Sunday, October 29, 2017

professor block  pollutes the universe

Two Ways to go Insane

March 1, 2013

I read another ridiculous article in the Hamilton Spectator (Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013) about the ongoing Two-Way street conversion debate, currently wasting precious ink, which was replete with the usual mental squeeze chute drivel I have come to regard as typical of that particular purveyor of information and ideas.

I was going to write a rant about it and then I remembered that my esteemed colleague, Professor Schnickenkeimskivishenzochung, had already done so.... about 16 years ago.

So, I think I will take a break from ranting for this morning and let Professor Schnickenkeimskivishenzochung have the floor.


(January 1997)

Recent Hamilton Spectator Headline:

Push for two-way streets gains momentum

How Stupid Can People Be! (?)

The downtown core in the city of Hamilton has been declining for some years now.

Take a walk along King Street and you can't miss the depressing sights of the stores and small businesses.... once bustling with commercial activity...now sitting vacant... with no customers... and only ghosts collecting taxes.

Sure, there are a few places still hobbling along, here on King Street.... as the photo (right) shows. But anyone who has lived in Hamilton for a while knows it used to be better.... much better !

Well, have no fear Hamilton, things are going to get better. You see, we have a whole crew of brain surgeon types working on new plans to revitalize the core!


What are some of the ideas these brain surgeon types are coming up with?

In an article in the Hamilton Spectator Ken Peters gives us a great example:

"Hamilton politicians believe a call to make King, James and John two-way streets again is headed in the right direction.

The return of two-way traffic to the three main thoroughfares after nearly 40 years would occur by this summer if a citizens' lobby group has its way. The streets have featured one-way traffic since 1958.

(Italics mine.)

A recently formed Hamilton Downtown Two Way Streets Group won support yesterday from the city's planning and development committee for its proposal.

The group says it may make a case for turning Main Street into a two-way thoroughfare in future.

The move to two-way traffic is expected to create greater traffic congestion in the core, thus creating a more pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians while improving storefront visibility and tourism opportunities."

(Italics mine.)

Well whaddaya think of THAT gem! Two-way traffic is expected to create greater traffic congestion in the core, thus creating a more pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians! Yummy.... all those engines idling away... yup should create a mighty pleasant atmospherefor everyone.

You can just hear Fran calling up her girlfreind Megan to go shopping downtown, "Megan, I just heard the on the radio.... traffic's backed up for miles downtown... it's creating a really pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians. Why don't we go and do some shopping!"

Well, if greater traffic congestion is called for why stop at two-way streets? Why not quit repairing the roads!? Let those potholes proliferate. Imagine what a combination of two-way streets and potholes will do to revitalize the core!

Why, no doubt pedestrians will find the experience so damn pleasant they will begin to have orgasms. Hell, if the potholes don't cause orgasms then a few strategically placed road construction sites with cranes and huge craters should do the trick. Hamilton could become a tourist Mecca what with flowers on the traffic islands and massive, hair ripping, traffic jams in the core.

"I don't know of a successful downtown in the world that isn't congested"

Alderman Marvin Caplan said in voicing his support for the concept.

Let's see if we can expand upon Mr. Caplan's thinking here. Mr. Caplan observes that successful downtowns, at least the ones he knows about, suffer from congestion. He concludes that congestion must be the reason for the success of these downtown areas and happily supports proposals to deliberately create congestion in Hamilton's core! See what I mean about brain surgeons?

I used to go to a lot of Rock concerts back in the 1970's. At every one there were line-ups and crowds of people jostling to get in to see the band. In other words, there was a lot of human congestion. In accordance with Mr. Caplan's thinking we can suppose then, these concerts were not successful because of Pink Floyd or Super Tramp or the Rolling Stones or what have you. No, these concerts were successful because of all the human congestion that occured around them.

"I can think of no successful Rock concert without crowds" we can easily imagine him saying. Clearly then, if the line-ups and crowds were there, even Fishin' Wire Eddy could become a flipping millionaire! This, of course, begs the question, "If we want to make Fishin' Wire Eddy a millionaire how do we attract the crowds?"

"I don't know of a successful downtown in the world that isn't congested" --Marvin Caplan

Create conjestion and everyone will rush downtown to visit places like the ones shown here. These are just a couple of examples of the community which extends

over most of Hamilton's Barton Street. Barton Street never had to worry about losing it's "vitality" due to efficient traffic flow... it has been a two way street all along.


Can anyone guess where Bob "Flower Power" Morrow perches on this issue?

The Spectator says

Mayor Bob Morrow supports the proposal to revert the three streets to two-way traffic.

"I am convinced on the philosophical side and from the nuts-and-bolts side that it makes a whole lot of sense. I think it is one good ingredient to the recovery of the downtown, and this could be a tremendous shot in the arm."

Maybe we can get Hamilton's core to look something like this, (left) section of Barton Street, ey Bob? Just another example of the "Nuts and Bolts" of two way traffic. Perhaps Sheila Baby will turn the "Closed" sign around.

