Friday, June 30, 2006

Fight fire with fire, not news scare and stupidity

TUCSON -- Fire! shouts the news everyday. Fires are natural this time of year, and helpful to the health of southwestern forests.

Have you been up to Mt. Lemmon lately to see the great natural restoration and return of aspen forests after the aspen fire? It looks great.

Every year the media bumbles this issue, focusing only on fear and not fact. Reporters usually fail to point out that urban sprawl in to forested areas in AZ is the real problem, especially when city slickers move in and don't maintain defensible fire-safe spaces around their homes.

Don't you start a fire, but we should let the natural lightning caused fires burn. Our public forests need to and will burn, but they'll burn much bigger and hotter after years of vegetation build-up as smaller fires are put out. We have to stop doing this.

The feds (Forest Service, BLM, etc.) and states should stop spending billions and risking fire fighters' lives every summer trying to put out needed forest fires.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

New arena downtown may not be wise spending

TUCSON -- Now that the state has extended the city's Rio Nuevo tax, some say developing a big new arena downtown is a top priority for the Rio Nuevo project.

We already have an arena (see photo) downtown. Often these giant buildings sit underused, hogging large spaces that could be better used daily by residents and business.

TCC is good enough for the Dalai Lama. I'm not sure we need a new arena. Tucson needs other local businesses downtown, and more people living there and close by.

Unless Tucson is going to get a NBA team (not happenin' now, but should) a big new arena may not be the best way to spend our Rio Nuevo money.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Blogging without real action won't bring revolution

TUCSON -- Former 'Enviro Hanky' blogger Jeneiene Schaffer makes some important points in her commentary on blogs in tomorrow's Tucson Weekly. Pretty good and mostly right on. But Wild Oats parking!?! Lame.

Blogging alone won't do much, but some real world action, street knowledge, and a blog could do a lot more.

Not driving to Wild Oats, or spending there at all, would also help our local society.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Suffering desert wildlife kicked by anti-green Bush

SAN DIEGO -- Continuing his attack on endangered wildlife, Bush's US Fish & Wildlife (dis)Service will announce Wednesday it again won't protect the imperiled and declining flat-tailed horned lizard under the Endangered Species Act.

This very cool and fascinating native lizard lives in the lower Sonoran Desert of Yuma County AZ, and San Diego, Imperial, and Riverside Counties CA.

The flat-tailed horned lizard is primarily threatened by off-road vehicles and habitat loss.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other greens have been pursuing protection for this lizard for many years, and will keep up the fight to prevent its extinction.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Big energy SCE wants huge powerline to rip Ariz.

LOS ANGELES -- Big energy corporation Southern California Edison is proposing a new huge power line from AZ to SoCal.

The proposed Devers-Palo Verde #2 Power Line Project would very likely bring more power plants and global warming pollution to AZ and Mexico, so power traders could wheel energy and maximum profit to SoCal urban sprawl.

The huge 500 kV line would also chop up desert landscapes and wildlife, including the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes recently sent an important letter on this issue, pointing to a likely conflict of interest with Arizona Public Service/Pinnacle West and asking for removal of an APS 'expert witness'. APS is supporting SCE on this mega energy project, looking at it as a big money maker.

It's time for SoCal (and AZ) to start producing a lot more local clean power, rather than expanding pollution and the unreliable grid across the west.

ACC should turn down this unneeded power line, and so should the BLM and California Public Utilities Commission.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Monsoon storms trying to spark in southern Arizona

TUCSON -- The 06 monsoon is trying to start, but dewpoints are not high enough yet.

We need 3 days in a row of dewpoint above 54 degrees for the summer rains to really start. You can feel the humidity growing.

Mother Nature, please bring us a good monsoon with lots of rain this year.

Fill our cistern, and clean up this town and our air. Make our dry rivers flow.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bighorn or sheep ranching on your wildlands?

MONO COUNTY CA -- On the hunt for rare Sierra Nevada bighorn, and threats to their survival and recovery.

A top historical threat to bighorn is fatal disease spread by subsidized domestic sheep grazing in bighorn habitat. In Arizona and other western states domestic sheep spread diseases have wiped out entire bighorn herds.

Domestic sheep are still a big threat to the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn, especially on Humbolt-Toyaibe National Forest public lands.

Monday, June 19, 2006

South downtown gaining investment, vibes, energy

TUCSON -- As the city's Rio Nuevo project struggles elsewhere, investment keeps happening on the south side of downtown.

17th St. Market, Ice House Lofts, Armory Park del Sol, Tucson Yoga, and now Barrio Brewery are establishing a more lively environment south of downtown, and all without help from the city's Rio Nuevo project office.

