Valley Blvd.

Terrific shot of Valley Boulevard at New Avenue.  I remember that Thom McAn Shoes.  Closer to Del Mar there was a barber shop called Carl’s Barber Shop.  My dad took me and my brothers there on Saturday mornings to get our buzz cuts, eat buttermilk donuts, drink Chocolate Moo-moo, and sit and wait in a cigar-filled, tiny barber shop.  It was the best experience. 

 

What Iranians Wish for in Their Day

This was a beautiful clip to watch the lovely faces and tender expressions by Iranian people. It’s not even clear what city they are from. But what is clear is that the people of Iran are not hostile as the American and Israeli media would have us believe.  President Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric may sound threatening.  But he, like Saddam Hussein, had no nuclear warheads with military capability.  In fact, it’s the reason why the US and its coalition went into Iraq and bombed them for 10 years.  The build-up to war by the United States in tandem with Israel against Iran is appalling.

Compare the tender, peaceful, and joyful tones of the Iranians with this little Anne of Green Gables.

Trains in San Gabriel, CA

The Union Pacific & Amtrak Sunset LTD in San Gabriel courtesy of singwith.

In the video above you’ll notice a billboard advertising theaceproject.org. What is that?

Well, according to their site, “ACE is a single purpose construction authority created by the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments in 1998 . . . .”  ACE stands for Alameda-Corridor-East Construction Authority.  This authority was “created by the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments in 1998 to mitigate the impacts of significant increases in rail traffic over 70 miles of mainline railroad in the San Gabriel Valley. Train traffic through the Valley is projected to increase by as much as 160 percent by the year 2020.”

Rosemead Boulevard Reconstruction Project


Rosemead Boulevard Project

View the plans for the project.

The project calls for new sidewalks, protected bike lanes, landscaped medians and ugly public art across the city’s 2-mile stretch.  The project’s purported goal is to force people to walk.  The city wants more pedestrians.  I thought that public schools were designed to keep kids off the streets, and here the city is trying to put more kids on the streets.  Really?  Kids prefer to walk on sidewalks?  What is the city smoking?  And if the city wants more pedestrians, how is that economically viable.  It’s motorists with money to pay for their car, gasoline, insurance, maintenance, etc. who have money to drive from home to the stores.  People don’t always have time to walk.  More importantly, is telling its citizens to walk really any business of city managers?  Some will argue, no, it’s just for encouragement purposes.  Okay, write up, publish, and distribute a flyer encouraging people to walk.  But don’t spend $7 to $12 to $20 million dollars from fourteen different sources and screw up our streets.  If this is a multi-source funding project, it means that all local decisions are removed from the project, and that what prevails are County, State, and Federal views as to how your neighborhood should look.  This is fascism.  I want to know what percentage of funding came from those 14 different sources.  The multiple sources diffuses liability.  Who’s in charge?  The San Gabriel Valley of Governments?

Oh, the excitement that is Rosemead Boulevard Reconstruction.

Dear Tax-Payer:

Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation during our city’s turn at Rosemead Reconstruction Project.  We hope that our efforts to beautify our your city will be met with the same force enthusiasm neighboring residents endured experienced when they took three plus years to complete the installation of modern streets lamps with audio capability just in case our video capability needs support.  Here is what you’re getting for your tax dollars, whether you like it or not or whether you use the services or not.  For a cool $20 million, you will get “new sidewalks of rubberized asphalt concrete, a sustainable material made from recycled tires; pedestrian amenities such as added pedestrian lighting, seating nodes and ADA accessibility running the corridor’s two-mile length; new trees and landscaping; outdoor dining opportunities; as well as public art, including a creative “Art Walk” concept. Together, these and other project features will transform Rosemead Boulevard from a pass-through thoroughfare into an exciting community destination.”

“Exciting destination”?  What, residents will converge on the seating nodes for an afternoon talk about how much money their tax dollars gets them in collective Rosemead real estate?  The city should assess exactly how much of Rosemead Boulevard real estate was purchased by each of the 35,558 residents and allow the boulevard to be paved with personalized bricks, like Disneyland’s California Adventures does.  This way residents can have a tangible talking point when they convene at the seating nodes all up and down the boulevard.

What does the city mean by “bicycle facilities”?  Is that something more than just a bike lane?  Does that include a bike rack?  So the old automobile infrastructure on which both LA and Orange Counties were built after WWII is going green, really green, with a bike culture?  Did you get a say-so in this?  Is it a case of a UN, green agenda, using the veil of the San Gabriel Valley of Governments to tell individual how to construct, er, reconstruct their cities along the lines of Sweden?  No offense to Sweden.  But this is America.  What else could explain these far-reaching claims by the city-council member and mayor, Vincent Yu?

