Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Homework already! It still the middle of August and September is still long off in the horizon!

September and its well known Labor Day weekend which is often referred to the holiday to celebrate the unofficial end of summer may be still weeks away. However for students of many school districts around the US in the recent years August has became the New September. Some students even start at the beginning of the month when the 2012 Summer Olympics is still ongoing. While schools around the country had historically started in the first week of September for many decades, ever since the late 1990s due to public criticism that schools around the country are under performing, individual school district supervisors, under pressure to improve test scores in schools around their districts, decides to make sweeping changes to the school system and its curriculum and most of all the school calendar. For example Multi Track Year round schooling, which staggers the time children attended school throughout the year, was experimented in the 1990s and 2000s however finding that academic performance is not better but the costs were too high and facing opposition from parents with children in different schools and teaching staff the concept of year round schooling rapidly declined in popularity and many districts decides to reduce or scrap it.  However it is replaced by the "early start trend" which also started in random districts around the country back in the 1990s instead gained momentum for schools with traditional calendars. As most states often schedule standardized tests in the months of March, April, or May school districts often try to move more of their school years before that date which often means starting in the month of August instead of September and maybe ending earlier for summer or with additional non holiday breaks added in the calendar. The trend often start from Districts start by moving the start of school year from after Labor Day to start a week before usually in the last week of August. Eventually the start of the year gets moved earlier and earlier as the years go by. However the trend rapidly made enemies with businesses venues, students, parents, and even the teaching staff as everyone's summer schedule had been compromised as it was cut into by the early starting schools. There has also been no proof that  test scores or school performance improved after school systems start early actually there had been proof that test scores actually lowered in some districts that adopted the earlier start calendar as opposed to to districts nearby that did not start earlier. In Minnesota there had been a trail in the last three years in which 25 school districts begin two weeks before labor day to see if test scores in spring would increase however after three years the scores had been found to remain flat compared to before the experiment as well as districts that start after labor day.  The issue gone so far that a number of states has put into legislation that schools cannot start before a certain date which currently ranges from third week of August as in Florida  to after Labor Day as the case with Virginia, Michigan, and Minnesota. Believe it or not states often frown upon schools systems starting too early, the reason is due to the fact that it is actually tremendously expensive to operate schools in August when utility bills and other costs to operate schools are at its the highest of the year also tax revenues plummet from venues that depends on the summer holidays for profits in fact many such as aquatic parks have to shut down when school starts, with state budgets being tighter these factors becomes quite an issue. In reality starting schools earlier causes much more problems than solutions however just like knee jerk reactions leading to the plastic bag ban fad our elected representatives of our school systems still think that they are always right and that they are supreme rulers and tenaciously hangs on to this practice despite majority number protests of the population they are supposed to represent unless a higher authority, usually the state, intervenes though even if they do districts often seek waivers and are often successful. 

Lets take a look at the situation today many school systems around the country run under the one hundred eighty day, 1086 hour dual semester school year with each semester running about eighty to little more than ninety something days. One of the major problems administrators face with the tradition September to middle of June calendar is that the first semester stretches over the Christmas winter break and having exams in January which administrators claim students forget what they learned over the break. During the last fifteen years school districts begin various experiments to remedy the problem. Today districts experiment of shifting the pattern by moving the entire school year forward to make the 180 day calendar split evenly between when it starts, the December winter break, and summer. However they did not take accounts the flaws of the semester system itself which is just too long and overwhelms students with less courses down. Some schools have successfully implemented the three trimester system instead and shown success and school can start later while exams avoid conflicting with holiday breaks. However this issue is secondary for school administrators compared to main reason which is the pressure to place more days of school before the standardized tests in order to prepare students. Thats explains the reason why many school districts may start in August yet still schedule end of semester exams after Christmas break in January.  A study involving school years had revealed in 1993 about 51% of schools started before September 1 but in 1998 the figure jumped to (76%) Today you have to think more August than September for back to school as August, is now increasingly being used instead as a back to school month in school districts all around the US sometimes as earliest as the end of July Its sad because August usually the universal full month of summer vacation in much of the Northern Hemisphere. Actually in parts of the European Union its not so uncommon for employers to give workers "summer vacation" off on August as well. Now students in the US are missing out on the only month they might be able to have down time out of work and summer schools. The actual number of instructional days have not being changed [set by each state according to funding availability] instead the release date may have been moved to sometime in May instead of June or the lost days may have been made up with intersession breaks all at the individual discretion of each school district. The experiments by the school districts have not been successful according to educators and in fact the better performing school districts in the country still uses the traditional September to June schedule (not the year round or early start schedule). Overall scores of schools which started the year early actually declined instead of risen after they experienced with early starts. Today a growing number of states are actually tried to legislate school acts requiring non year round school districts to keep the year between September 1 and June 20 since the early starts school districts impose are not gaining more benefits than drawbacks and cost a fortune in state educational funding. According to a citizen organized coalition website Texans for a Traditional School Year and Tulsa World News on November 17, 2002 Tulsa Public Schools saved $500,000 in utility and other cost of operation by delaying schools from opening in mid August to after Labor Day. In Texas according to Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts electric bills alone were as much as $10 million a year higher as a result of early August starts of schools around the state. A shocking amount considering utilities in Texas are actually among the cheapest in the nation due to its generous supply of oil and natural gas. In addition to energy costs there is also the cost of back to school absenteeism which actually puts academics behind in a classroom. There are those who cannot make it back to school either for a preplanned family events but the most pressing are the migrant working students who return to their home countries such as Mexico where they often have to work until September 1. The good news is as of 2008 Texas now requires school districts receiving state funding to start no earlier than the fourth week of August and cracks down on waivers making them nearly impossible to obtain. 

