Analysis and Opinion – Iota Magazine Sat, 28 Aug 2021 16:00:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Analysis and Opinion – Iota Magazine 32 32 Opinion Tucson: I served in Afghanistan. We must help those who risked helping us | Local editorials and opinions Sat, 28 Aug 2021 13:30:00 +0000

Caleb Hayter

By Caleb Hayter Special at the Arizona Daily Star

Here is the author’s opinion and analysis:

On September 5, 2011, I left Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms with other members of my unit, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. Our destination was Sangin District in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. We wouldn’t be back for eight months.

Our mission was twofold. Our job was to keep the Afghan people safe from Taliban violence and to train them to eventually assume that security role.

During my time in Afghanistan, we worked with and depended on many Afghans, people who were just trying to live their lives in the shadow of poverty and war. They took risks to do so, knowing that they could be reported to the Taliban and suffer repercussions.

Each week we met with the elders from the local village to discuss the issues they were facing and to offer help where we could. We have spent countless hours training Afghan police and army soldiers, giving them the tools and the ability to defend their homeland against oppression.

We spent nights patrolling enclosures that someone kindly allowed us to use. I remember passing by a member of the Afghan Special Forces and hearing rumors that they had all tattooed their bodies with “Death to the Taliban”.

I remember seeing Afghans missing limbs and other body parts lost from IEDs the Taliban buried in their backyards and fields. We walked their streets, ate their food and slept under the same roofs. They just wanted a better life. And as our deployment eventually came to an end and we returned home, they had to continue to live with the danger in their country.

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Blurring the line between news and opinion | Opinion Wed, 25 Aug 2021 05:00:00 +0000

In today’s news industry, there are a variety of ways reporters and journalists convey a story to readers, listeners, and observers. Each is chosen based on the story being told. Some of these stories are clearly facts about what happened in an event and a reaction to the meeting or event. Others are opinion-based and may be the opinion of the news agency.

In recent years, some of those lines have become blurry with columns, infomercials, and news analysis articles.

The first three pages of the document are devoted to as many local stories as possible. With two new reporters joining our ranks, Maya Shimizu Harris and Ann Meyer, you may have noticed a variety of stories coming to your door or on your computer screen. Those stories our writers have worked a lot on will have a signature telling you who wrote the story. If you don’t see a signature, it’s probably a story submitted to us by an organization.

Other news articles we publish include articles from The Associated Press. These stories speak of events that occur in Michigan and Wisconsin, the country and the world. The EagleHerald is a member of The Associated Press, so we shared our stories with them and they share the stories of various other members for us to use. Articles from other Adams Publishing Group newspapers have shared their stories with us in the same way.

On Monday’s EagleHerald, we tagged a story as “News Analysis,” because our reporter, Shimizu Harris, came back and wrote a story about a picket line as the actions came to him. It was a different way of experiencing the event from a reader’s point of view compared to what we’ve posted in the past and we wanted to convey that to our readers. It was also a great opportunity to give our readers a journalist’s perspective.

If you follow this story, you are reading a more traditional story in today’s newspaper on the same subject.

Another type of story that you may have noticed that appears on our local news pages are our Something Extra columns by our staff. These are usually lighter stories that focus on the writer and the events he or she is involved with. Some are funny, others show a more emotional side to our writing team.

You’ll also see columns from local and national columnists throughout the newspaper. They always include the name of the editor (s) and / or the name of the column that accompanies them. You may have seen the columns we publish on our Healthy Life and Boomers pages from local organizations talking about different events and concerns they have for locals. You may have also read Dan Paul’s column on our community page. Paul’s chronicles focus on his view of events. They are generally caring and inspiring.

Apart from these two types, you will see most of the opinions on our opinion page. We publish talkative content like the voice of the newspaper like this article you are reading right now. Editorials like this are read and approved by our editorial team. We also publish similar editorials, but from newspapers in Wisconsin and Michigan. We indicate which paper and where it is in the editorial, where our opinion says exactly that.

We also publish the opinions of members of our community. Some of these are published as Letters to the Editor, which have more space and are accompanied by someone’s name. The sounds are shorter and unnamed.

The EagleHerald, as a news organization, wants to be as transparent as possible with our readers. We will never intentionally post anything to deceive our readers, so if you have a question about anything, please ask us or voice your concerns.

