Opinion: Reflections on cycling, recycling and cycling by the Padres’ batting coaches

A man on a bike path in City Heights. Courtesy of SANDAG

As we finish one year and start another, I am struck by how the concepts of “cycling” and “recycling” have frequently appeared in recent local news reports. Yes, it’s the season to recycle old Christmas trees and train on newly gifted Peloton bikes, but the phenomenon runs much deeper.

I argue we can use ‘cycling’ and ‘recycling’ to take a break and revisit some important local issues that may have been overshadowed by more dramatic national news like COVID, inflation and the latest hair color by Billie Ellish. In doing so, we can take a fun look at some of the issues that plague residents of San Diego.

First, there is the controversy surrounding the amount of money the San Diego Association of Governments plans to spend on a county-wide bike lane and road system designed to get citizens to embrace a mode. greener and healthier life. It turns out that SANDAG’s original plan to build 77 miles of streets and trails by 2023 for $ 200 million was a little too optimistic.

The plan has now been amended to reflect a cost of $ 446 million. Whoops! Such a cost overrun might not be a big deal for politicians and bureaucrats – they just shrug their shoulders and wait to be reelected or have a pay raise – but the average taxpayer recoils in horror. faced with such a spending error.

Related to cycling, my wife’s grandson, a senior like the University of San Diego, recently expressed a desire to buy a bike so that he could get to campus each day from his apartment in Birdland. Nothing less should be expected from a dedicated Torero student with a minor in Environmental Studies.

But the news horrified my wife who saw harassed motorists trying to avoid traffic on Route 163, aggressively plowing Linda Vista Road during rush hour. She knows that cycle lanes offer little or no protection to cyclists from these drivers. As a result, she advised him to put environmental concerns aside for now and continue to move safely in a car, which leads me to believe that the only thing scarier than a cost overrun is A 246 million taxpayer’s dollar bike lane is actually riding on one of those bike lanes. .

Second, I am concerned about the upsurge in thefts of catalytic converters occurring in the region. Apparently, criminals who need a quick buck have taken to running under cars to saw through catalytic converters that contain precious metals like platinum, palladium or rhodium. The metal is then sold to recycling centers.

Any car parked outside a closed garage is vulnerable. Sawing a catalytic converter can be accomplished in five minutes, and the last time I looked at palladium was $ 2,025 an ounce, so it’s no wonder this crime is so prevalent.

Although occurring nationally, the thefts of catalytic converters have most often occurred in California. The police are aware of the situation. Several San Diego County police departments have formed a task force to tackle this growing problem.

However, I see this crime as a test of our state lawmakers. What is stopping them from drafting legislation that makes it harder for criminals to sell stolen catalytic converters to recycling centers? How long will it take them to write an invoice or two? If they don’t react appropriately, I hope voters get their attention in the next election cycle.

Third, recycling in California is getting a little more complicated for residents this year as a new state law comes into effect that requires any person or business that creates waste to recycle all organic food waste. Californians can no longer throw away food scraps or other organic material.

Instead, we will use a green bin currently used for the disposal of yard waste and other organic waste. The City of San Diego will provide local residents with such a green bin.

However, I fear there is a self-defeating element to this recycling effort. I’m all for organic recycling, but residents in my neighborhood already have little extra space for one more trash can. While using their garages as storage space to accumulate excess belongings, they barely have enough room to store cars.

So, I suspect that my neighborhood will soon see even Following cars parked on nearby sidewalks and driveways, which will of course lead to more theft of catalytic converters. You could call it a vicious cycle!

And then there are the Padres. Much has been said about the hiring of a new manager by the team. Big things are expected from Bob Melvin, most recently Oakland A’s. Hope is eternal as he prepares for the new season.

What I find most interesting, however, is the team’s hiring of a new batting coach. Michael Brdar, 27, just happens to be the twelfth batting coach hired by the Padres since 2004. The Padres roam hitting coaches at such a rapid pace that, to paraphrase Andy Warhol’s memorable quote, “In the future , everyone will be a Padres hits the coach for fifteen minutes.

I think it’s ironic that while one of baseball’s most exciting accomplishments remains hitting for the cycle (hitting a homer, a triple, a double, and a single in one game), the Padres rather enjoy the dubious distinction of riding a bike through their hitting coaches.

What will the next news cycle bring us? I don’t have time to worry about such things. After all, I have a garage to remodel, one more recycling bin to take care of – and let no one forget, spring training is only a few weeks away.

If the Padres’ new coach fails early, who knows … I might be next on the list for the job. If such a thing happens, I promise a cutting edge change. No recycling old baseball ideas for me.

Steve Rodriguez is a retired Marine Corps officer and high school teacher who last taught at Olympian High School in Chula Vista.

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