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Presidential Candidate, Andrew Yang, Defends Truckers

Presidential Candidate, Andrew Yang, Defends Truckers

Campaigning in earnest for the 2020 presidential campaign has begun. The huge number of candidates are starting to separate themselves by emphasizing various talking points. Andrew Yang, a California based candidate, is using his platform to really take aim at the dangers of automation in regards to the economy. More specifically, he’s been discussing the negative impact automation could have on the trucking industry.

At a recent forum in Stuart, Iowa, Yang wondered aloud, “What are the truck drivers going to do when the robot trucks come and start driving themselves?” Yang went on to suggest that the country needs to devise a plan in order to cope with the loss of these jobs. In fact, he asserted that truck driving was the single most common job in as many as 29 states.

The rest of Yang’s discussion on automation and trucking centered on the notion that more and more auto companies are investing in the technology. Consequently, he worries that if there isn’t a comprehensive effort to smooth the transition between automation and our current system, then at least 3 million truckers could be out of a job.

Potential Solution

This number is jarring and does demand that we take a hard look at this soon-to-problem. Yang’s idea is that we offer a universal basic income plan, he’s labeled the “Freedom Dividend.” This is meant to help offset the job loss caused by automation. The plan stipulates that $1,000 would be awarded each month to every U.S. adult up to age 64, funded somewhat by a 10 percent”  value added tax” on tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

Yang makes some interesting points and his discussion digs deeper into the threat of automation. He maintains that if you take away all the truck driving jobs because they become automated, it’s not just the 3.5 million truck drivers affected. It’s also the people who work at the diners, truck stops, and motels. They will be devastated when trucks are no longer operated by people.

What do you all think? Is Yang on to something with his tax plan?

Express lanes will be added to U.S. Highway 101

Express lanes will be added to U.S. Highway 101

Express lanes will soon be added to the U.S. Highway 101 in order to alleviate the nightmarish traffic congestion between San Francisco and the Peninsula.

The project broke ground last month . It will span 22 miles from I-380 in San Bruno to the edge of Santa Clara County. The project has a budget of $513 million and is expected to be completed in 2022.

Many of the region’s large employers rely on this stretch of highway to get their employees to work. These are tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Apple.

The highway causes $5.4 billion in lost economic productivity every year, according to Rosanne Foust, president and CEO of San Mateo Country Economic Development Association.

The new express way will benefit the carpool commuters and tech buses in the region. It will provide free access to a lane designated for vehicles carrying three or more passengers. Other vehicles will eventually be able to access the lane by paying a toll via FastTrack.

Caltrans, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority and City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County spearheaded the joint project. They selected Nebraska-based Kiewit Corporation as the contractor
.

Funding

Facebook and Google funded the environmental phase. They also contributed $50 Million to the project’s construction budget, according to Foust. Both companies rely heavily on the highway to transport its employees in tech shuttles to and from its Menlo Park and Mountain View headquarters.

The California Gas Tax will account for $200 million of the project’s funding. The controversial tax rose the price of gas in the state by between 34.7 cents and 46.7 cents per gallon.

Officials project the 101 express lanes to be the most heavily used in the area. There is an expected average monthly express lane trips well above 1.2 million, according to a recent SMCTA meeting presentation.

Bill Aimed at Carbon Emissions in Trucking

Bill Aimed at Carbon Emissions in Trucking

On Friday a law that would phase out diesel trucks in the state of California was proposed. It’s part of a comprehensive effort by state legislators to rein in pollution and temper greenhouse emissions. Nevertheless, it undoubtedly will face fierce resistance from trucking companies and other corporations that depend on transporting products in semi-trucks.

Senator Nancy Skinner’s proposed bill would mandate that the Air Resources Board require a 40 percent cut in diesel emissions by 2030 and by 2050 that would increase to an 80 percent reduction. However, according to the experts, this rapid reduction wouldn’t be feasible without the complete overhaul of the trucking industry.

Currently, heavy and medium-duty buses and trucks comprise 7 percent of the vehicles out on the roads of California. However, these trucks are also pumping out 20 percent of the heat-trapping carbon emissions in our atmosphere.

This data comes courtesy of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy organization. Furthermore, these size trucks also create 33 percent of the state’s nitrogen oxides, which is the major ingredient in smog.

