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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Need to regjulate more? Change the goal

Uploaded: Nov 8, 2016
The Bay Area air board is at it again.
The regulators released a plan last week to further reduce “toxic” air contaminants. It could affect up to 1,000 different businesses and government entities including sewer plants, crematoria, data centers and flight operations for airlines. Remember, it’s the state air board that has declared war on the state’s diary and cattle industries by mandating ranchers control the animal’ flatulence and belching—really.
The rationale is in keeping with the staff’s typical way to doing business—feeling the need to regulate more (job security) ---just change the goals.
Currently, the district requires industries to curb pollution in the areas they operate so there would be no increase in cancer risk greater than 100 new cases in a million people. That wasn’t good enough—the new regulations are designed to decrease the risk by a factor of 10 to 10 cases per million people.
For perspective on how absurd these numbers are: consider that we all have one chance in four of getting cancer in our lifetime.
That’s a pretty dramatic difference between the current regulations that mandate one-ten thousandth of a chance (0.0001). Compare that to 25 percent. The new rule would add another zero---0.00001 percent chance.
And, of course the air board staff will skip any examination of economic impact on the effected industries—the oil refineries are a key target, but it expands well beyond those five facilities.
But, that’s the air board at work and its structure (local and county elected officials are voting members) effectively isolates the members from any direct accountability to the voters. That same structure is why the powerful Metropolitan Transportation Commission is so unresponsive to public comment.


Have you noticed that in addition to the “October surprises,” there’s one other activity you can count on for politicians—ground breakings or dedications/grand openings.
The desire to show off accomplishments is a natural human desire and politicians, seeking votes, do whatever they can do to call attention to what happened on their watch.
In Pleasanton, that meant opening of the Bernal Park as well as the separate opening of the new dog park last month.
That’s not the case for the new Veteran’s Memorial that will be dedicated this Saturday—the day after Veteran’s Day. The Tri-Valley parade took place downtown on Sunday, but city and veterans representatives held off

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 8, 2016 at 9:14 am

Liberals just love to regulate and regulate with one assinine ordinance after another, which of course protects their unnecessary jobs, while driving employers and businesses out of state. Mandating how often a cow can burp or pass gas is perfect example. Things will only get worse under Hillary. When their regulations cause the price of beef to skyrocket the liberals will then go after " big beef" the way they go after the biggest threat to our national security: " Big Soda"... God help America.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 8, 2016 at 10:54 am

Boy, that really sounds crazy doesn't it, Tim? I mean, it's not like they contribute more to greenhouse gases than does, say, transportation, right?

Oops, but they do. Livestock each produce 30-50 gallons of methane per day. And each molecule of methane is 21 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. So, overall, livestock emissions have an 18% greater effect on the greenhouse effect than do all the means of transportation.

So, maybe it's not so crazy to do something about limiting their emissions.

I suppose that it's easy to make any topic sound silly if you simplify and distort it, for a cheap laugh. But, if you really believe that it is the media's job to accurately inform the public, Tim, then you might want to reconsider how you present issues of public concern.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 8, 2016 at 12:44 pm

"Dave": "Livestock" is not an option, or hobby, but is actually food and milk, something we actually need to survive. We don't need the latest I-Phones, or computer aps, but we need food & milk. I grew up in Indiana and farmers are the heart of our country, hard working, self sufficient, & patriotic people, who provide essentials we need to survive. How many greenhouse gases did Obama use in 8 years flying from one city to another for pure political reasons of fundraising and campaigning for his fellow liberals? How many greenhouse gases did Al Gore use flying around in his Lear jets publicizing his liberal agenda? I don't see you liberals crying about this affect on the environment but God forbid hard working farmers and ranchers raising livestock to actually provide needed food and milk for us. You and your liberal allies are exactly why their is so much division in our country. If you keep forcing ridiculous requirements on farmers and ranchers, and regulations on how often a cow can burp or pass gas, our farms and ranches will close, and we will be dependent on foreign countries for our food and milk, and those jobs will also disappear overseas.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm

You know what I love, American? I love how every time there is a challenge that requires some good old American ingenuity to solve it, those on the right first pretend that there is no problem (the "ostrich effect"), and then whine that it will cost too much, and then rail at government's role in trying to help solve the problem.

First, you should know that regulations are not developed in a vacuum. Regulators work closely with the regulated community to try to develop both workable regulations and technical solutions. In this case, the idea is apparently not to do away with farms, beef, or milk. It is to improve cattle-raising techniques (better manure control, altered diets (including flax and alfalfa that are more like the cattle's historic foods than grains), and biotic additions to the cattle's gut). These all seem like sensible ways to approach the problem. And more practical than simply ranting about regulations.

Again, it's easy to jump to (uninformed) assumptions or to vilify. The harder (and better) route is to take the time to understand the issue and thoughtfully address it.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 2:51 pm

It will be interesting to see "Little Marco" come running to his old tormentor, Trump, to beg for federal funds as sea levels continue to rise and inundate his home state. Florida is ground zero for the effects of climate change. Good luck with that.

It's like medicine: you can pay for the prevention, or you can pay more for the cure. Except that it will soon be too late for the cure.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 4:10 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Dave -- "and then whine that it will cost too much, and then rail at government's role in trying to help solve the problem"

Hey Dave, I've been reading the pablum you've been spewing lately (and welcome back, btw) but this statement really takes the cake. It shows that you, the Democrat party, and the national media STILL have no clue what happened last night.

You want to know why what happened last night happened? Here it is: you all constantly complain about how Republicans don't want to solve problems, but all you have to do is simply TAKE A DRIVE DOWN 680 SOUTH OR NORTH BETWEEN SUNOL BLVD AND THE TOWN OF SUNOL AND SEE HOW THE DEMOCRATS IN CHARGE FOR THE LAST 8 YEARS CAN'T EVEN FIX THE FREEWAY THAT IS CRUMBLING BENEATH OUR CARS!!!!!

