at 246 / Purisma, and that comes on top of the back room agreement in Lompoc to put bike paths where they are not needed (political correctness you know). Assembled community members left upset at both the project and attitude by Caltrans. Welcome to Post Measure A Politics.

Well boys and girls it isn't over yet. As they say these things come in 3's and number 2 is now out on the table. If groups (like the Taxpayers Association) are not willing to bend and "work with SBCAG" there is a strong possibility the Casitas Pass to Hot Springs section of 101 will not be widened. Don't you love that word "work"? It is ankle time...and if you don't like it we will drive another failed "electric bus" program at you, that eats resources and money.

What you say? They PROMISED this would be the number one priority! All groups that backed the very flawed Measure A were warned there were not, and are not adequate rules of the game in ballot to guarantee any project promised. As CAB warned any changes in the political map could and most likely would change the game plan. The current excuse is, we don't have money for all projects! That is taxpayers get for backing a tax that doesn't give the voters true options and makes roads and streets second class projects compared to failed "alternative" transportation.

A veiled threat? Nope a baseball bat. Oppose Trains (forget LOSSAN numbers, forget the SBCAG statements before the election, forget the truth), oppose bike paths and / or plans to remove street capacity, and oppose destruction of "core transportation routes" by any agency and out comes the bat. If you oppose SBCAG and the anti car groups delays and / or cancellation of efficient street transportation plans that sneak through will be horrific.

The rumblings were there just after the election with the chortles and snide remarks by anti car "staff," now it is open contempt for rational projects.

Many SBCAG members and the majority of the City Council of Santa Barbara and County Districts(?) are currently mapping plans to use the economy to kill or delay until suffocation reasonable street and personal commuter vehicle enhancements. So much for the $100 Million plus street problems in the County. So much for core transportation routes making middle class businesses viable. They promised 101 will happen and is the #1 priority......now it is play ball or it will not happen!

One would think at least they would sugar coat the pill but why should they? They have 30 years of Tax without rational rules of operation.
(by Scott Wenz)
(Click to return to List)


2009 May 1 - CHANGE the rules so SBCAG "staff" has a reason for existence.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised standards for particle pollution in 2008, and these elevated standards now take areas like Bakersfield and Los Angeles and create "serious" problems that "have to be fixed," regardless of the increasing air quality because of current vehicle technology created since 2000.

If the EPA did not change the standards they, and their politicians, would lose political power because the condition has been fixed or on fast track for remediation.

CHANGE the rules so "staff" has a reason for existence. Sound like SBCAG?
(by Scott Wenz)
(Click to return to List)


2009 April 30 - Vice President recommends against using mass transit.

Vice President Joe Biden appeared on NBC's "Today" show and said he would advise against riding the subway or taking commercial flights and implied schools should be shuttered amid confirmation of the first swine-flu relation death in the U.S.

"I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now. It's not that it's going to Mexico, it's you're in a confined aircraft when one person sneezes it goes all the way through the aircraft. That's me. I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation suggesting they ride the subway," Biden said when Matt Lauer asked whether he would advise family members to use public transportation.

"If you're out in the middle of a field and someone sneezes that's one thing. If you're in a closed aircraft or a closed container or closed car or closed classroom it's a different thing."

About two hours after the interview, Biden's office issued a statement attempting to clarify the vice president's remarks. "The advice he is giving family members is the same advice the administration is giving all Americans: That they should avoid unnecessary air travel to and from Mexico. If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways. This is the advice the vice president has given family members who are traveling by commercial airline this week," Biden's spokeswoman, Elizabeth Alexander, said in a statement.

The White House is concerned the vice president's remarks create a panic that causes people to avoid public transportation, Todd later reported.

The controversy came as a member of the U.S. delegation that helped prepare Energy Secretary Steven Chu's trip to Mexico began exhibiting flu-like symptoms, and three members aide's family tested probable for the swine flu. Chu has not experienced any symptoms, the White House press secretary said.

Meanwhile, dozens of Marines in California were confined Wednesday after one came down with the disease. Some 100 schools were closed, and more might need to be shut down temporarily.

The Obama administration said it was aginst closing the U.S.-Mexico border as the number of swine flu cases in the States passed 100 and crossed into 15 states. Despite calls from many U.S. lawmakers for tightening controls over the Mexico-US border, Obama and his deputies ruled out that option.

In Mexico, where the flu is believed to have originated, officials said Wednesday that the disease was now suspected in 168 deaths, and nearly 2,500 illnesses
( from Associated Press / NBC New York )
Click for video of Biden's statements.
(Click to return to List)


2009 April 25 - Mass Transit Pandemic.

Besides the false reasoning behind governments pushing mass transit on the public, there are serious problems caused by making people congregate in high density and large numbers. This link shows masked train passengers in Mexico during the so-called "Swine Flu" pandemic which reached San Diego in April 2009. What if avian flu or some other disease spread through the United States and our only transportation was trains and buses because street capacity for automobiles had been reduced? Would you want your children to ride crowded trains and buses? or would you drive them in a car?
(by Paul Svacina, P.E.)
(Click to return to List)


2009 April 19 - Earth Day Ironic Humor....*S*.

Did anyone watch the construction of the Earth Day booths at Alameda Park in Santa Barbara? Trucks, and cars galore.

Did anyone see the sign at the Earth Day event at Alameda Park in Santa Barbara? Valet Parking!!!

Did anyone see the parked up streets all around Alameda Park in Santa Barbara at the Earth Day event? At least 2 blocks all sides of the park were jammed (with cars).

