Grassroot Perspective – April 7, 2003-Union Membership Trends in States Vary; Prescription Drug Price Fixing; Some Publications and Research Projects; Don't Abandon One-way Streets!

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Union Membership Trends in States Vary

Last week’s Department of Labor report showed union membership reduced
to its lowest recorded level — 13.2 percent of the American salaried
work force. Numbers like that beg some sort of response from organized
labor, but the noises that came out of the AFL-CIO executive council
meeting can’t be too encouraging to union activists.

The Associated Press reported that “labor leaders’ discussions and plans
are focusing on 2004 this week earlier than ever before.” The council
agreed to spend at least $20 million to unseat President Bush. That’s
their business, but union membership declined during the eight years of
the Clinton administration, and at the rate they’re going, there may not
be enough members left in 2004 to cough up $20 million.

The overall numbers are depressing, but an examination of the
state-by-state figures show that some places are doing much, much worse
than others, lowering the national average as a result. In fact, in 14
states union membership outperformed the growth (or decline) of the
total labor force in the state. For example, in Tennessee the work force
grew by 2.2 percent, but the number of union members grew by 20 percent.
The other states where unions had a relatively good 2002 were Alaska,
California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland,
Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia.

On the other hand, 11 states and DC had percentage losses in union
membership in double digits — some of them while the state’s labor force
grew. They were Delaware (-10.9%), DC (-14.3%), Florida (-10.6%),
Georgia (-15.8%), Iowa (-11.4%), Kansas (-10.8%), Kentucky (-13.2%), New
Mexico (-15.8%), North Carolina (-14.0%), Vermont (-12.9%), West
Virginia (-12.4%), and Wyoming (-15.0%).

Above article is quoted from the Education Intelligence Agency
Communique March 3, 2003

– Prescription Drug Price Fixing

By Edward G. Rogoff, Associate Professor of Management, Baruch College,
Cuny and Hany S. Guirguis, Assistant Professor of Economics, Manhattan

Price-fixing is a crime — unless the government establishes it as law,
supervises it, helps maintain its secrecy, punished companies that
undercut prices and then becomes the biggest customer. This is precisely
the system that exists for drug price regulation. The government calls
it a drug price reduction program, yet it is a major culprit in causing
price increases.

Above is quoted from Forbes 12/9/02

– Some Publications and Research Projects

*”Lesson for States — Economic Freedom Means Prosperity” is a study by
the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) and the Fraser Institute
(Canada). Hawaii ranked 35th with our average output per capita $1331
less than the average state (New Jersey) see study at

*Goldwater Institute released Arizona Issue Analysis 174 by Jordan R.
Rose, Land Use and Zoning Attorney on August 16, 2002. The title tells
us why we in Hawaii should be interested “Eminent Domain Abuse in
Arizona: The Growing Threat to Private Property.” See study at

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– Don’t Abandon One-way Streets!

In Cambridge, Chattanooga, and other cities, traffic engineers have
become outspoken opponents of one-way to two-way conversions By Randal

Published: The Heartland Institute 02/01/2003

The latest fad among urban planners is to convert one-way streets to
two-way streets. The goal, they say, is to slow down traffic and make
streets more pedestrian-friendly.

One-way to two-way conversions are being planned or implemented in
Austin, Berkeley, Cambridge, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Louisville, Palo
Alto, Sacramento, San Jose, Seattle, St. Petersburg, and Tampa, among
other cities. These proposals have become a major source of controversy
in at least some of these cities, especially Austin, Cincinnati, and

By almost any measurable criteria–safety, pollution, congestion, and
effects on most local businesses–one-way streets are superior to
two-way streets. The idea that two-way streets are superior because they
are more pedestrian-friendly is just a planner’s fantasy that disguises
the real intent: to create an auto-hostile environment.

Why One-Way Streets?

Most one-way streets in this country were first created between the
1930s and 1950s from two-way streets. Those conversions took place in
areas built before the automobile became the prevalent form of
transportation. Such areas tend to have narrower streets and smaller
blocks than post-auto cities. One-way streets were thus an attempt to
accommodate auto traffic in areas not built for the auto. The wider
streets and longer blocks typical of post-auto areas often allow
improved traffic flows without one-way streets.

Before the 1990s, transportation policy was firmly in the hands of
traffic engineers, whose primary goal was safety, with a secondary goal
of the movement of people and goods. Cities that converted two-way
streets to one-way streets noted a significant decline in accidents.

One-way streets have the obvious advantage that pedestrians and drivers
need look only one way when watching for traffic. How many times have
you looked both ways when crossing a two-way street, only to be nearly
hit by a car coming from the first direction you looked?