“In a way, the Rosemead Boulevard improvement effort is indicative of the emphasis on innovation, vision and high performance at City Hall,” said Mayor Vincent Yu. “It’s the first major infrastructure project we’ve seen in recent history, and some project elements like the protected bike lanes and outdoor dining are really forward thinking, addressing issues that will improve local quality of life for the next 50 years and beyond.”

First, I’d like for the mayor to define what he means by “innovation, vision and high performance at City Hall.”  What, the reconstruction of a street?  That’s vision, innovation, and high performance?  Where is he getting his money from?

Maybe he did try to clarify with this statement:

“It’s the first major infrastructure project we’ve seen in recent history, and some project elements like the protected bike lanes and outdoor dining are really forward thinking, addressing issues that will improve local quality of life for the next 50 years and beyond.”

“The first major infrastructure project we’ve seen in recent history”?  Really?  Maybe as the

WILL THE IMPROVEMENTS BE BETTER?
You tell me.  Currently, the center island down the boulevard is a lane, what used to be called a utility lane or center lane.  Lots of things could be accomplished with this lane.  If you missed a turn you wanted to make, you could veer into the utility, wait for oncoming traffic to clear and make a U-Turn.  But you won’t be able to do that anymore unless you want to risk climbing over an island made of stone, grass, and trees.  Also, these utility lanes were perfect for deliveries in retail areas.  If there were a string of retail shops that lined the boulevard, delivery trucks would often park at the center of these utility lanes when they couldn’t find parking large enough for their delivery vehicle.  I am thinking specifically of beverage trucks, like 7-Up or Budweiser.  Are we better off?  Does the island of beautification provide residents with more choices or fewer?  Let’s say that you live in an apartment or a house on the boulevard.  You pull out of your long driveway and you want to get into the opposing lane.  When there was a utility lane, you could do that.  Simply and cautiously make a left-hand turn when all was clear in both directions.  Not anymore.  From now on, thanks to the beautification island, you’ll have to drive down to the next major street where there is an official turning lane.  There is one more problem.  What happens if there is a police checkpoint, an illegal police checkpoint (illegal because it violates the 4th Amendment of search and seizure without probable cause).

The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

With the island of beautification with trees, grass, and stone, so touted by the mayor and his council like some grand Round Table, you won’t have the choice to say no thank you to being searched and avoid possible legal complications.  But the way that federal law encroaches further and further into our civil rights we will find ourselves subjected to harassment, invasive searches, and whimsical charges to enlarge the power of local government and the Council of Mayors opportunity to avoid such an illegal search.  If the police are a statistical analysis of or probable cause, arguing that there are 18% of drivers on a holiday weekend who are intoxicated, the cities don’t incur liability; the driver does.  This is why he carries insurance, forced to I might add.

What I find appalling in what the city and its high-priced contractors call a beautification project, or what Mayor Vincent Yu calls innovative, visionary, and high-performing is that they are taking away your options and limiting driving freedoms.  Laws are in place to restrict dangerous driving.  We don’t need a planned community, like something out of the Stepford Wives, to be controlled further.

The $7.5 million price tag, the extended traffic lines and intensified exasperation with it and your metropolitan overlords, who’ve deemed that your time, energies, and money are not nearly as important as trees and bike lanes, will all be worth it, for in the end our beloved Rosemead Blvd. will be, oh, let’s say, greener.  Yeah, for some.  For the contractors who are still sucking off of that shovel-ready TARP package that launched the reconstruction of the northern section of Rosemead Blvd.  But think of the jobs that it provided!  Don’t think of the nearly 4 years of construction, traffic jams, rerouting to avenues San Gabriel Blvd. and Temple City Blvd.  No.  Don’t think of the additional revenue the city and our neighbors, from years of morning and rush-hour congestion, generated from citations by motorcycle officers hiding with radar guns parked on side streets.  No, don’t think about that.  Please.  Just think about how by installing sidewalks between Mission and Callita Streets in Rosemead will make your stroll that much more pleasant.  Much more pleasant than it currently is.  By far.  I mean just look at what you’ll be able to see now.  You’ll be able to walk under the train bridge, or what the city loves to refer to as the Rudell Underpass.  A train bridge.  Okay, not fancy enough for you?  Well, how about sidewalks along the streets between Las Tunas and Broadway?  We already have sidewalks there, you say?  Well, how about between Mission and Broadway?  Already have sidewalks there too?  Then where will the city in its glorious $7.5 million dollar sidewalk and tree project put the new sidewalks and who is the city building the sidewalks for?  Who are these pedestrians?  There must be hundreds or thousands of them for the city to make such grand accommodations.  No, not for pedestrians you say?  Then for who?  Oh, bicyclists.  A bike path.  Was there not a lane before?  Were bicyclists unable to ride north or south on Rosemead Blvd. before?  Really?  Because I could have sworn that . . . .  Just you wait.  You’ll see how beautiful those bike lanes will be.  You’ll see.  Well, we have seen, haven’t we?