Does anyone see the Ironic Humor with these mostly anti-car people doing their business with CARS and TRUCKS? Did anyone notice the FREE RIDES ON MTD on Earth Day? Strange- I thought the City of SB, the County of SB, and other agencies were BROKE!!! It would be laughable if the huge debts and inflationary spiral irresponsible spending is causing was not so serious.

Did anyone see Mayor Blum and the good Doctor parking in "free" parking to "walk" to the Earth Day at Alameda when there was ample parking at the "Temple of Doom" parking garage (Granada Theater) or even closer $5 All Day parking (a capitalist plot) at the Chase bank? Does it get any funnier?

Did you notice SBCAG authorized the spending of $300,000 to figure out how to spend Measure A? Board of Supervisors, Santa Maria, et all, Carpinteria, Goleta, and North County Mayors said we know how to spend the money vote for this 30 YEAR TAX...WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING.

Where is the SHARED RESPONSIBILITY AND SACRIFICE the "Tax and Spend Left" keeps talking about, yet vote pay raises, free bus rides, and increasing "entitlements" spending when there isn't any money.

ARE YOU TIRED OF THE IRONIC HUMOR YET? ARE YOU TIRED OF EXCUSES FOR TAX INCREASES? ARE YOU TIRED OF EXPLODING SIZE OF GOVERNMENT AND "ENTITLEMENTS?"

ARE YOU TIRED ENOUGH TO CHANGE BY STOP VOTING FOR TAX AND SPEND POLITICIANS REGARDLESS OF WHAT PARTY THEY BELONG TO?

The entrenched demagogues say you cannot cut government. Why not? The bureaucracy either is cut or give your pay check directly to government and exist on handouts.

Thinking out of the "BOX," of the traditional spoon fed tax and spend, grow government elitist clique for 40 years means BACK TO BASICS. Public safety, basic water, sewer, and streets.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Stop the special interests and cut government. Lower TAXES....lower cost.
(by Scott Wenz)
(Click to return to List)


2009 April 16 - Letter to News-Press regarding Caltrans management covering up malfeasance and lack of qualifications of staff.

Dear Travis Armstrong:

As a Texas A&M Engineering graduate and a licensed Civil Engineer who for seventeen (17) years has worked for Caltrans Structure Construction, building La Cumbre, Fairview and dozens of other bridges, I was deeply disturbed by the article in the March 24, 2009, News-Press on Page A3, showing Mr. Michael Mortensen described as a resident engineer. Enclosed is the Caltrans "Construction Policy Bulletin CPB 07-3 - Resident Engineer Policy" dated July 2007, which states that "The resident engineer must be in responsible charge of the work and be a licensed professional engineer in the state of California."

Mr. Mortensen has no engineering degree and no engineering license. Not only are Mr. Mortensen and Caltrans violating their own policy, but our tax money is funding many such unqualified, overpaid public workers who are mismanaging our transportation projects, and misappropriating funds and equipment, resulting in horrendous waste of taxpayer's money.

In 2007 the Summerland retaining wall, which could have been built for $250,000, ended up costing much more than $1.5 Million, due to Caltrans errors and deficient contractor work. I rejected many features of the work, but Mr. Mortensen and others approved many improper changes. (See enclosed- http://www.sbcag.com/mapofshameSBCity-4/summerland-retaining-wall)

Another example of local Caltrans malfeasance is that several employees in the Caltrans office apparently own no personal vehicle. One office worker drives a state truck home. For years Mr. Mortensen has used his Caltrans truck to drive himself, his wife and two children. Others regularly drive their children to school, and come late to work. In 2007, Caltrans management was informed about various activities in the Santa Barbara Caltrans office, but instead of correcting the actions, Caltrans management and Mr. Mortensen had me fired, while they continue their improper activities. In March 2009 I filed a sheriff's report after Mr. Mortensen attacked me again when I photographed his children in his orange Caltrans truck.

Local agency corruption is so entrenched, that I have started a website to expose the issues: SBCAG.com. I hope that readers question and hold their public officials accountable for misappropriated funds.

Paul Svacina, P.E.
(Click to return to List)


2009 April 6 - Silly study makes bogus link between traffic and heart attacks.

A new study from Germany claims that being stuck in traffic could actually put you at a much higher risk for suffering a heart attack.

The study was headed up by Annette Peters, an adjunct associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and head of research for Munich's Institute of Epidemiology. According to her, the very act of being in some form of traffic – whether driving a car, riding a bus or taxi, or even pedaling a bicycle – could trigger this heart risk.

Sound like a stretch? Well, I tend to agree. Especially when you take a closer look at the study methods. The study focused on 1,500 patients from the town of Augsburg, Germany who had already survived a heart attack between 1999 and 2003. Peter's research team asked the subjects to recall their experiences in the four days prior to their heart attacks.

From this, the researchers determined that eight percent of the heart attacks were attributable to every day, local commuting.

That's right: the researchers came to the conclusion that driving in traffic increases you risk of heart attack based on what a small group of 60-year-old Germans are able to remember about how they spent four days – six or more years ago.

In fact, the premise of this study is so outrageous, I can't even be bothered to tell you about the other statistical findings based on these conclusions.

What I find most disturbing is that other doctors have reacted to this study not with the skepticism that such shoddy research techniques fully deserve, but with a nodding approval that these "results" back-up long-held assumptions about the links between traffic and heart issues!

Amazingly, the results of this study were presented to no less than the American Heart Association's annual Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention conference, where learned cardiology specialist convened. I'm shocked that this adjunct associated professor wasn't laughed out of the conventional hall.

