Posts Tagged ‘sierra club’

OMG, the SFMTA-Free “Forum on the Future of Transit in San Francisco” is Coming on August 18th, 2012!

Monday, August 6th, 2012

That’s right, the SFMTA isn’t sponsoring this one-day event next week and it isn’t invited neither.

Check it:

SAVEMUNI.COM FORUM - THE FUTURE OF TRANSIT IN SAN FRANCISCO

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18, 2012, 10:30 AM TO 4:00 PM

Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, S.F.

“SaveMuni.com will be holding a Forum on the Future of Transit in San Francisco at the Koret Auditorium, SF Main Library, on Saturday, August 18. Registration starts 10 am; program begins 10:30 am.

The morning session deals with the current state of transit in San Francisco, and the afternoon session takes up ideas for improvements in Muni service and financing.

Speakers include:

transportation engineer Gerald Cauthen,

disabled rights activist Bob Planthold,

Tom Rubin, CPA who has been the chief financial officer of two of the largest transit agencies in the United States,

public policy consultant Bob Feinbaum,

architect Howard Wong, and

foreperson Linda Clardy of the 2010-11 SF Civil Grand Jury.

Co-sponsors of the Forum include the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco Tomorrow, Sierra Club and TransForm.”

OK then.

See you there the Saturday after next!

A few more deets on what SAVE MUNI has been up to the past month or so:

“Special Announcements

Muni Transportation Forum:

A Muni Transportation Forum, sponsored by SaveMuni and other groups will be held on Saturday, August 18, 2012 at the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Main Library, beginning at 10:00 am. The focus of the Forum will be on the general problems that prevent Muni from operating at full effectiveness and on some broad approaches to improving the situation.

Central Subway Litigation News:

August 4, 2012: To our knowledge there are at least three separate lawsuits now in progress or pending against the Central Subway. Any of them could block or significantly alter the project. More revelations to come.

Central Subway Disconnected from Muni:

Current: The Central Subway would be disconnected from the Market Street corridor, Muni Metro, BART, Ferries, Transbay Terminal, High-speed Rail, regional and statewide transit networks. Central Subway riders would have to travel on foot for over 1,200 feet to reach the Powell Muni Metro/BART Station. As part of the Subway project, today’s bus service into northeastern San Francisco would be cut by 50%. Most of today’s Stockton Street Muni users would find their subway trips to be longer than today’s bus trips.

Today’s Stockton Street bus riders can easily transfer to Muni LRV lines J, K, L, N, M, F and T and to Muni east-west bus lines 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 9L, 10, 12, 14, 14L, 14x, 21, 31, 71, 71L and 76. Connections to every one of these 24 east-west lines as well as to all the BART lines would be substantially less convenient from the Central Subway than from today’s Stockton Street bus lines.

Central Subway Milestones:

August 29, 2011: SFMTA’s False Claims: Charts, developed from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s(SFMTA’s) own data, compare Central Subway ridership, costs and trip times. The charts illustrate how the SFMTA was telling the Feds one thing and San Franciscans another. ChartsTARAugust2911.pdf

Wow, Another Blow for Interim D5 Supervisor Christina Olague: Assemblymember Tom Ammiano Endorses John Rizzo

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Gee, what’s wrong with appointed Supervisor Christina Olague, you know, if she can’t even get endorsed by her own Assemblymember?

Anyway, here’s the news of the day:

“Assemblymember Tom Ammiano Endorses John Rizzo for District 5 Supervisor

SAN FRANCISCO — Longtime San Francisco activist and California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano has endorsed John Rizzo for District 5 Supervisor.

Ammiano has served San Francisco for three decades as a teacher, civil rights leader, SF School Board President, Supervisor, and Assembymember. He cited Rizzo’s leadership experience, both with City College and as a Sierra Club leader, as well as his commitment to finding creative and effective solutions to today’s biggest problems.

