A response to George Rebane

It would appear that my previous post, “The Haunting Question” has struck a nerve with my friend George Rebane, inspiring him to write a response entitled “The muddled middle”. In it, he tasks me to find where conservatives have ever desired to “pave every acre of an earth ruled by multi-national corporations and the almighty dollar.” Since he has thrown down the gauntlet, I must respond.

Let’s start with Nevada County. Now if we could magically turn back the clock, lets imagine what it might be like if conservatives didn’t have those tree-hugging, frog-loving communists to spoil everything.

First, there would be no Yuba River. Bridgeport would be under several hundred feet of water. The same goes for the town of Washington. There would be enough water to fuel the kind of sprawl that so enamors the “build it and they will come” crowd. All four of the special district developments surrounding Grass Valley would have gotten the green light years ago, so that today they would be half-built monuments to hubris like those in Lincoln and so many other California cities that were bedazzled by the promise of unlimited tax revenue. The Nevada County Land Trust would never have happened, because we know they are all commies and what good is land that sits there and does nothing?

Nevada City’s population would be triple what it is today, serviced by big box stores that would have crushed local businesses like SPD. In fact, most of  the twin cities area would resemble Glenbrook. The bigger, the gaudier, the better. It’s the free market, baby, get out of the way. All of these proposals have been made in my lifetime, and when they didn’t happen conservatives grumbled about “oppressive government.”  

Conservatives have served some purpose here, though. They have managed to keep building despite the efforts of the progressive elites from turning the county into an exclusive playland like Marin County. When the Gang of Four attempted to foist another layer of bureaucracy on top of the state and federal mandates, they rose up and said “enough!” The current board is a level headed bunch, and have done a fairly good job of keeping the county afloat during these trying times. 

That is the product of balance and compromise, and it has served us well in my opinion. Sure, we have problems, but compared to so many other jurisdictions we have it pretty good here. It’s a pity that it is so out of whack in Sacramento and Washington.

So yes, George, I do hope that these competing philosophies can resolve their differences without coming to blows. And I do believe that the only way an electorate so evenly divided can ever hope to have it all “their way” is at gunpoint, or by initiating a India/Pakistan type division which would be a logistical nightmare.  If Republicans and Democrats can’t get their heads out of their rectums, then it’s time to find others who can. This is, after all, the land of possibilities.

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87 Responses to A response to George Rebane

  1. Russ Steele says:

    Well I think we have only heard half of the story on the tax revenue issue. While Nevada County has kept the big box stores at bay, those stores are slowly surrounding the County. One study by the City of Grass Valley found the we have over $200 million a year in tax revenue leakages as citizens shop out of town. It will only get worse over time. I have been an avid reader of economic reports. The first time the leakage was identified in the 1990 is was $40 million, then it was $60, million, then $100 million and now it is $200 million as people go to the valley to shop for better prices and more variety. When the Auburn WalMart opens this leakage will grow.

    Speaking of Auburn, according to a KCRA report yesterday, the Auburn housing market is booming, with buyers come from as far away as the Bay Area. Ellen and I were wondering if the fact that Auburn is providing the services that people want, i.e. the big box stores, had any influence on this emerging housing/economic boom.

    While our County government has done a good job, they cannot continues to live on the reserves, at some point the pot is empty and they have to find the revenue needed to sustain the government functions. The new Shopping Mall going in at the Sierra College Blvd Off Ramp, the WalMart and maybe a Trader Joe’s in Auburn will continue to suck tax revenue out of Nevada County. The feeble buy Local guilt programs are not going to change people’s behavior, they vote and shop their wallet.

    There are some other changes that will have a impact Nevada County tax revenue. We have a very senior population in Nevada County, and the JC Penny Corporate has decided they need to attract a younger generation of buyers. We used to be big JC Penny shoppers, but we are not finding the fashions that suit us, so we now do most of our cloths buying online. I suspect, that many seniors are not finding the fashion at the new JCP that they are willing to buy, and will be seeking other solutions, and it is not the local clothing stores. According to the Union headlines, because that is all I get to read now with the Pay Wall, many of the clothing stores are closing. I often wondered if the Union’s Pay Wall is also driving more people to shop out of town, or on the Internet?

    Nevada County’s real problem is that it cannot decide what it wants to look like in 10 years, and 20 years down the road. Placer County did 20 years ago when they decided where to build and what to preserve. Now they are reaping the economic benefits, while they suck the revenue out of Nevada County, because we cannot decide what we want to be and then make it happen. You cannot get there from here if you do not know where you are going.

    • San French says:

      Nice reply Russ. One thing however; Placer County geography includes both ‘very rural’ (up 50 to Tahoe etc.) AND ‘very urban’ (Roseville etc.). Auburn seems to be the line of demarcation offering a blend of both urban and rural.
      Nevada County is pretty much all rural ~ at least in character ~ and that’s why most of us are here.
      There will always be folks heading down the hill for a bargain. I guess we just have to live with it. But let’s keep the Big Box life where it belongs.

  2. Tony Waters says:

    Well, Russ, that was pretty non-responsive to what Bob wrote. Bob was asked what the county would look like if the environmental movement had not been present in Nevada County during the last 50 years. He pointed out that one consequence was that we are not as over-built as Placer County, which is true. One off-hand mention in the Sacramento Bee does not a refutation make!

    I am not against having large stores in Nevada County. But as Bob points out, it should not be at the expense of all else, and particularly not at the expense of sound planning. And when such issues get raised in the context of UN helicopters, property rights fetishism, and so forth, it is a real turn off, and discourages compromise.

  3. Todd juvinall says:

    Yep, the county is sooo sweet eh? We get to import our labor from the valley to care for the old farts and we have built quite a number of structures to house those old farts until they croak. All the support services are booming. As one of the oldest counties in the USA we should be proud we chased all those job producers away so we can have that peace and quiet.

    Thanks to the tree huggers all those timber jobs paying really good wages went to Canada and we retrained those timber folks to change “Depends” at 10 bucks an hour. Yep, that evil NID wanted to put in treated water after the State said no more ditch water and it took all this time to get a couple of miles of pipes because the tree huggers said if they put those water lines in that growth along them would be on fire. Yep, that affordable housing for the working slobs was sacrifices for the vacation homes of the Bay Area and valley people who ended up as the only one’s with money since our citizens had to travel down the hill to save their money buying at Target. Yep, you just got to love those people who produce nothing for the economy yet have been allocated the power and rights to stop anything with a postage stamp.

    • San French says:

      Todd~ You needs to lighten up bro. Why so angry sounding and snippy all the time. That never changes anything… except your blood pressure:-).

      • Todd juvinall says:

        Golly SamF, I must have needed to eat. Or, maybe I have been in the trenches fighting for the middle class workers and business owners and watching them be trashed by the left so long I simply flipped. Or, maybe I see that 11% unemployment rate in a county that was self sufficient for 100 years until the left came in and took out the resource industries. Yep, maybe that pisses me off.

