Monday, December 31, 2007

Global Warming Debate

An open letter to UN Chief from 100 scientists debate claim of human caused warming.

Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Dec. 13, 2007
His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York, N.Y.
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction

It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.

The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians and non-scientists and are the basis for most climate change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by ¬government ¬representatives. The great ¬majority of IPCC contributors and ¬reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts.

Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:

z Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.

z The average rate of warming of 0.1 to 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.

z Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today's computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.

In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is "settled," significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed (see to consider work published only through May, 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Funding it is cheap considering the increase in quality of life and public safety, and whether it is dams for flood control and water supply, or freeways, roads and sidewalks to enhance traffic safety, it is vital for a major city to continue funding at a high level, much more than our region has been doing for too many years.

Editorial: Watt sidewalk is cheap at a half-million bucks
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's an intrepid pedestrian who ventures out on Watt Avenue in Arden Arcade. Cars zip along far too quickly on this stretch of roadway, and street crossings can be treacherous for anyone on foot.

But there is one stretch of Watt that is particularly irksome. On the west side of Watt at Arden Creek Road, there is no sidewalk for about 250 feet. The sidewalk ends at the Ardendale Apartments, forcing walkers to traverse this section along an unpaved and uneven shoulder.

This is one of many sections of roadway in the Sacramento region that is crying out for a "complete street" – one that equally serves motorists, walkers and bicyclists.

Walters on State’s Population

Whether growing or not, the need for infrastructure in our state is seriously underfunded.

Dan Walters: Population increases drive state
By Dan Walters -
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just before Christmas, the state's demographers released an update on California's population, having calculated that as of July 1, it had increased by some 438,000 souls during the previous year and stood at just under 38 million.

A few days later, the Census Bureau weighed in with its own estimate, pegging California's population at more than a million fewer than the state number and thus continuing an ongoing conflict between state and federal demographers about growth in the nation's most populous state.

Simply put, the Census Bureau believes that California has lost much more population to other states – some 1.2 million since 2000 – than the state Department of Finance, which believes there has been very little, if any, such loss.

Whatever the true figure, the new data are another reminder that California remains an ever-expanding and ever-changing society, and dealing with that fact is its most important and most neglected political issue.

Although Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators are still patting themselves on the back for enacting nearly $40 billion in public works bonds in 2006, it was, at best, a down payment on an infrastructure need that is several times that large and, as the population numbers imply, will continue to grow.

Those 438,000 additional Californians (the state number) will generate a need for at least 150,000 new housing units, which means that while the housing industry has been clobbered and there are many vacancies, within a year or two, demand will catch up. Deciding where and how ever-increasing numbers of Californians will be housed is a major issue for state and local governments.

Producers Produce

An old adage in business is that proven producers produce, especially when major projects are at stake, and it played out this year downtown.

Downtown development 2007: Dicey
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 30, 2007

With the economic downturn, city officials said developers who rolled the dice on spectacular high-rise condo projects in 2007 never hit their lucky numbers and are out of the game. But Lady Luck smiled on proven downtown developers with other well-financed projects.

See graphic at link.

K Street Drama, Act 335

A significant development promising the potential of a long run, as the drama continues to unfold, and new characters make their entrance onto the stage.

K Street fight will resonate on state ballot
Eminent: Mohanna says he will join ballot measure's campaign
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 30, 2007

Even if the city of Sacramento wins a court battle to wrest a key part of the K Street Mall from property owner Moe Mohanna, it could lose the war on another front: the state ballot.

Mohanna has thrown his support behind an initiative headed for the June election that would forbid local governments in California from using eminent domain to buy property from one private owner and award it to another – exactly what the city is seeking to do on K Street.

"We'll be spending a lot of money on that, and I'll have a series of fundraisers in my buildings," Mohanna said on Christmas Eve.

Mohanna has aligned himself with a coalition of anti-tax groups and property rights advocates led by the California Farm Bureau Federation and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the force behind California's landmark property tax cutting measure, Proposition 13.

Last month, the group submitted more than 1 million signatures to qualify its anti-eminent domain measure for the ballot.

Mohanna said he'll be a champion of the statewide effort that he describes as a flesh and blood example of the heavy-handed use of eminent domain.

Cosumnes Preserve

The preserve is truly a treasure for the region, and I was fortunate to be able to play a role in obtaining funding for it, but unfortunately, the public is very restricted in its access to it, (sadly apparent in that most events celebrating it will be at a Galt town center rather than at the Preserve) an access that still remains open to the public in the American River Parkway.

Galt festival to celebrate Cosumnes River Preserve
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 30, 2007

In search of a distinct identity, the city of Galt is aligning itself more closely with the Cosumnes River Preserve, the vast wonderland of waterfowl on its border.

On Jan. 12, the city will hold its first Annual Winter Bird Festival, in celebration of the many species of migratory and resident birds that flock to the 46,000-acre Cosumnes preserve during the winter months.

Most of the events will take place at the Chabolla Center. They will include expert speakers, a "Crane Culture" theater performance by the group Save Our Sandhill Cranes, and children's activities.

School buses also will take people on morning and evening driving tours of the preserve, whose flooded fields are teeming with a wide variety of birds.

The idea for the festival came from City Councilman and former Mayor Tim Raboy.

"What I've been trying to do for many years on the council is show the environmental benefits of living in Galt," Raboy said. "So many people in Galt have never been out to the preserve and walked the trails there. … They just think it's a big area with thousands of protected acres that no one can ever go on.

"My goal has always been to increase the size of the preserve between Elk Grove and Galt and have more of a greenbelt than there is now … I'm hoping that people will see more of the benefit."

Harry McQuillen, manager of the Cosumnes preserve, said the city's idea was "to take community ownership of the preserve."…

While much of the preserve remains inaccessible, The Nature Conservancy and its various government and nonprofit partners operate about four miles of trails, some of them wheelchair-accessible, and a visitors center on Franklin Road.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

China Going Nuclear

Hopefully leading the way for us to catch up in the race for clean energy able to power first world economies, which nuclear does better than anything else, as France has shown us.

Stanley Crouch: Nuclear power to the people
By Stanley Crouch -
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, December 29, 2007

China has just made a deal with Areva, a French nuclear-power company, and will pay it nearly $12 billion for two supposedly advanced nuclear reactors for an electrical utility.

The world significance of this could prove to not only be extraordinary, but good on fronts as apparently unconnected as the ecology of the world and the genocide in Darfur.

Outside of the arts, most of the thought that comes out of France is largely insipid. It has great style and a reputation for high fashion and good food, but its political thinking is given to pretending that it is still a world power, which it is not.

What France is, however, is forward-thinking. Quicker than any other Western nation, France realized the game set up by the world's oil barons had changed and that there were new bosses at the head of the game.

When France realized which way the oil was dripping and who was in charge of the faucet, the nation switched over from "black gold" to nuclear power. It was a move so brilliant that it is hard to believe that the French actually made it. But make it they did and went straight to the head of the post-petroleum class.

Nuclear power now accounts for 78 percent of what keeps the lights on and most of the nation's machinery running. Unlike Russia, France has not experienced a disaster like Chernobyl, which we could see in China because totalitarian leaderships are notoriously sloppy when it comes to looking out for their citizenry.

Downtown’s Year

Some good, some bad, some unchanged.

Bob Shallit: What clicked, and didn't
Hits and misses, 2007
By Bob Shallit -
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, December 29, 2007

We expected this to be the year of momentous change downtown. Condo towers built. A bus station moved. K Street remade.

Alas, the progress was spotty.

And so were the results of our annual fearless forecast for the 2007 business scene. Looking back, we've added up our hits and misses and assigned a letter grade to each of our predictions.

How did we do? Read on:

Prediction: Sac International gets its first Canadian carrier.

Reality: A good start. In March, Air Canada announced it would start service between the capital and Vancouver, B.C.

Grade: A

Prediction: moves its downtown bus station, clearing the way for development.

Reality: Didn't happen. Will it ever? Certainly, and perhaps soon.

Grade: F

Prediction: John Saca's dream of a high-rise condo at Third and Capitol Mall advances.

Reality: Boy, were we ever wrong. The project's dead.

Grade: F

Delta Water

Deliveries shrink and the peripheral canal resumes center stage.

Delta water exports halved
It was the first cut rising from a court ruling to protect threatened smelt.
By Matt Weiser -
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, December 29, 2007

Water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta were slashed in half Friday to protect a threatened fish, marking the first action sparked by a federal court order earlier this month.

The Dec. 14 ruling by U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger in Fresno requires state and federal water agencies to reduce their draw from the estuary under certain conditions to protect the Delta smelt. The agencies operate separate canal systems, which serve 25 million Californians and more than 2 million acres of farms from the Bay Area to San Diego.