“In the years I’ve known John Rizzo, he has proven his dedication to public education, a greener San Francisco, and civil rights,” said Ammiano. “He’ll bring the kind of progressive policy solutions we need to City Hall, and has the experience to get them passed.”

“I am honored by Assemblymember Ammiano’s endorsement,” said Rizzo. “We have always shared values on issues such as education and the environment and I’m proud that he supports my bid for Supervisor.”

The endorsement comes at a great time for Rizzo’s campaign, which has been building momentum through an intensive field program that has seen campaigners on the ground in the District every day.

John Rizzo is also endorsed by Senator Leland Yee, Supervisor Eric Mar, the Sierra Club, and other elected officials and community and business leaders.

John Rizzo was twice elected to the Community College Board and is the former chair of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club. He has a proven track record as an effective leader in government and education, in protecting the environment, parks and Muni, and in bringing jobs to San Francisco. Some of his accomplishments include spearheading adoption of the GoSolarSF program which quadrupled the city’s solar capacity and created hundreds of jobs, and creating a “local hire” initiative at City College, which ensures that San Franciscans are put to work on taxpayer-funded construction projects.

As a 27-year resident of District 5, John raised his daughter through San Francisco public schools and is a dedicated MUNI rider. He is committed to fighting for our neighborhoods, our schools, and our city.

So, add that to this list of Endorsements: 

The Sierra Club

Leland Yee, State Senator

Eric Mar, Supervisor

Jake McGoldrick, Former Supervisor

Milton Marks, Trustee, College Board

Natalie Berg, Trustee, College Board

Chris Jackson, Trustee, College Board

Steve Ngo, Trustee, College Board

Mark Sanchez, Former President of the Board of Education

Mary Hernandez, Former President of the Board of Education

Robert Varni, Former Trustee, College Board*

Julio Ramos, Former Trustee, College Board

Dr. Carlota T. Del Portillo, Former Dean, City College Mission Campus

Bob Cheasty, Former Albany Mayor, and Citizens for East Shore Parks.

Andy Katz, East Bay MUD Board of Directors

Larry Fahn, Sierra Club National Board of Directors and Former President

Sanjay Ranshod, Sierra Club National Board of Directors

Michele Perrault, Former President National Sierra Club Board of Directors

Trent Orr, Earth Justice

Former Planning Commissioner Espanola Jackson

San Francisco Corruption Revealed on the Floor of the House – Central Subway to Nowhere – A Short Speech

Friday, July 6th, 2012

The Subway to Nowhere. House Chamber, Washington, D.C. June 27, 2012. Remarks by Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA).”

“Mr. Chairman:

This amendment forbids further federal expenditures for the Central Subway project in San Francisco.

The project is a 1.7 mile subway that is estimated to cost $1.6 billion –– and those cost estimates continue to rise.  Its baseline budget has more than doubled in nine years and shows no signs of slowing.  The current estimate brings the cost to nearly $1 billion per mile.  That’s five times the cost per lane mile of Boston’s scandalous “Big Dig.”

It was supposed to link local light rail and bus lines with CalTrain and Bay Area Rapid Transit, but it’s so badly designed that it bypasses 25 of the 30 light rail and bus lines that it crosses.  To add insult to insanity, it dismantles the seamless light-rail to BART connection currently available to passengers at Market Street, requiring them instead to walk nearly a quarter mile to make the new connection.  Experts estimate it will cost commuters between five and ten minutes of additional commuting time on every segment of the route.

The Wall Street Journal calls ita case study in government incompetence and wasted taxpayer money.”

They’re not alone.  The Civil Grand Jury in San Francisco has vigorously recommended the project be scrapped, warning that maintenance alone could ultimately bankrupt San Francisco’s Muni.  The former Chairman of the San Francisco Transportation Agency has called it, “one of the costliest mistakes in the city’s history.

Even the sponsors estimate that it will increase ridership by less than one percent, and there is vigorous debate that this projection is far too optimistic.