        • Michael Anderson says:


          It’s “San,” not “Sam.”

          Also, which resource industries are you talking about? Logging? Still happening, just ask Lowell Robinson. True, the saw mills that used to process big trees, like the Bohemia Mill on Brunswick, had to shut down. Too expensive to retrofit for smaller trees and the big trees are all gone now.

          Mining? Ever been to the state of Nevada? Some of the biggest mines in the world are over there, going strong. BTW, those mines are run by real mining companies that have dug holes in the ground before, not penny stock mining companies run by “Professor” Harold Hill types who wouldn’t know a shovel from a summons.

          Michael A.

          • Todd juvinall says:

            San? Oh, golly, typo?

            Regarding my comment about resources. You don’t have a clue about what you are talking about MA but you sure can talk a lot.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            His name is San French. Just as he typed it. I was helping you out, since you seemed to think he typo’d his own name. But never mind.

            Then you wrote: “Regarding my comment about resources. You don’t have a clue about what you are talking about…”

            My uncle was the Regional Forester for Region 6 at the height of the spotted owl wars during the 1980s. He was stuck in the middle of a terrible battle and I saw what he went through to try to find the middle ground.

            I have more knowledge about forestry resources in my left earlobe than you could possibly have accumulated during your years as a Nevada County supervisor cum toady for the Sagebrush Rebellion.

            I also spend have spent a tremendous amount of time in Nevada going back to the 1970s when I lived there. I have personally explored many abandoned Nevada mines, at the end of a long rope. I have visited active mines owned by Newmont and Barrick Gold, and I know some of the miners who were recently laid off at the Empire Mine (gypsum) and then rehired by Newmont.

            And you?

  4. Russ Steele says:

    As for damming of the Yuba River. It is going to happen before 2050 if we have another Grand Minimum like the Maunder when the sunspots vanished for periods as long as 30 years, creating droughts around the world that had long term social and political events when millions were starving due to extensive droughts. The Ming Dynasty collapse was one of the more notable in the historical record. There are growing indications that the sun is on the cusp of a Maunder Minimum, according the US, Russian, Australian and Nordic Scientists. If that happens then we are in for some long term droughts.

    Ming Dynasty Details HERE: http://nextgrandminimum.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/maunder-minimum-and-fall-of-ming-dynasty/#comments
    However, it turns out the all the droughts in California, some lasting 200 years, were not during just cold periods, they also occurred during warm periods.

    Philip Catarino, cited by Stine, published 2000 online article,  Reconstructing Ancient Avalanches of the Sierra Nevada Range (no longer on line) in which he observed:

    During the last 500 years, a wet climate, punctuated by intermittent but substantial droughts, began to dominate the region, and lake levels again rose and cirques glaciers reformed in the Sierra. A series of substantial droughts are documented during this period, however. Dozens of submerged tree stumps are located up to 300 feet below the present day level of Donner Lake a tributary of the Truckee River; carbon –14 samples from one stump date from AD 1433 (Lindstrom and Bloomer 1994). Another warm period, documented by tree-ring studies and Truckee River run-off, dated between AD 1579-1585, and again around AD 1630 (Hardman and Reil 1936). It is possible that Lake Tahoe contributed relatively little water to the Truckee River during the last 200 years. During the century between the mid 1700s to mid 1800s, the level of Lake Tahoe may have been below its rim, with no water flow into the Truckee River. This is documented by a submerged stump in the Upper Truckee River Delta dating from AD 1720 (Lindstrom 1996a), one from Donner Lake dating from AD 1800 (Lindstrom and Bloomer 1994) and one in Emerald Bay dating to AD 1840 (Lindstrom 1992). The 40 years between AD 1875-1915 were the longest period during which the flow of the Truckee River was above the average. During the AD 1930s drought, Lake Tahoe ceased to flow from its outlet for six consecutive years. Drought within the last decade (late 1980s to 1990s) either stopped Tahoe’s flow into the Truckee or reduced it to almost nothing.

    The historical record is quite clear, California has been wrought by long term droughts. When those droughts occurred the region did not have the population that we have now. We need to be thinking long term about those long term droughts and building dams to collect meager run off from the Sierra for drinking and growing or millions will die. Saving the Yuba for a few will not stand when the survival of millions of California are at stake.

    More on the need for dams HERE: http://ncwatch.typepad.com/media/2011/06/otomh-where-will-those-damn-dams-be-when-the-drought-comes.html

    • rl Crabb says:

      Building dams on every free-flowing river in California will only prolong the agony. I have recounted several times on the various blogs that the Bullards Bar resevoir was sucked dry in 1977, and that was a minor drought compared to the kind you describe, Russ. On the other hand, tearing down existing dams is short-sighted as well. Draining Hetch Hetchy is one very bad idea. (Sorry ’bout that.)

    • TD Pittsford says:

      This is all moot, Mr. Steele. By 2050 this country will be not only destitute but firmly under the thumb of the Chinese. If you feel like doing the research, check out how many countries are no longer trading in U.S. dollars but in the Yuan. Check out how much manufacturing the U.S. is doing compared to China. Look at at the fact that 50% of every dollar in this country has been borrowed from foreign banks, MOSTLY from China. We have borrowed more money at this point than we can ever hope to pay back…EVER. And while we’re at it, look at how much China has increased their defense spending while we are disarming and cutting our military budget. Also consider that the Chinese Army has approximately 600,000 MORE combat-ready troops than the U.S.
      I know conservatives (nor liberals for that matter) will not take this news well but it’s fact. The sleeping giant has been awakened and we have our own arrogance, plus “diplomats” such as Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and now Barack Obama (among others) to thank for it. In our quest to dominate a global economy our politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle and our corporations and have sold us out and there is NOTHING any of us can do about it. As the song goes, “Money makes the world go ’round” and without a doubt, America is no longer the big kid on the economic playground.

  5. Russ Steele says:

    Tony Watter 5:54 “But as Bob points out, it should not be at the expense of all else, and particularly not at the expense of sound planning.”

    Toney that is the problem we have not had any sound economic planning. We have been meeting and talking about economic planning for over 20 years and still do not have a comprehensive plan. We have competing plans at the city level and none at the County level. The County asked the ERC to develop a comprehensive plan and it died during the coordination process, every agency, tribe and street poet want their favorite program included in the plan. and final the plan ended up in the trash bin. We could not agree what we wanted our economic engine to be in 10 years. So, we continue doing hodgepodge economic development, while Placer County has a plan and they know where they are going and how to get there. Yes, they have had some hick-ups, but when the growth starts they are prepared. We do not even have a plan. You can not get “there” if you do not know were “there” is!

