COMMENTARY/OP-ED:  The Sexist-in-Chief

People around the world watched as a ‘business’ man who has gone bankrupt seven times announced in June 2015 that he would be running for president. The world stood in awe as it was announced that this man had officially been named the leader of the Republican Party in July 2016. The world was shocked as this man was announced President-Elect of the United States in November 2016. And finally the world’s jaw dropped in disbelief as he walked across the stage five days ago and was officially inaugurated as the leader of the most influential country in the world. Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States of America.

President Trump will go down in history for many reasons.

He is one of only four presidents who did not win the popular vote but only the Electoral College.

He will be the first president to have won the election and gone to court for fraud in the same month.

He will be the first president to have proposed banning an entire religious group from the country.

And he will be the first president who is so outright and aggressively sexist that there is a protest almost daily from women around the globe.

There is reason to be worried about the future of our next generation when the president of the most powerful nation on earth has said things such as, “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [they] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of a–,” and stated that women not only should be, but need to be treated, “like s—.”

It’s become a sad world when you realize that this man may convince the next generation of boys and girls that it doesn’t matter what a woman says to you as long as she says it on her knees. Trump has outright mocked professional women for doing “man’s” work and believes a woman’s place is in the home. In 2005, Trump went so far as to tell a woman who appeared on The Apprentice—the reality television show he hosted— “I bet [you’d] make a great wife.” What kind of hope does this give us for the future when the leader of the so-called “land of the free” sees women not as equals, but rather more like property. Trump made this comparison in 2007: “…a woman, a building… just superficial or something pretty to see.”

As an 18-year-old woman I have been catcalled by men more than I would like to remember. I’ve been measured like a piece of meat through the eyes of a man who thought he had the right to decide what I looked like naked. I’ve had a 60-year-old man shout “Hey Pretty, want a boyfriend?” at me across the street when I was just 14. It is a terrible thing to be reduced to nothing more than your looks—to have a teacher not take you seriously because you wore a skirt to school one day and he couldn’t stop staring. I look at my closet every morning and wonder if something I wear is cause for a man to say something to me he feels he has a right to have an opinion on, when he doesn’t even know my name.

I don’t need to be viewed as a play-toy for someone’s imagination.

The election of Donald Trump is basically saying to the men of this world that it is okay to view women as objects for sexual pleasure and not as independent, strong, intellectual, valuable members of society. The swearing-in of this womanizer gave permission to every man to call women “Fat. Pig. Dog. Slob. Disgusting animal” and to not expect repercussions for it.

The next generation of happy, go-lucky girls may soon turn into women who will have learned that being treated like trash and sexualized constantly is normal—but it is not, and must never become so.

I am disgusted that a man like this has become someone people will now look up to. I am disgusted to call him the President of the United States of America. I feel as if all our progress under the past administration has been taken away.

It’s clear to see that last Friday a new daylight savings time took effect, one that set our cultural clocks back 50 years.

Alyssa Girotti is a first-year student studying commerce at McMaster University. She grew up in Pelham.


Traffic expert on chicane: A violation of accepted practices

I recently emailed Mayor Augustyn and Ward 2 Councillors Catherine King and Gary Accursi with my concerns over the Haist Street chicane. In response, I received a “thanks for your concerns, but go away”-type response.

Smart lawyers will have a field day were a collision to happen at this location, especially when a municipality chooses to violate drivers’ expectations, the Highway Traffic Act, and accepted traffic engineering practices.

There are good reasons you don’t see this type of installation anywhere else.

I have extensive experience in the field of traffic engineering, and I realize the pressure that comes from residents who want action on speeding vehicles. Police enforcement is a tool, but it is not a 24/7 type of solution.

The traffic calming solution as presented on Haist Street is one that completely violates drivers’ expectations, introduces the potential for head-on collisions, introduces collision hazards into the road surface, and represents massive challenges for snow clearing activities.

Originally it was not even signed properly, as it should have had a “NEW” starburst sign as described in Ontario Traffic Manual.

The installation violates the proper usage of yield signs, which are used to regulate traffic flow at intersections only (Ontario Traffic Manual Book 5, pp. 24-26). I don’t think the police could enforce this measure, because there’s no intersection and no indicated direction with the right of way. The desired result is that one driver will yield to an oncoming driver, but this is far from an assured result. The closest thing in practice is when a lane is closed for construction on a low-volume two-lane road, and the proper sign to use in that case is, “Yield to Oncoming Traffic” (as outlined for use in Ontario Traffic Manual Book 7).

Chicanes can be used to narrow a road surface, but they are usually contiguous with the roadside, extending out from the curb. The road may be narrowed by 1 metre on either side, but on Haist we have signs and curbs in the road surfaces. And it’s not temporary or a pilot project!

Whatever public pressure is assuaged by this installation has the potential for more negative feedback (the driving public) as well as potential litigation. Whenever a municipality deviates from recognized traffic engineering principles and even the Highway Traffic Act, it represents large litigation and liability potential. Did this idea get run by Pelham’s legal department? It would be a non-starter in every other municipality I know of.

For truly complete streets, we need to balance the needs of all road users (cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, accessible needs, etc).