I think Margaret Okuzumi, the Executive Director of the Bay Rail Alliance put it best when she said,

Too many times, we’ve seen money for public transit used to primarily benefit people who would profit financially, while making transit less convenient for actual transit riders.  Voters approve money for public transit because they want transit to be more convenient and available…it would be tragic if billions of dollars were spent on something that made Muni more time consuming, costly and unable to sustain its overall transit service.”

This administration is attempting to put federal taxpayers – our constituents — on the hook for nearly a billion dollars of the cost of this folly through the “New Starts” program – or more than 60 percent.  We have already squandered $123 million on it.  This amendment forbids another dime of our constituents’ money being wasted on this boondoggle.

Now here is an important question that members may wish to ponder:  “Why should your constituents pay nearly a billion dollars for a purely local transportation project in San Francisco that is opposed by a broad, bi-partisan coalition of San Franciscans, including the Sierra Club, Save Muni (a grassroots organization of Muni Riders), the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods, and three of the four local newspapers serving San Francisco?

Why, indeed.

I’m sorry, I don’t have a good answer to that question.  But those who vote against this amendment had better have one when their constituents ask, “What in the world were you thinking?”

# # #

This amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act (HR 5972) was approved by the House on June 29th.  The legislation next goes to the Senate.

Arrested Decay: The NIMBYs of San Francisco’s Presidio Won’t Stop Until They Turn the Main Post Into Another Bodie Ghost Town

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

You know about the Bodie, CA ghost town, right? That’s the model for the NIMBYs of the Marina District and points beyond when they oppose activity in the Presidio.

Read below for the update.

Here’s the abandoned Main Post Theatre from a few years back – I’m sure it looks the same now. Do you know who supported the mofos listed below back in the late aughts by paying tens of thousands of dollars to oppose the use of the Main Post Theatre? How about the owners of neighboring movie theatres, how about that?  

Click to expand

I don’t know, this crew doesn’t want new buildings and it doesn’t want the reuse of old buildings. Of course they can sue, in this town, the world capitol of NIMBYism, of course. But is it really true that there’s ”nearly unanimous public opposition” against lodges (or inns or hotels) in national parks?

On It Goes:

Press Release (Also distributed via Business Wire 2/2/2012)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 2, 2012

For more information contact:
Gary Widman, (President, Presidio Historical Assn) 415/435-0360, gwidman@mindspring.com
Becky Evans (Sierra Club/SF) 415/775-3309, rebecae@earthlink.net
Deborah Sivas (Stanford Law School, Environmental Law Clinic) 650/725.8571, lyndaj@stanford.edu
Whitney Hall, (VP, Presidio Historical Assn) 707/778-6975, whithall@comcast.net
www.presidioassociation.org

PRESIDIO HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION, SIERRA CLUB SUE SF PRESIDIO TRUST TO HALT NEW CONSTRUCTION

San Francisco….The Presidio Historical Association (PHA) and Sierra Club filed a Federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court late Wednesday to halt proposed new construction on the Main Post of the Presidio of San Francisco, a historic national park in San Francisco. The lawsuit charges the park’s managing Federal agency, the Presidio Trust, with failing to comply with the Presidio Trust Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

“The Presidio Trust has violated these statutes in its push to convert the most historically significant site in the Presidio into a luxury hotel despite nearly unanimous public opposition,” said PHA President Gary Widman. “We have no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect this national park, which belongs to all Americans.”

The suit sets a precedent as the first to question activities in a national park that is not managed by the National Park Service.

Recently, the Presidio Trust’s Board of Directors changed restrictive zoning policies that protected the Main Post until now in order to permit construction of a 14-building hotel, a large addition to a historic theater and other structures, a move strongly opposed by numerous nonprofit organizations and private citizens.

“The Sierra Club has protected national parks since 1892, and played a major role in the creation of the Presidio National Park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area,” said Sierra Club spokeswoman Becky Evans. “The unique historic value of the Presidio Main Post should not be sacrificed to build an unnecessary hotel.”

