A monorail trip through Marin

Pssst; Marin also has an extensive monorail line that connects the city’s many districts and tourism facilities.

a trip through a city

I decided to record a trip through my city’s tramway line, which connects two districts in Marin, my Cities: Skylines city.

One of the things I find most enjoyable about Cities: Skylines is how I’m able to visualize how my inner NUMTOT nerdom would play out in a semi-realistic urban environment. Here, despite my flooding of my city districts with public transit options, the road traffic usage remains fairly high — there’s simply too many people trying to go to too many places for my roads to handle. Not even subways, trams, monorails and buses can handle the sheer quantity of private and commercial transportation needed across the city.

sidewalk permits

don’t you dare try to take up sidewalk space near me on my way to and from the grocery store: I *will* look up your public space occupancy permit and I *will* file a complaint

are you in DC and also annoyed by work happening on roads, sidewalks, alleyways and other public spaces?

look up the permit here!


then check the public space occupancy permit here!

A public space occupancy permit is separate from a construction permit. You need a permit for construction, and you need a separate permit to occupy roads so you have clearance for construction (or at least, that’s what i understand)

i am not a lawyer but i am very committed to ensuring that every public right, however small or petty, is not infringed

Originally tweeted by Leo (@theleoji) on August 12, 2020.

Want to Make a Terrible Argument? Consider Publishing this Instead

For the past few years, I have talked about the nature of policing and our relationship to it amongst my circle of friends. My friends, mostly progressive, ask me if there’s anything we can do to help solve some of the serious problems that exist in policing, even though only one of us is Black and has real-life lived experiences with police violence and racism. Our discussions are enough to qualify me as an Expert on this topic, and today, young people all over the country are asking the same questions as we did, and I feel that I am a Qualified Expert to write about this topic.

Here’s the answer I think is the right one for the country: Consider becoming a police officer.

To many reasonable people, the suggestion to join the police force may be counterintuitive, even offensive. After all, based on what you’ve seen, read, and experienced firsthand, policing is a racist and oppressive institution, so how could I ask you to ignore all that? Simple: I will ignore that argument or my complicity in a society that created and persisted this system of policing, and instead turn it around and somehow make it your fault even though these problems began before you were born.

One of the main challenges when it comes to controlling the police is that police officers are granted a great deal of discretion. Instead of engaging with the question of whether such an institution should exist in our society, I will support the premise that we should live among and continue to fund an unaccountable, violent arm of government. The police deal with many varying and ambiguous situations, which is why we need to continue to live in a country where armed officers (given limited training that almost always focuses on responding with violence) are the only tool available to our emergency dispatchers to deal with all and any scenario. Officers, like any citizen, must follow applicable laws and policies, and I will make no mention of the fact that officers do not follow such laws and policies, and not only remain unpunished, but remain as police officers; for it does not support my point that The Police is a Fundamentally Good Institution.

I will lay the blame for systemic police violence and brutality as a matter of individual “judgment that isn’t good,” because that is most definitely very different from the A Few Bad Apples argument that has been made and countered for decades. I will give no links or external evidence to support my viewpoints. It’s common sense.

Yet this unaccountable and ungoverned system of violence is also an opportunity that somehow we have not realized after the 1960s police riots: We could reform the police by adding more Good People, like how you can cover up spilling poison in your cooking by adding more good-tasting spices! (Years ago, I added paprika to the poison I was feeding others, and I will include this as a fun side note and gloss over the relevant circumstances of why I was feeding poison to others and why I stopped.)

A new generation of Good Cops would still be vulnerable to the same problems that have plagued new police officers for decades, but there’s a glimmer of hope. I will ignore everything like the chain of command, how senior officers can use their positions of power to deny raises, harass “problem” junior officers, prevent promotions, or drumbeat Good Cops out of the force; because by the power of my hand-waving, all problems with institutional power will go away. I will believe that Good Cops will call out their fellow officers and can reform the force, which is why we’ve never had to implement whistleblower programs, because of course the Bad Cops will want to be called out and corrected by their juniors! I will write that these Good Cops can use their discretion (within limits!) to arrest serious offenders, despite that nobody arrested by the police is an offender as we are all innocent until convicted by a competent tribunal, and that individual junior police officers have no discretion over what tasks they are ordered to do and refusing is grounds for dismissal.