And really.....the philosophical side? Excuse me but is this guy for real? What is the "philosophical" side of this issue? If anyone knows please leave a comment in the box below! I suspect it relates somehow to the fashionable leftist notion that the private automobile is evil and any government action to make driving unpleasant is therefore laudable regardless of whether screwing up traffic revitalizes so much as a single abandoned warehouse.

The Spectator article continues:

"Group member Helen Kirkpatrick, a founding member of the Greater Downtown Development Corp., a defunct advisory group, says the two-way plan has the backing of the Hamilton-Halton Homebuilders Association, Durand Neighbourhood Association, Hamilton Society of Architects and International Village Business Improvement Area. The proposal was a key element of the Hamilton Downtown Ideas Charrette report presented to city council in October by the Hamilton Society of Architects."

Another shot of the vibrant two-way Barton Street (right) leads one to wonder whether any of the members of the groups mentioned above have ever visited a two way street.


Jonathan Diamonds, evidently, is located on a section of Barton Street that was not sufficiently congested even though traffic does indeed travel in both directions in front of it. Perhaps the owner should have requested a stop sign in front of his property. Or maybe he should have hired a fake road construction crew to hang around out front having coffee breaks after digging a gaping hole in the road. Surely then a whole army of frustrated drivers would jump out of their cars to take advantage of the pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians thus created... and they'd also be overcome by a sudden urge to do some shopping, no doubt!


Ms Kirkpatrick said civic politicians must choose whether they want the core to be a street-friendly place or a thoroughfare for quick-moving vehicular traffic. "It comes down to a choice. Are our people a priority or are cars a priority?"

What the heck is "street friendly" supposed to mean? It's probably just another Spec typo. She probably said "people friendly." Who cares... it's a load of hogwash anyway.

It really does seem as though everyone who advocates a return to two-way traffic clog suffers from mental caplitis (irritation of the caplan wrought by inflamation of the colon). Ms. Kirkpatrick clearly sees quick-moving traffic and "street-friendliness" or "people friendliness" as mutually exclusive values. Slow traffic down, she seems to believe, and hoards of happy pedestrians will suddenly descend upon the core and start buying stuff.

The boards will come off the storefronts and the bums will find other hangouts as everyone rushes from Limeridge Mall, Eastgate Mall, the hundreds (thousands and counting?) of new establishments on the mountain and in surrounding communities.... as everyone rushes from these places into the core of Hamilton to take advantage of the pleasant atmosphere for pedestrians created by traffic hell!

"It comes down to a choice. Are our people a priority or are cars a priority?" -- Helen Kirkpatrick

"We see this proposal as not an end point but part of the beginning to the revitalization of the downtown."

Yeh right.... as the pictures here clearly show... the "revitalization" of Barton street started eons ago. I guess they forgot to go to the next step. Or maybe they would be satisfied with that vibrant community in the photo... the one in the black hat... taking advantage of the pleasant atmosphere and "street friendliness" here on one of Hamilton's longest two-way streets.


What's the next bright idea? A "Johnny on the Spot" on every corner?

You should be be able to find more reports on the two way street issue by visiting the Hamilton Spectator Home Page

And remember, if you get stuck in some horrendous traffic snarl in Hamilton next summer, just get out of your car as fast as you can. The sooner you become a pedestrian the sooner you will benefit from the pleasant atmosphere . That is, if you can find a place to park that doesn't cause an unpleasant atmosphere in your wallet....


Update

Further foolishness from City Hall....

Taxpayers ought to cringe as of this date (September 2005) since construction has now started on the conversion of James and John Streets, south of main to two way traffic.

It is well known these days that many Hamiltonian's incomes have remained static for over a decade. Hamilton's cab drivers are making less than ever even in dollar terms without inflation adjustment.

Woe to the poor soul whose life may depend upon seconds as the ambulance attempts to access St. Joeseph's Hospital emergency once the desired two-way gridlock has been accomplished. Mencken was so right.

Yet Hamilton's politicians remain committed to a monumentally stupid campaign of two way street conversion, a politically motivated but utterly hairbrained scheme which involves the squandering of MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars. All of this is happening while property taxes continue a never ending skyward trajectory.

It is time for Hamiltonian's to demand that the scope for municipal political action be seriously curtailed. Unfortunately, politicians presently have far too much local decision making leverage. Since they are spending money which is not their own, and therefore of little or no cost to them if the money is simply wasted, there is little incentive for truly prudent action.

If the local government were somehow constitutionally limited to picking up the trash and fixing potholes, instead of indulging their flights of fancy at taxpayer expense, they might even be able, though not without difficulty (given the evidence on our streets at present), to actually achieve some measure of competence in these very mundane, yet important, tasks.



last modified:Sunday, October 29, 2017

Read about the latest round of vandalism on Bay St perpetrated by Hamilton City Hall and its lobbyists.


 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Why did the Chicken Not Cross the Road?

City of Hamilton goes Full Steam Ahead with its Obstruction of Traffic Agenda.

