Purpose

To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tax Break For Mass-Transit Commutes May Soon Be Slashed

http://www.npr.org/2013/11/29/247765503/commuter-transit-subsidy-at-risk-unless-congress-acts

By David Welna, November 29, 2013


 Commuters wait on the platform as a Metro-North train arrives in Bridgeport, Conn.

 Commuters wait on the platform as a Metro-North train arrives in Bridgeport, Conn.

Unless Congress acts quickly, taking mass transit to work is about to get more expensive for some people.

For the past four years, public transportation users and people who drive their cars to work and pay for parking have been able set aside up to $245 a month in wages tax free if they're used for commuting costs or workplace parking.

The transit tax break expires at the end of the year. So starting Jan. 1, the benefit for riders will be cut nearly in half — to $130 a month. Drivers, on the other hand, will get a slightly bigger break as their parking benefit rises to $250.

"It doesn't make sense at all, the fact that you get a bigger tax break for driving your car than riding a train," says Dan Smith, who lobbies Congress on tax issues for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. He says many commuters don't realize that the parity for transit and parking tax breaks vanishes in the new year. But they soon will.

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who rides his bike to work, is sounding the alarm.

"We've heard lots of talk about fiscal cliffs, a dairy cliff, but at the end of the year, we are facing a transit commuter cliff," he says.

Blumenauer has rounded up five House Republicans and 44 fellow Democrats to co-sponsor legislation that would keep the parking subsidy, which by law is automatically renewed, equal to the transit subsidy, which requires congressional approval every year:

"You might tilt it the other way and provide greater benefit for people who are having less impact on the planet," he says. "But the fact is, this is embedded, ingrained and accepted, so we want to at least just have transit parity for the full range of commuter options."

Indeed, eliminating or even reducing the parking subsidy is a bipartisan non-starter in Congress.
"My own view is there are some people — many people — who don't have the luxury of being able to take transit," says Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

The California Democrat defends the tax break for people who drive to work:

"I don't agree that you should put one group against the other," she says. "I think we should encourage fuel-efficient cars, and if someone really needs their car for work, I don't have a problem with saying, you know what, there's enough expense here, we can make sure that this isn't exorbitant for you."

That's unfortunate, says Elyse Lowe. She's one of Boxer's constituents as well as the executive director of Move San Diego, a group advocating smart growth in that city. For Lowe, it makes sense to subsidize public transit users, not drivers:

"This is at the heart of getting people to change their travel behaviors through economic incentives," she says, "and typically people don't actually look at their own personal behavior until there's some sort of economic reason to do so."

Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse agrees. He's skeptical, though, that Congress can act in time to keep the transit break on par with the parking subsidy.

"What certainly doesn't make sense is to favor that over using public transportation. But given the general level of blockade of anything and everything by our Republican friends around here, I can't promise that we'll get to that."

Making parity between transit and parking subsidies — one more casualty of congressional gridlock.

How Your Mode of Travel Shapes Your Mental Map

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2013/11/how-your-mode-travel-shapes-your-mental-map/7663/

By Eric Jaffe, November 21, 2013



How Your Mode of Travel Shapes Your Mental Map




We all build mental maps of the places we call home. This "image of the city," as planner Kevin Lynch called it in his 1960 book by that name, helps us interpret our surroundings and guide our actions. Unlike the static and exact lines in an atlas, though, the city images in our minds are fragmentary and flexible — a collage of streets, landmarks, and routes mediated by on our own unique movements and memories.

In other words, the way we interact with the city shapes our perception of it. That's especially true when it comes to how we travel. Studies have shown that spatial knowledge gets stronger in experienced cab drivers, for instance, just as it gets weaker in pedestrians who rely on Google Maps. The very concept of home in a city is defined, in part, by how one gets there: a transit rider lives near this station, a driver lives just after that turn.

 A couple years ago, UCLA transportation scholars led by Andrew Mondschein conducted a test to understand more about how preferred travel modes shape our cognitive maps. They stood outside the Kenneth Hahn Shopping Center near the Rosa Parks Transit Center in South Los Angeles and asked people how they typically got around. Then they asked a series of questions designed to test general spatial knowledge, and by extension the quality of a person's mental map.

