Thursday, May 7, 2009

Informative series

The Association of Oregon Counties and the League of Oregon Cities have prepared a series of informative fact sheets on road funding. Here's an OAC chart on the cost of a ton of asphalt that bears careful pondering -- keep in mind that we're now on the peak oil downslope (meaning that, while there will be a lot of price volatility, the overall trend for asphalt costs -- like all oil-derived products -- is going to keep climbing sharply).

We've stretched auto dependency to the point that it's going to snap and hurt us badly--everything we do to try to prop up the road system is going to take more and more money, meaning people are going to limit driving and spending even more.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Willamette Valley had the same level of streetcar service today as it had in 1909?

Transit saves ... if you have a functioning system

Nice article about how much money you can save by taking transit. Only one problem -- you have to have a transit system that supports riders with enough service to make it possible to be car free or car lite (which Salem definitely does not -- yet).

Many of you may not realize that there are another round of service reductions in the works for Salem's bus system, Salem-Keizer Transit (a/k/a Cherriots). Given the defeat of the last three operating levies, the staff has developed a plan to live within the current funding (about 10% fares, with the rest of the money coming from property tax of 76 mills, supplemented by millions of payments in lieu of payroll tax from the State of Oregon).

Four seats on the Transit Board will be decided in the upcoming election (ballots must be received by the Elections office by May 19). If you want to see the League of Women Voters interview with candidates for one of the races, look for it on Channel 21 (station CCTV) at these times:

Thursday, May 7, 9:30 p.m. . . . Monday, May 11, 3:30 p.m.
Friday, May 8, 10:00 p.m. . . . Thursday, May 14, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 9, 4:00 p.m. . . . Saturday, May 16, 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 10, 10:00 p.m. . . . Monday, May 18, 2:00 p.m.

You can also stream the program in on your home PC or Mac .

Thurs. May 14: The Accidental Advocate

The Salem Progressive Film Series offering for May is an especially good one:

May 14 , 2009, 7 PM, at the Grand Theatre (191 High St NE).

The Accidental AdvocateWhen Claude Gerstle, a surgeon and athlete, suffers a tragic bicycle accident that leaves him paralyzed from the neck down, he and his daughter, Jessica, discover hope in the politicized area of science called stem cells. "The Accidental Advocate" is a wheelchair odyssey of a father and daughter who track down the thinkers, the politicians, the crusaders and the naysayers in an effort to understand the potential of the science and why a political quagmire is stalling a cure. The film sorts the hope from the hype, the ideas from the ideology. The promise of stem cell research has united diverse patients and families — rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, religious and secular, a group of millions of Americans — creating a very vocal national movement to reverse limits on the federal funding of the research.

This is a film about science. This is a film about politics. This film is about ethics. But, finally, this is a film about a family. It tells the intricate, delicate, personal story of how one family deals with the life-changing impact of this kind of injury.