Beating down on bogus research,
(by William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.)
(Click to return to List)


2009 April 4 - Tea Party Rally.

Just as the Traffic Department seems to report inaccurate statistics, the number of marchers in the Tea Party Rally is varying widely: between 300 to over 1200. Based on a video by SBCAG.COM, 300 does not appear correct. The protesters were complaining about the stimulus package passed by the Federal Government, from which some funds may come to Santa Barbara for public works projects that should have been funded with normal taxes.
(by Paul Svacina, P.E.)
(Click to return to List)


2009 April 2 - Fallacy of Hybrids.

(Hybrids are NOT a solution.. the green morons are grasping at straws, look up the damage that battery production does to the environment, i just did a case study on it. Newer clean diesels are much much better. I think you should also take into account how REAL PEOPLE drive cars and you will find the prius seriously lacking, and the mpg much lower than the EPA estimates. Diesel's on the other hand, hold up well, look up more vids on youtube like "tdi vs. prius") - by "DVDK7".
Click for videos:
Like hydrazine rockets, hybrids are a useful concept, but current batteries are horrible for the environment and support mainly Chinese and other foreign businesses because the manufacturing would be almost impossible in the USA. Compressed air vehicles have been developed but not widely used, and other battery technologies could be explored, maybe from renewable resources such as these
lemons,
onions or
potatoes. Perhaps when people wake up and use butter and palm oil again for cooking, the rapeseed (canola) and GMO soybean oil markets will not produce enough for biodiesel vegicles (not sic).
(by Paul Svacina, P.E.)
(Click to return to List)


2009 April 1 - California Sales Taxes going UP!

Please note that effective April 1st (no fooling) the California Sales Tax increases 1%. The minimum sales tax statewide will be 8.25%, and 9.25% in localities that approved extra taxes, such as Measure A. In comparison, Alabama has a state general sales tax of 4% (plus any additional local taxes). Arizona has a transaction privilege tax (TPT) of 5.6-6.1%. Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% with some cities and counties levying additional taxes. Denver's tangibles tax is 3.62%, with food eaten away from the home being taxed at 4%. Delaware does not assess a sales tax on consumers, but does, however, impose a tax on the gross receipts of most businesses- about 0.096-1.92%. Illinois' sales and use tax scheme is too complicated to discuss here. Montana does not have a state sales tax but some municipalities have a sales tax of 0.25%. There is no state sales tax in Alaska, and Anchorage and Fairbanks do not charge a local sales tax. (Source: Wikipedia)
(Click to return to List)


2009 March 30 - Screams of indignation......Cabrillo Blvd.

Ok boys and girls the issue of Cabrillo Blvd. is about to raise its ugly head again.

The cries of indignation when the council and staff put forth the redevelopment agency plans for Cabrillo with the absolutely stupid 6 foot pedestrian islands, bulbouts, and taking of lanes of traffic appears to be on a full head of steam again.

After a number of heated discussions the businesses felt they would not be hit with the worst of the traffic plan and the majority would be the sidewalks leaving out the rest of the junk.

Guess again Buck Wheat......

There have been some business people who have been nosing around the plans and all of the junk is back in. It in essence destroys on-street parking for the many tourists that spend money down there, forces those willing to go there to pay more for parking (remember the fee fiasco the city had to back down on), comes close to creating a one way traffic pattern that will further destroy public access (hummm coastal commission rules), and will make a mockery of spending taxpayers money.

When asked about the plans the City response is it has been fully discussed and agreed on by the businesses in the area. Talk about piled higher and deeper!

This is the same response put out by the City regarding De la Guerra Plaza (99% of businesses say leave it alone), State and De la Vina St. over 90% of businesses signed 2 petitions against it. When asked privately out of the spotlight, the businesses overwhelmingly want the street left alone, and the traffic/ parking to remain the same.

It will be interesting to see if either the News-Press or Daily Sound will pick up on what is again another magic trick.........

If the average citizen saw these plans in the paper they would die of laughter.

Scott
(...and any COMPETENT traffic engineer should see that the plans are ridiculous and will increase accidents and congestion. - Paul Svacina, Civil Engineer)
(Click to return to List)


2009 March 25 - Digging the hole deeper, a squandering of moral authority and legitimacy.

Where is the embarrassment and shame? It used to be when government spent reserves bankrupting itself / taxpayers, there were resignations and shame, not now.

There has been a squandering of moral authority and legitimacy with false and misleading information and in the process expanding government. Private sector jobs disappear while government jobs increase. It is strange logic rationalizing salary increases "saves" money. Rational people know government cannot spend itself out of recession by taking more and more of your hard earned money.

The City of Santa Barbara faces a $9.5 Million dollar short fall of income over expenses, has voted pay raises in the teeth of the greatest post WWII recession, and has essentially spent all of its reserves in the past 4 years, despite repeated warnings. The City Administrator says approximately $1.5 Million can be made up with normal attrition, what about the remaining $8.0 Million? How about eliminating jobs? Arrogance by elected and hired staff has been the hall mark of Santa Barbara City hall for a decade.

Where were the supposed defenders of reason, as this run away train gained speed (Chamber of Commerce, Down Town Organization, Hispanic Chamber, Taxpayers Association, and more)? Four years ago the majority of the Board of Cars Are Basic, Inc.(tm) stated for practical purposes the City of Santa Barbara was broke, busted, and or insolvent, and Administrative Staff & Council arrogantly dismissed the warnings. CAB(tm) and Santa Barbara Safe Streets pointed out that the Traffic Division swelled in size now costing the City just over $1.0 Million when 10 years ago it was 1.5 positions costing 10% of current salaries.

