NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Is there a no-growth initiative in the works?

Harold Berliner wants us to avoid Party politics and local elections, October 31, 2005
For these reasons, the injection of party politics tends to keep local government and voters separated in thinking of their own needs and desires. Party politics get in the way of our figuring out local problems that have nothing at all to do with state or national problems.
Is Berliner’s Other Voices preparation for something yet to come? I do not recall any local initiative on the ballot which would bring out party loyalty ? What is the purpose of this Other Voices? Are we about to see the launch of a voter initiative to control growth, to demand that Grass Valley follow the current general plan, which requires phasing of the SDAs. Could such an initiative put Loma Rica at an advantage? Hummmm. . . .

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Return to steam powered cars?

THE CAR THAT MAKES ITS OWN FUEL

A unique system that can produce Hydrogen inside a car using common metals such as Magnesium and Aluminum was developed by an Israeli company. The system solves all of the obstacles associated with the manufacturing, transporting and storing of hydrogen to be used in cars. When it becomes commercial in a few years time, the system will be incorporated into cars that will cost about the same as existing conventional cars to run, and will be completely emission free. More details here.
More details needed before I sign up for one. Where does the high heat come from to make the steam? What is the fuel? No prototype yet. That is when the real problems show up which were over looked in the lab.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dim bulb? (Edited)

Prince Charles on CBS 60 Minutes:
You know, if you look at the latest figures on climate change and global warming ... they're terrifying, terrifying,"
Yea, it is up +0.6C over the last 27 years. One hell of a rapid rise! No, Really if you only listen to the BBC, or have the the tabloid press read to you, mght think this was a rapid rise too.

Edits include change in time period and this link. See my comment below and follow this link for some data.

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Do not get your way the first time, try, try, try again!

The Grass Valley City Council has already accepted the SDA Study on a 3/2 vote, which we have commented on here, here and here. Now the City Council has scheduled ANOTHER special meeting to re-review acceptance of the study and launch a public review. Here is the agenda:
Agenda for a Special Meeting of the Grass Valley City Council on November 1 at 5:30 pm in the council chambers, Grass Valley City Hall, to clarify the action on the "Grass Valley Economic and Fiscal Conditions Study" aka the Special Development Area (SDA) study and to provide staff with initial expectations and direction for a desired public outreach program.

AGENDA

1.0 Call to Order - Pledge of Allegiance - Roll Call

2.0 "Economic and Fiscal Conditions Study" (aka SDA Study) dated September 8, 2005 and prepared by Applied Development Economics.

RECOMMENDATION: Accept the Study as an informational document, provide for a 30 day public comment period, direct consultant / staff to respond to all submitted comments and prepare a timely addendum that includes all comments and responses for submission and acceptance by Council when complete (voice vote).

3.0 Desired Public Outreach Program for consideration of the SDAs

RECOMMENDATION: Provide Council's initial expectations and direction to staff on the desired public outreach program.

4.0 Public Comment
There is a time limitation of three minutes per person.

5.0 Adjourn

Here is the problem. These public out reach meetings were requested by all those that spoke at the original meeting, most against. They all want to shape the SDAs to fit their vision for Grass Valley. The problem is they all have a different vision. At each level in the process is an opportunity for public input, especially during the Environmental Impact Report, the EIR. But, the nay sayer strategy is to attack the SDAs at every level, requiring public meetings following every report, every phase of the development process. Their goal is to slow the process, shape the out come until the project meets their vision.

All this is highly unproductive. Why not define a vision for the all of Western Nevada County, then build that vision. If we allow the nay sayers, the no-growther, the neighborhood stasis advocates to prevail, they will continue to attempt to push their vision in these public meetings, and more public meetings, as they brow beat the City and the County into submission. By the way, at great cost to the tax payers, in staff time, consultants time and the publics time, as we grapple with the multiple visions they are promoting. Remember, those who support the SDA developments did not speak. So far we have only heard one side of the vision.

Now if we had a community vision we could all agree on , the stasis crowd, the moderate economic growth crowd, the we want a Wal-Mart crowd, you name your favorite crowd, we could shorten the whole process. We could cut down down on the cost, reduce the number of public meetings, and we can all be working toward a common goal. What a concept!

We cannot continue this unproductive process of trying to shaping the community vision in public meetings, and more public meetings, at every phase of the SDA process.

What do you say?

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Consider this

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit has some thoughts on who lost in the Plame/Libby affair.

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Friends of Nevada County Military

I was in Long's Drug in Glenbrook this morning, when the kind man behind me had a shipping box of teddy bears. Each bear had a recorded message for our troops. Push the button on the bear's combat boot, and you get message that will bring tears to your eyes. The man with the bears had a KNCO/Star 94.6 shirt on, and was buying the Bears to be shipped to the girls and ladies in uniform, by the Friends of Nevada County Military.
Friends of Nevada County Military is a non-partisan, all volunteer, non-profit organization located in Nevada County, California. Our purpose is to send a strong message of support from our community to deployed and returning troops and their familes.
Want more details, look to your left on this page, below URLs of Special Note and click on Friends NC Military. This link will take you to their web page. They meet the third Tuesday of every month (except December) at 6:30 PM at the Grass Valley Veterans Hall, 255 South Auburn Street, Grass Valley. See you at the next meeting.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Getting ready for the unhinged

Now that Scooter Libby has been indicted, we can expect a number of letters to the editor with all sorts of conspiracy theories. So, let's keep the facts in mind as we deconstruct these letters from the unhinged Democrats.

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Missed Opportunity at Union Sports Blog

I guess this was a big week for the Miners. If you were not at the game, or listened on KNCO, it is hard to find the score. The power of a blog is the rapid flow of information. Brian Hamilton missed an opportunity to post the game scores and give us the mud bowl highlights, tease us for his Monday Column.

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Is RealClimate.org an honest information source?

In our on going debate about global warming and the impact California's greenhouse gas regulations will have on the citizens of Nevada County, several commenter have sited authorities on RealClimate.org. Now we find out that RealClimate.org will only post one sided information. Apparently in violation of their own posting policies.

Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit wrote:
I attempted to post the enclosed post at realclimate yesterday, which was rejected. The post was to a topic, where McKitrick and I were directly criticized, and limited to scientific matters.
It appears those criticized on RealClimate.org are not allowed to respond. Is this fair? Is this good science debate? Full details here.

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Be careful what you sign up for

Jack L. Sanchez looking for a Second revolution? October 29, 2005
That serendipitous feeling in the air? A Second American Revolution is coming ... against the madness of King George.