Furthermore, I will continue to make arguments predicated on the eventual turnover of Bad Cops to Good Cops, agai ignoring the question in society about whether we should even have an unaccountable violent arm of government, and also being okay with continuing the suffering and deaths of people of color — especially Black people — by police officers until this turnover is complete.

It is not until later that I will even acknowledge evidence that invalidates my earlier points, and even then I will argue that there are “reasons to be more optimistic,” because while the arguments against my points are damning and conclusive, I will find some studies that do support my position and shroud them with the optimistic language of possibilities such as “suggests,” “may,” and “encouraging” as if these are somehow strong enough to counteract more conclusive arguments.

I’m not saying you have to be a good writer to write well. While conducting research on what good opinion looks like, I’ve come to know many writers who are things that aren’t relevant to the job, like some of them prefer dogs more than cats and some of them can wiggle each of their toes independently of the others. My point is that we should derail the conversation about whether the people should exercise their right to alter or abolish the police as an institution of government and provide new guards for their future security, because that is most certainly a meaningful contribution to the democratic conversation.

Americans are now facing one of the most difficult labor markets in generations, which is why we should not defund police forces and spend society’s resources on alternative things for the public good, like housing, food, healthcare and a social safety net. If you’re a young person who cares about social justice and are willing to put your body on the line for it, you should wait your turn until you get your say in how our society should be run — or better yet, work with the people casually killing people like you. Letting more people die from police brutality might just be the right thing to do.

Leo Ji is an expert on race affairs by having lived as a non-white person for over two decades.

This is a response to “Opinion | Want to Abolish the Police? Consider Becoming an Officer Instead” by Neil Gross, published in The New York Times on July 13, 2020.

The image attached to this post is the same as used by The Times in its original article, and is creditable to Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis, via Getty Images.

thoughts on an arrest of a journalist

This morning, Minnesota State Police arrested CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his camera crew as they were reporting live on the air on the protests in Minneapolis.

The event is confounding and unforgivable because there is no reasonable alternative explanation for the events. Jimenez is clearly heard on national television to be cooperating and deferential to the police officers. He is holding up his CNN identification badge clearly for the officers and the camera to see. He repeatedly identifies himself as a CNN journalist to officers, even when they arrest him.

It is highly likely that race is a factor when we consider that Jimenez, who is Black, was arrested while a white CNN journalist was not.

Jimenez is led away after being handcuffed Friday morning.
CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez is arrested by Minnesota State Police officers. (CNN)

Media organizations, including CNN itself, have responded quickly and correctly that this arrest is a violation of the First Amendment, which protects the freedom of speech and of the press.

For the police to arrest a member of the press for doing his job by reporting the happenings is a violation of those protected rights.

Most importantly, though, this is not just a violation against the media as a sector of society; it is a violation of the people’s rights and of the fundamental principles of accountable democracy.

Arresting a media staffer is to deprive the public of the ability to know what is going on and to understand what is happening in our country. It is an infringement of the public’s right to know what is going on, and to inspect and oversee its elected officials and government actors to hold them accountable for their actions and wrongdoings.

A people’s government acts in the light; it is tyrants, authoritarians and oligarch who operate in the dark, casting shadows over the consent of the people with fear, misinformation, arrests and state violence.

The news media’s supposed role of “impartiality” stems from the necessity for journalists to remain observers as much as possible, precisely for conflict-heavy events like this. As the state’s police and anti-police violence protestors are clashing in Minneapolis, members of the professional news media try to stay out of all of the parties’ way as much as possible to share the news with the country and document the events of history without being accused of or mistaken for being involved.

It is a lesson that the people of Hong Kong — my people — have learned as they clash with their own government over repressive, anti-freedom policies being pushed upon them by Beijing officials.

In Minneapolis, it was not the people nor the news media who got a CNN correspondent involved with the protests. It was the state police who stripped Jimenez of the protections of the First Amendment; it was the police who broke the bargain between the news media and every participant in a news event: The journalists will respect your involvement if you respect their disinvolvement.

Members of the professional press must now reckon with how much deference we give to police officers and the veracity of their statements, as journalists of color and those who have suffered from police violence have insisted for ages.

At the moment that Jimenez was arrested, accountable democracy got a bit weaker. An apology by the state governor is not sufficient. We must see and demand that our government officials understand the role of the news media in a democratic, politically accountable society.

A good start might be the governor issuing an order to state police forces reminding them to observe the protections for the news as they attempt to deescalate the unrests in Minneapolis.