But those water exports have contributed to a steep decline in the population of the smelt, a fragile fingerling protected by the Endangered Species Act. The fish are not strong enough to resist the pull of the pumps, which reverse natural water flows in the Delta.

Wanger's ruling requires pumping reductions under certain conditions that affect the smelt. One of those triggers was tripped on Christmas Day when water clarity declined at a South Delta monitoring site.

Downtown Development

SN&R takes a look…

Out with the old
Happy 53rd birthday, downtown redevelopment
By Cosmo Garvin

In March of this year, Mayor Heather Fargo gave a big speech, her annual “State of the Downtown” presentation. I just re-read it, wanting to see what was on her to-do list for 2007.

It was about what you’d expect: revitalizing the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street with upscale shopping, moving the Greyhound station, and seeing the Downtown Plaza reinvigorated.

“We will go over, under, and straight through obstacles to get this done. Period,” she explained.

She could re-use the speech next year, since that stuff didn’t get done. Period. Maybe she could use some of the same filler, too, as when Fargo riffed on being a baby-boomer mayor in a maturing city. “Did you know that David Bowie turned 60 on Monday?” she asked.

“No,” I thought. Then I thought about my mom, who loves David Bowie.

Sacramento mayors have been giving some version of this same speech about downtown—perhaps without the references to aging rock stars—for more than 50 years now.

That’s because Sacramento’s attempt at downtown redevelopment is a baby boomer, too, just like my mom, and my mayor, and David Bowie.

What today we call the “Merged Downtown Redevelopment Project Area” was born in 1955, the same year that Disneyland opened, and the first McDonald’s. It’s since grown to cover 300 acres, including, of course, K Street and the rail yards. It’s blown through more than $300 million in its long life.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Transit Plan

The most important part of the plan, which certainly needs more balance towards vehicles, is that providing for better transport throughout the region by the overwhelming majority of residential and business transit which occurs on roads and freeways in cars and trucks.

What is still lacking is a dedicated bike trail embracing the region, connecting the American River Parkway trail to a county-wide system of bicycle transport which would serve transit and recreational needs.

There should be no paradigm shift away from cars (which would be a huge backward step) but one more deeply embracing cars and bicycles, as well as trains, buses, and walking, all vital forms of movement around the region befitting the livable community we envision.

Region transit plan is blasted
Environmentalists contend it's overly focused on vehicles.
By Tony Bizjak -
Published 12:00 am PST Friday, December 28, 2007

The Sacramento region's cities and counties are poised this spring to ratify what proponents say is a groundbreaking new $42 billion transportation spending plan with more money than ever for transit, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Environmentalists, however, complain the plan doesn't go far enough.

"We are asking for nothing short of a true paradigm shift" away from cars, officials with the Environmental Council of Sacramento wrote in an analysis last week.

The list of projects to be funded over the next 25 years is called the Metropolitan Transportation Plan and is published by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, the region's transportation planning agency.

It is made up of local governments in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, Yuba and Sutter counties.

SACOG officials counter that they have gone as far as they felt they could to create a spending plan that encourages more transit use but doesn't leave car drivers stuck in traffic jams.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Farmer’s Markets

While appealing on many levels, economically and emotionally for two, the reality is that until the markets are as conveniently accessed as the local supermarket, they won’t make much of a dent in the average consumers grocery shopping, regardless of the marketing slogans.

Reflections From The Region: Support our region's farms: Go 'locavorian'
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, December 27, 2007

This holiday season The Bee's editorial board asked local residents this question, "What is the most important lesson that Sacramento or the region should take from 2007, and how can it be applied next year?"

The following is from Nancyjo Riekse, Placer County agricultural marketing director:
This was the fourth year of the Placer County Farm & Barn Tour, and I was amazed at how many visitors had never been to a working farm or knew there were small working farms and ranches that produced food that could be purchased directly.

Many people are aware of the large corporate agricultural producers seen along the freeways, where the farmers fly overhead to view their fields and monitor the watering and feeding systems through advanced technology. However, most small farms are nestled back among the hills and down the dirt roads. The have been worked for generations by family, friends and relatives who walk their fields. They know every inch of their land.

In the past year, large grocery chains started using "farmers markets" to describe their produce aisles, touting locally grown. But in today's world, what does "local" or "organic" really mean?

Public/Private Partnerships

It is good to see California getting more involved in this long-proven method of accomplishing public goals through deeper involvement of the private sector.

Change sought on state projects
More public-private partnerships being proposed by governor.
By Judy Lin -
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday proposed an expanded push for public-private partnerships and set a goal to add 20,000 new engineers to California's work force as part of his upcoming January budget plan.

The Schwarzenegger administration wants the state to expand the types of public projects that can be built with the financial might of private companies.

Current law does not allow state government broad authority to use this type of contracting – known as a Performance Based Infrastructure – except in emergencies or through legislative approval.

Unions representing state engineers oppose outsourcing road projects, arguing that private firms will seek profits at a greater cost to taxpayers.

But state finance officials believe increasing contract flexibility will result in better services, faster delivery and lower cost to taxpayers.

Solar Power Announcement

Financing deal for Solar Power
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, December 27, 2007

Solar Power Inc. on Wednesday announced that GE Money, a unit of General Electric Co., will provide financing services at the Roseville firm's "Yes! Solar Solutions" stores, the nation's first retail franchise stores focused on solar power.

The agreement gives customers access to low-interest loans to finance solar-panel installations, which cost about $30,000 for a typical house. Various rebate and subsidy programs usually cover roughly 40 percent of that cost, leaving $18,000 to be financed.

GE Money's GEOSmart Financing program, which focuses on renewable energy systems, typically provides 20- or 25-year loans at 7 percent interest for residential solar panel installations.

Under those terms, a solar-panel system can be "cash positive," with a monthly interest payment lower than the electricity bill the system replaced, said Solar Power Chief Executive Steve Kircher.

The first Yes! Solar Solutions store was launched in October in Roseville. By the end of 2008, the company hopes to have three others in the Sacramento region and a total of as many as 63 statewide.

Wednesday, Solar Power shares closed at $3.60, up 15 cents, or 4.4 percent, in trading on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board.

– Jim Downing

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Downtown Planning

If the leadership assailing the direction of downtown would realize that the monocentric model of city development—where the downtown core determines the metropolitan future—largely ended in the 1950’s and the current model of polycentric development, where various town cores govern the developmental future, perhaps the Mohanna model of small-scale shops and retail might be seen as more appropriate for the current residential communities close to and the highest users of, the current Sacramento downtown.

It might also explain the reluctance of Westfield, one of the world’s most successful mall developers, to invest more in a model going nowhere slow.

Editorial: Advice for Mohanna: Work out a K Street deal
Everybody stands to lose if city is forced to proceed with eminent domain action
Published 12:00 am PST Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Here's a bit of advice for Moe Mohanna: If you truly love Sacramento – and you say you do – step away from the fight. Work out a reasonable deal with the city and free K Street.

The Sacramento City Council did what everyone expected last week. It voted unanimously to pursue eminent domain to take control of properties that Mohanna owns on the 700 block of K Street. The action allows the redevelopment agency to begin rebuilding a bleak but vital stretch of downtown.

Sadly, Mohanna did what was expected as well. He vowed to fight city efforts to seize his 700 block K Street properties. That could well trigger a protracted legal battle. If that happens, K Street could be held hostage for many more years, a dismal prospect. Nobody wins then, not the city, not Mohanna and not the people of Sacramento.

For months now, Mohanna has engaged in a guerilla public relations battle with the city. He has cleverly showcased his few downtown successes. His Temple Fine Coffee and Tea, a coffeehouse that occupies the old Levinson's bookstore site between J and K on 10th Street is a funky, fun addition to downtown, an affordable and edgy alternative to the upscale eateries financed with millions in city subsidies.

Mohanna also financed the provocative return of Texas Mexican Restaurant. It had thrived on Eighth Street just off K before the city forced it out. It has reopened in its old location, a Mohanna property the city wants to hand over to its chosen developer, Joe Zeiden.

If the city and Zeiden were smart, they would find a way to preserve popular home grown businesses like Texas Mexican while still pursuing Z Gallerie, Sur La Table, Urban Outfitters and all the other upscale national chains that Zeiden has said he will bring downtown.

Flood Control Project

While a good project to release a higher volume of water when needed, and causing more devastation to the Parkway, this project—which will provide a 200 year level of flood protection—only gets us still less than half way to the gold standard of the 500 year level of flood protection most river cities in the United States have, including Tacoma, St. Louis, Dallas, Kansas City, and still less than the 250 year protection New Orleans had when Katrina hit.

This is a good step, but we need to proceed to 500 year protection with the building of the Auburn Dam, the only project providing that level of flood and Parkway protection.