000

That happy feeling in the air is you can be one of the Second American Revolution's Founding Fathers.
I did some research on this new revolution here. Here is what the Revolution leaders suggested the Democratic party should do to implement their revolution:
Here are specific actions that Democrats for Democracy could champion:

* replace the Electoral College with the popular vote
* stop federal corporate welfare and subsidies through the tax code and regulations
* use state and federal Clean Money/Clean Elections campaign financing
* remove constitutional protections and human rights for corporations
* seek news media reforms to better serve the public interest, including reinstating the Fairness Doctrine and the News Distortion Rule
* put the League of Women Voters or the Citizens’ Debate Commission in charge of presidential debates
* open up televised debates to all candidates for elected office
* promote None of the Above options on ballots
* create a federal ballot initiative or national referendum process
* expand state ballot initiative options
* withdraw from international trade agreements that remove the sovereignty of Americans and their local, state and federal governments
* prevent and reverse gerrymandered congressional districts
* eliminate the small state bias and advance regional thinking by providing for one U.S. Senator per state and 10 at-large Senators for each of five geographic regions with populations of at least 50 million
* allow foreign born persons with at least 20 years of citizenship to be president
* criminalize use of false and misleading information in political campaign activities
Are you up for criminalizing politics? If we go that far, let's put all letter writer who distort the truth in jail as well.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Latest Victor Davis Hanson is posted

Crossing the Rubicon The die is cast — or why it ought to be.

Some more great analysis of what President Bush's next moves should be. Get the full details here.

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More comments on the SDA Study nay sayers

In discussing of the SDA study last night it was reveled the pent-up housing demand was significantly higher than represented in the study. The contractors did a housing needs survey, but they decided to remove the number people who could not afford a house from the demand figures. Grass Valley has hundreds of renters. They rent because the wages paid by local business are not high enough to buy a home. This unmet housing demand which was not considered in the SDA economic study.

After we heard about those who could not afford a home, and how they were removed from the study, we listened to a plethora of folks, from multiple environmental organizations oppose the annexations and subsequent housing developments. Developments that the property owners claim will include affordable housing.

This morning as I pondered last nights discussion, this story popped up in my browser:
No-growth policies of environmentalists help drive up housing costs, says Berkeley non-profit
If the no-growthers prevail, the cost of housing will climb even higher. More families will be pushed into the unaffordable category by these environmentalist, and many unfortunate familes will be tossed aside, not worthy of consideration in future economic discussions.

The full story on how environmentalist, like those speaking at the SDA meeting, are driving up housing cost can be found here.

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More hurricane misinformation in the letters

Buck Stoval looks at multiple Moratorium[s], October 28, 2005

I almost did not read this bit of misinformation. Who cares about more Nevada City pissing contests?
The Bush administration's moratorium on the science of global warming, describing it as an environmentalist myth, was blown out of the water last weekend as the biggest hurricane in history crashed into Florida from the 90-degree-plus waters of our S.E. oceans.
I guess it does not count that hurricane experts, including Max Mayfield who runs the National Hurricane Center, have totally discounted that global warming caused the current batch of hurricanes. The warmer water is all part of natural cycle that started in 1995 and is expected to continue for another 20 to 30 years. You can check out the graphical details here, and a more intellectual discussion here. George Bush myth, or the facts? You decide.

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Correction to SDA Meeting Post

Steve Enos e-mailed me to point out that using following statement to summarize the presentations, I misrepresented Grass Valley neighbors position.
"We heard why growth is bad for Grass Valley from: Grass Valley Neighbors.... "
Steve attached the letter he read “word for word” at the meeting to his e-mail. A pdf copy is here.

My apology to the Grass Valley Neighbors, for painting with too broad a brush.

That said, GVN letter calls for a long public review of the study which, was prepared by professionals using state and federal data with a clear explanation of the process and the assumptions which were worked out during the study phases with the Council and Staff. According to the Contractors only three assumption remained: 1) State and Federal data is correct. 2) The past rates of City population and job growth ratios in reference to the County, will remain constant over the next 17 years. 3) That only 70 percent of infill land for housing can be built on. I am not sure how extensive, and costly, public meetings will change these assumptions enough to impact the results.

The main benefit of this study is to establish benchmarks for evaluating future proposals by the SDA developers. Moving this bench mark one tenth, one way or the other, will not make the benchmark any more accurate. Yet, the continual fiddling with this study wastes time and tax dollars.

I will agree that more study is needed. Nothing was said about market forces. The assumption was made that all business buildings, manufacturing and retail, would be fully occupied at the end of 17 year study period. This assumption needs to be looked at in reference to the global market place. Most manufacturing is morving off shore. This globalization issue was brought up by a Doctor commenting on the study. She had some of the more insightful comments.

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The Fallow Union Blogs - UPDATED

I check the The Union Blogs every day, but, I am not sure the Union is really into blogging. Checking the Union Blogs today, they are less than dynamic. (

Publisher’s last post Oct. 20, eight days fallow [LATEST POST TODAY]

Editor’s last post Oct. 21, seven days unattended [LATEST POST TODAY]

Fitness blog's last post Oct. 24, four days old

Web editor’s blog, last post Oct. 18, ten days forgotten [LATEST POST TODAY]

Sports blog, last post Sept. 30, twenty nine days ancient.

UPDATE: Shortly after I post the above, both Jeff, Pat and Kady posted. Hummm. . .

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Peak Oil Update: Canada has more oil than Saudi Arabia

Oil sands in a single Venezuelan deposit contain an estimated 1.8 trillion barrels of petroleum, with 1.7 trillion in a single Canadian deposit. In all, about 70 countries (including the U.S.), have oil sand deposits although technology hasn't yet made them economical for exploitation. Of Canada's reserves alone, over 300 billion barrels (more than the entire proved oil reserves of Saudi Arabia) is currently considered recoverable. And recovering it they are.

Full story here.

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Senatorial dim bulb

I know some of the locals love Sen. Barbara Boxer. After watching her in committee meetings, I am embarrassed she represents me in the Senate. She seem to be a very dim bulb. Here is an example by David Gelernter:
Yet up on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had been called before a Senate committee. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was one of those who questioned her. Boxer was obnoxious and frightening. She made reference to the Holocaust, offensively. More important, she demonstrated that she doesn't know U.S. history, and she implied that the American people don't either. And she raised an alarming question about contemporary politics. We often hear from Democrats that President Bush's policy in Iraq makes no sense. But how can it make sense to the Barbara Boxers of Congress if they can't understand the explanation?
Full story here.

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Short sighted fear

Carrol Nast is Fearing the next attack, October 28, 2005
Having nuclear weapons benefits the weak, not the strong. Nukes can't stop a nuke attack or a car bomb. Many in the world have nukes, the capability, or the information to build them. And flying into a power plant only takes a plane. Since bin Laden has always done what he said he would do, it is not a matter if, but when he does it. Unless we regain control of our government and wage peace.
And how would we wage this peace? Get down on our knees and beg forgiveness for promoting freedom and self determination in the world. Should we announce our support the President of Iran who wants to sweep Israel into the sea? Should we withdraw from the Middle East and turn it over to the Islamic Fascists?