Mondschein and collaborators found the most advanced mental maps belonged to "cognitively-active" travelers — people who walked or drove (or, probably, rode bikes) and therefore had to focus on their surroundings. The weaker mental maps belonged to "cognitively-passive" travelers — primarily car passengers who could engage or disengage with the environment as they pleased. Transit riders, who need a great deal of attention at the start and end of their trips but much less in the middle, represented a mixed bag.

(Mondschein and collaborators describe their work in the latest issue of Access magazine, published by the University of California Transportation Center, though previous versions oappeared elsewhere in 2007 and 2010.)

In one test, for instance, the researchers asked the Angelinos how far they were from City Hall. The actual distance from the shopping center was about 9 miles by car or 10.5 by transit. Active travelers were much more accurate in their responses than passive travelers. In the initial test sample, presented in 2007, active travelers estimated that City Hall was 11 miles away, transit riders said 17 miles, and car passengers said 26 miles, on average.

Other location tests revealed a similar pattern. When asked which of two locations was closer, active travelers responded correctly more often than mixed or passive travelers did. Simply choosing to roam the city in a certain way had improved or degraded its image in their minds.

To get a sense of how these mental images differed, Mondschein and collaborators also asked test participants to describe the location of their homes and workplaces. Active travelers tended to use street names in these descriptions, a sign of relatively robust or precise mental maps. Passive travelers, meanwhile, tended to rely on landmarks, especially when describing their home. Their mental maps seemed to be more basic.

Here are the overall findings in one table, via Access:



So the way a person travels the city clearly changes how that person envisions it. In Access, the researchers worry that passive travelers might miss out on opportunities as a result of their incomplete mental maps, but the advantages to passive travel (getting work done, for instance, or refreshing one's attention) must be considered, too. The good-bad framework doesn't apply here: this isn't a tale of two cities so much as the story of yours.

China Keeps It Classy With Designer Smog-Filtration Masks

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/11/china-keeps-it-classy-designer-smog-filtration-masks/7673/

By John Metcalfe, November 22, 2013



 China Keeps It Classy With Designer Smog-Filtration Masks

Sure, you could let China's life-shortening, city-shuttering smog keep you moping indoors. Or, you could get out there and make it work for you, using one of these designer air-pollution masks that's as stylish as it is functional.

The age-old question for Chinese citizens – what accessory pairs best with the brown cloud – has finally been answered by Vogmask. The company was founded by a Western consultant who, after surveying many students in China, came to believe that the "greatest challenge" for the country's next generation will be air pollution. So Vog teamed up with Plastered T-Shirts and whipped up these jazzy masks, catered toward urban youth and stitched together with chromatic microfiber, a protective layer of carbon, and the obligatory "valve."

Shanghaist has the story:
The day we've all been waiting for has finally arrived: designer pollution masks are hitting the streets of urban China. Battle pollution in style with one of these babies, coming in a range of colors and patterns and fitted with the latest filtration technology. Just what you need to keep it classy during Airpocalypse Shanghai....

Aside from your standard stylish patterns, you can also get custom branded masks for companies, schools, etc. Air IQ China will have exclusive distribution rights to the masks, and they will be available starting December 12. They come in both adult and child sizes.
And here is Vogmask's product description from a "Happy UFO Microfiber" version for adolescents:
The valve makes the mask perfect for exercise such as cycling and running, helping you to breathe comfortably.

This mask also features an additional carbon layer to adsorb smells and filter out gasses such as Ozone and Formaldehyde (the product of car exhaust and industrial emissions)
The microfiber material filters 99.978% of PM 2.5 as well as exceeding US FDA fit test requirements by 140%.

