Let’s say you’re a Portland citizen. You were an assistant manager of an auto parts store for almost nine years, and were laid off a few months ago. You have an excellent reference from your former employer, coach your son’s Little League team, and have had no brushes with the law, not even a speeding ticket. You hear a new auto parts store is opening, and send them your resume. Move quickly to the back of the line.
I have a pet theory that some of the worst damage done to our cities is inflicted by local school boards. Recently, NYC Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña tossed my pet theory a large tasty bone.
On September 28, the Seattle City Council embarrassed themselves by voting unanimously to search citizens’ garbage and fine them for food scrap violations. On October 6, they embarrassed the entire country.
So your city council is going to pass a resolution honoring the 71st birthday of the United Nations, but is too busy to fix a pothole that broke three axles last month.
The other day, I came across an innocuous-looking website that easily costs America’s cities and counties billions in wasteful projects, and billions more in lost business opportunities. It’s called Resilient Communities for America. The first image on the home page is an Army engineer in a hardhat looking sadly at a flattened VW bug and the muddy devastation of some natural disaster, possibly Hurricane Sandy. It is accompanied by the headline: Extreme weather taking a toll: Heat waves, storms and droughts are ravaging our communities. Local governments must prepare. Learn more. The recent Typhoon in the Philippines was tragic, and the current drought sucks. But even two alarmists who point to your SUV as the source of all evils – Time Magazine and the IPCC – admit there is no connection between Typhoon Haiyan and climate change.
Despite the global cooling alarmists who turned into global warming alarmists who turned into climate change alarmists, the past 15 years have seen U.S. temperatures rise and fall. If you go to http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov you’ll see that US temperatures peaked in 1939, and have never reached that level again. That doesn’t even take into account the 600 weather stations NOAA has closed because of their questionable accuracy
In the Atlantic and Caribbean, we got through 2013 without even one of the major hurricanes mentioned on Resilient Communities.com. Of course, you can’t let the lack of a good crisis go to waste. In liberal cities, the response is always the same: Start a task force, pay a boatload of consultants, and produce reams of documents. From the Resilient Communities site, here’s just one example of local reactions to a manufactured problem. There are dozens more: Ann Arbor, MI: Staff are developing a “Green Streets” policy to increase natural infrastructure and infiltration on streets and right-of-ways, making the capacity of the City’s stormwater system more resilient.
Climate considerations are also part of the forthcoming Urban and Community Forest Master Plan and a related Health Impact Assessment (HIA) coordinated with the State Health Department. The HIA explores future City tree planting in lower-income areas with comparatively less tree canopy and the health impacts avoided as high-heat days increase this century.
A Climate Action Plan in December aims for reductions in community-wide greenhouse gas emissions of 25% by 2025 and 90% by 2050, from 2000 levels.
Because of shallow minds connected to deep pockets, Inc. Magazine named environmental consulting as one of the country’s Best Industries for Starting a Business. To quote their introduction, “With more and more eco-friendly regulations on the horizon, environmental consulting is a rapidly growing industry. Here’s all you need to know to get in on the action.”
And some action it is.Since 2007, the environmental consulting industry has grown nearly 39 percent to $20 billion in 2012. IBISWorld, a Santa Monica market research firm, estimated that industry-wide revenue for environmental consulting would increase revenue another 45 percent to $31 billion by 2017.
To put that size in context, in 2012, 3M also had $30 billion in revenue, with 88,000 employees and sales in 200 countries. And they actually make useful stuff, like Post-It Notes, instead of hundred-page studies that sit on shelves.
What does all this fear-mongering and its attendant regulation cost American business? There are so many factors that it’s nearly impossible to calculate. But a November 2012 report supported by the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that six pending EPA rules could cut annual US output by $630 billion, or 4.2 per cent of GDP. And that’s just on large industries at the macro level. There are literally thousands of other little cuts and bruises to American prosperity that this runaway climate scare causes. All caused by the specious assumptions behind Resilient Communities.com.
That’s why I say Resilient Communities like it’s a bad thing.
If you think the Federal government has no business managing your healthcare, here’s another takeover you won’t love: Community Choice Aggregation, or greenwashing, as it’s called by its many critics. In either case, it means that local politicians will force you to buy electricity from an unproven new utility company run by… local politicians.
There are certain words that offend nearly everyone. I don’t have to recount them here. Download any hip-hop hit from iTunes and you’ll hear most of them in the first 30 seconds. Curiously, liberals across the country have little to say about this crudeing-down of America’s language. But they’re on a Political Correctness binge, working overtime to find words you might use in conversations with your 85-year old grandmother and make sure they never pass your lips again. In Seattle City Hall, there’s a wonk named Elliott Bronstein at the Office of Civil Rights who is seriously recommending that the city consider a new set of standards for use of “potentially offensive” language. Two of the new no-nos? Citizen and brown bag.
On the 4th of July, my wife and I will celebrate by going to a pops concert/fireworks show at a local concert hall, and by helping a local organization with their annual barbecue.
But I also want to spend a moment reflecting on an American tradition that has been part of this country’s history for almost 150 years: The blatant corruption of Chicago politics.
What’s the best way to treat homeless alcoholics? Give them a place to live with a concierge who runs out and buys them beer or vodka every time they teeter towards the brink of sobriety? Most people would not call that a great idea. Except for Bevan Dufty, and his colleagues, who think it is. Dufty is a former San Francisco Supervisor, and is now Director of HOPE (Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement) for the City and County of San Francisco.