It is truly sad that this writer does not have a larger view of the world. The terrorist have been attacking the US long before 9/11. They continue to launch attacks on freedom in Spain, England and Indonesia, targeting Australians. Is the US the problem? I think it is radical Islam's desire to return to the 11th Century. In their eyes, waging peace would be a sign of weakness.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Self important blather drives up economic study costs

I attended the Special City Council meeting on the Study to Evaluate Economic/Fiscal Conditions and Future Land Use Scenarios for the City of Grass Valley into 2020. The usual self important suspects showed up to condemn the study as flawed, and raise their objections to any annexation. We heard why growth is bad for Grass Valley from: Grass Valley Neighbors, CCAT, RQC, General Plan Defense Fund, Loma Rica Preservation Committee, Audubon Society, Sierra Club, and others citizens. It sound like they were using the same talking points. Most wanted to create a long public comment period, with written replies, and then workshops to discuss the answers before any decisions are made. All this could create another year of review for the study, which is only a tool for decision making by the Council and staff.

I was amazed that after waiting two years for this study, the Council seemed to be in doubt about the next step. They finally accepted the study on a 3/2 vote, with an option for citizens to comment on the study assumptions. The comments, questions and answer will become a useless appendix to the study. The study contractor did not raise any objectons. As a consultant, I love those change orders, which can double or triple the value of the original contract. No one brought up the cost of these nay sayers demands. The Council should have passed the hat among the usual suspects, requesting they contribute to the cost, since they found it so important. . . .

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Shifty liberal thinking

Watching the liberals in our community is such fun. They continue to change their position to fit the situation. On one hand democratic leadership is effective, on the other it is not. Which is it?

Shane Valdez writes about Prop 75 and his trust in elected union leaders:
They understand that they democratically elect the union leaders with the idea that the leaders will act in the best interest of the entire union when dealing with collective bargaining and political activism.
Eric Engles does not think democratically elected leaders can act in the best interest of the entire community:
Members of the City Council: Here is your opportunity to show that you truly want citizens to participate in determining the city's future.
A reader of this blog writes in an e-mail:
Even though Grass Valley is trying to do everything in their power to take the time to do the right thing. And, they are trying to gather correct data, and employ people that are qualified to perform these activities, and hold many public hearings to let the people be involved. Engles and his people (activist groups) yell out "incompetence". Because they think their idea of this community is the best idea.
If democratically union leader can act in the best interest of all union members, why is it that democratically elected city leaders are not capable of acting in the best interest of the community?

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Local global warming?

Chech out his record of global warming in Colfax from 1930 to 2000 at CO2 Science.

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Greenland will be green in 5005! (No, really)

This was too good not to share with with those who do not read Tom Barnett's blog.
"No Escape: Thaw Gains Momentum," by Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times, 25 October 2005, p. F1.

The unfolding story (and it will unfold, inevitably, over the many years and decades ahead) of the melting of the Arctic ice cap will--as I've noted before--trigger a host of new rules among the states bordering this area, as well as open up a portion of the world to transportation and resource exploitation that's been, up to now, pretty much off limits.

What it does to the planet, of course, is even more profound. But again, this is all already a fait accompli. Nothing will stop this now, not even stopping all CO2 production. This train has left the station, and so we'll adjust, over the course of this century we'll end up seeing the emergence of a completely ice-free Arctic ocean in summertime.

But here's the kicker: visit Greenland now because by 5005, virtually all the ice will be gone there--just like that! Of course, 60% of it will still be there for another 600 years, so you've got a bit before it's all gone for good. Still, you say you're going do it and you promise you're going do it and all of a sudden, you're five-thousand years old and you just don't have that get-up-and-go anymore.

I tried to put a reminder in my Treo, but it only goes up to 2031 (try it and see).

As a futurist, that pretty much pissed me off . . ..
After 3000 years, 60% of the Greenland ice cap will still be there. Wow, I will leave a note for the great, great, great, great. . . grandkids.

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Technology, Entertainment and Design

Each February, leaders in technology, entertainment, and design gather for four days in Monterey California to discuss and examine the latest breakthroughs. The entry fee is quite high to keep the less committed at bay. TED recently launched a blog to share the insights garnered at the conference and subsequent discussions. This is a valuable window on emerging technologies for local leaders and planners. The TED web site is a excellent example of how Flash technology can be used to enhance communications. The TED blog will more valuable as more participants post comments. The TED 2006 program subjects of interest are listed here.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Loved this Instapundit post

From Glenn Reynold's weblog
GOOD NEWS FROM THE TROOPS: The Mudville Gazette has articles on both troop recruitment and troop retention. Greyhawk particularly likes this explanation given by a soldier for why he reenlisted: ..."because as I look around at the state of this nation and see all of the weak little pampered candy-asses that are whining about this or protesting that, I'd be afraid to leave the fate of this nation entirely up to them.
Right on troops

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Technology impact on our future

To help local planners, community leaders, and active members of the community craft a workable vision of the Nevada County’s future, I will be doing some technology blogging for the rest of the year. I will link to sites which can provide some useful background information for planners and leaders. We will focus on technologies that could have an impact on Nevada County by 2020. Please question my assessment and provide your own insight.

From CNET:
By 2009, between 23 percent and 37 percent of wireless subscribers will use a wireless phone as their primary telephone, market researcher In-Stat said in a report published on Tuesday. Already, nearly 9.4 percent of wireless subscribers use wireless phones as their primary phone.
We are considering this at our house, along with a shift to using the Internet for our long distant phone calls. To make this workable in the County, service providers will need to put up many more cell towers, which can have an environmental impact, and an opportunity for leverage with the providers. Alos, increased connectivity reduces the need to get in your car and contribute to traffic congestion.
Jupiter Research has projected that voice over Internet telephony will grow to a subscriber base of 20.4 million in 2010 compared to 1.2 million in 2004. The market researcher defines broadband telephony as VoIP-based service that allows calls via the Internet from anyone with a phone. Jupiter Research said VoIP services offered by cable operators and startups are enhancing consumer awareness.
These two trends will have a major impact on SBC, our local line provider. Few phones and phone lines will reduce the taxes they collect for community services. Look at your phone bill and add up the taxes and fees, my long distant service fees are more than the phone charges. Internet phone services do not collect these taxes.

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Updated global warming numbers

JunkScience has updated the Global Warming at a Glance page. Please note the excellent comparitive graphics and the authors notes on scale distortion. Look at the long term changes in in the 1600s and 1700s in the Hadley graphics on temperature changes in central England, from the period 1695 through 1733, when annual mean temperatures rose from 7.25 °C to 10.47 °C. That is +3.22 °C in less than 40 years, all without a major rise in CO2. Just imagine the pandemonium if that happened today! Our state legislature and Governor went nuts when the temperature when up a scant 0.6°C. in 100 years. Hummm.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

What’s Wrong With the SDA Economic Impact Study?