Currently, heavy and medium-duty buses and trucks comprise 7 percent of the vehicles out on the roads of California. However, these trucks are also pumping out 20 percent of the heat-trapping carbon emissions in our atmosphere.

Why the Urgency?

Senator Skinner made a point to say, “While California is a leader in climate protection, we still have dirty air.” She went on to say that asthma, lung and heart disease and other respiratory issues are on the rise in low-income communities that happen to be located near highways.

Part of the bill also appoints an undetermined amount of money to go to the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. This money would be earmarked for the development of alternate fuels and technology.

The bill is the most recent bit of maneuvering by the state to tackle the greenhouse gas emissions issue. This runs counter to President Trump’s drive to lessen fuel efficiency standards.

Truckers, and others on the front lines of the industry, are generally not on board with this bill. They are staunch defenders of diesel trucks and simply don’t think electric trucks will work.

Marijuana Offenses to be Wiped From Records

Marijuana Offenses to be Wiped From Records

San Francisco officials will get rid of over 9,000 marijuana convictions. Some offenses date all the way back to 1975, according to District Attorney George Gascon.

The plan to expunge past convictions is the result of a year-long review. It also comes after California voter’s legalized recreational marijuana in 2016. Several California cities have plans to throw out these offenses, however, the San Francisco Chronicle noted that their city is the first to get started.

For California officials tossing these convictions is the morally right thing to do. District Attorney Gascon pointed out that many of these convictions exclude people from participating in the community.

According to the District Attorney, exactly 9,362 felony and misdemeanor cases would be removed.

LASTING EFFECTS OF CONVICTIONS

Prior to starting this task, reportedly only 23 people had asked the city to clear their records. The reason for this is that the process is tough.

Officials say that getting records expunged involves hiring an attorney, petitioning the court, and attending a hearing. They also cited the expense which is no small amount. In many ways, those that were targeted in the war on drugs were also those least capable of financially handling it.

Perhaps the worst part of these marijuana convictions is how they negatively affect other areas of these people’s lives. For instance, with a drug charge it’s often much more difficult to get a loan or receive any kind of public assistance. Only time will tell, but the reversal of these convictions will aid those in getting relief who most need it.

District Attorney Gascon’s office also sought to emphasize the racial aspect in many of these arrests. They point out that African Americans comprised only 6 percent of the city population but made up half of its weed convictions. Officials took pride in the fact San Francisco was righting the wrongs of America’s failed drug laws.

FINDING ELIGIBLE CASES

To determine the cases eligible the city partnered with Code for America. The nonprofit streamlined the process using technology. They then quickly identified relevant cases. The nonprofit’s goal is to clear over a quarter million convictions in California by years end.

Opponents of the plan deem it wrong because officials aren’t considering the full breadth of the circumstances.

How about you guys? Now that marijuana is legal, should all weed related crimes be tossed?

San Francisco is Ready to be Shook!

San Francisco is Ready to be Shook!

San Francisco’s skyline is rapidly growing. At this rate, with the looming threat of a major earthquake, it’s time to prepare.  Mayor London Breed has passed along her executive decision to bolster the citizens’ ability to deal with a quake. Of course, if the Big One strikes.

It seems inevitable, an earthquake that will give the city a run, or a shake, for its money. The city already has intensive plans for an array of disasters, like fires or tsunamis, but earthquakes didn’t make the cut.

London Breed has begun modeling a “how to” playbook for citizens and businesses when facing the consequences of a major earthquake.

Chances are, San Francisco will be getting hit soon. A U.S. Geological Survey establishes that San Francisco has a 72% chance of being jolted by at least a 6.7 magnitude earthquake before 2043.

 Also, this executive order calls for development amidst building standards. The seismic standards for new buildings will be even tougher. Another change comes in city policy. The policies for departments of Energy Management, Public Works and Building Inspection are receiving their own revitalization.

So, why now?

All of these changes stem from a report in October – the Tall Building Safety Strategy. This report measured San Francisco’s 156 tallest towers and how they might handle an earthquake. The former mayor at the time, Ed Lee, was shocked when he came to the realization that the Millennium Tower was tilting! If, or when, the ground violently shakes, the structure could crumble. Citizens and lawmakers alike were calling for strategy revival.

