Friday, April 30, 2010

New Earthquake Fault Map

The new map, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, includes data on new faults.

An excerpt.

“More than 50 new surface earthquake faults have been discovered in California over the last two decades, according to a new state map that officials hope will help guide future development decisions and emergency planning.

“The state's fault activity map, produced by the California Geological Survey, is the first in 16 years and offers a sober reminder of California's quake risks.

“The new faults range from small ones that don't pose much threat for major temblors to very large ones, like that responsible for the 7.1 Hector Mine earthquake that shook Southern California in 1999.

“Most of the faults have been known to researchers, and information on them is contained in scientific files. But state officials and quake experts hope that putting all the faults on one map will educate the state about quake risk zones and help residents grasp the geography of the fault lines.

"I think every classroom in California should have these maps on the wall," said Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones. "I don't think we do enough to educate the general public about these features. We turn it into something for the specialists, as if science is only for scientists. But if you're going to buy a house, would you like to know what fault is under your house?"

“About 50 new faults might not seem like a lot in a state with thousands of them. But experts say the new maps point to a basic fact of seismology: The more scientists study quakes in California, the more faults - and dangers - they find.

"These maps are used to make a lot of other maps, to map landslides, areas where you have liquefaction because of earthquakes, for tsunami coastal mapping," state geologist John Parrish said. "They can be used to make decisions on where to build schools and hospitals, where you need a higher standard of construction. They can tell you what kind of a surface you're building on, and how close you are to a fault."

“The release of the map comes amid an increased interest in quakes in California and beyond. Last month's 7.2 quake south of Mexicali produced thousands of aftershocks, including dozens registering above magnitude 4.0. As a result, officials said 2010 is shaping up to have significantly more quakes greater than 4.0 than any year in the last decade.

“Parrish said the map represent the state's best efforts at compiling information on the faults across California and will hopefully be used to enhance earthquake preparedness.”

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Green Myths II

Many perambulations from Climategate and other revelatory stories about environmentalism continue to unravel the narrative, and another book, Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future—by the author of the article we posted on in Green Myths I on Tuesday—examines the myths around green energy.

The book is reviewed in the Wall Street Journal.

An excerpt.

“Al Gore has a dream, a dream increasingly shared, according to opinion surveys, by people all over the world. It is that the 19th century, the age of steam and iron and coal, will finally end and that, as Mr. Gore wrote in an article for the New York Times in 2008, the time will soon come for "21st-century technologies that use fuel that is free forever: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth."

“It might be better, and much more realistic, says Robert Bryce in "Power Hungry," to imagine our journey toward a "green" energy Arcadia in units of Saudi Arabia. "Over the past few years," he writes, "we have repeatedly been told that we should quit using hydrocarbons. Fine. Global daily hydrocarbon use is about 200 million barrels of oil equivalent, or about 23.5 Saudi Arabias per day. Thus, if the world's policy makers really want to quit using carbon-based fuels, then we will need to find the energy equivalent of 23.5 Saudi Arabias every day, and all of that energy must be carbon free."

"Power Hungry" unfolds as a brutal, brilliant exploration of this profoundly deluded quest, from fingers-in-the-ears "la-la-la-ing" at the mention of nuclear power to the illusion that we are rapidly running out of oil or that we can turn to biomass for salvation: Since it takes 10,000 tons of wood to produce one megawatt of electricity, for instance, the U.S. will be chopping down forests faster than it can grow them.

“Mr. Bryce also points to the link between cheap power and economic productivity and asks why we should expect much of the world to forgo the benefits of light bulbs and regular energy when we enjoy these privileges. But if "Power Hungry" sounds like a supercharged polemic, its shocks are delivered with forensic skill and narrative aplomb.

“So you want to build a wind farm? OK, Mr. Bryce says, to start you'll need 45 times the land mass of a nuclear power station to produce a comparable amount of power; and because you are in the middle of nowhere you'll also need hundreds of miles of high-voltage lines to get the energy to your customers. This "energy sprawl" of giant turbines and pylons will require far greater amounts of concrete and steel than conventional power plants—figure on anywhere from 870 to 956 cubic feet of concrete per megawatt of electricity and 460 tons of steel (32 times more concrete and 139 times as much steel as a gas-fired plant).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Homeless Transformation

A huge new homeless transformation center—Haven for Hope—has opened in San Antonio that doubles down on the service-based approach to helping change the homeless; though individual actions driven by individual choice—which marks the majority of the homeless—usually takes individual interior transformation before individual exterior change occurs.

That being said, we wish them the best of luck on their $100 million investment.

Here are their Guiding Principles, from their website.

"Seven Guiding Principles:
As the Council to End Homelessness traveled around the country searching for best practices in the world of homeless services, they developed seven criteria that are critical to the success of a Transformational Campus.

1) Change the Culture of Warehousing to a Culture of Transformation
2) Co-locate and integrate as many services as possible
3) Master Case Management
4) Reward Good Decision-making
5) Consequences for Bad Decision-making
6) Align as many external services with the Campus as possible
7) Separate the Panhandlers from the Truly Homeless"

And here is an excerpt from an article about Haven for Hope from the San Antonio Express News.

“Envisioned and built with a goal to...improve the lives of San Antonio’s homeless population, Haven for Hope is opening in phases through June.

“After years of planning, fundraising and construction, the $100 million campus for the first time will provide housing, meals, job training, counseling, medical care and a host of other homeless services in one place.

“Modeled around best practices from successful homeless centers in other large cities, Haven for Hope already is drawing praise from those who do similar work.

“I would expect it to be the best in nation for two reasons,” said Father Joe Carrol of Father Joe’s Villages in San Diego, Calif., one of the homeless centers Haven people visited. “One, it was well thought-out. When we built our center, we did it in a hodge-podge fashion, with one building here, one building there. There was no long-range plan. Two, San Antonio had tremendous cooperation between the government, the private sector and social services, which is rare in America.”

“The cooperation is unprecedented. Almost 80 social service agencies are partners in the project, with many located on the campus to deliver direct aid to the homeless….

“The first thing you notice about Haven for Hope is the way it looks — more like a red-brick college campus, with green spaces and lots of windows. This was intentional: Designers sought to give the center a human scale.

