Warning: Crude language and violent subject matter

This is an open thread.

28 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Black Wall Street”

  1. I ran across this older editorial about L. A.’s transit system (https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/las-transit-ridership-plummeting). I don’t agree with everything in their assessment — I think many of the rail plans have merit, but L. A. is just a very challenging place to serve with transit. But this part struck me as being very familiar:

    “One of the most powerful forces in Metro’s investment program [is] the idea of geographic equity . . . trying to spread the money around L.A. County, regardless of the cost-effectiveness or the need for the project,” Matute said. “That is a political decision, given how county district representation on the Metro board is set up.”

    1. LA Metro’s response to buses frequently packed with a mix of both masked and unmasked riders: “We are considering putting bottles of hand sanitizer aboard the buses.”

      1. People touching the same bottle of hand sanitizer seems self-defeating. I assume they are giving out bottles, not just providing a place for people to pump the same container.

        Regardless, masks are the centerpiece of stopping this bug. Masks + free containers of hand sanitizer are even better.

        I’m not a fan of segregating cars within a train (e.g. a female-only car), but wouldn’t it be interesting to say anyone without a mask has to be in one of the middle cars? And then the FEOs just focus on those middle cars, jumping on to offer everyone a washable cloth mask. Maybe two. Those who decline the offer get a pamphlet explaining the hygiene of COVID-19 pre-emption, in several different languages.

        Or better yet, space out the FEOs and security officers to cover all the platforms, and spend a whole day handing out free cloth masks to every passenger who wants one, reminding them that they have to wear one in order to ride. Give out informational pamphlets about fighting COVID-19 as well, in several languages.

        While I’m at it, there is still plenty of blank space for info displays on the platforms. Make a multi-language assault on lack of information about how to not spread the virus.

      2. Well, good to see the little afterthought at the end about the real solution, which is to add more buses. More State Constitutions, however, need to add a limit to the number of apologies any official or agency is allowed to offer on any subject.

        Would also like to see Transit get itself a political following that can finally tell the tiny minority with the final $ay on public money that if they don’t like giving related things like transit, mental health, and decent policing the money they need, it’s basically Tough $hit.

        Mark Dublin

      3. Adding more buses depends on having operators available. I think buses are already being scheduled to make maximum use of the available operator pool.

        One thing we can do to decrease the need for social distancing on the bus is to install plexiglass barriers on top of each seat, so that the underinformed mask non-wearer is breathing onto an easily cleanable shield instead of the back of someone else’s neck.

      4. the underinformed mask non-wearer

        There’s a reason they’re called Mouthbreathers. The problem is inflicted because of a lack of enforcement; actually a two tiered enforcement of the law in “progressive” cities like Seattle and Stumptown. There is no constitutional right to not wear a mask. Until the discovery of antibiotics people were confined to a sanatorium if they had TB. Willfully transmitting an STD is punishable criminally. Beyond that it has always been accepted that indecent exposure is not a constitutionally protected right. The great irony is that in the past women who chose to wear a face covering for religious reasons were barred entry to places like banks. Obviously wearing masks is a technique employed by bank robbers but IMHO there should have been a simple way devised to protect religious freedom without endangering the public.

      5. “People touching the same bottle of hand sanitizer seems self-defeating.”

        That implies it doesn’t work. 70% alcohol is supposed to kill coronavirus, so if you rub it all over your hands including the part that touched the bottle, you should be OK, otherwise why are we using hand sanitizer in the first place? I’m more concerned about touching the door handle of restrooms after washing my hands.

  2. Since this is an open thread, can STB staff please look into getting the podcasts on Spotify? It’s a spiffy platform I subscribe to for music and all of my podcasts but STB’s. Thanks!

  3. There was an interesting piece in the Seattle Times’ business section a few days ago regarding the special treatment that private golf courses receive in WA state when it comes to property tax assessments. Although this is a blog dedicated to transit issues, land use matters are inextricably linked to many of these discussions and thus I’m bringing up one such matter on today’s open thread.

    Fair warning: the STimes piece may make your blood boil. Otherwise, enjoy your Sunday and Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads who spend time here!


    (The reasoning utilized by the state’s highest court to maintain this “ten percenter privilege” is rather ridiculous on its face and deeply flawed in its legal rationale as well. A new challenge to the status quo would be welcomed in this new decade and with the court’s current construction it would be very interesting to see if the precedents here can withstand a new review. The link to the court case referenced in the Times’ piece follows.)