Flood control project starts
A new spillway at Folsom Dam will boost the facility's ability to move American River water.
By Matt Weiser -
Published 12:00 am PST Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More than 20 years have passed since it became clear that the American River needs better flood control. Now the solution to that problem is finally under construction.

Workers began construction on a new spillway at Folsom Dam on Dec. 13. The 1,700-foot-long concrete spillway, adjacent to the existing main dam, will boost its ability to prevent dangerous floods, effectively doubling protection for about a half-million people living downstream.

The spillway will achieve 1-in-200-year protection, or the ability to survive a flood with a half-percent chance of striking in any given year.

Construction is a huge milestone for the project, which has seen as many twists and turns as the American River itself.

"It's actually almost miraculous that things have come together the way they have," said Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo, also chairwoman of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, a local sponsor of the project. "What it means to the community at risk from the American River is a huge increase in flood protection."

Built in 1955, the dam at Folsom contains eight small river outlets below the water line and eight larger spillway gates on top.

The river outlets can release water at 35,000 cubic feet per second. Maximum releases of 165,000 cfs – the design capacity of downstream levees – can be achieved only once the reservoir rises to reach the larger spillway gates.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Global Warming Report

Another important lesson may be to take a look at the new Senate Report debunking the global warming scientific consensus.

Reflections: Thinking globally, acting locally
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, December 24, 2007

This holiday season The Bee's editorial board asked local residents this question, "What is the most important lesson that Sacramento or the region should take from 2007, and how can it be applied next year?"

The following is from Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento:

One important lesson from this past year is that we must act now to address global warming to avert a looming disaster. Each of us can be part of the solution.

Systems Fault?

Leadership accepts responsibility.

Analysis: Budget faced realism deficit
Governor repeatedly said problem was solved, but structural shortfall persists.
By Kevin Yamamura -
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, December 24, 2007

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election in 2006 by selling himself as a problem solver who boosted California's economy and resolved the state's budget problems, all without new taxes.

The Republican governor declared in January that "through discipline and through new revenues that come from economic growth, we reduced the deficit over time and got our fiscal house in order."

But less than a year into his second term, the narrative has run dry.

An estimated $14 billion deficit looms, the state's housing market has become an economic drag and Schwarzenegger can no longer count on a tax windfall to cover the spending increases he has approved since taking office.

Schwarzenegger is proposing an average 10 percent spending cut across the board, while Democratic leaders want a mix of cuts and new taxes. The governor admitted Wednesday, "This state has had problems with the budget ever since I have gotten here," even suggesting the process is beyond anyone's control.

"I think the problems were deeper and more structural than the governor realized when he was first elected," said Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, which advocates for poor and middle-class families…

The governor, speaking Wednesday in San Diego, called the $14 billion deficit "a temporary problem." He then went on to suggest that the budget process has remained the same over the past 40 years and that the system was to blame, not the governor or legislators.

That remark stood in sharp contrast to statements he made before he was governor, when he blamed the budget problems squarely on Davis.

"And you know why nothing has changed?" he said. "Because the system itself is flawed, the budget system. It's not that there's anyone in Sacramento that is making the wrong decision. There is no one in Sacramento making the wrong move or doing something bad. This has been created by itself, because the system is flawed."

Downtown Plan?

Another scheme, at least it is one built on reality, in the long line of such to do something with downtown.

Downtown traffic outlook calls for more congestion
By Tony Bizjak -
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, December 24, 2007

Downtown Sacramento commuters, already a harried lot, might want to buckle up and put two hands on the wheel for this one:

Taking inspiration from some of the world's great cities, Sacramento officials now say a measured dose of extra congestion downtown is a good thing.

San Francisco, New York, London, all cities with dynamic core economies and cultures, also are the most congested, a group of city transportation planners says.
Traffic, according to planner Fedolia Harris, can be a "double-edged sword" in a growing downtown.

"If you want to be more than a cowtown, go to any big metropolitan area, you don't have cars moving at 40 miles per hour through the central city," Harris said.

The Sacramento City Council next year will consider easing legal standards for traffic in the heart of downtown, and to a lesser degree citywide, in the new general plan, the document guiding city growth for the next 20 years.

Current policy is to try to keep city streets moving so drivers reach speed limits between red lights.

The new proposal is part of a package deal for denser downtown growth – allowing more tightly packed office and housing projects without spending as much time and money to reduce the impact development has on street traffic.

Officials say it will mean more of the sometimes frustratingly heavy traffic that commuters now experience on J Street near Interstate 5 in the morning and on L and I streets during the afternoon outbound commute.

In technical terms, the city expects to drop its congestion standard in the central downtown business district from a Level C to a Level E, one step above the F, for "failure," level.

"It's basically saying we are going to fill (downtown) streets to the top, without overfilling, at peak hours," Harris said.

In part, the city's embrace of congestion is a recognition of reality. About 30 percent of city streets, such as L Street, already hit the frustrating point during commute periods.

San Francisco Homeless

A lot of what this columnist says about the homeless situation in San Francisco, resonates in Sacramento.

If you want to help the homeless, just say yes
C.W. Nevius
Sunday, December 23, 2007

It is time for someone in the homeless advocacy community to say yes.

For every proposal to address San Francisco's problem of homelessness, panhandling and vagrancy, there has been one consistent response from advocates - no.

No to the suggestion of Laura's Law, which would require the severely mentally ill to take their medications. (Not all advocates disagree, but when I asked the director of the influential Homeless Coalition point-blank if she would support it, she said no.) No to the suggestion of looking at Portland's Street Access for Everyone program to get loiterers off the street, and no to clearing campers out of Golden Gate Park.

It was the same story back in 2003 when then-Supervisor Gavin Newsom put his Care Not Cash reform on the ballot. He was vilified for getting San Francisco to follow the lead of other cities and get out of the business of giving cash handouts to the homeless.

I don't question the advocates' motives or their commitment. I know that they do lots of good work for their clients. But the dialogue between them and critics of the status quo on the street has become a divisive battleground.

That's why I say there's only one way out of it. It is time for one of the advocates to say yes.

Pick a program, an idea, or a solution that has been proposed and support it. Or come up with one on your own.

But there's a catch. There has to be some common ground. It can't be slogans - free housing for everyone who comes to San Francisco. There has to be some room for compromise, a way for everyone, from the advocates, to the city officials, to the business community, to say, yeah, with a little effort that could work. It might not solve everything, but would be a start.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

City Developers not Developing

There are two local city developers (Kevin Johnson & Mo Mohanna), both receiving a lot of money to develop their properties, but neither seems to be doing that, and though there are certainly stories to be told about why, the facts remain undisputable, development that was promised is not occurring.

Redevelopment in Oak Park is a story Johnson needs to tell
By Ginger Rutland -
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 23, 2007

School officials in Washington, D.C., were courting Kevin Johnson in hopes he would create a charter school there when The Bee published a story saying he had failed to maintain many of his Oak Park properties. The city of Sacramento had cited the former NBA All-Star and his for-profit company 73 times in the past decade for violating city codes, racking up fees and fines totaling $32,080.

Clearly, the article in The Bee embarrassed Johnson.

"They go Google Kevin Johnson and what comes up, those darned articles," he fumed. "Then I realized (the article) could cripple everything we are doing from an image standpoint, from a fund-raising standpoint, from a credibility standpoint. We can't let that stay on the record in the same way," Johnson told me.

Bee reporters who wrote the story repeatedly asked Johnson to talk before its publication. He adamantly and, in my view, arrogantly refused, a mistake he now admits.

"I realize, no matter what … I'm going to be a public figure, whether I like it or not," he said.

It's a painful lesson, but one Johnson needed to learn. He has to understand that he's no longer a basketball superstar fending off adoring fans. He's a Sacramento developer who has taken millions in subsidies from the city's redevelopment agency. He has accepted millions more in donations for St. HOPE, his nonprofit dedicated to school reform and development of Oak Park.

London Over New York by a Pip

Though a study done by an American news organization might counter this one done by an English one, it is nevertheless validation of the greatness of one of the oldest cities in the western world.

London, capital of the world
A new study has found that the British capital outstrips 60 global rivals as an economic and cultural powerhouse
By Simon Calder
Published: 22 December 2007

London has topped the most exhaustive comparison ever compiled of the world's great cities in a finding that sees Britain's capital outstrip global rivals as a centre of economic performance and cultural significance.

Following months of research of population figures, financial markets, tourism trends, transport facilities and data relating to sports and arts events and transport, the study comes to a dramatic conclusion: London is the world's capital city.

The survey was carried out by The Independent and, for the first time, allows a direct comparison of global cities.

Around the world, civic competition is reaching new heights as cities strive to provide the finest creative, culinary and tourist experiences. This is creating powerhouses such as Delhi and Beijing.

