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monsoon

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Everything posted by monsoon

  1. I am not so sure. It shows upstate NY as a strong housing market, but it completely misses the point that this region went through de-industrialization years ago and housing prices there tanked over a decade and a half ago and never recovered. Texas and Oklahoma are very easy to explain. Oil and Gas. This is the home of petro based energy for the United States and money continues to pour in these areas not only because we still consume vast quantities of the stuff, but now because investors are pouring money into these markets to avoid the coming meltdown of the dollar. Thus, I think the report is pretty meaningless. It doesn't even begin to address what has gone wrong with this economy and because they don't do that, it amounts to little more than trying to get a prediction out of the reading of chicken entrails.
  2. This one would be interesting if it is true because they would have to quantify how much it would save. My guess is that it isn't costing them a measurable amount of money when we are talking about the size of the county budget. While the right wingers haven't shown they are particularly politically astute these days, they might not want to waste the political capital on this item at all, especially if we are talking about a small amount. I think there are bigger battles they want to fight in this county rather than "beating up on the queers". Gay baiting works on the national level, because it always comes from House representatives elected from very safe republican districts which by their nature also are mostly some of the most ignorant people in the USA. It's not so clear this will work as well in Mecklenburg county. I realize we have people like Bill James, but while he does rail against Gays and Lesbians, he gets re-elected because he looks out for the people in his district and this really isn't one of their buttons. It's the difference between being a bigot and representing an area of bigots. Opps, but there I go again, assuming there might be some common sense at work here. Maybe there will be a fight.
  3. I guess I can understand why it isn't Chicago, Ill. or Atlanta, Ga, but why is it still Charlotte, NC when it isn't Cleveland, OH? I'm thinking that most Texans know more about CLT than Cleveland. Opps. NVM I momentarily forgot this is the land of GW Bush. This article.
  4. On the issue of the Charlotte city government providing domestic benefits, there is a very strong rumor that Obama is going to announce tomorrow, the Federal government will do that for their employees. If this does happen, it will only go to demonstrate how backwards the locals are when it comes to these things. Charlotte boosters like to proclaim loudly this is a progressive city with world class aspirations, yet they still run it like an old back wash southern mill town.
  5. ^You continue to earn my respect.
  6. But they are not advertised as Gay establishments. Club South was a chain that catered specifically to Gay men. They mostly shutdown because of the late 80s AIDS crisis. However IMO, even if this had not have happened, this place would have never survived in Dilworth just as the other places didn't that once existed in Dilworth and what is now called South End. Charlotte is definately more conservative now because there were other places in the area, that I didn't mention that simply could not exist today.
  7. Can't say I am familiar with it except to note this line was the first LRT built in the USA and maybe there were no rules at the time to restrict it. I does seem that the city actually purchased the freight tracks so maybe they can control timing.
  8. It was a Club South bath house located right on South Blvd. The building is not there now but was located approximately where Bland crosses South. Yes there definitely was a pool at The Scorpio in the late 1980s. I want to say it was in the '87 - '88 time frame. Marion, the owner of Scorpio, was getting some fierce competition from another bar called Charades and put the pool to attract people to the Scorpio. That plan for success didn't work however as the Gays wouldn't get in it as it was referred to as the AIDS pool. (understandable given the circumstances of the day, but sometimes we are our own worst enemy) They eventually closed the pool and filled it in, I heard, because of liability reasons. Pools are a disaster for insurance policies. My guess is that it is not noticeable now as you would have to know where to look to see it. I would advise against going down into the Scorpio parking lot when the bar isn't open. It isn't exactly the safest place in Charlotte. As a side note Charades really attracted a different clientele than what went to The Scorpio. I was told of another Gay establishment in the Dilworth area that was closer to downtown that pre-dates all of this. Remember in those days I-277 was not there so there wasn't any separation between Dillworth and the downtown area. Smaller buildings just merged into bigger buildings and all of the streets in Dilworth went downtown instead of dead ending just before I-277. There were hundreds of old buildings and the bar was located in one of them. For some reason I remember it being one known for being decorated with hanging potted plants. Maybe a Gay fern bar. It was closed long before I moved to CLT but plenty of people at the time remembered it. The removal of large swaths of urban landscape for I-277, maybe square miles, of densely packed small business buildings by the building of that highway was a tragic loss and another reason IMO, there isn't a gayborhood in CLT now. That area might have developed into one.
