Ink Out Loud: Road to ruin
October 29, 2014
We drove across the country because we couldn't afford to fly. Those were the days.
Nicole and Miranda were in elementary school when we discovered Prairie Dog Town in Kansas, shared a steak with all the fixings that spilled over the side of the huge oval white ceramic plate at a restaurant in Nebraska called Green Acres and watched in wonder as the Amish folks in Pennsylvania maneuvered horse-drawn carriages down the highways and through the townships.
I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. My eyes welled with tears when we walked around ankle-deep in the saltwater near a little lobster shack in Maine. Miranda's shrill scream was followed by, "That rock is walking!" It was her first encounter with a horseshoe crab.
We've traveled throughout California over the years for fun and to visit friends. What began as necessity evolved into a preference. The road trip translated into some of the best times with my children.
Rural Northern California is beautiful, but work and higher education are often far from home. I logged many miles and countless hours to obtain my education and to put a roof over our heads — like a lot of other hard-working people.
Living where you work isn't always an option. The outskirts of booming business areas are home to people in the service and retail industry, paraprofessionals, caregivers, teachers and public servants, among many others.
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Without much complaint, people commute. They want the best for their families. They work and sacrifice. But that just doesn't seem to be enough for the powers that be in the Golden State.
In some areas in California testing is underway for a mileage-based tax for every mile you drive.
Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the first test of the road taxes. A 15-person panel will oversee a pilot of pay-by-the-mile taxation by 2018. The bill passed the state legislature with the backing of transit agencies, environmental groups and most major automakers.
Visitors to the state, who are many, will not pay this tax. The technology proposed is also being criticized for compromising personal privacy.
In my eyes, I see the new taxes as a potential roadblock to the basic pursuit of happiness. Lower- to- middle-class citizens might have to calculate the ability to take a simple cruise in the country or weigh it against the commute to work.
It might just drive those people right out of state.
"California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see. But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot if you ain't got the Do-Re-Mi." ― Woody Guthrie