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Original post made
on Apr 2, 2009
Do we need an initiative to get the Council out of the pocket of housing developers? Web Link
Looking at the original recommendations -- Web Link -- two ideas are missing:
1. Contract with PG&E to arrange to purchase 100% wind power electricity over the long term. Wind is a direct mitigation of the floods of global warming in addition to being a renewable energy source because it extracts energy directly from the atmosphere. It is also the least expensive of the renewable sources, and already very competitive with coal. The more communities who set up their PG&E contracts to buy only wind power, the better. Anyone who thinks wind is a bad idea because it's intermittent hasn't read this: Web Link We should stop subsidizing coal, gas, and oil, and let people have less expensive-in-the-long-run electricity instead.
2. Purchase only new plug-in hybrid vehicles. The more communities who adopt these goals, the faster we will return to a sustainable and less flood-prone (i.e., a less expensive) future. As soon as gasoline starts going up again, it will be a lot less expensive.
The same can be said about the "public option" of universal health care coverage: If we don't have it, people end up with the partial coverage which prevents so much preventative care, resulting in expensive emergency room hospitalizations followed by long hospital stays instead of regular visits with early detection of problems. People in Canada live two years longer with their universal coverage, and they pay a lot less than we do for medical expenses.
Though they aren't plug -ins, the city is heavily investing in hybrids and the city still has several Ford Ranger and Toyota RAV4 electric vehicles.
In response to the comments about the council being in the pocket of developers, I have to say it's quite the opposite. They've rejected several housing developments over the last few years, including proposals at 333 North Rengstorff, 450 North Whisman Road and 1984 El Camino Real. Developers have not contributed to recent city council campaigns.
More topically, what do people think the city's goals should actually be this year? Should the council be setting new goals when the city has to cut its budget this year(there is a $6 million deficit), revise its general plan and implement climate change initiatives?
Dan, ordinary hybrids still get 100% of their energy from gasoline, so it's hard for engineers such as myself to understand why they are even mentioned in the context of sustainability. Plug-in hybrids are available to fleet purchasers now, from Ford, Daimler, and others.
Regarding real estate developers (not to be confused with software developers, which I wish were being given preferential treatment!) it is a legitimate question, and maybe you can share your insights: Why, in the midst of a very serious economic crisis brought about by plummeting housing prices related directly to the oversupply of housing already developed, why does the Council, Development Review Committee, and Environmental Planning Commission still approve so much new housing development? Do they have incentives for doing so? Does the city get more taxes from developments when they approve them, even if they aren't occupied? Is it because of the structure of government, that we have the Council, Committee, and Commission all chartered with some kind of expectations that they will approve developments? What causes the disconnect?
If you'd like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:
You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
A Vision Wall (inspiring images attached to yor goals) is available too.
Works on mobile.
jps, why should the climate of the moment have an impact on when and if the city approves housing? Smart homebuilders will be using this downturn to prepare for the inevitable upswing. I'd suggest that planning descisions should NOT be based on the market of the moment, but what makes sense at a given site based on more concrete, measurable factors.
Unfortunately, traffic would be high on my list of said factors, and this council cares zero about it!
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