It protects against air pollution, bacteria, viruses such as H7N9 as well as second-hand cigarette smoke.
Individual masks retail for as little as $29.50, according to the product list available here, and can be worn for 400 hours before needing a replacement. And best of all, they make you look fierce in a Shredder kind of way:




US air pollution authority faces Supreme Court tests

http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/1-front-top-news/145772-us-air-pollution-authority-faces-supreme-court-tests.html

By Muhammad Iqbal, November 24, 2013



image
WASHINGTON: The US government's authority to regulate air pollution nationwide, often against the wishes of Republican-leaning states, could face new curbs when the US Supreme Court takes on two high-stakes cases in coming months.

The cases focus on the broad-ranging power wielded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the landmark Clean Air Act, first enacted in 1970.

The law was envisioned as a cooperative effort between the federal government and states in which the EPA sets standards but states have to set plans to comply. 

That flexibility has allowed states which favor looser regulations, like Texas and Kansas, to resist with the support of industry groups like the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers when the agency wants to impose more stringent standards. 

In both cases before the conservative-leaning Supreme Court, mainly Republican-led states and industry groups have challenged different EPA regulations, in the hope of weakening the agency's authority. 

The EPA has support from Democratic-leaning states, like Massachusetts and New York, and from environmental groups. 

"It would be both a big deal and somewhat unsurprising if EPA loses both Clean Air Act cases," said Richard Frank, an environmental law professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law. 

Such rulings would reflect a dilution of the deference that courts generally show government agencies in interpreting statutes, he added. 

The cases do not challenge whether the EPA can regulate pollutants, such as greenhouse gases, but instead how it uses the Clean Air Act to regulate a wide range of them. 

The EPA's authority to interpret the statute broadly is vital to its mission in the face of resistance from Republicans and a handful of Democrats in Congress and some state governments. 

In the climate change context in particular, the Clean Air Act is the EPA's main tool for tackling greenhouse gas emissions after the US Senate rejected a cap-and-trade bill in 2010. 

The Supreme Court rulings are unlikely to have a direct impact on President Barack Obama's sweeping Climate Action Plan, which was unveiled in June, legal experts say, in part because the EPA will be using its authority under parts of the law not at issue in the cases.

But decisions against the EPA could pose obstacles to the way it rolls out its rules. 

In the first case, to be argued on Dec. 10, the nine justices will consider the legality of a rule that regulates air pollution that crosses state lines. 

The second case, expected to be scheduled for oral argument in February, concerns a challenge to the Obama administration's first wave of regulations targeting heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The court is due to issue rulings in both cases by the end of June. 

INTER-STATE POLLUTION

The EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, meant to take effect in January 2012, would have set limits on nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide from coal-fired power plants in 28 states that emit pollutants in the eastern part of the country that directly affect air quality in other states, generally referred to as "upwind states." 

An alliance of industry groups and 15 states, in addition to companies like Southern Co, Peabody Energy Corp and American Electric Power Inc, challenged the rule, and it was never implemented.
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit determined in August 2012 that the rule was invalid on multiple grounds. 

Under the worst-case scenario for the government, the Supreme Court could weaken the EPA's power to bring recalcitrant states into line, legal experts said. 

In the Obama administration's petition asking for Supreme Court review of the cross-state rule, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said that if the D.C. 

Circuit decision stood, it would "gravely undermine" enforcement of the Clean Air Act, delaying the ability of downwind states to comply with air standards and making it nearly impossible for those states to meet deadlines. A ruling against the EPA could also encourage states to resist other EPA proposals. 

"If the Supreme Court pushes back against the EPA and says the EPA has to give the states the first chance to address the problem, that gives the states more leverage," said Jonathan Martel, a partner at law firm Arnold & Porter LLP, who represents business interests in air pollution cases. 

CLIMATE CHANGE RULES 

In the climate change case, the Supreme Court agreed last month to consider a single question of the many raised by nine different coalitions of industry groups, such as the American Petroleum Institute, and 16 states, including Texas and Virginia. 

They appealed a June 2012 ruling by the appeals court in Washington upholding the first suite of EPA rules aimed at tackling climate change.

The justices will weigh only whether the agency has authority to regulate greenhouse gases under a permitting program for stationary sources of pollution. 

