Friday, February 18, 2011

Koch Brothers Behind Wisconsin Effort To Kill Public Unions

As the nation focuses on the efforts of Governor Scott Walker to take away collective bargaining rights from public employees in Wisconsin, new information is coming to light that reveals what is truly going on here.
Mother Jones is reporting that much of the funding behind the Walker for Governor campaign came from none other than uber-conservatives, the infamous Koch Brothers.
What’s more, the plan to kill the unions is right out of the Koch Brothers play book.
Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. The Kochs also invited Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an anti-union outfit, to a June 2010 confab in Aspen, Colorado;
If you are reluctant to believe that this is a coordinated attack, consider this-
This afternoon, Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin Public Workers Union, sent a message to the Governor’s office agreeing to the cuts to pension & welfare benefits sought by Walker in his bill.  The governor’s response was “nothing doing.”  He wants the whole kit and kaboodle – the end of the collective bargaining rights of the public unions.
As noted in my earlier post, this is, indeed, the first shot in the final battle to end unionism in America.
UPDATE: The Americans for Prosperity group, a Tea Party group that is a Koch Brothers front, has put up a website and petition called The website attacks all collective bargaining – not just for public employees’ unions. Americans for Prosperity is also organizing a rally tomorrow in Wisconsin to support Gov. Walker.
Why are the Koch Brothers so interested in Wisconsin? They are a major business player in the state.
This from Think Progress:
Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant:
Officials at Georgia-Pacific said the company is laying off 158 workers at its Day Street plant because out-of-date equipment at the facility is being replaced with newer, more-efficient equipment. The company said much of the new, papermaking equipment will be automated. [...] Malach tells FOX 11 that the layoffs are not because of a drop in demand. In fact, Malach said demand is high for the bath tissue and napkins manufactured at the plant.
You really have to wonder how long it will take for Tea Party devotees to realize just how badly they are being used.

Bus on Shoulder

To battle congestion and reduce travel times, transportation officials will begin a long-awaited test of an innovative "bus-on-shoulder" express service on the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate Highway 55) in November, officials said.

The new service will be an expansion of existing Pace express bus service between Plainfield and downtown Chicago, with the goal of getting commuters out of their cars and into mass transit, said Leanne Redden, senior deputy executive director of the Regional Transportation Authority.

Read more here.

Erik's Entries for Worst TriMet Bus Stops

(in no particular order...)

#1:  Highway 99W outbound, south of Tualatin River bridge - there are two very large apartment complexes just across the highway, but to get from this bus stop to the apartments requires sprinting across four lanes of a divided, high speed highway with no safe crossing anywhere nearby.

#2:  Barbur Boulevard outbound, north of I-5 - a bus stop sits on the north side of Barbur with no crosswalk whatsoever.  The nearest traffic signal doesn't have a crosswalk signal or a crosswalk, since the sidewalk on that side of the road doesn't extend onto the I-5 overpass - or, anywhere except for the bus stop.

#3:  Barbur Boulevard inbound, at Parkhill Drive - a bus stop on the east side of Barbur where the only destination is on the west side of Barbur.  No crosswalk whatsoever, no safe boarding place except the shoulder of a high speed boulevard, just minutes outside downtown Portland.

#4:  Naito Parkway inbound at Harrison - this barely paved bus stop frequently is muddy and offers nothing for riders - yet, it's in the heart of downtown right next to the most unnecessary Portland Streetcar stop, yet the Streetcar stop has a full paved platform, lighting and shelters, as well as Transit Tracker signs.

#5:  Harrison outbound at 2nd Avenue pedestrian path - absolutely nothing.  Barely ADA accessible - and this is next to one of Portland's prized apartment-turned-condo developments.  But the Streetcar stops are awfully nice.

#6:  Barbur Boulevard/4th Avenue inbound at Carthurs - this bus stop is located IN a driveway.  Does it make sense to have waiting passengers wait in a place where cars will drive into them?

#7:  N.E. Broadway inbound at 17th - At least this stop has a shelter, but it's in a tiny location requiring the buses to block a driveway.  It'd make more sense to have the bus stop across the street to the west, where bus riders could at least wait in front of businesses that should be bus rider/pedestrian friendly, instead of in a parking lot.

#8 and #9:  Broadway and Grand.  The worst place for a bus stop is at a gas station - why would a bus rider need anything at a gas station?  And here's two bus stops - the #9 stop doesn't even have a shelter.  On the plus side, transfers should be a breeze...for the huge number of riders transferring from the #9 to the #6.

#10:  Front Avenue at 15th.  You'd think they could extend the sidewalk another 40 feet...this is the edge of the Pearl District, after all...

#11:  Front Avenue at 19th.  This bus stop is marginally better, now that the railroad spur between Front and the Dockside Saloon is abandoned and paved over, but seriously - TriMet expected riders to stand on a railroad track to wait for a bus.

#12:  Front Avenue at 21st.  Here the railroad tracks are still there (although disconnected). But very ADA inaccessible.

#13:  Front Avenue, 3800 block.  Yes, you are expected to stand next to an active railroad track.  Did TriMet not think that Operation Lifesaver actually means something besides around WES?

#14:  T.V. Highway at Cornelius Pass, eastbound.  This one is interesting, considering that Rick Van Beveren owns the Reedville Cafe just behind this view.  Oh, and he's a TriMet Board Member.  I guess he must not ride the bus often to see this bus stop across the street from his own business.