The Sierra Club won a 1986 Federal lawsuit that enjoined the US Army from undertaking new construction in the Presidio, a military base at that time. “By filing this suit, the Sierra Club seeks affirmation of that 1986 decision and seeks the Presidio Trust’s compliance with the Presidio Trust Act and other environmental laws,” Evans said.

The lawsuit asserts that the Presidio Trust ignored its duty to “[protect] the Presidio from development and uses which would destroy the historic…character of the area…and other cultural resources”, and failed to limit new construction to one-for-one replacement of demolished structures as required by the Presidio Trust Act.

The plaintiffs also claim that the Trust’s NEPA process was flawed and that the Trust failed to minimize adverse impacts in its National Historic Landmark District to the maximum extent possible as required by the NHPA.

The Presidio Trust Act (PTA) of 1996 recognized and protected the 1,491-acre Presidio of San Francisco as a unique place of history and open space in a densely populated urban center. The Main Post, established in 1776, was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1962. The Presidio was home to Spanish, Mexican, and American military operations for nearly 220 years until the base became a national park within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) in 1994. More than 30,000 Americans veterans and their families are buried in the Presidio’s National Cemetery, on the western side of the Main Post.

The nonprofit Presidio Historical Association has helped to preserve and present the Presidio’s history for more than 50 years. The watchdog group recently gained attention for successfully fighting the Presidio Trust’s plan to build a massive, contemporary art museum on the historic Main Post.

The Stanford Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic is representing the Presidio Historical Association and the Sierra Club in the lawsuit.

###

The complaint is posted at http://presidioassociation.org/issues.htm
Case# CV12-00522, US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division

Presidio Historical Association
P.O. Box 29163
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 752-2270
www.presidioassociation.org

Senator Leland Yee Unveils Green Plan: Fix Muni Management, Full Environmental Cleanup at Hunters Point

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Mayoral candidate Senator Leland Yee unveiled his environmental policy commitments yesterday at Rincon Park.

See?

Here’s the whole megillah:

“Yee Announces Plan to Make San Francisco Cleaner and Greener – Yee unveils environmental policy commitments he plans to undertake as Mayor

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Mayoral candidate and Senator Leland Yee unveiled his environmental policy plan, entitled “San Francisco 2020: Leland Yee’s vision for a cleaner, greener city.” Yee released his plan at Rincon Park along side members of the Sierra Club and San Francisco Tomorrow.

Yee’s plan contains 24 specific commitments that he will embark on as Mayor to ensure the city continues to lead on urban environmental policy, that parks are protected from privatization, that we meet our 100% clean energy and zero waste goals, and that we protect our treasured shoreline in preparation for the America’s Cup.

“I am looking forward to making our city the greenest urban center in the nation,” said Yee. “As Mayor, I will fight to protect our air, land and water for future generations. This plan will ensure San Francisco continues to lead on environmental policy and park stewardship, and that we meet our clean energy and zero waste goals.”

Yee is the endorsed candidate by San Francisco’s leading environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and San Francisco Tomorrow, as their first choice for the environment.

“Leland Yee has the strongest and most established environmental record of the candidates running for Mayor, and we proudly endorse his campaign,” said Arthur Feinstein, Chair of the Sierra Club – San Francisco Bay Chapter. “His vision will help San Francisco lead the nation in environmental stewardship.”

Yee has consistently scored top marks from environmentalists. In 2010, he was one of only two state senators to be 100% rated by every major environmental organization, including the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Clean Water Action.

For these efforts, Yee has received several environmental honors including the Resource Conservation Award by the California Resource Recovery Association; Coastal Steward Award by Vote the Coast; Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Neighborhoods by the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods; and Environmental Champion by Environment California

Among Yee’s many environmental accomplishments, he co-authored AB 32 – the Global Warming Solutions Act, and was one the most outspoken legislators opposing the bad “water deal” package in Sacramento. He passed legislation to stop offshore oil drilling, was a leader in the effort to protect the Farallon Islands, and passed reform legislation in response to the 2007 San Francisco Bay Cosco Busan oil spill.

