Longtime readers will know that I have spent a lot of time in Half Moon Bay, Calif., over the past 15 years. So yesterday's events shocked me:
Seven people are dead following two linked shootings in the Northern California city of Half Moon Bay, officials said.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office tweeted at 3:48 p.m. Monday that they were responding to a shooting “with multiple victims in the area of HWY 92 and the HMB City limits.” The office tweeted roughly an hour later that a suspect was in custody and there "is no ongoing threat to the community at this time."
San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus confirmed at a press conference Monday evening that seven people were killed in two related shootings. She said four victims were found dead from gunshot wounds at a location in the 12700 block of San Mateo Road, also known as Highway 92, around 2:30 p.m. A fifth victim was discovered with "life-threatening injuries" and transported to Stanford Medical Center. They remain there in critical condition.
California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) learned of the shooting while at the hospital with victims of Sunday's mass shooting in Los Angeles.
Neither the National Rifle Association nor the right-wingers suing Illinois over its latest attempt to regulate military weapons commented, though we can all expect them to say it's "too soon" to talk about why we're still the only country in the OECD where this happens. Perhaps they'll talk to the San Mateo County farm families mourning their loved ones today?
I love this chart from Twitter user Jay Cuda:
If you don't want to click through to Twitter, here's Jay's chart:
The chart doesn't tell the whole story, does it? For example, both Chicago teams, both New York teams, Boston, DC, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Oakland are all about the same distance from downtown, but easily accessible by train. (Chicago's are both on the same El line, in fact.) Atlanta's and LA's parks, by contrast, are approximately the same distance but completely inaccessible by any form of public transit. (Atlanta's new park even appears deliberately located to prevent those people from getting there.)
I speak from personal experience, as long-time Daily Parker readers know: I've been to every one of them, except the new Atlanta park, which I refuse to visit because of its anti-democratic location.
Welcome to an extra stop on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Black Hammer Brewing, 544 Bryant St., San Francisco
Train line: Caltrain, San Francisco terminal
Time from Chicago: about 4½ hours by air
Distance from station: 600 m
I spent most of Monday in Palo Alto, Calif., one of the few places in California that has an actual commuter rail station. Caltrain's northern terminus, at 4th and King, is only three blocks from an actual brewery, so naturally I stopped in.
My $20 flight started with the Jaded River ESB (5%), a West Coast interpretation of English bitter ale that tasted good to me but had a stronger hop concentration than any Real Ale I've had over there. Next I tried their flagship Western IPA, the Kaleido APA (6%), which had a big flavor for something billed as an APA, with lots of hops and just the right amount of malt. I'm sure you can pick out the Cuddle Puddle NEIPA (6.1%), with all that hazy, Citra goodness, that actually tasted a lot lighter than I expected. I finished with the Vesuvio DIPA (8.1%), a huge beer that sneaks up on you before you get a small explosion of grapefruit, orange, and what I can only describe as Humboldt County mother nature.
Special mention goes out to this guy:
Growler—and what a name for a brewery dog—kept flirting with me before deciding that I didn't have any treats on me, even though my coat pocket smelled just like the bacon nibbles I carry for Cassie. So after someone put him on the barstool across from me, he stared. And stared. And willed me to bring him a treat. Because he knew that the bartender had a whole box of them, and at some point, I would crack and bring him one.
He was absolutely right.
Beer garden? Sidewalk, covered
Dogs OK? Clearly
Televisions? Two, avoidable
Serves food? BYO
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
I can't remember ever taking an umbrella to California, but I'm packing one today. So instead of the sunny and cold weather I've usually experienced in San Francisco, the forecast calls for wet and cold weather every day I'm there, with the sun coming out right after I leave.
Here in Chicago, we've had just 20% of possible sun this month, which WGN points out has completely obscured that we have 15 minutes more daylight than we had at the solstice. On the other hand, so far we've had the 4th-warmest January in history, with significantly above-normal temperatures predicted through the end of the month.
At least I'll see the sun on my flight today...
