Taglegislation

New Illinois bill would prevent government employees from being paid to attend conferences

The American Planning Association, Illinois chapter, sent out a legislation alert this morning about three bills that would prevent government funds from being used to send employees to conferences.

I wrote the following letter to my two state representatives.

—-

Dear Representative Soto and Illinois Senator Aquino,

I urge you to vote no on the bills HB4246, HB4247, and HB4248 (“bills”).

I am a professional urban planner in Humboldt Park who hopes to have a job with a government agency in Chicago very soon (I’ve applied three times to the same agency, because I want to work there so badly). I have many colleagues, friends, and fellow UIC alumni, who currently work for government agencies in Illinois.

These bills will ban government employees from attending conferences, which is important to government and to these employees for 3 reasons:

1. It’s an opportunity for the worker to learn the latest knowledge, technology, and practices for their line of work. Government agencies should have high quality workers and staying abreast of new ideas in their field is paramount to a high quality government agency.
2. It’s an opportunity for the government agency to share the results of their internal work with a wider audience, gain recognition, and share and receive best practices from other government agencies.
3. Workers who are certified in their respective industries must attend events to receive “continuing education” credits to ensure they can keep their certification. If the employer isn’t paying for this, then the employee is encouraged to find a job elsewhere that will.

I understand that there seems to have been some abuse, at least from what I’ve read in the news about Governor Rauner’s head of the IT department, but these bills are an overbearing and potentially damaging way to deal with that problem.

Sincerely,
Steven Vance

Curb connoisseur

My sometimes traveling companion Brandon makes fun of me thinking I only travel to check out the curbs in every city. It started when we visited Portland together and yes, my camera was often aimed towards the ground. Here is a roundup of what curbs look like in other cities – I could only find these five photos that really focus on the kerb. 🙂

Starting in Chicago, Illinois

A curb and ADA-accessible ramp in Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The City of Chicago, as part of a lawsuit, agreed to renovate thousands of curb cuts across town that did not meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1993. This particular location was more involved than others because of the real brick crosswalk. It had to be removed and then replaced after the level of the street was raised.

Moving west to Portland, Oregon

In a long walking tour of Portland, Oregon, with PBOT worker Greg Raisman, we came across my first ever mountable curb. It’s a raised part of the street and motorists in small vehicles will probably avoid driving on it. It was installed because this is part of a truck route and it’s easy for truck drivers to roll on top of it without driving on the sidewalk.

Jumping south to Tucson, Arizona

A typical bumpout or curb extension, as seen in Tucson, Arizona. This design is not unique to Tucson, but I point it out because this one comes with accompanying signage telling people bicycling and driving that they must stop when they see a person trying to cross the street.

Taking the train over to San Francisco, California

An atypical situation in San Francisco, California, (not the tracks, but the way the tracks terminate in a mound of danger) that I hope gets corrected right away. In downtown San Francisco, there are very wide crosswalks made with colored stone that sets it apart from the rest of the roadway. But the sidewalk ramps are still very narrow. Also, granite curbs are more slippery than concrete. This all just seems like a bad situation, but it looks pretty.

Flying the long way to Milan, Italy

I have it on good authority that Julius Caesar was at the curb dedication ceremony here in Milan, Italy, and saw far into the future people chatting about bicycles on the sidewalk.

Crawling a little north to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Curbs in Amsterdam, Netherlands, play a vital role in a calm and managed all-mode transportation system. Here the curb is a ramp up onto the sidewalk and separated bike lane that leads into a neighborhood street. Mounting the curb should signal to the driver that they are entering a different space that has different rules and responsibilities.

SAFETEA-LU extensions, explained

Why does Congress keep extending SAFETEA-LU?

SAFETEA-LU expired on September 30, 2009, but President Obama signed a 31-day extension on October 1, 2009. This is the same day the federal budget expired, and the extension, called a continuing resolution, also included funding for nearly all federal agencies to continue their work at current funding levels. The extension bill is H.R. 2918 (public law 111-68).

It’s now November 17, 2009, and what happened to that extension that expired on Halloween? A new bill was signed by the president (on October 30) that makes another extension, this time lasting until December 18, 2009. This extension is buried within H.R. 2996 (public law 111-88). Read the bill and you won’t find any explicit language that extends transportation funding.

Larry Ehl at the Washington (state) Department of Transportation (WashDOT) breaks down how to read between the lines to understand the text necessary to extend SAFETEA-LU. Essentially, H.R. 2996 modifies H.R. 2918. Subscribe to WashDOT’s Federal Transportation Issues blog to stay apprised.

Find bill text at Thomas, an online repository from the Library of Congress.

© 2019 Steven Can Plan

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