    1. </blockquote)In other words, homeowners and commercial landlords are subsidizing private courses’ tax bills
      Totally false. Commercial property owners are the ones getting the free ride in King County. Just look at the county public records. Private residences are valued pretty close to market value. Look at any building sold in S. Lk Union in recent years and the assessed value prior to sale was a fraction of the sale value and after the sale the value is a small fraction of what the market tells us is the value of that property. When you look at a property value assessment you see there’s current use and highest use value. Until a golf course applies for a rezone they are at the highest use value; you might not see the inside of the clubhouse (or want to) but the birds and bees appreciate the fact not everything is paved over.

  4. Brent, you’ve done a serious piece of civic duty this morning. You’ve set forth exactly what this coming fall’s election is going to be about. What’s reverently called a certain candidate’s “Base”, here they are in all their historic glory. Too bad JC Penney folded. This year they’ll finally have to get their sheets at Goodwill.

    Reason I think our country’s survival might depend on our putting the election off another year or two, at least until we can get COVID 19 under enough control that We The People can start to physically Assemble as politics truly requires. Our DNA developed a long time before the world of On-Line.

    Especially dangerous is the likelihood that exactly in 2016, complete power will go to the side that numerically loses. Shame how my side let the “Tea Party” theme go by unchallenged. Original wasn’t about government spending. It was about taxation without representation.

    Combined with the Second Amendment, a legitimate re-do of that one might well finally give Washington DC residents a vote in Congress. You liberal gun-haters, how long will YOU keep forcibly funding Government that your legitimate vote would’ve defeated by, say, three million? Signature habit of the present Administration might help out: For two years, let’s just make every office title read “Acting.”

    West Seattle? Let’s get in the habit of always adding “-Ballard” to the place-name. Same for “Everett” and “Tacoma”. Of course and for sure, see to it that local transit works. Between Transpacific Trade, our manufacturing experience, and our general level of education, our Body Politic can afford arteries, veins, and capillaries all three.

    Home in Ballard (or Olympia), job in Shoreline, teaching a community college class in Kirkland, (really superb) coffee at Ash Way, tutoring client in Lynnwood and home? Been-there-done-that on the regional buses, Long Before Link. Since World War II, that exact life WAS “The Car’s” wicked victory. Will be good to finally leave it Licked.

    And my car for the sheer pleasure of driving. Whose “tabs” I’ll gladly pay at the necessary level to finance all above, ’til in a couple more years, a Highway Patrol instructor says I’m “done.”

    Mark Dublin

    1. I am most certainly not trying to equate the vast majority of Trump supporters with the KKK. Some of my best friends are Trump supporters. Some of their reasons are religious, but most of them have legitimate gripes about unsavory behavior by the Democratic Party and its highest elected officials. They just tend to have a blind spot that the modern Republican Party commits the same sins. Some of them are even fans of Trump, which I totally don’t get.

      There are lessons regarding land use and segregation if you can stomach sitting through the whole video. Land use laws have been used as tools of institutional racism many places, including here in Seattle. I’m pretty sure many of those who continue to deny that Seattle’s land use laws were motivated in part by racism are ardent Biden supporters, FWIW. Some of them are even fans of Biden, which I totally don’t get unless it is about his habit of riding Amtrak.

      I plan on voting for Howie Hawkins, in part because it will have zero impact on who will be awarded Washington State’s 12 electors. Unlike the candidates of the two-party Sithdom, he supports the Green New Deal. Indeed, he helped write it. He is also a well-spoken advocate of ranked choice voting, which we desperately need if we are ever to escape the clutches of the Sithdom.

      I look forward to 2020 being the last time someone can get elected PoTUS without getting the most votes. But I’m also excited to see RCV hitting the ballot in Massachusetts, Maine, Alaska, San Diego, and lots of other places. We’ll see in the next few days if Mainers get to be the first to rank candidates for president or if they merely get to vote on the concept thanks to a referendum petition filed this week by the Maine Republican Party, but with a slim overage of only about 14% safety margin on the signatures.

      The law being subjected to that petition is the first time ever a Democrat-controlled state legislature passed ranked choice voting for statewide use. It took two votes of the people of Maine on previous RCV ballot items to bring the Dems reluctantly around.

      Politics should not be black and white. When it is reduced to that, the outcome tends to be ugly.

      1. If you’re going to vote for neither, you might want to also take a look at Mark Charles, the Navajo candidate running on deconstructing racism.

      2. Word “religion” says it all, Brent. My God’s Second Commandment tells me He’s no subordinate in the chain of command trailing fragrantly after a creature who in his every dealing is Lifelong Mortal Sin personified. Former entertainer Stephanie Clifford, stage name “Stormy Daniels” deserves both the Congressional for bravery and top-dollar medical care for life.

