By Doug Porter
Delay, deny, and deflect are the backbone of the Party of No’s strategy in politics. Our confrontation-adverse mayor would seem to be favoring the first of those options when it comes to environmental considerations affecting San Diego.
Yesterday organizations concerned with the potential impacts of climate change packed a hearing of the City Council’s Environment Committee to urge Mayor Faulconer to quit stalling on this important issue. The presence of representatives of the American Lung Association San Diego Chapter, California Nurses Association, Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego Coastkeeper and San Diego 350 made it clear that this issue is important to many San Diegans.
Councilmembers David Alvarez, Marti Emerald and Ed Harris voted for a resolution urging Mayor Faulconer to reduce pollution and prepare San Diego for the impacts of climate change with strategies to measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years. Councilmember Lorie Zapf voted in opposition.
A draft Climate Action Plan released during the interim administration of Council President Todd Gloria has gone nowhere in recent months.
Actions urged by the resolution include:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2020 and 49 percent by 2035
- Achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2035
- Reducing energy demand in existing buildings
- Increasing use of public transit, walking and bicycling to 50 percent of commutes
- Prioritizing investment in economically disadvantaged communities;
- An Increase urban parks and forests
- Maximizing support of local, quality middle-class jobs that make the community healthier
- Bolstering resilience of local infrastructure, public health, and natural resources against climate change impacts
“San Diego is already experiencing the impacts of climate change—from the recent droughts and wildfires, to the health impacts of heat waves and air pollution – and these impacts disproportionately burden low-income neighborhoods,” said Kayla Race, policy advocate at Environmental Health Coalition and member of the City’s Economic and Environmental Sustainability Task Force. “We can’t afford to delay climate action any longer. We’re calling on Mayor Faulconer to deliver an aggressive climate action plan now and start creating real results and positive change for all San Diegans.”
There were dozens of public meetings over nearly four years leading up the release of the draft Climate Action Plan. The Task Force— comprised of representatives from business, the environment, energy, the building industry, community and the Navy— continually stressed the importance of taking aggressive, enforceable and local action now to prepare for climate change and reduce pollution.
The resolution passed by the committee will now be considered by the full City Council in August.
On Tuesday representatives from Surfrider, Coastkeeper and the Sierra Club came before the City Council to urge the Mayor to take action on an ordinance restricting single use plastic bags. An environmental review necessary for the consideration of the ordinance has bee stalled by Faulconer, who claims he’s waiting to see the results of legislation working its way through Sacramento. Although over 100 cities in California have placed restrictions on one-time use plastic bags, industry lobbyists have repeatedly blocked passage of statewide legislation on this matter.
Local Corporate Welfare Watch: Illumina’s Deal
Spin Cycle columnist John Lamb at City Beat looked into the justifications for the “historic deal” made between the city and the Illumina company this week. The result is an important article shedding light on how business is really done in America’s Finest City.
The ten year tax rebate deal, keeping the genome-cracking-device-
The company was recently referred to by MIT as the “smartest company in the world.” Certainly they were smarter than the yokels at city hall.
Lamb checked-in with people in Poway and Memphis who should know about things like luring new companies and found a big pile of “huh?”
Here are the relevant quotes from City Beat:
“That really surprises me, because we’ve never been in contact with the company,” Poway Mayor Don Higginson told Spin. “I checked with our economic-development director, and he said we were never approached by them…”
…The city staff report noted that “Illumina claimed that it had been offered financial incentives to move at least some of its manufacturing operations to Memphis” but did not offer details, which are often cloaked in secrecy.
Reid Dulberger, head of economic development for the Memphis area, told Spin he was “unfamiliar” with such an offer. Asked if it was in the ballpark, he would only add, “There is no ballpark.”
The article does go on to point out there are lots of nuances to this type of deal, including the possibility the deal was struck to keep shareholders happy by showing San Diego’s commitment.
But it’s an significant piece of reporting in that Lamb pierces the veil of corporate and government BS about why companies chose to relocate.
The paradigm of playing Texas vs California ( give me money or else!) as a means for promoting libertarian “reforms” is part of that picture.
Looking in on the Big Government Meanies
Lisa Halverstadt at Voice of San Diego has set off on a quest to get to the bottom of the many tales of woe that have come to be accepted as truth about state and local governments being a restraining force on business.
