Facebook proposes to place jobs where there’s wildlife habitat, where there’s no transit, and where sea level rise will inundate the building. The Chapter doesn’t think that this is a very good idea, and we’ve commented extensively on the draft environmental impact report.
The Chapter offers two part-time internships: the Community Outreach Internship and the Sustainable Land Use Internship. These unpaid positions are open to motivated, friendly, and creative individuals who can volunteer eight to 12 hours per week for four to six months. “I love coming to the office! It's a very positive place to be in,” says Jessica Gonzales, a fifth-year Environmental Studies major. Jessica is a Community Outreach Intern with the Chapter and gushes over her work: “I enjoy the people and their enthusiasm in making our world a better place … it's such a great feeling to know that people care about not only our environment but also our communities and each other.”
The Chapter’s Cool Cities teams have turned parking places into parks, forced cities to rethink ill-considered developments, and helped enact bans on plastic bags. They are our “boots on the ground” in the many efforts our Chapter makes to improve the local environment one step at a time.
“What’s for dinner” is a pretty easy question most of the time for most of us. “Is what’s for dinner good for the nation; the economy; the planet?” are harder questions. The Chapter has formed a Food Committee to address them and to take action to make sure that the answers are yes.
Decades after it should have, BART is finally coming to San Jose…barely. The last necessary funds are now available to extend BART 16 miles beyond Fremont and on to northern San Jose. This is the last piece of the needed funding for the $2.3 billion project. The two articles that follow are two views of the opportunities provided by this extension.
With two new BART stations proposed in eastern San Jose, we have two more great opportunities to get things right. Since in our area, transportation causes almost 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, meaningful reduction in carbon means figuring out how to driving less. Hence, what we build near transit stations is extraordinarily important.
BART is finally coming to San Jose … well, at least toward San Jose. However they’re planning to spend a ton of money to build 11,000 parking spaces and then give them away. This plan encourages 11,000 extra car trips, meaning more bad air and more congestion. Charging for parking will lead to smaller lots and free up money to improve other ways for people to get to BART.
Paul Almazan, key member of the Chapter’s Gay and Lesbian Sierrans Governing Committee and very active hike leader, died suddenly on December 22, 2011. He was a great example of the immediate impact an individual can have by becoming more active at any age in the Sierra Club. Paul was known for his kindness to all and his commitment to serving GLS. His wonderful sense of humor and his loyalty to friends will be missed.
Chapter member Kurt Newick has made it his business to reduce the permit fees that cities and counties charge to install rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. (See “Sunshine: $0; Permit for Solar Panels: $25,000” in the May 2009 Loma Prietan.) Along with other members of the Chapter’s Global Warming and Energy Committee, he surveys the fees and shames cities into reducing them or, in some cases, points out to them that their fees are higher than is legal under state law.
Charles Schafer’s “Message From the Chair” has appeared regularly in this space. After three years of volunteering as chair of our Chapter’s Executive Committee, Charles Schafer has turned the job over to Ginny Laibl. The Loma Prietan salutes Charles:
A $5.5 million-a-year proposal to support improved bus service across the Dumbarton Bridge is now before the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the agency in charge of planning, financing, and coordinating transportation projects throughout the Bay Area.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District is working to renew a special parcel tax for flood control and ecosystem protection. They are clear on how to spend the flood control money. Their plan for ecosystem protection is squishy. The Chapter’s Water Committee is advocating for better planning of and more transparency about how the tax money is spent, and the district appears to be cooperating.
After numerous violations of clean air and water standards, Lehigh Southwest Cement in Cupertino must now face the lawsuit the Chapter has filed in federal court in San Jose. The company is accused of dumping toxic chemicals into Permanente Creek and increasing air pollution in the area around its plant.
Officials in Half Moon Bay okayed the removal of vegetation from the Kehoe Watercourse. Unfortunately, they neglected to get the required permit for work in a riparian area. Two of our Chapter members sued to remind them of their obligations, and the case has now been decided.
A variety of hummingbirds visit California each year, and Anna's Hummingbird lives here the year round. Invite these winged wonders into your garden by offering a diverse selection of nectar sources, water, shelter, and nesting sites and materials.
The Chapter runs an extensive outings program, but we don’t list the trips in the paper: it takes too much space! Check out below the wide variety of trips we have to offer. Then go to lomaprieta.sierraclub.org/outings, find the groups you're interested in, and check their calendars. Enjoy the change of seasons and the best outdoors the Bay Area has to offer! There's something for everybody, so have fun out there!
Moby-Duck tells the tale of 28,800 bath toys (a third of them yellow plastic ducks) that lost their way when they fell off a container ship during a Pacific storm on the voyage from China to Seattle in 1992. The image of thousands of smiling duckies bobbing their way through raging storms, swift currents, and placid doldrums captured the imagination of author Donovan Hohn and many others, including beachcombers, oceanographers, environmentalists, and Eric Carle, the renowned children’s book author who penned The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The Chapter accomplishes so much because many volunteers donate generous amounts of time to making it work. We can always use another pair of hands, and some of the opportunities to help are listed here.
Don’t let the mudslinging in the primaries turn you against elections in general. The Sierra Club’s Board of Directors actually runs the place; they’re not window dressing. The Chapter encourages you to vote in the upcoming election for Club Board of Directors and has some recommendations.