While we have been critical of the SDA study, as it relied too much on past trends in a world that is changing too rapidly. Too rapid for planners to use past trends as a base for our future, without modifying them with some educated guesses on how technology and boomers will impact our future.

On the other hand, the RQC is not interest in the economy of the SDAs and their impact on the community. They see it as growth or no-growth issue. Here is what they told their members:
1 .It’s the wrong study.

The study is flawed. But most importantly, it’s the wrong study. What we residents are concerned about is the impact that major development in the SDAs will have on our lives - traffic, air quality, noise, public services, sprawl, and our small town quality of life. Is this level of development what our community really wants? These are the issues that need to be studied.

2. There is plenty of vacant urban zoning in GV’s Sphere of Influence:

No General Plan amendments are needed in the big 4 annexation areas.

The Grass Valley General Plan includes a surrounding area called the Sphere of Influence which includes residential, commercial, and business park zoning. The SDAs are only part of this area. Yet, the study did not inventory the vacant land in the Sphere of Influence. If inventoried, we believe that there would be adequate land available for the projected needs to 2020 without increasing allowed housing units in the SDAs.
Well, a previous inventory found that much of the vacant land zoned commercial, manufacturing, and business park was not useable, due to terrain limitations, or no infrastructure (water, sewer, and power). The SDAs will provide this critical infrastructure.

The other issue is that the Sphere is Influence, is not yet in the City, it is property that they anticipate will someday be annexed to the city. This is true of the SDA’s as well. What make these non-SDA properties special? They do not have any advocates for development.

Come to the City Council meeting at 6pm on the 27th and see the no growthers in action. Bring your skepticism, as RQC testimony can be an awesome exercises in misinformation.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Planning is more art than science II

In a previous post, I made the case for not relying heavily on past trends to predict the future of Nevada County, as we seek to define a community vision. A community vision we can all share and work to create. In addition to my previous post, for not relying on past trends, are the retiring baby boomers which are not well represented in these trends. The forward edge of the 77 million baby boomers will reach the traditional retirement age of 65 in 2011, just six years from now. By 2020, a full wave of boomers will be retiring. This cohort controls over 77 percent of Americas financial assets. They have more discretionary money to spend than any other cohort. The 65-79 age group is the largest user of consumers and government services, including financial, health care, security, and recreation. They are also the cohort with the largest political clout. The most powerful voting block in the nation is the 55 to 74 year olds. They tend to oppose government services that do not directly benefit to their age group. And, many of these boomers are coming to Nevada County.

We have been, and will continue to be, a retirement destination. This trend will increase as the boomers retire and leave behind the coastal city’s traffic congestion, crime and urban decay for more quiet and safe surroundings in the foothills. They will have the money to buy the higher price homes on large lots. This expanding cohort is not well represented in the past trends. It is important that our planners anticipate the needs of the boomers. Studies have shown they are more educated, more active, more self sufficient, and very healthy. They will be seeking activities and will be highly mobile. Studies show they want houses on large quiet lots, having put up with the crush of city life for years. It is a planners myth they will want to be cooped up in dense multifamily housing arrangements. This will produce more sprawl, traffic and transportation issues for local planners.

We need to consider the impact and the needs of the boomers as we create a vision our future in Nevada County.



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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Reading Victor Davis Hanson

If you are not reading vdh you should be. His latest, "With a Whimper, How the violence in Iraq will end" is excellent analysis of the current situation.

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2005 is the hotest year on record?

Well, it depends on who you ask. The mainstream press has run with one answer, because it fits their global warming agenda. Here is a detailed analysis of the facts. You can decide for yourself, if 2005 is the warmest year on record. As you can see it depends on the record you consult.

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Blue Print for Action has arrived

Thomas P. M. Barnett's new book arrived from Amazon while we were on vaction. I signed up for immediate delivery last spring at Amazon. I need to finish "Singularity" before starting BFA. Here is a balanced review of the book, if you want to get an early look.

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Planning is more art than science

Our local government officials recently met to address some of the current problems plaguing our community: growth, housing, traffic, and meth. The City of Grass Valley just completed and economic study for the four SDAs with a 15 year planning horizon. That study relied heavily on past population, job creation, housing and traffic trends. Letters to the editor have called for a democratic community vision with a strong stasis flavor. If we use the past to predict our future we are going to be disappointed in the results.

I am currently reading Ray Kurzweil’d The Singularity Is Near : When Humans Transcend Biology In his latest book he expounds his conviction that the human being will be succeeded by a superintelligent entity that is partly biological, partly computerized. While it is going to take a while for me to finish the book, I am already skeptical about superinteligent robots taking over in the next century.

In an early chapters, Kurzweil plunges into an analysis of present-day technologies, genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics, stressing that trends are accelerating in terms of miniaturization and computational power. He has some very interesting charts showing the nonlinear expansion of technology and its acceptance by citizens, the personal computers, the internet and wireless communications being some relevant examples to this discussion.

The Nevada County of today, will not be the same in 2020, a scant 15 years in the future. If we look back 15 years, we found Nevada County without Internet connections, limited cellphone coverage, no satellite TV, no WiFi, and only 12 channels of cable TV. There was no e-goverment, no integrated communications between government departments, no online newspapers, no blogs and no Google. Fifteen years latter we all have instant access to a global knowledge base, we can call around the world for pennies, e-government is expanding, and local business are being squeezed by a plethora of overlapping regulations.

According to Kurzweil, we are at the knee of technology expansion, where new technology improvements appear every few months, rather than every few years. Others have seen the knee and forecast rapid increases in productivity, doubling every few years. Satellites are being launched capable of bring WiFi to our rural neighborhoods. Intel, Phillips, HP and many startup are building suites of low cost health care sensors. Nanotechnology will soon provide a complete blood panel using embedded sensors in a device that looks like your CD player.

The point I am making is that we cannot do our planning based on past trends. We must look forward to assess the impact new technologies will have on our community. Higher gas prices will drive the demand for hybrid vehicles. These more fuel efficient vehicles will use less gas or diesel, thus fewer road taxes will be collected. Population trends will produce more vehicles on our roads, yet government will have less fuel tax money to fund road improvements. Higher gas prices will encourage more people to shop online, to use e-goverment services, and emerging suites of home based medical sensors will soon reduce the number of trips to the doctor for our growing senior population. High fuel prices will impact the local tourism and recreation industries, as people stay closer to home.

Assembly robots and cheaper labor, both offshore and the next state over, will suck most manufacturing from Nevada County. This will have an economic impact as, local sales tax revenues decline. With broadband communication through out the County, which is a great place to live and work, more people will move here and work from home. This will bring high wage earners, but will they shop local? Intellectual property creation and services do not produce much tax revenue, yet the people in these jobs will demand more services.

