The Mythical Target of Reducing Emissions 80% Below 1990 Levels

The Mythical Target of Reducing Emissions 80% Below 1990 Levels

On April 4th the Marin Independent Journal published an article:”Marin welcomes Bay Area air quality district plan to control greenhouse gases” stating: “The first point in the plan sets a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, a goal already established by the state.” Already sustainability groups are jumping aboard proclaiming these objectives. The County of Marin is conducting two upcoming Climate Action Plan meetings in April where targets and measures will be discussed: Monday, April 14, 2014 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Marin Center Exhibit Hall Manzanita Room 10 Avenue of the Flags San Rafael, CA 94903 RSVP here Tuesday, April 29, 2014 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Marin Civic Center Board of Supervisors Chamber 3501 Civic Center Drive San Rafael, CA 94903 RSVP here The author agrees that man-made climate change is the leading cause of climate change, and it is important and time-sensitive that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But goals such as reducing emissions 80% by 2050 are being politicized and used by special interests to progress agendas. Further investigation reveals such goals are invalid and likely to be extremely intrusive on our standard of living. The author agrees that climate change will also have significant adverse effects, but the 80% reduction proposed is too significant, unrealistic and imbalanced. Where is this Goal Coming From? California Assembly Bill 32 mandated that the state reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. However these goals were twisted as AB 32 exclusively fixated on reducing emissions from cars and light trucks, assuming that by switching Californians from cars...
Cyclists Dominant Cause in Car vs Bike Accidents

Cyclists Dominant Cause in Car vs Bike Accidents

While cycling is being strongly promoted by county supervisors and city councils, what is not being promoted is safe cycling. Every day I witness cyclists failing to comply with traffic laws such as stopping at stop signs and red lights. While neither cyclists or motorists are saints, the impression given is that it the violations of the law by cyclists were much more commonplace. So I asked the City of San Rafael Police department if they had any data that might shed light on the real situation.   Accidents Between Cars and Bicycles, March 2013- March 2014, San Rafael, CA #Collisions:        30 Driver at Fault:   11 (37%) Cyclist at Fault:  15 (50%) Mutual Fault:      3 (10%) Undetermined:   1 (3%) This clearly shows a story where cyclists are significantly more in the wrong – 50% vs 37%. Stopping At Red Lights A major concern is that few cyclists adhere to the law of stopping at a red light. Here are the statistics for March 2013 – March 2014: Accidents between cars and bikes #failure to stop at a Red Light: 2 Cyclist at Fault:                      2 (100%) Motorist at Fault:                    0 Obtaining a Larger Sample Size: California 2012 Stats On the Way Now this isn’t exactly the largest sample size – these are representative of a city of roughly 57,000 people over a 12 month period. In the interests of obtaining numbers with statistical significance I have been following up with the CHP to obtain...
Getting Answers from the County on Important Questions

Getting Answers from the County on Important Questions

Residents in many Marin neighborhoods have woken up to discover wholly remarkable turns of events where their area has been targeted for significant growth and high density development. I was just one such resident. The turn of events seemed to defy gravity (by defying neighborhood vision and consensus) – so I have been continuing to strive to understand what has happened, and how this can be rectified. On February 11th 2014 I presented the following questions to the Marin County Supervisors in open session. Nearly 2 months later I have yet to receive responses. I did receive a call from Supervisor Adams in February but she did not answer any of these questions that I believe are very important to our county’s future. I clarified this in an email and requested written responses. I am genuinely grateful to Supervisor Adams who has now referred the questions to legal counsel for a response. (Which is puzzling as I believe many should be easily answered by county planners and would immediately cause concerns and myths to cease circulating). Due to prior responses which have either been a failure to respond or obfuscation I felt it necessary to add “yes or no” to ensure that I would receive a direct answer before any elaboration. QUESTIONS 1)     Question – yes or no – is there anything in the Housing Element, zoning or associated amendments preventing a density of above 30 units per acre EITHER in specified opportunity locations, or elsewhere in unincorporated Marin? (for reference WinCup is 40 units per acre) 2)     Question  – What is the maximum density that could be built...
Can’t Win the Debate? Then Shut it Down

Can’t Win the Debate? Then Shut it Down

Successful democracy depends on community discussion to reach the best outcome. But what if special interest groups infiltrate key positions to promote self-serving, green-washed schemes on the public? What happens when the public awakens to realize what’s happening and disagrees? Supporters of high density, transit oriented development, including Wall Street banks, developers, builders unions, and social equity activists, reap benefits from the very policies they helped shape like California Senate Bill 375, ABAG’s Plan Bay Area and the Marin County Housing Element. These financiers and activists mask their motivations behind claims of social justice and combatting whatever else is ailing the planet. Volunteering Needless Sacrifices Without those Affected Present These special interests have helped formulate policy such as Plan Bay Area, housing quotas, Climate Action Plans and Housing Elements in a bubble – a bubble removed from the input of residents who might be concerned about foundational flaws in the thinking  – such as transit emits less greenhouse gases than cars (disproven by facts covered by this Planning for Reality article). This policy-formulation bubble was also removed from what sacrifices residents might be willing to make to achieve these special interests goals – such as diverting money from roads to other transport modes, even despite these modes declining in usage after increasing investments. Or imposing developments such as WinCup across Marin – in the hope that the new residents work in Marin or a disproportionate number will take transit – more flawed thinking. A Revolving Door Between Planners and Special Interests  Recently I emailed an ABAG employee to understand how Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are rescinded. Using LinkedIn, I discovered that he was a former employee of Urban Habitat, the social equity advocacy group that filed suits against Pleasanton and Menlo...
How Access to Cars Could Help the Poor

How Access to Cars Could Help the Poor

Efforts in Marin attempt to reduce car usage, concentrating new development into high density housing with limited parking and presuming residents take transit could have adverse effects on the economy – especially residents on low incomes, suppressing their abilities to access jobs. The study is called “Driving to Opportunity: Understanding the Links among Transportation Access, Residential Outcomes, and Economic Opportunity for Housing Voucher Recipients“. It is based on detailed analysis and peer reviewed reports by authors at UCLA and the University of Maryland exposes some critical factors that should be considered. The sample set is significant – 12,000 families across 10 different cities. – Housing voucher recipients with cars tended to live and remain in higher-opportunity neighborhoods—places with lower poverty rates, higher social status, stronger housing markets, and lower health risks. – Cars are also associated with improved neighborhood satisfaction and better employment outcomes. – Among Moving to Opportunity families, those with cars were twice as likely to find a job and four times as likely to remain employed. The report notes that cars are important in helping lower income residents secure and retain jobs as they have inherent benefit over public transport. Public transport is affected by: – longer travel times – insufficient metropolitan wide coverage (getting people door to door) Access to Transit Does Not Improve Employment Prospects Another 2003 study on the topic by Sanchez, Shen and Peng titled “Transit Mobility, Jobs Access and Low-income Labour Participation in US Metropolitan Areas” states: “While policy-makers assert that increased public transit mobility can positively affect employment status for low-income persons, there is little empirical evidence to support this theory. It...