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Ramaphosa, Shabangu and Mthethwa should be among those prosecuted for the deaths of the miners of Marikana Mon, 23 Aug 2021 10:07:00 +0000

By Kenneth Mokgatlhe

Exactly nine years after the senseless massacre in Marikana, the families of the victims have not been compensated while the perpetrators got away with it.

Cyril Ramaphosa, Susan Shabangu and Nathi Mthethwa should be among those charged and prosecuted for their role in the deaths of 34 miners who demanded better wages and better working conditions.

The democratic dispensation issued by the ANC in 1994 made a decision to demilitarize the police force which was known for its brutality. Instead, the SAPS has been remilitarized, making it unreliable.

In the case of Marikana, the political and financial influence within the police was very visible. Ramaphosa was a member of the board of directors of London Mines (Lonmin) when the Marikana massacre took place in 2012; he has not explained his role so far.

Ramaphosa had lobbied the government before the massacre as he “called on” the government to take “concomitant actions” and “act quickly” against minors who engaged in industrial action.

There are commentators, journalists or opinion makers who want to tell us that Ramaphosa is better than Jacob Zuma when everyone is the same.

Zuma was elected by the ANC to the highest office when there were allegations of corruption against him.

Cyril Ramaphosa was directly involved in the massacre of 34 innocent minors in Marikana about nine years ago; he was vice president during the period in which our state was reportedly captured by the controversial Gupta family.

Ramaphosa didn’t stop there, he sought a court order to seal his bank details regarding his presidential campaign. We now know that Ramaphosa is not as transparent as he claimed. As we sit here, we don’t know who might capture our state as Ramaphosa refuses to let us know who “invested” in his tenure.

Our political system does not allow voters to vote for their favorite head of state, we are only allowed to vote for political parties. People cannot be blamed for voting for the ANC, the ANC should be blamed for electing delinquents as party leaders.

Ramaphosa has been the vice president and president of this country for over seven years; he had not helped implement the recommendations of the Farlam Commission on the Marikana massacre.

Ramaphosa once joked about going to visit Marikana at the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s birthday party, but that did not happen.

Speaking as if they were powerless and helpless, the ANC issued a statement calling on the government to help affected families. “We reiterate our call on the government to act swiftly in implementing programs that will help alleviate the plight of affected families and ensure that the conditions that led to this tragedy are addressed,” we said. read.

If the EFF was able to shell out R 1 million, then why would it be difficult for the party that runs the affairs of state? Who is responsible for the inventory? The ANC is not helpless. They often present themselves as victims; they should shape the appearance of the company. It is clear that there is no political will to help the widows and other victims of the Marikana massacre because they desperately want people to be able to forget what happened on August 16, 2012.

Kenneth Mokgatlhe is a freelance writer, political and social commentator.

The star

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The battle against COVID-19 is an opportunity to prioritize peace Sun, 22 Aug 2021 21:01:04 +0000

Last March, as much of the world went into lockdown, experts began to reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on violent conflict. Many feared that this added stress would exacerbate the underlying causes of the violence, while some believed there might be opportunities for peace, especially if warring factions regroup against a common (viral) enemy.

In a recent post guidance note, together with Corinne Graff from the US Institute of Peace and my colleague from the Center for Strategic and International Studies Janina Staguhn, we explored the relationship between COVID-19 and conflict.

Although the pandemic is far from over, our results show that to date, the pandemic has had little effect. direct impacts on violent conflict. The number of armed conflicts was already on the rise before last year and COVID-19 does not appear to have had a significant impact on this trend. While the direct impacts were less obvious, our evidence suggests that the pandemic has had several indirect impacts on violent conflict.

Concrete example: Afghanistan. The Taliban takeover last week has been a nightmarish scenario, especially when you consider the prospects for longer-term peace in a country that has continually been plagued by violent conflict for decades. While not as deadly as many feared (partly because the Afghan army quickly collapsed), the advance of the Taliban has increased the need for health services while compromising access, while limit the availability of COVID-19 vaccines. The inevitable emergence of new forms of violence, particularly against women and girls, will create new avenues for fragility to take root across the country. And it’s all happening in the midst of the threat forced displacement and humanitarian crises as Afghans flee at best the impending repression, at worst retaliation. While the Taliban’s rise to power may not have been directly impacted by the pandemic, the economic, social and health repercussions of their takeover will likely be exacerbated by the continued presence of COVID-19.

The research has identified three main indirect impacts. First, the pandemic has led to an increase in other forms of violence. Women in particular are disproportionately affected by the effects of the pandemic increases in gender-based and sexual violence. The closures have forced exploitative and violent relationships to continue nearby during a time of economic and health distress.