S. 4th Av. in South Tucson is looking much better, with new good restaurants and shops opening on the curving slow artsy street.

The city's Quincie Douglas Center pool and great library are nice new attractions.

I'll admit, I may be biased because we also live just south of downtown, but more is happening down here. For sure it is pushing up property values, but also traffic and cost of living -- both good and bad.

We don't want commuter and truck traffic cutting through our neighborhoods. We also want to keep families in place, and not let gentrification push old timers out.

There are still obstacles to overcome downtown, such as the city's outdated and pavement heavy excessive parking requirements. I hope to have a chance to propose reform from the city planning commission.

Overall, south downtown -- from the Barrio, to Armory Park, Santa Rita Park, South Tucson, and others -- is a good place to live, and getting better.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bloggers sell out and harm blogosphere with ads

TUCSON -- Seems more and more bloggers are allowing corporate advertising on their blogs for pay.

How much can these bloggers really be making for the ad sell outs? Who really clicks on these ads? Maybe more suckers than I know.

Perhaps calling ad bloggers sell outs is a little too harsh, but I find ads on blogs wack, cheesy, and harmful to independence and credibility.

I won't have ads on this blog, unless of course I get an offer that can make me lots of money and I want some new toys.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Global warming melts snow fast, drying CO River

DENVER -- Fast warm up in the high Rockies, likely related to global warming pollution, is quickly melting a big snowpack. Warmer temps and fast runoff mean less water in the Colorado River this summer, and less water for Arizona agriculture and cities, despite big snowfall in the Rocky Mountains this winter.

" got very warm, very quickly in the upper basin, so snow melted very rapidly. That means we lost more water to evaporation and seeping into the ground," said to AP by Terry Fulp of the US Bureau of Reclamation, the agency that oversees management of the river.

Big ag, Maricopa County cities, tribes, and the City of Tucson Water Dept. keep using more CAP water to fuel urban sprawl, and wasteful crops & feedlots, worsening the situation.

As the drought grows, both 'lakes' Powell and Mead are forecast to be about 50% empty this summer. The Colorado River delta continues to die and retreat away from the Sea of Cortez in a maze of hard salt.

While it is a huge threat now to the arctic, global warming pollution is also a major threat to deserts, rivers, and Arizona.

We can't drink money, gold, or oil. We need enough clean water.

Friday, June 16, 2006

My dad chills at lake as we sweat in Arizona sauna

BURT LAKE MI -- I salute my dad, Dave, this father's day. He's living it up in his northwoods location as we sweat it out in the Sonoran Desert of Tucson.

Thanks and love to you always dad.

Now that I'm the dad of Ruby, father's day means even more to me. It means I can do whatever I want on Sunday.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bush creates ocean reserve gov't may not protect

HONOLULU -- President Bush actually did something good for the ocean environment today and designated a big marine 'reserve' National Monument across 1200 miles of the NW Hawaiian Islands in the mid-Pacific.

Must not be any oil, gas, or developable lands there.

The move generally pleased Hawaiian officials and most conservation groups, even though commercial fishing could still be allowed for 5 more damaging years, stalling full protection of coral reefs and endangered species like the monk seal seen here.

Big commercial fishing may fight conservation and monument status, which could be undone by congress. Global warming pollution, which Bush is doing little to nothing about, remains a huge threat here and worldwide to coral reef ecosystems.

Another big concern is the poor record of the Bush administration on actual management of national monuments. Places like Grand Canyon-Parashant and Sonoran Desert National Monuments in Arizona have been neglected and abused under this president.

Nevertheless, Bush should be thanked for this move, and then be watched and pushed to ensure full funding and protection for this and all national monuments.

Interestingly, the designation embraces the 'buyout concept' for fishing permits, a similar proposal is being advanced to help retire damaging livestock grazing on arid public lands.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ralph Horowitz PE#1 for LA urban farm destruction

LOS ANGELES -- Developer Ralph Horowitz forced the eviction and destruction of a 14 acre community farm in south LA.

What a jerk! Typical developer.

Over 40 people were arrested, and the garden bulldozed. Special props to mi amigo John Quigley for organizing and leading the direct action defense of the farm. Oh yeah, and Darryl Hannah for bringing out the cameras.

The City of LA and LA County shouldn't have raided the garden. Now local gov't must do the right thing, take the land back from Horowitz, and restore the community farm.

This developer has no 'right' to make a $11M+ profit on land he got from the city in the first place. Even then, he was offered the money, but turned it down because he simply wanted the farm destroyed. The public-interest here clearly favors keeping the south LA farm, and it should be kept a public garden even if Horowitz turns down the money.

Tucson and Arizona need more urban community farms. Growing healthy neighborhood food is a much better use of water than golf.

