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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: What every Brit should know about jaywalking

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  • Joel Siegel
    ... We US ers (at least the white ones, as Jym notes) have been carefully trained, especially over the last thirty-odd years, to Be Very Afraid of The
    Message 1 of 18 , Jan 13, 2007
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      >> As for *why* Americans approve of this jack-booted approach
      >> to "law enforcement," I just don't know. It's entirely clear
      >> that they do approve, however.
      >
      >=v= Approval is generally coupled with a foolish notion that
      >the police are acting methodically and not abusing their power,
      >two tests which the cop failed in this case. This notion
      >is based on what most white Americans see; those who've seen
      >otherwise tend very quickly to dispense with this notion.
      > <_Jym_>

      We US'ers (at least the 'white' ones, as Jym notes) have been carefully trained, especially over the last thirty-odd years, to Be Very Afraid of The Criminals (and, of course, now The Terrorists as well), and thus to give the police more and more power. From passing draconian 'anti-crime' laws to electing 'tough on crime' judges to electing 'tough on crime' politicians who appoint 'tough on crime' judges, to deferring to the police (especially on juries) when it comes to misconduct, to giving the police a free pass except MAYBE when it's caught on video (and often not even then), we have pretty much created a police state here.

      Perhaps off-topic, but an excerpt from Milton Mayer's 1955 book _They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45_ have been circulating the net and appearing on what little progressive radio we have here. The parallels are chilling. The book is available from University of Chicago Press, Paper US$22.00sp ISBN: 978-0-226-51192-4 (ISBN-10: 0-226-51192-8).

      Excerpt at http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html; with your indulgence I'll quote a few paragraphs here.

      "What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

      "This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter....

      "...Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

      "Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, ‘everyone’ is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there would be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’"

      Joel
    • Huang Eu Chai
      Here in Singapore, it is an offence to jaywalk within 50m of a signalised, subway or overhead bridge crossing, the penalty being a small fine. Otherwise
      Message 2 of 18 , Jan 14, 2007
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        Here in Singapore, it is an offence to jaywalk within 50m of a
        signalised, subway or overhead bridge crossing, the penalty being a
        small fine. Otherwise thereis no restriction.

        Nevertheless, many (including myself) flaunt this ruling, either
        crossing within the restrcited zone, or else crossing on red if the
        traffic is sufficiently low. I have been told of people being caught
        and fined before many years, but haven't seen or heard of any
        enforcement in the last few years.

        The police probably have better things to do than running after
        jaywalkers.

        Eu Chai
      • Karen Sandness
        Actually, this topic is not tangential to discussions of car-free living. When I was car-free in Portland, one of the most common questions people asked was,
        Message 3 of 18 , Jan 15, 2007
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          Actually, this topic is not tangential to discussions of car-free
          living. When I was car-free in Portland, one of the most common
          questions people asked was, "Aren't you afraid to take the bus/light
          rail at night?" Here in Minneapolis, the inconvenience and lack of
          connections are what keep even atransit nerd like me from going fully
          car-free, but for most people, it seems to be fear of crime, or perhaps
          more accurately, a prejudice that assumes that all dark-skinned people
          are dangerous.

          When I attended a convention in Los Angeles in 2001, I met up with
          Richard Risemberg, who took me on a brisk evening walk through some
          interesting neighborhoods and then gave me transit directions for
          returning to my hotel. All went well, and my fellow riders, almost all
          of whom were either African-American or Latino, were friendly and
          helpful. Not once on the trip, which required a transfer to the subway,
          did I feel threatened.

          Yet the next day at the convention, I had lunch in a group that
          included a more typical local resident. We were asking him for ideas on
          things to do if we didn't want to attend the afternoon sessions. He
          sensibly discouraged people from going to places that really were too
          far away for an afternoon jaunt (Long Beach pier, Disneyland, etc.),
          but when it came to more conveniently located attractions, he insisted
          that we would have to hire cabs, because it was "too dangerous" to walk
          or ride transit.

