Seattle Traffic

Danny Westneat has noticed that traffic in Seattle appears to be getting worse:

People who study the psychology of commuting theorize that once daily travel times reach an upper limit, people start to break. Other than a few hardy super-commuters, most people will move, change jobs or begin loudly agitating for political change rather than keep up with the self-torture.

Is Seattle about to break? Feels like it. If so, would we finally try to do something about the traffic?

Surely no one is surprised.

The good news will be if, yes, people are about to break and start moving or changing jobs.

Will agitation for political change will lead to improvements? Unlikely, but possible.

But not if the change he is advocating is limited to changing the car pool lane restrictions from two to three occupants. That is little more than a small bandaid on a massively broken system of which the transportation system is just one of the consequences.

Rather, fundamental structural changes are required and there will be no easy fix.

Why Keep Public Salaries Secret?

Well, I can’t think of any good reasons. As long as these entities and their employees want to pretend that they are public servants then they need to walk the talk: transparency!

But, in today’s Eugene Register-Guard you will find this as the quoted key reason:

“I could see people being upset,” Barnhart said. “Some people don’t want their spouses to know how much they make. This is going to make it available for the world to see. I don’t know what kind of liability we have for their privacy.”

Help me with this, please!

Some people do not want their spouses to know how much they make? Where to begin??

Is Barnhart talking for himself? Are there really people still living in an age when their significant other was a chattel?

If your spouse is not sharing this basic information with you it is time to see a counselor or move on to a new partner.

As for the county’s dilemma: publish the information. Worker’s that do not like it can move to the private sector.

What To Do With Gamboa

It is unfortunate that Ernesto Gamboa let himself be co-opted by thugs engaged in an immoral government activity but that is no excuse to provide him official asylum.

On the other hand the government has no legitimate authority to make him go anywhere. If he can find private employment, can sustain himself, then he should not be interfered with.

Of course, all the people Gamboa lied to over the years may have some interest in claiming compensation for his involvement in their kidnapping and imprisonment.

Well, Duh….

The headline in the Eugene Register-Guard* print edition on March 5 reads:

Bullying persists despite state laws

The article opens with:

Despite Oregon’s eight-year-old anti-bullying law, about one-third of Oregon teens report having been harassed according to a review released Wednesday by a coalition pushing to strengthen the law.

Did the writer really expect that a piece of legislation would eliminate bullying?

Glancing around I notice theft, fraud, murder, speeding, and so on, are still pretty rampant despite endless rounds of legislation.

Some in the Oregon legislature (see HB 2599) seem to think that since the current law hasn’t worked they should expand the definition of bullying, harrassment and intimidation to include, amongst other things:

…interfering with the psychological well-being of a student.

Teachers better be careful to not call on students who are not prepared, Sally better not turn down Billy when he asks for a date and that coach had better start everyone on the team.

Perhaps if we did not force our children into holding pens for so much of their early lives there would not be as much bullying.

*Sorry, no link to an online version of the article. Such links are very hard, if not impossible, to come by at the Register-Guard. Especially when looking for something in an older than 7 days edition. If any of you know a good way around this problem please let me know.

Requiescat In Pace ~ Seattle PI: 1843-2009

Today marks the end of the Seattle PI‘s print edition:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the region’s pioneer newspaper and the city’s oldest continually operating business, a newspaper that both shaped and was shaped by the community it covered, prints its last edition Tuesday — nearly a century and a half after its forebear first rolled off a hand-cranked Ramage press promising to be “the best and cheapest promulgator of all sorts of useful information.”

The above linkis to the PI’s new online offering.

Here is a message from the PI staff and some readers:

We switched from the Seattle Times to the PI some months ago and have been very happy. Now we are sad and disappointed.

Best wishes to all the PI staff and to those continuing on with the online version…best of luck!

Dog Days In Salem

vickie walker introduced legislation to allow dogs in the state capital (as if there aren’t enough already) and, surprisingly, not everyone agrees with her:

One lawmaker who told her he wouldn’t support it was Rep. Wayne Krieger, R-Gold Beach.

“I have three dogs and I love them, but I don’t want dogs under my seat, peeing on the wall or leaving mangy hair everywhere,” he said. “This is the Capitol. It’s not a doghouse.”

Ya know, if this is krieger’s understanding of dogs I certainly feel sorry for the three he owns. Perhaps he needs a visit from pet protective services and the good folks of Gold Beach might reconsider sending him to the Salem doghouse in the future.

Northwest Dealings