Friday, July 5, 2013

The pendulum swings

A follow up to my rant in the previous post:  
Alameda, CA parade (2012)
Last week it seemed the pendulum was swinging into the negative zone--we in the Bay Area were concerned about a transit strike, a regional park strike, and a heat wave. But, at this week ended, we saw that most of us survived all three. 

Although BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) did go on strike--seriously impacting its 40,000 daily riders and all the other regional commuters, the strike has now been put on hold and the system was  scheduled to go back in service at 3 pm today. (Not currently being a BART rider, I have no idea how smoothly this transition went.) Management and unions agreed to continue negotiations with a target of concluding a new agreement by August 4. The current contract will remain in force until then, and reportedly changes made will be retroactive. 

East Bay Regional Park--Joaquin Miller Park
The East Bay Regional Park District managed to avoid a strike. A settlement was made, which kept the parks and their swimming areas and other attractions open for families to enjoy over the 4th and 5th. 

The heat wave certainly happened. We had about seven days of high temperatures--triple-digit numbers in the Brentwood, Livermore, and delta areas, but most survived and it has now dropped to more reasonable temps.  

As the pendulum passed through the bottom of its arc--I realized that Ralph and I had avoided all of the drama--by staying out of our cars, not counting on the parks being open, and doing our best to keep the house cool!

The pendulum continued to swing and made it to the positive side for most of us. Those who managed to make it to the 4th of July fireworks in San Francisco, for example, were treated to a relatively rare phenomenon--no fog hiding the spectacular show. We celebrated the holiday by going to the annual parade in Alameda, which is purported to be the longest west of the Mississippi. It was very "small town" and at first glance one could easily have imagined that they were seeing a replay of a scene from the fifties. 

Alameda parade vendor (2011)
There were Boy Scouts and their parents and leaders on bicycles; riders on horseback; local politicians waving from cars borrowed from car dealerships; and vendors selling ice cream from their trucks. Then any observer would have realized that it was actually a beautiful combination of the old and the new! The Boy Scouts are now legally required to admit gays; the equestrians with their silver-colored spurs are Mexican-American; the politicos are in electric-powered vehicles; and the food vendors are selling icy fruit bars from carts labeled "Jalisco." (a state in Mexico).  

There appear to be big pendulums--changes that radically change our country (granting citizenship to a group)--and smaller pendulums that affect a region (like a wage and benefit dispute and a work stoppage).  

Where will the pendulums be next week, next month, next year?

3 comments: said...

I did some growing up in San Antonio, Texas, and remember a couple of really impressive parades. The beautiful horses and their silver-trimmed saddles and tack were my favorites, some of the riders wore cowboy hats, and others, serapes and big Mexican sombreros like the ones in your photo. I dunno about SF, but down there the Mexican riders have been parading for at least half a century.

backpack45 said...
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backpack45 said...

True, and they have been in this region's parade and festivities for a long time (actually the Mexicans were here first!). I guess I could have used a better example (such as the Sikh group and other more recent arrivals) of what I meant to say. I really meant that our neighborhoods have become increasingly more diversified culturally and ethnically--and it's exciting to see the developments.