“Haven for Hope will house 1,400 people a day — about 500 men, 500 women and children, and 400 in Prospects Courtyard, a vast expanse of concrete where the homeless will sleep on mats under the stars, be fed cold meals and have access to showers and bathrooms.

“Security to get into the courtyard is more rigorous than that found at the airport.

“Homeless people who are intoxicated can still come in, “as long as they aren’t a threat to themselves or others,” said George Block, Haven’s vice president and chief operating officer. No drugs, alcohol or weapons are allowed on the campus.

“An even more complete intake procedure is done when people move from the courtyard to the campus proper.”

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Green Myths I

From the Washington Post.

An excerpt.

“Americans are being inundated with claims about renewable and alternative energy. Advocates for these technologies say that if we jettison fossil fuels, we'll breathe easier, stop global warming and revolutionize our economy. Yes, "green" energy has great emotional and political appeal. But before we wrap all our hopes -- and subsidies -- in it, let's take a hard look at some common misconceptions about what "green" means.

“1. Solar and wind power are the greenest of them all.

“Unfortunately, solar and wind technologies require huge amounts of land to deliver relatively small amounts of energy, disrupting natural habitats. Even an aging natural gas well producing 60,000 cubic feet per day generates more than 20 times the watts per square meter of a wind turbine. A nuclear power plant cranks out about 56 watts per square meter, eight times as much as is derived from solar photovoltaic installations. The real estate that wind and solar energy demand led the Nature Conservancy to issue a report last year critical of "energy sprawl," including tens of thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines needed to carry electricity from wind and solar installations to distant cities.

“Nor does wind energy substantially reduce CO2 emissions. Since the wind doesn't always blow, utilities must use gas- or coal-fired generators to offset wind's unreliability. The result is minimal -- or no -- carbon dioxide reduction.

“Denmark, the poster child for wind energy boosters, more than doubled its production of wind energy between 1999 and 2007. Yet data from, the operator of Denmark's natural gas and electricity grids, show that carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation in 2007 were at about the same level as they were back in 1990, before the country began its frenzied construction of turbines. Denmark has done a good job of keeping its overall carbon dioxide emissions flat, but that is in large part because of near-zero population growth and exorbitant energy taxes, not wind energy. And through 2017, the Danes foresee no decrease in carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation.”

Monday, April 26, 2010

K Street Update 5,113

Cars coming back?

The Sacramento Bee reports that may be so.

An excerpt.

“Slowly, ever so slowly, Sacramento is edging toward allowing cars back on the K Street Mall downtown.

“The City Council on Tuesday will consider freeing up $2.7 million to reopen Eighth through 12th streets.

“The plan: One lane in each direction, probably a 15 mph speed limit and no parking, but some drop-off turnouts.

“The 700 and 1200 blocks are too crowded, however, to allow cars, officials said.

“The changeover isn't expected until next year. First thing, officials will check to see how cars interact with light rail.

“If the plan works, it marks the end of Sacramento's failed pedestrian mall era.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Zoo on the River

The plan to move the Sacramento Zoo to a site along the American River consultants say is too expensive is the best plan and those involved in the issue need to rework their strategy and find a way to make it work.

What may seem too expensive right now may not seem so a few years down the road, and being able to have the Zoo along the American River would be a wonderful boon to that area of the city and the Parkway with an influx of legitimate family oriented activity to an area currently too prone to illegal homeless camping and the related crime.

An excerpt from the Sacramento Bee article.

“The fur is flying over an idea to expand the Sacramento Zoo.

“A consultant told city and zoo officials earlier this month that expanding the zoo in its existing Land Park location is one of a half-dozen concepts worth considering. The recommendation came after the consultant determined that a proposal to move the zoo to Sutter's Landing Park on the banks of the American River would be too costly.

“The mere mention of expansion put the influential Land Park Community Association on high alert. Members of the group and neighborhood residents voiced their anger at a community meeting last week, where one woman called the idea "atrocious."

“The zoo, in turn, has been forced to act like a cornered badger. Zoo officials said they feel intimidated by the community association and cautioned that the idea of expansion in Land Park is merely one of several they are exploring with the community.

“A second public meeting is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hart Senior Center, 915 27th St. The issue will also be the focus of a City Council workshop this summer.”

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Nuclear Energy is the Answer

This article from City Journal reports on the conversion of one environmentalist who formerly did not, but now believes in using nuclear power.

An excerpt.

“Consider Stewart Brand’s meaty, well-informed, and mostly sensible new book, Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto. The man who used to be so California Hip that in 1968 he made a cameo appearance in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test now presents himself as a “hacker (lazy engineer) at heart,” ready to promote realistic responses to the great eco-existential crisis of our time—climate change. How can Greens fulfill their new mission, which is to save not only birds and trees but all humanity? The man who founded and then edited the Whole Earth Catalog for 16 years—a magazine guided by “biological understanding” and enamored with the planet-saving power of organic farming, solar, wind, insulation, bicycles, and handmade houses—now concludes: “Cities are Green. Nuclear energy is Green. Genetic engineering is Green.”…

“The question I ask myself now,” Brand tells us when he gets to nuclear power, is: “What took me so long? I could have looked into the realities of nuclear power many years earlier, if I weren’t so lazy.” When he got over his nuclear sloth, here’s what Brand learned. (Most of the words quoted here are Brand’s own, but some are Brand quoting others approvingly.) “Fear of radiation is a far more important health threat than radiation itself.” “Reactor safety is a problem already solved,” and the new reactors are even safer than the old. Waste isn’t a problem; we need the $10 billion Yucca mountain disposal site “about as much as we need a facility for imprisoning dangerous extraterrestrials.” Nuclear power isn’t just the cheapest practical carbon-free option around, but the cheapest, period, when not snarled up in green tape. Scientists “invariably poll high in support of nuclear.” The people so pragmatic that they actually keep the lights lit, he might have added, have polled that way for 40 years, on the strength of reams of data and analyses, as well as the operating experience of our nuclear navy and a wide range of commercial reactors scattered across the planet.