Second, the evidence suggests increases in the legitimacy of non-state armed groups as well as increases in the violent extremism, with the Islamists and far right extremist groups posing the greatest threat. Dissatisfaction with the government’s efforts to contain COVID-19 is a global phenomenon, as evidenced by the continued global protests in the past 18 months. Extremist groups and other armed non-state actors profit from this discontent – and the fact that people are spending more time online – organize, recruit and plan disruptive actions. In some cases, these groups have stepped in to fill gaps in governance and services, building their own legitimacy along the way. For example, gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Sinaloa cartel seized opportunities to “exploit the voids left by overwhelmed institutions” by enforcing closures and curfews and providing medical supplies and food . Hezbollah has also used its ability to provide health services to gain power and legitimacy in Lebanon. The more legitimacy these groups gain during COVID-19, the more difficult it will be to control their negative impact on peace in the future.

Finally, the pandemic has exacerbated the underlying conditions that make countries more vulnerable to armed conflict, including poverty and inequalities levels, ascending authoritarian leadership globally and the weakening of traditional global norms and institutions. In our analysis, these health and humanitarian, economic and governance impacts are of most concern in the long term. Any of these – let alone a combination – could lead to increased levels of violent conflict.

The indirect impacts of COVID-19 may take time to metastasize; however, this does not mean that governments and donors should de-prioritize prevention and peacebuilding efforts. Quite the contrary. Evidence suggests that peace is more achievable if conflicts are resolved before they escalate into armed violence. Now is the time to prioritize peace.

Sadly, many aid donors and multilateral institutions are distracted by global health and climate emergencies, not to mention the seemingly endless tragedies in places like Haiti and Afghans. While these are all important areas of intervention, it is equally important to incorporate coordinated, long-term strategies to deal with the potential for future conflicts throughout our response efforts.

Policymakers should start by conducting a deeper and more integrated analysis to understand the full extent of the pandemic’s impact on peace. Even if they learn more, they should incorporate what we know about conflict prevention into pandemic response and humanitarian aid efforts.

Countries should also redouble their efforts to immunize people in places affected by armed conflict. Vaccines are a win-win: while providing protection against the virus, ceasefires and the protection of the humanitarian space required to administer them provide opportunities on which to build peace. In vaccine delivery and beyond, policymakers should prioritize supporting credible subnational entities – including local governments and civil society groups – that are critical to delivering services to vulnerable people and whose legitimacy is important for lasting peace.

The United States can and should do these things. Although they differ depending on the local context, peacebuilding efforts generally focus on the same indirect impacts that we present in our research. In other words, policymakers do not need to start from scratch as they integrate violent conflict prevention and peacebuilding goals and programs into COVID-19 responses. The Review of stabilization assistance and Global fragility law both provide “useful frames to integrate conflict awareness and prevention of violent conflict into pandemic response efforts.

It is important to protect people from a deadly virus. Equally important is ensuring that responses to the pandemic lay the foundation for peace along the way and, at the very least, do not hamper the prospects for it.

Erol Yayboke is Director and Principal Investigator, Fragility and Mobility Project, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Follow him on Twitter: @erolyayboke

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US role in Afghan resettlement becomes next political battle in fallout from US withdrawal Sun, 22 Aug 2021 14:03:00 +0000 Long before the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, the reception of refugees in the United States had become an unstable political issue for the Biden administration, complicated by the humanitarian crisis on the US-Mexico border and opposing pressures from conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats who demanded that Biden follow through on his campaign promise to raise the US refugee ceiling.
Former President Donald Trump, who came to power often using racist rhetoric to describe immigrants, set the stage for this debate during his presidency by drastically reducing the number of refugees the United States was prepared to accept – ultimately reducing the cap to 15,000 for fiscal 2021. He then armed Biden’s more welcoming stance towards refugees during the 2020 campaign, falsely alleging to a gathering at the end of September that Biden would turn Minnesota “into a refugee camp” and open “the floodgates to radical Islamic terrorism.” Trump, still the GOP’s most influential figure, dug into the language on Saturday night alongside his approved candidate for the 2022 state Senate race, Representative Mo Brooks.

Images of desperation from inside Afghanistan are creating complex new dividing lines in this debate as US lawmakers attempt to define the extent of US responsibility to get vulnerable Afghans out of the country and find them a place where to go. There is a nascent division within the Republican Party – fueled in part by anti-immigrant rhetoric on Fox News and from Trump loyalists – that is sure to intensify as more and more Afghans are charged. on planes looking for permanent housing in the United States and other countries. .