Closer to home, Dublin, Edinburgh, and Glasgow are proving themselves to be dynamic Celtic conurbations. Yet it is London that rises above all other cities.

The measurable and objective data, which can all be found on The Independent's website, throws up some remarkable findings and reveals which urban rivals come out on top, which cities look set to climb rapidly up the rankings and which metropolises are seeing their grandeur and magnificence surpassed.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Natomas Levee Announcement

Natomas levee permit delayed
- Bee Metro Staff
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, December 22, 2007

The state Reclamation Board opted Friday to wait until January to consider granting a construction permit for a huge Natomas levee project, and asked for more hydraulic analysis on the proposal.

The board did vote, however, to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for permission to modify the levees, a crucial procedural step.

The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, sponsor of the $400 million project, agreed to perform more hydraulic modeling in time for the board's Jan. 18 meeting.

The board wants SAFCA to analyze effects on levees in Yolo County and on Sacramento River levees at least as far south as Freeport. The board's staff also needs more time to analyze the complex project.

The Reclamation Board's action addressed only the first phase of construction along 5miles of the Natomas Cross Canal. The total project involves raising or widening nearly 25 miles of levees in Natomas.

SAFCA Executive Director Stein Buer said the board's request to the Corps of Engineers was key to ensure that federal analysis of the project remains on track.

Delaying the construction permit until January, he said, won't upset plans to start work next summer.

K Street Drama, Act 334

Going to court, mayor says speed is needed.

Court battle looms for city, K Street landlord
Mayor Fargo says fast action's needed to revive downtown.
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, December 22, 2007

The city of Sacramento will likely head to court in January to force downtown property owner Moe Mohanna to sell his K Street properties.

The City Council voted Tuesday to authorize the court action, but it won't be filed before year's end, said Assistant City Manager John Dangberg.

Dangberg said city and redevelopment agency staff members and attorneys would be getting together the first week of January "to work all that out, as far as the exact filing date and so forth."

Mayor Heather Fargo said Friday that the city shouldn't waste any time.

"I think everybody is ready for significant progress," she said. "If negotiations can go well and quickly, that will be fine, and if not we'll be moving ahead quickly to get this phase wrapped up."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Complete Streets?

Depending on the meaning of the term “complete”, but one definition could be a street that accomplished its designed goal of allowing the safest and most complete movement of the vehicles (cars) it is designed for, in which case there would be no bicycle lanes, which are unsafe for cars and bikers.

Bicycle trails would be separate from cars, like the sidewalks for pedestrians are, and therefore might be called “complete” bicycle trails.

Reflections: The joy of Sacramento's complete streets
Published 12:00 am PST Friday, December 21, 2007

This holiday season The Bee's editorial board asked local residents this question, "What is the most important lesson that Sacramento or the region should take from 2007, and how can it be applied next year?"

The following is from Lea Brooks, president of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates:

In October, the city transformed 19th and 21st streets in midtown Sacramento from hostile, car-dominated thoroughfares to "complete streets" that accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. It was a small but significant step toward making Sacramento a more livable community.

Sacramento put 19th and 21st streets on a "road diet" from three one-way lanes for motorists to two one-way lanes, with bicycle lanes on both sides. Overnight, these streets switched from being intimidating to safe, convenient and pleasant routes for bicyclists of all abilities. I am optimistic the city will expand this trend in the downtown grid next year and set an example for our entire region.

Complete streets create more livable communities by slowing and reducing traffic and welcoming hundreds of bicyclists who pedal to work and other destinations every day in midtown. When bicyclists have designated lanes on the street, we have no reason to ride on the sidewalks and no longer pose a danger to pedestrians and disabled people.

Levee Suit

In what has become standard practice around any public policy decision, especially those involving levees and dams providing flood protection, a law suit has been filed against the Natomas Levee project.

Residents file suit over levee project
By Matt Weiser -
Published 12:00 am PST Friday, December 21, 2007

A coalition of Garden Highway residents filed suit Wednesday against Sacramento's flood control agency, alleging a massive levee project planned in the city's Natomas basin fails to address a host of potential environmental problems.

The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency approved the $400 million Natomas levee project Nov. 29. The agency's board, made up of city and county elected officials, approved both an environmental impact report and the first phase of construction, planned for summer 2008.

The project would raise and widen nearly 25 miles of levees bordering the Natomas basin to satisfy federal flood control officials.

In 2006, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that Natomas levees don't meet new underseepage criteria.

Subsequently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared that the region will lose its 100-year flood safety certification, forcing the basin's 70,000 residents to buy flood insurance and likely causing development restrictions.

The project aims to correct these deficiencies by 2010.

But the Garden Highway group, which represents about 100 homeowners, fears a variety of harmful consequences from the project.

Many homes along the road are built on the water-side of the levee, which follows the Sacramento River.

The lower floors of these homes routinely flood when the river swells, and many are elevated to accommodate this.

But the SAFCA project will raise the levee as much as 3 feet, and residents fear their flood depths also will rise as a result, causing more damage.

Some also worry that deep seepage walls proposed in parts of the project could halt the flow of groundwater and compromise their drinking water wells.

"The Garden Highway Community Association wants flood protection for Natomas just like the people of Natomas," said the group's spokesman, Patrick Tully. "Unfortunately, SAFCA has been dismissive of our very real concerns, including the true impact of this monstrous project."

China, Communism, & Environmentalism

An excellent overview of the three and a deep reminder of how precious our free press and active civil society are to ensure we continually work for a better environment amid a growing economy and free society.

The Middle Kingdom's Dilemma
Can China clean up its environment without cleaning up its politics?
By Christina Larson

In January 2007, a geologist named Yong Yang set out from his home in China's western Sichuan Province with five researchers, two sport utility vehicles, one set of clothes, and several trunks of equipment for measuring rainfall and water volume; a camping stove, a rice cooker, canned meat, and more than sixty bottles of Sichuan hot sauce; a digital camera, a deck of cards, and several CDs of Tibetan music; and as many canisters of fuel as his team could strap to the roofs of their SUVs. No roads cross the part of China to which Yong was traveling, so he also brought topographical charts and satellite photos of the region. His final destination, deep in China's wild western frontier, was the unmarked place on the Tibetan plateau from which the Yangtze River springs.

For several weeks the two vehicles followed the Yangtze west, as the river turned from running water to ice. The thermometer became useless when the temperature dipped below the lowest reading on its scale. Occasionally they spotted an antelope, and once wolves devoured their fresh yak meat. As they climbed in elevation, tracing the course the Yangtze had cut through the Dangla Mountains many millennia ago, the air grew thinner and the wind fiercer. When the ground rose too steeply into the surrounding peaks for the SUVs to maneuver along the riverbanks, they drove on the frozen river itself, though this approach was not without its perils. About a month into their trip, on the auspicious first day of the Lunar New Year, Yong heard a great crunching sound as his front and then back tires slid through the ice, trapping his vehicle midstream. Fortunately, the vehicle wasn't too far submerged, and the backseat passengers managed to clamber out and signal to the second SUV. With a rope tied to the rear bumper, they dragged the vehicle from the frozen river, with Yong still in the driver's seat, transmission in reverse.

Yong and his companions made it safely out of the river. But since then he's continued to travel, in many senses, on thin ice. A vital question had propelled his journey up the Yangtze: the Chinese government is embarking on the most colossal water diversion project ever attempted, and Yong had taken it upon himself to discover whether it would work.

Water is an unevenly distributed resource in China. Traditionally, the south has been lush while the north has been a land of dry tundra and frozen desert. In 1952, Mao Zedong conjured a solution to this inequity: "Southern water is plentiful, northern water scarce," he said. "Borrowing some water would be good." Ever since, China's leaders have dreamed of diverting water from one of the country's great rivers to the other—from the southern Yangtze River into the northern Yellow River. (To fathom the scale of this undertaking, imagine watering the American Southwest by diverting the Mississippi River into the Colorado.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Global Warming Consensus, Not!

Confirming what many have felt for some time, this US Senate Report puts to serious question the claims of a global consensus around global warming being purely the fault of human beings.

U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007
Senate Report Debunks "Consensus"

Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore.

The new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s office of the GOP Ranking Member details the views of the scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke out in 2007.

Even some in the establishment media now appear to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, the Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking." Many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears “bites the dust.”

This blockbuster Senate report lists the scientists by name, country of residence, and academic/institutional affiliation. It also features their own words, biographies, and weblinks to their peer reviewed studies and original source materials as gathered from public statements, various news outlets, and websites in 2007. This new “consensus busters” report is poised to redefine the debate.