          I wish I'd told him that I'd already ridden the bus and subway the
          previous night and had explored Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and Olvera
          Street on foot and on the "Dash" buses that circulate in the downtown
          area.

          Fear of public transit and public spaces is pervasive in American
          society. The first manifestations I remember are New York-based
          comedians making comments about how dangerous it was to ride the New
          York subway or visit Central Park, a shtick that one still hears
          occasionally. The fear can reach absurd levels, as when when the local
          rumor mill turned one unfortunate shooting at a light rail stop in
          Portland into "hundreds of people have been killed on MAX." In
          Minneapolis, stories of violent crime so dominate the newscasts that
          people like my mother, whose view of the world is heavily mediated by
          television these days, tells me that she doesn't like it that I go
          downtown.

          It's silly but real. No one stops to think that the presence of large
          numbers of people actually deters violent crime.

          Advocates of car-free cities in the States have to acknowledge the
          general public's media-induced fear of crime. The rich have always
          insulated themselves from the larger society, but what is different
          about the current situation is that middle-class Americans are now
          allying themselves with the rich rather than the working class and
          poor, sequestering themselves in rolling steel isolation booths and
          subdivisions twenty miles outside the central city.

          No one talks about this fear, because, after all, we're all supposed to
          be anti-racist and to avoid "fomenting class warfare," but in fact,
          racism and prejudice against the lower classes have played and continue
          to play a major role in the formation and ongoing growth of the
          car-dependent suburb.

          In transit,
          Karen Sandness
        • Richard Risemberg
          ... Actually, blakely & Snyder, in their book, fortress America, have examined exactly this. There s an excerpt on my zone at:
          Message 4 of 18 , Jan 15, 2007
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            On Jan 15, 2007, at 7:01 AM, Karen Sandness wrote:

            > No one talks about this fear, because, after all, we're all
            > supposed to
            > be anti-racist and to avoid "fomenting class warfare," but in fact,
            > racism and prejudice against the lower classes have played and
            > continue
            > to play a major role in the formation and ongoing growth of the
            > car-dependent suburb.
            Actually, blakely & Snyder, in their book, "fortress America," have
            examined exactly this. There's an excerpt on my zone at:

            http://bicyclefixation.com/fortress.htm

            Richard
            --
            Richard Risemberg
            http://www.rickrise.com
            http://www.bicyclefixation.com
            http://www.newcolonist.com







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • J.H. Crawford
            ... Nothing, in fact, is more effective. ... No, not always, even in the USA. Today, however, the super-rich know that they have their obscene wealth mostly by
            Message 5 of 18 , Jan 15, 2007
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              Karen Sandness said:

              >It's silly but real. No one stops to think that the presence of large
              >numbers of people actually deters violent crime.

              Nothing, in fact, is more effective.

              >Advocates of car-free cities in the States have to acknowledge the
              >general public's media-induced fear of crime. The rich have always
              >insulated themselves from the larger society,

              No, not always, even in the USA. Today, however, the super-rich
              know that they have their obscene wealth mostly by theft and
              are rightly afraid of those from whom they have stolen it.

              >but what is different
              >about the current situation is that middle-class Americans are now
              >allying themselves with the rich rather than the working class and
              >poor, sequestering themselves in rolling steel isolation booths and
              >subdivisions twenty miles outside the central city.

              The middle class has, of course, much more in common with
              the poor than the rich. Why they have made this mistaken
              alliance with the rich is a little difficult to understand.

              >No one talks about this fear, because, after all, we're all supposed to
              >be anti-racist and to avoid "fomenting class warfare," but in fact,
              >racism and prejudice against the lower classes have played and continue
              >to play a major role in the formation and ongoing growth of the
              >car-dependent suburb.

              Racism, especially covert, has been one of the most powerful
              forces in American life since the Civil War. Most of the
              housing policies from the 1930s, which spawned suburbia,
              are, at their heart, racist. It really is time to end this.