The buzz amongst Hamilton's cabbies last week was all about the new traffic obstructions the city has installed on Bay St. from Aberdeen Ave. down to Stuart St. A distance of 2.3 Kilometers has now been half decommissioned by the local government, led by local pot dispensary kingpin, and Burgermeister, Fred.

It usually came in the form of a question, "Have you seen what they've done to Bay Street?" followed by a rolling of the eyes and some rather profane comments about the quality of leadership in this city.

One driver stated that from now on, he will try to avoid Bay St. at all costs. In other words, he will join other drivers in clogging up the remaining arteries, and capillaries, of the city. This will increase the risks to Hamilton's more sensible cyclists who stick to the alleys and side-streets, trying to avoid taking their lives into their hands by obstructing streets that were designed for cars, back when Hamilton was "The Ambitious City."

Warms my heart.

The Burgermeister said, "It warms my Dutch heart." He's probably pining for a simpler age of windmills and wooden shoes, as are most other advocates of a return to pre-industrial living.

As with his claim that the city's sell-out to the Uber corporation was accomplished with "the backing of the taxi industry," the Burgermeister played fast and loose with the truth again.

"It doesn't cost any money," he said, with a straight face, ignoring the fact that it wasted about $295,000 that the Ontario government borrowed, then gave to the city to be pissed away on this mind-boggling horseshit, not to mention the wasted time and fuel imposed on Hamilton's more serious residents who have real jobs, and are just trying to get to work.

His second statement was even more ridiculous. It "doesn't pollute the air."

If he is not aware of the fact, someone should inform the Burgermeister about the invisible stuff that comes out of automobile tailpipes.

  • carbon monoxide
  • hydrocarbons
  • nitrogen oxides (NOx).
  • Particulate matter -- small particles of foreign substances -- in the air contribute to atmospheric haze and can damage people’s lungs.

It also wastes fuel.

The creation of vehicle exclusion zones (VEZs) on city streets creates unnecessary idling which increases the amount of pollution.

Duh!

Finally, the Burgermeister says "I get exercise." WTF! Is he too cheap to buy a fitness club membership? He'd rather waste the money borrowed from Ontario's children?

And besides, I very much doubt that Fred will actually ever make much use of these VEZs, at least not outside the hours of 3:00 A.M. to 5:00 A.M., when the odds of him getting angry looks, curses, and middle finger salutes from frustrated drivers stuck in the artificial muck he so enthusiastically supports are lowest.

I have yet to see him traversing any of the other VEZs. Maybe he disguises himself as a crackhead, with a fake Appalachian beard and some Swastika tattoos, in a tattered denim jacket, on a stolen bike, so he'll fit right in with the other three guys who actually use those lanes.

Still, he does make the claim that he is, "all about that," so if anyone sees him using one of these VEZs, please let us all know by leaving a comment below.

"The bike in front of you or beside you is the car that isn't"

says that McWynne government bonehead, Ontario Minister of Tourism, and Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon.

That car that now isn't beside you is now in front of you, you idiot! Idling and spewing legislatively mandated effluent into the neighboring homes and apartments. And the bike that is blocking the car in front of you isn't reducing the number of cars on the road either. It's just fucking up traffic.

To make matters worse, the odds that you will see a bike beside you in the VEZ, while you are idling away, are pretty slim.

But a cyclist heading south is basically screwed.

You just know that you come from a different generation when you read this complaint from prominent bicycle supremacist and autophobe, Ryan McGreal. (Raise the Hammer.) His motto should be "Make Hamilton Primitive Again."

It turns out that Mr. McGreal is not happy about the new VEZs.

"The inevitable frequent presence of parked vehicles blocking the Bay Street lanes will act as a serious deterrent to a great many people who might otherwise be willing to use them."

Really?

A serious deterrent?

One of his sycophants sent him a couple of photographs of vehicles parked in the bike lanes. According to Mr. McGreal, "These trucks blocking the bike lane are bad enough for a cyclist traveling north on Bay, who can at least veer out into the adjacent driving lane to pass around them. But a cyclist heading south is basically screwed."

"Basically screwed," he says.

I was born in the 1950's and rode my bicycle all over Hamilton in the 60's and 70's. Whenever I encountered a parked vehicle blocking my path, I rarely, well actually never, felt "screwed." I just went around it. I think my generation had a gift that seems to have been bred, or "educated" out of successive generations. If they don't have some government signs or lines on the road giving them guidance they freeze in terror.

How sad.

This could also lead to a situation where the left starts eating itself. How would Mr. McGreal and his sycophants react if the vehicle blocking their barrier-free access to the VEZ is a wheelchair taxi? Who's right to barrier-free access to transportation takes priority?

Should the wheelchair van attempt to park across the street, forcing the passenger to cross over? Should the wheelchair van park in the thru lane, blocking northbound traffic and risking being rear-ended by a bike-lane addled driver distracted by checking the bike lane beside him to confirm that the empty space he sees beside him is a car that isn't a wheelchair taxi?

Oops.

Crash!

I know. The wise politicians of Hamilton will come up with a perfect solution. They will mandate that arrows be painted on the sidewalks instructing wheelchair users to congregate in specially designated wheelchair pickup zones.