If this trend continues unabated famous line teachers say for decades for which the children love to hear at the beginning of their summer vacation which is "see you in September" would become a little more than a hollywood fantasy. Believe it or not the trend as of 2012 has finally penetrated schools around hollywood as Los Angeles Unified School District finally embarks on the early start trend in 2012 starting the school year in August 15 instead of after Labor Day breaking tradition for the very first time in its history for non year round schools. For some reason the district and many surrounding districts in the city as well as neighboring cities and towns in the metropolitan area including in Orange County stayed off the early start trend kept their start dates after labor day long after districts in rest of the state and country embraced the trend. I guess its due to the abundant amusement and entertainment industry influence as they need the revenue and the day labor. In other parts of the state and country amusement parks and local recreational activities have to greatly cut their operation once school has started. However as with everywhere else it was only a matter of time before the trend penetrates the area. Surprisingly according to a Redding.com news article back in 2006 that advocate that schools in the Redding area start after Labor Day instead of early August, nine out of ten best performing school districts in California start classes after September 1. Again it seems like everything else the administrators would always think their decisions are right even if they know they are wrong and its unlikely they would lift their policies even if no improvement or even harm is reported for years and more places and administrators would be lured jump off the same bridge. Therefore its important for members of the community particularly teachers, parents, and pupils to stand up as a community to make things right. In other words take the bull by the horn and show who the representatives are really representing and correct their mistakes and find better solutions to improve education. Think of how much school funding would be stopped from going down the drain if all schools in California started after September 1 which can be used to improve education. This is especially true when the state and its school system is facing ever so extreme budget deficits. 

Here are some links to privately formed coalitions, note there are some states not listed such as savecaliforniasummers.org






save florida summers

save sc summers

Save NC Summers

Save PA Summers

save sc summers

Friday, August 17, 2012

Just how flawed can San Francisco Bay Area transit agencies can get

Just how flawed can Bay Area transit agencies can get

The flaws of public transportation in the Bay Area.

I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for about fifteen years. I notice while San Francisco do have a number of transportation options there is a lot of flaws with the system. Mostly the flaws have to do with the management of the system. While it is true that passenger train and rail transit lags behind in the US and around the state of California as compared to European and Asian cities there are some things I just find ridiculous and inexcusable.
Santa Clara VTA Montage.jpg
Take Santa Clara county Valley Transportation Authority for example, I noticed they always complained they are short on funding and have to cut back. However at the same time they keep expanding their "light rail" network which people often describe as the lightly used rail. The projects are quite expensive but they push on by compromising their existing service and laying off employees. The rail system was expanded from a history trolley system in downtown and into a full scale system in 1987 and continued to expand afterwards. The system was quite expensive to build and run sometimes needing expensive elevated structures such as the 3 mile long flyover above Great Mall Parkway in Milpitas. It is also subsidized more than bus service. For example VTA buses issue no free nor discount transfers meaning one would need to pay the full single ride fare currently $2 each boarding which can be hefty if two or three buses necessary to get to ones destination and its rare to not need to transfer. If you take three buses you might as well buy a $6 day pass. However for the light rail, which runs under the honor system which, unlike buses or BART, tickets are not checked to enter the train however it is expected to be retained for rare fare inspections by one of the five fare inspectors systemwide), one "single ride ticket" which is Good for light rail only actually allows unlimited rides and transfers on the light rail system for up to two hours. There is even a 8 hour $3.50 pass that is good for light rail only that bridges the gap between the 2 hour ticket and the $6 day pass. Therefore it is actually cheaper to take light rail than the bus. Also the system is lined up in a method that is quite useless to much of the population. I.e. they expanded the system toward the east side after heading to the north northside and Milpitas where there is low density homes, apartments, and big box stores, very few people would ride a system that is quite far for their house having to walk through neighborhood and big parking lots  and requires them ride in the opposite direction that they are going unless they want to head to Milpitas or North San Jose. If they worked in the cities of Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, or Mountain View they would need to transfer to another line at Baypointe or Tasman station. Nowadays VTA plans to extend the line down Capital Expressway all the way down to Capital light rail station which is even more useless as the population density near much of Capital Expressway is low and the light rail doesn't appear to go in the direction much of the population would travel. If VTA wants a rail system that would do good to the general population they should build to places that already has a high density population and high transit ridership. The Campbell line is the only line that kinds of meet this requirement as it links higher density cities and provides light rail to San Jose Diridon station the main station for Caltrain, ACE, and Amtrak. It would be much sensible have extended the existing light rail from its Mountain View terminus to Palo Alto downtown would had been a much better candidate for light rail as its European like neighborhoods encourages walking and transit which many residents already do. VTA should also had planned a line between the European styled shopping residential complex Santana row and Eastridge transit center thru San Jose Diridon station.  The line should go in a subway under Santa Clara street between Diridon station and 24th street where currently the busiest bus lines run nowadays and BART is already planned to tunnel there. It can work just like how Muni tunnel lines under market street in San Francisco at the same time eliminating the current light rail sidewalk crawl through downtown area. The light rail line should then travel eastward via 24th street and McLaughlin where there are many high density residential apartments, condos, and shopping as well as Story rd overpass to busy Story and King road Intersection and near San Jose Giants stadium, and down Tully Rd to Eastridge transit center which is also in a busy high density neighborhood with high bus ridership and many bus lines converge here. However the plan for light rail had been scrapped completely and in its place a Bus rapid transit corridor has been implemented as line 522 which runs parallel to VTA's busiest bus line line 22. Even more ridiculous is that VTA opened an "express light rail service" in Oct 2010 that skips stops in the fastest portion of the line when the light rail runs down the middle of the highway 87/85 corridor at freeway speeds but same fare and does not require upgrade to express fare unlike with vta express buses. However the so called "express train" only save 4 minutes through the skipping five stations between  Ohlone/Chynoweth and Convention Center in Downtown and still has to crawl through the downtown sidewalk at seven miles per hour and only this idea makes no sense at all. Not to mention in 2003 VTA scrapped its entire fleet of Urban Transportation Development Corporation Light rail cars that were barely more than a decade old with brand new Kinki Sharyo Co light rail cars on which is quite wasteful when they should have just added new ones to the fleet as needed. The new elevated platforms that provide level boarding for the new trains can make boarding the steps easier for the old trains. The old trains were compatible  as well as the height of the bottom of the door is the same for both trains this is proven by this picture Light-rail station