  6. Tony Waters says:

    You make a good point. But Bob’s main point is that if we are to make a plan, somehow the poets, tribes, elders, youth, agencies, loggers, and miners need to start talking to each other–maybe if they did so, they would find common values, while agreeing to disagree about other things. Aren’t such negotiations and compromise the essence of good planning?


  7. gregoryzaller says:

    I truly enjoyed RL’s caricature of the right and the left. It these two extremes would just listen to each other both would learn something and find that they weren’t really so far apart after all.

  8. rl Crabb says:

    I already knew what the response from Russ and Todd would be, and they have not disappointed me. I do read their blogs, and I usually agree with some, but not all of their arguments. There are no easy answers when the two sides are are polar opposites. But it seems that conservatives have adopted the Democrats mantra of not letting a good crisis go to waste, and are willing to help drive the country off a cliff so they can salvage the wreckage after the smoke clears. The passengers are just collateral damage. Time to find a sober driver.

  9. Michael Anderson says:

    Maybe Nevada County could do one of these: http://www.placer.ca.gov/Departments/CommunityDevelopment/Planning/~/media/cdr/Planning/PCCP/PolicyDoc2011/BOS_Presentation_Jan_25_2011.ashx

    Oh right, sorry. My mistake. Black Helicopters, Agenda 21, UN troops on sovereign soil. Gacckk!

  10. rl Crabb says:

    By the way, Tony, I enjoyed reading about your adventures in Rwanda. Where’s Tarzan when you need him?

    • Tony Waters says:

      Never met Tarzan. But I did have some good years in Tanzania and on the Rwanda border.

      I’m not sure what the article said, though; I tried to kick in my $1 to get past The Union’s paywall, but so far have been unsuccessful. I’ll have a look at the university tomorrow.

  11. Steve Frisch says:

    Michael, when we tried to do something similar to Placer County, which is identifying which types of lands to protect from development and providing a market based mechanism to compensate landowners for development rights and identifying which types of land to use for development and providing permit streamlining to encourage it, the local right wing activists rose up to kill it. It was NH 2020! One of the reasons Placer is a more favorable location for development is because they proactively planned for it through this mechanism. But people in our county were unable to visualize the benefits, only the detriments. Who led that charge? The Russ’s and the Todd’s of our county. They are reaping what they have sown.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      Yeah, that’s why I posted that link. I was here during the NH2020 battle. It was utterly ridiculous.

      It had nothing to do with Agenda 21, NH2020 was just a common-sense plan to use GIS overlay technology to create complex resource maps that help business and gov’t make sound development decisions (here is an example – http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/integ/resources.asp).

      It was a missed opportunity and as you said, we are now paying the price. But maybe with Jon Blinder now at the helm of the ERC we can start building bridges and get past some of these ideological political roadblocks.

  12. Bob, thanks for clearing up your meaning of ‘paving every acre of earth’; still not sure that you think it’s hyperbole which was my point on RR. The provenance of your argument is an alternate and dismal history of Nevada County that you posit would have happened if the Left had not been there guide us in proper community planning. This tack, of course, introduces a new thread to the original topic of the current role of the center and middle-of-road prescriptions for our country in this election year, which topic I responded to.

    We note that President Obama has now stepped out and made it clear that his progressive agenda for the country is based on principles not to be compromised, especially in the face of the “not serious” Republican proposals. In any event, our leader rejects the notion that “parties are equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle.” We conservatives could not agree more (how’s that for common ground?).

    Meanwhile, the dismal decline of Nevada County in the time that I’ve been here continues and has been discussed much on conservative blogs. I will have more to say about that, but for now I’ll just lay an ‘amen’ to Russ Steele’s comments above.

    Sorry for the tardiness, we thumpers just got back from church.

  13. Brad Croul says:

    Democracy is what happens in the muddled middle of the mosh pit, not at the sidelines.

    My takeaway from this thread and the rumblings over at Rebane’s rumen is that the Left and Right, in their, often polarizing, descriptions of themselves and each other, are trying to define, test, or renegotiate what is to be considered “out of bounds”, or “over the line”, legally, morally, and ethically. Philosophers and scholars (and regular folks too!) should discuss how the outer limits are to be defined. But, then, we have to actually try something instead of talking or complaining about it.

  14. Todd juvinall says:

    I see the leftista’s are trying to rewrite history again. NH2020 was a full intrusion into private property rights and according to MA was nothing of the sort. Egads! The SteveF’s who actually were hired by the BOS apparently to mediate the to sides was a total fiasco. SBC and Frisch got picketed I heard. No, NH2020 was a travesty because our little county had just completed the zoning for the general plan which was the longest “update” in California history. Prolonged by the econuts to lock-down people’s private property rights. A few moths before I left the Board of Supervisors we had a hearing on the General Plan and the RQC had an infiltrator in the planning process hired without bids and the fellow was a well known eco extremist. He came up with the 40 acre minimum GIS balloon mapping the entire county. We had to move the hearing to the Vets building because the landowners turned out in mass and had their pitchforks. They were after the RQC and Laurie Oberholtzer and the fellow from the ridge. So the left set the stage for the future battle on NH2020. The landowners just wanted to be left alone but the Frischs and RQC’s and the Gang would have none of it. They created the battles not the right. The right was there to save the property rights. NH2020 wanted to access every parcel and do a bio inventory. They wanted to do it without search warrants. The people of the county rose up and threw their asses out. You SteveF created Drew Bedwell and Robin Sutherland. And I thank you for that.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      Todd, thanks for providing a great example of the type of vitriol that came from the right wingers over simple mapping technology. I don’t disagree that there was vitriol also coming from some of the left wingers as well.

      Once the yelling–and talking past each other–had begun, the whole process was toast. It was a sad time for Nevada County. At the beginning, everything was negotiable and the so-called Gang of Four brought the righties into the process. But as soon as they didn’t get their-way-or-the-highway, the righties decided that their job was now to destroy initiative entirely.

      This kinda crap continues to this day. Luckily, the current BOS is far less strident about taking care of business. In fact, if they were to propose a new NH2020 process, they actually might be able to pull it off. We still need this comprehensive information, and there is actually some data collected back then that are finding good utility today.

      But one thing Todd, you’re going to have to get over your fear of “bio inventories.” For example, biologists can do one of your property w/o crossing the property line because they have existing maps and binoculars. The whole “without a search warrant” thing is a complete red herring.

      • Todd juvinall says:

        No vitriol MA, you are the best example of those on the left trying to rewrite re-write history. Inventories were to be done by people without a warrant on all property here in Nevada County. Apparently that is OK with you so you can get your eco inventory. The pot farmers may not agree with you. So once again, thanks MA for bringing those heroes of property rights, Robin and Drew and then the others after your failed attempt at NH2020.

        Also, the present Board has had little if any “projects” under the General Plan and zoning because it is too difficult to comply and the left has been victorious with their vitriol and their use of the CEQA and other “laws”. So, try a little harder with your history rewrite, maybe there are fools who will listen.

