Archive | December, 2010

Surf City: 2 inches of rain last night, 7 inches in past week; street closures noted

Surf City: 2 inches of rain last night, 7 inches in past week; street closures noted

The following weather update was released by the City of Huntington Beach at 11 a.m. this morning.

Last night the City had the heaviest rain this year with nearly 2 inches of rain as recorded by our pump stations.  This adds to a total of 7.03 inches for the last seven days.  The forecast is heavy rain today but clearing up the remainder of the week.  Public Works crews have been dispatched the last two nights addressing localized flooding, tree down calls, potholes, and building roof leaks.  The flood pump stations have worked well with no loss of equipment with several running at high levels during the heaviest rains.  Currently 10 park trees and 13 parkway trees have fallen down and 60 tons of debris has been removed from the streets and parks.  There have been three reports of private property damage due to downed trees.  In several parks trees will be delineated off until the saturated soil can dry enough that equipment can access the trees without damaging the turf areas. 

Current Closures:

  • The south bound lane of Magnolia, south of Hamilton, was closed at 8:00 AM this morning due to flooding of the street.  North bound lanes remain open.
  • The parking lot for Central Park off Slater Avenue has been closed due to flooding. 

Public Works crews will continue to monitor the coming rain, maintain storm drains, fill potholes, and remove debris from the streets today and tomorrow.  During the closure next week Public Works Crews will be on-call if there are any additional needs. 

One last note: Sandbags are available to Huntington Beach citizens at the Corporate Yard located at 17371 Gothard Street.  The yard will be open during business hours 7:30 am to 5 pm, December 22 and 23.

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Wikileaks: Rohrabacher subverted U.S. foreign policy & shilled for friends on Honduras trip

Wikileaks: Rohrabacher subverted U.S. foreign policy & shilled for friends on Honduras trip

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Confidential State Department memos released through Wikileaks and the New York Times show that Surf City’s congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, tried to obtain special favors for his friends while undermining Obama’s foreign policy during a visit with Honduran coup d’état leaders in the later part of January and start of February last year.

A military coup had recently overthrown the democratically elected president, Manuel Zalaya, who remains exiled to this day. Representatives of the new government, under the titular leadership of President Porfirio Lobo, pressed Rohrabacher to help them restore U.S. aid that had been withdrawn because of the coup.

Based on the documents, the Times reported that “Using his status as a senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Rohrabacher cheered his hosts in Honduras by openly challenging the Obama administration’s foreign policy agenda there..”

The Times also reported that “…Mr. Rohrabacher’s trip last February was different because he pushed for small, specific companies with which he had personal and political ties. The coin dealer, John R. Saunders, is a big contributor to Mr. Rohrabacher’s campaigns, dating back at least a decade. The president of SG Biofuels, Kirk Haney, is a friend of Mr. Rohrabacher’s wife and a former intern in the congressman’s office, Mr. Rohrabacher said, as well as a contributor.”

Click here to read the complete New York Times story.

Rohrabacher met with the president of the Honduran Supreme Court and congratulated the court for its ruling justifying the removal of president Zalaya from office, one memo indicates.

“He urged the Government of Honduras to eschew establishing a ‘truth commission,’ asserting that the ‘Supreme Court is the truth commission’ and that any further investigation into the events of the summer would result in continued political division and animosity in the country,” the once-secret memo says.

Rohrabacher and his “delegation,” including representatives of SG Biofuels—one of whom interned for Rohrabacher and is a friend of his wife—met with Ramon Espinoza, President Lobo’s science advisor and agricultural expert, and a government economist to discuss introducing the seed of a strain of Jatropha, a biofuel being developed for the company the University of California at San Diego, to Honduran small farmers.

Current City Councilmember James Righeimer also accompanied the congressman. Righeimer was Rohrabacher’s campaign chairman in his last two reelection campaigns.

The leaked State Department cables are reprinted below.

