Month: October 2011

Notes from High Speed Rail discussion at Fresno State

NOTE: This post was edited at 11:45pm Friday to add the section on questions from the audience.

Last night, Fresno State invited four speakers to present their thoughts on the High Speed Rail (HSR) project and answer questions from the audience. The forum was created for students taking a class on HSR, but this presentation was open to the general public.

The format was as follows: Four speakers on the stage were each given 10 minutes to talk about the project. After the speeches were done, questions were asked by the moderator, Bill McEwen from the Fresno Bee, and then the general audience.

Generally, the speeches followed prepared notes. The speakers did not address each others thoughts until the Q&A section, but even then, discussion was focused to/from the audience member and not between the speakers. Click to read more!

High Speed Rail discussion tonight at Fresno State – open to public

Fresno State will be hosting a town-hall style debate tonight on High Speed Rail.

Thursday night at Fresno State, Elizabeth Alexis of CARRD and Daniel Krause, Executive Director of Californians For High Speed Rail will join former Republican Assemblymember Mike Villines for a debate on HSR moderated by Fresno Bee columnist Bill McEwen. The debate is at 7PM in Fresno State’s Satellite Student Union.

California High Speed Rail Blog

The debate is open to the public.

Hear a buzzing sound when connecting laptop to TV? This is how to fix it

This has been getting a lot of hits, so clearly, it’s a common problem! If this advice helps you, or does not help you, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a comment so I can see if the instructions need to be clearer (ie, more pictures and whatnot).

This is 100% unrelated to anything else on this blog, but I am submitting it on the off chance that my recent experience can help someone else out there. Like a public service announcement! I did a few Google searches to help me solve this problem and the web was full of bad advice, although eventually I did find the right solution, which I present below. Click to read more!

Why do people think that parking in downtown Fresno is hard?

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a forum downtown about development in south Fresno. The mayor of Fresno, Ashley Swearengin, spoke.


Unfortunately, we had to sit and wait because the mayor was late. Honestly, it’s not a big deal, we only had to wait around 10 minutes, and other speakers were given the opportunity to “cut in line” and say their part first.

My concern was the excuse given by the speaker.

“Apparently she is circling the block trying to find a parking spot, I’m sure you all understand.”

Actually, no. The vast majority of those in attendance were lower income hispanic or asian immigrants concerned about their neighborhood. I’d bet a large percentage took the bus to get to this event. Click to read more!

Fulton Mall should have holiday specials to attract crowds

The PBID Partners of Downtown Fresno recently hired a new president, Kate Borders from Milwaukee. One of their first orders of business with the new head was voting to destroy the mall, and turn it into just another street. A week later, the mayor’s office released her preference on what to do with the mall, and her preference was to return it to cars while leaving some token reminders of what once was.

Fortunately, things move slow in politics, and when funds are tight, even slower. As such, even if the mayor gets her way, the Fulton Mall will be around at least until 2014.

For many in Fresno, the reasons to go downtown are few. 40,000 people work in the downtown core, but have little incentive to stay after work. The PBID doesn’t have the money or power to transform downtown in one swoop, but can continue bringing people downtown with the same kind of events that have been working for the last few years. That is, even though they voted in favor of destroying the mall, they, nor the city, actually has the money to go through with it. Click to read more!

Amtrak needs to work on their press relations

A few days ago I posted about how Amtrak California has been breaking ridership records. That post has gotten a awful lot of views, and it’s been linked to when other people want to point to a source of how many people are riding trains.

That got me thinking about why the real media hasn’t reported on the gains made in these individual lines. If a real newspaper had written a similar article to what I did, most people would have preferred to link to that. Take for example the widely read California High Speed Rail blog which linked to my page to make a point about increasing ridership. Sure, my charts are amazing, but while my numbers are real (sourced straight from the Amtrak financial documents of course) I wouldn’t blame Robert or anyone else from preferring to cite a major newspaper rather than a lowly blog. That makes it obvious that no other form of media had reported the news. Click to read more!

Reminder: “Symposium Fresno: A Future of Oppertunities” to be held later today

I’d almost forgotten about this! Lot’s of interesting speakers.

Who: Fresno Future Project
When: October 20, 2011 at 5pm
What: A discussion about urban, economical and cultural developments in Fresno.
Speakers include Fresno State professors, government representatives and more.
Where: Fresno Art Museum

Admission is free, but RSVP is required.

The complete flyer with the full list of speakers, contact info and a description of the conversation topics can be found at:

Amtrak California breaks ridership records. Yes, again.

If this post feels familiar it’s because Amtrak has been having a very good year, and the California routes have especially been enjoying a surge in riders. The Pacific Surfliner is now the second most popular train line in the nation, beating out the Acela for the #2 spot.

I wonder if all the High Speed Rail press has been working as an advertising campaign for passenger rail in the state?

Just two weeks ago, Amtrak belatedly released their June report, showing the San Joaquin breaking 100,000 for the first time. That was an increase from April, in which the California trains also experienced new records. Click to read more!

Home builders betting on big 2012?

Nobody can predict what’s next for the economy. We can make educated guesses, but if anyone was able to predict with certainty what was going to happen next, they’d be a very wealthy person.

The last few months, we’ve heard the word “double-dip” a lot. With poor employment numbers (flat or insignificant gains), troubles in Europe, and a weak commercial market, many argue that this economy is about to head back down into recessionland. Others look at indicators that manage to remain just above positive, like auto sales, and predict that the worst is over, and 2012 will be a much better year for the economy. Click to read more!

For one neighborhood, people on bikes constitute “a rash of suspicious activity in their area”

Here’s a news story that will be sure to perk up your morning. I suggest you watch the video instead of reading the text. The text is an exact transcription of the video, but it’s more amusing to watch how serious the people are when making their claims

For example, when Ron Von Tersh says :

“You can see them whizzing by or you know, up and down the street and they have a backpack on, you can tell they’re not from around here.”

His knowing nod is quite entertaining.

ABC 30: Crooks using pedal power in NW Fresno Click to read more!