Over the past week, many Republican governors and senators have spoken out about the United States’ obligation to assist with the relocation of Afghans – especially those who contributed to the American war effort – including Utah Governor Spencer Cox, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, Texas Senator John Cornyn and Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who told a Kentucky TV station that “we have to take care of them.” Ernst said Iowa KCCI 8 that she and other lawmakers are pushing to get as many at-risk Afghans out as possible “and we would love to have them here in Iowa.” Earlier this month, GOP Utah Senator Mitt Romney tweeted on “our Afghan friends”, calling on Biden to “rush urgently to defend, save, give and extend asylum”.

But some loyal Trump followers – and the former president himself – have spent the past week engaging in a revisionist story about their own role in the Afghan crisis, including their relentless plea for drastic cuts in the total number. refugees accepted by the United States – – a major factor in the current backlog in visa processing.

Former Trump Senior Advisor Stephen Miller tweeted last week that the focus should be “on regional relocation – not mass relocation within the United States.” If the United States is not careful, Miller warned, “all we might have to show for 20 years in Afghanistan is a failed terrorist state, a humanitarian catastrophe and an immigration policy that has brought about the threat of jihadism on our coasts ”.
Former Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes tweeted a picture of a plane full of people leaving Afghanistan with the caption, “Raise your hand if you want this plane to land in your town?” ”

Trump first appeared sympathetic to Afghans at risk on Monday, asking why the US military was leaving before civilians “and others who have been good to our country and should be allowed to seek refuge.” But on Wednesday, he released a statement criticizing an image of Afghans leaving the country on a US military plane: “This plane should have been full of Americans. America first!

On Saturday night, Trump suggested that some desperate Afghans deserve US help, but he has not articulated a clear position on how many Afghans should be relocated to the United States. The former president went on to boast of how his administration “has dramatically reduced refugee admissions and kept radical Islamic terrorists out of our country.”

He also criticized Biden for rescinding his travel ban restricting entry to the United States from predominantly Muslim countries. “Biden has revoked this magnificent and wonderful travel ban and increased the resettlement of refugees from the world’s most dangerous countries,” Trump said. “The most dangerous terrorists in the world, they are entering our country now, no problem. ‘Come in, I love having you.’ It’s a sick culture and our country is a disaster, and it is going to die before your eyes if this madness is not stopped. “

Many details remain unclear

Amid questions about whether the United States will expand its special immigrant visa program, Biden – who will again be commenting on the evacuation underway on Sunday afternoon – mostly focused on the immediate crisis to get American citizens and Afghans who helped the American war effort out of Kabul.

In an interview with ABC News Last week, Biden said he believed the United States would need to help evacuate “between 50,000 and 65,000” Afghans in total, a figure that includes the Afghan visa and refugee claimants as well as their families.
Last month, the State Department announced it was expanding access to the U.S. refugee program to some Afghans who did not qualify for the special immigrant visa program, which was created to help Afghans. and Iraqis who participated in the American war effort to resettle in the United States if they were targeted because of this work.
But some aid groups have argued that Afghanistan’s rapid fall to the Taliban means the United States must dramatically expand its efforts to help tens of thousands more Afghans at risk – and talks about the number of people who can be accommodated in the United States and other countries are still very fluid.
Fact check: Trump administration officials attempt to rewrite their own history of Afghanistan
In a letter to Biden Last week, the president of Refugees International said the United States should express its willingness to first resettle up to 200,000 Afghan refugees “as part of an international responsibility-sharing effort to rescue and resettle Afghans in danger ”.

Asked about widely varying estimates of how many Afghans will need to be evacuated at a briefing on Friday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US government was still trying to determine the number of people who wish to be resettled and to make contact with these people.

“We’re going to do whatever we can for as long as we can for as many people as we can,” he said. But Price was reluctant to estimate how many Afghans the U.S. government could help before Biden’s self-imposed deadline for the August 31 withdrawal.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin authorized the use of Fort Bliss, Texas and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin to provide temporary housing and support for up to 22,000 special immigrant visa applicants, their families and ” other people at risk, ”Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby. noted. The army at Fort Lee in Virginia had already begun to receive Afghan citizens as part of “Operation Allies Refuge”.