"Big government tax and spend" defenders counter attacked: (a) They don't not know what they were talking about, (b) Just more sore grapes, and (c) Another outrageous claim to discredit "progressive" planning. The "State of the City" report card, by Mayor Blum, proclaims the City of Santa Barbara is $9.5 Million in the red (3 months ago it was $5.0 Million). All the while terrible traffic planning, unneeded sidewalk and street changes, lost opportunity to expand gray water use, and huge unneeded infill density plans arrogantly bulldozed through Planning, City Hall, and Council.

Do you remember Mr. Tyler (former Council candidate) warning the Council and Staff of this train wreck; $500 Million in projected capital projects, unfunded retirement and benefit packages, and falling revenues? Do you remember the outrageous cost of the failed St. Francis hazardarounds, hated bulbouts, and traffic obstructions? This happened in the preceding 4 years. How about the unneeded expensive new street crossing on Cabrillo Blvd., in the middle of the recession, with a perfectly good signal light intersection at Castillo and Cabrillo? Let's not forget the "Temple of Doom" (Granada garage) costing upwards to $30 Million dollars for a maximum 25 parking place gain, built off center, and further destroying traffic circulation in the downtown area.

As Public Works "planning staff" exploded in size, and promises were made to labor unions the city rulers spent reserves covering their tracks to camouflage bankruptcy. The reserves are almost none existent. Arrogance at all levels blames Tax and Spend deficits on conditions not spend-thrift planning.

Yes the City of Santa Barbara is unable to pay its bills, after voters foolishly approved more taxes instead of demanding "live within your income." Are you ready for a "Tea Party" rebellion and vote the fools out?

Are you ready to say NO more to unreasonable high density infill? Are you ready to cut the pork of Socialist Planning that piles debt on debt and ridicules you as uncaring capitalist bigots when you object. They would never run their personal lives this way, but when they can steal money, calling it "reasonable social spending" (aka - taxes), it really doesn't make a difference to them.

Debt and tax burdens break the back of the low income and middle class. Tax and Spenders proclaims they are protecting these very groups. Businesses and jobs flee the State of California and cities like Santa Barbara in disgust. What is left are low paying service jobs, or government jobs for those who are incapable of surviving in the private sector. They work for agencies like SBCAG, Traffic Planning, and "Redevelopment Agencies" in areas where the "ghettos" are better then the low income neighborhoods in depressed areas. Life is good on the taxpayers dime.

Have you had enough of a Mayor and Governor preaching "compromise" and willing to raise taxes. Have you had enough of a Council and Legislature adding more programs when your tax dollars cannot pay for what is on the books, and call objectors obstructionists?

Examples abound. The question is, have you had enough to stop the spending and taxes?
(by Scott Wenz)
(Click to return to List)


2009 March 22 - Value of Milpas Roundabout - Police give chase to pair seen firing at a fleeing man, then make arrests after rollover in roundabout.

About 2:40 a.m. Sunday, Santa Barbara police responded to reports of an altercation in the parking lot of Jack in the Box, 501 N. Milpas St. at Haley Street. Police Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte, a department spokesman, said David and James Allison, both of Santa Barbara, were inside the restaurant when they made a derogatory comment to a man who had just entered the store. The 27-year-old man, whom Duarte declined to identify, responded to the comment and the two men chased him outside, where they began to assault him. Family and friends of the victim came to his defense and, after a brief fight, the Allisons left in a pickup truck, striking a parked vehicle as they drove off, but the driver lost control and the truck flipped on its side in the Milpas roundabout at Highway 101. Just before the crash, Duarte said, officers observed the driver throw away the shotgun, which was recovered by police. Both suspects were pinned in the wreckage and officers stood guard as Santa Barbara firefighters removed them.
David Allison, 31, was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was treated for a severe injury to his right arm and released. He was booked at Santa Barbara County Jail for attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, felon in possession of a firearm, conspiracy, terrorist threats and felony DUI. James Allison, 30, was booked at County Jail for attempted homicide, felon in possession of a firearm, conspiracy and terrorist threats. Detectives handled the case and determined the incident was not a gang-motivated assault, Duarte said.
Tom Kligerman wrote on 03.23.09 @ 10:40 AM
Not the first time a roundabout has helped to catch a fleeing criminal. Happens almost every month in England.
(by Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper, sent in by CAB supporter)

(Click to return to List)


2009 March 20 - CDC identifies new disease sweeping the South (by William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.)

You may sometimes think that I go too far in my criticism of government health organizations like the FDA and the CDC. And you know what? Not once have I ever had one single pang of guilt for anything I've said. Time and again, these agencies disappoint in their stated mission for the people of the United States.

Case in point, a new study by the CDC has concluded that residents of the Southern U.S. are more likely to die in traffic accidents than their fellow citizens living in the north. This research was conducted to check the progress of the government's Healthy People 2010 initiative, which (among other things) seeks to reduce the national rate of motor vehicle-related fatalities to 9.2 per 100,000 people.

Confused? Me, too. Mostly by what in the world the CDC (which, as a reminder to you, and maybe even them, stands for "Centers for Disease Prevention and Control) is doing investigating car accidents. I know health care has changed since I got out of med school, but I'm pretty sure that traffic fatalities are not a virus of any kind. Hell, there's not even a vaccination for them yet!

Kidding aside, I'm baffled at the point of this study. The CDC reached this conclusion by examining the data from in the National Vital Statistics System between 1999 and 2005. While the average rate of car accidents remained relatively steady at about 15.6 deaths per 100,00 during this period, the CDC researchers observed that death rates varied by gender, age, race, and region of the country. Apparently, the researchers were stunned that the southern states – especially Mississippi – were dying in "higher then acceptable numbers" (does this mean the stated goal of 9.2 deaths per 100,000 people is acceptable?).

