Monday, December 26, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Call it what you want, 'tis the season to be jolly

TUCSON -- Happy holidays, merry Christmas, super solstice, whatever.

Let us all find some true peace and happiness this season, remember good will to all, and reject the absurd idea that non-Christians want to 'end Christmas', as some wacko right-wingers have been claiming.

Enjoy the warm weather, smile and be nice. Most of us are luckier than we may think.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bush wants to sell out parks to corporate sponsors

WASHINGTON -- Bush officials, like National Park Service Director Fran Minella (middle here in the photo), want more corporate influence over America's National Parks.

People don't want 'Grand Canyon sponsored by Mega Corp', and it's unethical for the Bush administration and congress to underfund National Parks, then demand park staff become fundraisers by selling corporate sponsorships.

America's National Parks should not be sold out to crass commercialism and corporate logos, instead congress and Bush should fully fund the Park Service.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Junkies want crude fix from Alaska wildlife refuge

DEC 21 UPDATE: Senate blocks Alaska refuge drilling, for now. But both McCain and Kyl voted with Big Oil to halt debate about refuge conservation. Losers. Luckily enough true 'mavericks' did the right thing.

WASHINGTON -- The US Senate is in a battle over oil drilling in Alaska, America's last best wilderness, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, seen in the photo.

Arizona's Senators, McCain and Kyl, will likely split on this 'rider' attached to an important defense and hurricane relief spending bill. McCain should oppose this as he always has. Kyl will support as he always does and everything else evil.

Dick Cheney is cutting short a foreign trip to return to DC in case he needs to cast a tie-breaking vote for drilling. Probably better for foreign relations to keep that guy at home anyway, in his bunker.

We don't need to and shouldn't drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Conservation and better mileage requirements for new cars and trucks could easily replace all the oil that could ever be scraped from the refuge, which would be scarred forever if oil drilling happens.

This is a battle of future visions. The Bush/Cheney oil-heads pushing drilling in Alaska are stuck in the past. Other leaders, most Americans and people worldwide don't want oil drilling in wildlife refuges. The arctic itself is melting off and polar bears are dying due to global warming.

Oil is like heroin and we're the junkies. Big Oil Inc. Bush/Cheney are the pushers.

Gotta get that oil monkey off our backs. If we don't, it'll kill us.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Corrupt Hunter wants SW island for DoD game farm

SAN DIEGO -- US Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wants to remove southern California's Santa Rosa Island from Channel Islands National Park and give it to the military for exclusive use and exotic big game hunting.

After much opposition, he pulled this proposal on Friday, but promised to bring it back up and push it again.

Hunter, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and himself a big game hunter, is under investigation in the same unethical defense contractor payoff scandal that forced fellow GOP hack Randy "Duke" Cunningham to resign.

The military already has a lot of permitted use of the Channel Islands, but Hunter wants to boot the public completely from Santa Rosa Island, and use it like a game farm for trophy hunters with military connections. This is a boneheaded shameful bad idea.

Hunting is already allowed on Santa Rosa Island, and as a hunter I am OK with that, but giving it all to exclusive use of military brass is immoral. The public outrage surrounding Rep. Hunter's extreme anti-environmental push is understandable and justified.

Hunter should follow fellow corrupt Republican Cunningham and resign now. I'm sure he could get a high paying job with a defense firm and still find a way to hunt on Santa Rosa Island.

Hunter likely won't resign, but he could lose in 06, or the investigation may take him down too like his buddy Duke.

There are lots of places in America for military and civilians to hunt, but there is only one Channel Islands National Park. The public interest says don't mess with it. Ot
her Reps. and the US Senate should say no to Hunter, and keep Santa Rosa Island in the National Park for all Americans to enjoy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Pope wants you to live more simply at Christmas

ROME -- The new Pope recently spoke out against over-consumption and corporate materialism associated with Christmas, calling it 'pollution'.

I usually don't agree with the Pope, but he's right on about this. I do wonder how much the Pope actually simplifies his own rich lifestyle at the Vatican?