Another big issue is San Mateo County which is often known as the Peninsula.  If we compare the Peninsula and east bay its a no brainer that the Peninsula which consists of a corridor of relatively densely populated cities and town on the narrow strip of land between the coast range and the bay with US101 and El Camino Real runs right through the heart of all cities downtown a metro rapid rail system like Bay Area Rapid Transit or commonly known as BART with frequent headways and quick acceleration/braking capabilities would be the most suitable compared to a heavy rail train(caltrain) which has many operation limits therefore reducing frequency and takes much longer to get up to speed and stop. However due to bureaucratic issues BART had been banned from the Peninsula but built in the sprawling low density spread out east bay. Its hard to believe that places like Fremont, Dublin/Pleasanton, Concord, or Pittsburg having BART metro trains that runs every fifteen minutes all day yet in the more densely populated Peninsula where its city center after city center in a line and many employment opportunities they only have a diesel heavy rail train(Caltrain) that only runs hourly midday and most local non express runs takes more than an hour and half to complete the run. The express trains of Caltrain which skips stops only travel during commute hour, while it gets end to end between San Jose & San Francisco quicker, however it skips out most of the stops making it hard for many mid peninsula residents to ride. In the east bay the Bay Area rapid transit is usually only good for trips to San Francisco or Oakland unlike in the Peninsula which can be used for travel between local cities where many employment opportunities in addition to basic needs which a metro system is meant for.  Therefore under common sense a commuter train which was there before BART was built is more suited for east bay cities while BART is most suitable for the Peninsula. Though due to various bureaucratic issues now we have a frequent headway metro in the sprawling suburban east bay and a low frequency headway commuter train in the densely populated Peninsula which is quite dangerous as it had killed many people due to frequent grade crossings which BART does not have. Its only a matter of time before a major crash between Caltrain and a freight train to cause a major disaster in those densely populated neighborhoods. This is not to mention how locomotive horns disturbs the surrounding community which lowers the desirability of living in a transit oriented neighborhood. Also BART should had been built to serve more location in San Francisco than it currently does. Currently BART is the fastest means of transportation within San Francisco however it only serves a narrow corridor down market toward Daly City. It would be in the best interest of the public to have BART serve the corridor to west San Francisco in place of those sluggish Muni light rail street cars and serve the new central subway corridor. BART had originally planned a line to Marin County north of the Golden Gate Bridge however the county turned down due to the cost to the county. There should also be more BART lines traveling through San Francisco as a whole such as down Geary street and to other main residential areas of the city on the especially on the west side so they can commute at ease to the main business centers of the city which is now painfully slow with the existing Municipal railway and bus system.

Though the flaws is not just with public transit. Freeway and street design is also pretty bad throughout the bay area especially through the San Jose area where from narrow back streets to the largest throughfares the roads often have to both dodge residential and commercial development, farmlands, and other hazards resulting in constant merges. Many times roads narrow suddenly to dodge someone's house or yard therefore it is only a matter of time before someone runs into a house. Freeway lanes also suddenly disappear and reappear in stretches it seems like they never finish the job of widening the roadways resulting in constant bottlenecks. 101 through San Jose is a great example of this situation as well as 280 and 880. Its very hard and prohibitively expensive to change infrastructure once it is built. Therefore a lesson for all projects in any urban area is for urban governments to cooperate and think about the future rather than be shortsighted.

In a Republic running under the concept of Democracy what are normal citizens allowed to vote on and what can only be decided by officials

Here is something that really puzzles me. In a republic form of "democracy" who decides what legislations considered open for public votes as compared to those limited to voting within the government itself. In simple words what the public is or is not allowed to vote on or have a say. Apparently the population have little if any chance let alone getting a chance to cast ballets when it comes to passing of many driving related legislations in most juristications such as seatbelts that affect people's everyday lives as well as many other legislations such as whether styrofoam or plastic bags can be used in restaurants and grocery stores. However what is put into ballets usually include how money is spent in proposals to fund organizations such as transportation or school districts. Unfortunately most people either would not understand the complicity of the ballots or are not aware of what its intention so allowing them to vote on that issue is just not very practical its hard to understand them let alone to vote yes or now on those measures. Often the funding is not appropriately used after the ballot passes.   It seems like while governments in Republics often consider themselves for the people I often find them not representing the people as much of the population have no say in many things the politician decide for everyone to follow.  I always wonder why not let the population vote on issues that affect them the most and is easiest for them to understand. Otherwise what kind of democracy we have and what do are elected officials represent other than what he wants to represent.

Its important to know the subtle differences between republic and democracy. In a direct democracy all those with voting rights have absolute say over all things. In a republic however the minority's voice is heard as well as the rights of the minority is also to be respected.
In California surprisingly people are allowed to vote on Prop 8 which actually is a vote to change the constitution of California regarding marriage. Though California is officially a republic. A republic is a government that actually respect the rights of minorities as well. Republic essentially runs under the concept of liberty and justice for all therefore rights of the minority is actually a priority instead of mob rule in a democracy. Changing a state constitution certainly requires much more due process than just mob rule. Therefore a measure would require more hurdles than just 51% of "yes" votes. Another controversial  issue in California that people are allowed to vote on is the Three strikes law. Originally the intent is to lock away the most violent offenders kind of like lock them up and throw away the key mentality. However the three strikes law in California is wide open for abuse from overzealous judges as unlike other states with similar three strikes laws California allows a liberally defined any felony to count as a third strike instead of a violent felony. Abusive judges often illegally upgrade minor misdemeanors to count as felonies to get a repeat offender to be eligible for the third strike this is particularly true when these corrupt judges deal with African and Latin Americano groups. This has caused many disastrous consequences to the state as a whole such as prison overcrowding which forces real dangerous criminals back onto the streets, results in loads of state tax dollar funding be diverted to the prison system, results in third strikes criminals been even more dangerous as they have nothing else to lose and might do anything including killing and injuring innocents just to escape from being caught for a minor offense. Though many people might not understand the real issues of the three strikes law and the consequences they face as a result and might vote no on it being "soft on crime."

There are many unanswered questions in a about whether the officials actually represent the people who elected them or they seem to represent themselves or the organizations who are friends with them but enemies with much of the public. Why we have no say or vote on most traffic related issues. Why are we allowed to vote on marriage issues but not on what firearm or fireworks we are allowed to own or to use? Why are we allowed to vote on certain measures regarding schools but not the school calendar or curriculum in our neighborhood schools? Therefore I always wonder who or what determines whether a legislation change is open to voting by the general public as opposed to only in the Assembly or the Senate or in the Supreme Court of California?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Why the Olympics is so important even when compared to other International events such as Expos.

Ever wonder why the olympics is so important even when compared to other world events such as Expos. 