"The South accounted for 46 percent of the deaths during the period studied, but only 36 percent of the population," the researchers said. The researchers speculated that the reasons for this disparity could be that drivers in the rural south must drive farther to reach places, increasing the chance for accidents. It was also suggested that rural southern drivers are distant from medical aid after an accident, which also upped the number of fatalities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also weakly speculated that fatalities in the north are lower because – ready for this? – the longer stretches of winter prompt people to drive less, and more slowly (clearly, they NHTSA crowd has never driven in New York during a snow storm).

What does this tell us? Well … not much, unfortunately. By its own admission, the CDC didn't bother to examine exactly WHY the death rates vary so much by region. And the study even said that more research was needed to find the kinds of "programs" which could help reduce deaths in problem areas.

Ugh. More useless studies, more wasteful government programs that achieve nothing. All run by the CDC which, if you ask me, should be spending time on REAL issues of disease, not nonsensical traffic studies.
(by William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.)
(Click to return to List)


2009 March 19 - Major Accident at Milpas Roundabout

This morning, 19 March 2009 on KTMS there was reported a major accident on the Milpas Hazardaround.
1. It appears it was north bound off ramp
2. It appears it was in part alcohol related
3. CAB in its letter of liability warned the City this was a design flaw because of the freeway
4. Part of what was reported was the problem was congestion in the hazardaround because of slowed traffic, again part of the design flaw of putting a hazardaround on urban streets.
More when details are more available.
(by Scott Wenz)
(Click to return to List)


2009 March 12 - Best served COLD?

Organized 10 1/2 years ago, the organization Cars Are Basic, Inc.(tm) investigated and confirmed reams of data about the "supposed' successes of the failed "Smart Growth" concept pushed by the anti car groups.

Anti car, modern day Luddites willingly destroy freedom of movement, and in the process remove the inherent rights of free movement in a free society. For what? Eventual failure of a failed ideology? These new groups have great PR names...generally with "environment," "bicycles," "green," or "global warming" in their names or descriptions.

What follows is eventual economic disarray or collapse. Unless, meat-handed government iron fist steps in directing commerce and travel patterns collapse is inevitable. The results are temporary relief leading to slow agonizing decay with calls for more government action. Believe this is an over dramatic interpretation? The Soviet Union collapsed after 75 short years. China dramatically has changed from total Communist State to a Fascist State allowing freedom of travel and expanding private sector private development (after all they recognize Capitalism as true source of wealth). Cuba wallows as a back water state, and now Venezuela moves to Communism and control that ruined it early on in the modern era. Paralysis created by tunneled vision politics. The attempt to prevent change seldom works in the short term and is never successful in the long term.

A classic example of anti car failure is the City of Chicago's State Street. Luddite types cut the street in half for a "Walking Mall" to enhance the "personal" relation of pedestrians with businesses. CAB reported the failure 7-8 years ago as just one more example of how destroying "Core Transportation Corridors" leads to economic decay and eventual collapse. The issue of emergency response hindered by cut streets and isolated districts is as important. A syndicated report published in the Santa Barbara News-Press described the massive economic disruption in great detail, and the very expensive retrofit needed to return their State Street to health. (NP-Business Section 10 March 2009 - Urban Cowboys) (Ed. note- just drive by lower State and see how much empty space there is. State Street has been "devitalized".)

What we have seen for 20 years is tantamount to yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater where there is no fire. The result of long term Soviet Russia styled public planning has eventually killed rational, "real world," proven economic centers. Downtown Santa Barbara was the economic engine for middle class businesses before Goleta became a city or the Calle Real Center was built. Yet by the time these were created the majority of these businesses had failed or moved to outer State, the lower Eastside, or Goleta.

It used to be the "Business Community" observed and reacted to conditions. Now cities create fake "business" entities (downtown organizations) that are puppets to the civil service staff or beholden to politicians (De la Guerra Plaza - Lindin Ave - recent developments in Santa Maria). Big government types never seem to "get it." Outside of basic services government sucks the life blood out of communities. Space does not permit a detailed description of multiple local south county examples and recent trends in north county. In the real world when something doesn't work capital drys up and it fails. The left, big government types, just throw more money at what failed for life support pretending you the taxpayer will pay and pay and pay.............!

It is time to cut government size and expense. Start with heavy handed planning departments and gestapo styled traffic planners (committees) with their bulbouts, hazardarounds, reduced parking, and narrowing of streets. Reduce the tax burden by killing recently approved taxes and transfer saved tax dollars. Their planning did not work in boom times. Why continue it in hard times?
(by Scott Wenz)
(Click to return to List)


2009 March 8 - Many Problems with High-Speed Rail

There are many problems with high speed rail in the US:
1. Security - One of the reasons air travel is such a pain is for security checks. Once some group blows up a few trains, like in Spain, security checks will be every bit as onerous as with planes.
2. Land appropriation - It's easier to buy/obtain a little bit of land for airports than a lot of land with hundreds of owners for train tracks across multiple states. Environmental impact studies are needed for train tracks too.
3. Capital expense - Rail in the US simply isn't competitive and doesn't make money. The gas tax pays for roads for cars and trucks. The airline ticket tax pays for the FAA and airports. But for some reason rail requires general tax revenues. Why?
4. Weather - The Detroit to Chicago train route works nicely until it snows too much. Then you have 12 hour delays. See . Which is easier to plow, 2 miles of runway or 300 miles of train track?
I'm not completely against high-speed rail, but would rather we spend money speeding up air travel, especially for routes longer than 300 miles. Why travel at 200 mph when you can travel at 600 mph? We should have more small and medium-sized airports instead of fewer massive ones that are hard to get into and out of. Traveling from smallish airports like Toledo or Flint is a joy.
(by EricS on March 08, 2009, commenting on article On the Fast Track in Natural Resources Defense Council OnEarth magazine 27 Feb. 2009. http://www.onearth.org/article/on-the-fast-track?comments=all)
(Click to return to List)