        Regarding the Wild and Scenic. Izzie got Byron Sher to carry the legislation to name it WandS because as Crabb stated, no one here would. It was an end run around local control and it showed that the democrats running the state have no shame (means to the ends). Now we get to see our “free” river accessible if you pay a fee, the first year or two there were algae blooms in the Yuba and the “river monitors” were paid by us! Also, the Englebright Dam was a debris dam and has contained mercury in its sediments. The mercury would be let loose if the dam were removed. I believe their is even some electricity generation that would be lost.

        The Wild and Scenic was started because a “run of the river” dam diversion was proposed. I also opposed it but I also opposed W and S because I and many others knew we would lose local control. I attended all the hearings MA, I bet you never went to one. But you are just smarter than the average bear aren’t you?

        • Michael Anderson says:

          Todd, I was close enough to the process to know what I am talking about. I didn’t sit on any committees but I went to plenty of hearings. I saw what I saw.

          Here’s the problem. You were a member of the BOS that screwed up the Wildwood bonds and the dump, which is how the green BOS got into power. Elections have consequences, at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

          Yes, the process heavily leaned to the left, and the oversight committee was stacked. Are you telling me that if it was a right-wing board, the committee wouldn’t have been stacked in that direction? Of course not.

          Elections have consequences.

          Let’s get back to the subject of Crabb’s cartoon and article. The two sides talk past each other. No one is willing to compromise. The same is happening with PPACA. We all agree that health care in this country is broken, but whenever the Left–once in power–tries to do anything, it’s time to throw the baby out with the bathwater, according to the Right.

          Congress (and the BOS) is supposed to act as a legislative body, using compromise to get the job done. That doesn’t happen anymore due to partisan vitriol, unwillingness to work together, distrust of “The Other,” and just plain meanness.

          I agree with the Russ that a Placer-type Legacy initiative is desperately needed in Nevada County, and the current BOS might be just the right group of representatives to make it happen.

          • Todd juvinall says:

            MA is trying to rewrite history again. Yes I was on the BOS when the State wanted to make an example of a county sanitary landfill to achieve their Integrated Waste Management Board legislation. The state signed off our landfill every year since it was a burn dump when I was a kid yet that didn’t matter. I think Arnie booted the IWMB during his term for being worthless and a waste of 100 billion dollars.

            Regarding the Wildwood bonds. The bonds were guaranteed by the homeowners not the county yet some years after I was gone the BOS allowed themselves to be legally obligated and golly, who would that have been? Also, not one penny of bond money was released to the crook who went jail for fraud.

            I ask you to produce on transcpt of your personal testimony durinig a hearing on the NH2020. Do that and I will then believe you were there. Otherwise, you are simply BSing us since you have simply made up some new hisotry that I and Russ have proved incorrect.

            On NH2020. Please tell us how you justify a government employee coming on your property without a warrant to do a bio inventory. I am all ears.

            Also, Bill Schultz and Jim Weir won re-election to the BOS during the landfill mess and they won handily. If the BOS was transformed it was news to us. So another BS history re-write by MA.

            One last hoot for MA. I think the Board of Supes is an executive body isn’t it? Also, it acts as a quasi=judicial body.

          • Michael Anderson says:


            If the derogatorily-named Gang of Four wasn’t voted into office due to anger caused by the bonds and the dump, what else was it that caused a center-right electorate to vote in a bunch of “enviros” during that time period?

            I’m all ears.

            Michael A.

          • Todd juvinall says:

            They came along much later. David Tobiassen beat Paul Matson in 1992 (thanks Isle Barnhart), Weir and Schultz in 1990, Karen Knecht in 1992 or 94, and Sam Dardick was all by himself for a couple of years if I recall. Remeber? So answer your own question MA. Where is that transcript of your testimony during NH2020?

    • rlcrabb says:

      Todd does make some valid points about the NH2020 “process.” I have done countless interviews with the politicians and landowners during that time and I would have to say that the Board of Supes laid the groundwork for their own defeat. (I dedicated a whole chapter to it in my book “Once Upon a Village”) The opposition began to solidify after the BOS sheparded the Wild and Scenic designation for the Yuba River through the state without any local support from our Republican representatives. It was a major coup for SYRCL, but it really riled up conservative land owners. They used the lengthy public forum process to beat the drum against NH2020. In the following elections they failed to budge Peter Van Zant, but two years later Robin Trounced Izzy Martin. Drew Bedwell won his seat by less than ten votes if I recall correctly.

      • rl Crabb says:

        Another afterthought concerning the Yuba River: There are efforts afoot to remove Englebright dam to restore the salmon run on the Yuba. Englebright was never designed as a water storage facility, rather it was to be used to capture debris from proposed hydraulic mining that never happened. There were some old timers that claimed there was a waterfall on that stretch of river that prevented the fish from going upstream even without the dam, but there are other accounts that had salmon runs all the way up to Downieville. One thing is certain, and that is removing the dam and cleaning up seventy years of muck would be a huge and expensive undertaking.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Boy, talk about re-writing history. On of the things that really bothers me about blogging is that people can say just about anything and get away with it. First, I was never “hired by the Board of Supervisors….to mediate the to [sic] sides”. I was running the Placer Legacy program at the time and I brought some of the leaders of the PL effort from the building and development industry, including the government affairs director of the California Building Industry Association, up to Nevada County to talk to people about why they thought it was a net benefit in the long run for their industry.

      It is indeed true that the SBC offices got picketed at the time. It is also true that the poor picketers chose a hot, windy and dusty summer day to picket; our staff met them with lemonade and cookies; and the organizers of the demonstration failed to anticipate that there was not public restroom near, so we opened our offices to their somewhat aged picketers who needed comfort.

      Finally, the characterization of the use of Geographic Information Systems, or GIS data, to envision future land coverage, vegetation, flood risk, fire risk, infrastructure or habitat areas, is not going on to people’s property “without a warrant” in any way, it is a legitimate, widely used science based analysis tool, and Todd’s characterization of the use of science as a threat is a prime example of the propaganda the forces of ignorance used in our county to spread fear and scare people into submission.

      • Michael Anderson says:

        “…is not going on to people’s property ‘without a warrant’ in any way…”

        Exactly Steve. And as I informed Todd, whose ability to conflate data gathering with UN conspiracies is well-known in these parts, 99% of GIS work is done with existing maps, a sturdy vehicle able to travel public roadways, and a good set of binoculars.

        • Todd juvinall says:

          Where is that transcript MA? Seems you have done a few flip flops here about your knowledge and attendance of meetings of NH2020. A little too much makebelive it appears. Please produce any quotes from me or my writings about my position on Agenda 21 would you please. I guess I must have amnesia.

          I see the eco extremists share the same fantasies. What a hoot!