At least 26,500 people, including Afghans and foreign nationals, have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban began their advance on Kabul, according to data analyzed by CNN on Saturday. That total includes 2,500 U.S. citizens who were among the 17,000 people the U.S. has evacuated since Aug. 14, according to Gen. Hank Taylor, deputy director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for regional operations, who briefed the U.S. Pentagon reporters on Saturday.

But the tide of people desperate to leave the country continues, a point underscored by the deaths of seven Afghan civilians in the crash of people near Kabul airport, according to a spokesperson for the UK Defense Ministry.

Afghans at risk were airlifted to Doha, Qatar, which greeted them as they are processed and prepare for the journey to final destinations, and the first flights with evacuees from Afghanistan have arrived at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany – which is building capacity to temporarily accommodate up to 7,500 people by Sunday night. Details on where they will be permanently housed have been much more difficult to come by.

In a statement Friday evening, Secretary of State Antony Blinken thanked twelve countries – Bahrain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Qatar, Tajikistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan – for their partnership with United States. to help Americans and others transit “through their territories safely.”

Blinken also said that 13 countries had “made generous offers regarding efforts to relocate Afghans at risk,” including Albania, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Mexico, Poland, Qatar, Rwanda, Ukraine and Uganda. .

But there is still very little clarity on how coordination will work among these many countries and whether public opinion in the United States could influence Biden and his willingness to accept more Afghans than originally anticipated.

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Reviews | Persuade vaccine refractories Mon, 09 Aug 2021 16:47:39 +0000

Ben silverman
Playas de Rosarito, Mexico

For the publisher:

Re “What To Do With Our Covid Rage,” by Sarah Smarsh (guest op-ed essay, Sunday Review, August 8):

At some point, this country will have to stop trying to save those who don’t want to be saved and start focusing on those who do, rolling out reminders in their homes and more aggressively delivering vaccines to poorer countries. . The Delta variant is only the current threat, but it is not from the United States. The best way to channel the wrath of Covid is to put the weight of this country behind a global vaccination effort to prevent future, and certainly more deadly, variants and stop wasting our outrage on people who will never be convinced.

Conversation of opinion
Questions around the Covid-19 vaccine and its deployment.

Fred kinch
Westfield, New Jersey

For the publisher:

Re “No, the unvaccinated aren’t all just picky,” by Bryce Covert (guest op-ed essay,, Aug 6):

It’s so refreshing to see an intelligent discussion of this complex issue instead of just a narrow-minded, kind / mean rant. I feel like Marvel movie writers and writers have too much in common lately – no complexity, no depth, just a tasteless division of the world between us and them. No one will ever be motivated to be vaccinated by being caricatured and humiliated in the public square. Thanks for something different and worth thinking about.

Rita Grace Atmajian

For the publisher:

If an enemy foreign power had killed over 600,000 Americans, there would be no doubt that we were at war. Covid-19 is the common enemy – and regardless of your political party, it is high time to recognize that we are in the same boat and that the only way to emerge is to get vaccinated, wear masks and pay attention to the most vulnerable among us.

As the grandmother of two infants who cannot be vaccinated, I am kept awake at night due to the Delta variant. This worry will not go away until I am convinced that more Americans who can be vaccinated see it as their civic duty and, yes, their moral responsibility, to get vaccinated.

Merri Rosenberg
Ardsley, New York

For the publisher:

In the continuing and evolving Covid crisis, I think it is appropriate for the free market system to come into play. It is time for health insurance companies to declare that they will no longer cover the health costs caused by Covid for people not intentionally vaccinated. People can always make their own choice of whether or not to get the vaccine, but the responsibility would then rightly fall on them.

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Death on Jefferson Boulevard shows how Dallas fails to calm traffic Mon, 09 Aug 2021 07:01:26 +0000

Armando Leija Esparza was mowing a customer’s lawn in Winnetka Heights when a speeding driver hit him and killed him on July 19. Death shattered his family and sent shivers down the spine of many North Oak Cliff residents who were already alarmed by the speeding tickets along Jefferson Boulevard. . Police said the Honda Civic that struck Leija was traveling at 76 mph when it collided with another vehicle and pulled off the road.

Neighbors’ concerns about speeding were so acute that they formed a task force in early 2021 to study the problem and improve safety along Jefferson’s Road through the neighborhoods of Winnetka Heights, LO Daniel and Sunset Hill. The group proposed closing one lane in each direction along Jefferson Boulevard to reduce the section between Hampton Road and Polk Street from six to four lanes, flush with the shopping district along the east end of the boulevard.

