By Doug Porter
On Friday we learned about a proposal moving forward to add a two-mile long aerial tram from Balboa Park to the Bay. County Supervisor Ron Roberts, apparently suffering from a legacy complex, found $75,000 in spare change under the seat cushions around his office to fund a “let’s do this!” study by consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff.
To nobody’s surprise, the San Diego Association of Governments’ transportation committee loved the idea, directing its staff to start the process of making the “Skyway” operational in five years or so.
Since San Diego’s light rail system has color coded routes, it only makes sense to stick with this scheme. So let’s call this newest leg the “White Line.” Because that’s who it will be serving: white people and assorted tourists looking for a cheap thrill.
Since spending transportation funding on a tourist attraction is probably not kosher, this idea has been packaged as “green” mass transit, a precursor to getting it included in the regional transportation master plan, making the White Line eligible for federal and state construction grants.
Never mind that it currently takes roughly 90 minutes each way to get from the San Diego Workforce building (adjacent to one of the city’s densest and most racially mixed neighborhoods) to University City (an area with lots of the decent paying jobs politicians are always promising)…
With all the boosterism the local media could muster, we heard on Friday about how we “need” this line.
“A ‘Bay to Park’ connection has long been identified as a key and desirable linkage between these two iconic features of the San Diego landscape, with the dual objectives of re-establishing Balboa Park’s relationship to downtown and better integrating downtown with the surrounding neighborhoods,” the report reads.
Why, if you believe a comment associated with the Union Tribune story, the Great White (sky)Way will even turn a profit, helping to pay for all those money-losing bus lines the poor brown people ride.
A two-mile “Skyway” from San Diego Bay to Balboa Park would cost up to $75 million and attract nearly 1.1 million riders annually, according to a feasibility report released Friday…
…Funding remains one of the challenges.
Still, the consultants concluded that the new transportation system, strung on cables from towers as tall as a nine-story building, could prove a popular tourist attraction and a useful, congestion-free way to get around town…
And… gee whiz, kids, lookie at all the the other (mostly white) neighborhoods they could grow into this system:
If the bay-park route proves successful, the same model could be used in Hillcrest, Mission Valley, beach communities and Sorrento Valley, the consultants said.
Don’t worry too much about the funding. I’m sure SANDAG will find a way to push back bike lanes beyond 2050 or maybe kill off a future light rail station.
Priorities, people. Priorities.
What’s the Big Hurry to Close Downtown Escondido’s Hospital?
The 850 people working at the Palomar Health Downtown Campus will learn their fate later this week at the board of directors meeting on Wednesday. Between 60 and 75 full-time employees, and an additional 180 to 220 “per diem” workers are facing layoffs if the downtown Escondido location is closed.
The facility, which houses a labor and delivery department, inpatient rehabilitation, a reserve emergency room, a behavioral health department and some outpatient surgery operations is destined to be shuttered, if one follows the logic and arithmetic of a study commissioned by Palomar Health.
From the Union-Tribune:
Diane Hansen, Palomar’s vice president of finance, said a team of analysts spent many hours studying how services could be moved and determined that, at least at first, it will not be necessary to build out 2½ currently empty floors at Palomar Medical Center.
“There was a lot of really detailed analysis and thought that went into this to say ‘what’s the right placement of these services?’” Hansen said.
Palomar says it’s losing $20 million per year operating the old hospital, which it promised the city it would make a good-faith effort to keep open when it sought permission to build the new hospital.
Some Escondido residents believe the agency is breaking a promise made ten years ago when bonds for construction of a new facility were approved by voters. Their concerns are fueled by the rapid pace of considering the closure (It was officially proposed on June 11) and the lack of concrete plans to open and operate an urgent care facility serving downtown residents.
They’re circulating a letter urging residents to come out and oppose closing the facility at least until such time as the regularly scheduled board meeting on August 10th.
Palomar’s executives are determined to hastily drive through this agenda without a properly laid out plan and all the details on how this will impact the community and the workers (which are part of the larger community). The U-T newspaper quoted Palomar’s spokeswoman, Bobette Brown, as saying “Once the formal vote is made, we can get into the specifics.” It should be the other way around. The board and the community should have all the specifics and then there should be a vote. The devil is always in the details.
As you all know, Palomar executives and former rubber stamp board members have a history of rushing into poor decisions that later create all kinds of problems for the community and workers. Consider the following U-T quote from Kenneth Lounsbery, co-leader of the campaign for Prop. BB, the $496 million public referendum in 2004 that helped pay for the nearly $1 billion new hospital:
“I clearly remember making an ironclad promise to the voters that the downtown campus of the hospital would be retained as a vital part of the operation. Closure of the east campus breaks the faith with the representations I made to the voters.”
Palomar Health has scheduled two public forums this week:
Monday, June 22 at 6pm at California Center for the Arts
Tuesday, June 23 at 6pm at Pomerado Hospital, Conference E
The publicly elected board members of the district are scheduled to vote on this issue on Wednesday, June 24 at 6pm, at the Graybill Auditorium in the Downtown hospital.
Palomare Health has put up an FAQ page on their plans. (Read between the lines)
Mean People Suck, Kochian Edition
I broke down and bought an actual printed on paper edition of the Union-Tribune Sunday. In part I wanted to see if I could spot any changes in the product since Papa Doug’s exit. Another reason was an urge to do a crossword puzzle in pen, to see if I was still up to the challenge of the real deal. (I was)
I can report some changes, starting with reviews on cultural events shared with the great sister publication to the north. The financial section now comes via the New York Times as opposed to the Wall Street Journal (I’m not sure how recent a change this is).
