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"The Relay" Online Newsletter
March 2021 Issue

This is the monthly online newsletter for the car club council. All car hobbyist events are listed on this site under "Calendar." Just click on the link above to view the list of car shows and other activities.

President's Message

The car season is back. The last few days I have been posting 2 or 3 events every day. People have had enough of the lockdowns and not being able to go anywhere except the grocery and big box stores. April is the beginning of the car season and I am looking forward to seeing all the vehicles and people I have not seen for months.

Our first meeting of the year will be April 26. We have a lot to discuss: actions of the General Assembly, actions from the new administration in DC and of course our car show 2nd Annual Breakthrough Car Show which will celebrate the council’s 26 year. Along with those items we have rising fuel prices, governments pushing electric vehicles and changes the government wants to make for climate change or as I think it should be called climate control because it seems every mandate from the government appears to be to control us.

In this newsletter I have a lot of interesting articles that I hope you will enjoy. And I hope to see you at the April meeting and at the shows and cruises.

~ Fred

Spring is here - time to go for a ride in the old Studebaker

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be Monday, April 26 at 6:30 PM at River City Diner Southside, 11430 W Huguenot Rd, The Shoppes at Bellgrade, Midlothian, VA 23113-1119, 804-897-9518. Please note - they close at 8PM because of the virus. We will order, have our meeting before we eat and finish before 8. The other restaruants we go to refused to have us because they think the governor's rules have not changed when they have ~ Thanks Fred

2nd Annual Breakthrough Car Show - CCCCCVA 26 Years

Here is an update on our show set for May 15.
We have the trophies and dash plaques (dash plaque image below). This year there are more classes and more trophies.
We have food trucks committed to the event and we are looking forward to some new ones this year.
The show committee is working to make this big event a real experience.
Many have already registered.
See all the details, show flyer and registration at this link Car Show.

Car Hobbyist News

We’re on the crazy train and we can’t get off. From the last “special session” of the General Assembly to the actions taking place in DC nothing makes sense.

Here is what is happening – the government is planning on all of us converting to electric vehicles around 2025 – 2026. I’m not good at predicting the future but this is very apparent what is going to happen. Over 400 new electric vehicle models are coming out by 2025. The General Assembly has passed laws in the last session that direct the State Air Pollution Control Board to implement a low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program for motor vehicles with a model year of 2025 and later; an electric vehicle rebate program that will expire on September 1, 2026 and an electric vehicle grant fund and program that will run until 2031. That should alert you that the State of Virginia wants to end gas/diesel vehicles and replace them with electrics.

Look at the federal government’s actions: killing the Keystone XL pipeline and ending federal gas and oil leases for a year – these actions have already increased the price of gasoline. Why? Because the people in government read the same studies I have read – Americans will not buy electric cars until gasoline prices exceed $5 a gallon. Plus the new federal secretary of transportation is talking about a mileage tax - not just to raise funds for the government but because electric vehicles don't buy gasoline/diesel.

I’m willing to bet that by July 4th gas prices will be well over $3 a gallon and that is a real safe bet. On July 1, 2021, the gas tax will again increase by 5 cents to 26.2 cents per gallon and the following year, the tax will start being adjusted annually, based on inflation. The other part of this tax is a regional gas tax of 7.6 cents per gallon that will now be charged everywhere in Virginia. Yeah, that will help send gas prices over $3 a gallon. Note the gas tax will be adjusted for inflation so that every July 1st the price of gasoline will increase. Now let’s talk about the “I” word – inflation. During 2020 just about all world governments printed up a bunch of money. Combine that with increasing fuel costs and you have the recipe for inflation. Everything in this country moves by truck or train that uses fossil fuels. If the cost of fuel goes up the cost of everything goes up. The Federal Reserve is already talking about action to slow inflation. We have already seen inflation in the prices of housing, vehicles and gasoline. I lived through the Jimmy Carter years and recall what inflation can do to a country. When Carter left office the home mortgage interest rate was 20.5% - today it is about 3%. No houses sold, gasoline tripled in price during Carter, it was tough to find a job, the entire country suffered from inflation.