  9. Indeed, but it may not be a fair comparison in any case. Charlotte is much smaller and much much less urban than Philly and suburban Philly isn't hugely different from suburban Charlotte. The difference is that Charlotte is 99% suburban whereas Philly isn't. My theory on this is that Philly went through a huge amount of White flight in the 60s and 70s and had some very serious problems in the 1970s. You might remember the Mayor dropping a fire bomb from a helicopter on a compound of Black activists and ending up burning down 7 square blocks of housing and killing some people. All in all a horrible mess and a sign of what that place used to be like. So Gays and Lesbians, seeking to escape the police raids, moved into this portion of the city because nobody paid attention to it. Similar things happened in the other major cities of the USA in the 1960s & 1970s. Castro is the most famous example. Charlotte never went through a similar episode as there was never White flight out of the city. Instead really bad urban renewal here simply removed huge swaths of the city and there was never an area that could develop in a similar fashion. White flight occurred in Philly due to school integration. Since Mecklenburg runs a county wide school system what happened here instead was the invention of the private school. Oddly enough, Charlotte was more tolerant in the area of race relations which also had the ironic effect of not forcing Gays into a forgotten area of the city. Sure there was similar police harassment here in CLT, some older gays that lived here in the 60s told me about the really bad treatment from the CMPD in those days, but activism here didn't really begin until the 80s and when it did, it quickly shifted to AIDS causes. A worthy cause but not one that gains a community political power. There were the beginnings of a gayborhood in Dilworth, we have talked about this before, but extreme bland gentrification has eliminated that. At one time there was a Gay bath house, Oleens the Drag Queen bar, a Gay oriented book store called Friends of Dorothy, and I have been told the Scorpio started there as well. There was another bar in today's South End called the Odyssey. Charlotte's only Gay restaurant, Stephens opened in Dilworth, and there was another very gay oriented restaurant called Josh's which I believe started the trend of putting restaurants in old Victorian homes. There was a street in Dilworth, that actually had the nickname vaseline valley because of what went on there and of course there was the Disco Kroger. All in all it was very "festive" at one point. Imagine this stuff there today.
  10. It might not be new news, not sure, but Purdue announced yesterday that ~$20M in transit money is going to be given to Charlotte for the purpose of doing work on the city bus facility on North Davidson St. This is some of the money coming from the Obama stimulus plan.
  11. LOL. I said this ballpark project was dead months ago but we continue to get posts here that indicate that if Resse would just go away they could build it. Never mind, there is no money.
  12. Sigh. I did not say this. You can post anywhere you like as long as it is relevant to the topic at hand. I this case it is about the local Gay community and isn't about Gay rights in America. There is a difference.
  13. We are getting a lot of advice from people who don't live here. Please take this topic back to Charlotte.
  14. This is very true. IMO, 1/3 of the country are still against Gays and Lesbians but won't admit it like they once did. In the United States and even in the states where there is Gay marriage, it is still perfectly legal to discriminate because someone is Gay. It is not a constitutionally protected classification. I will say that Charlotte these days is a much calmer place than it was in the 1980s when there was open outright hostility towards Gays and Lesbians, especially after AIDS made it into the public eye in the mid 1980s. I've posted about this period here before. There was once a very prominent preacher, the Rev. Joseph Chambers, who made the sins of homosexuality part of his agenda and he had the ear of the local politicians including then Mayor Sue Myrick. (the same Sue Myrick who now represents much of Charlotte in the US House of Representatives). This is when we did have groups such as First Tuesday, which provided a counter towards these kinds of arguments. Chambers was eventually thrown out by his own flock of worshipers. Personally I have not had to deal with too much other than an incident with the Police that I mentioned earlier in this topic. But I did have a friend once that was leaving Tags (a bar that used to be on The Plaza) after the Sunday afternoon volleyball and tea dance who was very badly beaten with a tire iron by some rednecks looking to beat up some hags. They had laid in wait near the bar looking for someone they could grab.