“Other Greens, Brand reports, have experienced similar nuclear epiphanies as age moved them closer to a place hotter than tropical. Among them is Gwyneth Cravens, a novelist, former New Yorker editor, and activist who in her salad days “helped frighten the American nuclear industry to a standstill” by successfully crusading to kill a brand-new nuclear power plant in Shoreham, Long Island. And James Hansen, a NASA climatologist and the most outspoken American advocate of drastic reductions in carbon emissions. And founders and former high officials of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and “a surprising number of [other] prominent environmentalists.” Canada, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, England, and other countries that not long ago either froze new construction or resolved to shut down their nukes have flipped from red-hot aversion to tepid embrace.

“But tepid may not suffice. “One of the greatest dangers the world faces is the possibility that a vocal minority of antinuclear activists could prevent phase-out of coal emissions,” Brand writes, quoting Hansen. It’s an indubitable historical fact that the developed world was poised to break free from a carbon-centered energy economy 30 years ago. Greens locked us back into it. By demonizing nukes so effectively, they boosted U.S. coal consumption by about 400 million tons per year. We would instantly cut our coal consumption in half if we could simply conjure back into existence the 100-plus nuclear plants that were in the pipeline three decades ago. If global warming is a problem, Brand and his ex-friends own it.”

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day: Two Remembrances

Earth Day was celebrated yesterday and this story from the Sacramento Bee reports what has happened since.

An excerpt.

“Forty years ago today, Earth Day exploded into our American lexicon with a new brand of do-it-yourself environmentalism. Billed as "the largest protest in American history," the first Earth Day centered on college campuses as part sit-in, part act up.

“This commemoration of conservation consciousness has grown into a worldwide effort, with "saving the planet" becoming an everyday part of life.

“How the movement has changed:

“Go-to Earth guy

“Then: Sen. Gaylord Nelson, the father of Earth Day. The former Wisconsin governor overhauled his home state's resources policy, then took on the whole country as senator. His inspiration for Earth Day came from two sources: a 1969 Santa Barbara channel oil spill and student anti-war protests.
“Quote: "Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.

"Now: Former Vice President Al Gore. His book and Oscar-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," brought the global climate crisis into perspective for millions.
Quote: "The good news is, we have everything we need now to respond to the challenge of global warming. … But we should not wait, we cannot wait, we must not wait."

This story from the American Spectator profiles a person who did a whole lot more to help the world than either of the two aforementioned.

An excerpt.

“We cannot let this day pass without commenting on the passing of a remarkable human being who directed his ingenuity, energy and commitment to the cause of feeding the world's growing population and thereby avoiding the human catastrophe predicted by so many experts of less than hopeful bent.

Norman Borlaug, the famous plant scientist, died on September 12, 2009, at 95. The Economist called him the "feeder of the world."

“Having quit a fine job at DuPont, Borlaug began working in Mexico in 1944 to increase grain yields and bring food to the poor. By 1956 that country's wheat production had doubled to the point of making it self-sufficient.

“He won the Nobel peace prize in 1970 for basically precipitating the "Green Revolution," which resulted in global grain production outpacing population growth, saving millions of lives. He was a researcher and a man of action. He was always in the fields checking on his experimental crops in places such as India and Africa.

"The famines and huge mortality that had been predicted for the second half of the 20th century never came to pass," noted the Economist in its laudatory obituary on Borlaug.

“Moreover, as Gregg Easterbrook has observed, his techniques of high-yield agriculture avoided deforestation on a planetary scale since fewer acres are needed to feed more people. And his modern agricultural techniques have lead to lower population growth since they allow for a higher premium on education rather than "muscle power" as the key to family success.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fast Cities

Fast Company publishes a list of the fast cities every year and this year’s group fulfills their ongoing benchmark for innovation.

Though Sacramento didn’t make the list, two California cities did—San Francisco and Oakland—and San Francisco’s idea is Open Source Government.

An excerpt.

“It's a good thing Gavin Newsom checks his Twitter feed during meetings. Otherwise, San Francisco's mayor would've missed a life-changing missive about ... potholes? "It really made me wonder," he says. "What if we used social media to make our city services work better?" That stray tweet led to the city's first-of-its-kind Twitter account (@SF311), which encourages residents to send queries and messages about nonemergency issues. But it also underscores the city's open-source stance on government. Just as Google, Facebook, and Twitter released their programming interfaces to app makers, San Francisco opened its arsenal of public information -- train times, crime stats, health-code scores -- to software developers. "There's a tremendous amount of tech talent here," Newsom says. "We'd be fools not to leverage it." To date, more than 140 data sets have been liberated, spawning roughly 30 smartphone apps, such as Crimespotting (browse interactive city-crime maps), Routesy (see real-time train schedules), and EcoFinder (locate the nearest recycling spots).”

This is the type of idea, using technology to help governance, that we called for in our 2005 research report: The American River Parkway Lower Reach Area: A Corroded Crown Jewel; Restoring the Luster, where we noted:

“b) Public Safety Hotline and Website with Follow Up Responses: A place where the public can call and/or email the location of illegal camping sites and other illegal activities and there is a follow-up response to the report.

“The ongoing statistics from the ranger crime reports should be placed here as well as recent report of crime and descriptions of suspected criminals.

“Right now there are several members of the public from the Lower Reach who call in locations of campgrounds and crimes, but the follow up is sporadic and not publicly accessible. Something as simple and cheap as a Parkway Public Safety Website would be a start.

“The point is to allow the community to help, as they have shown a willingness to do so.” (p. 40)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

K Street Update #4,150

As reported by the Sacramento Press, it is now bike friendly, so keep a watch out when walking down there.

An excerpt.

“From now on, Doug Koleada will be a law-abiding citizen when he rides his bicycle on the K Street Mall.

“The city of Sacramento has installed new signs on K Street that list rules for bike riding. Cycling can now commence legally on the Mall from Seventh to 13th Streets and in the tunnel between Second and Fourth Streets.

“Koleada was riding his bike near the Westfield Downtown Plaza Wednesday afternoon. He readily admitted to biking on K Street in the evenings; his nighttime rides will now be perfectly legal.

“The Pyramid Alehouse Brewery employee said he knew about the city’s former ban on bicycling on K Street Mall, so he didn’t bike there when police officers were in sight.

