Catching up on stuff I've been to busy to blog about before this...
...Tuesday night, I attended one of the public hearings that Valley Metro is holding regarding its proposed fare changes. There were perhaps 25 attendees total as various members of the public showed up to learn about or comment on those changes.
The meeting was pretty low-key; it seemed that most of the members of the public present weren't necessarily opposed to the changes, but they were concerned that the changes would reduce access to the valley's public transit system for the poorest users. Of particular concern were the discontinuation of transfers and the increase in price for monthly passes from $34 to $45. Both are expected to greatly impact those riders on a no/low/fixed income, particularly those on SSI/SSDI.
Not mentioned during the official part of the forum, though a few of us did discuss it beforehand, was last week's Phoenix New Times story by Sarah Fenske about the sweetheart deal (of the 'no-bid' variety) that the City of Phoenix gave to the company that runs the bus service, Veolia. The deal results in millions more in fees for the company, even as surveys show that customer satisfaction is steadily declining
Somehow, I'm not surprised that none of the officials present wanted to bring up that particular topic. :))
Note: There is one more hearing scheduled on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at the Maricopa Association of Governments' office, 302 North 1st Avenue Suite 200, Saguaro Room, Phoenix, AZ 85003. The open house starts at 5:30 p.m.; the presentation starts at 6.
Expect a big turnout, especially from members/representatives of the disabled community.
...The Congressional Budget Office has released a report titled "Assessing Pay and Benefits for Military Personnel."
The upshot: They say that military personnel are compensated fairly equitably when compared with their civilian counterparts, with the caveat that "the fact that job conditions in the military are very different—and sometimes much more hazardous - than those in the civilian sector."
Ummm....that's kind of a BIG caveat, isn't it??
Seriously, the report, while dry, is pretty even-handed, as the CBO is wont to be.
...Joe Arpaio is wigging out over the photoshopped pic of him in a Klan get-up, as seen in the Channel 3 (KTVK) video "Sheriff Joe picture causing controversy."
I've seen the pic; it *is* in poor taste, but even worse, it's poorly done. It was obviously a put-up job.
More importantly, it's not even close to the nastiest example of that sort of thing; go to any right-wing blog or 'news' site and check out the images of any of the Clintons.
His self-righteous indignation is only giving the story, and the pic, more legs.
Arpaio needs to get over himself; he's been spewing bile for years. He has no grounds to cry when some of it gets on his shoes.
...Earlier this week, an 18-year old girl killed herself and the 40-year old driver of another vehicle when she lost control of her own vehicle while sending a text message while driving. (azcentral.com)
Think that State Rep. Andy Biggs (R-22), chair of the House Transportation Committee, lost any sleep over the deaths?
HB2129, Steve Farley's (D-28) and Kyrsten Sinema's (D-15) bill to ban texting while driving, died because he wouldn't put it on his committee's agenda.
The interesting part was that the bill had bipartisan support, with Republican reps Crandall (R-19), Driggs (R-11), and Kavanagh (R-8) signed on as cosponsors.