Q Consider the following scenario:
You are minding your business walking down the sidewalk. Two cars drive down the adjacent street and the car in front brakes suddenly. The car in the rear crashes into the car in front. The two drivers get out and start arguing aggressively. As you look at them, suddenly the two drivers walk over and punch you in the face.
What the heck? You were only a bystander!
Well, the BART strike did a similar thing to a third party not even involved in the strike -- the commuting public. Creating chaos for an innocent third party is not acceptable public policy. The right of the disputing parties ends where others' noses start!
FDR addressed this 80 years ago, taking the position that public employees should never be allowed to strike. I couldn't agree more. As has been suggested recently, the state should ban strikes by public employees or at least transit workers when striking would create turmoil for the public.
A The BART follies cost the Bay Area $73 million in lost worker productivity Friday alone, says the Bay Area Council, and likely millions more from Saturday through Tuesday, when partial service was restored. San Francisco Muni estimates it spent $100,000 on Friday to handle extra riders stranded by the BART walkout.
Now onto how another U.S. president handled a strike.
Q My anger is directed against state law that doesn't allow us to fire the BART workers. Ronald Reagan had the right idea with air traffic controllers. We don't want binding arbitration that gives unions sweetheart deals. We want our publicly financed facilities run in an efficient way with fair pay and efficient work rules. What the union was striking for was neither.
A These are the sentiments of so many.
Q Gary, a couple of years ago I called the appropriate cities to get the intersection of El Camino Real and San Antonio Road repaired. No results.
In your column last week you recommended using the online road repair website. I used that to let Caltrans know about the intersection and guess what -- fixed within a matter of days! THANK YOU, GARY AND CALTRANS.
Q The traffic lights on Brokaw Road are still problematic. Bad things happen in both directions. There have been times when traffic is backed up from North First Street toward Oakland Road in the evening. And there have been many more times when traffic is backed up at North First from people coming down from Oakland Road in the morning. It seems like the traffic light at First and Brokaw has a mind of its own and never does what it should. Will the lights ever be permanently timed?
A Yes, and soon. The city will be fixing detection loops this week. Once repaired, signal coordination will be restored.
Join Gary Richards for a chat noon Wednesday to 12:45 p.m. at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-920-5335. You can also find Gary's columns at www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow or www.mercurynews.com/traffic.