Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Jambalaya with chicken, sausage, rice, tomatoe...Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever been to New Orleans Louisiana? The sound of music is everywhere, the smell of  food cooking makes you want to eat! eat! eat!.
San Jose has two New Orleans style bistro’s. There’s the Poor House Bistro at 91 S. Autumn Street in near downtown San Jose. You can go to this joint and get your grub on with some Jambalaya, Crawfish Pasta, and Sausage Bread just to name a few of my favorites. While your grubbing down, you can listen to some good soul music by Lara Price & Yesterday Band on Thursdays from 6pm to 9pm. The Poor House Bistro is one of the joints you want to be at you have your choice of days  Tuesday through Sunday. The other bistro is Bourbon Street Bistro located at 5635 Silver Creek Valley Road in San Jose, opened last July 2009. I went to Bourbon Street Bistro this month and I can say I was pleasantly surprised, the menu had a variety of taste of New Orleans. A few of my favorites dishes were Gumbo, Etouffee and Shrimp PoBoy Sandwich,  The music was a collection of Jazz and  Blues, the band was Noel & Friends you can catch them on Wednesdays between 7pm and 10pm.. I think Bourbon Street Bistro is going to be the place to go for good food and good music.



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Map of Haiti with Port-au-Prince shownImage via Wikipedia

The country of Haiti has had serious challenges throughout it’s past and present. The years between 1791 through 1803 there was the Haitian Revolution, this was a violent time in Haiti’s history. In the 1900s, U.S.
Marines occupied Haiti from 1915 through 1934, another violent and bloody part of Haiti’s past. Haiti once was the richest colony in the New World, with the man made and natural disasters it is one of the poorest of the Caribbean. With this last earthquake on January 12, 2010 Port-au-Prince is in ruins, with the Hundreds of thousand of lives lost and millions of homeless is going to take years to rebuild Haiti. It’s going to take help from the international community, to help rebuild this poor country. We can all help by going www.redcross.org to find out what we can do to help this country to heal. If everyone donated 50 cents that would be a great start.






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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Move Over Law

A California Highway Patrol unit on the scene ...Image via Wikipedia
How many California drivers don't know there's a law requiring motorists to move over or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles with lights flashing while stopped on the side of  the road?  The law is SB1610, and it includes safely steering clear of CalTrans workers, police officers, fire trucks, ambulances, and tow trucks.

We are already required to pull over and make way for approaching emergency vehicles with sirens or lights flashing.  This law instructs drivers to safely slow down and/or change lanes (more than one lane adjacent to) any stopped emergency vehicle.  Violators face a $50 fine.

The California Highway Patrol originally rejected this law in 2005, arguing that pulling over violators would place traffic and drivers in more danger.  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed by vetoing the bill, saying, "This law could result in unintended consequences and additional road hazzards". 

However, SB1610 was eventually passed in 2006 before expiring last month, and then re-instated by the Governor on January 1, 2010.  Sponsoring Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto says the "Move Over, Slow Down" law closely resembles similiar laws in more than 40 states.

"This bill is about promoting highway safety, plain and simple, says Simitian.  "I hope it puts a stop to the senseless deaths of police officers, tow truck drivers, paramedics and other emergency personnel out there simply helping stranded motorists".

Over the past five years more than a dozen police and state road workers have been killed along California roads.  The latest was CalTrans worker Don Lichliter, who was struck down by a passing truck in Lodi on July 23, 2009.  Since 1924, 176 CalTrans employees have died from roadside accidents.

North Carolina was the first of 45 states to pass such a law in 2002,  following the injury or death of 66 state troopers over three-year period.  Violators there are fined $250.

If you think that's expensive try Virginia, where passing a stopped police officer without changing lanes is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by a $2500 fine!  This may be a bit steep, however, the message here seems clear!

Use common sense!  Drive defensively by seeing the BIG picture! (Remember drivers ed. class?)  Above all, pay attention around, and, ahead  of you....particularly with emergency vehicles. 

After all, our law enforcement and emergency professionals put thier lives on the line to protect us every day!  Slowing down or changing lanes to give these first responders enough room to work safely,  is the least we can do in return!  Move over California!  It's the law!

Thanks again, and drive safely!