The Pope sounds here like another global faith leader, the Dalai Lama, who has been calling for more simple living for a long time.

Find love and peace this season. If you find it for real you won't have to charge it to your credit card.

All I want for Christmas is some cleaner air in Tucson.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Undergrounding I-10 downtown makes sense

TUCSON -- Undergrounding I-10 through downtown makes a lot of sense and I support it.

The freeway has been a major barrier between downtown and the westside for too long. Undergrounding the elevated freeway between Speedway/St. Marys and 22nd/29th will improve quality-of-life by reducing noise and eliminating the dividing 'wall effect' the road now has.

The reclaimed land above the tunnel could be an attractive park, just like Seattle's Freeway Park on top of an underground I-5 as seen in the photo.

Much of the traffic on I-10 is just moving through Tucson on the federal road, therefore the feds can help pay the cost of improving it.

Tucson City Manager Mike Hein and others are doing the right thing by taking one last hard look at the undergrounding option. I hope it works.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Government kills Tookie Williams' peace message

SAN QUENTIN PRISON CA -- Maybe he did it, maybe not, but no matter what he's dead now. Tookie Williams, famous LA 'Crips' gang founder convicted of four murders, but then turned peacenik in prison.

I thought the CA Gov. may let him live the rest of his life in prison, but why would the Terminator leave anyone alive?

I don't support state-sponsored killing. Since the death penalty was reinstated in the US, the government has killed a prisoner every 10 days on average.

Are we better off as a world with Tookie Williams killed by the state? I don't think so, and I'll always have concern when the government holds such extreme powers to kill people. You should too.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bush lets down US and world on global warming

MONTREAL -- Bush administration delegates acted shamefully -- walking out and refusing to cooperate -- at the international meeting of nations on how to deal with global warming pollution.

Luckily other nations were not amused or influenced by the U$A tantrums. The global community agreed to new talks on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Global warming is not a joke. It is not debated scientifically. It is happening, and we better get serious now about curbing it. Our children (and my child) depend on action now, not more hot air BS from Bush, big energy lobbyists, and Dick Cheney.

Bush could've and should've taken responsibility in Montreal for solving a major problem America mostly created. Instead he foolishly ducks and makes excuses, jeopardizing the future of life on Earth as we know it. I hope other world citizens realize so many Americans are against Bush's immoral administration, and give us another chance when we finally decide to help solve crucial world problems like global warming.

Even though Bush is a big problem, Americans can still realize big progress through individual daily action. Energy conservation and cutting our driving habitats would help clean the air and cut global warming pollution, and we'd be healthier too. Do it and you'll feel better.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Send Farley to capitol to fight right-wing House

TUCSON -- Local activist, artist, and environmentalist Steve Farley is being considered by Pima County dem leaders for appointment to the Arizona State Legislature. He would be a good choice, and is gutsy for even considering taking a punishing position in the wacko House.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors is considering who to appoint to State Senate to replace Gabrielle Giffords, who just stepped down to run for congress. If one of the current State Reps for that district, Ted Downing or David Bradley, is moved to the Senate, then a House seat opens up.

The Pima Supervisors should appoint Downing to Senate, and Farley to House. The State of Arizona would benefit from his vision and motivation.

I'm hoping for Giffords v. Ray Carroll in 06 for the District 8 US House seat being vacted by Jim Kolbe. We couldn't lose, either one would be good, certainly better and more progressive than Kolbe.

But Carroll may not run, figuring he's got it pretty good now and can get more done as a Pima Supe. Can't blame anyone for not wanting to move to Washington.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ecologist joins Tucson Planning Commission

TUCSON -- Thanks to Vice Mayor and City Councilman Steve Leal, I've been selected to help the Mayor and Council plan future development in the city. It is an important position and I look forward to serving the public-interest.

Read the news release. My first meeting is Wednesday evening.

