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( heteromeles )

Comments made by heteromeles

Prop D Threats Prove Empty - So Far

By the way, can I note that the editors totally failed to notice that it's Earth Day, Friday, April 22?

San Diego's a global diversity hotspot. Wow, great coverage on that. There's so much here that occurs nowhere else. Instead it's the same old tired stories.

April 22, 2011 at 9:56 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Prop D Threats Prove Empty - So Far

I only moved to San Diego a few years ago, but I grew up in southern California.

I was in Los Angeles when all those huge fires were ravaging San Diego County a few years back, and I recall a semi-serious debate about NOT sending firefighters to help down here.

The reason was that San Diego doesn't have a County fire department, and invests less in firefighting than any place else in the state.

Now, to focus on San Diego city: get real. The residents down here have this ludicrous notion that someone else will save our asses if we don't bother to save ourselves.

Why should they?

We, the people of San Diego don't wanna invest in fire, police, libraries, environmental protection (I do a lot of that on a volunteer basis).

That's too bad. We've got worse libraries than the horribly depressed northern Ohio (lived there too), we've got worse fire than just about anywhere that's so flammable, and so on. This isn't criticism of the miracle workers who are actually working on libraries, firefighting, conservation, and so on. It's a criticism of us, the people of San Diego.

Yes, I agree that we have to make local government accountable. However, starving them of funds to force compliance is about as sane as the old idea of imprisoning debtors to force them to pay their debts. It didn't work then, and it doesn't work now.

We need services, we need to pay for them, we need to hold the providers accountable, and that's really as simple as it gets.

April 22, 2011 at 9:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Cutting Down On Medical Errors

Interesting hearsay. My best friend also works at Sharp Memorial, and immediately knew who "Judy Smith" was on hearing that clip. While her testimony is compelling, to my knowledge, she is not currently filling "hundreds of orders" per day and has limited experience filling and verifying orders.

While medical mistakes can be a serious problem, so can journalistic mistakes. In the future, please double-check the background and veracity of your sources before you put them on the air.

Note (that I'm willing to verify): aside from my personal connection, I am not an employee of Sharp nor associated with them in any way. I AM, however, a KPBS member, and I am concerned that KPBS airs the best possible reporting.

March 24, 2011 at 5:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

What's Best Way To Reduce Traffic Congestion On I-5?

I'm writing the response to the EIR right now for an environmental group, and to say I'm disappointed by the quality of their study is an understatement. This document is in the lowest 25% of documents I've reviewed to date.

Why the disappointment?
--An EIR should simply tell us what damage the project is going to cause, and what will be needed to fix that damage, so that we can weigh the pros and cons. Here, they don't provide good information.
--We paid for that EIR with our tax money.
--A poorly done EIR is an invitation to legal action, because it provides numerous valid reasons for challenging the project. A well-prepared EIR makes is much harder to challenge.
--EIR consultants typically bill 20-33% of what lawyers bill per hour, so it makes financial sense to do a good EIR.

This is disappointing all the way around, because it's a tremendous waste of money and time. I hope, at the end, we might know the true environmental costs of the project, but the lawyers are the only ones profiting from this conflict.

One thing I wish KPBS and other media would do is to look at the quality of the proposal itself. While we debate whether it's a "good idea" or not, no one is looking at how good or bad the plan is technically. Based on the EIR, I suspect there are some real problems hidden in the technical reports.

November 14, 2010 at 9:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Are You For Or Against The Proposed Plan To Expand Interstate 5?

I'm very glad Sen. Kehoe is following this. As an environmentalist who's actually read the biology section of that draft EIR, I'm appalled.

Let's ignore the for or against part (full disclosure: I'm against widening). The appalling part is how badly the EIR is written.

Here's a number: environmental consultants, on average bill about the same hourly rate as highway construction workers, or about 20% the cost of lawyers. This will be relevant in three paragraphs.

So what does CALTRANS do? They produce a crappy document. There's no evidence they did the field surveys required by CEQA. Instead, they depend on out-of-date documents to describe the biology. The widening will displace sensitive, rare, threatened, and endangered species, but the measures the propose to mitigate for this damage are utterly inadequate. Inadequate is a euphemism for "they're all going to die."

CALTRANS certainly didn't follow CEQA, and while I'm still writing our comment letter, I suspect it's going to be as long as the actual section in the EIR, detailing everything they did inadequately. And we're doing this for free, in our spare time.

Remember what I said, that lawyers are five times more expensive than consultants? CALTRANS produced an inadequate document, and there appear to be ample grounds for legal action for anyone that wants to sue to stop this project (In my personal opinion. I am NOT a lawyer).

As a taxpayer, I'm appalled by this. I wish they'd made the effort to do this EIR properly. In this case (as in many cases) doing the environmental work properly is much, much cheaper than fighting it out in court. An experienced biologist with a graduate degree works at about the same price as a highway construction worker. It doesn't cost much to do a really good job. They just didn't want to bother, and that's stupid.

Instead, it's probably going to end up in court, and I'll end up paying twice: once as a taxpayer to defend this mess, and once as an environmentalist to help pay for the legal costs.

