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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2024
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Letters



Very Gerrymandered

Editor:

The 2000 census has established California’s population at 33,871,648 and has, therefore, allotted 53 Congressional districts to our state. This is an increase of one, over the last decade. This amounts to 639,087 persons per congressional district.

San Diego County, with a count of 2,813,833, is entitled to about four and a half congressional districts. From the 1990 census, we shared the 48th district with Orange County and this continues to be the case with the newly released proposed redistricting plan. We’ve also shared a district with Imperial County in the last decade and, again, this continues to be the case.

The Democratic dominated Legislature has very deviously carved out two Democratic districts, the 49th and the 50th, and two Republican districts, the 51st and 52nd in San Diego County. If the Democratic and Republican voter registrations are totaled, for these four districts, one finds a slight edge for the Republicans.

In order to carve out two Democratic districts in San Diego County, the Legislature has had to resort to extreme gerrymandering for the new 49th district. This proposed district included some of downtown San Diego, Point Loma, Imperial Beach and then runs along the Mexican border and finally connects to and includes all of Imperial County. This district is an abomination and cannot be allowed to ever exist!

The proposed 52nd district is now totally in San Diego County.

By the way, the new proposed 53rd district is in Los Angeles County and is in the shape of a “U”, with the cities of Downey, Bellflower and Norwalk in the middle, in the adjacent district. This is another case of extreme gerrymandering.

There are many other cases of gerrymandering in the proposed plan, but I’ll limit my comments here to San Diego County.

My question is, what part of the work “compact” don’t these partisan bureaucrats understand?


Thomas R. Stott

San Diego


No Control Over Traffic Control?

Editor:

In all the fuss over traffic control cameras, no one has really gotten to the root of the matter. It should be quite clear that the real problem is not with the drivers but with the civil engineers who have taken the title of traffic engineers. The trouble is that these gentlemen have taken on a task that is beyond the talents of civil engineers.

Let us go back to the beginning of traffic signals. In those days the signals were simple mechanical contrivances that even the village blacksmith could comprehend. Thus when cities needed some engineer to install and manage these devices, they turned to the civil engineers already on the staff. They were quite happy to take on this new task because it was elementary.

As traffic became more dense and complex, the original mechanical controls were replaced with electronic controls, which eventually became computers in the truest sense. These were well beyond the capabilities of civil engineers. They understood neither the electronics nor human nature. Such things as attention spans of drivers or the complexity of system wide planning were mysteries to these engineers.

Thus they fell back on the simplest approach: traffic actuated signals. This excused them from integrating a series of intersections to achieve smooth, uninterrupted traffic, which satisfied the human need to achieve a goal without sudden and frequent interruptions. There are efforts in this direction in some of the Downtown streets. During the peak hours there, traffic flows in “platoons” with no stops or speed changes through most of the corridor.

Not understanding the current controls, the civil engineers claim the need for a great central computer to control and phase all the signals appropriately. Actually that is not needed. Current controls are clocked by the power line which assures their synchronization. However, the civil engineers claim they will not synchronize over time is a symptom that the circuits in the traffic control have failed. But knowing so little about their tools, they don’t recognize this.

With the traffic actuated controls, the drivers become frustrated with the sudden interruptions in their progress. And start taking risks at yellow lights , risks that endanger all. Worse is that traffic actuation actually moves only two-thirds the volume of synchronized or coordinated signals so that congestion increases.

Evidently these matters are beyond civil engineers. The task is simply above their capabilities; the effects of time and progress have moved this task beyond their limitations. A more informed and sophisticated level of engineering is required. It’s high time our leaders recognized this.


Robert Hoffman

San Diego

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