Sunday, February 18, 2018

Transbay Terminal: "A glorified bus terminal"

From the NY Times:

We will probably always call it Silicon Valley. But the steady move of technology companies into downtown San Francisco is shifting the center of gravity of what is arguably America’s most innovative industry from the rambling, suburban streets of the Valley to the tightly concentrated and increasingly vertical neighborhood behind San Francisco’s Embarcadero.

Facebook’s decision last year to lease more than 400,000 square feet in a skyscraper across from the newly opened Salesforce Tower will put offices of the biggest names in tech — Google and LinkedIn among them — within walking distance of each other.

In the middle of all this is the Transbay Transit Center, which opens in June and is advertised as the Grand Central of the West.

“The building is starting to come to life,” said Dennis Turchon, senior construction manager for the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the public organization charged with building the structure.

To critics it is a glorified bus terminal, and an expensive one at that — the cost hovers around $6 billion, according to the authority.

Yet the transit center has ambitions to be much more. A 5.4-acre park on the roof has a half-mile walking loop, an outdoor theater and gardens populated by dozens of mature trees. It’s an elevated park that has been compared to the High Line in New York. The tech offices that surround the center connect directly with the park, as does a gondola that will whisk visitors to the park for the sidewalk below.

During a week in which the Trump administration has sought to put infrastructure on the agenda, the transit center, which was built with close to $600 million in federal money from the stimulus package during the Great Recession, is a rubber-meets-the-road test for America’s infrastructure plans. 

The center was built on top of a giant underground concrete box designed to be the San Francisco terminus for both CalTrain, the railway that runs through Silicon Valley to San Jose, and high-speed rail, which is meant to connect San Francisco with Los Angeles.

Building the 1.3-mile tunnel that will bring the tracks into the station will take years and hundreds of millions of dollars. San Franciscans are waiting to see whether there is both the political will and the financing to get the job done.

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Mormon women get bad advice from their leaders

Sarahbeth Caplin on Patheos:

Rob Porter, White House staff secretary, is a Mormon. He’s also been accused of domestic violence against his two ex-wives. The combination of those things triggered a panic attack for Jodi, a young Mormon woman who was encouraged to stay in her abusive marriage or suffer eternal consequences.

A recent Buzzfeed story chronicles how Jodi, and other Mormon women like her, have started speaking out about the abuse they suffered, and the threats from their pastors that kept them from leaving:

In the days since the Porter story broke, articles mentioning the alleged abuse have been shared widely among some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in private online groups, via email and text message, and publicly on Facebook. In some instances, the posts have elicited a long string of responses from Mormon women alleging similar things have happened to them.

BuzzFeed News spoke with more than 20 current and former female members of the LDS church from seven states for this story, all of whom said that they had experienced domestic abuse and then gone to their clergy for help. 

In most cases, those leaders were bishops, roughly the LDS equivalent of pastors who serve on a volunteer basis. Bishops are drawn from the church’s lay priesthood, are all men, and serve for several years while maintaining jobs, families, and any other personal commitments.

In response to their requests for guidance, the women said, they were told by their bishops to stay in abusive relationships, that their eternal salvation could be jeopardized by leaving violent partners, and that they were to blame for their marital problems. 

Though some reported positive experiences with church leaders, every woman who spoke with BuzzFeed News for this story said there are widespread inadequacies in the way local Mormon leaders handle reports of abuse and domestic violence.

Sadly, this is not a uniquely Mormon issue. Minimizing the effects of abuse happens all over Christianity, which is odd, considering that men are the ones who are trusted to lead their families spiritually. Yet somehow, the women are held responsible for keeping their tempers in check. Talk about double standards.

Gaslighting is a common tool of abusers to keep their victims in line. It’s even more powerful when victims are told that God will punish them for doing what’s necessary to save their lives.

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