Or maybe they will just add a third VEZ, between the traffic and the bike lanes. I have already seen numerous incidences of wheelchair users impeding bicycle traffic on Cannon St. I am not aware of any complaints about that, so far, from McGreal et. al.

You know, I really wonder about Mr. McGreal sometimes. Canada is a very big country. Only a tiny percentage of its land is occupied by modern environments. There is so much auto-free territory in this country where he could move to without ever having to be insulted by the image of a parked moving truck or wheelchair van. Why doesn't he just move?

Why, instead, is he so insistent that everyone else be forced to confirm to his preferences?

This whole issue isn't about cleaner air, or healthier transportation options. It's about political power and leverage.


Hamilton Politician's "Vision" for the Future

Something I wrote about 20 years ago when all of this street vandalism was adopted by the local political elites.

Two Ways to go Insane

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Uncle Block's Bullshit Detection Service - Week in Review

This weeks edition is titled,

Breaking Wind

October 22, 2017.

Features

  • Uber Drivers are being ripped off
  • Road Vandalism Leading to Traffic Chaos, Delays
  • Hamilton B├╝rgermeister Drug Connection

Uber Drivers are Being Ripped Off

What else is new?

Some would argue that the Uber phenomenon is how "free markets" work. I have dealt extensively with the spurious "free market" arguments in defence of Uber elsewhere so I will not re-hash them here.

What we have now, and Hamilton, Ontario, is a perfect example of this, a regulated market in which the rules have been changed to tilt the playing field in favour of profits for Uber and its wealthy investors.

The govenment of Hamilton has created a two-tiered taxi regulatory system. One set of rules for Uber. Another set of rules for everyone else.

From the beginning, I have stated that I would never drive a cab for Uber. Not only was I, perhaps, the only Uber applicant in Ontario that did not receive a "welcome" message from Uber, they even blocked me on Twitter.

I guess they didn't want other people to see what I had to say about them.

There has been a lot of debate amongst the non-exempt taxi drivers who queue up at Hamilton's Bus Terminal for fares, only to sit idle for hours at a time, while the Uber taxi company whizzes in and out scooping up the business they once had.

The debate often centers around whether Uber drivers are actually making any money by converting "assets they already own" (in Tim Hudak's famous words,) into cash. (the so-called, "sharing economy." I call it the "garage sale" economy.)

Think about it. The same slogan could be used by any pawn shop.

And while it might not be a bad idea to rent out your driveway while you are not using it, using your own car as a taxicab actually incurs costs. Significant costs.

As part of my exploration of the Uber phenomenon I have tried to put numbers around Uber driver earnings to determine whether they are actually making any money, as opposed to being treated as total suckers.

My tentative conclusion, up to this point, is that Uber drivers are being screwed. And they are not being screwed by Uber as much as they are being screwed by the politicians who caved in to Uber's demands for a two-tiered taxi bylaw system that is skewed in favour of Uber..

I have thrown some numbers together, based upon Uber's own published tarrif rate for Hamilton, Ontario.

BaseFare$2.50
Per minute $0.15
Per Km.$0.90
Booking fee $2.80
Minimum Fare $5.30
Cancellation fee $5.00

Sample Calculation

An Uber taxi ride from 30 Arkledun to 100 Main St. E.

Distance 1.1 Km

Minimum Fare via Uber

Base Fare $2.50
Booking fee $2.80
Per Km (1.1X.9) $0.99
Total Fare $6.29 not including time

Driver's Share

75% base fare $1.88
75% Km $0.74
Driver earns $2.62

Uber gets $3.67

Actual driver % 42.00%

General Estimates based on Km.

Note: For the purposes of this analysis I exclude any calculations for the $.15 per minute time charges. Therefore, my calculations represent the absolute minimum Uber taxi fare.

Distance (km) Booking fee Base fare Km. charge Total Fare Driver gets Uber gets Actual Driver % Actual Uber %
1 $2.80 $2.50 $0.90 $6.20 $2.55 $3.65 41.13% 58.87%
2 $2.80 $2.50 $1.80 $7.10 $3.23 $3.88 45.42% 54.58%
3 $2.80 $2.50 $2.70 $8.00 $3.90 $4.10 48.75% 51.25%
4 $2.80 $2.50 $3.60 $8.90 $4.58 $4.33 51.40% 48.60%
5 $2.80 $2.50 $4.50 $9.80 $5.25 $4.55 53.57% 46.43%
10 $2.80 $2.50 $9.00 $14.30 $8.63 $5.68 60.31% 39.69%
20 $2.80 $2.50 $18.00 $23.30 $15.38 $7.93 65.99% 34.01%
50 $2.80 $2.50 $45.00 $50.30 $35.63 $14.68 70.83% 29.17%
100 $2.80 $2.50 $90.00 $95.30 $69.38 $25.93 72.80% 27.20%

You have to wonder why so many Uber cabbies are willing to sign on to such a rotten deal.