One manufacturing exception, might be the Idaho Maryland Mine and Ceramics plant. You cannot our source these jobs. I noted that the SDA Economic study showed no growth in mining jobs, yet we have a major mining proposal on the table. Did the study team have some inside information on how City Hall will rule on this project?

Sorry about the length of this essay. Bottom line message is we can not do linear extrapolation of existing trends for our vision of the future. If we do, we will be sadly disappointed with the results. In the next 15 years changes in our world will be accelerating. We need to anticipate those changes and be ahead of the game.

Next time we will look at the impact that 77 million boomers, who are retiring in the next 15 years, could have on our future. Also, more on the Grass Valley SDA Economic Study and local government partnership efforts.


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Let them know solutions are in the mill

Paul Sieving has an excellent article in Berg Heights proposal derailed by dogma, October 22, 2005

Paul writes:
Let's not forget that the best solution to the traffic issues in this part of town is already on the board and is actually at the top of the list for major solutions to be implemented. The Dorsey Drive interchange with Highways 49/20 has been the focus of our citizens who are truly concerned with solutions and not paralyzed by polarization.
But people do forget that actions are under way to solve the current traffic problems. They use the past to define the future without considering changes already in the works.

I saw many of these signs in Delaware on a recent trip East. They are at the beginning and the end of each section of road which is scheduled to be updated. Dates ranged from 2005 to 2008. Maybe we need similar signs at local intersections scheduled to for improvement, and on SR-49 where the Dorsey Drive Interchange will be built.

project.jpg

What do you think?

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Real or Imaginary

Patricia K. Burnard is Seeking real protection, October 22, 2005
The last three letters that I have received from my friend have been opened and read by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. I feel violated when I see this.
I did a Google search to see if others are complaining of Homeland Security reading citizens mail. This is an issue the ACLU would jump on in a New York minute. We need some more information before getting too concerned about this letter. How does she know that her letters have been read? During W.W.II letters were opened and then stamped to indicate they had be read by censors. We need to know Ms, Burnards letters were marked by Homeland Security. Were they marked as opened? Or, were they unmarked and we have an active imagination at work here.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

We cannot get there, until we know where we want to be.

Eric Engles brings up an important point in his Other Voices: Let residents in on SDA discussions, October 20, 2005
But even more importantly, what external forces may or may not have in store for western Nevada County in the next 15 years is largely beside the point. What matters is what we want for our community. Despite our political differences, we generally agree that we don't want worse traffic or Roseville-style sprawl. At the same time, we generally agree with the need for a vibrant economy and housing for people with low and moderate incomes. The only way to balance these values and needs and arrive at a vision for the future that we can all embrace is to plan democratically.
In the mid 90s, I wrote a series of articles for the GV/NC Chamber of Commerce Business to Business on the need for a community vision we can all share. The problem is that all tribes in Nevada County have a different vision, and all are toiling on a path to their tribal vision. The problem is that each path leads to a different vision. These multiple visions produce conflicts for our business, economic development, and government leaders, as they try to make long term decisions about our future.

My advice to government leaders is to focus on the vision. If we can produce a common vision, then we can define the steps needed to build a community we all agree is worth having. With a common vision, all the local tribes the greenies, the retired gray hairs, the high techies, the business owners, the artists, the stasis worshipers, etc., can all work together to create the community we want.

The first step should be to define out terms. We all use common terms, but they can hold different meanings for the speaker than the listener. In systems engineering terms this is called a data dictionary. A compendium of defined terms, that can be consulted during a project. As a new player joins the project, they have a reference, which lets them rapidly produce meaningful results.

Lacking common terms of reference, the result is confusion and chaos as to which tribes vision we are building. We need a common vision we can all share. Lets get started.

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Vacation return

We have returned from our East coast trip and normal blogging will resume. That is until November when we will be on another short trip.

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More global warming scaremongering

Syd M. Hall wants us to think the End might be near, October 21, 2005
There is little doubt that the most important news of this century has hardly made a ripple in our media (press, radio, TV, etc.) Two tiny mentions in The Union, and one in the Washington Spectator - to the effect that methane, in frightening volume ("billions of tons" - WS, with a potency of 20 times that of CO2) is rising from the melting Siberian permafrost. (A previous U.S. Geological survey reveals extremely large deposits of methane, trapped as frozen hydrate, but quite temperature sensitive at 300 meters depth, soon to be heat-released.
To believe Syd’s scenario you have to adopt the idea that the arctic is melting. Check out his graphic on the recorded arctic temperatures. Note that in the 1940s the temperatures were the highest recorded. Why are we still here? Check out this article on the increasing depth of the Greenland ice cap. It is not melting as global warming alarmists like Syd would like us to believe.

Syd is right in one respect, methane is a more a powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. Yet all the legislative focus is on controlling this single gas (CO2) in a highly complex atmosphere. Why? Well, humans contribute to CO2 and nature controls methane emissions are declining. See trend line in this graphic published in Geophysical Research Letters.
methane.jpg

If arctic temperatures are with in the normal range of variability, Greenland is not melting and atmospheric methane is in decline, I think Syd is just another global warming scaremonger.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Union online reader log in and anonymous posts

Now that the Union requires all readers to log in, I think it is time stop the "Anonymous" comments on the letters and editorials. If people are not willing to stand behind their comments , they are not worth much. I do not ponder over the anonymous comments. If it is worth writing, it should be worth signing.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

We are winding up our vacation to the East.

Some observations to share.

The weather has been rain, rain, rain. We had only one sunny day. The rain has dampened the color of the foliage, we came to see. the Wind that followed the rain has stripped the leave off the top branches.

Boston has brick paths that cross the street, much like in Grass Valley, yet Boston's are clean and bright, not dull and dirty like those in Grass Valley as they were when we left earlier in the month. Maybe when the rains come and clean GV's crosswalks.

Bostonian’s do not return your smile on the street. More smiles in Grass Valley and Nevada City.

We took our usual pilgrimage to L.L. Bean in Freeport Maine. Toll attendant in Maine Turnpike was upset when I did not return her “good morning” promptly. More smiles in Maine, so we tried to smile more often.

Freeport is a small rural community that L.L. Bean made famous. It became a haven for outlet shoppers. However, this year there were far fewer outlets to shop in. This trend seems to have run its course. The L.L. Bean factory story, their own outlet was busy. We bought reject boat bags for our emergency response plan, which includes pre positioned containers for evacuation. Color coded bags, which to put important papers, photos and other critical items for rapid dispatch to an escape vehicle. Red for critical items, blue for vital, black for communications equipment, green for nice to have on the trip.

We should be back on our regular blogging schedule on Friday.

UPDATE: If you think that Grass Valley traffic is bad, come to Boston for a week. You will soon be looking forward to some slow traffic in Nevada County.

