Feb 232015
 
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Official seal of County of Solano

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In short order, I must resolve my speeding ticket with the Solano County Superior Court but despite the thoughtful courtesy letter shown below, many confusing issues remain.  As a result, I sent this request for clarification and I eagerly wait for their courteous response.

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Ralph

Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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Feb 232015
 
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Salt Lake City
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Ahhh Ralph has been eloquent the past few days with tales of airline travel and LA.  While I believe there is a place for such things, Sometimes there need to be comment on things that we can do nothing about.

I am talking about how &*^%ing hot it has been the last few days here in Utah.  Check your local listings, but it seems like September is not being the crisp fall month that I remember from my youth.  Days where you actually needed a jacket in the morning and may be able to do without it by the afternoon.

This past week it has seemed like late summer here.  All temps in the mid 90’s.  This week is scheduled for more of the same.  The air conditioner is still running and the kids are still wearing shorts.  So today, I saying Down with Mother Nature and Down with the Heat!

Now there are going to be those people who say “What’s the big f’ing deal?  It’s hot here too.”  Same statement applies.  I am not sure of Ralph’s climate but whenever I think of California it is nothing but sun and heat.

There may also be those who will give me the business about living in a basic desert state.  It gets hot in the desert.  My Grandpa used to live in the extreme southern Utah town of St George where the summer temps routinely hit over 110 and cool off to the low 90’s at midnight.  That climate sucks.

Up here in Northern Utah we have seasons.  Or we used to.  Now it seems like it is just warm all of the time.  Last December a flannel shirt and a Levi jacket were warm enough.  “So Move.” Some of you will say.  That is not an option.  I would rather just bitch and hone some more cantankerousness.  There is nothing to be done about Mother Nature and whatever PMS is causing this heat wave.

Is it global warming?  I hope not, it will last too damn long for me.  I can only hope that the thermometer bottoms out and we end up having to leave a faucet on at night so the pipes don’t freeze this winter.

All in all there is a climate for every one and you just have to deal with where you are.  If you don’t like it, move.  If you don’t want to move, bitch about it, no one will really care.

Justin

Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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Caught Speeding

 Posted by at 11:44  rants
Feb 102015
 
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An image of two contradictory speed limit signs.

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The Open Road

I left the toll booth ready for the long drive back home. Vallejo was a bit congested but the traffic  lightened as I crossed the hills before Fairfield. I stayed with the traffic flow coming down the hill and I saw him sitting on the side of the freeway. He wasn’t even hidding like they usually do. This Officer was confident that he would catch speeders when they came over the hill before they had a chance to react to seeing him. As I moved past he pulled out and I knew just how the impala feels seeing a cheetah bounding towards him on the savana. I was a gonner.

By this time I was in the middle lane hoping to be inconspicuous as he pulled his cruiser behind me and turned on the lights. He had me. I pulled over to the shoulder and waited.

So what is speeding? 

There was no question that I was speeding. Everybody speeds in California because the speed limit is inexplicably low.  The question in my mind was why me. Out of all the cars speeding along I-80, how does the officer decide to target me and why is there a speed limit on a freeway anyway?

It’s been a few years since my last speeding ticket so maybe it is just my turn. Still, I have to wonder just what social benefit comes from enforcing speed limits on the Interstate Highway System. We are supposed to be grateful because the 55 mile per hour maximum was lifted a few years ago. When they established that 55 mph limit way back in the 70’s the politicians showed their hand. The 55 mph limit had nothing to do with safety. It was imposed to save gas during the oil embargo and also just to show us citizens who was in charge. We were beginning the age of the nanny state. From that time forward, it was impossible to believe that highway speed limits had any connection to safety. It was only social engineering keeping us from getting too uppity.  It had the additional benefit of bumping up the government revenue. It took speed trap enforcement out of backwoods, redneck America and made it a part of mainstream life for all Americans. It was the beginning of Cash Cow Cops.

Confuse and Obfuscate 

California raised the speed limit to 70 mph recently but unless you read the fine print, you might assume that the limit is 70 on all freeways. You would be wrong because only selected freeways have the higher speed limit. Which are they and how do you know? You have to read the signs. Just another way for the government to confuse and obfuscate and pick our pockets at the same time.

Still, California’s program to confuse and mislead drivers won’t get me off the hook. I know that I was going more than 70. But I did not know that I-80 still had a speed limit of 65. Would I have cared? Probably not but if the speed limit was 70 would the officer have chased me down? It might not have been worth his while. I can’t say.

 

What I do know is that I can’t stop being cynical about speed limits and the good intentions of the politicians who we elect to pass speed limit laws. I know that the government’s lowest prioritiy is my safety because the interstate system and my car are built to handle speeds much higher than 65 or even 70. I think that it’s all about control- making sure that I and my fellow drivers appreciate that all good things in life are because of the government and expecially making sure that the Cash Cow Cops, aka Highway Patrol keep the old cash drawer full during these hard time.

 

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Ralph

Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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Dec 232014
 
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Maybe next time?

