Wednesday, July 26, 2017

South Carver Street? And It Was 2:30 In The Morning, Tuesday, And Certainly Not In the Mood For Surprises

It still amazes me that even after nearly 30 years plying Seattle's streets I come across an address totally unfamiliar to me,  and in this unusual case, a call at the 6100 Thousand block of South Carver Street located just off of Rainier Avenue South in the greater Rainer Beach/Skyway neighborhood. Though new to me, I essentially guessed where it had to be, and I was correct, South Carver intersecting Waters Avenue South, a local major arterial intersecting with South 57th Street, S. 57th acting as a kind of formal entrance ramp to that part of southeastern Seattle.

While it is true I have driven by South Craver, I hadn't noticed it, meaning I had violated one of my own taxi commandants:  remember the first time the streets and avenues you pass, because you never know when you will need to know where it is.  That I almost knew means I had downloaded part of the info into my taxi brain depository, understanding how S. 57th and Waters S. correspond.

Perhaps even more astounding is that the young man standing at the corner bidding his girlfriend goodbye actually expected a cab to promptly show up at what, in Yellow Cab terms, is the middle of bloody nowhere.  And he even had the exact fare in hand, nine dollars taking him almost to the Renton and Seattle boundary on Renton Avenue South.

One reason this week I focused upon the taxi mundane is that I have been ignoring basic taxi for other issues.  For instance I could have instead written about the great NW writer, the late Raymond Carver whose poetry is far better than his much celebrated short stories. So here it is, in quick passing, hoping beyond hope that some reader out there will investigate Carver's writing and say, hey! that guy could write a line or two.

LGBTQ Commission 

I thought I had made my last comment upon outgoing Mayor Murray but a further request by a prominent Seattle Gay/Homosexual organization for him to resign got my attention due to its dishonesty, since anyone remotely aware of gay subculture are aware of its less savory sides.  That someone as prominent as the American writer Allen Ginsberg, a 1974 National Book Award Winner spent much of his latter career promoting sex with underage children, should tell anyone interested that what Murray is accused of is something that is not only condoned by large percentages of the Gay community but actively seen by some as a political and human rights issue.  Ginsberg not only associated himself with NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) but even appeared in its pro-sex-with-boys documentary: "Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys."  Distasteful yes but unfortunately a reality permeating male gay culture which in short, says, to me, that this LGBTQ statement is disingenuous.  What else could it be?  How can they truly be shocked?  I don't know how they can be.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Recommendation For Seattle Mayor: Why It Is Important For The Local Taxi Industry To Support A Knowledgable Candidate

On Monday I voted in the Seattle mayoral primary for Bob Hasegawa ( Why, you might ask, did you vote for him when there are literally 20 other choices to pick from?  Three of his opponents have major newspaper endorsements, all three media outlets deciding there exists someone more capable and qualified than Hasegawa.  Is that actually true?

Jenny Durkan (, former US Attorney for the Western District of the State of Washington, is the Seattle Time's choice, feeling the very professional Durkan is the correct combination of intelligence, experience and political connections to remedy what ails Seattle. And if there is safe choice, Durkan is certainly that, positioning herself as the "proverbial voice of political sanity," in the very real sense saying vote for me because I know, beyond anyone, how to change Seattle dirty diapers.  But I believe it is not certain that Seattle requires a political nanny, shaking her finger at the electorate, telling us it is time to drink your cup of warm milk and go directly to bed.

Nikkita Oliver (, a lawyer and local civic activist, won the Seattle Weekly's backing for mayor.  In a very well written piece, the Weekly coherently describing the problems now facing Seattle, and as to just why they feel Oliver is best suited to take on the arduous task of running a city of now over 700,000 residents.  Oliver has also got the backing of defiant members of The Stranger's editorial staff, four of whom openly objecting to the newspaper's official choice, preferring the more alternative Oliver to the clearly upper-middle class, and more conventional Cary Moon.   

As said, The Stranger's first choice is local engineer and urban planner, Cary Moon (, a fairly unknown candidate despite her efforts to block the construction of the waterfront tunnel that will be replacing the current Highway 99 Viaduct Bridge. For me the most interesting part of her candidacy is that she lists having no income, somehow implying she is independently wealthy.  I suppose that gives her considerable free time to think about Seattle's issues and problems but again, that might make her more theorist than someone "living and breathing" the city's thornier urban headaches, Moon another potential "nanny candidate," prepared to gently scold all us Seattle children.  

Somewhat humorous, or leastwise I find it amusing, is that whenever I search out articles concerning mayoral candidates I end up finding them flanked by a smiling Jenny Durkan wearing a custom-made Jenny Durkan sweatshirt.  I guess this is what $321,630 dollars in contributions gets you, meaning that the big political and big business money is being put upon one particular horse.

