Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An open letter to Donald Trump.

Dear Donald Trump,

We are all aware of how you brought the issue of President Obama's birth records back from silence and how you sent "investigators" to Hawaii to find out about the origins of the President. I am very glad that you seem to think that you did something worthy of gloating or self-praise when all you really did was bring up a non-issue when people are out of work and can't afford to ride around in limos or boss Gary Busey around.

You pushed hard for that birth certificate. You demanded it, and when it finally was produced you said "why wasn't it produced sooner?" Ignoring the fact that such information is private and usually confidential and ignoring the fact that in any bureaucracy getting official documents take time and the fact that Obama's initial background check that he had to have when he first took office in Congress passed with flying colors, I have to say congratulations. Way to pander to the Birthers that are still out there and mix it up in the Republican Pre-Primary.

Yes, you have handled big projects and one can really see how that makes you qualified to handle the after math of horrible disasters like the BP oil spill, and of course you have worked with foreign dignitaries and large budgets throughout your professional career. While you may quable with Forbes over your "brand"'s net worth in my eyes you are a jewel.

All that being said, the part of me that wants an easy Democratic victory come the next presidential election prays that you continue to run, and that it is not a fake campaign because you are just as big of a mockery as Palin, and truly easy to beat.

Thank You,

Andrew K.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Innovation Highlight: Las Vegas and San Francisco Water Innovations

For those who don't yet know, one of the issues I am most passionate about is resource management. Water specifically is a huge issue for me. While I was working with the City of San Jose I worked on projects with the Water Treatment Plant and was amazed at the systems we have devised so far in saving resources. Everything from the minimization of water escaping as "waste" to purple piping innovations to using the methane given off by the digesters for energy.

Something that I want to start examining, along with all the other projects I am working on, are the innovations that I hear about regarding city management and environmental policies, and the like. This stems from working on projects with the SFPUC and the Apollo Alliance.

Since this is the first of these, I am going to start off small and mention today's Fresh Air on NPR. Among the other amazing stats figures and sensational information this program was displaying, the most interesting item to me was about how amazing the water system is in Las Vegas, literally the driest big city in the United States.

Las Vegas has been leading in innovations regarding their relationship to water. From turf reclamation programs to solar water heating incentives to, what I find most impressive, Las Vegas' water reclamation.

According to Charles Fishman, writer of the new book The Big Thirst and NPR interviewee,
"Las Vegas, over time, has come to recapture almost all of the water used anywhere [in the city] indoors," he says. "Although Las Vegas has what was, for a long time, the largest fountain on Earth and shark aquariums and lagoons that re-create the canals of Venice right on the strip, over the last 20 years, per-person water use in Vegas has fallen 100 gallons."
As if the current figures and efforts weren't enough, according to Reusing Water as a Resource in Las Vegas by Sean Goldwasser et al, "it was estimated that by 2025, the valley had a reuse potential of over 90 million gallons per day (MGD). This would mean the use of reclaimed water at every golf course, park, school and other large turf areas throughout the valley."

While it is true that other cities across the nation have green programs that call to rethink our relationship with water such as San Jose, New York, and Seattle, the City of Las Vegas, with its lavish decadence and countless swimming pools, water shows and aquariums, stands out like a shining jewel that other municipalities can learn from regarding efficiency.

Just as an example of other efforts from somewhere a little closer to home, San Francisco recently unveiled its plan for its first large-scale water recycling project. According to Know Your H2O blog, the project would; "take treated wastewater from the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant near San Francisco Zoo, run it through fine membranes and ultraviolet-light systems, and spread it through the network of existing pipes and sprinklers snaking through the parks. The water could also serve to flush toilets at the California Academy of Sciences."

These efforts come about as a result of the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) an Agency that was created "to represent the interests of 24 cities and water districts, and two private utilities, in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties that purchase water on a wholesale basis from the San Francisco regional water system" who has a unique focus on recycled water programs.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Government Shut Down

The press is on a field day about how the U.S. Government is on the brink of a shut down. The “moderate” republicans are praying that the Tea Partiers will compromise, the Tea Partiers want to push as hard as they can and the Democrats seem ready to sit back and let a shut down happen.

What usually happens in a Federal Government shut down, or at least what happened last time under President Clinton at least from an operations standpoint, was that “non-essential” government workers were put on furlough and “non-essential services” were suspended for a total of 25 days between 1995 and 96.

And even with the warnings of the past and former President Clinton telling them directly, the GOP seem determined to go forward to a shut down.

By the way, if you do check out the News Max article about President Clinton's comments, I really love the fact that he is certain "It will not have the traumatic effect it probably had last time." Honestly, I do not think that there will be a shut down, and if there will be, that we will do what humans and Americans are currently doing, adapt.

All in all it does not look good for Speaker Boehner who has been pushing for a budget deal and massive cuts at the same time. According to some polls, most support spending cuts over a shutdown, which seems very straight forward and like a “non-question.” Many are concerned about their benefits or the plight of Federal workers and, for the most part, there is some reason to be. The budget is in crisis, not just because of mismanagement or waste or “overspending” but because the economy imploded. The source of revenue for our country was effectively neutered and now we are scrambling to find a way to deal with it. In my mind we have a huge problem with where are resources are going. We spend far too much on military and far too little on investing in our future – education. In my mind this is what should be invested in instead of cut. Oh well, I don't run things.

And once again, wrapping up with an excellent and poignant mark of absurdity towards the issue, here is the ever amazing, Steven Colbert.