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Roses & Razzberies

ROSE goes out to San Jacinto, CA, resident Maureen Williamson. Williamson wrote to the Riverside Press-Enterprise following a town meeting in San Jacinto regarding big rig drivers who park within the city limits. The city was considering a ban on truck parking within its limits, but Williamson defended truckers and the trucking industry, asking the city what accommodations it was prepared to make to give the truckers a place to park. More than that, Williamson pointed out just how valuable truckers are to the everyday life of all of us, calling them "the lifeblood of American enterprise." "Yes, their idling engines have wakened me from sleep on occasion," she wrote. "But when that happens, I say a prayer for those dedicated souls who rise long before the rest of us." Amen to that.

We had to create a new category for this one. A ROSEBERRY goes out to the executives at Delphi, the bankrupt auto parts and electronics manufacturer. A week after the announcement that the company planned to give bonuses to entice executives to stay - while at the same time laying off and cutting back pay for hourly workers - there came another announcement that the executives would actually be taking pay cuts to keep expenses down instead. This might have been an outright ROSE if the big boys hadn't waited until after they were sharply criticized by the United Auto Workers for planning the bonuses/layoffs in the first place. Considering company president Rodney O'Neal already pulls down $1.15 million a year, was talk of a retention bonus even necessary? Sorry Rodney, you'll get no respect from us.

RAZZBERRY to John Long, the chief executive officer of First Advantage Corp. of St. Petersburg, FL. Long's company does background checks for various companies and at its recent annual meeting, Long couldn't resist poking some fun at the industries the company does business with. The St. Petersburg Times reported that Long especially had some interesting things to say about turnover in the trucking business, which means more business for his company. "These guys get drunk or go someplace else for a nickel more," he said. "I love these guys." Rest assured, John, the feeling is nowhere near mutual.

OOIDA member Jim Beetem of Bono, AR, offers a parking lot full of ROSES to the city of Pocahontas, AR, and its former mayor, John Patrick. While many cities these days take to banning trucks from parking on their streets without giving much thought to where they might go, Pocahontas built a rock lot that will accommodate about 40 tractor-trailers and has a concrete pad for about 20 trailers, for those who can still park their tractors at home but not the trailers. Beetem said that Patrick did not run for re-election this term and has moved into the private sector. Too bad. He would have gotten our support for sure.

RAZZBERRY to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The Southern California newspaper recently published an editorial that criticized the trucking industry for the revised hours-of-service regulations. The editorial said the regulations allow drivers too many consecutive hours behind the wheel without sleep, then went on to say that "the trucking industry has to do something more to reduce accidents. Certainly increasing drive time without sleep isn't the way to go. Truckers need more time to deliver their loads, not less." Could someone on the editorial board kindly tell us which of those areas are controlled by truckers? The trucking industry didn't create the HOS regs - a little outfit called the federal government did that. And if truckers were able to simply allow themselves more time to deliver their loads, don't you think they'd do it? Next we suppose you'll be telling truckers that they should lower diesel prices, too.

And speaking of bad press, a RAZZBERRY to Kansas City, MO, television station KCTV-5. The station recently had a headline on its Web site reading "Semi crashes with SUV." However, reading the story, it seems that the woman driving the SUV was yakking on her cell phone and didn't see the semi, which was blocking the road in front of her. Of course she crashed into it. But that's not what the headline would have you believe. The station's slogan is "Live. Late-Breaking. Investigative." We'd like to add one more word: Inaccurate.

By Senior Writer Terry Scruton. He may be reached at terry_scruton@landlinemag.com.

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