The highlights of Yee’s plan include:

IMMEDIATE ACTION TO SAVE SAN FRANCISCO’S PARKS
1. Oppose park privatization
2. Champion a parcel tax measure for dedicated parks funding
3. Support a park renewal bond in 2012
4. Respect Golden Gate Park

2020 Goal: 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY
5. Create a clean energy program that can compete with PG&E
6. Fully fund GoSolarSF and increase local clean energy production
7. Plan for the effect of climate change
8. Continue the push for energy efficiency
9. Encourage innovation to green the local grid
10. Oppose gas-fired peaker plants
11. Renewable energy means green jobs

2020 Goal: ZERO WASTE
12. Improve public education and access to waste diversion options
13. Improve proper waste diversion through incentives and improved technologies
14. Promote efforts to increase producer responsibility and sustainable products

2020 GOAL: 100,000 MORE MUNI RIDERS & 50,000 FEWER CAR TRIPS
15. Fix Muni management
16. Re-engineer the system to connect and serve the entire city
17. Bring Muni out of the Dark Ages: the long-overdue Technology Revolution
18. Lead the charge for true regional transportation planning
19. Bicycle safely and walk freely

PRIORITIZE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
20. An environmental vision for the America’s Cup
21. Full environmental cleanup at Hunters Point
22. Put housing, jobs, and transit together
23. Maximize reuse of captured rain water
24. Promote healthy neighborhoods”

OMG, OMG, It’s “Summer Fun Day” at the Presidio Trust’s Crissy Field This Saturday! Noon to 5:00 PM, July 30th, 2011

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Oh man, after those AM clouds drift away this Saturday, it’s going to be a dreaded sunny day at Crissy Field for you and the fam at Summer Fun Day 2011!

Check it:

“On July 30, Outdoor Nation, The Presidio Trust and the National Park Service will co-host a Summer Fun Day celebration at Crissy Field’s Historic Airfield. The public is invited to participate in an incredible range of outdoor recreation—from rock climbing, to camping competitions to orienteering—that are available close to home. This event is free and is expected to attract thousands of Bay Area residents. More information can be found at SummerFunDay.org.”

Summer Fun Day San Francisco:

Presented by: The North Face, REI Foundation and The Conservation Fund
Co-Host: National Park Service and Crissy Field
When: Saturday, July 30 | 12:00noon-5:00pm
Location: Crissy Field’s Historic Airfield
Address: Mason Street, San Francisco, CA

Calling all Bay Area Residents!
Don’t miss a day of free family fun on Outdoor Nation’s ultimate, outdoor adventure playground!

Highlights of Summer Fun Day San Francisco:

REI Family Camping Fun
Hula Hooping and other Retro Games hosted by Merrell
Biking
Prizes, including CamelBak Water Bottles
Music, hiking and more!

All the deets, below.

Is Crissy Field really still growing? If so, the Continental Drift Theory is proven once again:

See you there!

Outdoor Nation Summer Youth Summits Culminate in San Francisco

Youth-led Movement for the Outdoors Plans Agenda—with more than $100,000 in Dedicated Funding for Youth Project Ideas—to Expand Access, Activity, and Appreciation

San Francisco, California – Outdoor Nation, the youth-led movement championing the outdoors, is coming to San Francisco, the fifth and final stop on the series of 2011 Youth Summits. For many reasons—access, cultural relevance, education, time, budget cuts—America’s youth is losing touch with the outdoors. Outdoor Nation is empowering the Millennial generation to address the issues head-on and develop their own solutions to connecting youth with the outdoors.

