The UN recently published a report that we have 12 years to avert drastic climate change. While individual action helps a bit, we’re going to need to address the problem as a civilization. And that means voting.
As a first step, that means voting for people who are willing to acknowledge the problem in the first place. If the media weren’t bending over backwards in pursuit of a false “balance” in response to accusations of left-wing bias from right-wing ideologues, the headlines would read “Republicans deny & ignore the greatest threat to humanity’s future”. The realistic view is that we’re going to need a mass international mobilization at a level last seen in World War II, and that begins with admitting that we have a problem.
Beyond that, we need to pick the candidates who have the best long-term thinking.
We know what unchecked growth looks like: the most profitable developments happen, jobs boom, housing prices and rents go up. Gridlock ensues because people have to commute long distances to their jobs, and lower-income people are gradually forced out of their homes.
We know what slow growth looks like: your neighborhood turns into a bedroom community for the places where the jobs are booming. Housing prices go up, and either rent goes up or rent control is enacted and eventually people get turfed out of their apartments when the building gets sold, and they either have to move a long way away or become homeless, because they can’t afford housing locally.
The solution is smart growth: growing the economy, housing, and infrastructure in a way that keeps our quality of life. I’ve lived in Sunnyvale for 20 years, and am hoping to do so for another 50, and this is what will be needed to keep it thriving through the coming changes.
At the state level, we should be building water infrastructure and modernizing our electrical grid to be resilient and better at working with distributed power generation. (It also needs to be hardened against the next time the Sun sneezes in Earth’s face, like it did in 1859.) In the long run, it may mean some big projects. If we don’t want to lose places like Alviso (elevation –13’), Foster City (elevation 7’), and Stockton (elevation 13’) to rising seas, it may mean anything from sea walls to a tidal gate or locks across the Golden Gate. If we want to be able to afford big projects, we’ll need a big economy.
At the local level, we should be building new housing on major thoroughfares— both market-rate, for the people with lucrative tech jobs, and affordable, for the people holding the 4.3 new jobs created for every tech job. It means creating better infrastructure for bicycling and public transit, such as physically separated bike lanes and dedicated mass transit lanes on those major thoroughfares, so the people who move into that new housing don’t contribute to automobile gridlock. Here in Silicon Valley, it means turning a lot of the one-story places along El Camino Real into multistory developments with shops on the ground floor, a floor or two of offices above that, and a few floors of residences above that. It means building a lot more pocket parks in residential neighborhoods to cool off during hot summers, increasing street tree cover, and using white asphalt every time we resurface our roads.
(Rezoning all the residential neighborhoods for high density doesn’t make sense. New housing needs to be near mass transit and local shops, so people can get by without cars.)
Smart growth is about a can-do attitude that is ready to engage with new challenges rather than push them away. It grows the economy, and that makes it possible to deal with the bigger challenges that are coming our way soon. Right now the challenge is growing jobs and housing; in the future, it will be to build water infrastructure (like desalination plants) when the Sierra Nevada can no longer hold onto its snowpack, and to build vertical farms when the Central Valley can no longer support agriculture, whether it’s caused by drought, by a superstorm like the one in 1861 that turned it into a lake, or by saltwater intrusion into the aquifers. (The Midwest is also imperiled.) When there are climate refugees from Arizona, Florida, and Louisiana, we’ll want to be among the places that can welcome them and help them land on their feet, not the ones building walls and saying “No room! No room!”
As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache.( Top Two is a terrible primary system )
As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache.( Measures submitted to the voters )
- President and Vice President of the United States
Thanks to our electoral system, there are only two viable choices for President, protest votes are ineffectual, and often regretted. How many Nader voters are happy with their choice in 2000, after George W. Bush got us into a $3tn war in a country that posed no threat to us? If you want more than two choices, I commend your attention to FairVote, who support electoral reform that would give us more possibilities. If you want to make a stand, demand of your representatives that they commit to reform that will make more parties viable, so we can have more than two choices. And if you’re tired of the concept of “swing states” altogether, check out the National Popular Vote compact.
No matter what you see in the polls, the election belongs to the people who show up to vote; in the UK, people got complacent and wound up with a vote for Brexit that is inflicting ongoing damage to their economy. Please be sure to vote.( Just in case you haven’t already made up your mind... )
As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache. It’s a midterm election without even a senator on the ballot. That means you especially need to vote, because a lot of people won’t be bothering.( Political information cut to spare your sanity )
As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache.( Political information cut to spare your sanity )
As usual, I’ve written up my research notes for the coming election so you can all crib from my work. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite everyone to come to their own. Even if we disagree on everything, I’m still happy if this collection of links saved you a headache.( Offices and local measures )
As usual, I’ve written up my research notes for the coming election so you can all crib from my work. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite everyone to come to their own. Even if we disagree on everything, I’m still happy if this collection of links saved you a headache.( State Propositions )
Vote Easy is a Flash application from Project Vote Smart that matches you up with candidates by your policy preferences. If you find that a third party candidate matches your views better than a Democrat or Republican, consider supporting the Center for Voting and Democracy and Californians for Electoral Reform to give the two main parties some serious competition. If the influence of money in politics bothers you, check out Public Campaign and the California Clean Money Campaign.( Federal Office ) ( Statewide offices )
I’ve done my customary election research, and assembled my notes so you can all crib off my paper. I’ve given my conclusions based on the available data, and invite everyone to come to your own. Feel free to pass on links to anyone who would find them useful. If this helped you decide how to vote, even if only because you think I’m so reliably wrong you can just vote the opposite of whatever I choose, please leave a note here. Knowing I saved someone else a headache makes this effort worthwhile.( Statewide propositions ) ( County and District Measures )
If you’re disgusted with the available choices and want your choice of politicians to look more like a free market and less like a duopoly, or annoyed by having to worry about vote-splitting among too many candidates, I commend your attention to Californians for Electoral Reform; they’re promoting instant-runoff voting, which would make new political parties a real threat to the established ones. If you’re exasperated with the influence of money in politics and would like to try out clean elections, check out the California Clean Money Campaign.( California statewide offices )
As usual, I’ve done my research on for the upcoming election and written up my notes so everyone else can crib off my paper. Feel free to forward this on to anyone whom you think would find it helpful. If this helped you make up your mind, please leave a note here on my blog; even if you disagree with me on everything, I’m happy if I was able to save you time, and it makes all this worthwhile when I hear that I saved someone else a headache.( California propositions )