If you doubt inflation go to Ebay Motors and look at the prices on collector vehicles. They are insanely high. I recently saw a Ford Maverick for sale there with a price of over 30K! Yes, a Maverick that cost as low as $1995 when new. And the old car market has changed. I first sold a car on Ebay in 2003. Back then most of the collector vehicles were sold by owner. Today I checked and 83% of the collector vehicles on Ebay are listed by dealers. And it is really higher than that because some dealers list as for sale by owner when the vehicle is on a dealer lot. The movement to dealer sales has pushed up the prices of collector vehicles because of dealer overhead. I can recall when dealers didn’t want to fool with a 25+ year old vehicle because parts can be hard to find and they can be more trouble to repair. That has changed as prices for older vehicles have increased.

The entire car hobby could change in just the next few years. In fact our entire life style could change and I don’t think our leadership is even thinking about the end game of what they are doing. Try to imagine electric tractors, electric ships, electric planes – these things are not going to happen. And what happens if you have to depend on an electric vehicle and the power is out? This is about control.

Snowball Run
Snow Ball Run March 6 - See all the photos at Snow Ball Run. Photo by Ron Clark

Transportation Secretary Floats Taxing Drivers by the Mile to Pay for Infrastructure Bill

We have discussed a mileage tax several times - several states have looked into it and now the federal government is talking about a mileage tax ~ Fred
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Friday said a proposal that would tax Americans for each mile they drive “shows a lot of promise.”

Asked about various possible funding mechanisms for what’s expected to be a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure bill from the White House, Buttigieg said a mileage tax looks promising.

“If we believe in that so-called user pays principle, the idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive, the gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it, it’s not anymore. So a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax, or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be the way to do it,” he said during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Other funding possibilities include a new set of bonds, a carbon tax, and an increase of the gas tax.

If the latter is featured in the legislative proposal, people should keep in mind it’s more of a temporary measure, Buttigieg said.

“The gas tax has traditionally been part of how we fund the Highway Trust fund, but we know that it can’t be the answer forever, because we’re going to be using less and less gas. We’re trying to electrify the vehicle fleet. So if there’s a way to do it that doesn’t increase the burden on the middle class, we can look at it, but if we do, we’ve got to recognize that’s still not going to be a long-term answer,” he said.

The administration is working with Congress on identifying “sustainable funding streams” for the package while keeping open using some deficit financing. President Joe Biden is generally supportive of using tax increases to fund the proposal, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said.

Buttigieg told members of Congress during a recent hearing that America faces “a trillion-dollar backlog of needed repairs and improvements, with hundreds of billions of dollars in good projects already in the pipeline.”

“We see other countries pulling ahead of us, with consequences for strategic and economic competition. By some measures, China spends more on infrastructure every year than the U.S. and Europe combined,” he said.

The Biden administration has been discussing infrastructure with both Republicans and Democrats in recent weeks, following the partisan approval of the president’s $1.9 trillion package that included COVID-19 relief and funding for state and local governments.

Republicans have largely signaled opposition to the infrastructure proposal, which has yet to be formally rolled out because of its size, and because they say there are indications they’ll be frozen out of negotiations yet again.

“I’m very disappointed with what I’m reading because I’m envisioning that the same thing is going to happen that happened with our COVID attempts to become a part of that,” Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) told reporters on Capitol Hill this week.

Some Democrats have said they want to use budget reconciliation for a second time. The party used the budget process for the COVID-19 bill, lowering the number of votes needed in the upper chamber from 60-50, effectively cutting out any requirement for Republican support.

“I’m going to support certainly, the next infrastructure bill, to be voted on through reconciliation,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in Washington on March 23.

This article is from The Epoch Times

Another Track Gone - Richmond Dragway

When I was in high school the only drag strip in this area was Richmond Dragway. I raced there several times and helped others with their racecars at the track. While emailing a buddy who still drag races about some stuff he mentioned that Richmond had closed.

