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Opinion: Eric Greitens Was a Victim of Himself

June 6, 2018 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Eric Greitens Was a Victim of Himself
 
Mugshot of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens

Eric Greitens, Missouri’s now-former governor,  played the roll of victim when he announced a week ago he’d be resigning at the end of that week.Like many of you I watched it live on television.

Here is the full text:

Good afternoon. Today I am announcing that I will resign as governor of Missouri effective Friday, June 1, at 5 p.m. 

I came to office to fight for the people of Missouri, to fight for the forgotten. I love Missouri, and I love our people. That love remains. I am thankful to all those who have worked beside me, sweated beside me, those who gave their time, their energy, their precious resources so that we could pursue our mission of taking Missouri in a new and better direction. We have accomplished a lot together. I am proud of you, and I am proud of all of our work.

The last few months have been incredibly difficult for me, for my family, for my team, for my friends and for many, many people that I love. This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family. Millions of dollars in mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks, designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends. Legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers. And It’s clear that for the forces that oppose us, there is no end in sight. I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love. 

I know, and people of good faith know, that I am not perfect, but I have not broken any laws nor committed any offense worthy of this treatment. I will let the fairness of this process be judged by history. It has been a great honor and a privilege to serve as your governor. Traveling the state, I have talked to many of you who harbor extraordinary anger at this ordeal and for those who have pushed and promoted it. 

For those who would be moved to vengeance, let us allow history and God to bring justice. We must, as we have always done, work to improve the lives of those around us. This is not the end of our fight. I will always be a fighter for the people of Missouri. A great deal of work is left undone. The time has come, though, to tend to those that have been wounded, and to care for those who need us most. So for the moment, let us walk off the battlefield with our heads held high. We have a good and proud story to tell our children. Let’s love them and each other every day.  (Springfield News-Leader)

May God continue to bless you and to bless the great state of Missouri.

You can watch the video here. It was that second paragraph where Greitens portrayed himself as the victim:

The last few months have been incredibly difficult for me, for my family, for my team, for my friends and for many, many people that I love. This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family. Millions of dollars in mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks, designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends. Legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers. And It’s clear that for the forces that oppose us, there is no end in sight. I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love. 

No doubt this time was difficult for him and his family, but the designer is Eric Greitens himself! He couldn’t take responsibility for his actions. To quote our president. SAD!

Here’s his original campaign video that got him noticed and the nomination.

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll most readers also felt he wasn’t the victim:

Q: Agree or disagree: Eric Greitens is the victim of a plot designed to force him to resign as Missouri’s governor.

  • Strongly agree 5 [16.67%]
  • Agree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [10%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [3.33%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 6 [20%]
  • Strongly disagree 15 [50%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

I doubt there’s much policy positions of now-governor Mike Parsons that I’d agree with, but I’m pretty sure we won’t see a mugshot of him or that’ll he’ll be on the national news or late night shows.

A future poll question might be about the office of Lt. Governor — should it remain vacant or bill filled? By appointment or special election?

— Steve Patterson

Inching Toward Autonomous Vehicles, Learning to Use & Trust New Technology

June 4, 2018 Featured, Transportation Comments Off on Inching Toward Autonomous Vehicles, Learning to Use & Trust New Technology
 

Back in April I told you we got a high-tech newer car, a 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited.  At that point I hadn’t driven it much, had only used the adaptive/smart cruise control once. I have more miles behind the wheel now, including a trip to Springfield IL and a visit to the dealer in Wentzville MO. Yesterday we drove  out to Chesterfield for the 31st annual St. Louis European Car Show.

Nearly every manufacturer is now offering similar cruise control, here’s an explanation:

Adaptive cruise control uses a small radar (or laser) unit under the front grill or bumper that measures the distance to the vehicle in front of you. Many automakers will actually use two radars—one for close range and a second for vehicles that are farther out. The system uses this information to calculate distance and speed of the vehicle ahead and react to any changes to maintain a safe driving gap.

In the event the vehicle ahead brakes suddenly, the system will either alert the driver or, in some cases, apply the brakes to prevent an accident.

If this all sounds a lot like a self-driving car, that’s because it is. Adaptive cruise control is one of the many features that enable self-driving cars to function safely. (Cartelligent

This short video explains in a visual manner.

For many people, I think, cruise control is mainly used for long highway trips. I find I’m using our adaptive cruise control on surface streets –especially stop & go traffic. If you’re used to regular cruise control you know as soon as you hit the brakes in stop & go traffic it turns itself off.