“Koleada also didn’t bike when children were walking on the Mall. “If some idiot’s speeding on their bike, it could lead to an ugly accident (with a child),” he said.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Loving the Suburbs

It is a feeling deeply embedded in the American psyche—most of human history actually and particularly for those of us fortunate enough to live in the suburbs bordering the American River Parkway—to live in “their own home, with a front and back yard, however small, in a safe neighborhood with good schools,” and the generations now coming of age in America, feel the same urge, as this article from New Geography reveals.

An excerpt.

“Back in the 1950s and 60s when Baby Boomers were young, places like Los Angeles led the nation’s explosive growth in suburban living that has defined the American Dream ever since. As Kevin Roderick observed, the San Fernando Valley became, by extension, “America’s suburb” – a model which would be repeated in virtually every community across the country.

“These suburbs – perfectly suited to the sun-washed car culture of Southern California – have remained the ideal for most Americans. And they remain so for the children of Boomer and Generation X parents, Millennials,(born 1982-2003), who express the same strong interest in raising their families in suburban settings.

“According to the most recent generational survey research, done for Washington-based think tank, NDN, by Frank N. Magid Associates, 43 percent of Millennials describe suburbs as their “ideal place to live,” compared to just 31 percent of older generations. In the same survey, a majority of older generations (56%) expressed a preference for either small town or rural living. This may reflect the roots of many older Americans, who are more likely to have grown up outside of a major metropolis, or it may indicate a desire of older people for a presumably simpler lifestyle.

“By contrast, these locations were cited by only 34 percent of Millennials as their preferred place to live. A majority (54%) of Millennials live in suburban America and most of those who do express a preference for raising their own families in similar settings. Even though big cities are often thought of as the place where young people prefer to live and work, only 17 percent of Millennials say they want to live in one, less than a third of those expressing a preference for suburban living. Nor are they particularly anxious to spend their lives as renters in dense, urban locations. A full 64 percent of Millennials surveyed, said it was “very important” to have an opportunity to own their own home. Twenty percent of adult Millennials named owning a home as one of their most important priorities in life, right behind being a good parent and having a successful marriage.

“This suggests that some of the greatest opportunities in housing will be in those metropolitan areas that can provide the same amenities of suburban life that Los Angeles did sixty years ago. In this Millennials are just like their parents who moved to the suburbs in order to buy their own home, with a front and back yard, however small, in a safe neighborhood with good schools.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nuclear Power & Rancho Seco

Every time I read another article extolling the positive impact nuclear power would have on our environment, I am further saddened by the short-sightedness that led Sacramento to shut down Rancho Seco.

It was a rushed response to catastrophe and a lack of vision that infected a lot of people, but now it appears the tide has turned, as this story from the Wall Street Journal reveals.

An excerpt.

“By the end of the 1980s, the nuclear-power industry appeared to be heading for a meltdown.

“The Three Mile Island accident in 1979 confirmed many people's fears about the danger of nuclear power and led to expensive safety upgrades for planned and existing plants. A recession slashed demand for electricity, inflation made new nuclear plants more expensive and falling energy prices made nuclear power less competitive with other power sources.

“Then, in 1986, the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine killed at least 56 people directly and spread radiation throughout much of Europe. Responding to "no nukes" sentiment, many states blocked new plant construction, and some European countries called for shutting down existing plants.

“Twenty years later, though, nuclear power may have found its reason for being: global warming. Several leading environmentalists have come out in favor of nuclear power because it is a low-carbon, plentiful source of electricity that could replace dirty coal, especially in rapidly growing countries such as China and India.

"Coal is the major villain when it comes to greenhouse gases," says Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and a former nuclear-power opponent who is now an avid supporter. "Countries are discovering that wind and solar are good to do, and they make a dent. But when it comes to base-load, always-on power, we have nothing that really replaces coal except nuclear."

“Meanwhile, public support for nuclear power is growing. A March Gallup survey found 62% of those asked favor nuclear power, the highest level since Gallup began polling on the subject in 1994. In a handful of unscientific surveys on environmental Web sites, a small majority say they are willing to give nuclear power another look as a way to fight climate change. Others, including those who don't believe global warming is a real problem, favor nuclear power as a way to give the U.S. more energy security.”

"Governments, too, are being swayed to back nuclear power as a way to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. In Sweden, officials recently introduced legislation to allow construction of new nuclear-power plants; the country, which gets more than 40% of its electricity from nuclear, banned new plant construction in the early 1980s and planned to phase out existing plants."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rain Symposium Announcement

California Extreme Precipitation Symposium

Save the Date for the 2010 Symposium

When: Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where: Freeborn Hall, University of California, Davis

If you want to be placed on our email notification list, please contact the Coordinator.


Since 2001, proceedings from each symposium have been posted to this website. Proceedings may be posted in one or more formats: abstracts, printable slides from the presenters, or videos of the sessions. For a list of prior year themes and links to the proceedings for those years, see our Proceedings page.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Turn Around State

The efforts to turn around the state many proclaim as California’s future are chronicled in the Wall Street Journal.

An excerpt.

“'I said all during the campaign last year that I was going to govern as if I was a one-termer," explains New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on a visit this week to the Journal's editorial board. "And everybody felt that it was just stuff you say during a campaign to sound good. I think after the first 12 weeks, given the stuff I've done, they figure: 'He's just crazy enough to do it.'"

“Call it crazy, or just call it sensible: Mr. Christie is on a mission to make New Jersey competitive once again in the contest to attract people and capital. During last fall's campaign, while his opponent obliquely criticized Mr. Christie's size, some Republicans worried that their candidate was squishy—that he wasn't serious about cutting spending and reining in taxes. Turns out they were wrong.

“Listen to Mr. Christie's take on the state of his state: "We are, I think, the failed experiment in America—the best example of a failed experiment in America—on taxes and bigger government. Over the last eight years, New Jersey increased taxes and fees 115 times." New Jersey's residents now suffer under the nation's highest tax burden. Yet the tax hikes haven't come close to matching increases in spending. Mr. Christie recently introduced a $29.3 billion state budget to eliminate a projected $11 billion deficit for fiscal year 2011.

