Category Archives: Uncategorized

Arrest made in dragging murder

[Marquez was sentenced in December 2012 after being convicted of first degree murder]

An unexpected benefit of photo-enforcement? Or maybe it should be obvious that bad guys have a tendency to be bad drivers?

Police reported Wednesday that they have solved two savage and infamous Valley crimes: one a 21-year-old Arizona State University student dragged to death in May…

Sifting through 500 leads, using photo enforcement, advanced computers and the U.S. Marshals Service, Tempe police Tuesday booked Joseluis Marquez, 20, on first-degree murder in the death of Kyleigh Sousa, 21.

A photo-enforcement picture of Marquez driving a golden 2008 Dodge Charger, snapped May 8 in Tempe, was key to the arrest, said Tempe Police Cmdr. Kim Hale. The car, a rental, was traced to the Los Angeles area.

Finding the car, detectives worked backward to identify the driver, who traveled between California and Arizona, police said.

It was 18 days after the photo was snapped that Sousa was fatally dragged outside an International House of Pancakes at 225 E. Apache Blvd. Marquez, driving the Dodge, snatched her purse and drove off, police say. Sousa, her hands entangled in the purse straps, was dragged 30 feet before falling to the asphalt parking lot, suffering a skull fracture and detached artery.


I don’t quite follow the timeline, or the exact role the picture played.

Violation of a statute enacted for the public safety is negligence per se

Sisk v. Ball, 91 Ariz. 239, 371 P.2d 594 (1962):

“Violation of a statute enacted for the public safety is negligence per se,Anderson v. Morgan, 73 Ariz. 344, 241 P.2d 786 (1952), and when this theory is supported by the evidence, [a party] is entitled to have a properly worded instruction on this issue read to the jury. Of course, a violation of the statutory duty must be also a proximate cause of the injury to constitute actionable negligence. Caldwell v. Tremper, 90 Ariz. 241, 367 P.2d 266 (1961).” 91 Ariz. at 242, 371 P.2d at 595-96.

 Here are a couple of definitions of negligence per se:

Phoenix city parks to charge $5 fee for parking

More on driver’s attitudes towards parking:

“I’m kind of flabbergasted,” … “It seems like we’re getting taxed right and left. They shouldn’t be charging for this. It’s going to be a financial burden for some people.”

And what is “this”? Why, (formerly) free parking of course. Parking must be “free” and plentiful. And I’m sure it could be a burden for some, but let’s keep things in perspective; Phoenix recently instituted a 2% grocery tax.

The plan would charge $5 a day, yearly passes would be available for $75. [arizona republic]

Burning 10,000 barrels a day

In order to mitigate marine damage, some of the oil that is leaking from the blown-out BP / Deepwater Horizon well, around 10,000 barrels a day is being burned into the open air in a completely uncontrolled combustion. [story from AP: BP starts burning oil from leaking ruptured well, June 16, 2010]

BP or whoever can theoretically run around an pick up every tar ball and clean off every pelican, but who is going to clean the air? As is usually the case, nobody does.  So everyone gets dirtier air. It’s just blowin’ in the wind. Just another externality of oil and gas consumption.

Ezra Klein had a good piece on externalities in last week’s Washington Post:

Think gas is to pricey? Think again Continue reading Burning 10,000 barrels a day

Arizona to end highway photo-enforcement

Governor Jan Brewer’s appointee for DPS director, Robert Halliday, does not like the cameras. No word on what he thinks of the  evidence that they reduce crashes and injuries. (see e.g. DPS press release, and ADOT study of loop 101 )

Also no word yet from the many legislators who have vowed to increase DPS patrols on highways, claiming that will enhance safety. Arizona faces record budget shortfalls, and it isn’t clear where money for increasing patrols would come from. The budge shortfall just got a little bigger, now that the Redflex contract has be canceled (well, not renewed) — because as the critics like to point out; the program made money for the state.

Unaffected are city-run programs, which are used for both speed and red-light running enforcement on surface streets (not on limited-access highways).

Arizona to eliminate speed-enforcement cameras on freeways, The Arizona Republic, 5/06/2010

Ahwatukee gets a new road

Since Ahwatukee, part of the city of Phoenix, has been built-out now for years, I don’t get to say this much. Ahwatukee is getting a new road. It connects 40th and Pecos to the Wild Horse Pass (new) Hotel-Casino / Resort  / Rawhide on the Gila River Indian Reservation. The road opened to traffic to coincide with the grand opening of the new hotel/casino, Oct 30, 2009.

Views of Estrella Mountains to the west
Views of Estrella Mountains westbound on Willis Rd

For cyclists going “around the mountain”, this means it will no longer be necessary to cross over I-10 to get to Maricopa Road, usually via S 56th Street, and then cross back over to pick up Maricopa Road. Here is a map of the general vicinity (the new road is not shown yet).

For us less-ambitious Ahwatukee area cyclists, it provides a pleasant connection to some enjoyable scenery; particularly the area around the resort (NOT the new hotel-casino which is boring, and out by the I-10) which is beautiful natural desert surrounding a lush golf course all with sweeping vistas of the Estrella Mountains. The area around the new road itself is still just raw dirt, as this land was most recently (years?) agricultural.

The road is actually in 3 segments, a  short piece extending 40th St, a one mile (exactly!) stretch called Willis Road,  and finally a short stub of 48th Street connects to the casino and whatnot. The road is built to (strangely?) high traffic standards, with two wide-ish (12′ foot) lanes in each direction plus a bike lane. There is a fully divided median w/curbs, and curbs on both outsides.

Concerns about the Pecos and 40th intersection

Continue reading Ahwatukee gets a new road

Training the Brain To Choose Wisely

This piece appeared on page one of the Personal Journal section. It dealt mainly with alternative incentives for behavior modification in the workplace; e.g. paying employees to lose weight or quit smoking. Here are some excerpts with my emphasis added:

The human brain is wired with biases that often keep people from acting in their best interest. Now, some employers and insurers are testing ways to harness such psychological pitfalls to get people to make healthier choices…

Rather than encouraging good behavior with small or one-time payments, some health and wellness plans have begun enrolling employees in lotteries for a chance to win a bigger reward….

Such approaches stem from the field of behavioral economics, which challenges the conventional economic doctrine that consumers always act as informed, rational decision makers. Instead, behavioral researchers have found, people often exhibit irrational, albeit predictable, biases that lead them not to act in their best interests.

…Though the study is still under way, about 70% of the lottery group has completed the assessment, researchers say. That compares with 34% of those receiving the basic cash reward, and 43% of those getting an additional grocery card.

It seems to me the lottery incentive could be used by businesses as an incentive for bicycle commuting (to comply with trip-reduction efforts).