Johnny Davis is the owner of Richmond Dragway. He posted in January a letter about how he was closing the drag strip as of 2021. Refunds were given to those who had prepayed for the upcoming season. You can read the letter at this link richmonddragway.com/ver9/2021/01/thisweek

Richmond Dragway joins Southside Speedway in going out of business for the 2021 season. They are two of the many businesses that have gone under because of virus restrictions.

Leno: Appreciation For Hard Work Is Fading, And Old Cars Aren’t Easy

By Jay Leno via Hagerty
Once I had a gentleman on The Tonight Show who had climbed Mount Everest, which is an amazing feat that is nearly impossible for most people under the best of circumstances. But this guy was also blind. Imagine being 29,000 feet up, grabbing at snow, not knowing if it’s night or day, with the wind howling and every breath a challenge, and you can’t see anything. Anyway, he was a nice gentleman and an incredible athlete who afterward had been doing motivational speaking. I asked him how it was going and he sort of grimaced. He said the frustrating part was the meet-and-greet after, when at least one person in every audience would come up and say, “Yeah, I was going to climb Mount Everest, but, you know, the kids have soccer and work is crazy and I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

Like it was so easy except, you know, soccer practice. Here this fellow had trained his whole life to do something that maybe one out of 10 million people can do, had endured incredible hardship, and had even overcome the fact that he was blind, and people were so dismissive of it.

Maybe it’s because life has gotten pretty soft and we don’t make anything for ourselves anymore, but we’re losing respect for other people’s accomplishments and hard work, for what the human hand can do instead of just the human brain. I hear this all the time from guys who have their cars restored and who have never turned a wrench in their lives: All mechanics are crooks, they’ll overcharge you at every turn. They’ll moan about the high cost of a paint job, for example, not realizing that the paint is $600 a quart and somebody has to spend hours sanding it and finishing it because a good finish doesn’t come out of a rattle-can of Rust-Oleum.

Our appreciation or understanding of other people’s hard work is fading, and that rankles me. The last time I pulled a transmission out of something here at the garage, it took hours and my hands were bleeding and covered in grease, and I thought, “Some guy only makes a couple hundred bucks for doing that?” That’s why I don’t usually question a quote for something we need to get done outside the garage. Good work doesn’t seem expensive when you think about how much actual effort goes into it, and that someone needs to be able to make a living doing it or else nobody will do it. Besides, I have yet to meet anyone who is getting rich by sandblasting rusty parts or re-chroming bumpers. They’re not overcharging—in fact, they’re probably undercharging.

Well, nowadays we watch these shows where they restore a car in a weekend, literally, and it seems so easy. The sparks are flying and guys are trying to ram a big-screen TV into the dash, and after a couple of commercial breaks and some pounding music, the car is done. It gives people an unrealistic picture of what it takes to restore a car—the thousands of hours, many of which are never billed. Just the amount of research a restorer has to do, figuring out how things go together and what is supposed to be original, is huge.

These days, Amazon will drop a package on your doorstep the same day you order it, so we’re also losing touch with how long things take in the real world. A very famous country western star called me not long ago and said, “It’s my husband’s birthday, he’s always wanted a 1953 Ford F-100, a red one, and I want to get one for his birthday. Can you get me one?” I said I couldn’t promise it would be red, but I would look around. Then I asked when his birthday is. She said, “Thursday.” I said, “This is Tuesday! I’m not going to find a car in two days. It takes awhile!” She didn’t get it.

Next time you’re walking a car show, before you judge some guy because his paint isn’t perfect, think about how much of the work you do yourself. Unlike everything else we buy these days, there’s nothing quick, easy, or cheap about old cars. And while few of us will ever climb Mount Everest, restoring a classic car is enough of a mountain for most people. Give them some credit.

2nd Annual Olde Towne Rydes Car Show
2nd Annual Olde Towne Rydes Car Show March 27 - See all the photos at Olde Towne Rydes Car. Photo by Ron Clark

SEMA challenges EPA’s Interpretation of the Clean Air Act

From Hagerty
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is fighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s contention that the Clean Air Act (CAA) does not allow a motor vehicle to be converted into a racing vehicle used solely for competition.