Only the lawyers win. My opinion is that they should kill this project until they can do it properly. If they're planning is as bad as this EIR is, it's going to be a disaster, and we can't afford disasters. Even gridlock would be more cost effective for everyone.

November 9, 2010 at 9:33 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Reducing Traffic Congestion In North County

I was listening to this while I drove north on I-5 between Torrey Pines and Oceanside, growling the whole time.

1. It's not just about the environment. Yes, I'm an environmentalist, but I was counting on fingers and toes how many homes AND businesses will have to be claimed through eminent domain to widen that freeway. People have built right up to the freeway right of way, and how much are we going to spend to buy them out. $1 million per acre? More? Great job, guys, for dumping this on the environmentalists and ignoring the property rights issue.

2. I know pot is is semi-legal in California, and that must explain where these growth projections come from. Let's see: we're going to install nuclear-powered desalination plants all along the coast to provide the water for these people? Or are we going to get smart and recycle all our sewage water for tap water? We're short of water, fuel for transportation and essentials, and we're talking about adding more to an over-strained system? And we're also assuming that insurance companies will allow people to live in isolated homes in an increasingly flammable landscape?

Please. The next time some demographer comes up with this kind of projection, I EXPECT the editors to ask painful and obvious questions about how the hell we're expecting to support all these new people. Otherwise, the growth projections should be written off as side effects from a medicinal marijuana overdose, not used as explanation or excuse for stupid growth.

Beside that, if you think I-5 is bad, you clearly haven't spent much time in LA. Go north and commute on the I-10. Please. For a month. Then come back here.

June 19, 2010 at 7:09 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Costs And Benefits Of Sunrise Powerlink Vary By Community

There's a problem with Imperial Valley solar: water.

Solar arrays need to be washed every month, to get the dust off (according to the project proponents). The water used on the arrays evaporates, so it is lost to the system.

In the Imperial Valley, the only sources of water are the various rivers and one aquifer, all of which feed the Salton Sea.

As a reminder, in 2003, the state passed legislation to protect and restore the Salton Sea.

The simple question for solar developers is: where is that cleaning water coming from? Out of the New River? A well?

For years we've known that San Diego could get plenty of solar power if the city would make it easier to put panels on more roofs. Maybe it's time to think about that option again.

May 5, 2010 at 9:36 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Are Tea Partiers Hate Groups?

I listened to most of the show. Calling in didn't work, so I'll leave a comment here.

Yes, I can understand frustration with government. I feel it too. What I have trouble with is understanding what the tea-partiers take on reality.

Case in point: one callers' misplaced rant about Rick Halsey's recent win against San Diego County, forcing them to follow to get legal review of their vegetation management program.

Basic points:
--Yes, Mr. Halsey's an environmentalist. He's also a trained and active wildland fire fighter.
--The County proceeded against the advice from their experts. What the fire fighters and scientists wanted the County to do was to clear around communities where they would make a difference. What the County apparently wanted to do was pay someone (with political ties?) to clear a large area in the back county, away from houses. It would be a large expenditure of money that their own experts said would not increase protection from fires.
--The County also wanted to ignore state law. CEQA review basically says tells someone doing a project needs to determine the negative consequences of their actions, and either take action to deal with those negatives, or show that the positives from the project outweigh the negatives. This is stuff we teach our kids (it's also known as "think before you act"). CEQA explicitly states that long-term preparation for an emergency (earthquake, fire, etc) is not itself an emergency. This is the part the County ignored, and now they have to deal with it.
--Halsey won this lawsuit, which (hopefully) will result in the County not wasting money on pointless activity in the back-country, and hopefully they will spend that money where it will do the most good for actually protecting homeowners.

If I took out the word "environmentalist," this would sound like something a tea-partier would support. Less negative government interference, more responsibility, spending scarce dollars where they will do the most good. But that's not what the tea-partiers support.

Unfortunately, I'm sure this is going to get lambasted. It's sad. We environmentalists actually spend much of our time forcing the government to fight waste, spend their money effectively, be responsible, stuff like that, often through lawsuits, protests, and other such actions. By the bizarre logic of today's political scene, we're therefore the enemies of people who espouse the same thing, but who believe that we're lying.

March 11, 2010 at 8:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Water Crisis Hurting California's Economy

re: beechum1,

There's a problem with blaming the delta smelt. Yes, it does seem goofy, but the real problem is that there are a lot of people living on imported water, imported fuel, and imported food. Anything that threatens any one of those threatens us, whatever it is. One of the better long-term measures is to learn to live within our means.

Let's imagine that we overturn the endangered species act, and pump so much fresh water out of the delta that the San Francisco Bay and Delta are totally seawater. We use that water to let more people move to southern California. Then the oil that powers the pumps runs out. What then? We'll have an even worse and more urgent problem than we do now.

The fish in the Delta, silly as they seem, are actually forcing us to start doing things like thinking, planning, and living within our means. Better to do it now, than to wait until the state's population has doubled again, and the pumps stop. Then it will be a true crisis. Now it's just a nuisance.

June 22, 2009 at 9:22 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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