Date 2010-02-24 20:28:00

Source Embassy Tegucigalpa

Classification CONFIDENTIAL

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TEGUCIGALPA 000169

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/22/2020
TAGS: ECON, PGOV, OVIP, PREL, HO
SUBJECT: ROHRABACHER CODEL

1. (SBU) Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) visited
Honduras January 31-February 2 and called on Hondurans to
“turn the page” on the political events of the summer.
Congressman Rohrabacher commended the Honduran
people for their commitment to democracy and said he would
urge the U.S. government to re-instate revoked U.S. visas.
Congressman Rohrabacher expressed concern that
establishment of a “truth commission,” as called for by the
Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, would have the effect of
continuing to divide Hondurans. Congressman Rohrabacher,
who was accompanied by several American businessmen and
investors, endorsed US investment and particularly lauded
the benefits of the development of biofuel industry in
Honduras. He enthusiastically promoted a start-up biofuel
company, SG Biofuels. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Congressman Dana Rohrabacher visited Honduras
January 31-February 2, accompanied by President and
Vice-President of SG Biofuels, Kirk Haney and Greg
Simon-Miro;
John Saunders and James Righeimer; and political consultant
Mark Klugman. The delegation met on February 1 with
President
Porfirio Lobo, who was accompanied by Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs Mario Canahuati; with President of Congress
Juan Orlando Hernandez; and with Science Advisor to the
President Ramon Espinoza. The delegation met on February 2
with President of the Supreme Court Jorge Alberto Rivera
Aviles. The Ambassador and the Embassy country team
provided Congressman Rohrabacher with a briefing. In
addition to these official meetings, the delegation met
independently and informally with several important actors
in the Honduran political scene including: former President
Ricardo Maduro; current Mayor of Tegucigalpa Ricardo
Alvarez; businessmen Camilo Atala, Robert Vinelli and
Richard Vinelli; and President of the Honduran Association
of Small Renewal Energy Producers Elsia Paz.

TURNING THE PAGE ON THE COUP D’ETAT

3. (SBU) Throughout his visit, Congressman Rohrabacher
stressed his great admiration for the commitment of the
Honduran people to democracy. He warned of the danger of
allowing “caudillos” or strongmen, like Cuban President
Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to
assume control and praised the recently replaced Honduran
de facto regime. (Note: Rohrabacher did not request a
meeting with Roberto Micheletti. End Note).

4. (SBU) In his conversation with President of Congress
Juan Orlando Hernandez on February 1, Congressman
Rohrabacher told Hernandez that he was an emissary of
Honduras’ friends in Congress, in particular member of
Congress Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Congressman Rohrabacher told
Hernandez he believes it is important to bring closure to
the Honduran political crisis. Hernandez agreed that
Honduras needs to put the crisis behind it, adding that the
political amnesty decree passed by the congress on January
26 will contribute to that.

5. (SBU) Hernandez told Congressman Rohrabacher that it is
difficult to understand why some foreign nations have not
recognized the government of President Porfirio Lobo.
Hernandez noted that the electoral process that led to the
November 29 general election began long before the June 28
coup d’etat and was organized by an autonomous body, the
Supreme Electoral Tribunal. Hernandez asked Congressman
Rohrabacher for assistance with resumption of U.S.
assistance. Hernandez stated that some steps on
re-engagement had already taken place, noting his meeting
with the Ambassador earlier that day. Hernandez told
Congressman Rohrabacher that all political parties
represented in congress are ready to take measures to
attract foreign investment. Hernandez said that he is
committed to modernizing the congress and requested
information about the workings of U.S. congressional
committees.

6. (C) Hernandez noted that he was scheduled to meet with
an Israeli delegation on February 5 to discuss their
concerns about Iranian contacts with Venezuelan President
Chavez; Hernandez added that he knew the U.S. was also
concerned about such contact.

TEGUCIGALP 00000169 002 OF 003

7. (SBU) During Congressman Rohrabacher’s meeting with the
President of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court
Justices on February 2, he congratulated the Supreme Court
for its actions in removing President Jose Manuel “Mel”
Zelaya from office. He urged the Government of Honduras to
eschew establishing a “truth commission,” asserting that
the “Supreme Court is the truth commission” and that any
further investigation into the events of the summer would
result in continued political division and animosity in the
country. He also explained that he would return to the US
and urge the administration to reissue visas for those
people whose visas were revoked or suspended in response to
the coup.

8. (SBU) The Supreme Court Justices each took the
opportunity to thank Congressman Rohrabacher for his
comments and defended the integrity of the legal process
used to remove President Zelaya. Justice Victor Manual
Martinez Silva said that the Organization of American
States (OAS) had expelled Honduras and the European Union
(EU) had censured Honduras without even hearing their legal
justifications and he urged that international financial
sanctions be removed. Justice Rosalinda Cruz Sequiera
observed that various human rights reports, including the
Committee on Inter-American Dialogue report, contained
statements that were “completely false” in referring to the
removal of former President Zelaya as a “coup d’etat”. She
expressed the belief that history would bear out the
correctness of their actions. Vice-President of the
Supreme Court-Jose Tomas Arita Valle emphasized that the
actions taken by the court were not driven by political
interests and were practically unanimous.

