Line One
Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

OOIDA Member Katherine Malveaux of Houston, TX, would like to send out some ROSES to Kenneth Becker and his wife, Elisabeth.

Katherine’s husband, OOIDA Member Curnest Malveaux, passed away in December after a long illness. She called OOIDA a few days later for help in figuring out how to get Curnest’s truck back home. Kenneth and Elisabeth – who are both OOIDA members – volunteered to drive it.

The trucks had been parked for a while and wouldn’t start. Katherine said the Beckers waited for hours until the truck was up and running.

Kenneth then drove the truck to a nearby service center for repairs and returned a few days later to bring the truck back home to Houston. Katherine said she offered to pay Kenneth. He refused saying, “You don’t owe me anything. You have been through a lot and all I want to do is help you.”

How about some big, juicy RAZZBERRIES for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, whose family also happens to own Pilot Corp.

Since taking office, Haslam has refused to disclose how much money he makes from the family business or from other sources. In fact, he’s even gone so far as to sign an executive order that does away with a requirement to disclose personal finances.

Oh, and it gets better. Apparently Gov. Haslam also delayed some new environmental rules requiring new fuel tanks. Gee, we wonder what company would have to spend a lot of money replacing its underground fuel tanks if that law went into effect. Hmm.

Haslam claims he didn’t know about the rule and that it was part of a number of regulations he froze just four days after taking office.

Don’t you wish you had that kind of power? Don’t like something? Don’t want to do something? Just change the rules. To paraphrase Mel Brooks: It’s good to be the governor.

RAZZBERRIES to the U.S. Department of Transportation for its “concept document” detailing its plans for opening the U.S. border to Mexican-domiciled trucks.

After more than two years of promises from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that the proposal would be coming “sooner than soon,” the DOT unveiled the document back in January.

At a time when jobs are scarce and many in the government are crowing about the need to do something to create more jobs, unveiling this program is a slap in the face to every U.S. truck driver on the road.

Though the program did outline some proposals for safety requirements, OOIDA’s Todd Spencer called the idea of meeting those requirements a “pipe dream,” given the current state of affairs in Mexico.

Hey DOT, here’s a “concept” for you: Let’s worry about America’s transportation needs first before we go flooding our highways with potentially unsafe trucks.

These frosty RAZZBERRIES go out to the states of New Jersey and New York for their snow-free vehicle pursuits.

New Jersey began enforcing its snow-free law late last year, and earlier this year the New York State Legislature began considering a law of its own. Proponents say the laws address a safety hazard to other drivers on the road.

Funny how nobody seems to be too concerned with the safety of the truck drivers who have to climb on top of these slippery vehicles to remove the snow and ice.

Considering how few documented wrecks the snow and ice causes, it’s obvious that lawmakers are far too willing to throw truckers under the bus – or on top of the icy truck – to solve what amounts to a PR stunt.

Cheryl King, wife of OOIDA Member Cale King of Rutland, OH, sends out some RAZZBERRIES to author Stephen King, who we’re assuming is no relation.

In his recent novel, “Under the Dome,” King wrote some rather unflattering words about a truck driver. He describes the truck itself as a pulp truck that was “loaded well past the legal limit with huge logs. It was also rolling well past the legal limit.”

He goes on to describe the driver as, “maybe high on pills, maybe smoked up on meth, maybe just young, in a big hurry and feeling immortal.”

It’s important to note that this truck driver is a minor character and pretty much irrelevant to the rest of the story. So why does King, an otherwise good writer, resort to such tired stereotypes about truck drivers? LL

We also owe ourselves some RAZZBERRIES for a mistake in the February Roses and Razzberries. We told you about a farmer who saved stranded motorists in blizzard conditions earlier this winter. Problem is, we got the location wrong. The farmer came to the aid of motorists, including truckers, along U.S. Highway 81 west of Sioux City.