Saturday, May 25, 2013

May Update !

 Lilac Festival Rochester,NY Photo courtesy of Gale McHale

Its been an exciting May so far. A bit schizophrenic in so far as the weather is concerned. I've sent off my protest payment to 407 ETR in the form of multiple checks. I decided postage for pennies would've been too much. 
THank YOU to those of you who responded to my post. Feel free to update us regarding this modern act of highway robbery either here or on my facebook wall in solidarity ! 
           The Lilac festival was a wonderful time. The weather looked threatening so I asked my fans and Facebook friends to do a Sun dance and I visualized the same.  I brought my jacket and winter gloves with the cut off fingers just in case, but envisioned the better scenario.  As the Universe would have it, as I watched the band before us perform their last song, the Sun began to fight its way thru the clouds sporadically teasing us. By the time we started our set it was shining and warming us all throughout the rest of the day.  Dino Kay one of our local DJ's was kind enough to attribute it to me as he announced us, but lets just say it was a group effort :)
Thank You to Jeff Springut & the entire RochesterEvents staff for all your hard work in pulling it together. Also THanks to my new band members Joe Jovanelli & Shawn Rotolo for doing such a great job for their first time out with me! Last but never least, Thank YOU Mother Nature for giving us the beautiful environment in which to share our music.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Route 407 ETR - Modern Day Highway Bandits !

      I'm a U.S. citizen who received a "mystery" bill for $18.50 TWO months after my trip to Hamilton , Canada coming from Upstate NY.  I googled for an explanation of what 407 ETR was.
      Upon reading Wikipedia I was livid, appalled, and furious regarding what I now perceive as a "tourist trap" en route to Hamilton, Canada.
   Like pirates and bandits of old who used to prey (in person) on unsuspecting stagecoaches & boats passing in unfamiliar territory, the private owners of RT 407 are not only ambiguous, but elusive & evasive highway bandits to unsuspecting first time travelers thru that area.
       Even with a new "question mark" added to their already ambiguous signs to somehow avoid confusion, how the hell were we to know what the hell a "transponder " was while driving 35mph and trying to figure out the impressive array of cameras looming forward in the distance like Orwell's Big Brother?
    I'm also noting the distance from the incredibly ambiguous sign to the frame structure , as well as no toll " booth" or slowing down barrier which we Americans would signify as the manned or unmanned (EasyPass) money "receiver."
     The ETR video equipped metal structure to an American, resembles the spying video cameras on our roadways used to catch drivers violating the traffic or other laws, which is what I thought it was when I drove under it and then again when I received this bill yesterday. I thought I'd been observed breaking a law! Then I thought, "What law? I didn't throw a finger at or speed thru the cameras  or break any laws that I'm aware of ?!"
    Then I called the number on the ambiguous bill.  They had no mercy, compassion or recourse for first time tourists caught in this transportation trap!
Does this sign tell you all you need to know 
about the video cameras in the distance to the right?
My suggestion? Get new signs:
Pay the (unexplained, overpriced, egregious!) toll 
or risk your life turning back on a one way ramp! "

WTF is a transponder ?!! 
Where do I buy one in the next 30 seconds while driving, before I hit ...what , where, ..what toll ?
Too late! $18.15 later.......15 cents?

             This is pure corporate for profit only entrapment, very bad for your local tourism.
Put up a toll booth or redo the signs: YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A 407 ETR TOLL VIDEO AREA: Pay the (unexplained, overpriced, egregious!) toll or turn back!
      Wikipedia stated that there is also a law suit pending between the private owners and the province of Ontario ? Does anyone have updated information on this lawsuit ?
       I am choosing to pay this bill because I expect to continue traveling to and from Canada and choose to obey this particular Canadian law no matter how illegal it appears. (They stated on the phone that my fee was doubled because they had to video tape my license plate in order to charge me the toll fee!! I had to pay for a bill to be sent to ME ?!!) I try to avoid problems when I can.
      I love Canada and Canadian people, but not the private for profit thieves that do things like this no matter what country, including my own, and we've done plenty I know. However as I usually do with other forms of scams and injustices, I'll be spreading the word far and wide to warn people of this "trap," and probably embarrassment to the local community & province.
     It's caused me to think twice about returning to that area at all. I wonder how your local merchants feel about that ? I'm sure I'm not the first to feel that way. If anything I may return just to support the local merchants because of it, and I will definitely boycott this roadway.  But I'm hoping the local merchants are using their votes, signatures on petitions & purses to protest this privatization of a public roadway, like on this petition :

407 ETR in Canada

Upstate NY