Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The 2016 Election Edition But Not Quite---Local Taxi Issues Too

As done previously, I was planning on making electoral recommendations but given that,  for the most part, the upcoming 2016 election is more statewide and national than municipal, I will confine most of my commentary toward politics in general, only peripherally focusing upon local candidates and issues. Finally I will end by expounding on more pertinent current taxi issues like the new taxi medallion lottery and Monday  night's mindless and unnecessary intervention by SPD's traffic enforcement, underlining once again the City of Seattle's inherent bias against its local tax industry.

Did you know that in 1948, there were not just two major presidential candidates but four: the sitting president Harry Truman, his Republican rival Thomas Dewey, States' Right Party Strom Thurmond, and Henry Wallace, the former vice-president running on the Progressive ticket?  Personally, I have always felt that one of FDR's greatest errors was removing Wallace as his fourth term VP and choosing Truman as his replacement.  Just as Gore would not have replicated Bush's errors, so would Wallace avoided Truman's amateurish decision making and policies.

While in part reminding of today's Libertarian Party and its outlook, the Progressive party platform in 1948 attempted to accelerate commonsense by proposing " an understanding with the Soviet Union and the United States;" removing power from "the war-producing elite;" repudiating the Marshall Plan, and amazingly, asking for the destruction of all atomic bombs, the immediate ending of segregation, and insisting upon better housing and lower food prices for everyone.  Other than eliminating the Marshall Aid Plan, something that quickly helped rebuild post-WWII Europe, the Progressive proposals, by modern standards, appear to be good ones.

These and other thoughts and quotes are taken from the book edited by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and Fred Israel and David Frent, "The Election of 1948 and the Administration of Harry S. Truman," and published by Mason Crest, 2003. Two quotes from the Schlesinger intro are especially apt today.  The first quote, written in 1888, comes from  James Bryce (1st Viscount), later the British ambassador (1907-1913) to the United States; and the second from that figure featured on the American ten dollar bill, Alexander Hamilton.

"America suffers from a sort of intermittent fever---what one may call a quintan ague.  Every fourth year there comes terrible shakings, passing into the hot fit of the presidential election; then follows what physicians call the "interval; then again the fit."---James Bryce

"Beset as they are (the American people) the snares of the ambitious, the avaricious, the desperate, by the artifices of men who pocess their confidence more than they deserve it, and of those who seek to pocess rather than to deserve it."---Alxander Hamilton

I find the second quote especially applicable to the current GOP presidential candidate.  One of course can argue the merits of the various candidates but one thing is certainly true in my personal experience, and that despite being groped and hit at least twenty times over my many years of taxi driving, not once have I reported the attacks to the police, even ignoring the stalker who,on his last attempted contact, texted me photographs (none of which I opened).  That victims chose initially to ignore Trump's alleged attacks, to me, isn't surprising, probably not wanting to further involve themselves into something they never requested, but like me, remembering every unsavory detail. I always see the idiot kissing the windshield instead of attempting to get any closer.  Wise choice, don't you think?

Another amazing electoral fact I discovered recently was pointed out in the October 24th, 2016 Seattle Times edition of Jerry Large's column when he mentioned the exclusion of granted American citizenship to most Native Americans until the passage of the "Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, something also known as the Snyder Act as it was sponsored by a New York GOP Congressman, Homer Snyder.  But as Large also points out, it was not until the 1965 Voting Rights Act did Native Americans, as a collective group, fully gain their voting rights. Canada also had similar provisions concerning First Nation rights, Caucasians in both countries practicing  a similar discrimination unjust in its application and outlook.

Getting back to our election scene, my only definitive endorsement concerns the District 7 US Representative race, preferring Brady Walkinshaw over Pramila Jayapal, Walkinshaw seemingly more potentially proactive, especially in terms of addressing climate change.  Jayapal has been quoted that important climate change legislation can wait another two years, this after yesterday's report that the melting of the Antarctic Ice Shelf is accelerating.  I personally disagree, feeling we as a human species might already be on a suicidal course, and more delay only hastens our imminent demise but according to Jayapal, we have plenty of time.  Maybe the true source of her delay is that she doesn't like penguins.  I don't see why but its possible, maybe something to do with their black and white color scheme.  I can understand her annoyance.

Taxi News

In case you have missed it, the City of Seattle will be conducting a 2017 Taxicab Medallion Lottery where a total of 55 medallions will be passed out to the winners. The important difference from previous license lotteries is that the pool of drivers is limited to For-Hire Licence holders with a license number of 16586 or lower, meaning more veteran drivers will be getting the medallions.  Did they finally listen to me and others who have repeatedly said it only makes sense to include drivers who might have some clue concerning what they are doing?  Whether they heard us or not, that is what is going to happen. For better or worse, I have put my name in, if only for symbolic reasons and no other.  My other commentary, and one shared by many other drivers, is why issue medallions during a time when they are not needed.  It is a good question, one I am sure will remain unanswered.

As stated, the rules are clear and plain.  If you qualify you have until Friday, 5:00 PM, November 4th, 2016 to apply.  You can apply either online or get yourself down to the licensing offices now located on the 42nd floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower, Suite 4200, 700 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA.  If you don't know, that is the corner of 5th & Cherry.  But I suggest avoiding the parking hassles and apply over the internet.

As said, it makes far more sense to, like I did, to apply online.  Just go to the following address and the instructions are clear:

If you remain confused, you can contact Inspector Marrison at 206-386-0079 or email her at

Good luck!

Other news

Working the train Monday night I was not pleased to see all of us visited by a Parking Enforcement officer who decided that it was a good idea to make some of the drivers move on because they were not parked properly.  As I tired to tell her, the situation was caused not by the drivers but by the City of Seattle's allowance of new building construction that halved our available parking.  Why she even bothered remains, at least to me, a complete mystery because the taxis were not blocking anything, her enforcement achieving nothing other than sending a message we learned a long time ago: the City of Seattle hates us.

Adding insult to that injury was what was happening just a quarter mile away at the WaMu Theatre down on Occidental South, where multiple cars were allowed to park illegally on both sides of the street, creating such a narrow passage that even I had trouble getting through.  And who was sitting at the end of this automobile gauntlet?  Why none other than a bunch of Parking Enforcement officers evidently waiting for the "Chance the Rapper" concert to end, the officers exhibiting a tolerance clearly not shown to those evil Yellow cabs down at the Amtrak Station.  Again, why blame the cabbies because we didn't issue all those building  permits.  Why is it all our fault?

Post Script Oct 27th

I suppose it is some kind of positive when you are agreed with, in my case the Seattle Time today endorsing Brady Walkinshaw, calling him the most qualified candidate while terming Jayapal an opportunist who does not even reside in the 7th Congressional District.  Jayapal reminds me of my 20 days in Poland last year during their election cycle.  Though unable to read Polish, viewing the various candidate's posters provided me with a distinct impression of who they were and the political views represented, their smiles, as opposed to being reassuring, were often frightening.  And after the election, the newly voted in right-wing (and Roman Catholic) government began slamming down on individual rights.  It wasn't surprising, given their faces, their faces truly broadcasting who they were and are.  I'm not talking about pretty or ugly, I am referring to the massage conveyed, a message louder than words.  My suggestion then is take the time to consider a given candidate's face and develop an opinion much like your favorite pooch.  Are you wagging your tail, or snarling?  Bow wow wow!


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