Its now almost two weeks since the beginning of the 30th Olympiad that opened on July 27, 2012 in London. As expected the olympics has gotten the most media attention during these weeks. The most the most focused among events of all the athletic events in the olympics are Swimming and Gymnastics. With Gabby Douglas being the first African American gymnast to win the gold medal in the individual all around gymnastics. Also Michael Phelps officially becoming the worlds greatest olympian after encountering game starting hiccups yet in the end totaling more medals than Russian Gymnast Larissa Latynina with 18 golds and twenty two total medals. As always the olympics had been a very monumental event that countries spend an astronomical sum of investment usually equal to countless billions of US dollars. The 2008 olympic games in Beijing which was officially known as the games of the XXIX olympiad happens to be the most expensive olympic games in the history of the olympics. The games costed about an estimated of $46 billion US dollars which is many times that of other olympic games in the history of olympiads. The central government of China and the municipality of Beijing built 31 venues just for the olympics in addition to completing terminal 3 in Beijing airport which was rated the worlds largest airport terminal and costed 3.5 billion. The in addition to building venues there is also the cost to run the event particularly to through off a spectacular opening ceremony with many stage effects and fireworks. The Beijing opening ceremony alone costed $100 million. These figures are quite hefty for a place like China where the per capita income was about $6000 as of 2008 and the country was very poor before it flourished in the 2000s.

The importance of the olympics extends to matters far beyond the costs. The media attention of the olympics. How many people in the world would turn their attention to it. Also many changes had to be made to the hosts cities. In Beijing for example many older hutong neighborhoods had to be razed. Driving was limited to the day that is odd or even depending on the day of the month and the car plate number. Many older trucks were forced to be removed from service. Though what is truly amazing is that while Chinese drivers are always known for flouting the rules in traffic getting away with everything from driving on the shoulder or other prohibited lanes, driving on sidewalks bicycle lanes, flouting registration and exhaust emission rules, driving wrong way, and a long list. The boom in factories around Beijing create unimaginable pollution the urban area. In addition to driving Chinese often have many bad habits such as spitting in public and littering. However the mention of the olympics made great changes to people's pride in public decency. Making the new rules is actually the easy part having the population comply with it is the most difficult part even in a central communist style government in China. In the past most of the population would cheat official rules whenever the officials aren't paying attention. I was surprised that the Chinese did the impossible for 2008 olympics. I thought they would need to put concrete and steel barriers around all the olympic lanes to prevent cheaters and a bunch of red guards let olympic vehicles into and out of it but it seems unnecessary as people learned to respect them just like carpool lanes in North America.  For the first time ever Chinese actually observed the rules without continuous intervention from the police or the guards. It seems like when Chinese or other people take pride in something mission impossible can be done.

In conclusion people would say that the olympics is a chance for many countries to come together to compete their athletic achievements, it seems even countries that are usually hostile to each other leave their hostilities in the lockers in the olympics. The olympic event seems like a red cross hospital in the warfield where it is not to be attacked by any side as it contains your own people even if it contains enemies. While there are other major events such as the world expos. None of them can match the olympics in media attention they receive and the changes that cities need to host the event. Also unlike other events even those who are not normally fans of sports or athletic events would still be glued to the media during the olympics. For countries like China it seems like a great chance to for the Chinese show the world that "they can."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How plastic bag bans and consumer fireworks bans are similar knee-jerk local government reactions

The similarities between local Shopping bag bans vs consumer fireworks bans?

Its now almost two weeks after Fourth of July yet in my neighborhood fireworks of all kinds still pop around every weekend. While some of these are approved consumer fireworks many of them are illegally imported black market fireworks or dangerous home made ones. I find on Fourth of Julys the same situation repeats. While the state decide to keep the regulated product legal many localities ban selling them and make displaying them an infraction it is kind of like the movement to ban or tax plastic bags which is also a legal product. I find plastic bag ban and single use bag bans in the late 2000s similar to the movement to ban legal consumer fireworks locality after locality from the late 80s early 90s even though the fireworks are certified for use by federal and state officials in 46 states. According to sources I think San Jose banned charity firework stands since the 80s but I was not there back then,  though the state of California officially approves use of such fireworks which pass many rigorous safety tests and inspections. These do not leave the ground nor explode unlike the black market ones my neighbors use. The ban on official fireworks stands does not reduce fireworks use at all as people will either go to the city that allows the sales of them just like people shopping in cities that still allow plastic bags, or revelers would just buy fireworks off the black market which is amazingly readily available the ones made in China or Mexico or those high powered commercial display versions. Most injuries and fires from fireworks are caused by the black market kind of fireworks which explode in all communities and the situation is actually worse in communities that ban legit fireworks stands which is subject to close supervision. I am surprised localities can get sparklers banned as well and make it a citable offense to light one even though it can hardly be considered a firework. Think about it a sparkler is not any more dangerous than lighting a match or lighter.  Most certified consumer fireworks are safer than many welders, torches, bbqs, campfire pits, and many other items that produce fire. It is just like the situation where individuals that litter and trash neighborhoods won't be affected by the bag ban. Also officially Plastic bag waste account for less than 1% of all litter compared to up to 33% tobacco product waste so it is really a knee-jerk reaction on local governments.

It seems like the banning of shopping bags is similar to banning of fireworks of the last two decades, the locality  essentially acts like an Ostrich thinking that their safe by burying their head in the sand when an attacker shows up. Banning the regulated product doesn't solve any issues and actually makes things worse. The ban is nearly impossible to enforce, and the ban spawns the black market of fireworks or homemade fireworks which explode and have no safety mechanisms what so ever. It is just like gun bans are not going to keep real gun lovers particularly the real troublemakers from finding loopholes to keep their guns and only is going to hurt honest gun owners.  Mass scale public fireworks displays can produce their own danger as well, as many drunk people assemble and sometimes do insane things such as playing with black market fireworks in the thick crowds. Also fireworks displays can go wrong by itself. For example in San Diego a computer glitch had resulted in three barges of fireworks to explode within a minute. Good thing it did not result in a catastrophic explosion in the barge where thousands of high powered fireworks were stored in or it would had been a mass scale tragedy. Also as cities run out of money public displays had been scaled back if not public safety had been cut back as well. Of course municipalities which pass these bans would always use false data to prove they are right in their decision no matter how "wrong" they are.

