Category Archives: California

California Cagers Caught Clutching Cells…

on the first day of our new ban on using your mobile phone while driving. And all I have to say is:

About mother-f*cking time!!!

Not a week goes by when I don’t have to leap out of the way of some stupid cager, cellphone growing out of their head, making a turn without the right-of-way. My only regret is that the penalty is a mere $20 ($50 for the second offense)—ought to be confiscation of the phone (first offense) and confiscation of your hand (second offense). But get this: Our new law has a loophole large enough to drive a truck through. You can still text while driving. Go figure.

This Is How The World Ends…

California has been dealing with the aftermath of a hot dry spring…a fiery summer. Here in Babylon by the Bay, the smoke from almost 800 California wildfires has turned our usual summer fog into a yellow-brown haze. Stepping outside my flat on Thursday morning I could smell the smoke, and by the time I reached the train station for my trip down bay the odor had turned into an omni-present stench.

Our time on this planet isn’t going to end in some kind of watery, ‘Blade Runner-esque’ downpour. We’re not going to drown in the rising seas. We’re going to burn. We’re going to choke to death in clouds of stinking smog and the smoke from our forests going up in flames.

Pride: In the name of love

I’m not a cryer. Today though, I’m making an exception. It’s been an amazing week here in San Francisco. Gay couples in California are free to legally marry. Our City Hall is filled with happy couples finally tying the knot. The San Francisco Chronicle has even published a gallery of photos from the ongoing ceremonies. And I find myself moved. Really moved. Love has prevailed. Over hatred, and prejudice, and even over fear.

I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the newlyweds across California. I’ve never been so proud of my City, my State and my fellow citizens. I wish you all a long, and happy life.

McCain-Lieberman

Marcia and Henry Lieberman
are pleased to announce the political marriage of their son

Joseph Isadore Lieberman
to
John Sidney “Jermaine” McCain III

The bride is divorced from the Democratic Party and has joint custody of a Senate seat he has with Connecticut.

The groom, son of John S. McCain, Jr. and Roberta Wright McCain, is a former member of the 1980s supergroup The Keating 5, delighting millions of fans with his on-stage “brothers” Marlon, Tito, Jackie, and Alan Cranston. McCain and the group enjoyed a string of hit investigations at the state and federal levels before disbanding in 1991. He is now in politics.

The couple will divide their time among the big electoral vote states.

The ceremony will take place at

City Hall
San Francisco, CA
June 16, 2008 at 3 p.m.

A fundraiser will follow. No host bar.

 

The couple is registered at UBS and AIPAC

Love Is More Powerful Than War

If ever one needed a demonstration that the old adage, “Make love, not war…” is as relevant today as it ever was, just look at the projected economic benefits of gay marriage to the California economy. UCLA projects that over the next 3 years 50,000 of the state’s same sex couples will marry, along with as many as 68,000 couples from elsewhere in the US, and the best part? This wedding rush will pump a whopping $684M into the economy while creating 2200 jobs. $64M of this windfall will go to the state in the form of tax revenue and $9M to the counties for license fees.

Talk about your economic stimulus! Every state with leaders even half as smart as California’s should be rushing to approve same sex marriages…NOW! Hell, the federal government should hop on board. Imagine what the 1,000,000 gay marriages could do for the US economy. Are you listening McCain? Want to fund Bush’s war for another couple of weeks? Then get with the family-values plan!

In related news: One of the two counties that have decided to halt all marriages rather than be forced to perform gay marriages, Butte Co. in north central California, is currently burning to ground in summer wildfires.

MouseLev

As if California doesn’t already have enough problems figuring out how to allocate scarce transit dollars, now we hear that the ill-fated maglev rail project between Los Angeles and Las Vegas just got a $45M cash infusion from the Federal government. But there’s a catch. Rather than speeding passengers from LA to Sin City, the route has been adjusted to take it to Anaheim. Yes dear readers…Disneyland is now the terminus for this transit boondoggle.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the notion of putting in high-speed rail in California is great, but Disneyland for f*ck’s sake?! I mean, there is no question that the I-15 corridor needs some relief, but the last train to ply that route, Amtrak’s Desert Star, was canceled a decade ago due to low ridership. Not to mention the fact that $45M doesn’t go to far when you’re talking about moving hundreds of tons of rail cars on a cushion of air. This $45M will go toward the environmental studies, but the next $45M is likely to get us about a football field’s length of maglev track.

Right now California has commuter trains that are packed to the gills due to lack of rolling stock. Our rail corridors could use major upgrades especially if there’s going to be any hope of putting in high-speed conventional trains. It seems that we might find a better use for $45M than putting blackjack a mere two hours from Space Mountain.

Could our transit policy be any more screwed up?

A compelling example of how screwed up our priorities are:

Nationwide, transit ridership reached 2.6 billion during the first three months of this year, according to the report. That’s 85 million more trips, or a 3.3 percent increase…

With an average 35,200 weekday riders logged during the first three months of the year, Caltrain saw a 6.37 percent jump in ridership. BART, with 366,000 weekday riders during the reporting period, experienced a 4.5 percent bump. And even Muni, which had been losing riders in recent years and provides close to 700,000 trips a day, experienced a 4.7 percent increase, according to the data, which is based on estimates.

San Francisco Chronicle – 3 June 2008

The governor’s [Schwarzenegger] plan calls for spending $13.8 billion on transportation next fiscal year – a decrease of less than 1 percent from his January budget. But the latest plan would take $1.4 billion from gasoline and diesel fuel sales tax revenue that ordinarily would go to public transportation and put it in the general fund. The governor’s January proposal suggested taking only half of the spillover gas tax revenue, then estimated at about $455 million.

San Francisco Chronicle – 15 May 2008

Perhaps with a demonstrated increase in ridership, far in excess of what’s going on nationally, the governor might want to encourage the shift from cars to transit. Personally, I can think of a few highways that don’t need to be widened right now. I mean…just in case Schwarzenegger needs to save some money.