We are pleased that City of Dallas officials are working with residents to explore traffic calming initiatives. The city will conduct a three-month pilot project on the task force’s proposal and temporarily close lanes along Jefferson Boulevard – what city planners and traffic engineers call a “highway regime.” The pilot, also known as the demo, is scheduled to start the week of August 16.

Dallas residents should also note that the city’s proposed budget for 2022 includes $ 500,000 for traffic calming initiatives in residential areas, including highways, speed bumps and other structures. to protect pedestrians.

Road diets are nothing new to North Oak Cliff. The city tried one last year on Hampton Road, where the lanes only closed on weekends. However, this had the unintended consequence of driving some of the traffic through the streets of the neighborhood, said Pro Mayor Tem Chad West, who represents North Oak Cliff.

We support thoughtful efforts to mitigate unsafe traffic patterns, especially in residential areas. But because the urban mesh is so complex, the city must be particularly diligent. Traffic calming demonstrations require careful data collection and analysis, and we hope Jefferson’s Highway Regime reveals information that points the city toward solutions that work for both pedestrians and responsible drivers.

It is important to understand the fear and frustration that drove the residents of North Oak Cliff to create the Jefferson Boulevard Traffic Task Force led by volunteers. Russ Aikman, chair of the task force, recalled an incident last summer when a driver lost control and entered a dental clinic near Edgefield Avenue. It was dark, so the clinic was empty and no one was injured.

Months later, Aikman took his dog for a walk. As he turned onto Jefferson Boulevard, he noticed a lamppost and a traffic sign that had been overturned near Windomere Avenue.

It was then that he realized he had had enough.

“Between me and others, we thought, ‘This is just plain wrong,’” Aikman said.

Working with city staff, the task force learned that there had been more than 230 accidents on Jefferson Boulevard between Hampton Road and Tyler Street in the span of about four years, most of them caused by a non -respect of traffic lights. The task force also looked at city data which showed that at a few intersections along this stretch, one sixth to one fifth of west or eastbound traffic exceeds 40 mph, even though the speed limit is 30 mph.

The Dallas Police Department also spoke to the task force, Aikman said. The department has a dedicated traffic unit, although, as our colleague Sharon Grigsby pointed out in a recent column, the unit’s enforcement arm is woefully small: four sergeants and 22 officers.

At least two neighborhood associations have sent letters to West, the council member, officially supporting the highways regime on Jefferson Boulevard. West told us that if the neighbors decide after the protest that they would like to make the lane reduction permanent, they can ask the city for the change. This process involves analysis by city staff and requires a public hearing, with mandatory notification to all landlords within a certain distance. The city council would ultimately make the decision.

West told us the city is moving forward with other traffic calming initiatives in Oak Cliff. He said at least five pedestrian islands – raised concrete medians to protect people crossing wide intersections – are underway. One was recently installed on Colorado Boulevard and Turner Avenue. Another pending neighborhood approval would be located near James Hogg Elementary School.

West is also pushing the concept of roundabouts, which are structures installed in the middle of neighborhood intersections. Think of them as mini roundabouts that force drivers to slow down on streets with little traffic but still have speed issues.

Mayor pro tem said he would ask city council for permission to use District 1 bond funds to pay for two roundabout protests, including one near Sunset High School. The location of the second has not yet been determined.

“These will be examples, if the council approves it, where the rest of the city can come and see if they like them, and we’ll create a program where neighborhoods can apply,” West said.

We’re curious to see where this experience goes, and hope that the effective strategies for taming the traffic will spread to other parts of Dallas.

Neighborhood involvement is key to these initiatives, but we wonder how many people in this city even know Dallas has a traffic management program designed to work with neighbors on speed control and related issues. .

Although the city advertises the traffic management program on its website, it should consider hosting information sessions to educate residents. It should specifically target areas that do not have a neighborhood association or where language barriers may prevent residents from reaching the city.

Dallas doesn’t have unlimited money and resources, so it’s important to temper expectations about options and time frames. Nonetheless, residents should be provided with a basic knowledge of the tools that already exist to help them.

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Opinion: The Big Gear Show hosts a successful invite-only event in Park City Fri, 06 Aug 2021 19:58:10 +0000

PARK CITY, Utah (BRAIN) – The Big Gear Show was a success. It’s that simple. Normally I would be tempted to use the phrase ‘modest achievement’, but that doesn’t reflect the general enthusiasm of exhibitors and retailers for what should be called a sort of outing party for the bicycle industries, outdoor and paddle sports. . The Big Gear Show, in fact, got high scores on several levels.