SEMA, reiterating the importance of the 2016 “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act,” filed an amicus brief in an Arizona lawsuit between the EPA and Gear Box Z, Inc. (GBZ). The EPA asserts that once a vehicle has been certified as a street vehicle, it cannot be converted into a racing vehicle, even if that vehicle is trailered to the track and is never driven on public roads. In a press release, SEMA says the RPM Act “already clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a racecar,” and “the agency’s interpretation breaks from the plain language of the CAA, the legislative history, and EPA’s regulations and guidance.”

The EPA first pursued its controversial interpretation of the CAA in 2015, but dropped it following a public outcry that was initiated by SEMA. The following year, members of Congress introduced SEMA-sponsored legislation to confirm what had been generally understood for the previous 45 years: that the Clean Air Act does not apply to vehicles modified for racing use only.

“The recent lawsuit reinforces the importance of the RPM Act,” says Daniel Ingber, SEMA Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs. “The legislation is consistent with the intention of the Clean Air Act and the way it was interpreted for decades. It is vital that Congress pass the RPM Act to put an end to EPA overreach.”

The Gear Box Z case is before the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

Prior to taking a stand in the GBZ case, SEMA went to court to force the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to complete regulations promised by the passage of the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act in 2015. Those regulations were finally released in January 2021.

We’ll keep you posted on SEMA’s latest showdown with the EPA.

The 2020 Collector Car Market Was a Frame-off Rebuild, and It Likely Won’t Ever Be The Same

From Hagerty
I’ve been in the collector car trade for over 30 years, so I’d like to think I’ve seen it all. Nope. Thanks to 2020, I can add “pandemic” to the list.

In 2019, following years of unprecedented growth, the market slowed. Many expected more of the same going into 2020. January auction results from Scottsdale indicated as much; they were down 3 percent against 2019 totals despite 17 percent more cars sold. Rolling into Amelia Island amid heightened COVID-19 concerns, results there also dipped, from $79.6M in 2019 to $77.4M, albeit from 100 fewer consignments. Few of us understood it would be the last show or live auction event we’d attend for a long, long time.

Within weeks, it seemed unfathomable that the pandemic wouldn’t do irreparable harm to both the market and to values. After all, if you can’t leave your house, do you really need cars? Would we all soon be trading them for ramen noodles and Charmin?

But nobody puts this baby in a corner. Driving remained one of the few escapes available to us, and online auction sites saw a surge of activity as enthusiasts turned to them for entertainment as well as commerce. They seamlessly filled the vacuum left by the cancellation of, well, everything. It was an impressively rapid transition that included traditional land-based auction houses pivoting to online sales platforms. As a result, the old-car market in 2020 witnessed an uptick instead of a crash. Collector cars weren’t alone in this, either. Late-model new and used car values were way up over 2019, helped by a severe supply issue of new cars due to production shutdowns.

So, where do we go from here? Well, the 2021 January Auctions, long the market barometer for the coming year, were all canceled, rescheduled, reformatted, or moved online. As of this writing, Amelia is on for late May, but that’s not saying much these days. Last year put an end to so many auction houses, concours events, shows, and tours that the landscape will never be the same. A slow return to live events is a certainty, but will people ever feel comfortable being in a packed auction tent or show field again? Time will tell.

Another casualty of the virus may just be an unwillingness for many to pay what it takes to conduct business at a live auction. In recent years, many auction houses raised their buyer’s commission to a tiered 12/10 percent scale, and seller’s commissions remained at 10 percent; this meant the house often retained 22 percent of a deal, while buyers and sellers also incurred shipping and travel expenses, plus the related inconveniences of all of the above. Compare all that with buying a $1M car on Bring a Trailer, where the buyer pays a flat $5000 and the seller pays $99. Nobody has to travel, the buying pool is larger, and the principals deal directly. It’s easy to see the challenges now faced by the old model. I envision a further evolution of the online auction process and predict new non-auction platforms that will utilize greater transparency to meet the standards online buyers are now accustomed to.