      • Todd juvinall says:

        SteveF is also trying to rewrite history but perhaps the thin air at Truckee is to blame. All I have said is from battle between the forces of eco extremism vs. property rights. The hearings were a good example of why a dedicated leftist like SF and the rest of us are irreconcilable. We see the light, the eco’s see darkness.

        It was a overeach by the left because the General Plan and zoning battles were still fresh in the minds (and pocket books) of our citizens. Not satisfied they won the battle of no-growth, the left wanted to tramp on everyone’s property without warrant and inventory every little square foot of bio. This was the tipping point for property owners and the left was spanked out of office.

  15. Russ Steele says:

    Some insight to NH2020. I was a co-chair of the GV/NC Government Committee with Matt Weaver. I attended the SBC Leadership Training Program and we had a presentation by the Placer County Legacy Program which was attempting do define where development would take place and where preservation would be promoted. I recommended that the Gov Committee listen to the presentation and invited the program manager to come give us some insight. After the presentation the Gov Committee recommend that we consider a similar program in Nevada County. One of the things we like about the Legacy Program was the oversight committee included business leaders and developers as well and environmental activists. It was a balanced committee.

    When the NH2020 oversight committee was formed, it was not balanced. It was stacked with environmentalists, the friends of Izzy Martin. When the Board of Supervisors refused to balance the oversight committee, the Chamber organized opposition to the meeting. Before we did, the Chamber met with the SBC Board Chairwoman and asked her to intervene. She reported that the BOS refused to change the distribution on the committee. It was then the NH2020 war broke out.

    I was the one that suggested the idea of a Legacy type program in Nevada County to the Chamber, and when it turned out that NH2020 was going to be a frontal attack on personal property rights, I become one of opposition leaders and coordinated with CABPRO and those who opposed NH2020. I worked with Drew Bedwell on his election strategy and supported his campaign and I also supported supported Robins Sutherland’s campaign. I wrote articles and position papers.

    If we were to attempt a Legacy style program again, with the current Board of Supervisors, I am confident that it would have a balanced oversight committee at least more balanced than the NH2020 the community rejected. We really do need to come up with a plan for our future. We can not continue do hodge planning planning and expect a superior result. If we do not know where we are going, we cannot get there.

  16. Greg Goodknight says:

    And here I thought the AB32 proponents knew that requiring a huge percentage of California’s electricity from non-carbon sources requires building dams for hydroelectric generation… Does that only mean dams in someone else’s back yard?

    • gregoryzaller says:

      Correct me if I am wrong, Greg, but AB32 was not about dams, it was about reducing greenhouse gasses aka carbon consumption. Would you be comfortable with the bill if it was worded “lower the cost of hydrocarbons bill”? Reducing carbon emissions will lower the cost of gas at the pump. This is why President Obama has stipulated new fuel efficiency standards. If everyone else reduces their carbon consumption there would be more for you. There are many costs associated with carbon consumption, why focus on the one you disagree with???

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Greg, the only cost effective no-carbon power generation *is* hydroelectric. So if you want renewable power rather than importing electricity from coal fired plants in Wyoming, pony up. Find more rivers to dam in California.

        Yes, forcing the working classes in the US to pay twice as much for one third the energy is a fine way to make fossil fuels less expensive for India and China, at least until our working classes have had enough.

        • Ryan Mount says:

          “importing electricity from coal fired plants in Wyoming”

          Ouch. That’ll leave a mark.

          “is a fine way to make fossil fuels less expensive for India and China”

          Ouch, again. But they’d like to thank us for being so considerate. Think about it. First they get our manufacturing jobs, then our service jobs and now they benefit from our self-inflected (all of this is self-inflicted) reduction in energy consumption. Maybe we should just annex them into the US. We could trade say, Alabama for Karnataka State and Florida for Guangdong Province. We’ll tell the Indians that there’s a space museum there, and we’ll tell the Chinese that Florida figures prominently on Fark.com and it’s close to Cuba.

          • Greg Goodknight says:


            In a lovely bit of irony, the new supercomputer complex being built so the increasingly complex global circulation computer models can do (a lousy) job of simulating reality, is being built in Wyoming, because that coal generated electricity is easier on their budgets…


  17. Brad Croul says:

    I think Cuba has dibs on Florida.

  18. Russ Steele says:

    gregoryzaller at 6:34 am: You wrote: “Reducing carbon emissions will lower the cost of gas at the pump. This is why President Obama has stipulated new fuel efficiency standards.”

    Could you please explain how that can be true, it is going to take more energy to reduce the carbon in fuels, thus increased cost. E-85 is a reduce carbon fuel and users get fewer miles per gallon, thus they have to fill up more often. When the actual cost are calculated, E-85 cost more per mile that regular fuel. Diesel gets more miles to the gallon because it has more carbon than gas. So, if you reduce the carbon in fuel you may reduce the cost at the pump, but not the operating cost of the vehicle.

  19. gregoryzaller says:

    Hi Russ,

    I was speaking of the effect of lowering demand and expanding sources to offset price increases due to the depletion of carbon based fuels. Raising the fuel efficiency of cars is a great way to reduce demand . Renewable energy such as wind or nonrenewable nuclear would also increase supply and lower prices. Wind energy promises to deliver power today at a lower cost than any other means, AND this supply will never end or become depleted.
    I don’t know much about E85 but I agree that alcohol fuels from corn are a very bad idea .

  20. Michael says:


    I think your analysis is accurate enough. I know little about the NH2020 events (mostly from reading The Union online before I moved here from El Dorado Co). I can understand both sides’ concerns, of course the problem is always back to, where can we find middle ground.

    I will say this much though. I’ve lived in many different places (El Dorado Hills, Stockton, Auburn, Reno, Redding, Nevada City) and I always end up back here. I like the remote, more rugged feel here. I think it’s important to preserve that “character”.

    Placer County may have a plan with their Legacy program, but in my opinion, most of Placer County is just plain ugly. As one of the clerks in Hills Flat told me when I returned here from a short stint in Auburn, “Good for you, man. It’s juicier up here.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    I think the somewhat sad part is the demand for so many box stores. I guess I just don’t buy much. Granted, most local shops certainly are more expensive, but then again, when you don’t buy many goods it evens itself out.

    Your thoughts on Marin are relevant too. Most of Marin is beautiful, but who can afford to live there but the wealthy? If we become too exclusive, then a lot of us won’t be able to live here either.

    I guess, as usual, the answer is somewhere in the middle. If we’re gonna do retail, how bout trying as best we can to fill in developed areas such as Glenbrook? Rather than expanding outward (like the SDA proposals).

    Just some thoughts about a place I’ve grown to dearly love.