SUPPORTING US INVESTMENT IN HONDURAN BIOFUEL

9. (U) Congressman Rohrabacher and members of his
delegation met on February 1 with Ramon Espinoza, an
agricultural expert who serves as science advisor to
President Lobo. Mr. Espinoza was accompanied by Manlio
Martinez, a development economist who works in Mr.
Espinoza’s office. The economic counselor also attended
the meeting.

10. (SBU) Congressman Rohrabacher introduced Kirk Haney
and Greg Simon-Miro, representatives of the company SG
Biofuels, which has been developing a highly productive
strain of jatropha, a biofuel, in Guatemala. Congressman
Rohrabacher told Mr. Espinoza that experts from the
University of California at San Diego had been working with
the company to develop the strain. Haney said that the
company had planted 600 hectares of the seed, which is the
top-producing jatropha strain to date, in Guatemala. The
challenge now is to bring the technology to the market.
Haney told Espinoza that, when he first met with
Congressman Rohrabacher about this topic two years ago,
Congressman Rohrabacher had told him that the best way to
do this would be to make the seed available to small
farmers. The company would give the farmers a contract to
buy the seed at a pre-set price.

11. (SBU) Espinoza said that he had worked on a biofuel
project while in academia. He stated that he has talked
about biofuels to President Lobo and believes that the
President wants to make this area a priority. Espinoza
noted that Brazil had benefited from its foresight in
making this a priority starting in the 1980s. Honduras,
Espinoza said, is behind in this area and the challenge
will be to select two or three key priorities. He told
Congressman Rohrabacher that he had opposed Honduras’
emphasis on palm oil, since he does not think it is
advisable to turn a food material into an energy source,
given the distortions this causes to food prices. He said
that the jatropha project was an excellent opportunity.
Haney said that his company was not looking for special
favors from the Honduran government but wanted to make the
government aware that the project was available.

12. (SBU) Espinoza said that Honduras’s development is
hampered by the country’s lack of technical skills. He
noted that Intel had just announced that its highest-end
chip will be produced in Costa Rica, but that this type of
manufacturing would not be possible in Honduras. Congressman

TEGUCIGALP 00000169 003 OF 003

Rohrabacher recommended that Honduras develop its patent and
copyright framework so that there will be an incentive to
innovate.
The Congressman said one way that Honduras could attract
innovators would be to make income derived from patents and
copyrights tax-free.

13. (SBU) In a productive meeting with Ambassador Llorens,
the representatives from SG Biofuel presented their
proposal for initiating jatropha planting operations in
Honduras. The Ambassador and Congressman Rohrabacher
discussed the many ways that this serious initiative
coincides with the Mission’s Strategic Goals on renewable
energy. The Ambassador arranged break-out meetings for the
SG representatives with the economic section, Millenium
Challenge Corporation (MCC) and USAID to discuss further
opportunities for collaboration.

LLORENS
LLORENS

Destination

VZCZCXRO2439
PP RUEHAO RUEHRS
DE RUEHTG #0169/01 0552028
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 242028Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1731
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCSOUTH PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR JTF-BRAVO PRIORITY

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Beverages Bottled in PET Plastic Maybe Not Safe to Drink

Beverages Bottled in PET Plastic Maybe Not Safe to Drink

By Sarah (Steve) Mosko
Special to the Surf City Voice

The simple fact that Americans consume 1500 single-serve water bottles per second made of PET plastic has sufficed to make these disposable bottles a target of environmentalists concerned about the impact of so much trash. Until very recently, however, it has been assumed that the PET bottles pose no direct health risk to humans who drink from them.

New evidence that PET drink bottles can leach substances into the contents that mimic the sex hormone estrogen – phthalates and antimony – has put PET bottles in the crosshairs also of scientists worried about their health safety.

Scientists use the term xenoestrogens to describe foreign chemicals which act like estrogen in animal tissues. There has already been much ado in the media about BPA (bisphenol A), a different potent xenoestrogen found leaching from polycarbonate plastic which is used in many sports bottles and baby bottles. Now widespread in human tissues, BPA has been linked in hundreds of studies to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, breast and prostate cancer, infertility and attention deficit disorder.