"We connect riders with drivers," Uber Toronto general manager Ian Black told CTV News. "They're simply using our technology to connect."

Okay. So that explains the $2.80 booking fee. So once connected, where does Uber get off in claiming a further 25% of the drivers earnings?

Clearly, there is something very stinky going on in the land of ├╝ber alles.


Other Uber News

Sadly, the impact of Hamilton's pro-Uber tilting of the playing field is driving veteran drivers away from the non-exempt taxi sector. Their replacements are just as bad as the Uber drivers. As taxi driver quality ratchets downward, people will perceive Uber as superior.

Why I like taxis better than Uber: Teitel

I give it three to five years before Hamilton's non-exempt taxi brokerages, Hamilton Cab and Blue Line, are reduced to something like Yellow Cab was before it was absorbed.

Uber will have acquired most of the ODSP, hospital, school, and business contracts. I'm surprised they have not already done this.

The non-exempt taxi brokerages will each be reduced to about thirty or forty cabs in their fleets, serving mostly prostitutes, drug adicts, the homeless, the mentally ill, some impecunious seniors and disabled people, and anyone else who lacks a smartphone and "credit card privilege."

The trends are unmistakable. The market has been rigged.

Don't blame Uber. They are just one of many taxi brokerages trying to get one over on the competition. It's always been a cut-throat business.

Blame the politicians for their cowardice, lack of insight, and/or negligence.

Uber should be laughing all the way to the bank.

Parking Problem on Hunter St.

A few years ago, a concerned Hamilton citizen wrote a letter to the Spec. complaining about all of the idle taxis parked at the meters on Hunter St. east of John St.

Of course, as members of the public tend to do, he blamed this annoyance on the taxi drivers, rather than City Hall. Had he been perhaps a little more economically literate, he would have been asking why there was such a vast surplus of taxis in Hamilton, indeed, why were so many cabs sitting idle instead of doing what taxicabs are supposed to be doing.... which is, driving people around?

But it was obvious from the text of his complaint, that he was more like the typical, government-educated, Canadian, who simply reacts to current sensory stimulii, like a cat or a dog or a housefly would, without any questioning of what might have preceded, or caused, this state of affairs.

Anyway, it's somewhat delicious irony to observe of late, that it is not only non-exempt taxicabs that are using up all of the parking spots on Hunter St. E. They have now been joined by a growing number of Uber cabs!

There are almost no spaces left for other members of the public to park.

And of course, you know who will get the blame the next time someone complains? Not the privileged Uber cabs. They are hardly visible, even the few that have the stickers in the windows. Nope. It will be the clearly-marked, non-exempt taxicabs that get the blame.

Again.

Uber Now Juicing Drivers Who Bribe Dispatch

For anyone unfamiliar with the terminology, in the taxi business "juicing" is the almost ubiquitous practice whereby dispatchers show favouritism toward certain drivers in the allocation of trip orders. The favoured drivers are unfairly given the more lucrative runs to airports and out of town destinations, while the non-favoured drivers are left with the short grocery trips and fold-up wheelchair, etc. trips that tend to be shorter, more time-consuming runs.

Sometimes the drivers being "juiced" are family, or personal friends of the dispatchers. At other times, the dispatchers will accept bribes in the form of cash, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, (sex?) and such from certain drivers in exchange for the juice.

Well, lo and behold, Uber is now experimenting with embedding the ancient juicing practice into it's alledgedly "innovative" business model.

Meet your new taxi broker, same as the old taxi broker. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Uber asks drivers to pay $115 for a shot at extra Halloween earnings

Also of interest:

From 27 March 2017,

This Uber Story Made James O'Brien "Sick To His Stomach"


Vandals Attack Bay St.

As the week passed, reports started to trickle in about Hamilton's Bay St. The usually smooth-running, One-Way street had been seriously disrupted. Drivers complained of having to stop at every signalled intersection for periods of unnecessary idling, and of drivers honking their horns and yelling at each other in anger. One driver reported seeing a motorist exiting his vehicle to kick an adjacent car. Apparently, vandals had reduced the road to a single passable lane.

I wondered who could be behind this disruption in civilized automobile travel. Could it be ANTIFA? BLM? ISIS?

So I decided to investigate the problem myself. Imagine my surprise to discover that the instigator of all of this chaos and ire were none other than the government of the City of Hamilton.

The worst part of the street is the area adjacent to City Hall. In my minds eye, I can imagine the politicians watching from the windows and snickering amongst themselves as they admire their handiwork. "Look at those freaking idiots. They actually think we are trying to save the planet!"

It reminds me of one of the pranks my friends and I used to pull back when we were about twelve. Garth Street south of Mohawk Road had not yet been paved. Construction had started on the new houses south and west of Mohawk and Garth. We started out by putting these one-by-one strips of wood we found in the work sites across the road. We would hide in the half-built homes and giggle as we watched the south-bound cars drive over these things. When that got boring we resorted to laying two-by-fours across the road, or by blocking the road with those construction barriers with the kerosene lanterns.