And California has experienced RECORD revenue too!

There...simple...what have the democrats done for the average person? They can't even fix our roads!!

Don't even get me started on ACA, the 5 wars we're fighting, Democrat party corruption...yadda yadda yadda.

Now if you think the Republicans get a pass you'd be way wrong. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryans' days are numbered. The way they acted in support of conservative candidates in this cycle was scandalous and it won't be forgotten.

The Democrats had their chance and they blew it. Get over it.




 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Well, but for President Obama in 2008, the economy would still be in the ditch, the auto industry would be gone, the Mid-West would be in dire economic straights with unemployment way over 10 percent. And 20 million more people would still be without health insurance. And that's just for starters. Maybe you don't remember just a few short years ago when the leading cause of personal bankruptcies was huge medical bills/debts.

I'll spot you the highways. Not sure what the problem is, although shrinking highway funds from lower state and federal gas tax revenue as the price of gas fell under Obama may be part of the problem. (Yeah, don't hear conservatives mention that oil production hit record levels under Obama, do you?)

The economic recovery has left too many behind in low-paying jobs or with two jobs, especially in the Mid-West. I think you have to agree that Republican obstructionism has been one factor in that. But, other factors, too. Increasing globalism is a factor. We'll see whether Trump can find real solutions to accommodate that shift, rather than simply ranting about it. Record profits by corporations,in the face of largely stagnant wages (except for 2016) stings all wage-earners. Again, we'll have to see if the psuedo-billionaire really has a plan to change that. Expect corporations to resist sharing those profits with the workers.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 4:43 pm

BTW, there is still a big backlog of infrastructure repairs needed -- unaddressed and unaffordable during the recession. Roads included. Do we give Arnold a pass on that? Maybe. But, if so, how quickly should we expect Brown's administration to have worked through that backlog of what, $100B+?, in needed repairs?

Easy to point fingers. Harder to fix.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 6:19 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Dave,

"Well, but for President Obama in 2008, the economy would still be in the ditch, the auto industry would be gone, the Mid-West would be in dire economic straights with unemployment way over 10 percent. And 20 million more people would still be without health insurance. And that's just for starters."


I was waiting for this, so much to unpack. One at a time:

Regarding unemployment --

Go ahead and look at the outgoing presidents electoral map and compare that to Trumps. Note that the Rust belt, all the way up to the Great Lakes (aside from Minnesota) went from Obama in '12 to Trump. If you are suggesting this part of the country voted for Trump because the economy was so good under Obama, then you are under a delusion so severe that debate is worthless.

As far as unemployment, the REAL (U-6, out of work but off UI, or underemployed in part time positions) unemployment rate is almost 10 percent. The U-3 unemployment is what you're thinking of and does not capture the real data. Politicians on both sides LOVE this number cause it makes them look like their doing something.

Regarding ACA --

And lets talk about ACA because obviously you have not been listening to the news over the last month. Most of the 20million newcomers to healthcare DO NOT come by way of traditional plans, their part of medicaid, i.e., they don't pay a darned thing! You must be well aware by now that the market-driven side of ACA is in shambles with people again paying double-digit raises in premiums. And of course, they never got to keep their doctors and see $2500 decrease in costs. And of course HIGH DEDUCTIBLES.

You know, another blogger on PW used to wax poetic about the ACA, even he won't mention it anymore.

"I'll spot you the highways. Not sure what the problem is, although shrinking highway funds from lower state and federal gas tax revenue as the price of gas fell under Obama may be part of the problem. (Yeah, don't hear conservatives mention that oil production hit record levels under Obama, do you?)"

This is a joke. Point to one piece of evidence that Obama had anything to do with falling oil prices? I'll tell you what happened: Fracking companies on private land went into business and started pumping more oil, at the same time, to protect its interest OPEC decided that it was not going to limit supply and decided to keep pumping, thinking that it was going to bankrupt our Fracking industry. The price of oil obviously comes down because of over-supply. Voila, less taxes. Oops, sorry government!

That's a fact.

And this is a whopper: "The economic recovery has left too many behind in low-paying jobs or with two jobs, especially in the Mid-West."

Then it 'ain't' no ECONOMIC RECOVERY then, is it?

Dan






 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 8:54 pm

You missed my point: Bush/Republican policies led to worst recession since the Great Depression. Obama's policies got us out. Improvement would have been better/faster if Republican Congress had not decided to become the "Do-Nothing" Party. Trump will likely crash economy again through more tax cuts for the rich/corporations and the (failed) supply-side economics.

The only bright side to this is that the Republicans will have no one to blame but themselves. They will own this........Nah, who am I kidding? They will still find someone else to blame....because they only pretend to be the party of personal responsibility.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Nov 9, 2016 at 11:30 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Dave,

Precisely which Bush policies led to the economic crisis?

Dan



 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 13, 2016 at 9:06 pm

Uh, wasting more than $3 trillion on an unnecessary war in Iraq for starters.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Nov 13, 2016 at 10:20 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Dave,

So the housing crisis was caused by war and not by mortgage bundling, eh?

And the stock market crash was because of the war and not because of over-hyped and over-valued internet and optical networking stocks right?

And the car company almost went belly-up because of war, huh?

I swear to God that debating with leftists is like debating with children! You just spew out things that have no basis in reality and fact!

Go ahead Dave, dilute the reasons I just gave you for the market crash during that time frame.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 14, 2016 at 10:56 am

Which administration was supposed to be regulating the banks and mortgage business in the early 2000s? Short memories.



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