What about the section of Rosemead Blvd. from Callita in the south to Colorado Blvd. to the north?  Bike lanes there?  More sidewalks there?  The only additional sidewalks from that monstrosity was the stretch of sidewalks from California to Huntington Drive.  Before the sidewalk there was an unpaved dirt stretch that acted like a sidewalk.  Well, why did the city deem it necessary to renovate an almost 2 mile stretch of Rosemead Blvd for only a quarter mile stretch of sidewalk?

This is truly a multi-city project.

The previous Rosemead Boulevard Project upset people but we really didn’t hear from too many.  Here is one report.  Here is another:

COUNT THE FINANCIAL COSTS
What are the costs?  And the second important question, who pays?

COUNT THE ECONOMIC COSTS
Who loses with all of these improvements?  Tax-payers.

COUNT THE POLITICAL COSTS: 4TH AMENDMENT DESTROYED

February 15, 2013 Meteor Over Russia

I enjoyed seeing these pictures of Russia and how middle-class Russia has overcome the impoverished socialist system of the Soviet Union.  Would love to visit Russia one day.  Below is pictured the meteor’s vapor trail captured from satellites.  Fantastic.  Alexander Zaytsev, whose pictures you can see here, observed that “I happen to live 300kms away from Chelyabinsk, where a meteorite exploded earlier today.”     Love how you can see the meteor’s cloud trail.

The Rumpus Over RonPaul.com

HOW VALUABLE IS RONPAUL.COM?
By Robert Wenzel

The web tracking service Quantcast says the site gets traffic from very high income visitors.

Is this why the current owners are fighting so hard to keep the web site?

Alexa ranks ronpaul.com as the 21,378th most popular web address in the US.

Here’s a list of the top search inquiries driving traffic to ronpaul.com, according to Alexa.

Query Percent of Search Traffic
1 ron paul 39.37%
2 ron paul revolution 2.44%
3 ron paul 2012 1.97%
4 ronpaul 1.09%
5 ron paul for president 0.97%
6 who is ron paul 0.91%
7 .com 0.83%
8 ron pual 0.75%
9 ron paul polls 0.58%
10 ron paul end the fed 0.47%

Keep in mind, not one of these searches is for “Ron Paul” mugs, “Ron Paul” bumper stickers or “Ron Paul” T-shirts, which is what the current owners sell on the frontpage of ronpaul.com. These people are searching for information about Ron Paul. They are getting misdirected.

So what is RonPaul.com worth to the current owners?

According to Quantcast, web sites ranked at the same level as RonPaul.com are getting traffic of around 600 visitors per day. Having some familiarity with Quantcast numbers for unquantified sites, I believe this number is very conservative and the number of daily visitors is probably closer to 1,000.  If we assume that RonPaul.com is converting 0.60% into buyers of Ron Paul memorabilia and clothing, a conservative estimate, then the web site is making 6 sales a day.

The site owners are selling Ron Paul T-shirts for $33.40. They sell through Zazzle, which lists the T-shirts they are selling at $20.95. That’s a markup of $12.45 per T-shirt. They also sell sweatshirts, bumper stickers and mugs. The average sales ticket is likely at least $65.00, with a profit per sale of around $25.00. With 6 sales a day that’s $150.00 a day or $4,500 a month and that’s during this quiet period, when there is no presidential campaign. Imagine what they were making during the presidential campaign, when millions goggled Dr Paul’s name. When Dr. Paul’s new “Big project”  is launched, it is sure to result in many more people searching for Ron Paul and ending up at the T-shirt hustlers currently running ronpaul.com. Then the cash register will really start to ring, again, for them. That’s why the current owners are not going to give up ronpaul.com without a fight. They know another huge new series of pay days is coming for them, when Dr. Paul launches his new project, if they can hold on to the site. They want to head to the bank everyday on the back of Dr. Paul’s new efforts.