AC Transit on Bay Area Backroads this weekend

Transit lovers, and maybe transit skeptics too, may want to check out Bay Area Backroads this weekend, which will feature a segment highlighting some of the exciting places in the East Bay you can visit on AC Transit.

The show airs on KRON 4 at 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Also, you can watch it online.

17 thoughts on “AC Transit on Bay Area Backroads this weekend

  1. Mary

    I’ve lived in the bay area for most of the past 30 years, and seen transit change a lot. When I was first looking for housing here, I had to rule out about 2/3 of the available rooms in Berkeley because they were far enough from bus lines to make getting home after 8 pm or in stormy weather too much of a challenge. It’s gotten worse.

    I’m still a firm believer in public transit. I love the idea of this show, and I love encouraging people to take more public transit — I wish that there were more places to take public transit to, but as lines disappear or have hours cut, the available places dwindle.

    Also: I have no idea how to solve this problem given current budgetary issues.

  2. Sue

    While we’re commenting on TV shows— don’t forget to watch Lewis Black tonight to see who is the root of all evil– on the Comedy Channel

    9. Ultimate Fighting vs. Bloggers
    7/30/2008 Production Code: 204
    Andy Daly and Patton Oswalt argue the case of “Ultimate Fighting vs. Bloggers” in the season 2 premiere of the show.

    On a more serious note, I read a comment on Oakland Geology about blogging anonymously and his concerns..Do you think it is time to tell us more about yourself and your background? You have developed quite a following and it would add to your credibility if we knew more about our bloggers. Also why do bloggers like to talk behind an alias?

  3. V Smoothe

    There are any number of reasons . Some do it out of privacy concerns. Some want to maintain a distinction between their blogging identity and their personal or professional identity. For those who grew up with the internet, using a handle is simply second nature. What I’ve never understood is why people care what name someone uses. Good writing and quality arguments should stand on their own. I mean no disrespect to my readers when I say this, but no, I don’t intend to share any personal information about myself beyond what I have already. I believe my credibility should be based on my two plus years of writing about Oakland, not on my private life.

  4. Max Allstadt

    And here we go again with my favorite issue.

    The simplest rationale I’ve heard for aliases was from Chris Kidd (who’s since stopped doing it) and from DTO. Googlability. Do you know how many freaking google hits I get off of abetteroakland? I’m sure you all know how many inflammatory things I’ve put out. The reason I can do it is that I’m self employed. If you have an employer or even a client or a prospective client google you, and you aren’t using an alias, it could be a liability. It’s also on the internet forever. That’s a long period to carry that liability.

    Aliases are entirely different when they’re used to conceal ulterior motives. V doesn’t really do this. It’s not like she wrote polemics against Nancy Nadel and praises for Sean Sullivan without us knowing that she was supporting Sean and busting her butt for him. Attempting to disguise opinions within articles presented as purely factual – she doesn’t do that either.

    There are some bloggers out there who work for members of certain interest groups, opine on in favor of those groups, and keep their audience from knowing their true identities and conflicts of interest. That bugs the hell out of me. But for now, anonymous speech is still free. I’ll be content to freely condemn that kind of behavior, ’cause I can’t force it to stop, nor would I want to.

    Remember Deep Throat? Anonymous speech has it’s purpose, and it’s impossible to differentiate or legislate who gets to speak anonymously and who doesn’t and under what conditions. That’s not the realm of law. It’s the realm of ethics. Much trickier. More interesting though.

  5. V Smoothe

    Max -

    I disagree. A pseudonym is a pseudonym – what does it matter what someone’s reason for using one is? Would you think my writing about the CBD zoning update had any less merit if you were to discover that I owned several surface parking lots downtown and wanted to build skyscrapers on them? An argument is an argument, an opinion is an opinion, and everyone is entitled to them, no matter what “interest group” they belong to. Discussion should be about the merit of the idea, not whose mouth it comes from.

  6. len raphael

    i think i’m on the anti alias side, especially for neighborhood user groups where anonymous posters have a greater tendency to say things they would not say if their neighbors knew who was saying it. basically people are more likely to shoot their mouths off.

    maybe that’s a good thing, especially when we get people who say they are insiders and report back to the rest of us.

    but to the extent oaklanders need to join in political action to challenge the business as usual at city hall, it’s pretty hard to figure out whom you are joining with when they’re anonymous.

    -len raphael

  7. Max Allstadt

    V, it’s not that the arguments would have less merit exactly, it’s that if you owned parking lots, and we knew it, we’d know that your arguments had motivations other than civic pride.

    Money makes people compromise their beliefs, change their beliefs and forget their beliefs. It also makes them rework and recreate rationales. It’s not difficult to create a train of logic on a topic that seems reasonable to people unfamiliar with that topic. In my opinion, greenwashing and drug war propaganda are great examples of this.

    Would you trust a piece of environmental pontification put out by ExxonMobil? That’s why they hire other people to pontificate publicly for them. If you don’t know where it came from, it’s less suspicious.

  8. V Smoothe

    But what difference does my motivation make? The argument remains the same, it’s either persuasive or unpersuasive, right or wrong, regardless of why I made it. In my experience, it tends to be only when people are unable to provide rational counterarguments to a position that they start attacking the motives behind the position. I’ve never understood the way people feel free to dismiss information they don’t want to hear by saying they don’t like where it’s coming from. I think it’s a really dangerous habit.