The site – a large parking lot at Deer Valley Ski Resort – was flanked by a paddle-proof pond and a lift system that offered the chance to test out a few bikes. The site’s altitude of 6,500 feet tempered the heat of the blazing sun. And more importantly, a gentle breeze blew steadily throughout the day, moving through the exhibitor and meeting tents, easing concerns about the threat of infection. Free masks were available, hand sanitizer was plentiful, and I guess most of the attendees had been vaccinated.

It was also a coming out night for the NBDA and Heather Mason, the new president of the NBDA. The nonprofit has hosted a number of seminars – some packed with resellers and others less so. But that’s normal. Still, dealers would regularly gather at the NBDA’s outdoor pavilion and do what dealers do – talk business and swap stories about COVID strategies and, of course, retailer-supplier relationships.

The NBDA, a sponsor of the show, also announced its bicycle retail excellence awards at a ceremony on Wednesday in a spacious tent filled with attendees. Not bad. And PeopleForBikes had a booth and Rod Judd, Director of Membership and Development, served as the NBDA panelist.

Overall, the Big Gear Show got off to a good start as an invite-only event with no track record. And the exhibitors were so happy with the venue, the weather and the better than expected (but never enough) retail attendance, and many said they would come back next year.

Joel Grabenstein of Yakima, vice president of sales, branding and product marketing, put it this way. “The return on investment was well worth it,” he said, as staff showcased products targeting the land market. And it was just as important, said Grabenstein, to get his team out of Portland to meet face-to-face with dealers, friends and other exhibitors. Yakima will be back next year, he added.

Larry Pizzi, best known for his long-standing efforts to promote e-bikes as a key industry product for future growth, was all smiles at the three-day event. As Alta Cycle’s commercial director, Pizzi met friends and dealers he hadn’t seen since COVID locked the nation in over a year ago. Pizzi has signed a few orders, learned about retail issues, and sat on an NBDA panel to discuss the current state of the industry.Tuesday's state of the bike industry panel drew a lot of people.  Billy Michels Photography

But more importantly for Alta, said Pizzi, outdoor retailers were traveling to assess the potential to add bikes to their sales area. Retail cross-traffic may well be one of the show’s key attributes for next year.

Others, like George Simone, National Sales Director for G-Form, and Eric Stobin, North American Sales Director for Wahoo, have said much the same.

The outdoor / bike swap has also gone the other way: bike retailers like John Robinson of Columbus, Ohio’s Johnny Velo store have spent time in the outdoor space checking out Jet Boil stoves and d ‘other items that it can store for its cycle tourist customers.

Later, I wandered around an array of paddling businesses flanking the pond in search of Bill Kueper, vice president of Canoe, Inc., at the suggestion of Sutton Bacon, the founder of the show. It was a double mission: to check out a new part I needed for a kayak I bought years ago from and get a feel for how the paddle sports industry was going.

The big gear show:

  • 138 exhibiting companies contributed 206 individual brands.
  • 421 invited resellers.
  • 71 people in the media.

Kueper, an avid cyclist as well as an experienced waterman, was pleased with the dealership participation. But equally important, he said, was the chance to meet competitors and resume discussions on e-commerce strategies, supply chain issues and how to help improve retail. paddle sports. COVID had put these discussions on hold. “This show saved me at least half a dozen flights,” Kueper said.

So here is my take out for what it’s worth. I will readily admit to being a salon addict. The demise of Interbike (and there are a dozen reasons why it imploded) led to a new industry divide, hampered opportunities for new businesses, and exacerbated misunderstandings between suppliers and dealers. . Let’s be honest, it’s easy to impose onerous freight charges, for example, if executives don’t have to make eye contact with their dealers every now and then.

The Big Gear Show, with its invitation-only format, offers vendors and retailers in attendance a chance to discuss issues one-on-one in a more cooperative atmosphere. But no one should expect Trek or Specialized to sign up. Still, at least Giant had a representative there to meet with the show’s organizers.

Diamondback had one of the busiest tents in the cycle area.  Billy Michels PhotographyAs the retail market undergoes a radical overhaul (think COVID, supply chain disruption, consolidation, removal of margins, etc.), the notion of outdoor retailers giving away kicking a bicycle supplier’s tent is good news. The Big Gear Show could open up new opportunities for small and medium-sized vendors, increasingly marginalized by Trek and specializing in the traditional IBD market, to find new market opportunities, especially for companies like Go- Cycle, Magnum and others.

