May is national Bike Month with the week of the 15th through the 19th as the main week for giving commuting to work on a bike a try. Cycle California magazine (www.cyclecalifornia.com) has more information on events and beginner’s guides. The magazine can be picked up at most of our local bike shops. There is also a million-mile challenge to collectively commute a million miles this month. You can register at http://www.bikecommutemonth.com. This site also lists businesses and companies that are challenging each other to see how many employees they can get to commute by bike. This is a great opportunity to “Save Martis Valley”, “Keep Tahoe Blue”, save some money on gas, increases your health, reduce traffic and the hundreds of other positive effects of commuting on a bike. I’ll see you pedaling on the road.
I have known and worked with Steve Westly since 1982 and have always been impressed with his commitment to the environment. I was a delegate to the Democratic Convention when Steve was running for Northern California Treasurer, newly graduated from Stanford.
Since then he has worked in the Solar and Conservation Office under President Carter. He was instrumental in building eBay, one of the most innovative “recycling programs” ever. He taught at Stanford for five years, fought for new greenhouse gas emissions standards, and saved the 70-acre Ballona Wetlands in Southern California. He has young children attending public schools and sets public education as highest priority.
Steve has a smart energy policy, with the primary focus on solar energy and solar farms, which provide an economic resource. His environmental and economic record is strong, while his opponent, a developer, has been penalized for paving over wetlands and fined for illegally dredging and subsequent dumping of more than 1 million gallons of dredging spoils into Lake Tahoe.
Steve is a fresh new face in California. He will bring a different and innovative approach to government. Please consider voting for Steve Westly for Governor on June 6.
In response to the notice posted in the May 4, issue of the newspaper titled “Sewage Spill,” some hard questions need to be answered. Who, what, how, where, and when did the property owners and the contractor receive permits to dig in such a sensitive and potentially harmful area? Why were permits issued to build a pier where a sewer line existed? Did the agencies who issued the permits not know sewer lines existed in this area? If they didn’t know, what exactly is their job and why didn’t they know? How could they have been so lax in giving permission (i.e. a permit) to dig in such a potentially dangerous area.
It seems the agencies are in the business of issuing permits to whomever can afford to pay the fees. Recently we observed the natural sand dune ecosystem in Tahoe Vista destroyed by permission from agencies. Do the agencies exist to protect Lake Tahoe, water quality, and ecosystems; or are they in business and permit fees are big business? And it seems not only are permit fees big business; fines are big business too. After issuing permits for digging in an inappropriate area, a catastrophic sewer spill occurred. Now the question for the agencies is how to divide the pie, the $700,000 they intend to fine the owners and the contractor, when they, the agencies, issued the permits. Sorry, but it appears that there is a certain conflict of interest and lack of responsibility. That’s a lot of money and who knows what the homeowner had to pay for permits from these agencies in the first place. So what did these hapless people have to pay the agencies for approved permits? It was a terrible accident that should have never happened. Surprisingly, no mention was published in the local newspaper about permits and permit fees the homeowner acquired from agencies whose job ostensibly is to protect the lake.
It’s time for an investigation into the issuance of permits.
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