As the plastic bag ban is administrated by the Waste Management "garbage man" the fireworks control is administrated by the fire district(firemen). The rules are nearly impossible to enforce as fire districts are overwhelmed and stretched thin during fourth of July that if they were to chase after all these fireworks they would have to compromise on fire protection which is needed desperately that night with all these fire threatening events including barbeques and mass scale public fireworks displays they would not be able to respond to fires if they happen to be playing cop all night. The San Jose fire department itself tells the media a few years ago they would focus on public safety fire suppression first and only respond to fireworks complaints if its severely dangerous situation or has already caused a fire. A similar situation occurs after the bag ban in San Jose where many smaller stores in the gettos are completely oblivious the the bag ban and stores large and small continue to litter and dump in the neighborhood around them. I notice more and more parts of the city happens to be covered in mountains of garbage after the ban than before. The bag ban only results the stores to increasingly pre wrap their products in plastic packaging which are pretty much useless outside its purpose and need to be disposed once unwrapped. 

Here is more information regarding people fighting to repeal ridiculous policies in San Jose and elsewhere. This fourth of July fireworks issue really heats up and matches that of the plastic ban. 
Its a petty that cities cancelled official displays yet still prevent well regulated fundraising Fireworks stands from doing business. Only to let the dangerous life threatening black market fireworks take reign of the neighborhood. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nationality laws? Jus Soli, Jus Sanguais, what most people won't know

Nationality Laws and what most people don't know or understand that affects them 

Here is a topic that is often overlooked by the general population. Particularly but not limited to residents and immigrants to the US. Nationality laws play a role on how a country decide who should be its subjects or not and also who is entitled to abode and protection in its country. A person might inherit a countries nationality or citizenship by different ways. These ways include Jus Soli(right of the land) which birth in a country that provides automatic citizenship for all births within the country or its territories and Jus Sanguinis(right of the blood) when the nationality or citizenship is transmitted according to the parent's nationality no matter where the child is born. Most all countries operate under the principle of Jus Sanguinis however much fewer also operate under the principle Jus Soli these countries are mostly in North, Central, and South America. Some countries in Europe such as Ireland and Spain operates under a limited Jus Soli principal. Those countries had scaled it back to combat illegal immigration tactics of anchor babies. All Jus Soli countries also have Jus Sanguinis provisions however most countries in the world only have Jus Sanguinis provisions. 

While most people in the US is kind of aware of Jus Soli even if they don't know this term. They know that one born here is automatically a citizen no matter the immigration status of the parents. Though they might not be aware of Jus Sanguinis or right of the blood. For example one can ask many immigrants whose child is born in they US a good chance is that they might have no idea that their child may be considered a citizen in their old country. Many may think that there children don't have their old country's citizenship.  However the laws of their old country might say otherwise and the details can very country to country and some can be hard to comprehend. It can involve some complications as the Master nationality rule of article 4 of the Hague convention that relates to conflict of nationality laws. The laws of the country that person is considered a nationality would prevail even over laws of the person's other nationality if he/she happens to be in that country's territory. In this case even the concept of diplomatic immunity is suspended if the diplomatic personnel happen to be assigned to a country of his "other" nationality. The nationality rule applies regardless of which country the subject primarily lives and which passport he used to enter. For example a child born in China or abroad entitled to Chinese citizenship at birth would need to depart China with not only a Chinese passport but an exit permit as required for all citizens to depart China. Even if the child primarily lives in the US and carries a US passport. He would not be allowed to depart China with a US passport.  Countries such as Poland those considered citizens to leave the country using only Polish travel documents. Unsuspecting tourists who had no idea they are considered Polish due to a grandparent holding citizenship might get detained in Poland for this reason as Polish nationality laws extends to an unlimited generations. This rule also affects immigrants who move to another country to escape military service requirements. There are a number of people who intentionally move of their home country to avoid military draft and not return as promised and think they can return after obtain their other country's passport to hide from the draft ended up arrested for draft dodging and have to complete the service upon return to the country. 

Though Jus Sanguinis may also have positive impacts for a child. For example if the child wants to return to live in their parent's country he or she is entitled to the "right of abode" in that country meaning that they don't have to go through the immigration process if they decide to live and work in their parents' country. Also now a days it pays to have a second passport regardless even if one does not plan to move to the other country. A second passport allows greatly increased economic freedom and can make immigrating to a third country much easier as sometimes countries favor immigration for certain countries more than others. The difference in visa fees and visa free access list can easily prove this discrepancy. For example it is currently very difficult to travel let alone apply for immigration with a ordinary mainland Chinese passport and many countries require visas for Chinese citizens which are expensive, hard to get, and often denied with no valid excuse, in this case  though if a child with mainland Chinese citizenship also has a second citizenship by descent from another country such as Japan, Britain, or most European countries that he or she inherited from the child can use the other passport to travel and immigrate. The privilege of another citizenship would usually cost one at least $35000 - $50,000 and may often involve immigration and residency both a hassle. Therefore the child would be very lucky for the privilege without going through all the hassle. Though beware certain countries such has Japan require the child be registored within a certain time frame in order to claim birth citizenship if they acquired a foreign citizen by birth in the country abroad. Therefore it is best to find out about the child's entitlement shortly after birth. Also few countries i.e Japan has a requirement that requires dual national children choose their nationality by a certain age though it may be possible to retain dual citizenship by using some pearls of wisdom such as only representing to the country as that country's citizen and not showing that you are another country's citizen. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Its Official government officials are above the law in the US, all men are not equal under the law

We might have be told that government officials follow the all men under  the law principle. However many people don't know about is that what really happens? The truth would be shocking to many.

Here are some examples of the hard truth. Increasingly on the news there had been cases where the at fault party happens to be an member sent by a federal state or even local organization. Even though they are 100% at fault and in criminal violation under the law they had gotten away from sentences, fines, and often exempt from responsibility for what they done to their victims.

During the time when many countries had a single entitled ruler such as a King, Emperor, or a dictator they had a concept of Sovereign Immunity.  Sovereign immunity, or crown immunity, is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution. In constitutional monarchies the sovereign is the historical origin of the authority which creates the courts. Thus the courts had no power to compel the sovereign to be bound by the courts, as they were created by the sovereign for the protection of his or her subjects.Essentially this translates to the King being able to murder, steal, torcher, destroy with impunity as much as he wants.