  15. Hmmm.. that name reminds me of the older "RailStar" trains in Japan. An example. (english at 1:40)
  16. Everyone has to make their choices and this is something we have contemplated too. However the other side of the coin is that I am not going to let a bunch of right nut bigots determine where I live. In the end there are a lot of things to like about this area and that won that argument for us over to stay in the area. There are 1000s of Gays & Lesbians in the county living comfortable lives. It would be nice to be able to get a legal marriage certificate as that solves a number of legal issues, but beyond that I don't feel a need to move. At least not for the reason of escaping christian zealots. Just keep in mind there are bigots everywhere. As far as the pot is concerned well.... nowhere today will match the 1970s.
  17. So co-incidentally I was catching up on one of the most fascinating train adventures of the 21st century and I noticed exactly what you just asked. i.e. A diesel train using electrified tracks. This blog of a trip from Viena to Pyongyang is being updated periodically by the author and I was catching up last night. If you are not familiar with it, it is a photo journey of a trip that two guys took from Europe through Russia last fall where they crossed the border into North Korea on train and then on to the DPRK capital. It's amazing because this twice month train is not supposed to be available to tourists and because they got hundreds if not 1000s of photos of video from parts of N. Korea that have never been taken before. Because of the anomaly that let them in, they were basically without "guides" until they got to Pyongyang. It was a 13,000 km train trip. He has it set up so you can follow the trip on google earth and youtube, which is why it is taking him a long time to get it all on-line. If you are not interested in the trip, where there also show both trams and metros, towards the end there is the part where he covers the return trip. (not finished) Apparently they had to take the traditional tourist train that goes back through Beijing instead of Russia. On that part, the N. Korean trains are attached to a Chinese train which is powered by a diesel-electric. Apparently the Chinese want to be punctual and because of that don't trust the N. Korean electrical system to be reliable enough to make this happen. The author is transit enthusiast and has focused on all the different types of trains on the journey and especially in the Pyongyang transit system. They have a mysterious metro where most tourists have only seen 2 stations. It's a two line system, but the N. Koreans won't let outsiders use most of it and it is also believed that it is actually 2x to 3x larger than even the station maps show. More relevant to Charlotte however is in the tram system and especially in the areas where they are rebuilding it. It's worth a view if you have any interest in passenger trains for this reason.
  18. I saw this. The Observer got it completely wrong about the Charlotte population in downtown 20 years ago. They said 3000. The 1990 census has it set at 6032 and the Observer has actually used this # in the past. I guess they were trying to do some revisionist reporting to make their "conclusions" sound better. Aside from that, it is impressive these guys are putting their own money into this thing like they have.
  19. Yes. A freight locomotive which (and similiar CR locomotive) are built to much much heavier standards and nothing survives a collision with them except for maybe another locomotive. Freight and CR lines also operate at higher speeds and take longer distances to stop. A crash with a light weight EMU would look like a Honda civic hitting a semi truck. A single GE diesel-electric locomotive can easily weigh a 500,000 lbs when fueled and you might see several of these in tandem on a freight line. Compare that to the Lynx Siemens S70 which weighs 97,000 lbs. So the FTA will not allow light rail to operate on freight lines except in very rare cases. The NJ transit Riverview line (I think that is the name of it) is a fairly innovative diesel powered LRT type train that shares tracks with a freight line. They did this by getting an agreement that freight would only run at night when the passenger train wasn't running. A collision between a CR train and freight train would not be good either, but remember a CR train is essentially an Amtrak style train configured for short distance travel, and freight and passenger trains of this type have used the same tracks for the entire history train travel in the USA. Personally I think the FTA is overly conservative on this matter, but then again they have the difficult job in what they are being asked to do. At one time there used to be routine horrific accidents on US train lines. Yearly passenger death counts were running as high as 10,000-15,000, maybe even higher. CATS has never said what kind of train they will use for the North CR line, but on one brochure I saw a few years ago, appeared to show a standard diesel electric locomotive, maybe a GE Genesis, pulling carriages. I heard David Carroll remark once about using a DMU but he was non-committal about it. I don't know if the FTA has finally qualified DMUs to run on freight so this might not be a possibility anyway.