But water, sodas and sports drinks are all sold in bottles made of PET or polyethylene terephthalate which does not contain BPA, so accumulating evidence that the contents of PET bottles can exhibit estrogenic activity has come as a surprise.

In a review of this topic published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in 2009, the executive director of the Pennsylvania-based Center for Research in Child and Adolescent Development, Leonard Sax, detailed the evidence that PET plastic is indeed a source of the phthalate and antimony contaminants in the beverages, a conclusion contested by the PET Resin Association which represents the makers of PET in North America. Continue Reading

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Mayor Carchio Appoints Self to County Boards: Salary could increase by over $15,000

Mayor Carchio Appoints Self to County Boards: Salary could increase by over $15,000

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Joe Carchio’s first act as the new mayor of Surf City will be to appoint himself as the city’s representative on the governing boards of four county agencies, giving him a combined salary increase of $15,040, according to a proposal he has submitted to other members of the city council. The increased responsibility and accompanying boost in pay would be a significant although temporary career advancement for Carchio, whose term as the new mayor lasts for one year.

The draft document was leaked to the Surf City Voice by a source at City Hall.

Combined with his mayor’s annual salary of $22,615, Carchio’s potential earnings would reach $37,665 a year, not including regular city provided benefits which last year ranged from $5,380 to $13,984 per city council member, according to Executive Management Salary Benefits Final August 2010 (2).

The mayor appoints representatives to paid positions on the boards of five Orange County government agencies, including: Sanitation District, Vector Control District, Public Cable Television Authority (PCTA), Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the West O.C. Water Board (WOCWB) as well as to other non-paid county positions.

Carchio proposes to appoint Councilmember Don Hansen’s protégé, Matt Harper (elected to the council for the first time in November), to SCAG which pays $120 per meeting with a maximum of four meetings per month.

Traditionally the mayor has appointed his/herself to the Sanitation District board. That position pays $170 per meeting with up to six meetings or $1,020 per month. Last year, Mayor Cathy Green appointed herself to the Sanitation District but put other council members on the remaining county agencies that pay their members. Continue Reading

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Mixed Court Decision on Senior Center Appeal by City

The following information relating to the City’s appeal of a 2009 court ruling curtailing the the use of Quimby funds and on the validity of the City’s Enviornmental Impact Report for the proposed senior center for Central Park was just recevied by the Voice from the City. The Voice has not had time to review the details but will follow up on the issue later.

Pacific City: Stalled downtown development would provide about $20 million for a proposed senior center in Central Park.

From: McGrath, Jennifer
To: CITY COUNCIL; Executive Team; CITY ATTORNEY; Payne, Laurie
Sent: Mon Dec 13 16:38:52 2010
Subject: Fw: Parks Legal Defense Fund v. HB (Decision in Senior Center Appeal)
I am pleased to report the Court of Appeals issued a favorable ruling in the Senior Center case today. As noted below, the City prevailed on the Measure C issue so there is no need for a new vote to proceed with construction. The City also prevailed on the right to use all of the Pacific City Quimby Fees to construct the Senior Center based on the statute of limitations.

These two issues were the core issues in the case.

Parks Legal Defense prevailed on the EIR and General Plan causes of action. The City has the opportunity to do a Supplemental EIR and General Plan amendment.

We are analyzing the impact of the decision on the attorney’s fees and the deadline for filing an appeal of the decision.

Jennifer

________________________________________
From: Fujii, John
To: McGrath, Jennifer
Cc: Field, Scott
Sent: Mon Dec 13 16:14:32 2010
Subject: Parks Legal Defense Fund v. HB (Decision in Senior Center Appeal)
Jennifer,

The Court of Appeal just issued its opinion in the Senior Center appeal. The Court of Appeal ruled it the City’s favor on the Measure C and Quimby Act claims. However, the Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Parks Legal Defense Fund on the CEQA and General Plan claims, which means that the City must certify a supplemental EIR and amend the General Plan. We need to determine how this opinion affects the attorneys’ fees appeal. A further memo with more in-depth analysis will follow.
John M. Fujii
Sr. Deputy City Attorney
Huntington Beach City Attorney’s Office
2000 Main Street, 4th Floor
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
phone: (714) 536-5623
fax: (714) 374-1590

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Joe Shaw: gay, but not the ‘gay councilman’

Joe Shaw: gay, but not the ‘gay councilman’

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

After being sworn in last Monday for his first term on the Huntington Beach City Council, Joe Shaw, who is openly gay, said he wasn’t surprised that he was elected.