“California and New York have attracted headlines for their budget woes. Yet, as Mr. Christie points out, "Their problems are much smaller than ours as a percentage. [Gov.] David Paterson's talking about an $8.2 billion deficit in New York—I only wish."

“After taking office in January, Mr. Christie declared an official state of emergency. This allowed him to freeze $2.2 billion in spending that had already been authorized. Now he needs a Democratic legislature to turn his freeze into an actual cut and to enact the deeper reductions contained in his 2011 budget.

“It might well happen. Many Democrats recognize the state's deep-seated fiscal woes. Mr. Christie has already signed into law a bipartisan plan that begins to reform the state's generous benefit system for government workers. Facing unfunded liabilities of $90 billion in pension and medical plans, Mr. Christie worked with lawmakers to change retirement benefits for new workers and to require all new state employees to pay 1.5% of their medical insurance costs. Until now they were paying nothing.

“He wants to go further. "We need to move forward to try to make some changes in the pension system for current employees," he says. "There's all kinds of problems in doing that, some legal. . . . You can't take away vested benefits, but the argument of whether increases going forward are actually vested or not is an interesting legal issue that we're going to attempt to challenge. . . ." He adds that the current retirement age for state employees, 62, "needs to be moved up further."

Friday, April 16, 2010


Taking already too-few parking spaces for cars (the largest people transportation system in the country) away to make 'parklets', is not real good public policy, but that is what some cities are doing, as reported by SF Streets Blog.

An excerpt.

“With scores of people crowding the sidewalk and taking up one lane of traffic on Divisadero in front of Mojo Bicycle Cafe, Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and city department heads heralded a new "parklet" sidewalk extension as a piece of a growing trend of re-purposing street space for people instead of cars. The new trial parklet was built into the space formerly occupied by two parked vehicles, providing several hundred square feet of public space and benches, tables, planters and bike racks.

"This is a change in philosophy and how we think of the public rights-of-way," said Department of Public Works Director Ed Reiskin, who noted that approximately 25 percent of the public space in San Francisco is taken up by streets.

"There's an extraordinary amount of the public realm that is not park space, that's actually in the public rights-of-way, that's actually the streets," said Reiskin. "Unfortunately most of it is covered with concrete and asphalt and it was designed for cars and not for people."

“The Mojo Cafe parklet is the first of several forthcoming parklets, which are technically part of the Pavement to Parks initiative spearheaded by Mayor Newsom. Though the projects are pilots, they have proven very successful and have quieted some of the early critics in neighborhoods where they've been implemented.”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

County Shortfall

The result of the massive cuts being proposed will probably impact the Parkway substantially, as the county seeks ways to get through this period of economic uncertainty.

An excerpt from the story in the Sacramento Bee.

“The impact of the economic crash continues to reverberate in Sacramento County, where officials will announce today that the county is facing a $166.5 million general fund shortfall in the fiscal year starting July 1.

“As a result, county administrators have prepared a list of possible cuts that would delay death investigations by the coroner, reduce the number of cases the District Attorney's Office can prosecute, further reduce the number of Child Protective Services workers overseeing at-risk kids and virtually eliminate sheriff's patrols for the unincorporated area.

“The possible cuts would mean eliminating 670 general fund jobs out of the current 9,057. Many of those positions are filled and don't include possible cuts to the Sheriff's Department, District Attorney's Office or the Assessor's Office. The county laid off almost 750 workers this fiscal year.

“The proposed cuts are far from certain as the real budget maneuvering now begins with departments, advocates and special interest groups wrangling for relief from the Board of Supervisors.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Drought Over?

The obvious answer from the rain falling on the ground over the past several months would seem to be a resounding yes, but as this news item from KCRA 3 notes, it may not be as easy as seeing the evidence before our eyes.

An excerpt.

“State officials came out with new water supply numbers Tuesday and said that California is now close to coming out of its three-year drought.

“However, the ultimate decision will be up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and could be clouded by an upcoming political vote.

“California's last official drought ended in 1993. That time it was a clear-cut decision, but this time, it's in question.

“Thanks to this week's storm, the Sierra snowpack is now at 120 percent of normal, and some of the state's biggest reservoirs could soon be filled to the brim.

“Chief hydrologist Maury Roos said there is no formula for determining when California is in and out of drought, and that perhaps more than any time in decades, this year's decision will be a judgment call.

"I think we're sort of on the threshold," Roos said. "I think there's always got to be some judgment on the location and the kind of shortages and what the effect is."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reno Tent City & Sacramento

This article, from the Reno Gazette Journal, notes the recent emergence of a legal tent city there and comments on Sacramento’s situation.

An excerpt.

“Reno’s 100-tent homeless camping area just off Fourth Street is here to stay, at least for the near future. City officials said it’s a matter of humanity and law that homeless people can’t be harassed or arrested for lacking a place to stay. As of Thursday, the encampment will be under some new rules, written by a committee of 13 tent city residents and approved by homeless center staff and the mayor. The new regulations are designed to ensure the area is safe and doesn’t present a health hazard….

“Sacramento's experience

"John Kraintz, a homeless man who is president of SafeGround Sacramento, said about 80 people are camped on a lawyer’s property on the American River. He said the police keep threatening to arrest the residents for “illegal camping.”

“A year ago we had about 225 people camping out,” he said. “City services just keep drying up... We did a protest last summer.”

“He said local agencies such as Loaves and Fishes and Sacramento churches have supported the concept of a safe place to stay in the area, but city council members aren’t on board. Formerly, he said, a lot of homeless people chose to remain outside as a “lifestyle choice,” but these days the homeless population includes many people who weren’t in dire straits until recently.

“So many people are just underwater right now,” Kraintz said. “Our mayor has been very supportive, but (other politicians) haven’t been much help. The strategy has been to drive (homeless people) away, dump them on your neighbors.”

“The Safe Ground concept is a “stop-gap measure,” he said, aimed at “creating a community that will succeed in getting out of homelessness and develop self-sufficiency.” The rules in his homeless camp are simple, he said: “Residents sign a contract that says there will be no violence and no threats of violence. We secure a perimeter and if people don’t abide by the rules they get ostracized.”

“Kraintz said Reno is ahead of Sacramento in doing something about the homeless problem.