              Regards,




              ----- ### -----
              J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
              mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
            • J.H. Crawford
              ... and I ll paste the quote from that page right here because it s so germane: The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself Here s a couple of quotes from
              Message 6 of 18 , Jan 15, 2007
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                And then Rick replied while I was typing:

                >Actually, blakely & Snyder, in their book, "fortress America," have
                >examined exactly this. There's an excerpt on my zone at:
                >
                ><http://bicyclefixation.com/fortress.htm>http://bicyclefixation.com/fortress.htm

                and I'll paste the quote from that page right here
                because it's so germane:

                The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself
                Here's a couple of quotes from Edward J. Blakely and Mary Gail Snyder's Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States (Brookings Institution Press, 1997):

                In an open city...people of different colors and incomes must negotiate their mutual fate together. In some respects, they learn to value one another more highly, and social networks are expanded. In socially isolated environments [such as gated suburbs], social distance leads to stereotyping and misunderstanding, which in turn leads to fear and even greater distance. A resident in one of our [suburban] focus groups exemplified this dynamic when she told us that she never left her downtown San Francisco office building, even for lunch, for fear of people on the streets. Her building is located on a central street of department stores and offices, populated at lunch hour mainly by businesspeople and shoppers. But because it is a public space where anyone may go, it is too uncontrolled for her comfort, too unpredictable. Unlike her gated suburb, its openness increases the vulnerability she already feels to an unacceptable level.

                * * * * * * * * * * *

                As one citizen told Constance Perin in her study of community and place in American life: "See, you have to understand the fundamental feeling in the suburbs is fear, let's face it. The basic emotional feeling is fear. Fear of blacks, fear of physical harm, fear of their kids being subjected to drugs, which are identified as a black probem, fear of all the urban ills. They feel [that] by moving to the suburbs they've run away from it, in fact, they haven't, in reality they haven't, but in their own mind's eye they've moved away from the problem."





                ----- ### -----
                J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
              • Simon Baddeley
                ... And my piece on ³burb cowards² http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2005/12/27/75328/953 I think that anyone who is so frightened of their fellow humans
                Message 7 of 18 , Jan 15, 2007
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                  ... And my piece on ³burb cowards²

                  http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2005/12/27/75328/953

                  I think that anyone who is so frightened of their fellow humans that they
                  are prepared to move house to a "safer" area and "stay in their car" for
                  fear of urban predators and watch their children constantly to stave off the
                  risk of "stranger dangers", might be referred to as lacking moral fibre (LMF
                  I think it used to be called) and contributing to fear in the population -
                  for which there used, in war time, to be penalties. I am familiar with these
                  fears. I have long struggled with them - not for myself now - but for my
                  children. I recognise them and seek to control them. I haven't moved house
                  from the inner suburb of Handsworth in Birmingham (UK) - to the continuing
                  surprise of some traders and estate agents who imply in various ways a
                  mismatch between my apparent income and social class and my choice of
                  address. (Changes in urban living are fortuitously going to make our choice
                  of home look extraordinarily far sighted to these people in another few
                  years - but that's another matter - and we can all be hostages to
                  fortune.).....

                  Simon

                  From: Richard Risemberg <rickrise@...>
                  Reply-To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                  Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 07:24:07 -0800
                  To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                  Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Fear in the Streets?






                  On Jan 15, 2007, at 7:01 AM, Karen Sandness wrote:

                  > No one talks about this fear, because, after all, we're all
                  > supposed to
                  > be anti-racist and to avoid "fomenting class warfare," but in fact,
                  > racism and prejudice against the lower classes have played and
                  > continue
                  > to play a major role in the formation and ongoing growth of the
                  > car-dependent suburb.
                  Actually, blakely & Snyder, in their book, "fortress America," have
                  examined exactly this. There's an excerpt on my zone at:

                  http://bicyclefixation.com/fortress.htm

                  Richard
                  --
                  Richard Risemberg
                  http://www.rickrise.com
                  http://www.bicyclefixation.com
                  http://www.newcolonist.com