“When I first came to Huntington Beach with my then partner eight years ago,” he reminisced in his acceptance speech , “we opened a business downtown and at once we were warmly embraced by the people of downtown, our customers and people from all over the city.”

Shaw says he and his partner were accepted “unconditionally and without judgment” and that “I looked at this beautiful city and its wonderful people and knew I had found a new home.”

Surf City does offer domestic partner benefits for city employees, but its citizens also reelected Dana Rohrabacher, one of the most homophobic representatives in Congress, by overwhelming vote margins for the past several decades.

Rohrabacher opposes marriage, adoption and military enlistment rights for openly gay or lesbian adults and he favors amending to the Constitution to define marriage as an act to occur between men and women only.

Rohrabacher’s anti-gay views might not be openly shared by most of his Surf City constituents, but they still hold sway in Orange County Republican politics and, at least indirectly, in Surf City politics.

One of the main reasons that the Orange County GOP didn’t endorse Barbara Delgleize—who lost fourth place in the city council election to Shaw by a handful of votes—is that she supports the right to same-sex marriage, according to reports in the Republican blog Red County, including one written by OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh.

Robert Gentry, who served on the Laguna Beach City Council 1982 – 1992, was the first openly gay elected official in Orange County, but Shaw is the only one currently holding office in the county.

Shaw will concentrate on being the “best councilman I can be,” not the “gay city councilman,” he said. But he believes that his victory should provide hope to others.

“I must acknowledge it,” he said, “because it will make a difference in many peoples’ lives to know that this is possible in Huntington Beach and Orange County. It does get better.”

Lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered people want the same things in life that everyone else does, Shaw said, explaining the broader significance of his victory. “We want good schools, safe and well maintained streets, clean water and air, and abundant open space,” he said.

For his first-term priorities, Shaw hopes to tackle the city’s tough financial problems. “First, we have challenging financial conditions ahead of us. We have made some difficult cuts and will likely have to negotiate more. I intend to be fiscally prudent without harming our ability to provide our essential services,” he declared.

Not harming “essential services” is the obligatory mantra of even the most hawkish fiscal reformers on the city council, and those services are usually defined as police, fire and infrastructure, which includes just about everything a city government provides.

Protecting those services won’t be easy under the ongoing recession—likely to be exacerbated by plans to cut a $25 billion state budget deficit and federal tax cuts for the rich proposed by Obama and the new Congress—with little hope for state or federal bailout money for cities across the country.

Shaw’s goals for Surf City’s future are optimistic, however, including a proposed 25-year mobility plan designed to accommodate future development with alternative modes of transportation, “including buses, trollies, trains and bike ways.”

Shaw seeks to develop a more sustainable city by encouraging projects like the Community Garden set to open soon in the southeast portion of the city and he will try to encourage new business creation through deregulation, making sure that “all of our citizens are treated as valuable customers by the city.”

Shaw also announced that he will reappoint Blair Farley to the Planning Commission. Farley, who narrowly trailed Delgleize in the election, campaigned with Shaw and co-victor Connie Boardman as part of Team Huntington Beach.

Photo: Arturo Tolenttino for the SCV

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New Huntington Beach Mayor, Joseph John Carchio: ‘These are big shoes to fill’ (but a good deal too)

New Huntington Beach Mayor, Joseph John Carchio: ‘These are big shoes to fill’ (but a good deal too)

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Councilmember Joe Carchio will drive his shiny white (and, finally, fully licensed) 2010 Toyota Venza into the Huntington Beach mayor’s official parking space for the next year, thanks to the same council member who had hoped (informed sources say) a few months ago to put him out of office.

Don Hansen was supposed to be mayor, with Carchio following next year, according to Resolution 6320, which says that council members will rotate based by seniority to serve as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore for a one-year term.

Any council member who declines his or her turn goes to the end of the line, according to the resolution.

The 1991 city council enacted the resolution in order to prevent future councils from manipulating the selection process on behalf of special interests, according to current council member and former mayor Keith Bohr.

This is the first time since the resolution was passed that a city council hasn’t followed it.

But the resolution can be broken by a majority vote and that’s what happened during last Monday’s City Council meeting at Don Hansen’s request, with Carchio gladly accepting the honor of becoming mayor.

The vote was no surprise to readers of the Surf City Voice, which exclusively revealed last August that the seat swap between Carchio and Hansen—which will theoretically give the latter a campaign image boost if he decides to run for higher office in 2012—was as good as a done deal.