Many of the scientists featured in this report consistently stated that numerous colleagues shared their views, but they will not speak out publicly for fear of retribution. Atmospheric scientist Dr. Nathan Paldor, Professor of Dynamical Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of almost 70 peer-reviewed studies, explains how many of his fellow scientists have been intimidated.

“Many of my colleagues with whom I spoke share these views and report on their inability to publish their skepticism in the scientific or public media,” Paldor wrote.
Scientists from Around the World Dissent

This new report details how teams of international scientists are dissenting from the UN IPCC’s view of climate science. In such nations as Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia, New Zealand and France, nations, scientists banded together in 2007 to oppose climate alarmism. In addition, over 100 prominent international scientists sent an open letter in December 2007 to the UN stating attempts to control climate were “futile.”

Paleoclimatologist Dr. Tim Patterson, professor in the department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa, recently converted from a believer in man-made climate change to a skeptic. Patterson noted that the notion of a “consensus” of scientists aligned with the UN IPCC or former Vice President Al Gore is false. “I was at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia in the fall and I would say that people with my opinion were probably in the majority.”

This new committee report, a first of its kind, comes after the UN IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri implied that there were only “about half a dozen” skeptical scientists left in the world. Former Vice President Gore has claimed that scientists skeptical of climate change are akin to “flat Earth society members” and similar in number to those who “believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona.”

High Speed Rail

It is a sure winner for our state to reduce the need to fly between north and south, and one hopes it moves forward with the dispatch it deserves.

Steve Wiegand: High-speed rail going nowhere fast
By Steve Wiegand -
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sitting for any length of time in Room 112 at the Capitol, one gets the feeling of being in a frosted shoe box.

The room's ceiling – which is as high as the room's floor is wide – is decorated with what looks like wedding cake moulding. Three multi-globed chandeliers light the room, one end of which is dominated by a giant oil painting of Yosemite.

Wednesday, more than 100 people crammed into Room 112 to participate in what might turn out to be, sadly, a pipe dream.

The occasion was a hearing by the California High Speed Rail Authority, which was created by the Legislature 11 years ago and charged with putting together a train system that links the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles area. The goal, someday, is to move tens of millions of people between the two areas in around 2 1/2 hours.

Wednesday, it took four hours for the authority's board of directors to give de facto approval to the proposed route the train will take from the Bay Area into the Central Valley and down to Southern California.

By not voting otherwise, the board accepted a staff proposal that the rails go through San Jose and cut across at Pacheco Pass. They would basically follow State Route 52 and come out in the Valley near Merced.

California’s Global Warming

The Federal government says that they can handle this one, and the state’s response is to sue, so the story unfolds with the head of the Sierra Club looking forward to humiliating the government…probably not the wisest negotiating strategy to be so public about.

EPA rebuffs state on warming
Lawsuit vowed after waiver on emission limits is denied.
By Dale Kasler -
Published 12:22 am PST Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ratcheting up a fight between Washington and Sacramento over global warming, the Bush administration Wednesday blocked a landmark California law aimed at curtailing greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.

The decision by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson doesn't mean the end of the dispute. Within minutes of the announcement, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown, who had been bracing for the EPA's rejection, promised to sue the federal government.

Johnson said California's law was pre-empted by the new national energy bill signed earlier Wednesday by President Bush. That bill increases fuel economy from 27.5 mpg to 35 mpg by 2020, resulting in "some of the largest greenhouse gas emission cuts in our nation's history," Johnson said.

That's far more effective than "a partial, state-by-state approach," he said in a conference call with reporters. "It is a global problem that requires a clear, national solution."

But California officials and their allies in the environmental movement argued that the state's law, passed in 2002, was stronger. It would cut emissions to roughly the same level as required by the U.S. law but would do so by 2016, or four years…

But officials knew there was a good chance the waiver request would be turned down.

"No surprise, and we'll go to court," said attorney David Bookbinder with the Sierra Club in Washington, D.C., which has worked with the state to defend the law. "I'm looking forward to humiliating these guys in court."

Global Warming Silliness

Rivaling the story that if we all just used one sheet of toilet paper to…you know…this one attacks those who love sports cars.

Chief scientist in sports cars warning to women
By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:55am GMT 17/12/2007

Women must stop admiring men who drive sports cars if they want to join the fight against global warming, the Government's chief scientist has urged.

Professor Sir David King said governments could only do so much to control greenhouse gas emissions and it was time for a cultural change among the British public.

And he singled out women who find supercar drivers "sexy", adding that they should divert their affections to men who live more environmentally-friendly lives.

His comments were greeted with anger by sports car drivers who insisted that their vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions were tiny compared with those from four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Sir David, who is due to retire as the UK's Chief Scientific Adviser at the end of the year, said individuals needed to change their behaviour.

"I was asked at a lecture by a young woman about what she could do and I told her to stop admiring young men in Ferraris," he said.

"What I was saying is that you have got to admire people who are conserving energy and not those wilfully using it."

Sir David, who persuaded the Government to start using the Toyota Prius, a hybrid car that claims to have lower emissions than most conventional cars, added: "Government has so many levers that it can pull - when it comes to the business sector it is quite effective.

"As soon as you come to the individual, however, they will buy a Ferrari, not because it is cheap to run or has low carbon dioxide emissions, but because young women think it is sexy to see men driving Ferraris. That is the area where a culture change is needed."

A Ferrari F430 produces 420g/km of carbon dioxide - more than four times as much as the hybrid petrol-electric Prius.

Car enthusiasts criticised Sir David for attempting to lay the blame for climate change on a small number of drivers who own sports cars.

Global Warming Politics

A lot of the politics around this issue seem to include controlling the capitalist system in America, responsible for our remaining the single most attractive place for the people of the world to migrate to and invest in.

Bali Who?
Under cover of fighting global warming, developing countries try to slow America's economy.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

Ten years ago, as the 1997 Kyoto Agreement was about to be signed, the Senate on a 95-0 vote passed a resolution stating that the United States should not be a signatory to any Climate Change or Kyoto negotiations that "mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties"--then 37 industrial nations--"unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties."

The senators understood that exempting developing countries like China, India and Brazil from mandates against global warming was a mistake, for warming was a global not just a Western matter. More important, the senators understood that the underlying argument was less about global warming than about economic growth.

Developing nations don't want to be limited in any way, and they do want to slow down the economic growth of developed nations so they can gain economically.

Fast forward to the just-concluded global environment conference in Bali, and the discussion had much the same theme. On the surface it was about global warming, but in reality it was as much about mandating an international agreement that would slow economic growth in developed nations.

The developing country parties still believe they must be exempted from a requirement to reduce global warming. The G77 Group (150 developing nations) said they were not ready to cut emissions from fossil fuels to fight climate change. India argued that it should receive compensation for protecting its forests rather than having to pledge to reduce emissions.

China is vastly expanding its factories and power plants--it is building another coal-fired power plant every seven to 10 days--and so opposed emission targets that would bind it. As the New York Times reported a year ago, China now "uses more coal than the United States, the European Union and Japan combined," and so "the increase in global warming gases from China's coal use will probably exceed that for all industrialized countries combined over the next 25 years." China is already home to 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, but Su Wei, China's top climate expert in Bali, said the burden of reducing global warming pollution is one that belongs to the wealthy, not China.

Developing countries nevertheless signed on to the Bali Action Plan, agreeing that with financial and technical help from developed nations they would consider "nationally appropriate mitigation actions"--not "commitments or actions" as developed countries had to agree to--to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

What they did not get was the binding emission reductions for developed nations that the European and United Nations delegates sought: emission cuts 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 50% by 2050. That disappointed the anti-American Bali establishment--the Papua New Guinea climate change ambassador said, "If you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get out of the way." American environmentalists weren't happy either. Hans Verlome of the World Wildlife Fund remarked that we had "lost substance" in removing the emission reduction requirements for developed nations.

But America's Bali delegation, understanding that economic limitations were more significant to nations than environmental ones, succeeded in getting rid of the Bali-favored emission standards that would limit America's--but not developing nations'--economic growth.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

K Street Drama, Act 333

I watched the public hearing and it was an excellent exhibit of a well lead process where everyone had their say and all the issues were amply expressed.

Though skill at running a public meeting doesn’t necessarily translate into skill running a city, the Mayor did run an excellent meeting, and one hopes her success there does translate into success with long suffering K Street.

That is one of our wishes for the New Year.

K Street battle headed to court
Taking action against blight, the City Council votes to force big landowner to sell his properties.
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -
Published 12:27 am PST Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Saying the blight on K Street has festered for too long, Sacramento City Council members brushed aside threats of a drawn out courtroom battle, voting unanimously Tuesday to start the legal process of forcing landowner Moe Mohanna to sell his properties there.

At the close of a bruising four-hour public hearing, Mayor Heather Fargo said she still hopes the city can reach an amicable settlement with Mohanna, but needs to have the tool of eminent domain at its disposal.