A loss for the EPA could remove a whole category of pollutants, not just greenhouse gases, from the so-called "prevention of serious deterioration" or PSD program, which requires any new or modified major polluting facility to obtain a permit before any new construction is done if it emits "any air pollutant."

Under the program, the operators have to show that they are using the best available technology available to reduce emissions of the covered pollutants. 

It may not be all bad news for the EPA. The court passed up a chance to review the agency's determination that greenhouse gases, the driving force behind climate change, are a pollutant that needs to be regulated under the Clean Air Act. 

Wins for the EPA in both cases would not, however, lead to any major shift in the law in its favor, experts say. "Everything continues to be hard work" for the EPA, said Sean Donahue, an attorney who represents the Environmental Defense Fund. "There's tremendous resistance at every turn."

Why Correcting Misperceptions About Mass Transit May Be More Important Than Improving Service

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/11/why-correcting-misperceptions-about-mass-transit-may-be-more-important-improving-service/7719/

By Eric Jaffe, November 27, 2013

 Why Correcting Misperceptions About Mass Transit May Be More Important Than Improving Service



If you want to understand why people use a certain transit system, it makes sense to start with the system itself. Frequency, access, and any other service qualities that make riding as convenient as driving will help. Whether or not the way a city is designed and built nudges people toward the system — via residential density and street design, for instance — matters, too.

But as we've pointed out in the past, there's a psychological component to riding transit that's easy for city officials and planners to overlook. Fact is, we're not all completely rational about our travel decisions. The perceptions that people have about public transportation, substantiated or not, are powerful enough to attract or repel them.

Most attempts to evaluate transit success focus on one of these areas or another. A research team led by planner Steven Spears of UC-Irvine recently made what they believe is the first documented effort to include all these elements — built and behavioral alike — into a single assessment. Their work identifies two basic but vastly underappreciated factors in transit use: general attitude toward transit, and concerns about personal safety.

Spears and collaborators analyzed transit service and the built environment in several neighborhoods in South Los Angeles (below). Factors like neighborhood walkability, nearby traffic volume, land use, station accessibility, rush-hour service levels, job access, and others were all considered.


Courtesy Spears, et al. (2013). Illuminating the unseen in transit use: A framework for examining the effect of attitudes and perceptions on travel behavior. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 58, 40-53.

The researchers also conducted in-depth travel surveys of 279 area residents on their perceptions of the transit experience. They took into account seven potential behavioral factors: crowding, attitude toward transit, social norms, perceived travel control, environmental concern, safety concern, and neighborhood amenities.

Some of what the researchers found with regard to the city design shouldn't come as a surprise. Street connectivity was a significant predictor of transit ridership in the area. As the number of intersections within a half mile of a resident's home went up, so did the likelihood that person rode transit. Simply put, neighborhood walkability promotes transit use.

Of the behavioral factors in play, only preconceived attitudes and safety concerns had significant impacts on whether or not a person rode mass transit. The warmer a person's attitude toward transit, the more likely that person was to ride. At the same time, the less safe a person felt about riding or being in a station, the less likely that person was to use the system.

That conclusion doesn't seem earth-shattering on its own, of course. But what's critical to recognize is that these two cognitive factors remained significant predictors of transit use even after the researchers controlled for quality of service and characteristics of the built environment. In other words, mere perceptions about transit — some of them irrational and unjustifiable — can influence someone's decision to ride over and above all other factors.
Spears and collaborators conclude:
Overall, our results indicate that attitudes and perceptions of the built environment and transit system attributes appear to play a significant role in transit use that is independent of objectively measured attributes such as level of service, employment accessibility, or security.
Despite its limitations (most notably, too few participants), the study should compel others to consider psychological components in their transit evaluations. Beyond that, it suggests that campaigns to target common misperceptions of transit — that it's inconvenient, or that it's unsafe — may be as important in some places as improving service itself. The first step toward helping city residents make reasonable transportation decisions is recognizing that sometimes they don't.