Our Sonata will bring itself to a complete stop — under the right circumstances. Our 2015 model was the first year of the current generation. Our Limited trim level has both optional packages. Hyundai, for some reason, decided not to include automatic emergency braking. They did for 2016 and newer models.  Instead of automatically braking our car just beeps at you to stop.

However, when the adaptive cruise control is in use and it detects a vehicle ahead it can come ro a complete stop on its own. Again, only under the right circumstances. If I’m following a vehicle that shows up on the cruise control graphic in the center of the gauge cluster and it begins to slow or stop our car will respond appropriately — including coming to a complete stop. It then tells me to hit the “resume” button to begin moving again.

On our car the radar is behind the black black area just above the from license plate. The same year model without adaptive cruise control the chrome horizontal grill lines continue uninterrupted.

At first I didn’t trust the system and I’d tap the brakes to disengage the cruise. Old habits. But with more experience I know now when to let it do its thing. Friday we came home from Overland MO in rush hour traffic. An Eastbound accident on I-64 was causing backups on to I-170. It was 5mph for a few miles, I had the cruise control on the entire time. Most of the time our car kept rolling in pace with the car ahead. A few times it had to stop so I’d hit resume once the cars moved again. Stop & go traffic is one thing I find highly frustrating, but adaptive cruise control makes it stress-free. Well, at least far less stressful.

The carols on the right side of the steering wheel.

There have been times we’ve been in the right lane and slow cars in the exit lane to our right makes ours think it needs to slow down. For the most part, however, it works as advertised. I must still stay alert because there are plenty of circumstances where our car won’t stop itself when the cruise its set.

I can defiantly see how technology will get is to improved safety and self-driving cars.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Was The Last Few Months Designed To Force Eric Greitens To Resign?

June 3, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Was The Last Few Months Designed To Force Eric Greitens To Resign?
 
Please vote below

After months of saying he wouldn’t resign, Tuesday last week Eric Greitens  announced he would resign as Missouri’s 56th governor effective 5pm Friday June 1, 2018. Today’s poll is about Greitens’ resignation statement on Tuesday May 29, 2018:

Here is the full text:

Good afternoon. Today I am announcing that I will resign as governor of Missouri effective Friday, June 1, at 5 p.m. 

I came to office to fight for the people of Missouri, to fight for the forgotten. I love Missouri, and I love our people. That love remains. I am thankful to all those who have worked beside me, sweated beside me, those who gave their time, their energy, their precious resources so that we could pursue our mission of taking Missouri in a new and better direction. We have accomplished a lot together. I am proud of you, and I am proud of all of our work.

The last few months have been incredibly difficult for me, for my family, for my team, for my friends and for many, many people that I love. This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family. Millions of dollars in mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks, designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends. Legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers. And It’s clear that for the forces that oppose us, there is no end in sight. I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love. 

I know, and people of good faith know, that I am not perfect, but I have not broken any laws nor committed any offense worthy of this treatment. I will let the fairness of this process be judged by history. It has been a great honor and a privilege to serve as your governor. Traveling the state, I have talked to many of you who harbor extraordinary anger at this ordeal and for those who have pushed and promoted it. 

For those who would be moved to vengeance, let us allow history and God to bring justice. We must, as we have always done, work to improve the lives of those around us. This is not the end of our fight. I will always be a fighter for the people of Missouri. A great deal of work is left undone. The time has come, though, to tend to those that have been wounded, and to care for those who need us most. So for the moment, let us walk off the battlefield with our heads held high. We have a good and proud story to tell our children. Let’s love them and each other every day.  (Springfield News-Leader)

May God continue to bless you and to bless the great state of Missouri.

You can watch the video here.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 7 of 2018-2019 Session

June 1, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 7 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 7th meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes four (4) new bills:

  • B.B.#68 – Tyus – An ordinance to regulate employer and employee working relationships between the City and all employees under the Classified Service, including a compensation plan, terms and conditions of employment, benefits, leaves of absence, and authorization for a Deferred Compensation Plan; repealing Ordinance 70285; allocating certain other employees to a grade with rate; and including an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#69 – J. Boyd – An ordinance recommended by the Parking Commission making appropriation for payment of the operating expenses, capital equipment and improvement expenses, including lease purchase agreements involving Parking Division assets, and debt service expenses of the Parking Division of the Treasurer’s Office, Kiel & City Hall Parking Facilities, Information Technologies, Argyle Parking, Chouteau Building & Parking Facility, Williams Paper Parking, Central Downtown Parking, Buckingham Parking, Cupples Parking Facility and Justice Parking Facility for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2019, amounting in the aggregate to the sum of Sixteen Million, Two Hundred Twenty One Thousand, Nine Hundred Two Dollars ($16,221,902) and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#70 – Navarro – An ordinance approved and recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment and the Board of Public Service; authorizing a First Amendment of the Lease Agreement authorized by Ordinance 63956 between the City, and the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis by amending Section 2. Term; Section 4. Other Consideration (a) Forest Park Improvements; and Exhibit C; with an emergency provision.
  • B.B.#71 – Vaccaro – An ordinance establishing a three-way stop site at the intersection of Pernod Avenue and Tedmar Avenue regulating all traffic traveling eastbound and westbound on Pernod Avenue at Tedmar Avenue and regulating all traffic traveling southbound on Tedmar Avenue at Pernod Avenue, and containing an emergency clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: Proposed Crosswalk “Improvements:” On Grand Won’t Improve Pedestrian Safety