Hansen explains

Don Hansen: Economy is bad, but it will be fine in one year. Photo by Arturo Tolenttino, SCV

Carchio and Hansen both strongly denied the assertions made in the Voice story—as well as subsequent rumors that included Devin Dwyer becoming mayor—all the way up to Monday’s swearing in ceremony.

New council members Joe Shaw, Connie Boardman and Matt Harper, as well as reelected City Attorney Jennifer McGrath, were also sworn in.

As Hansen started the new city council’s first meeting with the motion to make himself Mayor Pro Tem and Carchio the mayor, his reason for it came across like the proverbial student’s claim that the dog ate his homework.

“As many of you know, I work in the financial sector and the economy…has really taken a toll on my business,” he explained. “And I had always looked forward to serving as mayor when I could do the best job that I possibly can.”

Unfortunately for Hansen and citizens both, “after deep reflection” about what would be best—not just for him and his family, “it did not seem to me that this would be the time where I could do the best for the citizens of Huntington Beach and the best job that I could possibly do.”

Considering that the mayor of Huntington Beach is a figurehead, with few additional duties attached to the role, one wonders how Hansen can give sufficient devotion to his current—less glamorous—but equally demanding role as a city councilman during the same economic hard times that, regrettably, now prevent him from serving as mayor.

Fortunately for Hansen and Surf City’s “citizens,” however, his admirable sacrifice can end in exactly one year. That’s because—almost paradoxically—even though the economy is bad now it is also getting a lot better now, according to Hansen.

“We are seeing the resurgence of my business,” he continued, “and I don’t want to forfeit in any way my ability to serve [as mayor] and do like to serve [as mayor] in 2012.”

Thank you, President Obama.

The new city council approved Hansen’s plan unanimously, 7-0. He will be Mayor Pro Tem now and Mayor in 2012, just in time for the next election campaign season, if he so chooses.

But as Carchio read an unusually coherent acceptance speech that he, wishfully perhaps, claimed to have “hasently” (sic) written, there seemed little doubt that a deal had been signed, sealed and delivered.

“When you get elected to the city council,” he said in deep reflection, “you realize that one day it would be your turn to be mayor.”

Mayor Joseph John Carchio is in good company, however, at least some of the time. “It’s so humbling to follow in the footsteps of some of the great mayors in the past,” he said, noting some of the ones who left well honored paths: Ralph Bauer, Dave Sullivan, Shirley Detloff, and Debbie Cook, to name a few.

“These are big shoes to fill,” he said in conclusion, promising that, “I will continue to carry the great traditions of the city.”

Cover photo: Arturo Tolenttino, SCV.

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How to Shrink America’s Energy Footprint

How to Shrink America’s Energy Footprint

By Sarah (Steve) Mosko
Special to the Surf City Voice

Americans today are generally aware that we consume far more energy per capita than most of the world’s peoples, over four times the world average and double that of regions like Japan and Europe which enjoy a similar standard of living. Most of us reflect on home gas and electric bills plus the fuel pumped into our cars’ gas tanks when judging our personal energy footprints.

But in reality it is all the “stuff” Americans accumulate that contributes most heavily to our total energy consumption. To understand why this is true, it is necessary to first get a handle on the ways societies utilize energy.

By convention, the energy-consuming activities of society are divided into the four sectors described below: residential, commercial, industry and transportation. The pie chart insert shows the percentage of total U.S. energy delivered in a year to each sector, according to recent U.S. Energy Information Administration figures. Note that the very same pie chart describes the average per capita energy consumption of Americans in the four sectors.

The residential sector reflects the energy used to run our homes (to power lighting, appliances and heating & cooling systems) and, at 15 percent, it’s the next to smallest pie piece. At 40 percent, the transportation sector is largest but includes all energy inputted to move both people and goods about, be it by car, truck, train, plane, boat or pipeline. Given that about half this amount goes into shuttling people, this means that personal transportation and running our homes together account for only about 35 percent of the energy we Americans use.

An additional 11 percent goes to meeting the energy demands of commercial/institutional buildings which constitute the entire service sector of society – businesses, organizations and institutions including schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, stores, restaurants,  theaters, etc. – all of which expend energy for lighting, temperature control systems and appliances like computers and faxes. Though relatively modest, the energy that supports these shared facets of society is overlooked by most of us when contemplating our energy footprint.

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