  20. Indeed. If you use that method of projection, Phoenix eventually becomes the largest city in the world. The collapse of the economy has dramatically changed this and Pheonix is at the top of the list on that. I think I have heard that something like 50% of Phoenix's economy was based solely on house flipping. On the other hand, Houston does continue to grow because it is mostly insulated from the economic crisis. It is home to the petro based energy industry of the USA and because of that, has an almost endless supply of money flowing into the place. Our appetite for oil guarantees them prosperity even in very rough times and it's one of the very few places where you can find a job. People are moving there in droves because of it. I work with a number of people located in that city and it's the only places that I seen left these days were even IT workers will quit their job because the guy across the street is offering better wages because there are not enough people to fill the spots. The only projections and estimates that I pay any attention to are those from the US Census. They publish their methodology which includes looking at a number of things including births, deaths, housing permits, etc. Plus they are the only organization that actually goes out and does a hard count every 10 years.
  21. Well..... I think there needs to be a focus on building home grown businesses rather than paying extortion money to large multinational corporations to put a token presence in SC. However this requires the state to make an investment in its people and that is something that SC has had a lot of difficulty in doing. The state for example has an excellent technical school at Clemson, there should be some focus on getting Clemson and the engineering program at USC to partner with start-ups. The example that I posted above about the lawnmower company working on alternative power mowers is one way. Give these people a reason to stay in SC. The state also has to stop looking at workers as an expense in these deals and work towards building companies that compete with these people rather than competing against them. If you give people the idea they are considered an investment, rather than someone who has to compete against a chinese or mexican worker, I am willing to bet that you will get an equivalent + amount of productivity and innovation out of them, even when they are not college educated.
  22. ^Because the street car would not be allowed onto the CR track because it is considered an active freight line. Norfolk and Southern owns the track and CATS will get to "borrow" it for CR usage. N&S potentially agreed to this arrangement because CATS will have to pay to upgrade all the tracks which is a big benefit to N&S. Some sections of that track are in pretty bad repair. Streetcars and LRT EMUs are not allowed to share tracks with freight.
  23. The HSR in Japan uses 25,000V AC power. This is because of the high amount of energy needed to propel such a large train at 187 mph and DC is not suitable for long distances. I believe the Acela also uses 25,000V lines. The Charlotte LRT is using 750V DC which is very common. The Houston version of this same train uses 1500V DC found on newer systems. I think CLT went with the lower voltage to maintain compatibility with the Trolley. DC has been commonly used for LRT and subways because it is simpler to implement. (have to understand the differences beween the way AC and DC motors work) The Shinkanen is actually a very advanced set of EMUs just like the CLT Lynx EMUs. What I mean by that is there isn't a locomotive pulling carriages. All of the Shinkanzen cars are powered with drive motors and the vehicle that looks like the locomotive is really a control vehicle instead. More traditional trains like the French TGV and Acela are designed with a power locomotive pulling cars. Most of the newer designs are headed to the EMU approach. Long winded answer to to your question. One final note related to your question. Cleveland has a single heavy rail line, built in the 50s, as well as a couple of light rail lines built more recently. The heavy rail line operates as a traditional 3 rail line inside their downtown area, but once it hits suburban service it raises a pantograph to attach to overhead wires as there is no 3 rail outside the city. It's fairly unique in this ability. Something else worth knowing. In the USA we get confused with the terminology of heavy rail vs light rail. Everywhere else in the world they use the terms metro and tram. i.e. DC has a metro, Charlotte has a tram.
  24. If by heavy rail you mean freight lines, no, LRT EMUs are prohibited from using these lines for safety reasons. Commuter rail trains are OK on freight lines since they are essentially Amtrak style trains that have been configured for short haul use. The tracks still have to be brought up to passenger level standards however. If you mean heavy rail passenger EMUs like say the DC Metro, I don't think so, but I am not sure. I can't say that I have ever seen anything like that.
  25. ^Well..... The entrance to the proposed facility is less than 400 ft from the proposed Purple Line track. Seems to me that putting a platform there would be a fairly easy thing to do.
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