When I asked my friends what they missed about the lack of major events in 2020, not one said buying a car at auction. What they missed—what we all missed—was seeing friends. That said, I have long been addicted to live auction theater, and when the time comes, I’ll be thrilled to return.

To be sure, certain segments of the market rely more heavily on live auction. Muscle cars, hot rods, and customs are the types buyers often need to see in person in order to find the one that speaks to them—to judge the quality, originality, or simply to speak face to face with the owner or builder. A 15-inch computer screen can’t convey any of that.

No matter your automotive proclivities or passions, there is no question our shared little world underwent a complete frame-off rebuild in 2020. It has a new look and performs differently. But in the end, it’s still the same old machine we know and love. It’s just a lot quicker on its feet than we ever could have guessed.

1923 Model T
1923 Model T

SEMA Says Restomods Are Attracting Younger Cassic Car Enthusiasts

From Hagerty
The rise of restomods is fueling a younger generation of classic car enthusiasts and paving the way for new automotive business opportunities, SEMA says.

In a report titled “Classic Cars, Modern Markets,” the Specialty Equipment Market Association says “younger classic car owners are more likely to seek a restomod build, with 38 percent of owners under 45 going for a restomod, compared to 22 percent of older owners.”

Restomodding, generally speaking, is customizing older vehicles to include upgraded engines with enhanced performance, increased efficiency, and modern-day comforts. Some restomod companies include Gateway, Icon, and Legacy. Singer, for its part, prefers to call its Porsche 911-based projects “reimaginations.”

“Classic cars and trucks have been a key part of the specialty automotive aftermarket since it began, and for many people who own older vehicles, fixing them up or modifying them into something new is a passion project that can span decades,” says SEMA Director of Market Research Gavin Knapp. “This report will help businesses understand this unique customer base, how to reach them, and where the current and future opportunities are for the vintage and automotive restoration aftermarket.”

In addition to younger buyers’ attraction to restomods, SEMA’s report revealed that “a growing number of businesses (62 percent) see restomodding on the rise and, on average, say that half the work they do on classics is part of a restomod job.” In addition, despite loving old-school cars, classic owners are not shy about going online to learn and shop for parts. Not surprisingly, “younger owners are especially prone to learn and shop online.”

Other findings:

• While 50 percent of owners use their classic vehicles for running errands, classic vehicles are much less likely to be used as commuter vehicles, with 15 percent of classic car owners doing so (compared to 64 percent of the general population).

• Unrestored 1960s muscle cars and pony cars remain popular barn finds among collectors, but the emerging market for ’70s and ’80s vehicles represent an important opportunity.

• And 80 percent of classic owners are comfortable doing at least some of the work on their vehicle on their own.

You can download the entire “Classic Cars, Modern Markets” and other SEMA reports for free here.

1933 Chevy
1933 Chevy

The Briefs

In February, the temperature got down to 50 degrees below zero (-46 C) in northeast Minnesota. According to their 2020 Owners Manuals, how low does the temperature have to drop before Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S drivers need to evacuate their electric cars to warmer locations? Answer: Leaf= -13F (-25C), Model S= -22F (-30C)

A mass casualty car crash that resulted in at least 13 deaths near the U.S.-Mexico border in southern California involved illegal aliens and smugglers who drove through a hole that was cut in a section of the border fence. Fox News reported that Border Patrol sources informed the network that the crash involved “human smugglers and 25 illegal immigrants” who were jammed into a single Ford Expedition, which normally can only seat eight people.