In case you missed it, I got a speeding ticket last summer and ever since I have been trying my respectful best to get an explanation for the itemized charges listed on my courtesy notice. With the size of the fine and the fact that nearly 50 percent of those still holding jobs in California work for the government, you would think that there would be somebody that knows the answer to my questions.

So far I have discovered that it isn’t the courts and so I am taking the question to my assembly member. I’m pretty sour on elected officials these days. Last year letters to my Senators were not answered. But I remain an incurable optimist, wanting to believe that the system works and that in Blue California, even Democrats feel some responsibility to their constituents since I live in a district where Republicans have won in the past.

I feel just like Charlie Brown with the football, but here I go again looking for an answer from the government.

 

 

Dear Assembly Member:

A citation for speeding on I-80 last summer left me confused about the components of the penalty assessed by the Solano County Superior Court. While not disputing the violation, I could find no explanation for the services itemized in the Courtesy Letter from the Court (attached copy) or the actual monetary amount for these unrelated services.

I wrote a letter to the Court (attached copy) requested details about these items and an explanation for why I should be paying for services not required or related to my citation. Specifically, I question the medical airlift which I did not require and the charge for court security which, by paying my fine and not appearing in Court, I should actually be saving the Court’s time and relieving the burdens of Court security. Additionally , it seems unreasonable to assess me for the officer’s efforts to determine that I did in fact violate the speed limit which is in my opinion is part of his normal duties whether he is assessing my behavior or any of the other drivers on I-80. I do not dispute the responsibility for the fine but it seems wrong to add unrelated costs and the regular working duties of the offices on top of the specified fine.

Marilyn, deputy clear at the Solano County superior Court, replied to my letter (attached copy) but unfortunately none of the check boxes in the pre-printed form applied to my questions and she provided no further help.

I feel that as a taxpayer, I am entitled to full disclosure of the cost responsibilities assigned to me as part of the Court assessed charges on the Courtesy Letter including the actual amount for each, separate from the violation itself and the justification for adding them onto the fines for a speeding violation.

If I can’t expect an explanation from the Court regarding this matter, then I would like to know who in the vast bureaucracy of California government has that responsibility. Perhaps I am clinging to naive and old-fashioned notions but back when they used to teach civics in the schools, I learned that the government worked for me and not the other way around.

In the hope that somewhere in the vast California government payroll, there is somebody who first of all knows the answers to my questions and second of all, can find the time in their busy schedules to answer the question of a taxpayer, I am sending this question to you. hoping that you will either pass my request on to the right people or let me know where to send the request.

Sincerely,

Ralph Carlson

So now  I’m watching my mailbox again with eager anticipation.  I really hope that someone knows the answer to my questions and feels responsible to sit down and write me a letter.  With the amount of money I paid for the speeding ticket surely I am entitled to that.   Don’t you think?  Or am I really Charlie Brown?

 

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Ralph

Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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Jul 292014
 
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Official seal of County of Placer

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The Coots News Service does bi-coastal one better this week. CNS is going bi-continental with a news story from our home in California and one from Venice Italy where we will be vacationing for the next few weeks. (Can’t be sure about CNS for this interlude.  Bob says become a foreign correspondent and deduct the trip.  I’m not sure.  It is a vacation for Pete’s sake and maybe Bob will actually have to to some work around here.  You will just have to wait in eager anticipation.  Even I don’t know.) Both stories are bad news but let’s start with the one close to home. It’s an example of just how looney things can get in these modern times . Usually looney and California are associated very closely together  but parts of California are more prone to looniness than others. What stands out with this story is that the town considering this new ban is located in the most conservative county in the state.  If there is reason and principal anywhere in California, it ought to be in Placer County.

Rocklin California is upper middle class suburban lifestyle personified in a county that consistently votes conservative. That the City fathers would even consider a city-wide smoking ban just demonstrates how far the demonization of smoking has gone and how insane the anti-smoking people are. The issue was initiated by a woman who claims that her house is infiltrated with  second hand smoke from her neighbors who just happen to smoke in their own yard.

It is, of course obvious that this woman is a nut job of monumental stature.  She clearly has lost any ability to reason or use logic. She has been indoctrinated by the health wackos about the dangers of second hand smoke to the point of obsession. What is terrifying for the future of California is that elected officials are paying any attention to her. The woman is a laughing stock and should be publicly ridiculed. Instead they are considering infringing on property rights by criminalizing smoking on your own property. Is this America or the Soviet Union?  Will we let crazy people control what we do?  Apparently the City fathers in Rocklin will not protect us from loons.

CALIFORNIA TOWN CONSIDERING TOTAL OUTDOOR SMOKING BAN — EVEN ON PRIVATE PROPERTY

interior of the airport of Venice, Italy

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On the other side of the pond in Venice, Italy where my wife and I will be spending the next two weeks, City fathers are happy to welcome more airline connections with Marco Polo Airport. Venice is highly dependent on tourists to keep itself above water but enough is enough. In high season, the city is overrun with people trying to see all the sights. It is hard to see how adding more will make the economy better. At some point, people will say no more and go elsewhere. Already the city is trying to get control over the huge tour ships that dock in Venice. Why encourage more planes?

Venice launches 9 new international flights

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Ralph

Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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