I understand it because Durkan is a political thoroughbred, having been appointed US Attorney by Obama and whose father twice ran for governor.  Whether she can come down from the mountaintop and mingle with the peasants is an open question, something the current mayor, Ed Murray could never do, superiority and arrogance his adopted middle names.  But if you like smooth, Durkan should be your pick, a filtered cigarette of a candidate, worrying about nicotine and other adverse affects later.  How could Durkan be bad for Seattle's health? 

The one odd aspect of The Stranger's July 12th endorsement of Moon and and other candidates are the use of words like asshole and f_ _k and f_ _king in their article.  I have noticed a long time ago that these folks like seeing themselves as both hip and outsiders, giving the finger to all and everyone, which makes their choice of Moon both curious and funny.  This is also the local paper featuring sex ads for you and me and _____ too!  I do recommend that you check out the new secondary Oliver endorsement in the Stranger online edition, featuring a saucy and spunky Oliver photograph, provoking my biggest question concerning her.  Just how mature is this woman?   I do wonder.  

Getting back to Mister Hasegawa and why I voted for him, it comes down to his family background and what he has done both in his working and political life.  It is a very personal bias that I trust people more who have worked, and I mean having really physically worked for a living.

Hasagawa once drove UPS trucks and led their union to victory when UPS told them they were now suddenly expected to lift twice the weight as before.  One strong point for Jenny Durkan is that she once taught school and coached basketball in Alaska, something my father also did in northern Alberta, implying that she probably understands something about the human experience.

Hasegawa certainly does, simply due to his family being interned by the FDR administration during WW II.  Need  I remind everyone that President Roosevelt was considered a raging liberal, someone to this day disparaged by the majority of Republican  party members.  Just as the it was the good liberal Seattle Council members who voted to uncap Uber, so it is in our nation's history---money, fear and ignorant public opinion often prompting both so-called conservatives and liberals to make bad and erroneous decisions.  It was none other than President Bill Clinton who set the tone for the current welfare policies, where the needy are treated as if they societal bank robbers stealing from the public good.

I can report that Hasegawa responded back to me today to an email written a few days ago, telling me that in the State Senate he spoke against Uber sponsored bills and has been in contact with Teamsters 117 concerning related issues.  If for no other reason, this is why you should vote for him because it appears to be clear that voting for Hasegawa is a vote for your own future and the future of your family.  But let me say, that regardless of who you ultimately vote for, join the democratic process and cast your ballot.  From my personal experience, there is nothing more important than voting your conscience.

A New & Improved Mike McGinn (

Like the label upon a box of breakfast cereal, McGinn, in a statement today, said that he too is new and improved, suddenly more humble and wiser since he is now older, which is an odd statement, somehow implying Seattle voters were unwise to elect the younger (and dumber?) version of himself.

Given the incredible Seattle traffic congestion his polices have caused, it is surprising he is again asking voters trust his judgment.  And let's say he is again elected mayor, and four years from now we are again subjected to a new rationale to why he failed the city, how then are we supposed to react to yet another "heartfelt" apology?  What worries me most about the now more edible McGinn is that, just as in the recent past, he will remain oblivious to voter indigestion, voting once again for McGinn a new kind of electoral cannibalism, with McGinn eating us!  What a scary thought.

A Final Comment Upon the Outgoing Mayor

With new more alleged details coming out this past week from the Seattle Times concerning Ed Murray, one current Seattle Council member and at least four mayoral candidates advised Murray to resign.  Other than accusations, there is no bonafide evidence that the did anything to anybody.  Yes, while the reports about long ago sexual impropriety are shocking, none of it is conclusive, and from what I can see, will never be proven.  Isn't the fact that his political career is shattered and his good name sullied not revenge enough for the political vultures picking at his exposed corpse?  It is truly distasteful and speaks to the political amateurism in Seattle posing as professionalism.  As I often comment: ya gotta be kiddin'!

What these bozos don't realize that disturbed, mentally ill and emotionally distressed people have a pronounced tendency to act crazy and deranged, and often cannot be trusted to be anything but that.  I discovered that upon my first professional psychiatric job way back in the autumn of 1974.  It isn't that the patients and clients I met back then were bad people.  No, that wasn't the case at all but the majority of folks I worked with were chronically mentally ill, with all that implies, their profound illness often controlling behavior and subsequent judgment.  So despite having no love for many of Murray's political decisions, especially the uncapping of Uber and Lyft, I still hold some sympathy, seeing him as some character out of Shirley Jackson's famous short story, "The Lottery" as he is ritually stoned to death.  Not nice.  Not nice at all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Could I Do Any Worse?---The Seattle August Primary Season Is Approaching

As more than 20 mayoral candidates line up at the primary starting gate, only two will make it to the general election, meaning your vote in the upcoming primary election is essential because we are past the point where we need a true taxi advocate in the mayor's seat.  While outgoing Mayor Ed Murray has, overall, been a decent mayor, rating a C grade from me, he was a complete disaster in how he dismembered our local taxi industry and promoted TNC/Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft over our needs and interests.