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Simon Baddeley
                  Good on you Karen. But if you are spending a large part of your earnings to send children to private school and to enjoy access to private space (tennis clubs
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jan 15, 2007
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                    Good on you Karen. But if you are spending a large part of your earnings to
                    send children to private school and to enjoy access to private space (tennis
                    clubs and health clubs versus public parks) and travel long distances to
                    salubrious suburbs, cognitive dissonance almost requires that you amplify
                    and distort your worst fears about the places you¹ve abandoned to justify
                    the money spent on escaping them. I have met people who¹ve gone to live in
                    foreign countries to get away from the Œpace of life¹ in the UK ­ which is a
                    coded form of this fear of the Œother¹ in our midst. I do not deny that some
                    of the ennui of oppressive poverty (being without many material possessions
                    is not what I mean) can rub off on anyone living in proximity to
                    hopelessness and the consolations bred by such despair, but can¹t the life
                    of the suburbs turn out dispiriting? I do not deny that there are places
                    where you can leave the house key in the front door and others where that
                    would be unwise, and I do not deny that the species faces fearful challenges
                    ­ not the least being attempts by thousands of people Œto get away from it
                    all¹ who end up up creating more of what they sought to escape.
                    S



                    From: Karen Sandness <ksandness@...>
                    Reply-To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                    Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 09:01:19 -0600
                    To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                    Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: What every Brit should know about jaywalking





                    Actually, this topic is not tangential to discussions of car-free
                    living. When I was car-free in Portland, one of the most common
                    questions people asked was, "Aren't you afraid to take the bus/light
                    rail at night?"


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Debra Efroymson
                    It gets worse, recently four children died in a fire here in Bangladesh, after their parents/uncle locked them in to go to the doctor. If they had trusted
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jan 15, 2007
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                      It gets worse, recently four children died in a fire
                      here in Bangladesh, after their parents/uncle locked
                      them in to go to the doctor. If they had trusted
                      their neighbors, it wouldn't have happened. In our
                      own experience, we were successfully robbed after
                      moving to a higher-income neighborhood, while in a
                      lower-income one, our neighbors prevented the one
                      robbery attempt. (We HAD to move, partly because the
                      smell of sewage became overpowering.)
                      A character in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales says it
                      very well, after she is beaten up by her husband's
                      enemies: the best security is a good relationship
                      with your neighbors. No wall or security force will
                      save you if your neighbors are out to get you.
                      Just another reason why we are promoting
                      environments conducive to outdoor interactions in
                      urban areas. But everyone I talk to here says, focus
                      on the lower-income groups, because the rich care
                      about prestige, not quality of life. Can it be
                      true????
                      Debra

                      --- Simon Baddeley <s.j.baddeley@...> wrote:

                      > ... And my piece on ³burb cowards²
                      >
                      >
                      http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2005/12/27/75328/953





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                    • Debra Efroymson
                      And the belief that the economy must always continue growing. If the post-WWII housing crisis had been addressed through building of apartments, people would
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jan 15, 2007
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                        And the belief that the economy must always continue
                        growing. If the post-WWII housing crisis had been
                        addressed through building of apartments, people would
                        have bought a lot fewer cars and appliances.
                        Isolated, single-family houses were seen as a great
                        way to encourage large purchases which would in turn
                        create jobs. As houses became a financial investment
                        rather than a home in a community, owners worried more
                        about potential (though apparently rarely realized)
                        drops in property value if blacks moved into the
                        neighborhood, than about integrated, positive,
                        environments.
                        If people were happier, they would buy fewer
                        unnecessary things, and capitalism, at least as
                        currently defined, would falter. Unless we shake our
                        belief that the economy must always grow through
                        unfettered consumerism, I don't see much hope for
                        changing government policy away from encouraging
                        suburbia.
                        Of course I agree that racism is also a factor!!
                        but the middle class are going to be far more
                        concerned about property values than integrated
                        neighborhoods.
                        Debra

                        --- "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...> wrote:

                        Most of
                        > the
                        > housing policies from the 1930s, which spawned
                        > suburbia,
                        > are, at their heart, racist.