Unfortunately, Breed’s plan doesn’t address the 68 high-rise-buildings included in the report that require inspection for “potentially undetected damage” from the Loma Prieta quake 30 years ago.  The buildings are constructed with fused steel, which is prone to cracking in the event of an earthquake. Sadly, this was discovered during the Northridge earthquake of 1994, in Los Angeles County.

The current standards for San Francisco’s building code estimate two to six months to repair any damage from a major earthquake. Breed calls for change. But, only time will tell how that change will arrive.

The Raiders Might Be Moving…

The Raiders Might Be Moving…

The Raiders face their last season in California and have been considering San Francisco’s AT&T Park as their last destination.

The fans of the Raiders don’t approve of the team playing their last season in San Francisco. Those who love and support the Raiders as an Oakland team are disappointed that the team is leaving to begin with; although these fans are further outraged by the idea that they might be playing their last season somewhere else.

San Francisco’s Supervisor, Elect Haney, doesn’t think the Giants should open their ballpark gates to the team. Oakland is San Francisco’s neighboring city and the last thing they want is to upset them. The two are already battling as a travel destination.Haney believes that San Francisco would disturb negotiations if they were to get in the middle of the deal.  When the 49ers were stolen by a neighboring city, the fans of the great San Francisco team didn’t appreciate it.

Haney, along with other citizens, caution the Giants on their big decision.

Those who are for the change, state that the Raiders did play in San Francisco in the 1960 to 1961 season.

There are no legal ramifications if the Raiders decide to play their last season at San Francisco’s Coliseum.  Oakland’s city anti-trust lawsuit for breach of contract with the NFL isn’t related to their location of their 2019 season.

Sports aren’t only business, they’re about fans and American nostalgia. The community doesn’t want the Giants, or the Raiders, to forget that. Therefore, people have been establishing their uproar on social media.

The Top Restaurant in the US: San Francisco’s Angler

The Top Restaurant in the US: San Francisco’s Angler

Are you looking for the new “it” restaurant to dine at in San Francisco? Angler just nabbed the number one spot of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants list.

Angler, which made its appearance last September, is a glamorous seafood restaurant located along the Embarcadero waterfront. Joshua Skenes, the chef of Angler, has already proved himself as top-quality with his other work. Chef Skenes’ expensive restaurant, Saison, has three Michelin stars and 10-course tasting menu.  This proves that Skenes is clearly of the caliber to lead Angler to take the top spot as best new restaurant.

Saison is one of the most expensive restaurants in the nation. Angler is a bit different than the high-cost Saison. The intention was for Angler to be a sequel of sorts, following the pricey Saison. Because of this, it is more accessible to a wider range of guests. Angler has cheaper plates than Saison (ranging from $12 to $28 for smaller plates, and $20 to $48 for main dishes), but still delicious food. Skenes builds Angler’s menu around the food that is currently fresh and accessible – which changes often. The restaurant space itself holds over 100 seats across two different dining rooms, along with lounge and bar areas.

Of course, people have been flocking to SF for the food choices for years. However, this year is a good one for SF foodies. The city is host to a whole lot of top-quality restaurants. There were two other noteworthy restaurants that made the Esquire list as well. Bar Crenn – run by Chef Dominique Crenn – ranked twelfth on Esquire’s list. Then, there was Che Fico, Chef David Nayfeld’s classy Italian restaurant, which tied for the seventeenth spot on the list.

Despite what type of food you’re craving or what you’re looking for when it comes to food, it is clear that there are top quality choices in San Francisco. What’s your favorite restaurant in SF? If you find yourself in the mood for some seafood, it looks like Angler is the new place to be!

Which is the Worst One? Bay Area Highways’ Congestion Rankings

Which is the Worst One? Bay Area Highways’ Congestion Rankings

Bay Area is famous to be one of the best cities at having the worst traffic. And I-80 still remains one of the worst ones, due to the Bay Area’s most dreadful commutes report.

An Annual analysis of weekday freeway traffic and the report found that the traffic is reducing in some cases, but there are no visible improvements as people would want during these 4 years of commutes.

The rates of congestions stay at the highest levels, and for easing it out, it will require people to change their way of getting around the city. Another way of easing it out can be cities that will build more housing closer to jobs, according to some commissioners.