We knew that if we got caught, we would have been in deep shit. We might even find ourselves being interogated by the notorious G.L. C**per, the strap-happy warden of the public institutions we were mandated to attend. At the time, it would never have occured to us to argue in our defense that we were merely trying to make Garth Street more "pedestrian friendly" by experimenting with "visionary" "complete streets" ideologies.

I thought of sending an urgent request to our Prime Minister for some disaster relief, but then I realized that he is just another enthusiastic supporter of the whole scam. I realized I would probably have a better chance if I were to Tweet an aid request to @realDonaldTrump.

On Saturday afternoon (Oct. 21, 2017,) I decided to visit the disaster zone to survey the damage. Keep in mind that my report was filmed on a Saturday afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. The situation will, no doubt, be much, much worse during those times when Hamilton's adults are trying to get to work.

Oh, just a last minute thought for you to ponder as you watch the report. Prior to designating the left lane as a "No Driving" area, my habit has always been to shift to the left lane to leave as much room as possible between my car and the cars parked on the right. I felt a slight discomfort as I drove down this road this afternoon, but I did not immediately identify the source of my discomfort,

until now, as I review the video. I wanted to shift into the left lane but could not.

The idea behind this maneuver is to minimize the possibility of hitting a child, or other pedestrian, who might suddenly come darting out from between the parked cars. Now that cars have been banned from using the left lane, this minor safety precaution is no longer available. (This BS is supposed to make the streets safer? Doesn't it really suggest to you that the people behind this BS are really a bunch of bone-heads?)

Here is my report:


Hamilton's B├╝rgermeister Implicated in Drug Trafficking Ring

A few years ago I was driving an elderly woman home in my taxi. During the ride she said to me, "I didn't know councilor Lloyd Ferguson was in the taxi business!" (EEWWW! - how icky.) I could tell by the tone of her remark that the councilor had been demoted in her mind from his position of prior respectability to something akin to skid row alcoholic covered in vomit as a result of this shocking (to her) revelation.

Today, I can't help but wonder if the nice old lady is still alive, how she would react to the news that Hamilton's B├╝rgermeister is a kingpin in one of the local drug trafficking rings. I think the news could be fatal to the poor woman.

Breaking Wind

Conclusion

This week's conclusion from Uncle Block's Bullshit Detection Report for the week ending October 21, 2017 is this:

Attention members of the public. Your political representatives are shitting all over you and telling you that you should like the smell.

Gerald Celente distills it:


Some background into the root causes of the rampant removal of road space in Hamilton as part of the continuing effort to de-normalize private vehicle ownership. That is one of the early steps.

Step 2

Denormalize the Western standard of living.

Friday, October 20, 2017




Cab Drivers. Kick 'em while they're down.


August 17, 2012


As I have reported in these pages before, the government of the City of Hamilton has inflicted enormous harm on the rank and file taxi driver/owner/operator over the last two decades.


It is difficult for me to say, at this point, whether the damage was inflicted out of negligence, stupidity or for more sinister reasons.


As a lifetime student of Gov. Inc. I tend to believe that stupidity and negligence alone are sufficient to explain taxi regulatory policy in Hamilton.


Consider, for example, the 30% mandated meter rate increase that was imposed back in 2008.


This massive increase in taxi prices was implemented ostensibly to address the high price of gasoline at the time. Anyone with a passing familiarity with first semester college economics would easily see what the result of such a price increase in a market already suffering soft demand would be.


But the bureaucrats and politicians at City Hall were, apparently, blissfully unaware of these basic economic principles.  So they blithely went ahead.


The rest was just one more minor entry in the history of the misery imposed on the populace by their governments.


Cab driver's incomes plummeted. Those taxi riders who continued to use taxi services were being gouged. Those taxi riders who preferred to use taxi's rather than alternate modes of transportation .... were forced to switch to a less preferred mode of transportation.


In other words, EVERYONE who was involved either as a provider or a consumer in this small market experienced a decline in their standard or quality of living. (Except for the brokers.... but that's a whole other story.)


The only winners, if any (besides the brokers,) were the coercively funded Gov. Inc. monopoly - a communist inspired application of the Marxist "To each according his need," dictum  - the public bus service. (Hamilton Street Railway or HSR - a heavily subsidized and very well paid appendage of Gov. Inc. who, according to one account saw a 6% increase in ridership in the immediate wake of the taxi fare increase.)


Was it because they were doing such a spanking good job? Or was it because those on the margin were "nudged", to use Cass Sunstein's word for it, into the embrace of Gov. Inc. transit by the rate increase?
















I documented part of the result with my cellphone camera ....











It turns out that it was not only the taxi drivers and their customers who were shafted by decisions made in the halls of Gov. Inc.


Since Gov. Inc. decimated the cab business with it's ill advised fare increase... other Hamiltonians are finding their quality of life diminished because available metered parking spots have experienced a spike in demand as a result of the huge surplus of vacant cabs.