  9. Aram

    V, thanks for the mention about Bay Area Backroads. The good news is they were able to do a piece showing folks how they don’t need a car to get around to cool and interesting places in the East Bay. The bad news is that after 22 years, Bay Area Backroads has been cancelled by KRON. They won’t be shooting any new shows, and at this point they are just airing what’s already been completed.

    They have the AC Transit piece on their website in case you missed it. It will move to the archives in a couple weeks, for as long as BAB’s site is left up…

  10. Max Allstadt

    V, if you’re not super familiar with a topic, it definitely makes a difference where the argument is coming from. Whether or not logic presented is even believed by who’s saying it can come in to question.

    When reporting about Disney, journalists who work for ABC always disclose that Disney is owned by the same conglomerate. They were taught in journalism school that it would be unethical not to. Even Fox News reporters disclose that Newscorp is their parent company when they do stories about Newscorp. If bloggers expect the same rights as members of the traditional press (eg. Josh Wolf) shouldn’t we expect they take the same responsibilities?

    Logical arguments are often presented with pertinent facts omitted in order to make a case that the writer either favored before even thinking it through, or a case for an outcome that would be beneficial to the writer. Knowing who the writer is and who their friends are helps the uninitiated judge the sincerity and integrity of the writing.

  11. dto510

    Yes, Max, I have a healthy fear of Google. I find your “money corrupts” argument simplistic – many people are drawn to careers by their passion for the work, not simply the quest for a decent living. A job or investment can follow one’s beliefs, not vice-versa. Besides, there’s always material gain for someone on every side of an issue. Do you think it’s necessary to disclose that you produced an album for a local band, and I produced a photo shoot featuring some of the members of that band, so both of us could get more work if there were more Oakland residents and therefore more bands (and more venues with a looser downtown use policy)? Or for every commenter to disclose if they are a homeowner, and therefore could see less appreciation on their investment if there were a larger housing supply?

    V’s right, we should be able to debate without resorting to ad hominem attacks.

    Anybody want to go in on a parking lot?

  12. Chris Kidd

    Considering some of the really stupid things I say, I suppose I should have had a greater fear of google. I guess I’ll just have to seek a civil service job in another state since now I’m a marked man. Well, that and bury all of my older, more flippant comments in an avalanche of balance, reasoned, politic future posts. Consider me an argument for both sides. I’ve negatively affected my job prospects (bad), but it’s made me more measured, courteous and trustworthy online(good).

  13. Max Allstadt

    It is complicated, dto. But one of the most interesting things about the line between journalism and blogging is that journalists are very very rarely (if ever) anonymous. You don’t get to write Op-ed columns in any major paper without at least telling people who you are. I think the presumption there is that if you’ve at least stated your name, people who may disagree with you have the opportunity to do their homework about your motivations.

    Even mainstream editorialists rarely do anonymity. Why should bloggers? What is the difference?

  14. dto510

    Max, I don’t think blogging and journalism are exactly the same, but I’m comfortable that I’m following basic journalistic ethics: I don’t blog about things I have a direct financial or professional interest in without disclosing that fact. What makes blogging a superior medium for debate is that comments have virtually the same access to the discussion as the original blog, unlike the letters section of newspapers. That keeps me more honest than any amount of disclosure ever could. Blogs also are a good place to share important information with the deserving public that may not be much more than rumor; a self-selected audience can take my breaking-news stories based on anonymous sources as seriously as they wish. Finally, the expectation that blogs will provide a direct link to all evidence allows for a level of scrutiny not enjoyed by “journalists” and their often-specious summaries of research and data.

    Anyway, V Smoothe, sadly, has nothing specific to gain financially from any of the pro-growth and good-government arguments she makes, probably even less so than the average person. Maybe she could add the personal details she’s already shared to her About, to quiet the curious?

  15. Max Allstadt

    I know you and V follow disclosure guidelines. I was going down more of a hypothetical path.

    Bloggers are surely as subject to libel laws as journalists, but what if the blogger has concealed their identity well enough to be untraceable. You can set up a wordpress anonymously, as long as you use TOR to set up a fake email, and use TOR when you register and everytime you post. Tricky.

    Bloggers aren’t usually held to the same standards as journalists. They have no editor confirm the existence of unnamed sources. They can’t be fired. If they’re anonymous, they can discard one identity and move on to another if they’re disgraced.

    At the same time, bloggers are increasingly pushing for the same rights as journalists. Tech has opened up journalistic speech to everyone. The ethics need to be reexamined. Court precedents need to be established. My opinion: Legally, free speech and freedom of the press should be universal, regardless of ones occupation. Ethically, we have a lot of thinking to do. Practically, if I don’t know your real name and identity, I’m a lot less likely to trust the information you distribute, and a lot less likely to presume your opinions are uninfluenced by conflicts of interest.

  16. Alex G

    I’d much prefer an anonymous City Hall blogger whose posts withstand the scrutiny of her audience than a journalist with a byline and an editor, but can’t parse a budget document. Let the market resolve the ethics. After all, the only right afforded journalists in Oakland these days is the free two-hour parking spot in front of IB Hoagies near Frank Ogawa Plaza.

  17. Max Allstadt

    heh. You got one thing right Alex, The people with print columns in this town really don’t do enough homework.