In this snippet she talks about her investigation:
A recent survey promoted by the Chamber of Commerce found 14 percent of San Diego County companies are at least casually mulling a move elsewhere. Five percent of the more than 200 companies polled said they’re seriously considering relocation.
Such threats amplify the growing sense that the city and state aren’t friendly to business. Business leaders have bemoaned state regulations and recent City Council decisions to hike the minimum wage and affordable-housing fees, dubbing both job-killers.
The concerns, the threats, the businesses leaving with one-way tickets: They all raise big questions about our economic future. Is San Diego shedding more jobs than it’s gaining? How many companies are leaving our city? Are there onerous regulations burdening businesses more than they’re safeguarding San Diegans? Are there specific laws we need to change? What would we need to do to better retain companies and what are we willing to do? And how worried should we be when we see headlines about Texas Gov. Rick Perry courting local companies?
She also calls on readers for ideas and suggestions for what will, if past performance is any indication, a stream of stories on the subject.
There have been a ton of comments already and I wish her luck in sorting out the competing claims. It’s been my experience that nobody can match an aggressive wanna-be entrepreneur for bullshit output. Blaming government for the consequences of poor management decisions is all-to-common.
My idea is that she should ask for an off-the-record peek at the tax returns of the geniuses making exorbitant claims as a means of verifying their business acumen. Or lack thereof.
We’ll check back from time-to-time to see how she’s doing.
Arizona: Cruel and Unusual
I’m posting about this because I didn’t see much in the way of local coverage on the Arizona execution gone bad yesterday.
From the Guardian:
The controversy engulfing the death penalty in the United States escalated on Wednesday when the state of Arizona took almost two hours to kill a prisoner using an experimental concoction of drugs whose provenance it had insisted on keeping secret.
Joseph Wood took an hour and 58 minutes to die after he was injected with a relatively untested combination of the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone. The procedure took so long that his lawyers had time to file an emergency court motion in an attempt to have it stopped. For more than an hour, he was seen to be “gasping and snorting”, according to the court filing.
The attempt to execute Wood had begun at 1.52pm, with sedation of the prisoner confirmed five minutes later. The office of the Arizona attorney general, Tom Horne, announced at 3.49pm local time that Wood was dead.
An Arizona Republic reporter who witnessed the execution says he counted “about 660” gasps for air from the now-dead man.
One reporter who witnessed the execution, Troy Hayden of Fox 10 News, said it was “very disturbing to watch … like a fish on shore gulping for air. At a certain point, you wondered whether he was ever going to die.”
State officials and the victims’ families, however, took issue with other witness descriptions, saying that Wood was not conscious after the first few minutes and that the noises he made sounded like snoring.
And geez, if you’re gonna execute somebody, at least get his name right when you brag about it.
From Talking Points Memo:
A short time after Arizona inmate Joseph R. Wood III was executed on Wednesday in what reportedly was a gruesome two-hour ordeal, the state attorney general’s office there sent out an email announcing the death.
There was a problem with the announcement, though: It had Wood’s name wrong.
News outlets, including TPM, received the announcement at 3:56 p.m. Arizona time, just seven minutes after Wood was pronounced dead. The first paragraph of the announcement was this:
PHOENIX, AZ (Wednesday, July 23, 2014) – After several days of legal maneuvering, Attorney General Tom Horne is announcing the execution of 55-year-old, Robert G. Jones, ADC #086279. The execution commenced at 1:52 p.m. at the Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Florence. He was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m.
The name that appeared in that paragraph, Robert G. Jones, was that of an inmate who wasput to death by Arizona on Oct. 23, 2013.
A second press announcement later on did correct the mistake.
Chart of the Day: Voter Turnout
From the Washington Post:
No wonder there are so many wingnuts in office.
On This Day: 1968 –The United Auto Workers and the Teamsters formed the Alliance for Labor Action (ALA), later to be joined by several smaller unions. The ALA’s agenda included support of the civil rights movement and opposition to the war in Vietnam. It disbanded after four years following the death of UAW President Walter Reuther 1974 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Nixon had to turn over subpoenaed White House tape recordings to the Watergate special prosecutor. 1987 – The movie biography of Richie Valens, “La Bamba,” opened.
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