Spartan Daily ignores safety risks

November 24, 2009

Bicycle being ridden on bench

Despite being a bicyclist and a former bike commuter I am still not convinced bicycles belong on the San Jose State University Campus. Many of the people who ride bicycles on the sidewalks at SJSU do so in ways that risk serious injury to themselves and others.

The Spartan Daily has ran stories lately showing bicyclists riding dangerously without helmets on campus. This is so unsafe California has a helmet law regarding this issue. Why has the SJSU campus newspaper not looked at the other side of the issue of bikes on campus? Why has the SJSU campus newspaper not considered the dangers posed by bicycles on campus sidewalks? Is this the Spartan Daily’s idea of fair and balanced reporting?

It is good that SJSU President Jon Whitmore rides his bike to SJSU. But it is bad, I think, that he is riding his bike on the sidewalks of campus. The risks of riding bicycles on sidewalks are well documented. Sidewalks are generally unsuitable to be used as bikeways for the following reasons:

  • Sidewalks are generally not designed for cycling speeds. Cyclists must either reduce their speed or travel too fast for conditions.
  • There is generally insufficient width for shared bicycle and pedestrian travel, particularly due to obstacles such as utility poles, signs, and street furniture that narrows the effective width of the sidewalk.
  • Bicyclists face conflicts with motor vehicles at driveways and intersections. Motorists are generally not expecting a cyclist to cross their path from the sidewalk, and may not be looking for them.
  • Traffic rules, such as obligations to yield, are unclear when cyclists ride on sidewalks, creating confusion and risk between pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

In my opinion we are one mis-step, one inattentive moment away from a serious injury; or worse. Bikes belong on the road, not on the sidewalks of our campus.

[Related Blog With More Posts]


J.J. Jelincic for CalPers

November 17, 2009

JJ at BoD Meeting

I voted for J.J. Jelincic in the CalPERS’ Board Runoff Election. J.J. Jelincic has been endorsed by the California State University Employees Union for this CalPers seat.

Jelincic, is a very pro labor candidate for the CalPers seat. Jelincic is the past president of the California State Employees Association (CSEA), a labor group representing 140,000 active and retired state employees. Jelincic, a rank-and-file investment officer for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) since 1986, was elected president in November 2003. Jelincic has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga and has an M.B.A. in finance from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and holds a Chartered Financial Analyst® designation. The CFA® is to investments what the CPA is to accounting.

Jelincic started his union activism as a member of Oakland Teamsters Local 70 while working as a garbage collector and later a truck driver. He joined California state service in 1986 and became active in CSEA’s Civil Service Division, which is now known as SEIU Local 1000. He has represented the rank-and-file employees at CalPERS as a steward, chief steward and chapter president and also represented the 43,000 professional and financial state employees as chair of Unit 1 the bargaining team. He has been involved in discussions about pension formula and health care benefit design and provider network. He knows the key CalPERS personnel and how the System actually operates.

Union Meeting Photos

November 16, 2009

Last weekend I went to the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) Board of Director’s Meeting in Sacramento. It was a huge event and I took many photographs. Here is just a small subset of those photos:

[Event Photos on Flickr]

Do furloughs even work?

November 1, 2009

By Steve Sloan

All of us who work for the state know the hardships imposed by furloughs on our families. We’re also aware of the impact on students of furloughs, reduced class sessions and increased fees. But, do furloughs work?

Furloughs are designed to save money and reduce layoffs. Furloughs may save some jobs, do they really save money? According to some recent studies and articles, it is possible state furloughs do not save much money.

David Greenwald of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, in a California Progress Report, said state furloughs save the general fund only 12 cents for every dollar cut in wages. Greenwald and others look at our state government furloughs in general. In addition to university employees our sister union, the Service Employees International Union Local 1000, represents 95,000 of the 193,000 state workers covered under the furlough program. Many of these workers are getting three furlough days a month, a 14 percent pay cut.

Ken Jacobs of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, in the policy brief The High Cost Of Furloughs wrote, “Whether imposed on employees paid from state, federal, or special funds, furloughs impact the broader economy in multiple ways. First, any reduction in pay is a reduction in spending in the local economy and will have a multiplier effect, resulting in private sector job loss and subsequent loss of tax revenues.”

Jacobs said, “It is poorly designed, if the goal is to provide savings to the general fund.” Jacobs, also the chair of the Labor Center said, “Key design problems include furloughing state workers in revenue-generating positions, continued accumulation of pension and benefit debt and inclusion of workers whose salaries are paid by the federal government and other special funds, in addition to the general fund.”

Even some conservatives question furloughs. Dr. John Sullivan in the employee-recruiting forum wrote the post Employee Furloughs Can Be a Bad Alternative to Layoffs. He said, “While the tool may be popular and widely used, that doesn’t make it effective or the best choice.”

Sullivan cites many reasons for this conclusion including productivity loss, morale decline over loss of income and increased workload, increased employee stress, higher error rates, angry customers, possible lawsuits over furloughs, loss of good employees who react to furloughs by leaving and a general decrease in innovation.

Sullivan said, “It’s hard to plan ahead and think of innovations when your job security is up in the air.”