California Launches Breathe Well Mobile Site

A new mobile website launched by the California Air Resources Board aims to help users monitor air quality.

 http://www.govtech.com/health/Breathe-Well.html

November 27, 2013




 

The state of California has launched a new mobile website that will help users to, literally, breathe easier. Called Breathe Well, the site was developed by the state's Air Resources Board (ARB) to provide people with access to hour-by-hour air pollution data.

Site visitors can see real-time levels of ozone and fine particle pollution in their immediate area, or in other cities and towns throughout the state. Data comes from California's comprehensive air monitoring network, which includes local air pollution control and air quality management districts.

 “This new mobile website brings together the convenience of smartphone technology with the State’s sophisticated air quality monitoring network,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols in a press release. “It uses the best technology available to make real-time air quality information easily available in more than 150 locations throughout California to protect public health, especially those individuals who are the most vulnerable to air pollution.”

Breathe Well’s features include easily readable levels of ozone and fine particle concentration on the home screen, maps that pinpoint the locations of nearby air quality monitors, and the option to set your current location or choose another area for review.

Individuals with asthma and other cardiovascular diseases can experience compromised breathing in the presence of concentrated pollutants like ozone and fine particles. Breathe Well users can check air quality before they go outside or travel, so they can be assured of comfortable breathing.

ESCAPE shows air pollution linked to low birth weight

http://env-health.org/news/latest-news/article/escape-shows-air-pollution-linked?var_mode=calcul

November 27, 2013

A publication by the ESCAPE project of a study in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine shows that exposure to ambient air pollutants and traffic during pregnancy is associated with restricted foetal growth. 

The study indicates that exposure to airborne pollutants during pregnancy, even at levels below the European Air Quality Directive, increases the risk of low birth weight.

Low birth weight, which is often defined as below 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs), is associated with several adverse health effects later in life, such as respiratory symptoms, impaired pulmonary function and cardiovascular diseases.

The results of the study reveal a correlation between the risk of low birth weight and exposure to different kinds of airborne particles, especially PM 2.5, which are created by traffic and industrial emissions. An increase in exposure by 5 micrograms per cubic metre corresponded with an 18 per cent increase in the risk of low birth weight. This relationship was also observed for levels of air pollution below the EU’s Air Quality Directive.

ESCAPE is coordinated from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and funded through the EU’s Seventh Frame Programme (FP7). HEAL was a partner in this research project.

Data was gathered for the study through the European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects (ESCAPE) project, and included 14 cohort studies from 12 European countries, giving a total of 74,000 births between 1994 and 2011.

The study, which involves researchers from Karolinska Institutet’s Institute of Environmental Medicine, is one of the largest of its kind. Sweden’s contribution was the BAMSE birth cohort, which comprises babies born in Stockholm County between 1994 and 1996.

"The results are interesting from a public health perspective too, and the combined effects of air pollution on birth weight were of the same order of magnitude as for smoking during pregnancy," says Professor Göran Pershagen at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, who led the Swedish part of the study.

The BAMSE project was set up to investigate risk factors for asthma and allergies in children, and is run by the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet together with the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Stockholm County Council. BAMSE has followed over 4,000 babies born between 1994 and 1996.

Beijing Destroys Barbecue Grills To Cut Pollution

http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=131007CIC7BV

November 29, 2013

More than 500 open-air barbecues, which Chinese state media says causes "serious air pollution," have been destroyed by authorities in Beijing as part of an emergency program to alleviate the city's often hazardous pollution. Citizens online ridiculed the exercise, suggesting authorities should focus on bigger sources of pollution.

 Beijing is waging a war against air pollution, one barbecue at a time. Authorities in the capital have destroyed more than 500 open-air barbecues "to cut PM2.5" -- the tiny particulate matter in the air that can enter deep into the lungs.

Photos carried by state media showed workers on Tuesday cutting pieces of metal with sparks flying as city wardens looked on.

Citizens online ridiculed the exercise, suggesting authorities should focus on bigger sources of pollution.