Leslie Pilgrim of Huntington Beach, California, waited more than two hours at the DMV in Laguna Hills in early February to get a REAL ID, an upgraded driver's license that will be required for airline travel starting in October. Staying compliant with COVID-19 safety rules, Pilgrim left her mask on throughout the process and was startled when officials took her photo while still wearing her mask, she told Fox 11. The clerk realized the error and took another photo, but when the new ID arrived in the mail, Pilgrim's masked-up face was on the license. The DMV advised her the license is valid, even with the mask, but Pilgrim is not taking any chances: She's getting a new one made. "(A)t the end of the day, this is funny," she said. "With all the things happening in the world right now, this is an incredibly minor inconvenience," she said.

Mr. Friendly Auto Service in Warren, Michigan, is one of two auto repair businesses in the area targeted by a serial pooper, police say. The man, seen on surveillance video, entered parked, unlocked vehicles to do his business, leaving his deposit behind for workers to find the next day, Fox 2 reported. The man first struck in November and returned in January, said Chris Phillips, manager of Mr. Friendly. In February, police said, the man struck at nearby Twin Tire, going from car to car until he found one left unlocked because of an electrical problem. "Now we've got double padlocks on the gate," said Phillips. "The guy needs to be caught. There is something wrong with him."

Homeowners in the Quail Hollow neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina, have been frustrated by a mail thief since late 2020, so when Lacy Hayes spotted a car lurking near his mailbox on February 11 and saw the driver, who appeared to be an elderly woman, reach inside it, he took action. Hayes reached through the driver's window and removed the keys from the ignition. The woman hit him with her cellphone, so he took that too, called 911, then took a picture of the driver and the tags, The Charlotte Observer reported. The driver got away, but neighbor Nicole Kern got online and, using Hayes' photo and facial recognition software, soon found a match -- a man, wanted in Greenville, South Carolina. Neighbors rejoiced when a man with the same name was booked into the Mecklenburg County jail on February 13 on a fugitive extradition warrant and a charge of resisting a law enforcement officer. Police declined to comment on whether the man is also a suspect in the mail thefts. The unnamed criminal was held on $2 million bail.

Tesla is the most valuable car company in the world but it still sells fewer vehicles than most companies.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union said that Ford Motor Co.’s plan to build a new vehicle in Mexico instead of Ohio might be a violation of the auto manufacturer’s contractual commitments. “We 100 percent reject the company’s decision to put corporate greed and more potential profits over American jobs and the future of our members. We expect the company to honor its contractual commitments to this membership and when it fails to do so we will take action,” UAW Vice President Gerald Kariem said. “We are intensely exploring our options at this time,” he added. In the letter, Kariem said Ford in 2019 committed $900 million for a plant in Avon Lake, Ohio (OHAP), and would include a next-generation Ford model to be added to the production lines in 2023. That would have secured “employment well into the foreseeable future” for auto workers but he blasted Ford for not “honor[ing] its promise.”

A coalition of states has filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and his administration over the president’s decision to revoke a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. Led by Texas and Montana, 21 states have jointly filed a lawsuit against Biden arguing that the president did not have the authority to unilaterally change an energy policy that Congress had set when he revoked the permit on his first day in office. The lawsuit argues that only Congress possesses the power to regulate interstate and international commerce, including granting or rejecting permits for oil pipelines that cross an international border. “Since his first day in office, President Biden has made it his mission to undo all the progress of the previous administration, with complete disregard for the Constitutional limits on his power. His decision to revoke the pipeline permit is not only unlawful but will also devastate the livelihoods of thousands of workers, their families, and their communities,” Paxton said in a statement.

What is a "Chicken Tax" on vehicles? It is a 25% tariff on imported light trucks imposed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1963 and still in effect. The 1960s trade dispute started with French tariffs on imported US chickens.

Why did Nissan and Toyota rush to add rear doors to Pathfinders and 4Runners in the early 1990s? "Light trucks" paid a 25% tariff while 4-door SUVs were "passenger vehicles" that only paid a 2.5% tariff. Nissan sued the US Government and got the 2-doors=light-truck rule thrown out in 1994.

1935 Chevy
1935 Chevy

Chicago Issues $35 Tickets for Going 6 Over The Limit

From: CBS Chicago.
The grace period is over for Chicago drivers. Starting on Monday, March 1 if one of the city’s speed cameras catches you going 6 mph to 9 mph over the limit, get ready for a $35 ticket.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reports, it’s a controversial move that’s made for some unhappy Chicagoans and politicians.