    • rl Crabb says:

      Yes Michael, like you I’ve lived in other towns and states, but I’ve never found one that compared to the old hometown. More than the physical landscape, it’s the people that make it what it is. A friend told me decades ago that “the wind doesn’t blow in Nevada County, it sucks.” That doesn’t stop me from being critical on occasion, but I do so because it’s important to me to keep that spirit alive.
      I always thought that if we really wanted big box stores, then a good place for them would be near Hiway 49 and Lake of the Pines. It’s always been the most conservative part of the county, so I figured the folks who live there wouldn’t mind. That theory has been disproved in recent times. There has been a good deal of opposition to a new shopping center and the proposed retirement home.

      • Michael says:

        As you say, given the demographics of the south county, you’d think it’d be no problem. I was amazed to see the opposition to the Rincon Del Rio project in the pages of The Union.

        I suppose there are some exceptions. My aunt lives in the south county and she’s all for the new Bel Air project (at least I think I heard it was Bel Air). A plus for south county development is that it would help stop some leakage to Auburn, since folks at Combie Road are closer to Auburn proper, shopping-wise. Heck, I’ll bet some people think they live in Placer County since the addresses around the area are listed as “Auburn 95602”.

        As for most shopping trips down the hill:
        I loved your cartoon from a few years back, the guys with the fridge in the pickup truck…. “We saved 20 bucks by shopping down the hill!”

        (…..”They spent 30 on gas!”)

  21. Russ Steele says:

    gregoryzaller 07:08

    You wrote: “Wind energy promises to deliver power today at a lower cost than any other means,”

    Not when you consider the cost of the backup power plants that are required for every wind farm. Wind is too unreliable, and requires on line generators to back up the wind. May time when the wind is need the most it does not blow. In the winter is is the larg stationary high pressure areas with super cool air, or in the summer when CA is enveloped in a high pressure area with clear skies and no wind. Why not just use natural gas generators with low CO2 out put and be done with it, We have over 250 years of gas supplies at the current rate of consumption and have yet to explore million of acres of shale formation on federal lands yet. Wind and solar only work when their are government subsidies as the EU countries have discovered and are pulling the plug. Wind is a big loser!

  22. Greg Goodknight says:

    To date, maintenance costs for wind generation have been atrociously high, and it’s not uncommon for old installations to be abandoned rather than be kept in operation.

    Greg, *none* of the alternatives have yet come close to the low cost of fossil fuels. Sec’y Chu stated PV needs to improve by a factor of 6 before it’s competitive, and it’s no secret that throwing billion$ at equipment that no one would bother with without massive subsidies doesn’t make sense.

    We’re awash in fossil fuels in the US, just not all that much that’s easily turned into car fuel, but it does appear a conversion to natural gas is coming real soon, because it’s CHEAP and commercial fleets can be viable with refueling at known truck stops.

    Fossil fuels will eventually be expensive enough that the market will react. The only reason to rush it is the global warming scare, but that is winding down. It isn’t happening. There is no tipping point, and there’s nothing magic about 350ppm. CO2 was up around 2000ppm when our distant early mammalian ancestors were first scampering about the Triassic Park and we’ll run out of fossil fuels long before we get there.

    • Greg’s quote is from 2005, seven years ago. A more current quote is here:

      “Renewable energy is getting cheaper and cheaper. Perhaps within this decade, wind and solar will be as inexpensive as any form of new energy. Wind is now pegged at 7.2 to 7.5 cents per kilowatt-hour at a levelized cost of energy according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [A leveled cost of energy is a measure of all the costs of a given energy source, from construction to fuel costs.] Natural gas is about 6 cents. A new coal plant is actually more money. Levelized wind is cheaper than coal.

      Solar is more expensive; it’s twice as expensive. We believe it will come down twofold in the next decade. It’s already come down threefold in the last four years. We see the electricity mix going to less and less carbon.

      In transportation, there will be a mix of electrification and next-generation biofuels and efficiency. If we get breakthroughs, it can be game-changing.

      Where do you think such breakthroughs might come from?
      Breakthroughs on the physics side will be in materials. The battery manufacturer Envia, which both [the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DoE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and its Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy] supported just announced a 400-kilowatt-hour-per-kilogram battery. That’s at least a factor of two more than the previous best. It still has to go through some more stages of bulletproofing, testing. It will reduce the cost of batteries at least twofold and the company is a little more optimistic—they think fourfold.”

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=steven-chu-all-of-the-above-energy-strategy&page=2 from March 2012.

  23. Michael Anderson says:

    Todd wrote:
    “They came along much later. David Tobiassen beat Paul Matson in 1992 (thanks Isle Barnhart), Weir and Schultz in 1990, Karen Knecht in 1992 or 94, and Sam Dardick was all by himself for a couple of years if I recall. Remember?”

    Yes, I do remember. But we’re talking about Martin, Dardick, Green, and Van Zant being elected to the BOS. They were all in place by the end of the 1990s. This was a result of the voters in Districts 1, 3, 4, and 5 steadily tiring of the good old boy network–manifesting in messes like the dump and the bonds–choosing to go in another direction. I’m not sure what they have to do with the BOS history of the early 1990s, which you cite.

    “Where is that transcript of your testimony during NH2020?”

    Todd, for some reason you decided in one of your comments up above somewhere that unless I had testified at an NH2020 hearing, I never was there. But I never claimed that I had provided any testimony, only that I attended some of the committee meetings and hearings. I’m not sure what relevance this continued request of yours has to do with the discussion, other than to change the subject. You’ll just have to take my word that I was engaged in the NH2020 process as an avid listener, at least during the beginning. For the record, once Drew Bedwell and Robert Ingram showed up on the scene, I stopped going to meetings. I decided I could get better entertainment watching WWA matches on TV.

    Todd, your next assignment is to read the following document, then provide astute commentary rather than your usual Sturm und Drang: http://nature.berkeley.edu/fortmann/WhoseLandscape.pdf

    Michael A.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      MA, you are just a bloviator. What a hoot!

      • Michael Anderson says:

        Todd, you commented without finishing your assignment. Back to your desk, son. No more talk until you finish your work. What a hoot indeed.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          Michael, I don’t believe that Todd read Mr. Walker’s paper before he responded, as you pointed out. That’s what I love about Todd, his lack of intellectual curiosity is only matched by his resistance to reading something that may not fit his ideology.

        • Todd juvinall says:

          I didn’t read your link because I know the fellow and was interviewed by him. Do some research and you will see where he paces me in one of his Oregon papers. He was sent here to discredit the property rights people and he failed.

  24. Todd Juvinall says:

    MA, you are the typical libewral. You want others to do your bidding but never return the favor. I learned that many years ago. When you produce evidence you testified in one NH 2020 then I may look into your question. I however know you were simply bloviating and never attended let alone testified at a NH2020 hearing. Liberals always are expanding their self importance. What a hoot!

    So there is your assignment, prove me wrong MA, produce the evidence.

  25. Michael Anderson says:

    Reading comprehension = 0.

    I’m done here.