Elsewhere on the coast, a tourist (no, not one escaping blazing Arizona) was run over and killed on the beach by Oxnard CA police driving a big GM SUV. The mother from Iowa was sunbathing when her head was run over.

Cops, get smart and get your SUVs off the beach. How about walking?

Germans win, then drunk futbol fans & police riot!

GERMANY -- The host German team beats Poland in the world cup today in a rather boring 1-0 game, but then riots with police break out.

Reminds me of public and police response in Tucson to a University of Arizona final four basketball win or loss. Sports riots are always the best, but the tear gas is hell.

Go Mexico in the World Cup.

Bring back 'Don't Tread On Me' flag for freedom

TUCSON -- This flag day we should remember and fly the so-called Gadsden flag, with the famous motto 'Don't Tread On Me' and coiled snake.

How about a popular movement to bring back this flag as a banner against Bush/Cheney/War/Oil, Inc., global warming pollution & environmental destruction, and big intrusive gov't spying?

The flag's message is to the gov't.

'Me' and the snake is all us citizens, wildlife, our civil rights and freedoms.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Who are smart pro media commentators in S. AZ?

TUCSON -- Mark Kimble of the Tucson Citizen is a top local editor and opinion commentator. He is a centrist, and almost always has smart insight and solutions for issues we now face.

Plus Mark volunteers some of his time to help local non-profit causes such as KUAT.

Tucson could use some more smart minds like Kimble's to publicly articulate our situation and what to do about it.

M. Hernandez and Ernesto Portillo of the Star are also good, as is Jim Nintzel of the Weekly, and Billie Stanton at the Citizen.

KXCI radio could use some new political voices on Sunday afternoon. They are all pretty tired right now.

Of course, this and many other Arizona blogs also deserve praise for news and solid opinions.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Baboquivari sees the growing TON border crisis

TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION (SELLS AZ) -- Baboquivari peak looks down on a big area of the TON in southern Arizona and northern Sonora, watching an increasingly bad situation on the border.

Jaguars may also be looking down from these mountains. The big cats been coming north from Mexico, but could be cut off by walls, roads, and border militarization.

Worked a hot day today with media and indigenous people about the harm caused to nature and people from border militarization and triple-wall plans coming from Bush and congress in DC.

Our society has to find a humane and environmentally friendly way to deal with immigration, but we're getting mostly bad and failed ideas from most current US political leaders, including too many dems.

Another problem is some pro-militarizers in the official government of the TON, who seem to be bought off by feds offering equipment and weapons to expand the tribal police dept.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

US mostly ignores World Cup global futbol fiesta

GERMANY -- The Futbol (soccer) World Cup is on and worth watching. Crazy fans, and fun games.

Mexico plays Iran Sunday at 8:30am on Univision. This Mexican futbol fan, and many across Arizona and the SW will be cheering on Mexico.

Even the USA is said to have a chance this year. But will the US team get booed and scorned by international crowds due to the Iraq war, Bush/Cheney, border militarization, etc.? It wouldn't be surprising.

Interesting how the World Cup is such a huge global event, but most in the US hardly know. Is it another example of US isolation from the global community?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Progressive bloggers head to Las Vegas meeting

LAS VEGAS -- Lefty bloggers are gathering in mostly right-wing S. Nevada right now for a convention.

Have fun, but mainstream Vegas can really suck. There is some quality underground action, if you know the right locals.

I can't make it, but next year it should be in Tucson. Go nuts in Las Vegas you lefty blogger freaks.

Turn off your computer and get drunk, high, and see some naked people -- maybe even yourselves. Post some good photos.

Frog Mountain calls to enhance your coolness

CORONADO NATIONAL FOREST -- The high Santa Catalina Mountains (aka Frog Mountain, Mt. Lemmon) are calling. Chillin' in the westy.

New shiny aspen leaves shaking in the restored Sky Island firescape above glowing metro Tucson.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

GM 'no routes' ad mirrors its gas guzzling demise

DETROIT -- While watching the NBA finals tonight, I saw a distubing and unethical 'then and now' ad by General Motors.

One part of the ad said, 'then, Route 66; now no route at all', showing a 10 mpg Hummer off-roading over big rocks in a place like Arizona, and a big Chevy truck thrashing and mud-bogging in a fragile stream for fun.

Trashing landscapes and streams, this is what GM and industry means when they support 'tread lightly' concepts.

GM is irresponsible with this ad. I grew up in a GM town. GM is environmentally irresponsible overall with still too much focus on gas guzzling SUVs, which relates significantly to the company's continued decline.

Miami Heat will beat Dallas Mavs in 6 games

DALLAS -- The NBA finals start today, and I'm picking the Miami Heat to win in 6 games.

