Tuesday, October 23, 2007

President Bush doesn't care about us.

President Bush has threatened to veto any budget from Congress that exceeds his budget for domestic spending. Congress has proposed a domestic budget that exceeds Bush's budget by $22 billion ($22,000,000,000).

Bush says that's an irresponsible use of public funds.

For the record, Bush's war in Iraq is costing us $330 million every day ($330,000,000). The $22 billion Congress wants to spend on us at home amounts to 66 days and 16  hours of spending in Iraq. Yet Bush has offered no source of funds for his war other than our pocketbooks and Chinese loans.

If Bush wants to keep spending our money in Iraq, he needs to find a way to pay for it. But, hey, if we're going to go deeper into debt, I'd rather it be for improving things here at home.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thank you Arnold!


I read the news today, OH BOY!
About a governor who made my day.

Arnold Schwarzenegger today ordered the California Department of Food and Agriculture to disclose the complete ingredients in the pheromone spray Checkmate. That's the stuff CDFA sprayed over the Monterey Peninsula last month and which they plan to periodically spray all over the Monterey Bay region until the light brown apple moth fades into oblivion.

As I wrote before, it seems only prudent to tell us exactly what is being applied to our neighborhoods. Apparently the Governator agreed.

I don't consider this a victory for "our side." I consider this a victory for truth. It is a victory for honesty, which is always the best policy. It is especially refreshing to see a Republican leader who cares more about the people on the streets than the people in the suits who are trying to hide behind "trade secrets." This world would be much better off if every Republican thought that way.

Trade secrets are OK with me
as long as the chemicals are being applied to restricted areas, and exposing only those who have been trained in the safe handling of such products. If they're spraying over the heads of hundreds of thousands of unprotected people, a higher standard must apply. That standard must be complete openness and honesty. Only then can we be sure these chemicals are as safe as the manufacturer and the CDFA claim.

I'm gratified that Governor Schwarzenegger believes the same.

Addendum, October 23:
According to the Monterey County Herald, the ingredients in Checkmate LBAM-F are:

Water

(E)-11-Tetradecen-1-yl Acetate

(E,E) -9,11 Tetradecadien-1-yl Acetate

Crosslinked polyurea polymer

Butylated Hydroxytoluene

Polyvinyl Alcohol

Tricaprylyl Methyl Ammonium Chloride

Sodium Phosphate

Ammonium Phosphate

1,2-benzisothiozoli-3-one

2-hydroxy-4-n-octyloxybenzophenone



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Friday, October 12, 2007

Spray Delay

Well, the spraying of the Monterey Peninsula has been put on hold, thanks to a court order. Apparently a judge agreed that more information was needed before applying an unknown chemical upon a large population.

I have mixed feelings about this. I agree completely that we need to be fully informed about what chemicals are being dropped on us. I also understand the need to control a pest that could cause significant damage.

Of course, the farmers are up in arms about the spraying delay. Just as much as Peninsula residents are up in arms about the spraying itself. I'm worried this could quickly escalate into another "Us vs. Them" or "Peninsula vs. Valley" feud.

There is an easy way to avoid this. Farmers should be pressing their spray saviors to fully disclose the complete ingredients in Checkmate, the pheromone spray, to prove to us on The Peninsula that the product is as harmless as they say. Don't let them hide behind "trade secrets" to keep us in the dark. Full disclosure is in everyone's best interest, and neither side should settle for anything less than the full truth.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

No more POPCORN

I just learned today that another Monterey Peninsula institution has folded up and vanished last month with no fanfare. POPCORN is gone.

I grew up with POPCORN. I used it regularly, especially in the spring and fall, when the clocks changed from Daylight time and back to Standard time. POPCORN was time.

Huh?

Alas, most people don't even know what I'm talking about! It's on the telephone.

HUH?

I'd dial POPCORN (767-2676) and a nice lady would come on and say "At the tone, Pacific Daylight Time will be, two fifteen and twenty seconds. BEEEP. At the tone, Pacific Daylight Time will be, two fifteen and thirty seconds. BEEEP. At the tone, Pacific Daylight Time will be, two fifteen and forty seconds. BEEEP. At the tone, Pacific Daylight Time will be, two fifteen and fifty seconds. BEEEP. At the tone, Pacific Daylight Time will be, two sixteen, exactly. BEEEP."

You could listen indefinitely back in the day. Then they limited you to one minute. She was reliable, friendly and always there. Now she's gone the way of our old Carmel phone prefix MAyfair-4 (work that one out yourself).

Now how will I know what time it is, EXACTLY?

They should like trains

The Herald reported this week that Monterey County's two largest industries, hospitality and agriculture, are opposing investment in passenger rail services to Monterey County. They are arguing that TAMC, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, should invest more in roads and less in alternatives.

This view is shortsighted.
There will never be enough money or land to pave our way out of traffic congestion. Furthermore, as energy prices rise, environmental concerns increase, and freeways just get more and more hectic, we will need alternatives that are comfortable, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly. Trains are the answer.

People in our area don't realize that California has the fastest growing passenger rail system in the country. In fact, the nation's third busiest rail corridor, the Capitol Corridor between San Jose and Auburn, terminates just 60 miles from here. Other successful corridors can be found in the San Joaquin Valley (Bakersfield to Sacramento and Oakland) and down south where the Surfliners (San Luis Obispo to San Diego) are very popular. This is an especially great accomplishment when you consider that this was done with almost no federal funds (yup, its all state and local money) in a state where cars were once thought to be invincible.

If Monterey County wants to stay competitive
in attracting diversified industries, we need to be connected to the state rail network. As it stands now, if you want to get to any of those cities up north you have to suffer on congested bay area freeways or take a very expensive plane. Wouldn't it be nice to have a choice wherein you could sit back, relax, get some work or reading done, then grab a bite to eat at the snack bar, all while cruising along at 70-80 miles per hour? We could, if we set our minds to it.

Certainly, the hospitality industry would benefit by having a train that brings tourists right into downtown Monterey, just steps from major hotels and tourist destinations. I suspect their opposition is most likely based on ignorance of how convenient trains can be.


Alas, even TAMC is taking its time.
Not long ago rail service to Monterey was expected to start in 2006, then it was 2009, and now it has been pushed aside indefinitely. Proposed Caltrain commuter services to Salinas are getting all the attention. Contact your local representatives, at TAMC and in your city councils, and ask them to support intercity rail service to the Monterey Peninsula.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Spray Notifications

If anyone is reading this, and wants to know when their neighborhood will be sprayed for the light brown apple moth, you can now sign up for e-mail alerts from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. There is a link to the e-mail alert form on this page.