A media officer at Beijing's Xicheng district administration bureau said the hundreds of barbecue grills were confiscated over a three-month campaign and cut up so they couldn't be used again. She refused to give her name, as is common with Chinese officials.

Environmental campaigner Ma Jun said residents had complained to environmental agencies in the past about the odor and smoke from open-air barbecues.

"This action will help local residents, but to deal with the bigger air quality problem we need to have priorities and I think one of the major priorities should still be the motor vehicle emissions," said Ma, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. He said the focus should be on improving the fuel quality and emissions control of heavy duty diesel trucks, while also involving the surrounding regions, not just Beijing.

The capital's pollution regularly reaches hazardous levels. The city government announced last month that emergency measures such as factory shutdowns and traffic Relevant Products/Services limits would kick in when air pollution levels are particularly heavy.

Independent Truckers Make Their Voices Heard: Third Recent Job Action at Port of Oakland

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/11/30/18747054.php

By Jonathan Nack, November 30, 2013





800_pickets_block_gate.jpg original image ( 2272x1704)
800_pickets_block_gate.

 

OAKLAND - Independent truckers staged a job action that slowed work at the Port of Oakland on Wednesday, November 27th. It was the truckers' third job action since August.

The Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA) called for a strike at Stevedoring Services of America's terminal, one of the largest and busiest at the Port. In a press release, POTA said the strike was called, “in protest of unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices by terminal owners and Port of Oakland management.“

Picketers began gathering in the darkness before 5 AM on Wednesday. About a hundred independent truckers, many sporting their POTA shirts, were joined by at least that many community and labor supporters at the entrances to the SSA terminal.

One picket sign read, “Don't make Truckers Pay the Bill,” another said,“CARB Extend the Deadline.” They are references to the California Air Resources Board's regulation that requires all truck engines manufactured before 2007 to be upgraded to meet air quality standards.

One trucker estimated the cost of the required upgrades at between $60,000 and $80,000 per truck and said many truck drivers can't afford it.

Profit margins for independent truckers are notoriously small. Many independents are struggling. Many others go under.

It's such a difficult way to make a living that companies are constantly looking for more independents, as evidenced by the many signs hanging from fences of the Port advertising for them by companies such as P & R Trucking, Lengner & Sons, and Mutual Express Company.

Other picket signs on Wednesday read, “Long lines = Bad air,” and “Community and Truckers United.” These referred to the huge problem of bad air quality at the Port. Air pollution affects not only everyone who works at the Port, but surrounding communities in West Oakland, which have high rates of cancer and asthma. Picketers from the community supported POTA's demands, because they agreed it was unfair to put the burden on independent truckers.

It was the bad air at the Port that caused the CARB to set more stringent regulations on diesel engines. POTA says many independent truckers can't afford the upgrades. With trucking dispatch companies and the Port making huge profits, truckers say these wealthy institutions should pay for the upgrades, not them.

Most of the corporate media's coverage of Wednesday's action at the Port emphasized that POTA is protesting the CARB's regulation and is demanding at least a one year delay in the deadline. The mainstream media coverage all but implied that truckers don't care about the air quality. This is obviously untrue. The truckers are among those most effected by the bad air at the Port. The problem is not upgrading diesel engines, it's about who should pay for it.

POTA is also pressing for additional pay, a congestion fee, when they are forced to wait at the Port for a load for reasons beyond the truckers control. Inefficiency at the Port causing trucks to idle and wait in line is another major cause of air pollution.

Accounts of the impact of Wednesday's job action varied sharply. The San Francisco Business Times reported that the Port management said that demonstrators were cleared from SSA Terminals by 9 a.m. and that no other port terminals were affected. POTA claimed truck traffic was down by 90%.

POTA issued a press release mid-day Wednesday providing a detailed description of the morning's action. [ http://oaklandporttruckers.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/mid-day-press-release-from-port-truckers/ ]

POTA reported, “Primary pickets were set up at the four SSA terminal gates beginning at 5am, but due to violent police action, lines began migrating between gates to prevent arrest and detainment of picketers. At least one person picketing was struck by the vehicle of a terminal employee crossing the picket line, and as of 10:30am, there were 5 arrests. Those arrested were cited and released. One police officer was injured when a car crossing the truckers’ picket line ran over his foot.”