  26. Todd juvinall says:

    Well when you just make things up MA it is hard to defend when you have to juggle the fibs. I can see why you are tired.

  27. Ben Emery says:

    It is called being an optimist. Believing Todd can suck it up long enough to have a sincere discourse with opinions based in solid experiences/ facts and absent of insults. Every once in awhile I make an attempt only to be disappointed. Believing people can change for the better must be one of my best/ worst qualities.

    Disagreeing doesn’t mean the other is out to get you it just means there are more than one way to look at an issue.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      BenE, why do you defend MA who is cleanly making things up. When a conservative points it out the liberal cries “negative”! What a hoot! The left is shameless/

  28. gregoryzaller says:

    There is an interesting chart in Wikipedia showing that China has 26.3% of the “name plate” capacity for wind generated electricity compared to the USA at 19.7%. Interesting, though, the USA out produces China with a 27.6% share of world wind electricity production compared to China’s 15.9%.

    This illustrates two points. One point is that the Chinese think wind power is practical and the other is that it is much more effective in the USA, presumably because we have more wind resources.

    Greg, it was disturbing to read, as you pointed out, that 14000 wind generators have been abandoned in the USA, but I think this doesn’t mean the still infant industry doesn’t have potential or isn’t viable. In any case I don’t have a right or left position on this. Russ, your point about the need for reliable backup generating capacity also has some validity, but I understand wind can now produce electricity at a cost of $.05 per delivered KWH which is lower than coal and it is expected to go lower and when the wind blows we save on nonrenewable fuel.

    I am sure we can all agree that nonrenewable energy will eventually disappear and I hope we could agree that we have a responsibility to the future. Energy consumption issues aren’t as simple as the dollar cost of energy and the environmental degradation. A rise in oil costs could trigger a severe global depression or be the basis of an incredible amount of pain and suffering delivered through warfare.

    I favor the prudent development of renewable technologies. I also believe that there are plenty of reasons to do this and that a concern over the effect of CO2 in the atmosphere or animosity toward another political faction should not stand in the way.

  29. Greg Goodknight says:

    Greg, installing early generation devices that are guaranteed to be money losers is not a winning strategy. There really are centuries of fossil fuels available within the current borders of the USA and no need to try to force new generation technologies before their time.

    PV and wind can be fantastic in the right spots even now. Like in out of the way places without good grid access that have reliable wind and sun.

    China has over a million coal miners extracting what they can. Wind and PV is a sideline that is lessening as it’s clear their customers (in Europe and the US) aren’t as excited about borrowing money from China to buy Chinese PV and wind generators as they used to.

    • gregoryzaller says:

      I don’t know, what I read is that China and USA have huge plans for wind energy. The US Department of Energy is predicting a 20% contribution from wind in 2030. China has similar plans. China has cut back 20% this year, as you say, but only to allow infrastructure to catch up. Last year wind energy went to waste there because of transmission bottlenecks. I also read that 20% is about the right proportion for wind energy until we find a way to store the energy.

      I’m curious why you think the world is awash in energy. Do you have a reputable source?

      Too bad this blog doesn’t have a notification system like Jeff”s does. I’ll check back.

  30. Greg Goodknight says:

    Including oil, coal, natural gas and oil shale, the US has about 4,000 Billion barrels of oil equivalent in proved reserves. Getting it isn’t all that easy. Someday, even PV will be cheaper, but that isn’t today.

    Numbers are from Berkeley physicist Richard Muller, one source is page 15 of this slideware from a UC Santa Cruz class from a professor there:

    You can find the numbers elsewhere.

    The world is not on the verge of melting, and we won’t be running out of fossil fuels without real price signals and decreased production, at which time the best technologies will win. Right now the world’s storage facilities for oil are bursting at the seams; it isn’t a shortage driving the price. It’s speculators placing bets. And with US coal generation getting shut down, US coal is being shipped to China to be burned with even fewer environmental controls. How smart is that?

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      The US currently uses about 7 billion barrels of oil annually, so that 4,000 bboe represents about 570 years worth.

      That’s a gross simplification, but it gives some scope to the issue. We’re running low on high quality crude oil that is easily turned into premium unleaded fuel, but fossil fuels are in no danger of running out in my expected lifetime and there is no good reason to hurry to spend huge amounts of capital to install early generation PV or wind even if you believe in the climate scare.

    • gregoryzaller says:

      I think your source is confusing and mixes units of measure. It does look like there is enough energy in nonrenewables for this century for what that is worth as if we aren’t by then and the planet decimated. I found this chart below at http://www.exergoecology.com/Members/gianpaoloberetta/BerettaIJETM.pdf
      It is is gigatonnes of barel oil equivalent. I am amazed at the nuclear potential.

      Primary energy reserves in Gtoe Oil Natural gas Coal Nuclear
      Cumulative consumption up to year 2000 111 58 148 10
      Expected cumulative consumption 2000-2100 263 298 347 256
      Proved and presumed conventional reserves 295 420 3400 260
      Additional probable conventional reserves 3000 150
      Proved and presumed nonconventional reserves 525 450 15560
      Additional probable nonconventional reserves 1900 400 8900

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        There was absolutely no mixing of units in the chart I referenced, Greg. The entire chart (page 15, the from Dr. Muller) was in the same “billion barrels of oil equivalent”.

        You asked why I thought we weren’t running out. You apparently now know, and are back to the apocalyptic arguments that were the real concerns.

        I went from being a believer in CO2 driven warming to scoffer five years ago, with the key being a 500+ million year record showing a clear and unmistakable correlation between our position in the galaxy, the bombardment of the planet with galactic cosmic rays from supernovas (which creates carbon 14 in the atmosphere), and temperature. The first papers supporting this science were from a Danish physicist in 1991, and the entire thread has been systematically excluded by the IPCC process over the past two decades.

        We’re not running out of fossil fuels, and there is no tipping point for CO2. It’s approaching 400ppm (or 0.04%) of the atmosphere but was 2000ppm (or 0.2%) when mammals first evolved, and was once as much as 1% of the atmosphere early in the Phanerozoic during a period when the world was almost entirely frozen. CO2 makes a difference, but it is not a major driver of climate.

        • gregoryzaller says:

          Your tutorial paper used cubic foot for gas and tonnes of oil. It also gave world consumption not usa consumption and it did so with joules. It was very confusing and wasn’t properly referenced.

          I doubt you looked at the material I gave which was more clear but had similar numbers. I thought you might have looked at it and agreed so we would have had something in common to discuss.

          We might have gone on to discuss whether the cost of extraction could be supported by the economy it would drive or some other similar topics. I get the impression you think is simple.

          I am not looking for some battle over who is smarter. There is a lot more at stake than that.

          If you happen to see this and respond please either email me with your response or let me know you made one at gregzaller@gmail.com

        • Oh let’s hear it for sending the CO2 levels asa high as a kite!