The loss of Interbike also hit new entrepreneurs hard. And this was reported by Tucker Richardson, senior product manager at Galéo, a company that I’m sure dealers have never heard of. It is an avionics company in Fargo, North Dakota, which has some 150 employees and manufactures products for the aviation industry. This is not a Kickstarter business.

Galeo has developed what is essentially a motion detector with GPS capabilities that can be attached to the bolt holes of a bicycle’s water bottles. As Richardson pointed out, several million bikes are stolen every year and this device could make a difference. But it’s hard to gain traction, much less attention, in an industry that doesn’t have a trade show. CABDA has three events planned, but that’s an expensive proposition when it comes to showcasing new products from a company that no one has heard of. And mainstream events pose even more challenges.

The Big Gear Show will never replace Interbike or Outdoor Retailer, although OR is struggling in Denver with a number of large companies withdrawing from the show next week. OU should return to Salt Lake. But BGS offers a compelling multisport format, held outdoors, in a pleasant location, at a reasonable time of year, that exhibitors can afford and retailers can visit. So, I wish them the best for the future.

Related: Daily coverage of the Big Gear Show by Outside Business Journal.

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Opinion: Threat of American Secession: Imagining a Calexit Scenario Fri, 06 Aug 2021 11:45:56 +0000

It was gun violence that ultimately caused California to secede from the United States.

A series of mass shootings culminated in a savage attack on a Sacramento-area school that killed 35 children and two cops. The shooters used high-capacity rifles, pistols and magazines – weapons that were illegal in California until the United States Supreme Court overturned the state’s gun control laws. Californians raged that Tory judges had indeed murdered their children.

That anger escalated into a cold civil war, with California’s elected leaders openly defying federal authorities and laws by banning most firearms. An authoritarian Republican president retaliated with an economic blockade of the state. After right-wing militias invaded the state and slaughtered California Highway Patrol officers, the governor declared his intention to leave the Union, subject to the outcome of a voter referendum.

This path to Californian nationality is a fiction, at least for the moment. But this narrative – coined by writer David French in his 2020 book Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation – might be the most realistic scenario for a Calexit I’ve encountered.

The scenario has a particular power because the French is a careful and rigorous thinker who desperately wants the United States to remain united. A lawyer, military veteran, and champion of socially conservative causes, he is also true to America’s tradition of pluralism: he broke early and decisively with his allies to oppose President Trump and hard-line partisanship. His book is an unbiased examination of how Americans, not only across the political spectrum but also across the country’s geography, have come to hate those with whom they disagree.

French argues that this negative polarization is so extreme that the country may well separate. To demonstrate just how real the threat is, he offers two too possible scenarios – a departure from Texas rooted in abortion politics and a standoff over gun rights in California.

The Calexit scenario is based on Californians’ fears of a minority and illegitimate regime due to issues with the Senate, Electoral College and Supreme Court.

In French’s Calexit scenario, Republicans eliminate Senate filibustering to give their president extraordinary powers to subdue California. The Supreme Court is filled with conservatives because Republicans blocked previous appointments of Democratic presidents. Californians consider the president illegitimate because he lost the popular vote in an election marked by the suppression of voters.

When the governor of California declares her referendum on independence, she asks the president to respect the results of the vote. The Republican Commander-in-Chief, acknowledging that leaving California will ensure a conservative-dominated America, is seeking to encourage Californians to leave the Union. He is suing a conservative who is anathema to California and says that if Californians vote to stay in the Union, the state will come under military rule.

Thus, Californians vote overwhelmingly to leave the Union. Soon Oregon and Washington join them.

The French believe Americans can prevent such a split in their country by embracing tolerance and pluralism. He defends “the rights of communities and associations to govern themselves according to their values ​​and beliefs – as long as they do not violate the fundamental rights of their dissident members”.

Despite his conservative views, he advocates, in the service of national unity, to let progressives in states like California go their own way.

If Americans don’t rediscover pluralism, the results will be bad not only for the country, but for the world, argues French. With the United States distracted by its own breakup, French suggests, China could seize Taiwan, Russia could reclaim Eastern Europe, and other secessionist conflicts could escalate.

It is sobering analysis. But in the light of this Californian, the end results of French’s Calexit scenario don’t sound so bad. New England is creating its own democratic nation. Millions of Americans are moving to places better aligned with their politics. And Californians seem happier.

Joe Mathews writes the Connecting California column for Zócalo Public Square.