Wednesday, August 28, 2013

San Jose Bag Ban one and half year later what is there bragged about "success"

This is a common sight all around San Jose, large amounts of junk alongside road, largest being a broken doghouse 
San Jose Bag Ban one and half year later define "Success"

This is a common sight all around San Jose, large amounts of junk alongside road, largest being a broken doghouse 
The controversial ban on plastic and free paper shopping bags had drawn a lot of negative public reactions. There has been notable shift to shopping elsewhere for city residents. Of course this is denied by those pushing for these bans. Though a year later through a city report concludes the ban is successful however the question is what do they define success?

Reduction of litter in the city, reducing urban blight, less trash on the streets? From my observations and through photographic evidence it appears non of it is the case at least in San Jose.

Taking trips around the city I noticed that streets gutters, empty lots and creek beds are still littered by mountains of garbage including plastic film that resemble plastic bags. As well as plenty of paper and other hazardous trash.

These pictures below are taken in Las Palmas Ave between King Road and Educational Park Dr. near Independence High School August 26, 2013

This is a common sight all around San Jose, large amounts of junk alongside road, largest being a broken doghouse 

More garage at least some are bagged preventing it from spreading. 

Pieces of paper, plastic, and clothing

Large amounts of trash beside parked car

large amounts of plastic fast food cups alongside gutter 
Wood board covering large amount of  takeout related trash

This is a common sight all around San Jose, large amounts of junk alongside road, largest being a broken doghouse 

Hubcap along with many trash

large amounts of paper and plastic and other trash of all types at gutter alongside van.

These will all end up in the storm drain and where ever it drains to if a rain storm pours
This is on Murillo Ave around were I live, I photographed the area between Quimby Rd and Grosbeck Hill Park

January 22, 2013
Trash along side springbrook Ave. Appears to have fallen out of the garbage truck at least that ones bagged and not all over the place

Random pack of trash along Murillo ave.  
Random trash along Murillo ave

Sidewalk Murillo Ave. where it ends up at Grosbeck park 
Fast food  wrapper

 Tires and bag of trash and other rubbish

This stretch of Murillo Ave is often a hot spot for residential dumping

Fortunately this dumper did bag his garbage preventing the mess from spreading and easing cleanup 

This signs although common around the city means pretty much nothing and often  its surrounded by a sea of garbage. 
Capital Expressway between Quimby rd and Aborn Ave
July 2013
 Random Bag along Capital Expressway isn't this what the ban is supposed to prevent
bag ban does nothing to stop such issue
Shopping cart pushed this far from the store miles up a hill actually I bet this would cost supermarkets and stores big bucks to retrieve them.  

Is this what we call Success? 

Now I wonder what is the success supposed to mean? Stores profiting from bag ban. People, homeless or otherwise, using unhygienic reusable bags with spoiled spills and even insects in them, increased shoplifting that requires stores to add chains between the check stands, people dropping groceries in the parking lots and leaving them there? Consumer buying similar yet larger bags for every day needs for plastic bags instead of reusing store bags, rude cashiers becoming ruder, unbagged  garbage blowing around the wind like confetti?   In the end it is all liberal facist scheme to change behaviors not actually to improve the environment

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cost of telecommunications is it really getting more expensive than around twenty years ago?

Cost of Telecommunications (Cable TV, phone, Internet)? Is todays household telecommunications bill it more expensive than it was during the 1990s?

This is not exactly Politics and bureaucracy related post although it is likely to be affected by politics and bureaucracy. The issue with the rising cost of telecommunications where most modern people depend on.

I know most of us would just see our bills keep rising year after year. Cable companies increasing guage customers using various excuses such as high prices the networks are charging them which many customers argue that their satellite competitors did not raise rates and that cable is just being monopolistic as they usually have no competition in their area. While most could choose Satellite instead nowadays it could be out of the questions for those who live where tall trees or buildings block the view to the sky. Nowadays companies charge extra for pretty much modern day essentials such as HD receivers and DVRs. Which is pretty much a necessity for those with High Definition television sets(which poorly display standard definition signals in a much smaller display area or distorted) with digital receivers who may want to record shows for later watching which was once done free with a VCR in the past which is now out of the option. Today it is not uncommon for tv only rates to exceed $60 a month plus the additional rates around $10 for HD DVR and extra television set rates. Today most people would also need in addition to cable tv; Internet Access or phone service. These days cable tv and phone companies often provide both television, Internet, and phone together for bundled rates.

Though we wonder are things really overpriced compared to the good old days? We can try to compare modern rates with the rates we used to pay back in the early 1990s which is pretty much twenty years ago.  While its true that Standard basic Cable tv bills used to be lower(Around $25 a month) of course not adjusting for inflation and cost of goods and having only 50 channels if not less, home phone bills as well as Internet ISP bills were actually higher in terms of use. In the early 1990s before phone service competition price wars it is not uncommon for phone companies to charge long distance for calls to the next county or even city and the line between local calls and long distance calls were pretty blurry. Long Distance is often charged by the distance starting from 0.15 a minute for the closest area they charge for and go up from there with calls across the country costing over 50 cents a minute and for International calls between $1-$4 a minute depending on destination and hours of call. It was not uncommon for average family phone bills to run over $200 a month. As for Internet the early Internet service providers or ISPs often charged dial up Internet by the minute and or the hour.  The rate was often around $0.05 a minute or $1-$3 a hour which can get expensive for those using it for hours a day. For example those who use an average of two hours a day would see their rates between $60-$120 a month. That is if the dial up access number is actually within the local boundary set by the phone company otherwise long distance charges would also accrue which is an issue with many out of the way residences or businesses where there are no local isp phone numbers. Remember these rates are all in early 1990s dollars therefore adjusted for inflation and price of good and services with today's dollar the rates would pretty much equal to double the figures in 1990s dollars.

So now we wonder are we being ripped off today by the companies? Are we paying more or less? I would do a comparison. I will also do a optional factor in the use of cell phones nowadays.

Landline Phone bill(based an average charge of .70 a minute of mixed use long distance calling for 250 minutes a month $175
Dial up ISP $2 a hour for average 2 hours use a day in a thirty day period $120
Standard basic Cable TV $25around 45 channels
total= $320(in 1993 US dollars)
It is assumed most residents would not had cell phones back in 1993 the few that do contend with enormous rates.
Comcast Cable tv, phone, Internet rates. Normal(not promotional) rates $122 for digital starter with 80 channels with phone and Internet.
Comcast Digital preferred with 160 channels HD DVR, upgraded Internet, and phone normal rates $169
optional cell phone inclusion as most families in 2013 have cell phones for each family member: Cell phone i.e AT&T $50 each for unlimited talk and Data a family of four is $200.
no cell phone: $122 for starter, $169 for preferred bundle customers
with smart cell phone: $322 for starter, $369 for preferred.
Remember I did not adjust for the cost difference between 1993 dollars and 2013 dollars. Therefore in today's dollars the 1993 rates, well you can do the math.