Drivers beware, starting Monday the city will begin enforcing a lower threshold for speed camera tickets, following a 44-day warning period. Drivers who haven’t received a speed camera ticket in the past eight years will get one more warning. However, anyone who has received a speed camera ticket since 2013 won’t get any additional warnings after March 1.

Under the new restrictions, drivers caught on camera going 6 mph to 9 mph over the limit will get $35 tickets. Under current rules, motorists caught on camera going 10 mph over the limit already face $35 tickets, and those caught on camera going 11 mph or more over the limit are hit with $100 fines.

“Is that about public safety, or is it about revenue? I believe it’s about revenue,” said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th).

The city began using cameras to catch speeders in 2012, so chances are you’ve been caught at least once over the years.

“Too many times,” said Marvelal Goggins, of Roseland. “Over six tickets. Over $600, and that’s a lot of money.”

Since 2013, Goggins has shared a street with a speed camera on 127th Street.

However, the Chicago Department of Transportation has said the move was prompted by a 45% spike in traffic deaths in the city from 2019 to 2020, despite fewer cars on the roads due to the pandemic.

Beale said, while speeding is an issue, he doesn’t see how the difference of 4 miles an hour would do anything to keep people safe. He said the new rules are just kicking Chicagoans when they’re down.

“People are hurting right now,” he said. “We’re in a crisis. We’re in a pandemic. Now we’re just going to basically just compound the problems that people are already having.”

During her first State of the City address in 2019, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was outspoken against what she called the city’s “addiction to a regressive fines and fees system.” announcing a series of changes aimed at reducing the burden on low-income drivers.

But she did an about face last year when she announced the new stricter rules for speed cameras as part of her 2021 budget plan, as she was facing a $1.2 billion shortfall for 2021.

A lot has happened in between her two different approaches to city fines, including a pandemic that left the city scrambling to make up for a daunting budget gap.

Asked what ideas he has for making up for the city’s $1.2 billion budget shortfall, Beale said, “You have to grow out of it. You can’t cut your way and you can’t tax your way out of it.”

Many of the city’s speed cameras were disabled in school zones during the pandemic while schools have been doing remote learning.

The mayor’s office has continued to defend their decision to reduce the threshold for speed camera tickets.

City officials said, while there were fewer drivers on the roads in 2020 due to the pandemic, cars were going 8% faster on average than in 2019, and traffic deaths through the end of November were up 35% compared to the same time period in 2019. A spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation said there were 120 traffic deaths through the end of November 2020, compared to 89 during the same time in 2019.

Repair Mistakes & Blunders

From Rock Auto
Repair Mistakes & Blunders In the early 1970s when I was about 13 years old, I could not wait to drive and work on cars. I persuaded my dad to teach me to drive my mom's 1966 Mustang, and I was very eager to work on that car. One day when my parents were not home, I decided to change the oil and filter by myself. All went smoothly until it came time to add the new oil. The Mustang had a 289 V-8 and I could not find where to add the oil!

I looked everywhere and was stumped! I knew that I could call and ask the local Gulf station where my parents had their cars serviced, but I was too embarrassed and proud to do that! So I used common sense and rigged up a funnel and a piece of vinyl aquarium air line tubing and slowly, and I do mean very, very slowly, added the new oil via the dipstick hole! Shortly thereafter, I learned that you add oil to a 289 by removing the valve cover breather and pouring it into that hole. I wish I had known that then, but I still laugh when I think of how I solved the problem!