The concept of Sovereign immunity is why constitutional monarchs are so scary in the past. As Kings or Tyrants have complete control and no one can accuse them of doing anything. He is above the laws he make therefore he can break them with impunity. Therefore the founding fathers of the US had objected to monarchy as it know how dangerously powerful and uncontrollable monarchies can get depending what kind of King gets on the throne given that most immigrants fled to the New World to escape the abuses from these rulers. Therefore the idea that George Washington should become King George Washington had been turned down by the country's founding father and remarkably this is George himself. In other words George Washington had rejected offers to become king and instead became President. George Washington insisted that he would become a honored public service man instead of a ruler. Washington even decided to not run a third term insisting that presidents should only run two terms max. However while the constitutional Monarchy never existed in the US the concept of crown immunity for some unknown reason crippled into the federal government in the decades following the Declaration of Independence of the United States possibly starting from 1821 when Chief Justice John Marshall rewrote the rule book. It wasn't always the case though as in 1793 when the first suit was filed against a government organization four out of five justice members ruled governments can be sued regardless of whether they consent it or not. Though a backlash caused by this incident lead to the ratification of the 11th amendment to the constitution two years later which  barred suits from foreign countries or other states.

In the past three centuries any countries in the last three countries has either completely abolished monarchies altogether thereby eliminating such ridiculous doctrine. It is hard to believe that the United States, the country that rebelled against such policies in the first place ended up not only adopting it but keeping it unto modern times. It actually had been reinforced in 1945 by the Supreme Court as "embolded" in the constitution though there is no proof of this anywhere. Essentially from time to time this has been abused as a license to inflict injustice.This however let to uprising and in 1946 Congress enacted the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) in 1946 to permit lawsuits against the federal government. However, Congress specifically exempted 13 classes of tort claims from government liability. Citizens are not permitted to sue the federal government for “any claim arising out of assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel, slander, misrepresentation, deceit, or interference with contract rights.” In effect, the FTCA covered only “accidental” wrongs or abuses or injuries that were inflicted by government agencies or agents on citizens. If some government agent actually intended to shaft or oppress a private citizen, then the citizen is almost certainly out of luck. This essentially government officials impunity under the law.

Corrupt government personnel shift responsibility to the taxpayer or to the victim even though they are 100% at fault for mishaps. Essentially they can get away with crime if they want to. Some states such as Tennessee actually give government authority to burn down houses without just compensation in the event of emergency. The most famous case of this happened during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The second case happened in the Great Mississippi Flood in 1927 where the poorer wards of New Orleans were sacrificed under a wall of water when Army corp of engineers blew up levees to try to save the wealthy parts from complete flooding. Remembrance of this incident has people very suspicious that the levee was purposely blow up in secrecy after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  In contrary to the fifth Amendment in the constitution that states private property is not to be taken, damaged, or deprived without Just compensation. People's rights don't disappear at the whelm of the government at a stroke of a pen or just because the government declares an "emergency" at least not according to the constitution. The government essentially has placed their foot onto the constitution saying that they can do what ever they want with it. Its up to them whether to go by it or not or how they define it. In modern times sovereign immunity has been used to acquit officials of criminal and financial penalties, liabilities, and responsibilities convicted of dangerous driving causing crash and injury, improper control of weapons, illegally raiding the wrong house and shooting owner, destroying private property without just compensation claiming it is for the public good, getting away with malpractice in public hospitals. The list goes on and on.

 Sovereign immunity creates two classes of people. People above the law and people below it. Those whom the law seems to bind and those the law fails to protect. Sovereign immunity has the wrong concept that the government has to be above the law and can harm anyone they want to well serve the public. The fact that government can escape criminal and financial responsibilities for recklessly endangering citizens will mean that there is no need for them to observe the rule of due care for them even if it is required on their books. Therefore the more power the government has more people will be killed or injured and/or forced to live without jobs or homes. There are cases of government agencies not carrying insurance for activities where liability insurance is required by law such as driving a vehicle sand expect the citizen's insurance to cover the consequences of their recklessness forcing the citizen to pay higher premiums and suffer in the long run without proper compensation. Or taxpayer funds garnished for compensation due to the intentional inexcusable actions of a personnel. The doctrine of “sovereign immunity” illustrates how power corrupts. If government officials did not already feel far superior to private citizens, they would not have the audacity to claim a right to injure them without compensation. That some government agents, are punished on rare occasion for example San Francisco County's Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi(for domestic violence) merely shows that the power of contemporary governments is not absolute. Even tyrants occasionally find it in their interest to sacrifice one of their underlings to placate public wrath.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bag bans go too far? An act of communism? Censorship on the media

Plastic Bag  bans and totalitarian control plus censorship
A golden hammer and sickle inscribed within a red star
Recently in the state of California and a number of other states and countries there is a new fad. That is to ban the bag. Originally this was to stop plastic bag pollution. However do to disputes between the plastic bag industry and environmentalists do to unfair favoring of other bags essentially the issue gradually emerges a war on all "single" use shopping bags.

These years in addition to many political and social problems being discussed around the world. Now the new fad for those with authority and control in the world is. The plastic single use shopping bag. It once started as movement to limit plastic bag distribution now however do to industry concerns has become a issue of socialism in the commercial world. The term "single" use is a misnomer as bags are in fact one of the most practical reusable items around the house and elsewhere. 

There are really some issues about this trend to worry about. It is not just about banning a particularly shopping bag. However it is about the constitutional rights that are being infringed. There are many provisions in many ban ordinances tend to be ideas from a communist government. It seems like the government is going too far with power especially in capitalist "free" economies. Essentially there has been ordinances that require all bags sold be registered with the agencies in charge with the quota on bags sold that need to be given to the municipality or county from time to time for examination.  Usually there has never been a government requirement that a minimum price is charge on merchandize in a private enterprise. In other words a store can hand out free merchandise as it wish after all its the stores own possession not the governments. There has not and should not be a requirement that a cafe/eatery/restaurant not giveaway a free meal as it wishes. What is next have government set the price of clothing artificially higher so people would repair the old worn clothes instead buying new as it costs resources to make new clothes?

It would be hard to imagine if a locality requires all stores including Nordstrom to cap return time to 15 days to prevent unfair competition. This would means that Nordstrom would be forced to give up its famous unlimited return policy by the government and adopt the 15 day policy like every other store in town. We don't live in a backward communist state where the central government essentially owns everything so making bad service mandatory is just a big step backwards. 