        Whatever a draft-dodger gets awarded for insulting the mother of a Muslim soldier who threw himself on a grenade to save his troops, I don’t begrudge your friends their free tickets to his every event. Shame, though, that so few of them showed up yesterday. Scared of protestors? Whose people had guns in Charlotte? Not to mention a couple officers’ little home cheering section for the police here in Olympia. “Three Percenters?” 3% of what? Hate to imagine the other 97.

        Those Democrats you mention, I can outdo your every friend’s just plain worst. Instead of opioids, their addiction is to failure. Prove you’ll always lose, and the whole world cuts you slack. Mentality that cost the dual-power tunnel I made my life’s work millions in mis-purchased buses, and disconnected signalling. It was discussed. It was assessed. It was unfortunate, and if we had it to do over, good thing we don’t.

        How many multiple-felony bankers got jailed under Obama? So much easier just to fix their banks and give them back. People dear to me will finish their lives owing rent on what a lifetime of back-breaking work formerly let them to own.

        And Tyrant-Bait Personnified? Barack jailed, and denied a pardon to John Kiriakou, for the crime of letting the world know GEORGE BUSH tortured people!

        Republican Governor switched Flint’s water supply to a poisoned source to save money, and laughed at symptoms. Real Democrat would’ve had FEMA condemn the whole place and give everybody a new house. And the Governor, relocated to live in Flint, office water-cooler and all. Barack, bygones and “Nice-Making.”

        But my dead-on take on your friends’candidate’s real utility to them is like this. Back when average zoo cage was more metal bars than clear plastic, monkeys disrespected by their ungrateful Evolutionary descendants, would scoop up fresh droppings from beneath their perches and fling them with precision that left every bar undirtied. For our present Chief’s “Base” (Lord, in our Founder’s phrase what an appropriate word!) their candidate is their own personal pile of ammunition.

        RCW, which I’m also for, has a little problem. Considering the effort your friends’ people have been making, backed to the hilt by their candidate’s Supreme Court, regardless of Rank, lot of closed polling places, restricted voting dates, by every means possible rendering votes everything but COUNTED.

        My commendation to you, many times over for the reminder as to what dozens of my own former work-mates in timber and quarrying are really both capable of and presently armed to carry out. Up to now, I had usual Typicaliberal(tm) hopes they’d help me address neoliberalism’s shameful misdivision of wealth and power by promoting cooperatives run by workers themselves. Sound Transit, prime target.

        Oblivious to their real primal need for somebody weaker than themselves to blame all their troubles on before they do what the movie says. So, regretfully, here’s all I’m left with. When the Trumpet Sounds andTHE LAST PHASE LIFTS, it’s HPD (Hybrid-Pedal-Down) straight for the gate into JBLM for PPPGR: Petition for Peaceful Personal Grievance Redress.

        Unlike your friends’ best guy, I never asked for the “medical” on which the Army sent me home in the month when Viet Nam’s Cannons needed Feeding the Worst. So across the Ages, from Ben Franklin to Alexander Hamilton, might some Powerful Founders at least see me finally trained to regulation skills at “Small Arms?”

        Mark Dublin

      3. How many white people get shot four times while reaching for the driver’s license that the white officer who kills them demand they show him?

        Or killed in their own bed by white cops executing a warrant in the wrong block? Or “dropped” in their own living room by a white policewoman who mistakes their apartment for her own?

        Substitute “Deadly Force” for “Politics”, and put it on the front wall of the “Ready Room” of America’s every police station. And every police superior with a problem stipulating “Reverence for Life”, have to “Find Another Job.”

        One color-related measure that really would help. Trouble with “Blue Lives Matter” is how fast US policing’s every uniform has gone the same jet black as Hitler’s SS. Young officer I asked about this, told me it’s a matter of “Presence.”

        Which with all due respect, patrolman, is “Bull Crap.” What you really mean is you think your life depends on having people afraid of you. The Irishmen who kept my Chicago home safe and constantly brought back my Irish Setter named “Mike”, whom they loved….good thing Mike’s owner wasn’t Black.

        Though they themselves probably got little respect from the wealthy English and Scottish-descended home-owners across the city line in Evanston. Whom Mike himself finally ran away permanently to join. Hope one of them paid a patrolman for bringing them Mike.