“The Very Rev. Brian Baker, Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento, is a long-time advocate for the homeless. He said Safe Ground is not the best solution for people who are homeless, but it is a “low-cost first step and it’s a lot better than criminalizing homelessness and arresting them when we don’t have enough shelter space.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Heartland & Sacramento

Sacramentans have long understood that a central element of living here is that Sacramento is imbued with a subtle mid-western sensibility that creates a very family-friendly environment which is a large part—including the delightful climate—that attracts people to our region.

This article from New Geography, is about the Midwest and that sensibility.

An excerpt.

“One of the least anticipated developments in the nation’s 21st-century geography will be the resurgence of the American Heartland, often dismissed by coastal dwellers as “flyover country.”

“Yet in the coming 40 years, as America’s population reaches 400 million, the American Heartland particularly the vast region between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi will gain in importance.

“To fully appreciate this opportunity, Americans need to see the Heartland as far more than a rural or an agricultural zone. Although food production will remain a crucial component of its economy, high-tech services, communications, energy production, manufacturing and warehouses will serve as the critical levers for new employment and wealth creation.

“This contradicts the common media portrayal of the Great Plains as a kind of Mad Max environment a postmodern, desiccated, lost world of emptying towns, meth labs and militant Native Americans about to reclaim a place best left to the forces of nature.

“Some environmentalists and academics even have embraced the idea, popularized by New Jersey academics Frank J. Popper and Deborah Popper, that Washington, D.C., accelerate the depopulation of the Plains and create “the ultimate national park.” Their suggestion is that the government return the land and communities to a “buffalo commons.”

“Yet ironically, the future of the Heartland particularly its cities will be tied, in part, to growing migration from the expensive, crowded coasts. Already, the growth capacity for “mega- cities” like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles may be approaching their limits as the urban megalopolis of cities, suburbs and exurbs become more crowded and expensive.

“As huge urbanized regions become less desirable or unaffordable for many businesses and middle-class families, more and more Americans will find their best future in the wide-open spaces that, even in 2050, will still exist across the continent. The beneficiaries will include places as diverse as Fargo and Sioux Falls in the Dakotas to Des Moines, Oklahoma City, Omaha and Kansas City.

“Many of these areas are now enjoying both population growth and net domestic in-migration even as the nation’s most ballyhooed “hip cool” regions like the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago experience slower growth. Fargo, N.D., Sioux Falls, S.D., Des Moines and Bismarck, N.D., for example, all grew well faster than the national average throughout the past decade.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cleaning up Skid Row

In the ongoing battle to reclaim cities from the ravages of blight restricting their ability to develop and grow, police and public leadership, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, have brought an excellent weapon to bear; one which would surely have application in one of Sacramento's versions of skid row, the Richards Blvd area reaching into the Lower Reach of the Parkway.

An excerpt.

“Los Angeles prosecutors on Wednesday announced that they would seek a criminal injunction targeting potentially hundreds of so-called commuter drug dealers who travel to skid row from other parts of the city to sell their goods -- an aggressive new tactic in the city's crackdown on the West Coast's largest drug bazaar.

“The proposed injunction, if approved by a judge, would ban the 80 named dealers from skid row and would allow authorities to expand the list by as many as 300 additional names over time. The idea has sparked protests from some homeless advocates and civil liberties activists who say it would give too much power to police and could prevent some people from receiving drug treatment or other services located in skid row. The way to tackle the area's drug problem, they say, is to fund more programs for drug rehabilitation.

“The plan was announced by Los Angeles' top law enforcement officials -- Police Chief Charlie Beck, Sheriff Lee Baca, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich and Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley -- during a raucous news conference Wednesday in the heart of skid row. Shouting protesters, some of them homeless, surrounded the speakers, prompting LAPD officers to push into the crowd.

"The single biggest criminal threat facing this area is the open and notorious drug dealing," said Trutanich, who could barely be heard over the protesters' jeers. When one demonstrator yelled "You lie!" at Trutanich, the prosecutor responded by suggesting the man was "working for these street gangs."

“The skid row measure is modeled after gang injunctions that have been imposed in other parts of the county. The city attorney's office said this is the first time such a measure has been proposed to specifically target drug dealers.

“The injunction is needed because the more than 30 gangs who control the skid row drug trade have come to a "mutual understanding" to forgo rivalries, keep the peace and share business, according to Peter Shutan, a deputy city attorney.

“The action is the latest step in the city's attempt to crack down on crime on skid row. The area has been home to the city's most concentrated police presence since 2006, when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and then-Police Chief William J. Bratton deployed 50 extra officers there as part of the controversial Safer City initiative. Dozens of undercover narcotics officers were deployed to the same area.

“Crime has dropped sharply in recent years -- property crime dropped 44% and violent crime dropped 40% between 2005 and 2009. The decline has coincided with a downtown revitalization effort that has brought luxury lofts and trendy shops to the urban core.”

Saturday, April 10, 2010

California Wines

A big grape crush this year, impacting the growing economic powerhouse the California winery business has become,as reported by the Western Farm Press.

An excerpt.

“The 4-million ton 2009 California grape crush has been called a shocker.

“It is. However, there is perhaps more unsaid from the crop.

“It may have been the second largest crush in history, topped only by the 2005 4.3-million ton crop that took at least two years to work off.

“The USDA-NASS report does not include grapes unharvested due to late harvest rains ruining on the vine. And it does not include undamaged grapes left hanging because they could not be sold. Not reported are similarly no-home grapes growers elected to custom crush, hoping to market them as bulk wine.

“Going into spring grower meetings, I was optimistic about this crush,” said Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers. Then imports started hitting. “When the Australian surplus Chardonnay hit the U.S., Lodi Chardonnay prices went down from $500 quoted earlier to $165.”

“Imports had a major impact on all wine grape prices in 2009.

“Industry Pollyannas counter with the fact average price for wine grapes increased 8 percent to $605 from 2008’s $561 per ton, boosting the gross value of the 2009 production by 32 percent to $2.24 billion.

“The substantial increase in total revenue generated by the 2009 crop was due much more to the big jump in production, rather than any price increases, Bitter says.