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                      • Jason Meggs
                        ... Of note, the history of minimum parking requirements, a constant obstacle to carfree proposals, originated in Nazi Germany, with the following quote
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jan 17, 2007
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                          On Sat, 13 Jan 2007, Joel Siegel wrote:

                          >
                          >>> As for *why* Americans approve of this jack-booted approach
                          >>> to "law enforcement," I just don't know. It's entirely clear
                          >>> that they do approve, however.
                          >>
                          >> =v= Approval is generally coupled with a foolish notion that
                          >> the police are acting methodically and not abusing their power,
                          >> two tests which the cop failed in this case. This notion
                          >> is based on what most white Americans see; those who've seen
                          >> otherwise tend very quickly to dispense with this notion.
                          >> <_Jym_>
                          >
                          > We US'ers (at least the 'white' ones, as Jym notes) have been carefully
                          > trained, especially over the last thirty-odd years, to Be Very Afraid of
                          > The Criminals (and, of course, now The Terrorists as well), and thus to
                          > give the police more and more power. From passing draconian
                          > 'anti-crime' laws to electing 'tough on crime' judges to electing 'tough
                          > on crime' politicians who appoint 'tough on crime' judges, to deferring
                          > to the police (especially on juries) when it comes to misconduct, to
                          > giving the police a free pass except MAYBE when it's caught on video
                          > (and often not even then), we have pretty much created a police state
                          > here.
                          >
                          > Perhaps off-topic, but an excerpt from Milton Mayer's 1955 book _They
                          > Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45_ have been circulating the
                          > net and appearing on what little progressive radio we have here. The
                          > parallels are chilling. The book is available from University of
                          > Chicago Press, Paper US$22.00sp ISBN: 978-0-226-51192-4 (ISBN-10:
                          > 0-226-51192-8).


                          Of note, the history of minimum parking requirements, a constant obstacle
                          to carfree proposals, originated in Nazi Germany, with the following quote
                          attributed to you-know-who:

                          "Above all, it is the young who succumb to this magic.
                          They experience the triumph of the motorcar with the full
                          temperament of their impressionable hearts. It must be
                          seen as a sign of the invigorating power of our people
                          that they give themselves with such fanatic devotion to
                          this invention, the invention which provides the basis
                          and structure of our modern traffic."
                          -- Adolf Hitler

                          Further information as to the ties between U.S. auto makers and oil
                          companies to the Nazis is well documented. (For example, Ford was given a
                          public award by Hitler; U.S. auto makers helped build Nazi war machinery.)

                          Jason


                          > Excerpt at http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html; with
                          > your indulgence I'll quote a few paragraphs here.
                          >
                          > "What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by
                          > little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions
                          > deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so
                          > complicated that the government had to act on information which the
                          > people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people
                          > could not understand it, it could not be released because of national
                          > security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in
                          > him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would
                          > otherwise have worried about it.
                          >
                          > "This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap,
                          > took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps
                          > not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated
                          > with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the
                          > crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they
                          > did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of
                          > government growing remoter and remoter....
                          >
                          > "...Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little
                          > worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great
                          > shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will
                          > join with you in resisting somehow. You donÿÿt want to act, or even
                          > talk, alone; you donÿÿt want to ÿÿgo out of your way to make trouble.ÿÿ
                          > Why not?ÿÿWell, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just
                          > fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine
                          > uncertainty.
                          >
                          > "Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as
                          > time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general
                          > community, ÿÿeveryoneÿÿ is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly
                          > sees none. You know, in France or Italy there would be slogans against
                          > the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the
                          > great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university
                          > community, in your own community, you speak privately to your
                          > colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say?
                          > They say, ÿÿItÿÿs not so badÿÿ or ÿÿYouÿÿre seeing thingsÿÿ or ÿÿYouÿÿre
                          > an alarmist.ÿÿ"
                          >
                          > Joel
                          >

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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