Mike in Pennsylvania

2001 Corvette
This low mileage 2001 Corvette is for sale - contact me if interested

Chalk To Be Used to Block the Sun and Reduce Climate Change/Global Warming

From The Daily Mail
Could dimming the sun help to cool the Earth? Bill Gates wants to spray millions of tons of CHALK into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight and slow global warming - but critics fear it could be disastrous.
• The project will see a test balloon launch this summer from the town of Kiruna
• It will send 2kg of chalk into the stratosphere 12 miles above the Earth's surface
• Scientists will then monitor who the dust particles interact with the atmosphere
• This will be fed into computer models to predict how a larger plume would work
• The idea is to 'block out' some of the sun's energy to cool down the Earth

The first test of a project backed to spray millions of tonnes of chalk into the stratosphere, in an attempt to 'dim the sun' and cool the Earth, could happen in June.

Harvard University experts will test the system by sending a large balloon 12 miles above the Swedish town of Kiruna and have it drop 2kg of chalk dust into the stratosphere.

The aim of the estimated $3 million mission, backed by billionaire Bill Gates, is to have the chalk deflect a portion of the sun's radiation, stop it from hitting the surface, and cool the planet.

The idea has been heavily criticised since its inception, with project director Frank Keutsch even calling the need for this scale of geo-engineering 'terrifying'.

And experts have warned that the unusual technique could be disastrous for weather systems in ways nobody can predict.

Backed by a range of private donors including Gates, the test mission is launching from Sweden as they could offer a launch by the end of this summer.

The test balloon will lift 600kg of scientific equipment 12 miles above the surface of the Arctic town and if it all goes well, about 2kg of dust will be released.

This will then create a dust plume several kilometres in length - not large enough to have any effect on the intensity of the sun's rays hitting the Earth.

During that first test the team would gather information on how particles of dust react with the air.

This could then be fed into computer models to determine what would happen if it were ever carried out at scale.

Keutsch told the Times he wants to determine the true effects, as current models 'may be too optimistic' and make the technique look attractive.

It would takes tonnes of dust and plumes many hundreds of kilometres to make a difference - the theory being that the dust would create a massive sunshade.

This would reflect some of the sun's rays and heat back into space, dimming those that get through and so protecting Earth from the ravages of climate warming.

Keutsch, whose Harvard lab is leading the project, says the strategy would only be deployed in desperation to stop parts of the planet becoming uninhabitable.

Without any efforts to stop climate change, such as curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and other pollutants, parts of the world will be up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than they are today, studies show.

This would leave parts of the planet uninhabitable by humans, including areas of Australia where maximum temperatures already top 123 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, critics of the dust cloud concept say it gives politicians an excuse not to take the difficult action required to properly tackle climate change.

University of Edinburgh professor, Stuart Haszeldine, told the Times that blocking the sun would do nothing to remove the main cause of global warming.

'It would cool the planet by reflecting solar radiation but once you're on to that, it's like taking heroin — you've got to carry on doing the drug to keep on having the effect,' he said.

He explained that without tackling pollution first we would have to keep lifting more and more dust into the stratosphere, which would change the daytime sky to white and if it ever stopped there would be a rise in global temperatures again.

Sir David King from the University of Cambridge, told The Times there should be a moratorium on rolling the technique out.

He said it could be disastrous for weather systems in ways nobody can predict, so data should be gathered through modelling and other techniques.

Keutsch said that is exactly what they are doing with this test. Sending a small enough plume not to cause a problem, but enough to feed into modelling.

David Keith, a member of the study team, said the idea was to use the technique alongside other measures, rather than as a solution in its own right.

Adding it would 'buy the world some time' while it tackled the wider pollution problem, including finding technologies that can pull carbon from the atmosphere.

'The fact is, whatever opinions I or other people of my generation have about solar engineering, including people who think it should never and can never be used, we're not the ones who are going to decide,' he told the Times.

'The decision we face now is whether to study it seriously. And from my perspective, doing serious investigation of what its risks are and how well it could work provides the next generation with better information to make a more informed decision.'

There are a number of geo-engineering theories being proposed, including 'shinier crops and buildings to reflect more sunlight', micro-bubbles in the ocean and removing cirrus clouds.

Other proposals include giant space-based mirrors and spraying sea salt into the sky to make clouds more reflective.

1955 Chrysler
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