"The message that this sends is that the city of Sacramento is serious about K Street," Fargo said after the 9-0 vote. "K Street is going to be a retail street that people in Sacramento will be proud of, and we will do whatever it takes to get there."

The next step is for the city to convince a Sacramento Superior Court that the use of eminent domain is justified. Then, it would be up to a jury to decide how much the city would have to pay Mohanna for his nine properties on two of the bleakest blocks on the K Street Mall.

At Tuesday's hearing, four lawyers appeared on behalf of Mohanna and other partners in his properties. They challenged the city's characterization of the events leading up to the vote, saying they would use 13 different legal arguments to challenge it.

"You're going to lose … and it's guaranteed whichever way it comes out you're going to be in court a long time," said lawyer Myron Moskovitz.

"Your staff told you this is a way to speed this up, this is a way to get the downtown going quicker. It's exactly the opposite. This is the way to slow things down."

Moskovitz said his client should be given the chance to redevelop his own properties. "Moe's ready to go. He's ready to develop on his own."

A parade of prominent downtown developers, business people and civic leaders, however, urged the city to do whatever it takes – including exercising eminent domain – to move forward with redevelopment.

Joe Zeiden, owner of the Z Gallerie, plans to convert the historic buildings in the 700 block into a row that includes upscale retailers such as Sur La Table, Z Gallerie and Anthropologie.

Zeiden attended the hearing but didn't speak. His lawyer, Richard Hyde, told the council that "this city is fortunate to have a developer of this quality willing to take an interest in and redevelop K Street."

David Taylor, downtown's most prominent high-rise developer, said the picture was bleak. "I've never been more discouraged about K Street than I am right now, and I'm fearful that if you don't do anything tonight, you'll be in exactly the same spot that you're in five years from now, 10 years from now," he said. Taylor is a member of the team currently converting the old Woolworth store at 10th and K streets into a live theater and restaurant.

Natomas Levee Announcement

Focus on Natomas basin levee work
Published 12:00 am PST Wednesday, December 19, 2007

SACRAMENTO – The state Reclamation Board on Friday will review the first phase of a massive levee project in the Natomas basin.

The board will consider only the work on the Natomas Cross Canal, which is to raise and widen 5.3 miles of the canal's southern levee and build a slurry wall within the levee.

The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency hopes to start construction next summer on the canal, as well as on the northern five miles of Sacramento River levees in Natomas. But the board will review only the cross canal work at 1:30 p.m. Friday at 1416 Ninth St.

SAFCA approved the projects last month as the first phase. It also approved an environmental impact report for the entire $400 million Natomas project, which involves raising or widening nearly 25 miles of levees protecting 70,000 people.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also must approve the construction and is drafting its own environmental study. Comments are being accepted on that study through Jan. 18. They should be sent to Elizabeth Holland, U.S. Army Corps, 1325 J St., Sacramento, 95814; or e-mail Elizabeth.G.Holland@usace.

An informational meeting on the report is set for 4 to 7 p.m. Jan. 9 at 1321 Garden Highway.

– Matt Weiser

Global Warming

From the author of Eco Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death an excellent column on the continuing attempt to control the capitalist system in the United States by radical environmentalists, whose underpinnings we wrote about in our 2006 report

Climate Change Rallies, Realities, and Sacrifices
By Paul Driessen
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The mantra is repeated daily. There is consensus on climate change. Global warming is real. It will be a disaster. Humans are to blame. We have to do something – immediately.

However, the consensus of 100 scientists is undone by one fact, Albert Einstein noted. The United Nations and its Climate Cataclysm army of 15,000 in exotic Bali clearly understood that.

They were not about to let even one fact prevent them from promoting climate scares and a successor to the Kyoto treaty. Gloom-and-doom scientists and bureaucrats owned Bali’s podiums. Radical environmentalists fumed and staged stunts. Al Gore denounced President Bush, repeated myths that enthralled the Academy and Nobel committees, and demanded sacrifices – by others.

Meanwhile, respected climate scientists were barred from panel discussions, censored, silenced and threatened with physical removal by polizei, if they tried to hold a press conference to present peer-reviewed evidence on climate, such as:

Climate change is natural and recurrent. The human factor is small compared to that of the sun and other natural forces. There has been no overall global warming since 1998, and most local and regional warming trends have been offset by nearby cooling. A half-degree of net warming since 1900 (amid a number of ups and downs) does not foreshadow a catastrophe. Recent glacial retreats, sea-level rise and migrations of temperature sensitive species are all within the bounds of known natural variability.

The best approach is to adapt, as our ancestors did. Money and resources devoted to futile climate prevention actions would be better spent on malaria, AIDS, poverty and other pressing problems. Perhaps most important, no country can progress or prosper without abundant, reliable, affordable energy that would be in short supply if draconian climate laws are implemented.

UN alarmists would not tolerate such heresies. They blamed every regional weather and climate blip on human emissions, and trotted out computer scenarios that they insist “prove” we must take drastic actions to avert Armageddon.

But computer models do a poor job of incorporating our still poor grasp of complex and turbulent oceanic, atmospheric and solar processes. They are based on conjecture about future technologies and emissions, and cannot predict climate shifts even one year in the future, much less 50 or 100. They simply produce “scenarios” and “projections” of what might happen under assorted assumptions – enabling alarmists to trumpet the most alarming outputs to support drastic action.

Those scenarios are evidence of climate chaos the way “Jurassic Park” proves dinosaurs can be cloned from DNA trapped in prehistoric amber.

Hard Truths

Sometimes they are so needed, especially when lives are at stake, and the situation of the chronic homeless is one where coming to terms with the reality rather than continuing with wishful thinking (as most of Sacramento’s homelessness and public leaders are) will help, not hurt them.

Nevius: S.F. paramedic says homeless people burden hospitals
C.W. Nevius
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Niels Tangherlini is willing to state the hard truths about San Francisco's street population. And he's doing it, even if it causes howls of protests from advocates for homeless people or from some city political leaders.

For example, Tangherlini strongly believes some severely mentally ill street people need "long-term, regular care. And if they don't want to accept that, we may have to impinge on their civil rights."

He also believes that, in some cases, just giving someone a room isn't the answer either.

"We hear that all the time," Tangherlini says. " 'All they need is housing.' I don't want to get into a war with the advocates, but I strongly disagree. We get some of these guys into supportive housing and they can't handle it."

And most of all, Tangherlini thinks that the current system of support, where a 911 call sends an ambulance rushing out to treat someone who is likely to be a "chronic inebriant," is an ongoing disaster. Some of those who call clearly need medical care, but many are using the ambulance and the Fire Department as a personal taxi to the emergency room. He says it is stressing the system, the care providers and the city's financial well-being.

So who is Tangherlini, and how can he say these things?

On one hand, Tangherlini is a local success story. A paramedic with the Fire Department, Tangherlini went back to school for a degree in social work, then pitched the city on his idea that, instead of an ambulance and fire truck, "what a lot of these people need is a van with a paramedic and a social worker."

Tangherlini got his van in 2004 and now works with thousands of people on the street, often with a social worker in the passenger seat next to him. He is pushing them into treatment programs, following up on people at risk, and - in what he thinks is his most worthwhile achievement - sometimes arriving at 911 calls in time to call off both the ambulance and fire rescue crew because he knows the callers well and can get them help without a trip to the overcrowded emergency room.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

K Street Drama, Act 332

A continuation of the already long drawn-out drama in our downtown heart, ratchets up to a stronger chorus.

Building owner vows a stand on K Street
As City Council prepares an eminent domain vote, Mohanna isn't retreating.
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -
Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Moe Mohanna said he doesn't intend to speak today when the Sacramento City Council decides whether to use eminent domain to force him to sell his properties in the 700 block of K Street.

That doesn't mean he will go quietly, however.

Standing in the space he recently fixed up for the Texas Mexican restaurant off K Street, Mohanna said he'll fight to the end. "When the sheriff comes, I will be chained to that door with my family and daughters, and they'll have to drag me out of here," he said.

Mohanna, who has owned property downtown since the 1970s, has become a celebrity as his fight with the city drags on.

The city has portrayed Mohanna as the biggest obstacle to redevelopment of a particularly bleak stretch of K Street. Mohanna, in turn, has positioned himself as a champion of small, locally owned businesses against big developers funded by city subsidies.

The conflict between Mohanna and the city is headed for a 2 p.m. showdown when the City Council votes whether to authorize use of eminent domain.

Macro & Micro

A paper about what is involved in working congruently with the larger picture from the smaller focus, very important in our work around the National Heritage Area and the Golden Necklace concept we have presented recently in relation to the Parkway.