For the 3rd year already, I-80 is in the 1st pace in this ranking of the worst congestions – from Cesar Chavez Street to the tunnel, called Treasure Island. In the 2nd place is also I-80 but in a different direction – starting in the morning and till the evening all the way from Hercules to the Bay Bridge toll plaza.

The report estimated the weekly (weekday) commutes by hours of delay or differences between driving times.

The homeward-bound backup causes 14,500 hrs. of delay, on a usual weekday, meanwhile, the westbound way to the Bay Bridge creates 12,650 hrs. of delay.

 

After all the done studies, we can round up 5 main highways with the worst commutes (the study includes 2017):

  • Highway 101 Southbound – in the afternoon – Fai Oaks Ave. to Oakland Rd. and 13th in Santa Clara County
  • I-680 North – in the evening – Scott Creek Rd. to Andrade Rd. in Alameda County
  • Highway 4 Eastbound – in the evening – Morello Ave. to Port Chicago Highway in eastern Contra Costa County

 

All the highways made big jumps in the time passed, but I-80. The Highway stays at the same position to be the worst one.

 

Take Care and Drive Safe!

 

Tech Expansion in San Francisco

Tech Expansion in San Francisco

Unlike other industries, technology in San Francisco is rapidly growing and changing the reality. While the unemployment and office vacancy rates in San Francisco are dramatically low, tech stocks set new highs. Software engineers get the pricey space in new towers at headquarters and support sales going to cheaper and roomier cities.

As the tech companies grow and expand their operations, their searches for employment and expansion opportunities go beyond Fan Francisco.

Vince Sollitto, the Vice President of Yelp, expressed his concern over talent attraction in San Francisco. He mentioned that it’s getting very tough to compete for talent in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Slack, the communications software company, has signed a lease on a building in Denver. The state of Colorado is offering great benefits in tax credits for a development that could create 550 jobs.

The largest software company in San Francisco remains Salesforce. It now has 8,400 employees in the city. The company possesses three skyscrapers in the southern Financial District. Nevertheless, the growing number of employees forced the company to open offices in Indianapolis. London has a Salesforce Tower, and a New York one opened last year. It is not yet announced, but Chicago and Atlanta are logical spots where the company plans to move. Marc Benioff, the ambitious CEO, believes that the city has a lot to do with their success.

But the city still remains as a magnet for entrepreneurs like Salesforce’s Benioff and Zendesk’s Svane. Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svan named the city as a mecca for entrepreneurs in his book “Startupland”.

San Francisco continues spurring innovative ideas and remains to ensure a prosperous environment for tech boosting.

The leading entrepreneurs believe that the past decades’ growth and tech boom made San Francisco as a “top five” world city.

 

1990ies the Best Decade for San Francisco

1990ies the Best Decade for San Francisco

The US economy was greatly boosting in the 1990ies. The growth rate was 4 percent annually which positively impacted in all industries.

San Francisco was the epicenter for growth. Violent crime decreased by 41 percent, as did HIV/AIDS deaths. The rent cost was affordable for most of the residents, unlike nowadays. Additionally, San Francisco wasn’t struggling homeless crisis as it does nowadays.

Among the prominent triumphs in the 1990s in the Bay Area was the invention of the World Wide Web, by Tim Berners-Lee. The invention came to dramatically change the course of life for government, businesses and society. Even though Berners-Lee never directly profited from his invention, for over 3 decades he was trying to guard it from the unforeseen consequences.

A few years later, Steve Jobs unveiled the first iMac. Craigslist started gaining popularity as a transaction tool and revolutionized the print media.

The sports industry in the Bay area was also thriving. The San Francisco 49ers won the 1994 Super Bowl, and the Oakland A’s scored two West Division titles coming off their 1989 World Series win.

The entire infrastructure of the city started changing in 90ies. The Presidio turned into the national park system. The Ferry Building and the Embarcadero waterfront promenade were built during that time.

In 1996, the city elected its first African American mayor, former Speaker of the California State Assembly, Willie Brown. Thanks to his efforts, within this period San Francisco’s budget, increased to US$5.2 billion and the city added 4,000 new employees.

He was among initiators who started the development and construction of the new Mission Bay neighborhood, and a baseball stadium for the Giants, AT&T Park which was 100% privately financed.

These remarkable events greatly affected the tourism and economy of San Francisco.