There was no violence by picketers. Indybay.org reported that there were 50 Oakland Police on the scene.

“The police were pushing us off the picket lines even though the judge said it’s illegal. After last time when they hit people with batons, people were afraid, but they kept moving to hold the lines,” said local port trucker Jose Gomez.

POTA's press release said, “Some truckers who crossed picket lines today claimed they faced retaliation from their companies. During the last work stoppage, notoriously bad trucking dispatch company GSC charged their drivers illegal demurrage fees for honoring picket lines. When drivers refused to pay, they found deductions in their pay checks. While some long-distance truckers and employee drivers crossed picket lines, the vast majority of independent contractor truckers picketed or refused to take loads today.”

“At 10a.m. most of the supporters, media and police trickled out, while more truckers gathered at the primary SSA trucker entrance and resumed pickets on their own. Without the heavy police presence that accompanied activists and supporters, they were able to hold the picket lines at SSA, according to POTA's press release.

“When the local drivers won’t work, the Port won’t work. Even if we are not the majority group of truckers servicing the port, we do the majority of the work,” said Roberto Ruiz, another local driver.

Part of the independent truckers' action was not as effective as planned. Members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, Local 10, crossed the picket line at the SSA terminal. POTA was disappointed that Local 10 didn't honor the picket lines.

It was a surprising response from Local 10, which has historically honored picket lines in support of progressive struggles. It was particularly surprising, since Local 10's membership meeting had voted to honor all POTA picket lines.

According to Stan Woods, a member of ILWU, Local 6, who attended Local 10's membership meeting as an observer, the membership had voted 73 to 39 to honor POTA picket lines. It was hotly debated. There were strong feelings on both sides. A contingent from POTA attended the union's meeting and Frank Adams of POTA spoke at the meeting. In the end, the union's membership vote to act in solidarity with POTA by honoring their lines wasn't close, according to Woods.

Members of Local 10 said that the telephone recording they call daily instructed members to go to work at the SSA terminal. One member claimed that the membership's vote to honor the picket line was not followed because, “the membership was misled. These guys are not union, they [POTA] said they'll never go union.”

There were some of the independent truckers that did work the Port on Wednesday that were nevertheless supportive of POTA's protest.

Baijer Singh told KTVU News that he didn't join the job action because he couldn't afford to. “I need to pay my bills,” Singh told KTVU. Singh said he believes the work action is important because the Port of Oakland “is not listening” to the truckers' concerns. Singh said he and other truckers often have to wait up to five hours to pick up loads at the port and they aren't compensated for the time they spend waiting.

For more info. on the Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA): oaklandporttruckers.wordpress.com

For more info. on Port Truckers Solidarity:
solidarityinmotion.org ;
facebook.com/pages/Port-Truckers-Solidarity and
facebook.com/TransportationWorkersSolidarityCommittee

§Pickets blocked vehicles before sunrise
by Jonathan Nack Saturday Nov 30th, 2013 12:09 PM

Photo by Jonathan Nack
§Video of Cops clearing pickets from driveway entrance
by Jonathan Nack Saturday Nov 30th, 2013 12:09 PM
Copy the following to embed the movie into another web page:
download video:

independent_truckers_picket_port_of_oakland_112713.wmv (24.4MB)

Video, photos, and editing by Jonathan Nack
(1:10 minute)
§Pickets & police
by Jonathan Nack Saturday Nov 30th, 2013 12:09 PM
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pickets_and_police.jpg

Photo by Ryan Rising
§Two signs: one advertising for "independent truckers" and one for "drivers"
by Jonathan Nack Saturday Nov 30th, 2013 12:09 PM

Photo by Jonathan Nack
§POTA's logo
by Jonathan Nack Saturday Nov 30th, 2013 12:09 PM
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