Economics Lesson: Gov. Inc. price fixing always causes shortages and surpluses. Gov. Inc. fixing of taxi rates is no different. The artificially high price of taxis has, predictably, created both a shortage (a shortage of passengers) and a surplus (a surplus of cabs) and, perhaps not so predictably, a shortage of metered parking spaces in some areas.






According to one irate Hamiltonian city policy has also resulted in a rash of parking meter crime as taxis waiting in the artificially created queues fail to insert coins into the parking meters.


Our civic minded Hamiltonian is apparently so miffed by the  failure of starving cab drivers to pour even more money into the coffers of Gov. Inc. that he sat down and wrote a letter to the editor of the Hamilton Spectator...


Get cabs, drivers off Hunter Street


You can tell the author of this letter has a deeply analytical mind.


For example.... he sees a long line of cabs on Hunter St. and he knows there is a gas station only a block away and that "You'll always find taxis parked in that lot." (Surprise, surprise! - another taxi surplus.) and that, even as he acknowledges there are always taxis parked in that lot he recommends that the taxis on Hunter join the existing surplus of taxis already known to occupy the gas station.


I mean, is this guy deep or what? He really knows how to solve problems. He should be running for mayor.


But the depth of this man's insight does not stop there. He has also observed that, "they often leave cigarette butts and other garbage on the ground. If the weather is hot as it has been, it is not unusual for them to leave the driver's door open (damn them for seeking relief)  thereby blocking half the sidewalk," -- which is not a big problem for most pedestrians who simply use the other half of the sidewalk. But I guess this guy wants the whole sidewalk to himself.


The garbage on the ground could come from any of the people who use that stretch of sidewalk but this deep thinker sees a cab.... sees garbage on the ground and concludes the garbage came from the cab.


Also.... since the cab drivers of the city have been dissemployed by Gov. Inc. mandates and they can not smoke in their cabs using ashtrays because of other Gov. Inc. mandates, is it any surprise that their idleness might be relieved by smoking cigarettes?


As to his final complaint, "They also often gather to chat and block the sidewalk," well, as one of the offending cab drivers I can authoritatively report that while it is true we often gather to chat most of us are just ordinary people with the same sense of courtesy as anyone else and if we DO happen to be on the sidewalk instead of on the grass adjacent to the sidewalk (where there is more shade) we  always step aside to make way for pedestrians walking by.


In other words, this "blocking of the sidewalk" is more a figment of this guy's imagination than a reality.


So in the end I find myself scratching my head and asking myself, "So what exactly is this guy's problem?"


From the intel I have managed to dig up on this guy it seems he does not drive a car so his "problem" is not about a shortage of parking spaces for private cars.


He seems instead to be a good little Gov. Inc clone .... and when he sees someone parking in a spot without putting coins in the meter he feels obligated to point out this grave defiance of Gov. Inc. revenue collection. From there his deeply analytical mind ventures off into an inventory of all of the peripheral offenses.


His website states that the passion in his life is his dog.


It's too bad this dog lover has no compassion for the happless cab drivers who park on Hunter St. because Gov. Inc. regulations have driven them to the point of starvation.


I bet he feeds the dog well, though.






Spy On Your Neighbor Program -The Nazi's had it too.

















DHS preparing for domestic war?











Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cab Drivers Endure Verbal Abuse

Friday, October 6, 2017

A group of rowdy young males approached the taxi stand at about 10:00 P.M. looking for a taxi ride to Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road in Burlington, a distance of 18.2 Km.

The spokesman for the group offered the driver $20 for the ride. An 18.2 Km. ride in a taxi would run approximately ($1.80/Km X 18.2 Km + $3.90 =) $36.65 at the non-Uber taxi tariff rate mandated by the City of Hamilton for non-exempt (I.E. non-Uber) taxis.

The same ride in an Uber taxi, at non-surge pricing would run ($2.50 + $2.80 + 18.2 Km X $.90/Km) = $21.68.

As is so typical of younger Canadians, raised and educated in Ontario's liberal dominated "Me First" culture of entitlement, the rider became indignant and intimidating when the driver refused to match Uber's rate and break the law. The millennial then taunted all of the non-exempt cabbies who were present by announcing he would take a tariff-exempt Uber taxi instead.

Some of the non-exempt cab drivers reciprocated by taunting the indignant millenial right back. The situation became tense for a while. The potential for violence was palpable.

Violence in the taxi business has been cited as one of the reasons the Hackney trade was regulated by the City of London in 1654, and by the city of New York in 1937. By 2008, most cities in the west had adopted similar regulations as well.

"Before the legislation, drivers desperate to win fares cut rates, taxi fleets competed fiercely, and tensions sometimes led to violence." italics - mine -- source

So far, Hamilton's pro-Uber, two-tiered taxi bylaw has not resulted in much violence. There was one report of an Uber driver pushing a cab driver for taking his photo. There have been numerous reports of horn honking and bird-flipping between status (exempt) and non-status (non-exempt) cab drivers in Hamilton.

One Uber driver recently caused a stir by agreeing to accept $15 in cash for a for an uninsured ride from the bus terminal to the airport. Non-Uber taxis must charge approximately $30.00 for the same run. This undercutting of the non-exempt drivers, right in front of their noses, caused quite a stir.