For the first week of 2023, Chicago got just 2% of possible sunlight, with no sun at all since last Monday. Normal for January is 40%.
On the other hand, so far it's the 4th-warmest January in history, almost 10°F (6°C) above normal, with the 8-to-14 day forecast predicting much above normal temperatures. Note the top 7 are all in the past 31 years.
Unfortunately those two things correlate strongly. So we probably won't get a lot of sun until it either cools down or warms up. Such is winter in Chicago.
At least we haven't gotten 30 cm of rain, like parts of California...
I have to work tomorrow, but come on, it's the Thursday before a mandatory 4-day weekend, so Cassie might just get extra walks. So it turns out I've already mostly caught up on my reading for the day. Still, a trio of car-related articles got my attention.
First, Jersey City, N.J., the next town over from where I lived right before I started this blog, had zero traffic fatalities so far this year:
That Vision Zero milestone comes with a caveat — it only reflects the roads that the city maintains. Several major corridors that cut through its downtown belong to Hudson County or the state, and have continued to rack up crash victims. Still, Jersey City is about to end its safest year on record, bucking a deadly national trend. And local leaders are intent on pushing forward with more improvements that will eventually encompass more of the city and region.
Jersey City is the rare municipality that has embraced the spirit of tactical urbanism — a practice where quick DIY fixes are deployed to nudge officials to make more permanent changes. That approach is what attracted Street Plans, a design and planning firm that helped the city write its ambitious bike master plan, which followed a similar approach.
Meanwhile, 5,000 kilometers to the northeast, a bridge in Stonea, England, puts the 11-foot-8 bridge in Durham, N.C., to shame:
Located in Stonea, about 30 miles from Cambridge, the bridge was struck 33 times in one recent 12-month span by drivers misjudging its height. That makes it the most bashed rail bridge in Britain, according to official statistics, and many local residents say those numbers actually understate the frequency of the crashes.
Among the vehicles that have struck the bridge are an army truck that became wedged underneath; a delivery van that crumpled, spilling eggs and potatoes across the roadway; a horse trailer; agricultural machinery; numerous campers; and many cars that drove under the bridge with bicycles strapped to the roofs, only to emerge on the other side without them.
Shattered glass, pieces of plastic and other debris line the roadside. A gray and yellow hazard sign along the bridge’s low ceiling — only 6 feet 6 inches from the ground — is battered and torn, and the metal behind it is buckled and twisted.
Finally, a 19-year-old dipshit in Santa Cruz, Calif., had the clever idea of issuing fake parking tickets with a "convenient" QR code for easy payment. The SCPD arrested him Thursday.
With only about a week of autumn left officially, we have some great weather today. Cassie is with her pack at day care and I'm inside my downtown office looking at the sun and (relative) warmth outside, but the weather should continue through Friday.
What else is going on?
Finally, I hate to tell you, we will never find any real evidence to support the existence of Noah's Ark.
I'm just finishing up a very large push to our dev/test environment, with 38 commits (including 2 commits fixing unrelated bugs) going back to last Tuesday. I do not like large pushes like this, because they tend to be exciting. So, to mitigate that, I'm running all 546 unit tests locally before the CI service does the same. This happens when you change the basic architecture of an entire feature set. (And I just marked 6 tests with "Ignore: broken by story X, to be rewritten in story Y." Not the best solution but story Y won't work if I don't push this code up.)
So while I'm waiting for all these unit tests to run, I've queued all this up:
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced today that she will step down from her party leadership role when the 118th Congress meets on January 3rd.
- This came on the heels of a loser Florida retiree trying to get his old job back. Tina Nguyen looks at who might challenge the loser retiree for the same job. One thing I know: this won't end well for the Republican Party.
- Maybe that's why 12 Republicans in the US Senate crossed party lines to vote on moving the Same-Sex Marriage bill forward?
- Aaron Gordon investigates why American transit projects cost so much more than any other country's (hint: they have stronger anti-corruption laws).
- And yet, Washington got a Metro line to Dulles after waiting only 60 years, just slightly longer than we in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood have waited for the inbound Metra platform to open.