Acting Globally but Thinking Locally? The Influence of Local Communities on Organizations
Published: December 13, 2007
Paper Released: November 2007
Authors: Christopher Marquis and Julie Battilana
Executive Summary:

It is a paradox that in a globalizing and "boundaryless" economy, factors associated with local communities—such as interpersonal networks, laws, and tax rates, among others—remain important for understanding organizational behavior. As Marquis and Battilana argue, communities influence organizational behavior not only as local markets and resource environments, but also through a number of institutional pressures. Focusing on communities as institutional environments provides fresh theoretical insights into organizational behavior, in addition to offering a more unified perspective to the diverse set of research that is emerging on local communities. Key concepts include:

• Despite globalization, local factors remain important, and in many ways local particularities have become more visible and salient as globalization has proceeded.

• In today's environment, organizations are embedded both locally and globally. Researchers need to account for these different levels in order to understand organizational behavior and also perhaps advance theory.


We develop an institutional theory of how local communities continue to matter for organizations, and why community factors are particularly important in a global age. Since globalization has taken center stage in both practitioner and academic circles, research has shifted away from understanding effects of local factors. In this paper, our aim is to redirect theoretical and empirical attention back to understanding the determinants and importance of local influences. We review classical and contemporary research from organizational theory, sociology and economics that have focused on geographic influences on organizations. We adapt Scott's (2001) influential three pillars model, including regulative, social-normative and cultural-cognitive features to conceptualize an overarching model of how communities influence organizations. We suggest that because organizations are simultaneously embedded in communities and organizational fields, by accounting for both of these different levels, researchers will better understand isomorphism and change dynamics. Our approach thus runs counter the idea that globalization is a homogeneity-producing process, and the view that society is moving from particularism to universalism. With globalization, not only has the local remained important, but in many ways local particularities have become more visible and salient, and so understanding these dynamics will be helpful for researchers addressing institutional isomorphism and change.

Vote for Dams

When public leadership fails, as it has in the development of new water supply and additional flood protection for a rapidly growing state, it is up to the public to assume the leadership role and that is what the initiative process is all about.

Voters may get last word on dams
Bond proposal could also include peripheral canal
By Hank Shaw
December 15, 2007
Capitol Bureau Chief

SACRAMENTO - The political campaign over whether to build new dams has finally broken out from under the dome of the Capitol and into the woolly world of the ballot initiative.

Backers of a bond that would build new dams and possibly a peripheral canal around the Delta have submitted four versions of their proposals to the attorney general, the first step to circulating it in preparation for a November ballot fight.

Bankrolled by the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Farm Bureau Federation, Western Growers and the Building Industry Association, the proposals are all taken from ideas contained within legislation pushed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto.

Cogdill's political neighbor, Sen. Michael Machado, D-Linden, is a chief backer of a competing bond proposal that was cleared for signature-gathering this week.

Machado, along with Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata and a bevy of environmental and conservation groups, held a news conference Thursday to pick up the gauntlet the chamber's bond proposal threw down.

"It's treacherous, it's ill-advised and it will be defeated," Perata said of the dam bond.

He said that their coalition has decided for now not to pursue its competing bond proposal, which emphasizes underground water storage and the cleanup of polluted underground aquifers.

"My intention is to defeat a bad bond, not explain why one initiative is better than another," Perata said.

"That'd be just great - to end up with one bond that has the support of the governor and Sen. Dianne Feinstein? That's great," Cogdill said. "Our fear was two (bonds) on the ballot. I think it's a mistake on their part."

Cogdill, who has been working on the bond all year, says they're going to the ballot because they are losing hope that the Democrats who control the Legislature will ever allow money for a new dam.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Nuclear Power

It’s a vital resource for our future, and in addition to restarting Rancho Seco locally, we need to build more plants in California and the United States.

PG&E chief: Nuclear power an asset
He says it's a part of the arsenal to fight global warming.
By David Whitney -
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, December 17, 2007

WASHINGTON – Peter Darbee, chief executive of PG&E Corp., has been a frequent witness on Capitol Hill supporting legislation to cut pollution linked to global warming.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved legislation Dec. 5 that would cut U.S. emissions from burning fossil fuels by 70 percent of 2005 levels by 2050.

More nuclear power plants will be needed in the United States to reach that ambitious goal, Darbee said in a recent interview.

That includes the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant near San Luis Obispo, which is owned and operated by PG&E's utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. The operating license of the first of Diablo Canyon's twin reactors expires in 2021.

California law prohibits construction of new nuclear power plants until the debate over how to store used fuel is resolved.

Q: You have been a leading corporate voice for global warming legislation. What will it mean for PG&E and its customers?

A: California has been on the leading edge of climate change in the United States. Many of the things we see in development in Washington are consistent with the approach California has taken.

Portland’s Homeless Program

A collaborative effort that appears to work there might be brought to San Francisco and it has the kind of compassion with results that might also work here, with the big question being, will the downtown business interests pay for it as they are in Portland.

S.F. leaders hear about Portland's approach to homelessness
C.W. Nevius
Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mike Kuykendall says the criticism never seemed to let up.

"We were barraged with people complaining about conditions downtown," he said. "There were people sitting on the sidewalk, there were guys with sleeping bags and pit bulls, and there was aggressive panhandling. We had visitors and conventioneers saying they didn't want to come back."

Sound familiar?

No, it isn't downtown San Francisco.

Kuykendall is the head of the Business Alliance of Portland, Ore. Last week, he led a group that came to town to pitch San Francisco officials on Portland's downtown plan, called "Street Access for Everyone."

Sponsored by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and President Steve Falk, the delegation met with Mayor Gavin Newsom, District Attorney Kamala Harris, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, and Supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier and Sean Elsbernd. Frankly, that is an audience that would be expected to be very sympathetic to the idea. Clearly, this is an attempt to build political support for an initiative that could address one of the most persistent problems in downtown San Francisco - the unpleasant, and infamous, street scene.

Granted, there have been lots of attempts to solve this, and none seems to have made much of an impact. But before rejecting the idea out of hand, take a moment to understand the overall concept.

The San Francisco effort began when Falk took a trip this year to Portland. The city, which resembles a mini-San Francisco in many ways, has come up with an innovative model to keep people from camping on the sidewalk. Falk, who was impressed with the plan and thought a version of it might work here, suggested the Portland group visit city officials.

It is easy to see why the concept sounds attractive. The Portland group has accomplished the seemingly impossible. They've reduced the presence of street people, decreased street crime (down 40 percent in the last year, according to Kuykendall), and insist that they haven't alienated homeless advocates. Making all that come together is a minor miracle, and by all accounts it sounded great to the locals.

"It was a terrific meeting," said Newsom's press secretary, Nathan Ballard. "The mayor was intrigued by the ideas."

The Portland ordinance simply says that "sitting, lying down, or leaving one's belongs on a public sidewalk in a (designated) High Pedestrian Traffic Area during certain times (7 a.m. to 9 p.m.) would not be permitted." But the twist is that local businesses have contributed extra services. For example, although sitting on the sidewalk will earn a citation, benches are provided as an alternative. In addition, a lack of public restrooms - a persistent complaint about life on the street - is addressed by using private funding to build small restrooms, which are private, but not completely enclosed, to avoid the problems San Francisco ran into with its large, locking public toilets. In addition, there are plans for a "day center," where truly homeless individuals could store their belongings, get a shower and do laundry.

The result is an ordinance that moves the street people off the sidewalk, but also gives them amenities that make life more pleasant.

UN Climate Models Study

A very interesting study.

Public release date: 11-Dec-2007
Eureka Alert-United Kingdom
Contact: Jennifer Beal

New study increases concerns about climate model reliability

ROCHESTER, NY (Dec. 11, 2007) — A new study comparing the composite output of 22 leading global climate models with actual climate data finds that the models do an unsatisfactory job of mimicking climate change in key portions of the atmosphere.
This research, published on-line Wednesday in the Royal Meteorological Society’s International Journal of Climatology*, raises new concerns about the reliability of models used to forecast global warming.

“The usual discussion is whether the climate model forecasts of Earth’s climate 100 years or so into the future are realistic,” said the lead author, Dr. David H. Douglass from the University of Rochester. “Here we have something more fundamental: Can the models accurately explain the climate from the recent past? “It seems that the answer is no.”

Scientists from Rochester, the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the University of Virginia compared the climate change “forecasts” from the 22 most widely-cited global circulation models with tropical temperature data collected by surface, satellite and balloon sensors. The models predicted that the lower atmosphere should warm significantly more than it actually did.

“Models are very consistent in forecasting a significant difference between climate trends at the surface and in the troposphere, the layer of atmosphere between the surface and the stratosphere,” said Dr. John Christy, director of UAH's Earth System Science Center. “The models forecast that the troposphere should be warming more than the surface and that this trend should be especially pronounced in the tropics.

