You might consider these people to be the kinds of environmentalists responsible for creating the original concept of what it means to be green. That being preserving nature by inhibiting the relentless encroachments of civilization and taking into account the need to save such things as the Arcadia Woodlands for future generations to appreciate and love.
And then there are those who have adopted the Sacramento viewpoint of what it means to be green. The notion being that we can somehow build our way out of Global Warming, and that by taking towns like Sierra Madre and filling them with high density condominium and mixed use development, along with the adoption of social engineering edicts that enforce the use of public transportation over cars, we will somehow save the world. Laws such as SB 375 now have the full power of the state government behind them in order to make just these kinds of things happen. And there are so many eager to help.
You can sense this struggle to define what it means to be "green" in the differences between the two camps involved in the fate of the Arcadia Woodlands. Which side do you think the County of Los Angeles officials present at last week's meeting would side with? The viewpoints being expressed by the nature preservationists who attended that meeting, or the Sacramento version of what it means to be "green?" After all, it will take a whole lot more water to supply all that new development under consideration. Will the County let a few trees stand in the way?
Trying to build your way out of global warming is like trying to eat your way out of obesity. The cause of the problem can never be its solution.
This evening Sierra Madre's Green Advisory Committee meets for its second time. And while they are still attempting to define which way they are going to go with all this, the early indications are that they are far more on the Sacramento side of things than something like the Arcadia Woodlands.
As an example we should take a look at Agenda Item # 2 for tonight's meeting, which is called "Legislative Updates." This is how the item reads:
The Committee will review and discuss updates on recent or anticipated legislation that may affect sustainability or green programs and policies.
This raises a question. Should Sierra Madre being taking its green direction from Sacramento? Our legislature has helped to create record deficits, debt, schools that are broke and losing a generation of kids, and an economy that is hemorrhaging jobs and industries to other states at rates never seen here before. Are these the kinds of people anyone should be looking to for guidance?
And apparently our State Legislature is no longer the voice of the people, but rather where well paid lobbyists go to get their business done. And would you believe that a majority of the bills signed into law during the 2009-10 session were not only those of Sacramento favored interests, but were actually written by the lobbyists themselves? This lamentable happenstance is termed "Sponsored Bills," and what it basically means is Sacramento has turned its legislative responsibilities over to private interests in exchange for good old fashioned bribes.
An article in last Sunday's San Jose Mercury News entitled "Sponsored Bills Update: Outside Interests Reign During Dismal Session" further exposed these corrupt practices. Here is part of what this article has to say:
By most measures, California's Legislature performed dismally this past session. It passed a budget a record 100 days late, and grossly underestimated the fiscal crisis - a situation so severe that lawmakers returned to the Capitol earlier this month for a special session to grapple with a $6.1 billion deficit.
But the dire situation did not inhibit legislators from carrying bills crafted by outside interests who showered them with campaign contributions, a continuing Mercury News investigation of the California legislative process shows. While larger problems festered, lawmakers in the two-year session just ended pushed lobbyist-driven "sponsored bills" -- bills that are not simply backed by interest groups but often actually written by them -- at the same furious pace of the previous session.
Sponsored bills accounted for almost 40 percent of all legislation introduced and 50 percent of bills that became law ... Members of the Assembly and Senate introduced 1,596 bills - 37 percent of the total for the 2009-10 session - on behalf of outside interests including employee groups, government agencies and nonprofits; of those, 455 bills were sponsored by private industry and corporations. The percentage was down only slightly from the number of sponsored bills introduced in the previous session, when California's crisis was far less severe.
So when the Green Advisory Committee reviews the vast amounts of state legislation on "green" issues, will they be taking into account who or what created these bills? Were they crafted with our concerns first, or will they turn out to have been something cooked up by involved industries and lobbyists who only have their own interests in mind? And should the Green Advisory Committee begin to advocate for these (very) possibly lobbyist authored bills, will their efforts really be in the interest of the people of Sierra Madre? Or with the outside interests that actually authored this legislation.
Certainly Sacramento legislation such as SB 375 (aka the "Anti-Sprawl Bill" - something that heavily favors the development and realty interests in California over anything even remotely environmental) has a lot more in common with the concerns of the Builders Industry Association and California Association of Realtors than it does, as an example, the people trying to rescue the Arcadia Woodlands.
The notion that high density development is green has got to be one of the larger frauds of our times. This is at best a marketing ploy designed to make people believe that the for-profit driven needs of the corporate development and realty industries are actually based on concerns for the environment. And that by gutting and redeveloping low density communities such as ours and turning them into densely packed urban style cities we will somehow slow down global warming. Something that would be laughable if so many credulous people hadn't bought into it.
We will be following the Green Advisory Committee's actions quite closely on The Tattler in 2011. Let's hope they realize that the real interests of Sierra Madre are not with John Buchanan's big development agendas, but rather in sticking with something we always have been, which is green.