The most scary issue is the censorship on the media that is associated with the ban. When the ban starts to go to effect in different areas much of the population of those areas actually oppose and often complain of the problems as a result of the ban. However not only their voices fall on deaf ears, news sources often refuse to publish or show the people who are opposing it and intentionally try to show that the ban has much public support and the population goes along well with the new ordinance and complaints are far and few in between except for bag companies or Save the Bag organizations. This clearly reveals censorship on the news sources just like what happens in totalitarian states such as past years in communist China where the state controls the mass media to avoid revealing the truth and to put the governments official's decision in constant false positive view. This also gets the public or the politicians to accept moving forward with the plans which would result in progressively tougher measures. To get an example of this one easily go to a major new website of an area that started the bag ban. Type grocery bag ban and read the article and compare it with the comments after the article. You will be guaranteed to find up to hundreds of comments saying that shopping has been made horrible and people are running out of bags for trash, pet cleanup, and many household purposes. Yet the article would say most people are happy. Also mainstream media also seem forbidden to show negative consequences of the bag ban often highlighted in parts of news sources by environmental studies reports showing that plastic waste has actually skyrocketed after the bag ban as recycling efforts go out the window as funding to improve bag recycling get withdrawn with the passage of bag bans also the population is buying larger thicker bags when they found they have to use plastic bags for trash and many other purposes that store bags once sufficed. In the end garbage dumps are still filled with plastic bags but now thicker and harder to decompose.

In stores buy their items and sell them at the price they set according to market needs as well as covering their stores expenditures while turning up a profit. Therefore aside from taxes government should not be there to set minimum pricing on store products. Though that's what a number of cities with bag bans decide to do. In those places stores would actually need to register their bags with the city so the city can decide the pricing and count how many they sold. This is completely overstepping control in a capitalist world. A much  more appropriate method in a free economy is to reward citizens, manufactures, and corporations for good behavior such as subsidizing the study and manufacture of real environmentally safe and recyclable plastic or plastic replacing products and giving citizens money for bring them in for recycling or composting. It is not just about bags but also many of the food containers that hold food to be sold at supermarkets. These are really harmful to health and are single use only they are the real landfill clutters. Even the photos used to argue the plastic bag nightmare situation shows very little actual plastic bags compared to the mountains of random garbage of all sorts. Therefore to have any positive environment impact all these products should be considered in the environmental plan not just bags. Rewards can do wonders. Think about how the environment and human health can improve if food and drink containers are made biosafe and people actually bring them back for proper composting. Homeless people could be put to work just like how they do collecting cans and bottles for recycling refund. Streets would be much cleaner and landfills would be less crowded and pristine environment will be spared all while keeping the fundamentals of a free economy and preserving the rights of the people.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Liberal facism: Socialism, excessive lawmaking, caused by Special Interest groups

Special Interests Groups now owns power hungry Politicians,

No more free checkout bags at checkout counter, No smoking in ones own home, Mandatory to install carbon monoxide detectors at home,  No cell phones or electronic devices while driving, riding, or even walking down the street, no wood burning on holidays. Must wear helmets for riding anything on wheels, No lighting consumer safety approved forth of July sparklers, Buy private health insurance or pay a tax penalty, The list goes on and on

Have we embraced Socialism? Everything is now de facto owned by the government and citizens would need to play "Mother may I" just to simply live our everyday lives?

It is a nobrainer that citizens would be wondering where does all these nonsense nosepicking legislation comes from. I am sure people would first blame the power hungry people of position whether elected or unelected. Though whats behind this is what most people overlook is whats driving the legislation in the first place especially when the politicians has much greater issues to worry about and citizens are struggling to make ends meet. Countless families today are bankrupt from loans mortgages given by fraudulent organizations, losing their jobs or homes and faced with poverty and violence overrun the neighborhoods they live in wonder just why are governments focusing on such frivolous topics that citizens did not push for when there are so many issues citizens want resolved for a long time. The answer is what we call Special Interest groups. Special Interest groups are the activists who milk the politicians with large amounts of money for new ideas to put into legislation. A major special interest groups example is the ones who sponsor "There's ought to be a law" contests in California. Special Interest Groups might not even be locals of the government they are in. This is particularly the case in the event of states, provinces, and municipalities where there is really no formal criteria for citizenship unlike nations.  i.e Austin, Texas city officials just passed the toughest shopping bag bans in the nation not even allowing paper bags to be distributed or sold and outlaws everything other than whats defined as reusable bags. However, there is very little support from local Austinites for this ban. It is all driven by 15 Special Interest group members who might not even be Texas residents who started no excuses campaign for plastic bags. The council meeting happens to be scheduled at 2am  in the morning intentionally to avoid citizen attendance in order to guarantee its success. Many residents of Austin are very angry of the passage of this bill especially given how Texans are and many outsiders move in to escape "California. " The hard truth is that this is not a majority or even a considered minority of citizen supported measure. Just special interest groups buying off with big bucks and hypnotizing all those in power of the city. Therefore "it is all about the money" slogan couldn't be more true. This is really not how a republic or a democracy should act. It is strictly just socialism in the wrong direction.

Nowadays the real dire example of this topic is the Healthcare reform by Congress. This reform which is to take effect at 2014 has been completely taken over to side with the already corrupt private health industry that ruined US heathcare in the first place. Isn't the original intent of the reform supposed to give citizens a escape route to affordable and quality medical care away from the clitches of the evil health insurance industry? However the results are the opposite way around, all chances for a public non profit option for the masses has be eliminated by the big giant corporation known as the private health insurer industry which has already caused the US population to have one of the most expensive yet low quality health care in the world despite harboring leading medical technologies within its borders. Now they have successfully controlled congress via bribes and funding to keep them from expanding Medicare to those without insurance and often difficulting affording it, and force all citizens to purchase their insurance causing them to have complete tyrannal control over healthcare in the US backed by Congress. The influence of the health industry giant on Congress, which is not much different from big oil, has sadly make healthcare reform instead more of a healthcare "deform."

All these examples show that we the people are being trampled by such corporations and special interest groups who buy off our "representives" with money. This is no different from bribry or corruption.
This also shows that politicians are getting lazy and money hungry. As to actually do something that makes a difference cost them time and money while extra legislation would bring money to their own pockets via new fines. This is just no different from corruption. So I believe excessive bans are the example of a irresponsible government. The appropriate way is to work with citizens or corporation in the jurisdiction to gradually resolve issues. A more serious matter is that frivolous legislation turns the officials away from issues that really needs attention. Criminalizing personal activities such as nosepicking in public would only turn city enforcers away from more severe issues in the city such as gang violence. By common sense it is impossible to enforce legislation such as smoking at ones own home therefore the law would not bring any benefit and only result in an excuse to profile and distracts government agents from more important duties.  Also it would result in citizens being rebellious and disrespect even basic laws as they think what is the difference as the legislators and councilman criminalized practically every routine activity in their daily lives making it simply impossible to avoid being a "criminal" in one way or another. 