The city of Tucson is the second largest in Arizona, and 32nd largest in the U.S. - bigger than Atlanta, Oakland, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Sacramento, Miami, and others - with an estimated 512,000 residents in 2004. Tucson is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation; it is the regional hub of Pima County and Southern Arizona.

I plan to focus on promoting quality of life, boosting infill development, conserving water and wildlife habitat, increasing clean renewable energy use, improving air quality, expanding clean transit, and reducing the "urban heat island" effect. I am particularly interested in a move by the city to join the county's Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.

What are your thoughts for improving sustainable development and quality of life in Tucson?

Monday, December 05, 2005

New Tucson City Council starts today

TUCSON -- Newly elected city council members Karin Uhlich and Nina Trasoff officially took office today at a well-attended ceremony downtown. Long-time councilman Steve Leal was also sworn in for another term, and elected vice-mayor.

Outgoing councilman Fred Ronstadt showed some grace and gave a pretty cool outgoing speech after he sparked up a fat cigar. Kathleen Dunbar had nothing to say.

Hopes are running high for this council. Let's work with them to help make Tucson a better place.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Kyl may be 'grinch of the year'

TUCSON -- Jobs with Justice is hosting the annual 'grinch of the year' party tonight.

There are several bad candidates worthy of the dishonor, but my vote is for US Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) for his consistent efforts against fairness, freedom, environment, and the public interest.

Kyl recently bragged on Arizona Illustrated about his role in writing the USA Patriot Act. What a jerk!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Off-roading holiday of death & destruction at dunes


OFF-ROADING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION AT CALIFORNIA DUNES

People & child killed, land trashed, yet Bush Interior Dept. wants to expand off-roading

GLAMIS, CA – Over 200,000 off-roaders mobbed the Algodones (Imperial) Sand Dunes over the Thanksgiving holiday. At least six people were killed in off-roading incidents in Imperial County, including a five-year-old boy. At least one off-roader overdosed. The environment, air, and endangered species habitat were trashed.


Hospitals in Imperial and Yuma County were slammed. Imperial County Deputy Coroner Henry Proo called it “the worst weekend I have ever seen.” (Yuma Sun, Nov. 27).

Despite all the death and environmental destruction, the Bush Interior Department is still aggressively pushing to expand off-roading at the dunes by reversing a five-year-old conservation agreement.

“What doesn't BLM (Bureau of Land Management) understand about Glamis? Despite spending millions of dollars out there, an irreplaceable national landmark is being destroyed, children are being killed, mayhem continues, and BLM acts like everything would be just hunky-dory if they could just have more off-roaders out there. It's madness!” said Karen Schambach, California Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER represents the concerns of many affected Interior Department biologists and staff.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced it will reconsider an off-road industry demand to end Endangered Species Act protection for the Peirson’s milk-vetch, an endangered attractive flowering plant found only at the Algodones Dunes.

Off-road industry lobbyists pushed for the de-listing before, but just last year FWS biologists said it was not justified. But this spring, Bush Interior Department political appointee Julie MacDonald took a trip to the dunes with off-road lobbyists to discuss ending Endangered Species Act protection for the milk-vetch.

Several months ago, the Center for Biological Diversity's Deserts Program filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking details of MacDonald’s trip, but Interior has not released the records. U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, who represents Imperial County, has been asked to investigate.

A federal court recently ruled that the flat-tailed horned lizard must be considered for Endangered Species Act protection in part due to off-roading damage in Imperial County.

In addition to the Peirson’s milk-vetch, the desert tortoise and dozens of endemic dunes plants and animals are imperiled by extreme off-roading at the Algodones Dunes. Hikers, birdwatchers, photographers and other people are displaced from the dunes by hordes of off-roaders and related dangers.

Watch for more problems and deaths every weekend, but especially over Christmas & New Years, Presidents Day, and Easter. At least two off-roaders were killed at the dunes over Halloween.

The Algodones Dunes are a fragile and scenic place being sacrificed to ‘Mad Max on meth’ mayhem. People and the environment are being killed out there due to Bush administration and industry anti-conservation ideology, and it has to stop.