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God I love these crackpot letters

R. Owen Barnes writes in Bush took the bait, October 18, 2005
I wonder how many of the 100,000 young Iraqi men we killed really wanted to be in Saddam's army? Were they drafted? What other opportunities did they have? Did they have parents.
First it was 100,000 citizens, women and children, now it is “100,000 young Iraqi men” that were killed by Bush. No information on the source of the information. The rabid left hate Bush and when they writes letters to the editor without providing shred of evidence backing their rants, we get some great insight in the size of their brain and the power of their arguments.

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Peak Oil Update: Canada oil imports in jeopardy

While we are fiddling over developing our oil shale, China is moving to capture Canada's oil sands. Check out this on Tom Barnett's blog. China is investing in Canada's oil sands and building a pipe line to the coast. Think about the price of oil, when Canada stops oil imports to the US.

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al-Qaeda in Iraq writes, please take note

George Rebane wrote in an e-mail:
On Tuesday 11 October our government through its Director of National Intelligence declassified and released in its entirety a long letter dated 9 July 2005 from al-Qaeda #2 man al-Zawahiri to al-Qaeda's Iraq leader al-Zarqawi.

This letter is now available [here,] and is making the rounds of the world's more serious op-ed pages.
George suggested those wishing to comment on the war in Iraq, in letters to the editor or on this blog, should read this letter before writing or posting.

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A broader view of climate science

Frederic writes in a comment:
“This is why serious science discussion is NOT "Is anthropogenic warming happening?" but "What is its extent? How much of it is natural and how much human? What will be the positive and negative feedback? What will be the real impacts?"
And he may be surprised to find out I agree, some anthropegenic warming is happening. And his questions are important. What is the extent, how much is natural and how much is human? I hope we also agree, that scientists need to look beyond just CO2. We must also consider the impact of farm fields awash in nitrogen and the potential forcing impact. Humans have turned billions of acres of desert and mountain slopes green with nitrogen fertilizer and water. More on this subject here. Methane is the product of rotting or digested organic material. Methane is 25 time more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Since the mid-1980s the average rate of growth in methane gas has slowed and turned negative in 2000.

If it continues on the current trend the question is: Could reduced methane be an off set to the anthropegenic impact of CO2? More important, why is the growth in methane declining? What is the human role? Are we paving over too many farmers fields, building too many paved roads. Are too many farmers in third world nations giving up their draft animals for tractors? Middle class Chinese demanding more roads, paving over rice paddies? More on methane and growing rice here.

As Frederic points out climate change is a very complex issue, and requires some good science to find solutions. Focusing on a single gas, CO2, as the problem, and curbing CO2 as solution is just not good science. We need broader view.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dutch give award for story about global warming hoax

The Dutch science magazine Natuurwetenschap & Techniek , published an article by Marcel Crok, examining Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick exposure of Professor Mann’s global warming hockey stick as a fraud, in their February 1, 2005 issue. Marcel Grok has won a prestigious Dutch prize (Glazen Griffioen) for science journalism from the Free University (VU) in Amsterdam, together with the VU Medical Center and Hogeschool Hindesheim.

I will post a link to the winning article when we return to broadband land. Watch for the update.

Link to the Dutch article here. (Dial up users be warned this is 851KB pdf)

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Lancet article often quoted by the left fails math test.

Left leaning letter writers are always quoting a Lancet study. Here is an update.

The three finalists for a prestigious Dutch journalism prize all consisted of investigative journalistic articles. One was about global warming hoax. One about food and health. And, one criticizing the Lancet about the 100,000 civilian victims in Iraq. The Iraq article was a runner up article, to the Global Warming winner. Journalist found the Lancet article was rushed to publication with out peer review, using a very small population, then forecast the deaths. It was a political set up in time to influence the US Presidential election. The UN did their own survey, with a larger population, and found the number civilians killed to be between 23,589 and 26,705. This is far less that the often quoted 100,000 by the left. A small percentage of the 400,000 to 600,000 that Saddam murdered and buried in mass graves.

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Nevada City Office ban a smoke screen?

Becky Trout writes about "Broad Street offices face ban", Nevada City looks at 45-day restriction of first-floor offices
The city's sales tax receipts are dropping while its expenses continue to rise, the ordinance states.
A very interesting admission. Could it be that it is fewer tourists are the cause, not offices on Broad Street? What could be the cause for fewer tourists?

1) California’s fascination with Nevada City has run its course? They have bought all the ticky tacky tourist fodder they need?

2) Could it be that increases in fuel costs are keeping tourist closer to home, with fewer dollars to spend on tourist ticky tacky?

I vote for a combination of both. With more household money going to fuel costs, families have less to spend on ticky tacky and a motor trip to Nevada City for the weekend. When you have a one pony tourist business base economic down turns can have a short term impact, which can become long term if fuel prices remain high A balanced economy, with more stores that sell products people need, or manufacture products which are exported to other communities, the city would have more tax dollars in the coffers.

In fact, the whole County is in economic jeopardy, as more and more manufacturing moves offshore. Design Centers and Corporate headquarters do not generate any sales tax. While it is true these facilities have high paid employees, it is also true that many choose to shop in Roseville where selection, prices, and service are superior. If Grass Valley (former GV Group), were to move video component manufacturing off shore, Nevada City would be in serious economic trouble. So much trouble, that having offices on Broad Street would be a very small issue. Think about it! Is this a real issue or a smoke screen?

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Error messages on the road

My apology to those readers who log in expecting a comment on a letter to the editor, or an article. Since we have been on the road, this is the message we receive when clicking on a story. or a comment.

Safari can’t open the page “http://theunion.com/article/20051011/OPINION/110110101”. The error was: “lost network connection” (NSURLErrorDomain:-1005) Please choose Report Bug to Apple from the Safari menu, note the error number, and describe what you did before you saw this message.

With another browsers, we get the message “No data on this page.” when clicking on a comment or article. This is random, click again, you might get a page.

Dial up is too slow to do much trouble shooting.


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Sunday, October 09, 2005

More climate change hysteria debunked.

The global warming argument continues, with scientists agreeing the world is getting warming, but they cannot agree on why (See post on sun reflection below). Yes Arctic glaciers are melting, and more ground is thawing in the arctic. The question are: Is this global warming, or regional warming? Is it a short term trend or a long trend?

Mr. Christie suggested an article by Mike Davis in Z-Magazine, who writes that global warming is melting the arctic icc and we are at a tipping point. A tipping point which could put the world on a run away global warming train. A train that that will bring deserts to New England and tropical rain forests to northern Canada. Climate change hysteria?.

NBC reports this is the warmest arctic summer in 400 years. Disregarding the fact we do not have a 400 year record of arctic temperature, and that the existing record shows that in 1952 it was as warm as 2005. Why does the media only pick segments of the historical record that fits their agenda? More climate change hysteria?