One-way streets also permitted higher average speeds because signals on
a one-way grid could be synchronized to allow drivers in all directions
to proceed indefinitely at a fixed rate of speed. A semblance of
synchronization can be approached on a two-way grid only if signals are
more than a half-mile apart, and even then it is less than perfect.
Traffic on two-way streets, for example, is often delayed by special
left-turn signals, which are not needed on one-way grids.

Faster speeds on signal-synchronized one-way streets increased road
capacities without laying more pavement. Since the increase was in the
average rate of speed, not the top speed, increased speeds posed no loss
in safety. One-way streets not only have greater capacity than two-way
streets, they save the space two-way streets require for left-turn

In the 1970s a new goal–reduced air pollution–led to more conversions
of two-way streets to one-way. The smooth flow of traffic allowed by
signal synchronization meant less auto emissions. Since cars pollute
more at slower speeds and in stop-and-go traffic, one-way streets can
generate significantly less pollution than two-way streets.

Proposals to Convert Back

Today, transportation policy is in the hands of urban planners who claim
their goal is to make cities more livable by designing them for people,
not cars. That people in most American cities do 85 to 95 percent of
their travel by car does not deter planners from making this artificial

“A pedestrian-oriented hierarchy of transportation promotes density,
safety, economic viability, and sustainability,” say Austin’s Downtown
Design Guidelines. In transportation planning, “sustainable” has become
a code word for “anything but automobiles.” Beyond this, Austin does not
say why density is an appropriate goal, nor have planners shown how a
pedestrian orientation is more economically viable than an auto

Austin goes on to say, “The safety and comfort of pedestrians is of
greater concern than the convenience of a driver.” This statement
assumes pedestrian safety and comfort is incompatible with the
convenience of drivers. In fact, the two need not be incompatible.

Planners only sometimes admit their real goal is to discourage driving
by creating auto-hostile environments. Since every single car on the
road has at least one person in it who is trying to get somewhere, being
anti-auto is hardly a people-friendly attitude. More important, in their
single-minded opposition to the auto, planners have forgotten about
safety, environmental, and social concerns.

Two Kinds of One-Way Streets

The controversy over converting streets back to two-way involves two
different kinds of one-way streets. First is the downtown grid, which
typically has traffic signals at every intersection set for speeds of 15
to 20 miles per hour. Second is the one-way couplet–two parallel
streets that feed traffic in opposite directions in downtowns or other
busy areas. These typically have traffic signals only at major
intersections which, if they are synchronized, are typically set for
speeds of 25 to 40 miles per hour.

Conversion of part of a downtown grid to two-way means a significant
loss of both safety and traffic flow. Such conversions produce no
positive results. They are likely to contribute to downtown decay as
they reduce the capacity of streets to carry traffic into and through

Converting one-way couplets to two-way could reduce flow capacities by
nearly half. “You need seven lanes of a two-way arterial to achieve the
same capacity as four lanes of a one-way couplet,” says transportation
planning expert Michael Cunneen. However, planners usually want to
reduce traffic flows by even more than this amount. Their proposals
often call for:

*reducing the number of lanes of auto traffic;

*narrowing lane widths;

*removing right- and/or left-turn lanes;

*adding median strips or other barriers to streets: and

*other traffic-calming (i.e., congestion-building) actions.

In Chattanooga, for example, McCallie and ML King avenues form a one-way
couplet of four broad lanes in each direction. The city plans to convert
both to two-way. ML King would have two lanes in each direction, but
McCallie would be reduced to one lane in each direction plus an
intermittent left-turn lane. The two lost lanes would be turned into
on-street parking. The result would be a net loss of two lanes, and the
remaining lanes would be slower (meaning less capacity) than the current
lanes. Planners say these steps will make streets more
pedestrian-friendly and that the resulting reduction in speeds will make
up for the reduced safety of two-way streets. Their real goal is to
reduce roadway capacities.

Planners in Chattanooga and certain other cities, such as St.
Petersburg, argue the decline of downtown areas since streets were
converted to one-way has reduced the need for roadway capacity, so the
reduction in capacity is not a problem. However, limited capacity would
inhibit the downtown revitalization planners also say is their goal.

Above is quoted from Heartland Institute, Environment & Climate News
February 2003

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“When a private individual meditates an undertaking, however connected
it may be with the welfare of society, he never thinks of soliciting the
co-operation of the government; but he publishes his plan, offers to
execute it, courts the assistance of other individuals, and struggles
manfully against all obstacles. Undoubtedly he is often less successful
than the state might have been in his position; but in the end, the sum
of these private undertakings far exceeds all that the government could
have done.” — Alexis de Todqueville, Democracy in America [1835]

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He can be reached at (808) 487-4959 or by email at:”’ ”’For more information, see its Web site at:”’