.

Green Goop NO and NO

I am NO on D and NO on E albeit on mushy grounds.

I am an official endorser of NO on D measure position-- I am pro-workers -- and here will argue albeit obliquely against E. I am NO on E. Keep the park a park.

Ironically, I had plotted to help the anaerobic digester plan. I tried to enlist Rob Syrett to draw up my idea for a poster that I thought would help. I envisioned a giant soft ice cream cone icon, in key lime or Palo Alto green and the terse slogan "Green Goop YES!". I was going to pay for the printing myself, as an art project. But too many other little projects and ideas got in the way and instead of surprising my friend Peter Drekmeier (our former mayor; my former Bay Area Action and Earth Day colleague), I offered it to him in passing. And he passed.

Since that time, especially due to the reasoning of elders like Tom Jordan and Emily Renzel, I have changed my mind. I am against the initiative that would un-dedicate 10 acres of Bixbee Park towards building a compost facility. I am now "Green Goop NO". (the concept works even worse in the negative; do not picture an ice cream cone -- I had been looking at a lot of Claes Oldenburgs, in real life -- in SF, and Minneapolis, and on paper at Stanford's Cantor Museum, and Seuss).

What tipped the scale for me is the one-sheet I picked up yesterday at City Hall, at a meeting about climate change. The one-sheet is too glossy! To me that is a "tell", in the David Mamet sense. In my mind, there is a cognitive dissonance in building something -- with costs in the millions -- as an environmental measure. Like, is buying a new hybrid car more environmental that making do with your old car, or doing more biking and walking and public trani? At best, we are too ahead of the game with our proposed digester. 

When I started Earthwise Productions, a spin off of the Earthwise Traditions section of Earth Day here in 1993, the designers who made my first two event posters each insisted I use soy based inks, recycled papers (and union labor, with a dingbat). It's a small point, but I think the glossy FPPC 1327763 product tips the scales against them. Here for the record is the list of our civic leaders I think are in the wrong on this issue: Peter Drekmeier, Pat Burt, Larry Klein, Jim Burch, Gail Price, Jack Morton, Leland Levy, Ellen Fletcher, Donald Kennedy, Walt Hays, Debbie Mytels, Stephen Levy, Ray Bacchetti, Julie Jerome and Carolyn Tucher. I admire most of this list quite a lot and generally side with them on the issues, but not here. Jordan and Renzel are right.

As someone who has been Earthwise, professionally and personally, for 17 years, I see a lot of dissonance on environmental subjects. And outright greenwashing. If built, this facility might end up being our Solyndra.

Or read Jerry Mander, and Paul Hawken and think about deeper shifts that would permit real change regarding the environment. Or start with D.B. Johnson "Henry Hikes to Fitchburg."

It might be telling -- more so than my observation about the flyer -- that six of our current council members are not on the list of people in favor of the facility.

In a related matter, I am apparently going to be listed as an official endorser of the NO on D campaign. In short, I abhor the bashing of our working class, our rank-and-file and our unions. I was put in touch with the campaign after a conversation with Alan Davis, the former school board member, father of my Gunn classmate Lori Davis Cottle and a labor lawyer by vocation. There are at least four generations of the Davis's who have lived in Palo Alto and I generally think they have the rest of our best interests at heart. Our council was split 5-4 on this issue but I think the rest of us voters should send a more pronounced voice against the scapegoating we've seen in recent years here. 

I don't have a clever slogan (or even an inane one) about being pro-labor (or anti-scapegoating of the workers) other than to say I rode an elevator once with Budd Schulberg and found more merit in that brief interaction than I could possibly imagine in all the hours ever documented of Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mark Weiss September 30, 2011 at 05:06 PM
Here is link to David Mamet "House of Games" (1987) and "the tell": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tell_(poker)
Mark Weiss September 30, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Here is a link to some of Rob Syrett's drawings. He also has done a few Palo Alto oriented political cartoons. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cryptoclassic/
Alice Smith October 02, 2011 at 07:30 PM
See my rebuttal/argument FOR E. ON MY POST See also: This measure is to change the zoning from park-dedicated to use for the purpose of reuse of the biomaterials. So the infrastructure will be City-Council driven. The staff will be making specific recommendations for action. If the project isn't commenced within 10 years, the land will be rededicated as park land. One question that has come up is: "What about the sludge? Here is one considered approach, which the city staff will no doubt be considering. Right now our sewage sludge gets incinerated at a cost of $1 million worth of energy per year, 6,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year, and the waste ash gets hauled 185 miles to Kettleman City at a cost of $200,000 per year. We would like to digest it with food waste to produce biogas and compost. Instead of burning fossil fuels to incinerate our sludge, we could extract its energy to help power the sewage treatment plant. There will be a question of what to do with the digestate (leftover material). One option is to compost it aerobically with yard waste. There will be questions about the marketability of that compost, so we might want to do two streams to isolate the sludge compost. Whatever the choice, we have to change the park status for the 8+ acres next to the sewage treatment plant as the first steps.
Mark Weiss October 20, 2011 at 05:47 AM
Still sounds like a bit of a boondoggle to me, Alice. But I am with you in No on D. P.S. I am looking forward to two Budd Schulberg films at Stanford Theatre later this month, "On The Waterfront" and "A Face In The Crowd". I am No on D which is "demeaning" and No on E because it's "expensive."
Mark Weiss February 09, 2012 at 07:20 AM
We cut a $20,000 concert series, at Cogswell Plaza, but have the odd $200,000 here and there http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_19909464 to fund feasibility of building building building in the name of the environment. Bring on the "Lorax" film -- maybe that will help break thru the dissonance.

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