The three-day Summit, co-hosted by The Presidio Trust and the National Park Service, begins on July 29 at 12:00pm at the Presidio’s Fort Scott. A diverse group of more than 200 youth leaders aged 16 to 28 is expected in San Francisco, the Northwest Regional Summit. Delegates were chosen from online applications as well as nominations from Outdoor Nation partners.

Delegates will discuss regional outdoor issues and brainstorm project ideas to remove barriers to participation in the outdoors. Youth participants will vote for the top ideas in each region. The Outdoor Foundation will invest more than $10,000 in projects—a total of $100,000 for all the projects that result from the summits—with support from the National Park Service’s Rivers and Trails and Conservation Assistance National Programs.

Delegates will also address the deep budget cuts and unprecedented closures facing America’s State Parks, Outdoor Nation’s national partner and its top cause for 2011.

Ever more deets, after the jump

(more…)

The No on Proposition 16 People to Hold an Anti-PGE, Pro-CCA Victory Party on Thursday

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

From Rebecca Bowe comes the news of  the No On 16 Victory Party / Workshop / Awards  Show. You are welcome to celebrate the recent loss of Proposition 16 at an afternoon event coming Thursday, August 5, 2010.

Check it:

NO on PROPOSITION 16
CAMPAIGN VICTORY WORKSHOP
VOLUNTEER HERO AWARDS and
CELEBRATION PARTY
AUGUST 5, 2010

Merchants Exchange Building
Julia Morgan Ballroom
465 California Street  San Francisco

AGENDA OUTLINE

1:00-1:30 p.m.            Registration Check-in

1:30 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks

VICTORY WORKSHOP

1:45-2:45 p.m. The Campaign        The Victory

  • Moderator: Nancy Miller Panelists :John Geesman; Gale Kaufman; Jim Pope

3:00-4:00 p.m. The Ongoing Challenges of Obstruction

  • Moderator:  Jim Metropulos Panelists: Ross Mirkarimi; Mark  Toney; Jeff Shields

4:15-5:15 p.m. The Future: Common Ground for CCA and Public Power?

  • Moderator: Cynthia Wooten Panelists: Charles McGlashan; Paul Fenn; Renata Brillinger; Dave Room

4:15-5:15 p.m. The Legal Team: Litigation, Regulation and Support

Panelists:        Matt Jacobs; Ann Trowbridge; Dennis Herrera

** Ample time will  be provided for Q&A, participant statements

VOLUNTEER HERO AWARDS and PARTY

5:30 p.m. Delicious  Buffet        Libations         Talk & Play

6:30 p.m. Volunteer Hero Awards Presentation         Mark Toney

Music  and Party!

REMEMBER                NO COST TO ATTEND                        IT’S FREE

Please distribute to your lists!

California NUMMI Commission Offers Toyota No Carrots and No Sticks

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Here’s the thing about that NUMMI plant in Fremont that’s closing down at the end of the month – Toyota thought about making Prius hybrid electric cars there after the departure of General Motors, but then rejected that idea. So, Corolla production will  be taken care of by an existing plant in Ontario, Canada and pickup trucks, too, will be made somewhere else if necessary. This all got worked out last summer.  

(Here’s Toyota’s current take on the situation from NUMMI spinmeister Lance Tomasu for the record. Enjoy.)

Anyway right now, California’s Toyota NUMMI Commission is coming back from Japan after trying to nag Toyota brass into keeping the Fremont factory going. Take a look at their report. The Question of the Day is why Toyota should remain the only car manufacturer in the entire western United States.

So you’d think that California would offer some carrots and/or wave some sticks around at Toyota but the Commission’s not really equipped to do that all that much.

It’s not like they can’t find some carrots or sticks in their quiver, it’s that their quiver is pretty much empty.

According to the commission, the chance for Toyota to build hybrid electric Corollas in Fremont is somehow some big benefit to Toyota that Toyota is oblivious to. That’s not really a carrot, actually, and you’d think that Toyota would have their own ideas about making cars. Would consumers want to buy a “California Corolla” just because it’s made in Fremont? I don’t think so. Very possibly, Toyota having a big pickem-up factory in Texas helps sell big V8 pickem-ups, but the average Californian would prefer a Made In Japan label, it would seem.   