In today's situation where many needs to be guarded from jaws of big corporations the government should step in to help not make things worse. Therefore the citizens should really stand up against these special interest groups and show the government officials who they should be representing. While education and working with citizens for better cost time and money than to simply sign to pass a new ban or legislation it is what a responsible politician should do in a Republic Democracy. Besides the officials should really take a look at existing legislation before they even think of making new ones as the code of law is in desperate need of extensive overhaul with so many vague, ineffective, even barbarically unreasonable contents in there which can shock people in a modern civilized society(such as execution by hanging)therefore they should focus on fixing the existing instead of putting new bills into a cluttered broken system.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Save the environment: Bag the ban

Save the environment, Vote or say no to bag bans or taxes.

There has been a new political fad spreading around the world. It is not about reviving the economy from the 2008 mortgage crash fallout. Its not about bring back jobs and lowering the unemployment rate. It is not even about repairing the broken health care system. A hot topic for the politicians now a days involves an everyday used item. The plastic bag. Yep the plastic shopping bag, even with all these political problems and many states and local areas on the brink of bankruptcy, The politicians are targeting this everyday item supermarkets and retail stores use to hold customers loose groceries in after they checkout for convenience and hygiene issues and to separate purchased items from non purchased ones to prevent theft both intentional and unintentional.

Just as with many nanny laws abound. This is trend is spreading like out of control wildfire. It seems like many politicians are interesting in sweating the small stuff when there is so much bigger issues to worry about.The argument for the ban by many government organizations include but not limited to the use of oil to produce them, littering on the streets, on open land, and oceans, burden on landfills, how plastic is not biodegradable and more. Though many of these claims are exaggerated claims as there is good data that plastic bags are not made from oil its actually made from natural gas, plastic bags can be made compostable, plastic bags are very useful and recyclable if done properly and its rather reusable for the population. Compared to other litter and trash in cities it is relatively difficult to find bags floating around. While in fact according to American Chemistry council, Keep America beautiful,  and various local litter studies bags account for less than 1% of litter which is puny consideringh styrofoam  consists of 15% and used Cigarette butts at a whopping 36.3% While these claims do get reported on the news however the news media is often censored in someways by the politicians and supporting special interest groups to avoid or reduce protraying the negative side of bag bans. Ironically on news website discussions the majority of the posts are negative regarding the ban however mainstream news sources often state there had been few complaints and the population is generally supportive of the change. Therefore they are truly covering up the truth. The hard truth is not only that thr majority is opposed to these taxes or bans, also that such bans and taxes can actually be much more harm then good for the world. I can show you why below.

While the tax or ban proponents claim these as single use bags that get thrown away after each use plastic bags  actually have a lot of uses beside just carrying items one way home. In fact come to think of it plastic bags seem to be among the most reusable plastic made items compared to any other plastic items one can find in the store. Plastic bags can be used to hold garbage, hold dirty items together, contain leaks, separate raw meat from each other and other items, hold wet items, the list goes on and on. I just wonder why not require food manufactures to use biodegradable food containers as these plastic packaging, unlike plastic bags, can only be used for its purposes once and is harder and longer to biodegrade and are harmful to those who consume the food in them. There are much more dangerous plastics such as the elastics that hold together six pack cans that can tangle marine life and these are far less biodegradable. If it wasn't for plastic bags holding these trash items together there would even be more litter laying around as they are not held and compressed together in a tied up plastic bag. Also landfills will fill up quicker resulting in overflowing trash in the landscape and increase demand to build more landfills which will damage the environment more. I travel to the most littered part of cities and I easily notice many of the trash along side roads rarely are plastic bags themselves but usually trashed contents of what a bag once held.

Its actually relatively easy to see the negative side if one search the news articles if one looks harder on the news sources the ones given less attention by mainstream news anchors. Many places that "ban" the plastic bag actually had issues with the plastic waste actually increasing after the bag ban. There had been incidences of people hoarding plastic bags to cope with their needs. There are also people who where used to reusing store plastic bags as trash can liners instead buying larger thicker bags to do the same job which take more energy to make and even worse to the environment. According to Bastiatinstitute San Francisco actually has increased pollution from plastic after its 2007 ban took effect, same thing happens with Ireland, Washington DC, and recently Hong Kong(tax levy being tested at select supermarkets) has seen greater plastic bag pollution greater amounts of garbage in landfills after they enacted bans or taxes. Plastic bag bans also increases the use of paper, cloth, or other material bags which can have their own harmful effects to health and environment which can become devastating if these become used in high quantities all of a sudden as a result from the bans. For example many so called "reusable" bags had been tested to contain alarming amounts of lead and fecel matters and paper bags increase co2. Another issue is that it would actually hinder efforts to engineer more environmental friendly plastic products. For example in places like California localities are required to recycle plastic bags however they are exempt from these efforts if they ban plastic bags therefore bans actually hinders efforts to develop and improve recycling techniques which also threatens many green job positions. Also it means the plastic manufacturing industry would lose funds to develop more recyclable or compostible products this goes far beyond merely plastic bags. In the end this means more harm than help for the environment after all.

So in the end the best solution anywhere particularly in a capitalist part of the world the best idea is to reward good behavior than punish. Taxes and bans create more of a problem than an answer. A kind of resembling the security "theatre" influenza created in the US and parts of the world in the years following 9/11. Countries and regional legislators should instead focus on creating incentives to to sped up development for safe biodegradable packaging for food products and other products for manufactures. For the issue of California instead of trying to ban plastic and charging for paper the state should instead have a cash pay policy for those who bring plastic or paper for recycling, composting, or reuse just as with cans and bottles recycling. This would get many people not only turning in their own bags but picking up littered bags and other plastics from the streets and be rewarded with pay. Also there should be rewards such as tax breaks for manufactures and grocery chains to develop biodegradable environment and health safe food containers and bags. Therefore in conclusion it is crucial to tackle the issue from the source and not punish the end user that's how civilized republic should act.