Today was the first day back to work and school for anyone affected by the big snowstorm. I just got back from San Francisco, where they don’t have snowstorms, they have whiny “peace rallies.” (It’s a different kind of disaster.)
OK, I am trivializing war here, but can’t help it. The Left Coast has never been my favorite locale for its radical positions on… everything.
Speaking of positions, I hope in-town readers manage to pick up a copy of The Other Paper this week and catch my letter to the editor on the new 315 ramps. The paper has done two major stories on the spat caused by city engineers who say the state has done an unsafe design for new ramps that provide better accessibility to OSU Hospitals. Somebody else wrote in to say there shouldn’t be new ramps, there should be better transit. I say (in a rather amusing manner, I might add), that in an emergency I’d rather take an ambulance than a bus.
My other comment for today is on the “level three snow emergencies” that have been declared around the state. I realize driving in some areas is to be avoided right now. But can the state, by the level three emergency, legitimately make driving illegal? Under the policy (and I don’t know if it’s in a statute), counties can declare level 3, making driving on public highways entirely illegal (except in some cases of emergencies). I have several problems with this law.
1) The law obliges a driver to get the information about the emergency in some way, but doesn’t specify how. Usually you hear about it on the radio or TV. So can the law require someone to own and operate a radio? The law can’t even require a man to read and write.
2) What if you are out driving when it’s still level 2, and then level 3 is declared? There is no exemption for heading home. You’re breaking the law through no fault (or perhaps knowledge) of your own.
3) Under this policy, you can be ticketed for driving. Isn’t it pretty dangerous to pull someone over, demand to know if it’s a driving emergency, and then issue a ticket? In this kind of weather, pulling over can easily put you in the ditch.
4) Some police, knowing all of the above, may be reluctant to actually enforce the law. This could lead to uneven enforcement. And if that happens, the whole rule of law is weakened.
Finally, to round out this driving-related posting (and because I have been quiet for so long), I would like to have a rare link on my site, to a BBC news article on London’s congestion charging scheme. The government there has implemented a new requirement that any vehicle driving in central London between 7am and 6.30pm has to pay five pounds. Taxis are exempt and local residents can pay only 50p. To enforce the measure, there’s a big network of fixed and mobile cameras that read license plates at the entry points and at key intersections within the city. If you don’t pay, the fines are much higher. They say the point is to cause drivers to pay the actual cost of causing congestion; the fees go toward transportation improvements. I’ve been following this plan for a while, and if you’re curious, there is a great deal of British news and government information. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.