2009 March 6 - Sociologist Traffic Planner Dru van Hengel drives to inspect Roundabout

Today 6 March 2009 at 11:30 AM Sociologist Dru van Hengel, Transportation Operations Supervisor, was at the Sola / Olive hazardaround checking out the problem of the temporary sign in the middle and the issue of dirt and plants on top of the manhole cover. This is one of the major issues CAB mentioned when the City installed the temporary hazardaround- how would they handle the issue of dirt and landscape on top of the manhole and public works losing access to the sewer. There were three consecutive cars going up and one coming down Olive. All cars were traveling through the hazardaround at almost the identical speeds of pre build. She studiously refused to even look up as the cars went through. I wonder if it was the problem of the manhole, the fact she witnessed speeds she said would not happen, or perhaps it was the fact she had used a car to get to the location. (by CAB member)
(Click to return to List)


2009 March 4 - LA Mayor Elected to: Fix the Potholes, Widen the Streets, & Increase Traffic Flow

Question: How is a mayor candidate elected by 56% victory margin in a city that restricted automobile traffic for decades, and promoted mass transit?
Answer: Do what the Mayor of Los Angeles did. From his first day in office to now, Villaragosa REVERSED the decades old policy of neglecting or reducing street capacity. His policy enhanced auto travel by making street quality better (pothole fixes and paving), widening streets, and timing lights on major artery streets to smooth and improve car travel!

Villaragosa's policy cancelled or reversed a decades old policy in the City of Los Angeles. The revised planning process involved working with adjacent cities and the county of Los Angeles to widen streets, time stop lights, and pave streets. This includes such traditional anti car cities like Santa Monica. Santa Monica finally agreed to widen and improve travel on Santa Monica Blvd. a State of California Highway. Long blocked from improvements by Los Angeles and Santa Monica it is now vastly improved because of this new policy. This policy has reduced congestion, idle time, and a variety of pollution indexes, while improving business environment.

Yet the city of Santa Barbara and other anti car groups in the county of Santa Barbara continue their assault on the motor vehicle.
(by Scott Wenz)
(Click to return to List)


2009 Feb. 11 - Santa Barbara City Council Tables Decision on De la Vina and State Street Intersection. (Part 1 of 3)

After repeatedly steam rolling majority neighborhood opposition to anti car street planning the council ran into a wall at the 10 February 2009 Council meeting. Faced with business opposition, resident opposition, and very weak justification to spend a quarter of a million of your tax dollars the City Council voted to "Table" the vote on destroying the intersection of De la Vina and State St.

Read this one when they IGNORED over 70% opposition to the now Failed St. Francis Traffic Plan the Council is not interested in an election year of ruffling feathers. To recap, the Council trashed a 300 signature citizen petition not to build the traffic hazards in the St. Francis upper east traffic grid. The results of the bulbouts has been a reduction in bike travel, the initial speed reduction at the Sola / Olive hazardaround reversed within 2 months, and the Alta Vista hazardarounds have become the joke of the neighborhood in their failure. Let's not forget the wonderful Garden St. obstruction where 2 major accidents have occurred and once again speeds have returned to pre-build levels.

Presented at the Council meeting was the Safe Street 500 Signature Petition to STOP the intersection destruction. This petition combined both businesses and patrons. 500 signatures is substantially more then the St. Francis Petition. Then there was the 109 signature, Cars Are Basic(tm) petition concentrating on business owners and workers along State Street from San Roque to Calle Laurales, and De la Vina Street from Constance to State St. That petition was to (a) stop this plan and (b) require a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This EIR was never done or planned for. Combining the two petitions that was a concerted 600 signature effort.

Staff has repeatedly attempted to "prove" how dangerous the intersection is, when the accident reports paint a multi-decade "safe" intersection. Official records wiping out years of posturing and intentional dis-information. This is the same Mayor and Council (minus Dale Francisco) twice defeated in a neighborhood votes to destroy the streets. A voting procedure the Council promised to honor regardless of the decision.

The next installment will talk about the convoluted reasoning used by those that would destroy the streets of Santa Barbara.
(by Scott Wenz)
(Click to return to List)


2008 December 23 - Comments on Guest Opinion by Lois Capps.

Dear Editor,

I find it misleading that Congresswoman Lois Capps commends herself for funding of Highway 101 improvements. As a civil engineer for Caltrans for the past 17 years, I saw her and SBCAG as obstructionists to getting the freeway widened through Santa Barbara during the reign of Measure D. If voters have forgotten, in 1989 Measure D promised to widen the freeway, but the extra tax has narrowed more roadways than it has widened.

In 2003, over $20 Million from the Federal Transportation Equity Act (TEA-21) was available for Santa Barbara, but Ms. Capps refused to request it, even when former Carpinteria Councilman Greg Gangrud flew to lobby her in Washington DC. Instead, Ms. Capps and SBCAG supported faulty projects, such as Anapamu Retrofit, Milpas Roundabout and Ortega Hill Bike Path, that actually make it more difficult and expensive to widen the freeway, and make our drive on Highway 101 slower and more dangerous.