That he, like so many municipal and county administrators, by simply not comprehending in any real way the menace posed by the monster Uber, miserably failed both the American taxi industry and similar taxi-like services and their  passengers and customers, thus creating a situation seeking uncertain resolution toward a problem not of our own making.  When considering your mayoral choice, please consider if that particular candidate will be at best neutral in their overall policy decisions, and not making things worse, as the past five Seattle mayors, Rice, Schell, Nickells, McGinn and Murray have, comprising a 27 year long span of at best mediocre, and at the worse, complete incompetence---the WTO and Pioneer Square Mardi Gras  riots and the giving away of an invaluable NBA franchise heading the sorriest examples of an abysmal list.

Public policy should not, and I repeat, should not be some conflated version of "pin-the-tail-upon-the donkey" because too often the administrators involved end up looking like the proverbial "horses' ass," with the voting public kicked squarely in the buttock.  While slapstick comedy worked quite well for the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers and Laurel & Hardy, public and governmental policy is neither a movie script nor comedic routine.  While trying to find a serious candidate who understands this obvious point will be difficult to locate, still, despite the low odds, we must continue attempting to both find that correct candidate and keep communicating our thoughts and political aspirations.

Already there are two mayoral front runners: former United States Attorney Jenny Durkan and former mayor Mike McGinn.  The big money is pouring in for Durkan,  ensuring she will reach the general election.  The second slot is more uncertain, with McGinn being penciled in due to his familiarity with the voters.

While McGinn is clearly a nice guy, he is the mayor whose bike-lane polices have clogged the already un-drivable streets, McGinn somehow not noticing that Seattle now has 200,000 more permanent residents, translating into at least a 40-50 percent increase in citywide car ownership. Where are we going to put all these cars when lanes have been eliminated and on-street parking greatly reduced?  

If interested in viewing his handiwork, trundle down to the east-bound Pike Street at First Avenue and see for yourself McGinn's failed version, how the heavy traffic is now funneled down one narrow lane.  Just as the pin-the tail game is played with a blindfold on,  that is good description of McGinn's governing style, closing his eyes and hoping for the best.  Unfortunately, for those of us who can see beyond our nose, remain appalled at the results, McGinn destroying reasonable traffic assess at one of the nation's most popular tourist destinations.

Again, if this were comedy, it would be funny.  But since it is governmental policy it is farcical. Something called the INRIX Parking Ranking announced today that Seattle is the fifth hardest city in the entire country to find a parking space, saying the average Seattle-lite spends 58 hours per year looking for available parking.  If you find that to your liking, then do vote for McGinn because he is the individual who eliminated miles of on-street parking.

And if you are curious, there are over 35,000 recognized American cities and towns, meaning a fifth overall ranking means you have truly screwed up, a kind of reversed efficiency.  I personally at  this point have no one to recommend but remember the name of Washington State Senator Bob Hasegawa because he might be the one candidate who is not sold out to special interests.

The reason I entitled this week's posting the way I did is because I know, beyond any doubt, that the majority of folks managing the City of Seattle, are clueless, and dangerously clueless at that.  This point was reinforced Monday when I took a passenger from the train station to the 2300 hundred block of1st Avenue.  Given the amazing congestion now clogging both directions north and south-bound on 1st, I chose to take north-bound (its one-way) 4th, turning left (or west-bound) to access that part of 1st Avenue.

Five years ago this would have been an easy task but no longer because those idiots in Seattle City government decided to transform the arterial Bell into a glorified park, restricting access and the ability to turn both left and right. Avoiding that mess and a myriad of potential  moving violations I picked Wall Street to turn west but even that wasn't the best choice due to the no-left turn sign posted at 1st and Wall.

Even what would be the final choice, Clay Street, doesn't work either since it now closed  west-bound due to construction at 3rd.  The only legal option left then is to go 6 blocks out of your way and turn left onto Broad Street off of 3rd Avenue.  I would wager any amount you suggest that NOT ONE INDIVIDUAL in the entire Seattle City government knows they have created this kind of complication for what used to be a very simple matter.

The best thing about this particular fare is that the old soldier told me that the US Army in 1955 were taking him somewhere downtown Seattle when he saw a red convertible being chased by a motorcycle cop who suddenly flipped into the air after colliding with a seat cushion tossed out of the car.  Now that was when Seattle was a real rough and tough city, and not the wimpish suburban center is has now become.  Could you imagine anyone in Seattle now disobeying the good officer?  No, neither can I.

And do I want to be mayor of Seattle?  No, but if I were you can bet I might understand just a little bit better the real down-to-earth issues facing the Emerald City.   Instead I would rather run for Congress in Toledo, Ohio, representing the honesty of a rough and tumble, Rust-Belt City.  Both of my grandfathers worked in the local factories there, supporting as well as they could their large families.

