Q.The Department of Motor Vehicles has been requiring a smog check every year – this is my fifth year in a row. How often are smog checks required? I have a 1986 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer, purchased new in California, and it has passed smog checks all these years without a problem. But for the last five years in a row, a smog check has been required.
– Joel Rothschild, Crestline
A. Goodness, Joel, you must know the hobbies of the man or woman who does your smog checks by know.
Something does seem amiss.
Honk went to Matt Woodcheke, a spokesman for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, which has a wing that oversees smog checks. He confirmed that vehicles that must be inspected typically have to get checked out only every other year.
There are exceptions when more than one smog check within two years could be required. For example, usually when a vehicle is sold it needs a smog check, Woodcheke said, or when it is registered for the first time here in California.
Now, Honk doesn’t like to just expose problems – the old wizardly gent likes to help solve them, too, and Woodcheke provided a way for you, Joel, to learn what the heck is going on.
“Consumers who believe they are being asked for an unnecessary smog-check inspection may report the matter to the Bureau of Automotive Repair at BARInfo@dca.ca.gov.,” he told Honk in an email. “When contacting the Bureau, please provide the vehicle information, including vehicle-identification number (VIN) and license-plate number.”
Q. For a long time I have wondered about the purpose of a wire-cable-cord that runs along University Drive in Irvine. It is strung along the road until it disappears around Harvard Avenue. Mostly, it is attached to the top of the streetlights down the center of the road, but it zigs and zags to the traffic-light poles at times. I assume it is used for something, as it was reinstated across the Culver Drive junction after major road work there. I would love to know its purpose!
– Phil Dennison, Aliso Viejo
A. “What you are referencing is … an eruv,” said Kristina Perrigoue, a spokeswoman for the city of Irvine, adding that it creates a boundary, allowing some of the Jewish faith to do activities usually forbidden on the Sabbath in public areas.
“It was established and is maintained by the Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine,” she added.
The City Council approved the eruv (“AIR-oov”) in 2004. A city resolution provides background on the monofilament fiber that with other barriers can create these special areas: “Eruv is neither worshipped nor a religious symbol (and) eruv districts have been used for 2,500 years by countless Jewish communities.”
In Irvine, the border follows the I-405 Freeway, University Drive and Harvard Avenue.
Back when it was being put in, the Jewish Journal explained that the eruv creates “space where observant Jews may carry objects on the Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. Without an eruv, people who need to carry (things), or push strollers or wheelchairs, are stranded at home.”
Honkin’ fact: In the United States there were 61% less scheduled airline passengers in November compared to a year before, according to data from 21 airlines that carry more than 90% of the domestic passengers. Still, that decline was the smallest yet during the pandemic. (Source: U.S. Department of Transportation.)
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Source: Orange County Register