Paul Svacina, P.E.
President of Cars Are Basic, Inc.
(Published by the Daily Sound on 2008 December 30, Page 7)
(Click to return to List)


2008 November 26 - Summerland Retaining Wall Project on Route 192.

Scott Wenz of www.carsarebasic.org visits an example of Measure D tax dollars wasted due to errors, incompetency and unqualified staff on Caltrans project #05-0M8704. This retaining wall in Montecito was 100% over budget, many features were rejected by the inspector. Caltrans failed to follow their own policy. The pole was built in the wrong place, and had to be moved twice, yet the contractor was paid double the bid price. It could have been built for $250,000, but it cost $1.4 MILLION just for construction. Click for videos: Measure D Waste Part 1 of 4 - Summerland Wall on Route 192
Measure D Waste Part 2 of 4 - Summerland Wall on Route 192
Measure D Waste Part 3 of 4 - Summerland Wall on Route 192
Measure D Waste Part 4 of 4 - Summerland Wall on Route 192
Summerland Retaining Wall Deficient Work
(Click to return to List)


2008 November 9 - Milpas Roundabout - Light Traffic, Heavy Backup Video.

The Milpas Roundabout at State Highway 144 and Highway 101 is an example of why Traffic Design Manuals recommend against roundabouts being built on urban streets or State Highways. It cost over $5 Million to "improve" this intersection, and now cars sometimes backed up past the next intersection causing gridlock. Click for video from NoMeasureA2008.
(Click to return to List)

">October 29 -

2008 October 29 - Gregory Gandrud calls Pedro Nava out for not debating him.

From Brian Dennert in the Ventura County Star Newspaper:
In a press release Greg Gandrud has called out Pedro Nava for avoiding him.
Incumbent Can't be Trusted on Key Issues
Carpinteria, California: This week Pedro Nava continued his theme of not speaking to voters and openly avoiding his opponent, accountant Gregory Gandrud. While Mr. Gandrud has been walking precincts and speaking to voters each weekend in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, Mr. Nava has done nothing except run and hide. When asked this week about why he has refused to show up to 4 public forums with Mr. Gandrud, Nava blatantly lied to the Ventura County Reporter:
10/23/08
...Nava takes an if-it-isn't-broke-don't-fix-it attitude, with a preference to making policy over making appearances.
"I just find that a better investment for my time, for the benefit of my constituency," Nava says, "is to work on their behalf..."
The problem for Mr. Nava is that the system is broken and that he is part of the problem we need to fix. While Nava told the California Association of Political Centrists he could not commit to any dates because of the budget crisis, he still found time to travel outside of the district to attend a partisan political event in Long Beach on September 13th.
Most recently, Mr. Nava was a no-show at a recent UCSB political forum, citing a scheduling conflict. The "scheduling conflict" actually turned out to be a personal vacation.


Hello Gregory,
I believe we should have more accountants and people trained in financial management in government. I also like your blog. By Ruth Franklin on November 4, 2008.
(Click to return to List)


2008 October 28 - Capitola Measure D - another City that fooled its voters into thinking that they can bail out the government by raising taxes

A temporary sales tax put in place in 2004 to solve the city of Capitola's budget deficit failed, but has resurfaced on the 2008 ballot. Click for video from KSBW News.
(Click to return to List)


2008 October 4 - Milpas Hazardaround Traffic Video - NO on Measure A-2008. There is a better way.

Measure D was a wasteful and impotent extra tax plan that made some people wealthy but damaged the infrastructure of Santa Barbara County. This video of the Milpas Roundabout, a major design flaw in urban traffic planning, which bid for $2.5 Million, but cost $5.3-$5.6 Million dollars, shows the backup on the offramp that was never supposed to happen with the low vehicle count. Also the backup at the north side headed into the roundabout should not happen if the design worked in urban traffic. Obviously it doesn't work. Click for video from NoMeasureA2008.
(Click to return to List)


2008 July 3 - Amtrak Train Collides With Car, Leaves 1 Dead.

One person is dead and another is rushed to the hospital after an Amtrak passenger train slammed into vehicle Thursday afternoon in Ventura. According to Ventura County Fire Battalion Cheif Luis Espinoza, a call came in just before 3pm Thursday of a train vs. a vehicle. The accident occurred near the streets of Colt and Sperry. When crews arrived on scene they found a car with two passengers had been struck by a train, killing one of them. The car was cut in two according to fire officials. From KEY News http://www.keyt.com/news/local/22878014.html
(Click to return to List)