“The final crush report doesn’t include the grapes that weren’t purchased at all or were custom-crushed by growers, which in a stronger market, would have been reported,” explains Jeff Bitter, vice president of operations for Allied Grape Growers of California. “So, looking at the report you don’t see the true impact of the softening spot market for these wines.”

“The economy has also played a major role in wine grape prices in 2009 and the year before. Consumers are buying fewer premium wines in this recession, opting for value wines from places like Costco.

“This has sent shockwaves through the premium wine grape growing areas, where shipments were down 20 percent last year.

“DiBuduo said a major question is what will happen when prosperity returns to America. Will consumers who have learned to seek out value and quality at discount prices return to paying for higher priced wines just because they have the money? “Consumers have learned to find great wines at good prices. Will they go back to pre-recession buying habits when the economy recovers?”

“Although higher priced coastal grapes were left hanging last season, grapes targeted for the value priced wine market are in big demand.

“I could not find buyers for available Cabernet Sauvignon from the North Coast, yet I did not have enough Cabernet Sauvignon from the Central Valley to meet demand,” said DiBuduo.

“However, DiBuduo is not encouraging a resurgence of SJV Cabernet Sauvignon plantings. There is far too much market uncertainty to plant on speculation.

“Right now the only vineyards being planted are Rubired and Muscat.

“I am sticking to the story I have been telling for 10 years: Don’t plant any new vineyards anywhere in California without a winery contract,” DiBuduo said.”

Friday, April 09, 2010

Spring Outlook

A very nice perspective on the future of America, on a very nice spring day, from David Brooks.

An excerpt.

“According to recent polls, 60 percent of Americans think the country is heading in the wrong direction. The same percentage believe that the U.S. is in long-term decline. The political system is dysfunctional. A fiscal crisis looks unavoidable. There are plenty of reasons to be gloomy.

“But if you want to read about them, stop right here. This column is a great luscious orgy of optimism. Because the fact is, despite all the problems, America’s future is exceedingly bright.

“Over the next 40 years, demographers estimate that the U.S. population will surge by an additional 100 million people, to 400 million over all. The population will be enterprising and relatively young. In 2050, only a quarter will be over 60, compared with 31 percent in China and 41 percent in Japan.

“In his book, “The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050,” ├╝ber-geographer Joel Kotkin sketches out how this growth will change the national landscape. Extrapolating from current trends, he describes an archipelago of vibrant suburban town centers, villages and urban cores.

“The initial wave of suburbanization was sprawling and featureless. Tom Wolfe once observed that you only knew you were in a new town when you began to see a new set of 7-Elevens. But humans need meaningful places, so developers have been filling in with neo-downtowns — suburban gathering spots where people can dine, work, go to the movies and enjoy public space.

“Over the next 40 years, Kotkin argues, urban downtowns will continue their modest (and perpetually overhyped) revival, but the real action will be out in the compact, self-sufficient suburban villages. Many of these places will be in the sunbelt — the drive to move there remains strong — but Kotkin also points to surging low-cost hubs on the Plains, like Fargo, Dubuque, Iowa City, Sioux Falls, and Boise.”

Thursday, April 08, 2010


How to maintain what we now have and build the new infrastructure that is needed to keep us competitive and productive, continues to be a huge problem in our country and this article from National Affairs looks at it from a efficiency perspective and finds some daylight.

An excerpt.

“Just after 6 p.m. on August 1, 2007 — at the heart of the evening rush hour — a portion of the busy I-35 bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people and injuring 145. The tragedy was quickly held up in the press as a symbol of America's declining transportation infrastructure, and members of Congress, state and local politicians, and various activists and experts were soon demanding a new wave of investment in our roads and bridges.

“But these critics had drawn all the wrong lessons from the bridge's collapse. As it turns out, there was no broad policy failure to blame for the tragedy: The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the collapse was caused by a combination of a design flaw, extra concrete added to the road surface without regard for the bridge's design specifications, and the excess weight of construction materials stored on the bridge at the time of its demise. The national data, too, make it clear that America's bridges are not increasingly unsafe: In fact, the Federal Highway Administration's bridge-condition database lists fewer bridges in the National Highway System as being "deficient" today than it did in 1995 or 2000 — even as more bridges have been built.

“This same pattern plays out across much of our transportation infrastructure. As Katherine Siggerud, the managing director of physical infrastructure issues at the Government Accountability Office, told the National Journal in 2008: "[T]he physical condition has not noticeably deteriorated in the past two decades. The condition of the most traveled roads and bridges in the United States, the interstates and the national highways, improved in quality."

“The challenge confronting America's transportation infrastructure is not a matter of falling bridges and decaying roads. Rather, our transportation sector suffers from a growing lack of efficiency — in terms of how we allocate money, as well as how we manage capacity and supply. We spend many billions of taxpayer dollars on our transportation infrastructure each year, and we possess a great deal of capacity — but the wasteful use of both costs the country enormously, in time and in money. Our transportation system does cry out for reform, though not in the form of simple cash infusions from Washington. Instead, policymakers need to grasp what our transportation problem actually is — and what solutions will get America moving…..

“But the most dramatic display of the problem — and, perhaps, of the path to a solution as well — actually involved the nation's seaports. In 2004, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two largest in the United States, experienced a near-meltdown. With the American economy enjoying a period of strong growth, demand for the facilities far outpaced their ability to handle arriving cargo. The result was a system collapse: In the peak season for cargo transport (late summer and fall), massive container ships carrying valuable cargo sat idling off the California coast for a week or longer. Others had to be diverted to less congested locations at an enormous cost to all involved. In its community newsletter, the Port of Long Beach even likened the sight of "dozens of vessels waiting for open berths at the ports" to scenes from the Normandy invasion of World War II.

“The severity of the congestion, and the high costs it exacted, provided an impetus for real reform. And so 2005 brought one of the most important transportation-policy breakthroughs of the last 50 years: The management of the two ports, major shippers, labor organizations, and other interested parties agreed to experiment with differential pricing. Under the agreement, shippers would be charged differently for moving cargo during peak and off-peak hours; a so-called "Traffic Mitigation Fee" was instituted for the first time on July 23, 2005, in advance of peak shipping season. Cargo movements between 3 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays carried an extra fee of $40 per standard-sized container, while shippers were charged no additional fee for moving cargo during off-peak hours.