The front page was Chargers/ drought/ ObamaScare/dad and an advertisement for hemorrhoids. The meat and potatoes politics page (5) was topped with column by Kochian scribe Steve Greenhut. And that’s when the old feelings of nausea came back.
This week’s sermon focused on political correctness at the University of California and what a bad thing that is.
It’d be one thing if he was transparent about his disdain for publicly funded education, but he’s not.*
The University of California has been the subject of derision lately for its recent faculty seminars designed to wipe out so-called “microaggressions,” which the university describes as “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults” that “communicate hostile messages” to members of “marginalized” groups. These can be unintentional and even “preconscious” or “unconscious” slights….
…According to literature suggested by the university to its faculty members, such behavior can “contribute to a diminished mortality, augmented morbidity, and flattened confidence.” Are people like me — the son of an immigrant who loves to ask about people’s backgrounds and celebrates the American melting pot — a danger to public health?
So it’s the conservative press that’s saying all this stuff. (See, that wasn’t hard, was it?)
After Greenhut gets through the pity party themes (that poor, oppressed white man…), we get to some experts to drive his point home:
“It promotes infantilism,” said Tibor Machan, a retired Chapman University professor of business ethics. “Colleges become kindergartens. … Luckily only about 10 percent of students fall in line with this, but they are encouraged by ideological professors and administrators. … (S)imple civility gets mixed up with often-politicized civil rights.”
An effort to identify “microaggressors” creates a world “where people don’t talk to each other,” adds William Anderson, an economics professor at Frostburg State University in Maryland. “It’s absolutely destroying relationships. Anything you do (or don’t do) is going to be construed as a microaggression.”
Professor Machan’s other projects have included a stint with the Cato Institute. He is apparently open about being a minarchist, (public safety & national defense are okay, the rest not so much) which means he doesn’t believe in public universities in the first place.
Professor Anderson hangs with some strange folks over at LewRockwell.com (LRC), a libertarian website.
From the Wikipedia description:
The site has been criticized for presenting articles which advocate AIDS denialism, the view that HIV does not cause AIDS. For instance, the site published former University of Texas at Tyler Math Professor Rebecca Culshaw’s article, “Why I quit HIV”, in which she rejected the evidence that HIV causes AIDS. Additionally, Peter Duesberg made a presentation espousing AIDS Denial a 2006 conference hosted by LewRockwell.com. LRC was also criticized for publishing the claim that vaccines cause autism.
So the bottom line here is that Greenhut and his libertarian friends don’t like the pointy headed intellectuals soaking up tax dollars and they especially don’t like –as the UC spokesperson quoted in his story puts it — …“voluntary seminars for deans and departments heads to make people aware of how their words or actions may be interpreted when used in certain contexts.”
I get it. It’s kind of hard to create a dog-eat-dog libertarian paradise if you can’t be mean and thoughtless.
(*For the sake of my own transparency, my wife works in a non-academic department at UCSD.)
Hillary Clinton on Racism
If there’s a weakness to the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, it’s his focus on economic inequality to the seeming exclusion of the related impacts it has on various groups. I’m thrilled that Sanders is in the race, if for no other reason to make the demonization of the word “socialist” go away. (When the righties quit saying the “S” word with a smirk, I’ll quit ridiculing Libertarianism)
Hillary Clinton’s speech on Saturday at the annual United States Conference of Mayors was notable for its strongly worded stance on racism.
Read this excerpt, please. A transcript of the whole speech can be seen here.
…Once again, racist rhetoric has metastasized into racist violence.
Now, it’s tempting, it is tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident, to believe that in today’s America, bigotry is largely behind us, that institutionalized racism no longer exists.
But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.
I know this is a difficult topic to talk about. I know that so many of us hoped by electing our first Black president, we had turned the page on this chapter in our history.
I know there are truths we don’t like to say out loud or discuss with our children. But we have to. That’s the only way we can possibly move forward together.
Race remains a deep fault line in America. Millions of people of color still experience racism in their everyday lives.
Here are some facts.
In America today, Blacks are nearly three times as likely as whites to be denied a mortgage.
In 2013, the median wealth of Black families was around $11,000. For white families, it was more than $134,000.
Nearly half of all Black families have lived in poor neighborhoods for at least two generations, compared to just 7 percent of white families.
African American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than white men, 10 percent longer for the same crimes in the federal system.
In America today, our schools are more segregated than they were in the 1960s.
How can any of that be true? How can it be true that Black children are 500 percent more likely to die from asthma than white kids? Five hundred percent!
More than a half century after Dr. King marched and Rosa Parks sat and John Lewis bled, after the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and so much else, how can any of these things be true? But they are.
And our problem is not all kooks and Klansman. It’s also in the cruel joke that goes unchallenged. It’s in the off-hand comments about not wanting “those people” in the neighborhood.
Let’s be honest: For a lot of well-meaning, open-minded white people, the sight of a young Black man in a hoodie still evokes a twinge of fear. And news reports about poverty and crime and discrimination evoke sympathy, even empathy, but too rarely do they spur us to action or prompt us to question our own assumptions and privilege.
We can’t hide from any of these hard truths about race and justice in America. We have to name them and own them and then change them.
On This Day: 1944 – President Franklin Roosevelt signed the “GI Bill of Rights” to provide broad benefits for veterans of the war. 1970 – President Richard Nixon signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, lowering the voting age to 18. 1981 – Mark David Chapman pled guilty to killing John Lennon.
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