Mind you, I admire the Uber driver's entrepreneurial spirit. In a free country, all prices would be negotiated on a voluntary basis, and the waiving of insurance protection by a taxi passenger would be fully recognized and protected under the law. If a passenger agrees to accept an uninsured taxi ride, that should be the passenger's choice. Correspondingly, if the passenger should be injured as a result of opting for a discounted cash rate in an uninsured Uber taxi, the driver should be immune from any subsequent lawsuit.

But Canada is not a free country. So there's that.

Thank your local politicians for facilitating this friction.

As more Uber cabbies flood into the taxi market, driven by Liberal barriers to employment, like the pending $15.00 minimum wage, combined with Federal Liberal initiatives to flood the job market with low skilled workers, via continued third world immigration, the situation can only become increasingly tense between all cab drivers. More desperate Uber drivers will take the risk of driving uninsured cash fares. As they dig deeper into the livelihoods of Hamilton's non-status taxi drivers, the potential for violence can be expected to rise accordingly.

This is what happens when a group of politicians with no knowledge of history, and even less knowledge of economics, are given the power to make decisions for which they are not qualified.

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -- George Santayana

More Fake News Discovered

As I sat reading the Stoney Creek News this week, I observed a false statement in one of the articles (Hamilton politicians approve motion to crack down on pot shops.) It stated, "Hamilton eventually crafted a bylaw that allowed Uber to operate while also satisfying the taxi industry’s concerns."

This statement is not only false. It is fake news. It is actually very fake news.

My guess is that the author did not do any research before including this claim in his article. He was probably just quoting Hamilton's mayor, Fred Eisenberger's untrue statements in the wake of the Government/Uber deal that was cut and pasted into Hamilton's taxi bylaw earlier in 2017.

I provided my own report on Youtube, which totally destroyed the mayor's preposterous claim.

At first, I thought perhaps I had gone too far when I accused the mayor of spreading fake news. Maybe he just doesn't know what he's talking about.

But then, I received an email from Fred, wherein-in he came right out and admitted that he was not telling the truth about the bylaw revisions. He stated, "The stakeholder team that worked with Licensing was unanimous in their recommendation, which is what my tweet referenced." In other words, he was NOT referencing the taxi industry. He was referencing a "stakeholder team." So why didn't he just say that??? Hint: It wouldn't have sounded as good.

It was a frank admission that the taxi industry was not consulted. As far as I have been able to determine, the members of the "stakeholder team" consisted only of the brokers and the taxi school (which relies on coerced enrollment for non-exempt taxi drivers. No "diploma" - no license. Meanwhile, Uber cabbies hit the streets with no "training" at all.) The brokers and the taxi school are two entities which almost NEVER have the interests of the rank and file taxi industry at heart. Of course, it goes without saying, despite being a vocal member of Hamilton's taxi industry, I was not invited to participate in the back-room deliberations.

Mayor Fred went so far as to dig himself even deeper by stating,

"I realize that not all drivers, yourself included, are fans of the compromise that was ratified and put into place."

"Not all drivers." Can you believe that audacious horse-shit? The actual truth is than Not ANY drivers were fans of the "compromise that was ratified and put into place." A compromise which lead to as much as a 50% reduction in earnings for non-exempt cab drivers. As one respondent said when asked about Eisenberger's "backing of the taxi industry claim," (see my video) -- "why would they?"

None of them were even asked.

HOW THE HELL, could the mayor, KNOWING THIS, nevertheless claim that the collusion between the City of Hamilton, the Uber taxi brokerage, the other taxi brokers, and the taxi school, in even the remotest fantasy, had the "backing" of the taxi industry?

I suppose one could call the mayor a liar. Equally credible would be that the mayor is uninformed, yet pretends to be otherwise. None of this matters when the claim turns out to be FALSE. I like to stick to facts.

And as far as those drivers, like myself, are concerned.... you know, people who take it upon themselves to let the politicians know what they are thinking about without being asked, well, councilor Maria Pearson put it all into perspective when she said,

"Hans Wienhold? Oh, I just delete all of his emails."

Either the mayor was lying, or he was completely delusional. I happen to believe that most politicians suffer from various degrees of both of these serious flaws. (See the Global Warming Hoax.)

I don't think that the mayor is a bad guy. He is just a guy who responds to the incentives that are placed in front of him on a daily basis, (like the numerous photo ops) with an eye to securing his own career. There is nothing inherently wrong with that approach. We all do it.

The crucial difference is that, while most people's career decisions tend to have minimal impact on the lives of other people in the community, decisions by reckless, and immoral, politicians, who's career decisions can have multiple impacts upon the community via leveraged power, can destroy people's lives.

Oh!

And if you think this politically engineered system is bad, just wait until the next, long overdue, recession hits. And lots of people find themselves out of work (exacerbated by a $15/hr minimum wage law.) And just as in NYC in the 1930's, everybody and his brother floods into the non-minimum wage sector to become an Uber driver.

Now that you should see.


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