#15:  S.W. Watson at Broadway and Farmington, southbound.  This is in downtown Beaverton yet it's a very plain jane stop - hardly "welcoming" or inviting to people who might want to walk around the pedestrian oriented downtown core.

#16:  Scholls Ferry Road inbound at 88th Avenue.  Passengers are expected to wait right at the intersection; there's no sidewalk and thanks to the guardrail, must stand literally on the roadway.  This isn't no residential side street.

#17:  Hall Boulevard nortbound at 217 offramp.  This is the bus stop for the Hall/Nimbus WES station.  It's in the middle of a driveway for an ODOT storage yard.  While TriMet finally built an improved bus stop on the other side of the WES tracks, the #43 still has to stop here because there isn't enough safe distance for the #43 bus to make a safe lane change and turn left at Nimbus.

#18 (and probably 20 others):  Garden Home Road.  Many stops on Garden Home served by the #45 bus are in locations with no sidewalks or shoulders.  This one at least has some sort of a shoulder, but definitely not ADA accessible.  Sucks when it rains.

#19:  S.W. Troy Street at 35th outbound, Multnomah Village:  There's no way a bus can get to the sidewalk, so bus riders are forced to board/deboard in the middle of the street, once again at a driveway.

#20:  Taylors Ferry Road inbound at 74th Avenue.  On a corner of an intersection in a drainage ditch; riders are forced to stand on the roadway with no shoulder.

#21:  12000 block S.W. Lesser Road.  There's a bus stop for the #78 bus on both sides of the road here.  Exactly where do you safely wait for the bus?

Get your job!

TriMet: Jobs - TriMet Career Opportunities


In the last two weeks we have had 2 operators transported to the hospital with inhalation problems and another operator had respiratory damage that had to be seen by a physician.
 What’s going on with Trimet buses?
We can’t even drive them without fear of hospitalization?
I thought safety was important at Trimet?
I guess safety only applies to operator conduct not equipment or management malfeasance.


I really wish Trimet management would step into the modern day and begin recording as a matter of procedure all its meetings with employees. I asked Robert Romo if I could record the meeting I had with him then GIVE HIM THE FILE so he could keep it on the Trimet computer. That would allow referencing things that were said in prior meetings. He said no, now basically everything that was said in our last meeting is gone and forgotten.

The Trimet managment will not entertain the notion of recording the meetings we have with them!

Why not? What are they afraid of?


This is a total nightmare as far as I am concerned!





I just had a very positive communication with a management representative, unfortunately I can't comment on the context of this communication but it reminded me of the Fred Hansen, Steve Banta, Peggy Hanson days!

An open and honest communication between two people who are trying to work together to find a solution rather than DO IT MY WAY OR ELSE  which is the  normal operating procedure since Neil Macfarlane took over!



I found this, this morning on the 51, bus 1624:

Sorry that this one is blurry, but you get the gist.



Workers are rallying in my hometown

Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 11:40 AM EST.

Not just Wisconsin: Ohio workers rally
by Laura Clawson

The Ohio legislature is considering its own version of Scott Walker's attacks on state workers. Senate Bill 5 would:

abolish collective bargaining rights for state employees. It would also affect state agencies, commissions and boards, state institutions of higher education and set new restrictions on school districts.
Additionally, the bill required merit-based pay for most public employees, including teachers, and it removes seniority from decisions regarding a reduction in work force for certain public workers.

The bill would also give cities the ability to "opt out" of collective bargaining.

And as in Wisconsin, thousands of Ohio workers are jamming the statehouse to make their voices heard.

Proposal for new TriMet Contest WORST BUS STOP IN THE SYSTEM

I have a idea for the TriMet marketing department.  Citizens can nominate the worst bus stop in the TriMet System.  Some great prizes could be offered like a free ride on the WES, lunch with Mary Fetsch at a Center Street food cart, or priority seating at the ribbon cutting for the Milwaukie Light Rail Line.  Submit your suggestions today!



February 17

Untitled from al m on Vimeo.


I was asked by one of my confidants if I would consider removing references to Ellen Fox from my blog?

I responded:
“What? Are you on drugs? Why would I do that? This is a woman who has been in court with me twice and maintains a slander blog about me! I have no intention of removing any information about Ellen from my blog. When she gets rid of her blog and stops harassing me I will stop referencing her on my blog.”

My history with ELLEN FOX IS HERE!

For the record, I would be happy to remove all the material about Ellen Fox that I can find and never mention her again, if 
she removes her slander blog about me and stops making up stories about me! 



Let me show you it.

Here's a bus stop I had the fun experience of waiting at yesterday, which is pretty typical for a west side bus stop, though this one I have to give props to for having the stop ID# posted since many stops do not. My options of where to stand were the bike lane, muddy grass, or a leaf-filled ditch. Not knowing how deep the ditch was I opted for the muddy grass. When my 20+ year old bus showed up, I had the pleasure of climbing into it from street level, which if you've never done before on one of those old buses, its a fairly steep step. Sucks for people who have difficulty with steps!
So I guess since the bond measure failed which was supposed to fix stuff like this, any kind of stop improvement is now totally off the priority list, especially when there's a rail line to Milwaukie to build?


When you gonna come ride the decrepit "community asset" out here on the West Side Mary?


Mary Priester, Public Art Manager for TriMet.

I froze my ass off tonight in my unheated bus, but Trimet can afford Public Art Managers.
Wonderful isn't it?