“The results were astonishing. Within two months, the program had achieved the target it had hoped to reach in two years. Between 30 and 35% of shipping traffic was shifted to off-peak periods. And it quickly became clear that shippers and carriers who used the port facilities were far more sensitive to pricing — and far more willing to adjust longstanding practices — than anyone had anticipated.”

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Homeless Belongings Identification

St. Louis, as reported by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, is using a new policy to help the homeless identify their property, often carted away as trash.

An excerpt.

“ST. LOUIS -- The unattended possessions of the homeless will still be picked up during routine city park cleanups, but now at least, they’ll have a way to get them back.

“St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay unveiled a new policy on Friday where city workers would give the homeless identification tags along with silver bags for their stuff. If the parks department employees find unattended property with the new tags during cleanups, they will no longer simply throw it away, but bring it to a storage facility where it can be retrieved.

“During an incident last year, the city parks department confiscated and tossed the belongings of two homeless men in a dump truck. Some of the men’s medication was destroyed during the incident that occurred at Interco Plaza at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and Tucker Boulevard.

"That simply can not happen again," said Slay, who held a news conference at Interco Plaza. "The city of St. Louis, specifically downtown, has the largest amount of homeless services in the St. Louis area. Homeless people come from all over the St. Louis area into downtown to get service."

“The new plan, Slay said, would help keep the homeless residents safe as well as keep the city clean, but it also does something else. It gives city another "important point of contact to some of our more vulnerable citizens."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Government Innovation

During tough times, as this opinion piece from the Sacramento Bee notes, can result in some innovative ideas that work, and the ideas currently being put forth by the interim county executive certainly resonate with us, especially the idea of contracting with a non-profit organizations to manage the Parkway, mentioned in another post.

An excerpt from the new article.

“I don't know if his ideas will work, but interim executive officer Steve Szalay impressed me last month with the way he approached Sacramento County's $118 million budget deficit.

“Instead of simply proposing cuts, borrowing or other financial moves, Szalay gave county supervisors ideas for providing core services in different ways.

“He said the county "was in great need of reorganization or a fresh look at the way services are provided."

“In other words, his message wasn't just the slash-or-tax choices we've heard in most government budget discussions, at least those held in public.

“Whether or not his specific ideas prevail, Szalay's push to prioritize is becoming a common theme in organizations that want to do more than just survive this tenacious downturn.”

Monday, April 05, 2010

Moon Shot

A great picture of one of Saturn’s moons, from Science Magazine.

And another reminder of how tragic it would be to reduce funding or redirect the American space program.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

Have a wonderful Easter.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Delinking Energy Policy from Climate Science?

The blog of the Breakthrough Institute furthers the discussion.

An excerpt.

“Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus have an essay up at Yale e360 arguing that in the wake of Climategate, energy policy should be made independent of climate science. The piece is already beginning to set the climate blogosphere aflutter, with coverage from the National Journal, E&E News (subs. req'd), The Hill, and the North County Times.

“While Michael and Ted's argument has particular resonance in the wake of Climategate, in truth, they have been making this argument for a long time.

“In their 2004, "The Death of Environmentalism" they argued that energy policy should be motivated by concern for national security and the economy:

“Literal-sclerosis can be seen in the assumption that to win action on global warming one must talk about global warming instead of, say, the economy, industrial policy, or health care. "If you want people to act on global warming" stressed [then-Sierra Club staffer Dan] Becker, "you need to convince them that action is needed on global warming and not on some ulterior goal."

Friday, April 02, 2010

Bringing Salmon Back

This great story of human technology creating conditions salmon spawn in is another that needs replicating everywhere, reported by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

An excerpt.

“A spawning stream built by the state near the Warm Springs Dam in Geyserville should serve as a model to communities throughout California looking to restore steelhead trout and coho and chinook salmon populations, fishery advocates say.

“The gravel streambed is surrounded by greenery and was built last summer by the Department of Fish and Game out of a ditch channeling fish coming from the Russian River into the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery on Dry Creek.

“The goal was to show school kids and tourists an ideal fish-spawning habitat.

“But Kent MacIntosh of the fisheries restoration group Trout Unlimited said similar habitat restoration efforts by California cities, counties and individuals on concrete drainage channels would help bring fish back to the state's waterways.

“All you need to do is remove the concrete, put in woody debris and gravel and plant greenery along the creek, MacIntosh said.

"This is a showcase," MacIntosh said of the stream in Geyserville. "It is an example of what needs to be done everywhere."

Thursday, April 01, 2010


The art of creating places people are attracted to, uplifting the surrounding community; and an operating element of our vision for the Parkway, is the mission of the Project for Public Spaces, which has a new newsletter out.

An excerpt.

“Concern over jobs has been a constant refrain in politics, business and everyday conversation for decades, becoming even more urgent during the current economic crisis. Yet, for all the intense discussion of the subject, the local job-creation strategies pushed forward by politicians, business leaders and economists narrowly focus on luring new companies, developments or tourist attractions to a community instead of leveraging the substantial assets that exist within most communities. As a result, one city is pitted against all others, desperate to offer anything—free land, reckless tax breaks, low wages, etc.—to beat out potential competitors.

“Such a strategy might succeed in winning a few jobs over the short term, but that does not translate into genuine prosperity. From our experience working in more than 2,500 communities around the world, PPS came to realize the missing ingredient in most discussions about jobs—especially good, green jobs - is the fact that secure jobs are tied to a place. This is what truly generates prosperity and well-paid employment over the long haul.

“Making great places does not just mean that you are adding tourist attractions to your city,” explains Larry Lund, PPS Associate and a Chicago real estate consultant. “It’s way more powerful than that: it has to do with creating an environment that will be attractive for businesses,” places to host the dense organization and social complexity vital to the success of so many industries that create and sustain great jobs.

“After all, cities first emerged because people gathered together at crossroads, creating busy, vibrant places to exchange goods and ideas. Cities grew out of commerce. The same holds true today. Cities need great places that provide the settings for these kinds of interactions. This is what businesses seek. They want places that are attractive to employees, places where connections can happen, where productivity and creativity increase and where the professional networks foster collaboration and innovation.”