Wed, Aug

Where Do We Get The Green ($$) To Go Green?

ALPERN AT LARGE - It’s hoped that most of us (obviously not all of us) are aware that the downturn of the economy, and its endless languishing in the doldrums, will put a damper on our efforts to "go green". 

It’s also hoped that most of us (obviously not all of us) can adapt and keep an open-minded approach towards what it means to reasonably, sustainably and effectively "go green".

So a few fearless questions come to mind as we face the fearsome future together:

1) As a physician, I’m certainly very concerned about the ever-growing problems surrounding toxic solvents and industrial cleanups (link), but wonder if our green policy should go towards industrial cleanup as a primary goal instead of the many other far-reaching goals that don’t enjoy as much universal support?

2) As a big fan of clean rail cargo transport over less efficient and more polluting truck transport whenever possible, to say nothing of the economic benefits (link), where is the greater attention to the Alameda Corridor East and other cargo-related grade separation projects that will obviate the need for trucks in our immediate metropolitan area?

3) As an alarmed observer of the unsustainable housing costs that got us into this mess, with the U.S. limiting the size of home loans it will guarantee to $625,000 (link), how will this affect the prices of more costly Californian homes and the ability of property taxes to fund our green initiatives, which are (like it or not) really expensive?

4) As an angry but helpless opponent of the power of the big banks that were either encouraged and/or even forced into pursuing gobs of unsustainable subprime loans over the past 10-15 years, can we afford ALL of the expensive green initiatives until we’ve shored up the housing industry, homeowners and our economy) (Link)

5) As a perpetual critic of government that loses its credibility to do any green or other initiatives when it appears corrupt with the taxpayers’ money (link), is our Governor really going to get taxpayers and businesses to cough up more taxes until California cleans up its act?

6) As a big fan of sustainable land use policies, with our policies currently aimed at markedly increasing the population of the city, county and state, are our environmental problems really the obligation of ordinary taxpayers (who’ve opposed these policies that have allowed and even encouraged developers and employers of illegal aliens to break the law) to pay?

7) As someone who takes the needs of middle- and lower-class homeowners seriously, with the enormous cost of $800 million to shut down the coal-powered Navajo Generating Station, as reported by my CityWatch colleague Jack Humphreville (link), is pushing for the early phase out of the power plant an act of prudent green policy or an act of misanthropy for beleaguered tax/ratepayers?

8) As an individual who likes the concept of solar power and wind power and electric cars, but someone who also believes in the scientific method and cost-effectiveness, are the problems plaguing wind farms and Solyndra and the Chevy Volt able to be raised without being shouted down as someone who hates Mother Earth?

All relevant questions, I hope, and it’s also hoped that we can confront and answer these questions in a manner that unites most of the voters and taxpayers of our city, county and state.

After all, THEY’RE the ones who are footing the bill for all of this.

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Vice Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected] . The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) –cw

Tags: green, go green, industrial cleanups, green economics, subprime loans, environment, homeowners, Solyndra, Chevy Volt

Vol 9 Issue 79
Pub: Oct 4, 2011