Unfortunately, there seems to be a trend in Pelham towards bowing to political pressure for traffic calming measures:

—3 unwarranted and definitely underused intersection pedestrian signals along Pelham Street.

—Poorly designed speed humps on Haist Street (gouges in the pavement are visible especially near Pelham Arena; speeding drivers are a cause, but this is also poor design).

—Delineators that constantly get knocked down at Pelham Street and Port Robinson Road (again, putting a hazard in the road surface and violating driver expectation with questionable benefit in crossing guard safety).

Thank goodness Overholt Street was not closed so skateboarders could use it back in 2013!

I realize that a smaller municipality like Pelham doesn’t have a traffic department. Someone does the work along with many other, unrelated duties. But consultants are available to supply the expertise on a project-by-project basis, and I can’t see them recommending this measure on Haist Street.

Peter Leyser, Fonthill

What will it take to enforce limits on Pancake Lane?

I was enlightened to read last week’s letter to the editor regarding the out of control speeding on the west end of Pancake Lane. I thought I was the only one agonizing over the speed of the traffic here.

I have lived on Pancake Lane for 27 years and am now afraid to step out of my driveway. Cars turn off of Effingham Street and slam the pedal to the metal and fly all the way up to Haist Street. This far west end of Pancake lane is barely a two lane road, with no shoulder or sidewalks and is a popular pedestrian, pet walking and cycling route in the Town of Pelham.

I used to be one of those pedestrians and have had to leap off the road on more than one occasion to avoid being struck by a high speeding vehicle. At times the mere velocity is enough to force you off the road. I have heard story after story of similar incidents from other residents of this Lane. In fact one elderly lady was recently clipped by a truck mirror while riding her scooter on the side of the road and is now also afraid to venture out. Even the children on the street are painting billboard signs to try to slow the traffic down.

It seems the Town of Pelham promotes activity and well-being in this community, yet fails to provide a safe place for participation in this area. I might add that the Town of Pelham is also responsible for the increased traffic on Pancake Lane, when they so kindly re-routed traffic for the construction of Haist Street in recent years.

I have also petitioned the Town, I have personally spoken to the Mayor and many Councilors over the years, and I have taken all the “necessary” steps to contact law enforcement, all to no avail. The only response I ever received was that I could not sit on the now defunct Community Policing Committee of the Town because the seats were all taken.

Oh, and the Community Safety Zone sign that was recently erected is actually funny, threatening increased fines, because I do not know who could issue a fine at all, when I have never seen a police radar car on this section of Pancake Lane in all the years I have lived here.

I might also add that I travel through both of the intersections on Pelham Street where the pedestrian crossing lights are installed at least twice a day (sometimes more) and can count on one hand the number of times I have seen a pedestrian using the lights. An actual traffic light at the intersection of Pancake Lane and Pelham Street would be so much more beneficial in safely moving traffic through the town. It is nearly impossible to make a safe left-hand turn in either direction at busy times of the day. And I believe a traffic light could be used by pedestrians as well.

What is going to take? I certainly hope that you are not actually waiting for someone to be seriously injured or worse before safety is “warranted” in this part of town. Please help us to make the west end of Pancake Lane a safe place to walk again.

S. Smith, Ridgeville

Maple Acre Library not ready for prime time

Last Friday evening, I attended the open house at the Maple Acre Branch of the Pelham Library.

I went in spite of the fact that I was not an invited guest. Slight or oversight, I’m not sure.

What I am sure of is that I was involved in the battle to save Maple Acre Library over 20 years ago, and again in the last battle that ultimately saved it. Much credit has to be given to the Friends of Maple Acre group, of which I had been a part, for their dedication and fundraising efforts for such an important cause.

Shiny and new are not the most important things. Functionality and not skimping on the details are far more important than making surface impressions.

I have some concerns about the building. The face of dark glass has a cold and uninviting look, and the planned etching on the glass panels does not match the design of the glass on the original building. The steps leading up to the front entrance have inconsistent heights. Some even have differences from one end of the stair to the other. The tread depths are also inconsistent. This is a serious safety issue.

The only book drop is at the rear of the building. Four patio stones have been placed there for access, which I am hoping are temporary and that the walkway will be properly extended to this area to provide safe access for everyone. A book drop or drop box at the front entrance should be added.

The new addition has a very high ceiling, but no fans to circulate the warm air collecting there.

Strictly from a visual perspective, I find the exposed heat ducts and drain pipes from the roof a detriment to the esthetic appeal. While the architect likely wanted to add some trendy “industrial” pizzazz to the room, this is completely out of place in a rural library, for goodness sake.

I asked Library CEO Kirk Weaver about the entrance to the original building. He had no details about whether a portico was going to be built as called for in the design plan. That portico was probably the only saving grace in the eye-appeal of the build. I sincerely hope it will be added, and done properly.

A door consistent with the style of the original building must be sourced, and hung properly so that it opens outward for fire safety, not inward as is presently the case.

The library had originally been scheduled to be opened by mid-November. As I understand it, Town Council had set aside extra monies for expanded hours through the end of 2016. I am hoping those monies will now be allocated instead for additional library materials.

Marianne Stewart, Fenwick