Proposition 1 – water infrastructure bonds – No

This proposition has the environmental community divided.  On the one hand it provides for substantial funding for river restoration – funds which probably won’t come in similar levels from the legislature.  But the price is too high.

Proposition 1 allocates 2.7 billion for more dams and surface storage.  I’m not opposed to the latter as unfortunately Los Angeles and other southern California communities never bothered to build reservoirs – they would take up space which could be used for more tracts and malls.  Apparently it never occurred to the planners of the time that the Colorado River would be overtaxed and they probably expected that they could muscle through more diversions despite ballot defeats such as the peripheral canal proposition in 1982.

It is opposed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Food and Water Watch on the basis that the proposed projects and diversion policies may lead to the collapse of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta and seriously endanger species including the Chinook salmon, smelt, and steelhead, increase the salinization problems, and feed into unsustainable growth polices.

Leave the dams and diversions out of the mix, and I can support it.

Proposition 2 – Budget “Rainy Day Fund” Stabilization – Yes

I don’t like the provision which deprives local school districts of the ability to maintain the reserves at their desired amounts, and I don’t quite get why the proponents found that necessary.  But other aspects of the proposition strengthen the rainy day fund so that it can maintain schools and colleges – the proposition makes special provision for them so that students aren’t held hostage in every budget crisis – is worth supporting.  It does require that half the fund go to paying pensions and other debts, but it pretty much establishes a mandate for prioritizing education, and that’s a good thing.
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Petition Link.

  • Petitioning Humboldt County Board of Supervisors

Enact real campaign finance reform for Humboldt County

    1. Petition by

      Humboldt County Voters for Real Campaign Finance Reform

Petition for Real Campaign Finance Reform for Humboldt County – Sign the Petition!

This coming Tuesday Humboldt County supervisors will be voting on an ordinance to limit contributions to $1,500 per person per voter. This appears to be a cynical attempt to create a false sense of campaign finance reform as it precisely matches the dominate amount given by the big money donors that have supported many of our current supervisors. With these amounts some recent campaigns have collected and spent over $200,000 each. This is a case where the fox is watching the hen house.

• Limit contributions from individuals to $500 per election
• Limit contributions from unions, organizations or PACs to $2,000 per election
• Limits overall campaign spending to $50,000 per election (voluntary limit)

To:
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, Mark Lovelace
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, Rex Bohn
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, Estelle Fennell
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, Virginia Bass
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, Ryan Sundberg
Enact real campaign finance reform for humboldt County

I have heard that you are seeking input from the public about what we think of the proposed campaign finance ordinance that your board is proposing. Since you haven’t made your final decision maybe it isn’t too late for you to change your mind upon hearing my input.

It seems to me that a campaign limit of $1,500 is much too high and is not really reform. I believe that $500, while probably higher than the average Humboldt County citizen can afford will much more likely have the desired effect of limiting the impact of large donations on local campaigns. That is why I signed on to the petition that proposes the limits listed below. I hope you will take this into consideration in your decision next week.

• Limit contributions from individuals to $500 per election
• Limit contributions from unions, organizations or PACs to $2,000 per election
• Limits overall campaign spending to $50,000 per election (voluntary limit)

Sincerely,
[Your name]

For years I had this vague memory of a cartoon where a mouse was constantly throwing bricks at his girlfriend cat and she would respond with “my angel” as she was nearly knocked unconscious. It was obviously before there was any kind of PC control on cartoons. But nobody my age ever remembered it and when I was in college I wondered if I had remembered it right.  I did except that it’s “little angel” rather than “my angel.” Didn’t think about it again for many years, and then recently the thoughts came to me and I googled “cartoon mouse throws brick at cat” and sure enough there was a cartoon called “Krazy Cat.”

I’m actually curious how something like this got through the family values censors of the time. I mean, politics aside, it’s really it’s really whacked and bizarre.

GroundwaterFor the first time, California claims authority to regulate extraction of standing ground water.  Until now, water had to be flowing underground for Water Board jurisdiction to kick in.  But with groundwater sources depleting severely, we have editorials such as this one supporting it despite the downside for property rights.  Until now, California was the only western state without such regulation.

From the summaries, I’m not quite certain of the local effect – the legislation appears to focus on the valley and Los Angeles basins, but a threshold has been crossed.  I haven’t had the time to review the actual texts of the law changes, but here they are.

I hope to take a closer look at a later time.

Bob Froehlich, Julia Minton, and I will discuss whether our politics are governed, or at least heavily influenced, by genetics.  There have been some studies which suggest at least a connection, though I have a long list of questions and I think there’s a bit of oversimplification of the ideologies themselves, let alone the psychology of them.  Still, these are interesting studies.

Here’s a link to the MoJo article which inspired the topic.

A Discovery article with a different emphasis.

Psychology Today.

This one looks at brain morphology.

And this article combines the above-mentioned studies and a few other items.

All Things Reconsidered, on KMUD, this Thursday at 7:00 p.m.  Call-in format.

Kids get sick.

CDC on Vaccinations

From the article:

Notably, it has not taken the U.S. eight months to reach this ugly milestone. By May, the country had already seen 288 cases of measles – the most in a five-month period since 1994, and more than had been reported for a given year in well over a decade. The cause for the resurgence is as unambiguous today as it was then. To quote Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases: The current increase in measles cases is being driven by unvaccinated people.”

The harmful effects of vaccine-refusal have not been limited to measles’ comeback. California, the most populous state in the U.S., has become a case study in what happens when people decide against vaccinating their children. The L.A. Times reports California parents today are opting out of vaccinating their kids at twice the rate they did seven years ago. State health officials say insufficient vaccination has contributed not only to the the widespread reemergence of measles, but the ongoing whooping cough epidemic, and has left the state vulnerable to outbreaks of other serious diseases.

 

It’s remarkable how you can almost predict someone’s position on an issue just from the tone and decibel level of someone’s voice.  This poor guy suffers the same disease as I by partaking in attempts at reasonable discussion with people for whom reason doesn’t even count.  How do I justify it?  An impressionable 12-year-old might happen on the discussion.  Granted, we all resort to passive-aggressive sarcasm.  I mean, at least it’s funny, right?  I know it’s funny when I laugh.

“You’re tired of hearing about it? Imagine how exhausting it is to live it!”

But clearly the discussion has to be had.  Click on the photo to enlarge.

Comparison

As I’m unable to host the show tomorrow night, Julia and Bob have taken the reins.  Here’s their promo:

The inmates take over the asylum as Julia Minton and Bob Froehlich host the next edition of “All Things Reconsidered” this Thursday (Tomorrow!) at 7 pm. Join them as they explore the power of critical thinking, scientific literacy, and technology in lighting the way for humanity to face the challenges in our long-term collective future. That’s “All Things Reconsidered” on Kmud, this Thursday evening at 7 pm.

Both will join me in September to discuss whether there is a biological basis for political ideology.

In the meantime, I will be interviewing Dr. Ray Seidler, an anti-GMO advocate, on KHSU a week from tomorrow.  More on that later.

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