May 30, 2018 Featured, Midtown, Planning & Design, SLU, Walkability Comments Off on Opinion: Proposed Crosswalk “Improvements:” On Grand Won’t Improve Pedestrian Safety
 

Grand Avenue runs through Saint Louis University’s main campus. It’s very busy because other North-South options like Spring & Theresa were vacated years ago. This means North-South that had 5 options now have 3: Vandeventer, Grand, and Compton. To handled the increased volume, on-street parking was removed. Without having to slow for cars parking, speeds increased. For pedestrians this is dangerous.

Since the city has given away public right-of-way (aka streets) to private property owners for years this problem exists throughout the city.  The proposed solution is the same superficial one — decorative crosswalks. The warm & fuzzy element of urban planning.

SLU’s rendering of proposed changes to Grand where West Pine used to be

Here again is what SLU is planning at Lindell, where West Pine used to be, and Laclede:

The project calls for the elimination of one of the three northbound lanes on Grand, which will allow the remaining lanes and the median to be widened. Bollards will also be installed to protect pedestrians who are about to cross the street as well as those who might be standing in the median. The roadway where the crosswalk is, will be changed to a brick-like surface to enhance the look and remind drivers to slow down. (KMOV)

Let’s take a closer look at each element.

  • Removal of one Northbound travel lane: Reducing the number of travel lanes is good.
  • Widen the remaining travel lanes & median: While widening the median is ok. increasing the width of travel lanes is the wrong thing to do! Wider lanes means driver’s feel safe at higher speeds. The remaining lanes should either be kept at their current width or reduced if you want to slow vehicles to increase pedestrian safety.
  • Bollards installed: In this context bollards gov an impression of safety, though they might help since cars will be going even faster on wider lanes.

b

I’ve long been interested in the Grand & formerly West Pine crosswalk. I visited and observed at 4:45pm on Tuesday September 21, 2010 — nearly 8 years ago.

The crosswalk was highly visible to pedestrians & motorists, September 2010

After I observed the crosswalk and took the photo (above) I decided to record what I was witnessing,

Here are the problems I listed at the end of the video:

  1. Signal timing is too long for pedestrians, they get tired of waiting and cross when they can. The timing needs to change so pedestrians can safely cross more frequently.
  2. The pedestrian button, like most in St. Louis, doesn’t do anything. Even the one person who pressed the button crossed before getting the “walk” signal.  Eliminate the button or make the signal change quickly once pressed.

The fixes, save for shortening the crossing distance & giving students more space to stand between traffic, won’t make this crossing any safer. It’s possible the dark bricks will be less noticeable to motorists than the white paint. I know from a wheelchair perspective brick crosswalks are highly annoying. Motorists need to slow down before they reach the crosswalk.

Looking North on the East side of Grand, June 2011

One of the big problems is the lack of anything to get motorists to slow down: parked cars, narrow lanes, or — my favorite — street trees. It feels too wide open so motorists feel ok going faster than they should. Other things to do would be rumble strips in the pavement prior to reaching the crosswalk. make traffic stop more frequently during busy times, embed flashing LED lights in the lane markers ,a lighted sign overhead, etc.

Sadly too many are fooled by this region’s superficial efforts to appear to make pedestrian-friendly environments. Here’s the results of the recent non-scioentiofic Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Proposed changes to the crosswalk on Grand South of Lindell will greatly improve safety for pedestrians.

  • Strongly agree 3 [13.64%]
  • Agree 3 [13.64%]
  • Somewhat agree 7 [31.82%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 2 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [9.09%]
  • Disagree 4 [18.18%]
  • Strongly disagree 1 [4.55%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

This crosswalk will, to most eyes, look better. Aesthetics aside, it won’t perform any better — it might be worse. This is a way for SLU to mitigate damages from a future lawsuit by claiming they made an effort to improve safety. Actual safety is perceived as too inconvenient to motorists.

— Steve Patterson

 

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