Back then life was more black and white sans the grayer areas now known as excuse and obfuscation. In the other words, my grandparents lived in the good old (and bad) days when corruption was shoved in your face minus pretense.  Back then, you knew exactly what they were thinking and doing to you, which is quite unlike today when simultaneously government says "I love you" while cutting your throat with high property taxes and of course, no parking spaces for the car whose licensing just cost you a King's random.  Just be glad you will have access to better public transportation in 2022!  Isn't that great!

Postscript Wed July 13th, 2017

Today's Seattle Times On-line edition has a very helpful guide to all 21 mayoral candidates.  I encourage everyone to check it out.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

She Scared Me! & Other Small Horror Stories

What I find so successful about Edgar Allen Poe's stories and poems is how they often capture human personality as it truly is, Poe of course presenting our more confused, distorted and sinister sides---accurate psychological profiles years before Freud and the advent of modern psychiatry.   While debate continues about just what motivates human behavior, there is one, unavoidable truth:  as a fellow homo-sapien you are surely going to be affected by what another member of the species does, whether or not you want it to,  or like it,  because it is going to happen.  And of course taxi is all about human interaction, voluntary or not, you instantaneously receiving a concise introduction to who just entered your cab, the invitation reading: welcome (or not) to my world and all my assorted pluses and minuses and personality-based bugaboos.  The inspiration for this brief preamble was a police call in the Fremont ushering forward a very drunk woman concealing herself behind a car:

"Get me out of here," she exclaimed, "it is all too crazy!" And so I took her home to an address almost parallel to where I found her, an address on the other of the canal located on the northern face of Queen Anne Hill.  Taking three minutes to get her there, she announced that her husband would be paying the almost seven dollar fare.  "I know he won't be happy with me," she commented, "we are just two days away from our first wedding anniversary."

Understanding her state of intoxication I waited at the open door while she looked for the money, asking her husband, also sounding drunk and hidden from view, where his wallet was.  After taking a couple minutes she reappeared with a five-dollar bill prompting me to say, "That's fine, it's enough." which elicited a spreading of her arms into a wide U, signaling she was about to embrace me in a passionate "bear hug." Scaring the "hell-out-of-me" I swiftly avoided her octopus arms and escaped back to 1092, wanting no part of what she was offering.  And there was her husband, sitting a mere four feet away!  Heaven help us all is my best comment upon the subject.  And good luck too because they are going to need it but perhaps not as much as four-year old Andrew who is clearly involved in a living hell not of his making.


My newest book, the nearly completed "To Age 13," is all about a child, me, who is repeatedly victimized by less-than-aware parents, which is why Andrew's situation for me is all the more poignant, understanding too well his personal dilemma.  His father seems okay but his mother is entirely another story.  I will never forget Andrew's anguished face.  It is not funny.

I picked up Andrew and his father at the train station, both of them having just come up from Portland, Oregon, their destination an address in the Magnolia neighborhood.  The two of them kept up a rousing dialog, Andrew clearly a bright and aware child.  All seemed normal until the father told me we were heading for Andrew's mother's apartment building, where he had left his car.  Suddenly comprehending the situation, we actually passed the mother walking with her new boyfriend.

Stopping, it turned out that Andrew would remain with his father for the afternoon while the mother wanted me to take her and the boyfriend over to a Ballard pot shop.  Witnessing various interactions between all concerned is when I saw poor Andrew's pained face.  I didn't want to see his intense suffering but I saw it and will never forget, his face a permanent photograph in gallery of my mind''s eye.  All I can hope is that Andrew's young wisdom is somehow transferred to his adult self.  Best wishes, my young friend!

More Uber

Post- 4th July fireworks the passengers at Queen Anne's Kerry Park wanted to go to either North Everett or 130th & Greenwood Ave North.  Most recently Uber riders, they were avoiding the Uber surge by taking a cab, the Uber surge rate to their Everett address being $188.00, greatly surpassing my estimate of $95-100 dollars.  My meter to their Greenwood condo was $26.00, which got me a nine dollar tip on top.  What was Uber asking for the same ride?  $66.00.

Postscript Thursday 5:30 PM---They didn't get me but got my money instead!

Today I stayed in Seattle so I could attend my moving violation court date where I was represented by Doug Silva.  Doug negotiated a deal where I pleaded guilty to to non-moving violation and in return receiving a reduced fine and nothing on my driving record.  Though it cost me, including Doug's fee, a total of $275.00, it would have cost me much more in increased insurance costs if I had been found guilty of not obeying a traffic devise.  I did enjoy my post-courtroom conversation with Doug, someone I have now known for nearly 20 years.  Thanks Doug!  And what a crazy world it is!