April 22, 2008
I was pleased to read that some boat inspections will occur to prevent the zebra mussel from entering Lake Tahoe, but I was not happy to read that these will be random boat inspections. As I have stated previously, the zebra mussel is a serious threat and should not be taken lightly. Some people will label me an alarmist, but saving Lake Tahoe from destruction is too important for me to worry about any name calling.
If the zebra mussel infects Lake Tahoe, then the following are real possibilities: the ecosystem will be destroyed; the beaches will be covered 6 inches deep with razor-blade zebra shells; boat engines will be seriously damaged; the water pipes will be clogged; tourists will stop visiting; the impact on the economy will be devastating.
I suggest that in addition to random inspections, all boats from zebra mussel-infected areas such as Lake Mead and Lake Powell should be red-flagged and have a full inspection before entering Lake Tahoe.
Furthermore, Lake Tahoe will never be safe until a task force is formed with one scientist in charge, and he or she must be given the necessary resources to prevent the zebra mussel from destroying Lake Tahoe.
The threat of the zebra mussel is too serious to play marine Russian roulette with random boat inspections.
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The following thoughts respond to Thomas Elias’ column (“Electric car decision: Guv again favors big business” Sierra Sun April 16) on the California Air Resources Board’s decision on Zero Emission Vehicles.
By way of introduction, I have no sympathy with the automobile companies. I think that fuel efficiency should be increased and that SUVs should be included in the passenger car fleet for CAFE and vehicle safety purposes.
The California concept of a zero emission vehicle is, however, a myth. Although all-electric vehicles emit no pollution from the tailpipe, they cause significant criteria pollution and CO2 emissions at the power station. All-electric vehicles are no less of a source of CO2 than hybrid cars considering the fuel sources used to generate electricity in the U.S.
Indeed, until lithium batteries become safe and affordable for cars, all-electric vehicles are much worse than hybrids because the battery is a significant fraction of the weight of the car and this extra weight reduces the fuel efficiency proportionately. (The NiMH battery was 40 percent of the weight of the General Motors EV1!)
For these reasons ARB’s decision make sense. The real goal is to reduce criteria and CO2 pollution in California. This goal is achieved better by requiring lower emissions from a large fraction of vehicles sold in the state than by requiring a specific technology solution on a very small fraction of vehicles.
As I watch some of my undercapitalized, middle-class friends struggle and start talking about leaving, I have to wonder: What happened to middle-class Truckee?
The run up in new regulation and the cost of complying combined with the collapse of the equity bubble is putting working Truckee families under financial duress. Blue-collar families have been leaving for years, unable or unwilling to stay. But what about white-collar families that are considering leaving?
I can understand blue-collar families being mislead into supporting excessive green growth, smart growth, no growth regulation taxes and fees. However, my college-educated Truckee friends seem well aware of the middle class purging effects of excessive taxes and regulation. Why do they not lobby for some deregulation and exemptions so their families can stay? Wouldn’t it be great if some Truckee working families could afford to stay? Think about it.
These are dentists, doctors and health care specialists, lawyers, engineers, bankers and real estate brokers. They head up essential community services like the police department, the PUD and the courts. It sure would be nice if locals could stick around to fill these positions.
It’s not too late to deregulate Truckee.