          “CO2 retention is a pathophysiological process in which too little carbon dioxide is removed from the blood by the lungs. The end result is hypercapnia, an elevated level of carbon dioxide dissolved in the bloodstream. Various diseases may lead to this state; disturbed gas exchange may lead to impaired excretion of the gas. In addition, breathing air with a high carbon dioxide concentration may also lead to hypercapnia.

          The principal result of the increased amount of dissolved CO2 is acidosis (respiratory acidosis when caused by impaired lung function); other effects include tachycardia (rapid heart rate) seizures, coma, respiratory arrest and death.”


  31. Greg Goodknight says:

    Greg, the wind numbers from Chu’s DoE are pure political puffery. Assumed with an accelerating decarbonization, and they won’t last past the current administration.

    Here’s a recent op-ed analysis of wind power economics:

    In short, even if you buy global warming scenarios, wind is a loser.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Greg Zaller, it is your turn!

      • gregoryzaller says:

        OK, I replied and my computer deleted it somehow.
        I don’t accept a Forbes op-ed as a credible source. Sure, he makes sense with the assumptions he makes, but are his assumptions credible? I’m not smart enough to sort everything out like that. I need to rely on sources that I trust like peer reviewed journals, for example. Scientific American Magazine isn’t peer reviewed but it has a nice article on a comprehensive energy solution and it uses wind power. I think I have it here somewhere.

        For the record, I am not a fan of PV except that funding it will stimulate truly low cost panels. I suspect that probably the same is true for wind power. At some point it comes down to engineering. Wind and solar power for the taking is there and it will not go away. Nonrenewable power will go away and it has innumerable problems associated with it.

        For the record, I don’t believe that CO2 is causing global warming as a greenhouse gas but I take the probability seriously since lots of people smarter than me do. I do believe that carbon consumption is killing the ocean with acidification and fertilizer run off, and that this might be ultimately more serious than global warming.

        I think man’s hand is extremely likely to be involved in global warming one way or the other. We’ve done too much stuff to get a free pass.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Greg, your challenge was on the numbers for the world’s fossil fuel reserves; this I gave you, and you’ve ignored it.

          Scientific American is an in the tank AGW cheerleader, not a neutral source. Forbes is a financial magazine, and has a good track record on economics. There is a reason tens of thousands of wind generators in the US have been abandoned (thanks for digging up the number) and the clearly labeled op-ed covers it well.

          The truly low cost PV panels we’re getting from China dumpings are still (according to Energy Sec’y Chu) too inefficient, by a factor of 6. They also only have a 20 year usable lifetime and without your neighbors chipping in to help you buy them, you’d never consider it.

          The IPCC was chartered something like 25 years ago to see how bad CO2 warming was and to shake down the 1st world for reparations for having burned so much fuel to date. Only problem is that, starting 20 years ago, a separate thread of a solar-cosmic ray link to cloud formation began, and is now better supported with both theory and real, actual experimental data, not computer simulations. If it wasn’t for entrenched and very political special interests the debate would be over.

  32. Brad Croul says:

    People have been talking about alternatives to fossil fuel generated electricity but I do not think anyone sees wind, solar and hydro as the only power sources. They are just part of the mix. These wind and solar farms might be considered pilot projects. Maybe they did not pan out. Hopefully, something was learned along the way.

    It behoves us to consider the health of people who are adversely affected because of power generation installations or infrastructure. They all have their drawbacks. Some are more benign than others.
    It is not just about the cost per kilowatt or CO2.
    The amount of money spent on subsidies for alternative energy projects like nukes, solar, wind, etc. pales in comparison with our military budget and all the money spent on development of defense related projects over the last 60 years, many of which were far more bizarre and useless than the idea of trying to economically generate electricity from wind.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      Energy production should be decentralized, whenever possible. I’m not so much caught up in the “what’s being burned or collected” anymore. What I really really really have come to hate is when I have to listen to people like Richard Nixon, or Jimmy Carter, or Ronald Reagan, or Bush I, or Bill Clinton, or Bush II, or Barack Obama, tell me what I need to subsidize. Get your goddamn hand out of my wallet, or I will cut it off with a machete. The Great Divide, indeed.

      • Ryan Mount says:

        Centralization is sooooo 19th Century. As “dude, I’m so stoned” as this sounds, we still approach our most of our governance and operations from an assembly-line, industrial factory model which relies on strict(this can’t be overstated) central planning and control. Or as we say in the biz, or perhaps you’ve heard Katie Couric say it, we live in a Service economy, not a manufacturing one. We need to be studying the science of Service. And we actually now have such a thing. It’s cleverly called, brace yourself, “Service Science!”

        Given that everything we do (make) becomes a commodity in say, I dunno 18 months, what do we have left then? Well we can either release a new iPhone every 18 months, and some do then sue all their competitors (these patent lawsuits are proof-positive in my mind that every we make is a commodity now) or we can focus on how we do things. Innovation was (past tense) key to our hegemon here in the USA, but that has quickly eroded away. Even flurries of lawsuits can’t stop that. IMO, these lawsuits are actually exacerbating the problem. Anyhow…

        I mean is anyone surprised that our Solar Panels are being made with overseas labor? Come on McFly, stop your whining and get to work.

        So Michael is right. Actually really right. Energy production, actually all production, needs to be migrated to a more decentralized model, as we’re doing in Services Sciences here at IBM. (disclosure: I work for them)

        Yeah, yeah. There are economies of scale for big, mostly out of State energy factories, but the folks I know with 10Kw of Solar on their roof love to chortle at our energy crisis. On a cloudy day they’re getting 3-4Kw. At night, well, zero. But, there’s invertors for that as well as some small, hardly inconvenient lifestyle changes.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Ryan, PV panel production is shaking out. US producers have gone out of business because there’s no money to be made. Chinese producers have an artificially supported exchange rate giving them a boost but even they’re not thriving.

          • Ryan Mount says:

            I don’t care who makes them as long as the work. Probably not a popular thing to say. The Solar Panel jobs have long left our shores like the iPhone, and many other things. And more cynically, even if we do innovate in this area the manufacturing will be immediately outsourced although the more rare engineering resources (jobs) might stay domestic….for a while.

            I do not entertain fantasies, like some, of the jobs coming back here until labor prices equalize across the globe, which won’t be for a long time, despite what people are saying. Product life cycles are too short, as per my above comments.

            I have offered solutions to prop up the United States lifestyle in other threads, which mostly include us invading or intimidating other countries. That expansionist/quasi-imperialist policy worked for us in the past.* Innovation only goes so far. We need to row harder. And that sucks.

            *What’s an Anti-Globalist to do these days? Send more George Clooney and USA Rice aid? But for god’s sake, don’t send them instruction manuals or let them install SAP their manufacturing centers. It must be hard to pick a side.

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