“When we look at actual climate data, however, we do not see accelerated warming in the tropical troposphere. Instead, the lower and middle atmosphere are warming the same or less than the surface. For those layers of the atmosphere, the warming trend we see in the tropics is typically less than half of what the models forecast.”

The 22 climate models used in this study are the same models used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), which recently shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Roseville Development

It is always a good thing to have the other view.

Another View: Transparency needed in Placer development
By Robert M. Weygandt and F.C. "Rocky" Rockholm - Special to The Bee
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Bee made some valid points about Roseville's vote to consider annexing Placer Ranch but mistakenly portrayed the county as a bad guy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The editorial missed two critical issues that are important for the public to understand.

First, Placer Ranch would need a substantial annual subsidy whether it is developed in unincorporated Placer County or the city of Roseville. A subsidy is needed because the project would feature a campus of California State University, Sacramento, planned to accommodate 25,000 students.

It is important to understand, though, the university and its students would need law enforcement and other services. But the university would not generate enough revenue to offset the costs because public universities do not pay property taxes, the main revenue source for cities and counties.

We believe strongly the public should be aware of the issue because Placer County residents have a direct stake in how the subsidy is handled.

The Roseville City Council did not address the issue before deciding to proceed, and city staff overlooked it by eliminating the university from its initial fiscal analysis.

River Restoration Funding

Funding, the perennial problem, seeks a solution.

Dispute blocks San Joaquin river restoration
Congress must offset half of the $500 million cost, but how to do so has lawmakers stumped.
By Michael Doyle -
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 16, 2007

WASHINGTON – Someone will pay to restore the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam. On that, at least, everyone agrees.

Congress remains stymied, though, on precisely how to account for the ambitious river fix. The dollar amount, the funding sources and even the way it's described incite persistent debate.

Follow the money, and the river's future starts swimming into focus.

The San Joaquin River's salmon population is supposed to be revived, as part of a lawsuit settlement. Environmentalists filed the lawsuit in 1988 over complaints that Friant Dam destroyed the river's historic salmon run. They won.

Facing a federal judge, Friant-area farmers cut a deal that would reduce their annual irrigation deliveries by an average of 19 percent. Now, federal legislation is needed to put the September 2006 lawsuit settlement into practice.

The measure has a $500 million federal price tag. Lawmakers must offset, through either increased revenue or decreased spending, about half of this under budget rules written by House Democrats.

"After years of historic deficits, this new Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: pay as you go, no deficit spending," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared Jan. 4.

The first complication: Where is the offset to cover roughly $170 million of the river restoration work? Lawmakers initially targeted funds collected from oil and gas companies doing business in the Gulf of Mexico. The industry objected.

California’s Greenhouse Law Update

The laws apparently will increase the price of cars sold in California substantially, but the cleaner air has a value that is priceless.

'Greenhouse' ruling: An exhaustive look
What the court said exactly, how pollution limits affect mileage, state law's impact on global warming, etc.
By Chris Bowman -
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 16, 2007

A federal court decision upholding California's pioneering "greenhouse gas" law last week illuminated the state's unique right to set its own vehicle emission standards. Here's a primer on the controversy and what's at stake for consumers.

Q: What did the court decide?

A: The U.S. District Court in Fresno ruled in favor of California in a lawsuit brought by major auto manufacturers seeking to strike down the 2002 law before it takes effect next year. Judge Anthony Ishii disagreed with the auto industry's claim that the curb on climate-altering tailpipe gases amounts to an unconstitutional intrusion on federal regulation of fuel mileage.

Q: What do these pollution limits have to do with gas mileage?

A: The only practical way automakers can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases – so named because of their heat-trapping effect in the atmosphere – is to make cars run more efficiently and burn less fuel.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Growth Needs Water

Folsom finds some from the Sacramento River.

Water deal for Folsom OK'd
By Dorothy Korber -
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sacramento River water will be diverted to the city of Folsom under a deal approved Friday by shareholders in the Natomas Central Mutual Water Company.

The Natomas company will sell up to 10,000 acre-feet a year of available water to serve a planned 3,600-acre expansion of Folsom south of Highway 50. An acre-foot of water equals 326,000 gallons – enough to serve two typical households for a year.

The water sale was approved by more than 60 percent of the 275 shareholders, who mailed in ballots over a 45-day period. Among the shareholders are farmers, developers, Sacramento County and the Natomas Basin Conservancy.

The agreement calls for the city of Folsom to pay roughly $4,000 an acre-foot for the water, with costs to be reimbursed by landowners seeking to develop the property.

The president of the Natomas water company, Sutter County farmer Dan Spangler, said the sale will not affect water flow to its shareholders.

"It will provide the funding we need to help finance water supply maintenance and improvements," Spangler said in a written statement, "and it will allow us to keep our commitment to reduce costs to our shareholders."

Measure W, passed by Folsom citizens in 2004, requires the city to find a new water source for development south of Highway 50. Folsom City Manager Kerry Miller said Friday that the Natomas agreement conforms with the ballot measure.

Fish & Water

The fish win the water, humans lose it, but with better planning through the years to increase the water supply, that would not have been the only option, and it is not too late.

Raising Shasta Dam by the extra 200 feet it is engineered for, would triple the water that could be stored behind it, which would certianly help the Delta Smelt and the humans.

Smelt ruling could spell scarcer and pricier water
Delta pumping limits will cut supplies to Bay Area, Los Angeles.
By Matt Weiser and John Ellis -
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, December 15, 2007

FRESNO – A federal court order finalized Friday could mean millions of Californians will have to get accustomed to spending more money on less water – and soon.

The order by U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger, based in Fresno, wraps up his August decision in favor of the Natural Resources Defense Council. The environmental group sued state and federal agencies that pump water out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Wanger ruled that those agencies failed to adequately protect the Delta smelt, a fragile fingerling listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. His final order in the case Friday could result in a 30 percent reduction in water pumped out of the Delta starting as soon as Christmas Day.

"I truly believe this water crisis is going to make the power crisis pale in comparison," said Tom Birmingham, general manager of Westlands Water District.

The Delta, a 700,000-acre maze of islands and canals, is the hub of the state's water system. A funnel for runoff from north-state mountains, its waters irrigate more than 2 million acres of farmland and provide some of the drinking water enjoyed by 23 million Californians. The two pumping systems near Tracy deliver much of this water to Southern California via canal networks.

Emotions Cloud Science

This point is one we wrote about in our 2006 report on water supply, that the almost religious fervor many environmentalists bring to the discussion around these issues clouds their ability to accept science that may contradict their currently accepted position, which is largely what science is all about, questioning established theories when new information becomes available.

THE STANFORD REVIEW (December 7, 2007)
Emotional Warning
by Elizabeth Lowell
Staff Writer

In a talk on “Scientific Skepticism” sponsored by Stanford in Government in November, Dr. Fred Singer sparked a heated debate as he combated the widespread view that humans are causing climate change. Meanwhile, a mostly indignant audience exchanged glances of frustration and disbelief, bubbling with counterarguments they did not have the opportunity to express. One audience member became accusatory, demanding to know whether Singer also rejected other established scientific results, such the role of ultraviolet rays in causing melanoma. His implication was that Dr. Singer’s stance was unscientific, and almost blasphemous.

Although the audience members likely possessed valid arguments that Dr. Singer did not address, their emotionalism represented an unscientific method of considering the science behind global warming. Dr. Singer affirms in an article in Imprimis entitled “Global Warming: Man-Made or Natural?” that science does not progress based on a “show of hands” but rather through scientific “evidence.” He points out that scientific advances often come from a minority that challenges the majority view, or the scientific consensus. The term “consensus” is a political rather than a scientific term, as John Kay writes in an article appearing in the Financial Times entitled “Science is the pursuit of the truth, not consensus.”

Dr. Singer, who has served on multiple high-level state and federal advisory panels and is now President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, asserted that scientists agree that global warming is occurring; they disagree as to whether or not this change is anthropogenic. He referred to “unstoppable global change,” mentioning that cycles of warming and cooling have occurred throughout earth’s history; in the period from 1940 to 1975, the climate was cooling and people were afraid of a coming Ice Age. He further affirmed that the pattern of greenhouse warming predicted by computer models don’t match observed patterns, overstating the human-produced greenhouse gas contributions to climate change. A possible explanation for this overstatement is that water vapor feedback could be negative rather than positive, reducing the effect of carbon dioxide. Solar variability could also play an important role in controlling climate. In observing the correlation between temperature increase and carbon dioxide emissions, Dr. Singer noted that temperature has historically increased before the rise in carbon dioxide levels. He went so far as to argue that a mildly warmer climate could be beneficial.