- Speaking of corruption, Kelsey Piper got a phone call from Sam Bankman-Fried, the guy who made a couple billion in crypto go *poof* last week, so he could clear the air. On the record. With pending litigation. (Seriously, who's his dealer?)
- For no reason anyone can determine, certainly not the recent dismissal of half its workforce including the only engineers who know where the bolts go, Twitter has experienced some intermittent problems with its multifactor authentication setup. Even better, "a researcher contacted Information Security Media Group on condition of anonymity to reveal that texting 'STOP' to the Twitter verification service results in the service turning off SMS two-factor authentication." Oh my!
- Speaking of that dying company, Elon Musk has done his utmost to hasten the exodus of engineering talent by giving everyone until (checks watch) two hours from now to choose a lifetime of misery or a three-month severance. Because we software engineers do our best work for narcissists with whips. (There simply isn't enough popcorn in San Francisco for this shit show.)
- Sadly, Republican speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson has died at 58. I didn't agree with him much, but he remained one of the sane ones till the end.
Finally, one of Chicago's last vinyl record stores, Dave's in Lincoln Park, will close at the end of this month. The building's owner wants to tear it down, no doubt to build more condos, so Dave has decided to "go out in a blaze of glory."
All right...all my tests passed locally. Here we go...
CNBC released a 35-minute documentary earlier this month that fairly discusses the value of cities relative to suburbs and exurbs:
A lot of this is old hat to people who follow Strong Towns or other urbanist sources. It's a good backgrounder for people though.
In related news, California just passed legislation mandating an end to local parking requirements within walking distance of transit stations. It's a start.
In what one Daily Parker reader describes as "a Twitter fight come to life," the city of Santa Cruz, Calif., voted to keep an abandoned, unusable railway through its downtown because of the possibility that, in some possible future, trains might once again take passengers to Watsonville:
On June 7, about 70% of Santa Cruz County voters chose to reject a measure called the Greenway Initiative, which would have supported ripping out a portion of the tracks and replacing them with a bike path and pedestrian trail along the old train corridor. Instead, voters affirmed a plan to cling to the rails and to the possibility of introducing regular passenger train travel, along with building some form of adjacent walkway.
The decisive vote was less of a mandate and more of a symbolic gesture, according to the Santa Cruz County counsel, because what comes next will be decided by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, which owns the rail line and has already been developing plans to create a combined rail-and-trail route to connect the beach city of Santa Cruz with Watsonville, a working-class, predominately Latino city about 20 miles down the coast.
“A train in 25 to 30 years does nothing in the next 25 to 30 years,” said Bud Colligan, a venture capitalist and local philanthropist who donated $20,000 to the measure and was one of its leading backers. “The train is completely unfunded; there’s no plan, we don’t have the population or the tax base to support it, and the likelihood of that happening is next to zero.”
But the fight over the measure was not just a battle of the train-lovers versus the bike-lovers, both of whom profess to have environmental sustainability as their goal. Backers of the Greenway Initiative, which raised more than $450,000, included tech founders and philanthropists like Colligan and leaders of the area’s agriculture industry, fueling suspicions from some locals about their motivations. One of the clearest could have been rail NIMBYism — a desire to keep Watsonville residents from easily accessing more-affluent coastal Santa Cruz neighborhoods. Another was the potential of legal settlements for landowners whose property neighbored the train.
The Daily Parker reader quoted above described the fracas as "fighting about style and culture:"
It was the techies/business money vs the hippies. Trail or no trail, if they want to restore that train line, the tracks need to be replaced. And now we just have an eyesore through town, no money and no cross town path for car alternatives at all. It is the most asinine fight I’ve ever witnessed.
Fortunately, Santa Cruz has no other problems that require practical government intervention, so the energy expended over this vote was well-spent.
Meanwhile, former Chicago mayor, neighbor of mine, and current US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel absolutely loves Japanese trains and takes them everywhere. Because when the population density is high enough, trains make a lot of sense.