We are DOOMED by Bushies, is the current agenda. Mike Davis writes: . . . Bushite flat-Earthers and shills for the oil industry . . .

Why is the media so focused on the Arctic? If it ware truly global warming we would expect to see the same at the other pole. Which in fact is the exact opposite. Sea ice is increasing in the Antarctic according the the trend analysis on the The National Snow and Ice Data Center’s web site. This raises some serious questions about the impact of global warming on the loss of sea ice. We do not hear about the growth in Antarctic sea ice, because it does not fit the global warming hysteria agenda.

For those interested in tipping points in the climate system Roger Pielke, Climate Science, has a well thought out discussion here, especially the impact of regional arctic sea ice melting.

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No one knows how sunlight interacts with the planet.

Scientist have been studying the sun’s impact on our global temperature. One of the big factors is how much sun is reflected back in to space, never reaching the ground. Recent studies have uncovered some errors in satellite solar activity data, showing that 10 to 30 percent of the global warming from 1980 to 2002 could be attribute to solar energy. Another study found a shift in the amount of reflected energy, with more sun light reaching the ground. But, no one knows what caused the shift, less cloud cover, less volcanic activity, reduction in pollutants? Yet, another study found more sunlight reflected in 2000-2004, by measuring the light reflected from the moon. But no one is sure if it was more reflection, or more output from the sun.

The bottom line, according to a group of experts not involved in any of these studies: Scientists don't know much about how sunlight interacts with our planet, and until they understand it, they can't accurately predict any possible effects of human activity on climate change. More here.

So, tell me again! Why are we making economic and social policy in California based on climate models that cannot account for the largest energy source impacting our weather and climate? You should know these policies are stealing money from your wallet.

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More Emgold home work needed.

Mike Pasner thinks that Jeff get's a D, but he does not do his own home work very well, October 8, 2005

Lets look at Pasner’s arguments:
A million square foot ceramics factory accompanies this mine.
Sounds like a huge building, but it is just a building 500 wide, 2,000 long, or 1,000 by 1,000.
125 fully loaded semi trucks will get on the highway in Grass Valley, daily.
Yes, they will replace all those timber haulers and lumber trucks that uses to support the local economy. About 5 trucks an hour over a 24 hour period, wow, we see that many on the freeway now. But, we will not see that level of traffic until full scale operation. Emgold will not be in full operation for 10 years, by then SR-49 be improved with five lanes. Some trucks will will use SR-20, east and west. Most trucks will use the roads at night, going unnoticed by most citizens.
This would be the only mine in the city limits in California.
So what? Grass Valley has had mines with is the city limits, in the past, and it did not destroy the city.
The factory would use more natural gas than Nevada County currently uses.
Nevada County only has a limited natural gas distribution system. Most homes use propane. Many would use natural gas it was available.
The mine/factory would be right below our hospital
Why is this a problem? The letter writer does not explain.
Dynamite will be trucked in to Grass Valley and used daily?
The old Alpha Hardware in Nevada City was one the largest distributor of dynamite in the western United States, from Arizona to Idaho. Millions of pounds of dynamite were transshipped through Nevada County, without any problems. All the mines in the area used dynamite, which was stored in “powder houses,” most are still standing. Why is this a problem?
Pumping tunnels may affect wells.
True, but the mine owners have agreed to bring NID water to anyone who loses a well.
These tunnels may contain sulfides, arsonic, mercury, cyanide and methalated mercury.
If they do, all those people with wells that are going to go dry up had better be using bottled water. The water can be treated before before being dumped into Wolf Creek.
Emgold is a penny stock. Often penny stocks disappear.
Many existing local business started small and grew larger overtime. Some succeeded while others fails. What makes this operation any different?
Who would benefit from this giant factory, Grass Valley or the mines home town of Vancouver, Canada?
The mine and ceramics factory will produce 400 well paying manufacturing jobs that cannot be outsourced to India and China. Or, to Nevada, Michigan, or New York, that have recently captured manufacturing jobs from Nevada County These mining and manufacturing jobs are tied to the Idaho Maryland mine and Grass Valley. Emgold jobs will produce millions in the local economy when employees spend money for services, and when Emgold buys local products and services.

CSUS Chico has done an economic study, which is available to the public. I suggest some more home work by Mr. Pasner.


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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Browser problems with Union Web site

We are having problem opening news and opinion pages at the Union. Can get to the front page, but can not open any articles or letters. Too hard to trouble shoot over slow dial up. Will be in broadband land real soon now.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

On the road

Dateline Burke VA, we have arrived.

I was trying to recall today, when flying ceased to be an adventure and become an ordeal. Ellen’s center seat would not recline. My aisle seat was so close to the one in front of me, it was impossible to open the computer, and still see the screen. When the occupant in front of me reclined his seat, I could see the pores in his bald spot. My plan was to answer some of the letters to the editor in Tue’s Union, which I down loaded at SFO early this morning. So, I spent the five hours catching up on back issues of Science and the New Scientist to avoid looking at the bald spot. Some interesting stuff, including multiple references about global warming and hurricanes in both. All studies with timelines too short to be meaningful. Studie we have already debunked in items below. More on this issue latter, and some interesting items from my science readings tomorrow.



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Monday, October 03, 2005

Real world view of progress in Iraq

It is often hard to get past the MSM filter on what is really happening in Iraq. General David Petraeus, Commander, Multi-National Security Transition Command and NATO Training Missio, just returned from the front line. He gave a speech at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School For Public and International Affairs this weekend. For a front line view of our progress in Iraq, check out Tigerhawk’s blog, who attended the presentation. (Via Tom Barnett)

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On the road again

We are flying to the east coast for a few days, leaving Hoover our rottweiler home with the dog nanny. I will try to post as often as possible, but there will be some gaps. Part of our trip will be in no broadband land.

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An Other Voices worth your time

Rob Smith, provides some excellent analysis in "The blame game tears U.S. apart." October 3, 2005
Hurricane Katrina has blown over Mississippi and Louisiana, leaving death and destruction, but the storms of intense partisanship are still brewing. Once again, political opportunists and extremists from both sides of the spectrum have chosen a national catastrophe to try to convince the majority of us in the middle that their side is right.
Mr. Smith asks many of the right questions? Where were the true leaders when Katrina first became a threat, creating a disaster which swamped the best made plans?


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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Blog anti-spam tools

For all the folks commenting on blog postings. I have turned on a feature that requires you to enter a string of letters from a graphic. This prevents the automated spammers from posting comments, that are nothing more than blog ads. I got three ads in 24 hours. Time to pull the plug.

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Mitigating the "Facts"

Grant Cattaneo said it is Time for look at relief from traffic congestion, and I say it is time to look at the “facts” as presented by Grant., October 1, 2005
Let's look at some facts not covered by the Mayor:

Fact: Although the Grass Valley Corridor Improvement Project and the Dorsey Interchange are referenced by the Mayor, it needs to be clearly understood that there are no final approved plans for either project, no construction funds in place for either project nor any starting dates for construction.