        My own vote for blue, sweetest memory: When my father offered to pay the
        young red-head who’d brought Mike back, he’d often show my Dad his blue coat-sleeve and say “Well…he did tear me coat and I’ll be charged for it.” Say what you will about Mayor Daley, but bribery stayed on-budget for the average person. Whose skin-color allowed freckles to show.

        Read your history. From two centuries before Independence, our country’s been a beautifully beloved creature born with tertiary syphilis in the form of racism. Rots bones and brains alike, and hereditary as it is Ugly. And political color-scheme, one skin-color missing on the team that picked it.

        Mark Dublin

      4. https://twitter.com/howiehawkins/status/1257826176942379009

        Hardest “call” of my life, Brent. Not only will Joe Biden have to pick Elizabeth Warren for a running mate, but she’ll have to get herself re-adopted by a First Nations tribe whose ceremonial jewelry includes 3D animated holograms for earrings.

        Thanks for the reference! Also for posting that deserves a prize all its own. Keep up the good work!

        Mark Dublin

      5. If you’re going to vote for neither, you might want to also take a look at Mark Charles, the Navajo candidate running on deconstructing racism.

        “First 100 Days plan – Removing the racism, sexism and white supremacy from the US Constitution” Ambitious!

  5. Metro is soon going to be changing how drivers report to work. Drivers will tap in with their ORCA cards to report to work, then tap out when they are done for the day. Metro is calling it TITO, for tap in/tap out. A kiosk with multiple readers will be installed at every base. Not sure when this change will take place, but I think that’s kinda cool.

    A lot of times I make up stuff, but this is real.

    1. Thanks for the word, Sam. Just so any problem goes to a Base Chief, not criminal court. While I’m not a fan of the intransigence police officers have lately starting demanding of their unions, transit employees should’ve long since hit the “Kill” switch on fining drivers for a mistake on their own time-sheet.

      Truth to tell, suspect that for a long time, both Enforcers and the Court have “Theft-While-Prepaid” fines to minimum = less-than-zero, at least for employees. Like with pretty much the whole rest of public life, individuals who are as decent and skilled as they are exhausted hold our land together.

      Special thanks for remembering Yugoslavia’s last Chief of State, “Tito” being pen-name for Josip Broz. His country’s two non-Muslim subareas celebrated their liberation from his dictatorship with activities that if their atrocious body-count didn’t match Hitler by the numbers, at least gave tribute to his spirit.

      Which this weekend, in a certain US State Capitol with a History of its own, is vocally alive in excuses for somebody’s worse-than-wanted turnout. Ever since the Union troops left the South, Freedom means Abolition and Emancipation die.

      Mark Dublin

  6. As a Tulsan, I am so proud of our city. We have been struggling with our race issues and covid 19 and making great progress. I work for a hospital. We were terrified and felt under attack by a man who wanted to use our city as a pawn in his war. He expected violence. We did not give him that gift. Trump left literally with his hat in his hands being chased out by BLM who concluded the night with an outdoor dance party.
    Our transit system functioned effectively with a slight relocation of the CBD transfer location, and our systems recently implemented grid system. Our city is slowly but surely becoming a progressive outpost. In the past year we have started bike lanes, bike sharing and BRT extra extra lite. If you read our history, Oklahoma was originally a socialist state, then an attempted all black state etc. The land no one wanted so they gave it to the indians. Google green corn rebellion.

    1. Cool, thanks for writing. WRHS ’64. It was a superb education. We had pre-Calculus through L’Hospital’s Theorem in 1964. A friend and I stole the Eagle from the front yard of Edison during a pep rally. We gave it back the next day of course… IIRC, we won.

      1. I was Owasso 98. It was horrible! We were transitioning between rural and Exurb. Tulsa is nice and getting better.

  7. Johnny P, your comments are the best thing here. For your handling of our country’s one-man worst threat to National Security, your whole city deserves the Congressional.

    Though you know that, with his penchant for naming US military installations after the enemy, Tulsa Air National Guard base could get named after Hermann Göring, but that’s still better than Pearl Harbor becoming Yamamoto Naval Air Station.

    One similarity with Washington State. Places like Spokane used to be Industrial Workers of the World territory. ‘Til he lost his seat because he opposed the term limits that his enemies shucked off as soon as they got him out of office, Representative Tom Foley was Speaker of the House.

    My long-time home state of Michigan went straight KKK in the 1920’s. The way a recent Republican Governor poisoned the water supply in Flint to save money, laughed at residents’ symptoms and got off without a day in jail, not the best of fortune, but at least the Governorship’s in different hands.

    Thank you for your service, and good luck with your transit. And please keep writing in.

    Mark Dublin

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