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

How to avoid a 2nd accident!

A car accident in Tokyo, Japan.Image via Wikipedia
It is often more dangerous the first moments after a traffic accident, than during the initial collision.  I witnessed a close call Thursday afternoon in Santa Clara, California that reminded me of this.
I was coming out of the lobby of a company I deliver to daily at the intersection of De La Cruz Blvd. and Martin Avenue which runs just west of The San Jose Airport. A two car accident had just happened at that intersecting stop light. I know because I was only in the office five-minutes, and was just returning to my car.
 Two badly damaged vehicles were facing south, side by side on the right portion of the intersection and light.  Both drivers had been escorted by witnesses to the south lawn of a strip mall across the street, and while dazed and shaken...neither looked seriously injured.  
However, I did notice heavy traffic sifting through the intersection at a bumper to bumper pace, passing very close on both sides of the vehicles. It looked like another accident waiting to happen, and almost did! 
As the sirens began sounding in the distance, one of the drivers got up from the lawn and began to stagger crookedly toward her car, probably to retrieve something...and came dangerously close to getting struck down by passing motorists.
Luckily, a transportation officer grabbed her just as she was about to stumble and fall.  This could have been a disaster that's happened many times before!  All it takes is a victim wandering recklessly without realizing they're in shock and/or suffering from a concussion.  Add to that rubber-necking drivers who often smash into one another as well as roadside pedestrians.
Years ago I was a passenger during a t-bone collision in East San Jose that left me pretty beat-up and bruised.  We were all very lucky, however, I do remember waking up sitting on the curb after blacking out!  I also had a caring bystander standing by to catch me after I began to stumble around in the intersection...with a concussion.
Here are a few ways to avoid a potential second or third accident at the same scene.  If you're there to actually help out, carefully secure yourself and any victims far away from traffic or other danger....while consoling and comforting them until help arrives. 
When driving past an accident, be cautious, courtious  and aware of obstacles, pedestrians, the car in front of you, and any traffic instructions.  Help out by being careful....and don't rubber-neck!  That way we'll always keep it down to just ONE accident, which is bad enough as it is.
Thanks, take care and drive safely,

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Expensive U-Turn

They say bikes get in the way of traffic

Have you ever made an illegal u-turn without realizing it?  Perhaps you didn't notice the posted sign,  but your passenger sure did, and loudly called it to your attention!

Have you ever scoped out the area for cops before intentionally making that u-turn anyway?  Be honest!  I'll bet at least 90-percent of you have!

 I have....once or twice over the years. Like most of You I got away with it....but, I wouldn't recommend making a habit of it. These days there are lots of camera's out there filling in for police, and the tickets you get in the mail are just as expensive. It's also dangerous!

This brings to mind two personal experiences on the road.  The first happened last year in Fremont, California.  I was cited for what I considered a bogus grid-lock violation at the Southland Mall on Mowry Avenue.

 I took the ticket to court and won when the cop never showed, but before that I watched several other cases fail miserably. Most were photo traffic citations caught on video cameras!  The judge actually called each driver up to his bench, and had them watch their violation play-out....right there on his computer monitor!  

They had little or no room to argue, against something much tougher that any citing police officer. I also noted a good many illegal u-turn cases.  I'll bet each driver THOUGHT they'd gotten away with it...but didn't!

The other personal event happened today in Santa Clara.  I was westbound on Lafayette Street waiting for a green light where it intersects at El Camino Real. To my right was a motorcycle cop also waiting to cross sorthbound.

Directly across from me was a lady who made a poor decision.  When our signal turned green she decided to cross the double-yellow line in front of the light,  and make a forced u-turn.  Sure enough she stranded herself illegally against the curb blocking me and two lanes of  traffic.

I cautiously eased forward while glancing toward to cop to my right, and we both shook our heads.  He quickly cracked a smile, cut in front of me and flashed his red lights to pull her over. 

My point is, either way you may want to try it....don't do it again unless it's legal, especially in front of motorcycle police, and more specifically in Fremont, Newark and Campbell, California where most photo ticketing occurs.

 Even if you're in a hurry, take the time to make it legal, safe and,  less expensive!

Thanks, and take it easy out there on the road!


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