While their are no final plans, the projects have been started, design work being completed by Caltrans and NCTC contractors. Funds are being collected under the Regional Transportation Mitigation Fee program and they are programed in the State Transportation Improvement Program.
Fact: The City is not collecting sufficient traffic mitigation fees from new development projects. The City has failed to take action to resolve this problem, despite the facts that: a) the City's General Plan says these fees are to be regularly reviewed; b) the City's own approved Street System Master Plan says the fees are too low; and c) the City's own consultant, Maximus, says the fees are too low.

Yet the City has not adjusted the traffic mitigation fees since 2001 nor completed a study to determine whether adjustments are necessary. On Sept. 22, The Union compared traffic fees for the development of a house - Grass Valley is $366.02; Nevada City is $3,073.98 and North San Juan (Nevada County jurisdiction) is $667.00. Thus, Grass Valley's rates are 1/9th of that of Nevada City's, 1/2 of Nevada County's.
As we noted in the comment section on the Union Web page:

"On Sept. 22, The Union compared traffic fees for the development of a house - Grass Valley is $366.02; Nevada City is $3,073.98 "

The Nevada City fee is a catch all fee including sewer, water, environment, etc., according to the city manager, with only a portion dedicated to traffic mitigation. So the CCAT comparison is bunkum. Before they get into a debate with the Mayor, they best check their facts.
Fact: Even with the fees the City collects, there are problems, such as: a) the City has insufficient accounting processes to clearly identify revenues and expenses of the collected fees (confirmed by Council Members of the Street System Master Plan Subcommittee and corroborated by the Nevada County Contractors' Association); and b) when traffic monies are spent, they may not be managed well. The final cost of six completed traffic projects cited in the City's Street System Master Plan was 2.78 times greater than their original budgets.
This may have been true in the past, but the City has established the proper accounts under GASB-34, government accounting standards. Not sure about the over runs, they may be true. But better accounting standards, will allow comparisons with other projects, in other cities, to see how Grass Valley is performing.
Fact: The City does not have sufficient funds to cover its needed traffic projects. On June 16, the City identified 11 needed projects at a cost more than $9 million but could only identify about $600,000 available for those projects.
The City never did have the money for existing problems, nor can they get it from new construction. New development only has to pay for new impacts. It is unfortunate that new development is magnifying existing problems. Problems that were ignored, in the hope they would go away someday. We need an transportation sales tax to fix these existing problems. The other problem is that Grass Valley is the center of commerce, with thousands of County residence who shop or obtain services in Grass Valley. These rural residence maybe not be paying their fair share for the traffic mitigation in Grass Valley. The NCTC has requested this situation be investigated as a front burner issue.
Fact: Yet with all the above problems, the City Council instructed its staff to draft lower standards for reviewing traffic caused by new projects; and will be reviewing the draft at its Council Meeting of Oct. 11. If approved, this action will result in possibly fewer mitigation fees, but certainly less traffic improvements.
Mitigation fees are calculated based on trips generated, not intersection service level. The NCTC has approved a new mitigation fee schedule, which the City and County are currently evaluating.

The lower traffic standard, is the amount of time a driver must wait in transiting an intersection, measured in seconds during peak flow. Peak flow only occurs twice a day, for a short period of time. Increasing the delay for intersections, that are being mitigated, will not result in fewer mitigation fees. This is a bunkum scare statement.

Before challenging the Mayor to a public debate, CCAT needs to get their facts straight and gain a better understanding of the established transportation funding process, or they are toast before the debate starts.

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Whining will never make America great!

Pat Butler’s on "Why whining makes America great," revels more about the editor than I wanted to know. He thinks whining is a virtue.

There was a lot in Pat’s editorial that upset me, but for now let’s stick to the whining part. Let us start with a definition of whining :
1. To utter a plaintive, high-pitched, protracted sound, as in pain, fear, supplication, or complaint.
2. To complain or protest in a childish fashion.
3. To produce a sustained noise of relatively high pitch: jet engines whining.

Pat Writes:
It does concern me, however, when we characterize people with different points of view as whiners or unpatriotic, especially on matters involving national defense and the freedom of speech.
Yes, we have heard, a lot of high-pitched, protracted complaints in a childish fashion in the Union letters to the editor complaining about national defense and freedom of speech. The letter writers do not get it. The Republicans won the Presidency, the Senate, and the House of Representative. They quit whining back in the 1990s and took action, to reclaim the government. Now all we hear from the losers is whining! If they want to be in charge, and make decisions, then they have to come up with an ACTION program to reclaim the government. Whining will not do it! Attacking President Bush will not do it! "Were is the beef!"
It especially startles me when people who oppose a government action, in this case an unprecedented pre-emptive invasion of another country on grounds that we now know did not exist, are considered anti-American.
Basing their whining on Monday morning quarterbacking and attacking the character of the President when at war ( yes a war on terrorism) is truly anti-America. If the complainers would like to come up with some alternatives in their letters, offer an alternative winning strategy (not cut and run) , or present some facts for our consideration, support the opponents political platform, that’s fine. Childish attacks on the Presidents character is just anti-American whining!
What is more American than complaining? Is there a single one of us who goes through a single day without hearing a complaint? In fact, we have a constitutional right to whine. It's right there in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

My grandmother would not allow whining in her house. “Russell, if you are bored, I need the chicken house cleaned. If your sick, I have some castor oil. If your tired, I'll put you down for a nap.” In grandmas house, action was the cure for whining.
It seems that this says it's OK to voice our concerns about government, do our best to hold it accountable and even challenge its policies. And when you consider that the federal government is now largely controlled by political parties that are at best only influenced by special interests and corporations, it's especially important that we find ways to make our voices heard.
When my letters to the editor went missing, or were published long after the issue was forgotten by the public, I did not start whining, I created this blog. I took action!
You can argue that the Founding Fathers were whiners as well as traitors. They certainly complained about life under the British government, which was our governing body at the time.
Well our traitorous founding fathers were not whiners. They took action! If they had been whiners we would be saluting the Union Jack, and bending over for the Queen.

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A protest against the government is hardly anti-American; it's the essence of America.
A reasoned protest is one thing. The childish attacks on the President of the United States, the Commander of Chief of our Armed Forces is just anti-American whining.

Whining will not make America great, taking action is what makes America great. It was time for action in the Middle East, following eight years of whining after we were attacked time and time again, and nothing was done, except lob some cruise missiles, after telling the target they were coming. It was time to clean up the swamp, and time to stop whining about the critters that live there!

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Why newspaper readership is falling, lies on the front page

We have stopped taking the SF Chronical, except on Sunday, which we read with caution. Here is one reason why. They cannot be trusted to write the whole truth. Check out how they used a photo to misrepresent the facts here.

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