I'm really a big Lakers and Pistons fan, but since Miami took out Detroit I'm pulling for Shaq, D. Wade, and the Heat.

I also like to pack heat, so why not cheer for them, and have you checked out those Heat girls? Almost as good as the Laker girls.

Phoenix Suns fans should pull for Dallas, since the Mavs took them down.

Should be a good series.

Enjoy, because after this it's just baseball.

J. Schaffer's blog done, a loss for AZ smart blogs

TUCSON -- Great writer and blogger Jeneiene Schaffer has retired her blog, Enviro Hanky.

Thanks and love to you, Jeneiene.

We'll miss your blog, but watch and listen for your leadership on the streets where the real action is.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Nature hating US Rep. Pombo vulnerable to lose

TRACY CA -- Showing vulnerability, nearly 40% of republicans voted in yesterday's California primary against incumbent US Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA 11), the notorious GOP anti-conservation chair of the US House Resources Committee.

The Resources Committee is highly important on western and conservation issues, and has a lot of influence on public lands and wildlife in states like Arizona. Pombo's biggest crusade is elimination or severe weakening of the Endangered Species Act, America's most important environmental law.

Good job former congressman and Endangered Species Act champ Pete McCloskey (R) taking on Pombo's zealotry.

Now let's see dem Jerry McNerney take down Pombo in November.
We can't afford Pombo's destructive ways anymore in the congress.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Elias & Carroll say no to Diebold voting in Pima

TUCSON -- Pima County Supervisors Richard Elias (D, Chair) and Ray Carroll (R) did the right thing today voting against the purchase of controversial and untrustworthy Diebold voting computers.

The rest of the board reportedly voted to buy the machines, but whether they would ever be used is still a question. Why buy them then?

These computers cannot be trusted to run fair elections. Way too many people can hack and change computer info, switching votes in places like Ohio, or Arizona.

Good job, Elias & Carroll voting to protect fair and accountable public voting in Pima County.

Huge sprawl dust strorm blasts Tucson to Phoenix

MARANA -- Urban sprawl and desert agriculture, combining with storms and big winds, are right now pushing a huge dust storm toward metro Phoenix.

Massive dust clouds miles wide and hundreds of feet tall are moving at 20 mph, as just seen on live local TV news. Incredible air pollution; very harmful to human health.

Arizona dustbowl 2006. Eat dust. The taste and sting of 'progress'.

The AZ 4Cs: construction, cotton, choking, and cancer.

No thanks sprawl developers, welfare ag, and uncaring AZ dustbowl politicians!

June monsoon flash, rumble & wets SE Arizona

TUCSON -- A rare June monsoon storm hit south of downtown (my 'hood) about 3pm today.

Very cool, literally -- the temp fell about 10-15 degrees.

Lots of lightning, wind, and thunder, but I was not killed.

Some real big drops rain coated the ground, dripped on my skin, and swished in to my cistern.

Like good sex, you could smell its tastiness.

More, more, more, mmmm....

A good day in the Sonoran Desert.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Tucson Water serving big biz & next million people

TUCSON -- Why is Tucson Water pushing to raise rates again so soon after their $142,000,000 bond approvals in May 2005? These bonds included money to expand the 'clearwater' facility and increase use of (bad) CAP water.

Tucson needs to do more to curb water use and urban sprawl. Relying on CAP water is a mistake due to the major over-allocation of the CO River.

It always seems Tucson Water is not working for current customers or public-interest, but instead big developers' money interests and the next million people they want to move in to Metro Tucson.

If rates are to be raised, it should be on commercial and big users only, not average homeowners.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Rep. Grijalva's party brings out stars, rain and wind

TUCSON -- A party last evening for the re-election of Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ 7) brought out a lot of great people to his S. 6th Av. HQ. Many VIPs enjoyed it, including me and my family, and other S. Arizona grassroots leaders and officials.

Mother Nature brought sunset microbursts, rain, and an Oklahoma-style duststorm, sending most inside. The rain was very nice and always welcome, especially in this extreme drought year.

Rep. Grijalva has been doing a great job representing the public-interest and his constituents from Tucson to Nogales and Yuma to the West Valley. He deserves re-election.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Million buck voting prize a good idea for Arizona

TUCSON -- A Tucson doctor is pushing a ballot initiative to reward voters with a grand prize.

It works like this: the Voter Rewards Initiative sets up drawings every two years. Anyone who votes in the general election or primaries is automatically entered into a drawing for a million dollars. The money comes from the unclaimed prize fund of the Arizona lottery.

This is a good idea to increase voter turnout. It'll be interesting to see who comes out against it -- the forces that want to keep voting down.

If it gets on the ballot it'll pass.