2008 June 2 - Is SB Commuter Rail Now Dead?.

Dear Fix101 Board Members,
SBCAG and VCTC just completed a rail study (attached). They determined that the feasability of a dedicated commuter rail service is LOW. So why does the proposed Measure A include twenty-five million dollars for rail?
Would SBCAG be willing to shift that money away from rail and into future highway improvements in a revised Measure A Expenditure Plan? Would our organization support Measure A in that event?
The only things the VCTC/SBCAG rail study found to be feasible were tweaking the existing Amtrak morning train schedule and having more inter-county busses. But we already knew this and could have saved them the cost of their expensive study!
The above item is of interest since SBCAG, the City of Santa Barbara Transportation Department, and City Councilman Horton head of ONTRAK, made a presentation to the Goleta Chamber 2 weeks ago. They stated the City of Ventura was completely behind the commuter rail proposal. Both the SBCAG Staffer and the city of SB Transportation Staffer stated the way they have been setting things up with AMTRAK scheduling of existing train schedules this would be a go. They also stated there was only "one" section between Ventura and Santa Barbara needing a major siding and since it was an item Union Pacific agreed needed for their freight it would be a done deal.
The comment by all proponents of commuter rail about the current plans is the commuter rail might be able to start CLOSE TO OR AT NO COST TO THE TAXPAYERS.
And now that Carpinteria is slated to receive an extra million dollars in the proposed Measure A Expenditure Plan, does that mean that Measure A is a good deal for all the taxpayers in the county or are some people just trying to feather their own nest? The SB County Taxpayers Association will have an important debate about Measure A on June 12th at noon in Buellton at Pea Soup Andersen's (while I'm out of the country). Would some of our board members be willing to attend?
One of the major problems with the current Measure D renewal called Measure A is the oversight. The same flawed structure that gave away $25 Million Dollars for 101 Widening because the POLITICIANS DECIDED TO ARBITRARILY CHANGE THE RULES is in this Measure A. Carpinteria's representative to SBCAG (Jordan) voted for the give away. Her supporters are on the present city council. Nothing is changing except a 10 year extension of a bad tax with out proper oversight.
SBCAG staff has been very open in their approach to this tax and their renewal measures.
First, they pushed for renewal very early and asked for everything including gold plated faucets for anti car measures that intentionally short changed street and highway projects and gave little if any hint of reasonable control over the spending process.
Second, this round (Measure A) is not an "extension" of the current Measure D. Not only have they attempted to hide large amounts of money for failed anti car projects in different locations they have added a 10% hijacking of "street and road" money for anti car "alternatives." The claims of just an extension of the current tax is not honest.
Third, Measure A extension ignores the fact there are 2 years left. SBCAG has refused to put two separate ballot items to the public allowing the public clears choices as to what they will support. One solely for street and roads .... no sidewalks, bulbouts, hazardarounds, bike paths, electric shuttles etc. One solely for "alternatives" to the automobile .... all of the above mentioned including rail.
There is a real question no one has asked except CAB and FIX101.ORG. That question is and continues to be asked: Why have the cities and county transferred huge portions of their general funds intended and expected by the taxpayers for roads and streets away from maintenance, repair, and new projects?
Measure D was and is intended to be a supplement to then current budgets. In some instances it is well over 60% of road and street budgets because the reasonable use of general fund taxes has been taken for other uses. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A SUPPLEMENT NOT THE PRIMARY FUNDING FOR ROADS.
Please share your thoughts. Thanks!
Greg
(Click to return to List)


2008 June 1 - SBCAG and VCTC Rail Study States Feasibility is LOW for Rail Service.

SBCAG and VCTC just completed a rail study (attached). They determined that the feasability of a dedicated commuter rail service is LOW. So why does the proposed Measure A include twenty-five million dollars for rail? http://www.measurea2008.org/ Would SBCAG be willing to shift that money away from rail and into future highway improvements in a revised Measure A Expenditure Plan?
And now that Carpinteria is slated to receive an extra million dollars in the proposed Measure A Expenditure Plan, does that mean that Measure A is a good deal for all the taxpayers in the county or are some people just trying to feather their own nest? The SB County Taxpayers Association will have an important debate about Measure A on June 12th at noon in Buellton at Pea Soup Andersen's. http://www.sbcta.org/
by Greg Gandrud, Fix101.org
(Click to return to List)


November 20 - Trains Collide With Cars, Bikes and Pedestrians.

For those of you who have not seen pieces of human skull on the railroad tracks (as I have), nor construction equipment or autos stuck on the tracks (as I have), you should see some of these videos before you think that a commuter train, tram or high-speed train is a good idea- Paul Svacina, P.E.
Click for videos: Rail Runner Commuter Train Death
Light Rail Hits Car on cctv footage
Bikes and Trains Don't Mix
Dashcam Car Hit By Train
Train Hits Car, Moments After Driver Gets Out
Train Clips Excavator At Full Speed
Train vs Cow
(Click to return to List)


October 24 - Help Sought in Bicycle Accident–One Man Hospitalized, Other Man Sought.

The public's help is requested to identify a bicyclist involved in a collision last week that left another bicyclist hospitalized. The collision occurred on Thursday, October 18th, at 6:17 a.m. in the 6000 block of Hollister. Earlier that morning, a delivery truck had overturned and was blocking westbound traffic on Hollister. Darren Potter, age 28, was riding his bicycle west on Hollister, approaching Fairview Ave. Because westbound traffic on Hollister was being diverted, Potter rode his bicycle west in the eastbound bike lane. A few hundred feet later, Potter crashed head-on with another bicyclist. The impact snapped Potter's bicycle frame in two places. A tow truck driver heard the accident and stopped to render aid. Despite wearing a helmet, Potter sustained major facial injuries. He remains hospitalized at Cottage Hospital in fair condition. His injuries are not life threatening. The other bicyclist was bleeding from his face/head area and appeared "dazed." His bicycle sustained significant damage. As the tow truck driver rendered aid to Potter, the other bicyclist retrieved his damaged bicycle and walked east on Hollister toward Fairview. A short blood trail suggests this cyclist suffered a significant injury as well. Traffic accident investigators believe that when the two bicycles collided, the riders both flew over their handlebars and struck each other head-to-head.
Accident investigators are seeking to identify and question this cyclist to help determine the exact circumstances of the collision and to ensure that he received proper medical care. His appearance is described as: Hispanic male, 30-40 years, average height and weight, possibly w/ a mustache. He is believed to have sustained a significant head or facial injury. Anyone with information is urged to contact Officer Mark Hunt at 897-3719.
From Santa Barbara Police Officers Association News
(Click to return to List)