Another carrot the commission could dangle would be the synergy from making cars in the same state as tiny, troubled Tesla Motors. That’s not really a carrot either, huh?

Well, how about some sticks instead? What will happen to Toyota if it shuts down its money-losing plant in Fremont? Nothing, it would seem. One might suppose that quiet diplomacy would have been used on Toyota last year, to no avail.

Back in the day, down in Fremont:

   

via CanadaGood

Now, let’s read up on the news of the past weekend. Has Toyota really ”lost its way?” No. Let’s see here, did Toyota make a mistake with how it handled the floor mat / plastic gas pedal parts / ?????? / issues? Yes, but that’s just a hiccup in the sands of time.

Is Toyota’s decision to discontinue production in California without GM as a partner “suicidal?” No. 

And is the success of the Prius model due to “enthusiastic Californians” or is it due to Toyota spending billions to develop the technology and then selling them at a loss for years and years? You Make The Call.  

And are the people of Mississippi looking forward to making hybrid vehicles for Toyota in a brand-new factory that’s going unused right now? Yes. Toyota decided last year to make Priuseses in Blue Springs, Mississippi instead of California. That’s California’s loss, no argument about that.

All right, here’s entire conclusion of the Blue Ribbon Commission’s report, in bold.

“The collaborative efforts of Californians, which have bolstered NUMMI’s success, are ongoing.”

Was NUMMI a success, really? Didn’t it lose money every year for the past quarter century? Yes.

“A ‘Red Team’ of state, local government, private sector and other officials have proposed significant tax and business incentives to retain the plant.”

Presumably, Toyota knows about this, but is not interested.

 ”Closing NUMMI now is a decision of choice, not necessity.”

This is true. If Toyota were really afraid of the consequences of closing down NUMMI then maybe they’d run it at a loss, if necessary, forever.

“Closure abandons a loyal, highly-skilled workforce and places a heavy burden on communities and the state when they can least afford it. The decision is inconsistent with the values that have led Toyota to unparalleled economic success. It elevates narrow, short-term corporate interests above the interests of workers, the public and the long-term interests of Toyota itself.

Don’t really get this. Why should Toyota have a plant in California instead of some other state or nearby country?  

 “Looking at the pending NUMMI plant shutdown, and then you look at larger problems that Toyota is having in America” Richard Holober, from the Consumer Federation of California, told the NUMMI Blue Ribbon Commission.

Well, Toyota’s “having problems in America” primarily due to a decision to save a few pennies by using a plastic-on-plastic device to make holding your foot on the gas pedal a bit easier AND not reacting quickly enough to incident reports. This issue will get solved.

“I can’t help but conclude that this is not an isolated plant closure decision, but a symptom of a much, much deeper problem with what has happened to Toyota as a corporation.”

What has “happened to Toyota as a corporation” is that it’s become the best car company in the world. This was true last year, it’s true this year, it’ll be true next year.

“Akio Toyoda, the Toyota president whose grandfather founded the automaker in 1937, admitted at a February 24 Congressional hearing, “recently we haven’t lived up to the standards you’ve come to expect from us or that we expect from ourselves.” He also stated that one of the automaker’s great strengths was facing its mistakes and addressing them. The decision to close NUMMI reflects the period when the automaker pursued a hyper-expansion and abandoned its values in the interest of narrow, short-term financial goals.

“Hyper-expansion” = Making Popular Cars. “Narrow, short-term financial goals” = GM. Now, Toyota changed a bit after getting listed on the stock exchange in New Yawk, and Toyota has more hide-bound corporate culture than it probably needs but it’s doing all right overall.

“Toyota, however, has risen to outstanding heights by building its success precisely on strong core values. These included: 1) building only the highest quality vehicles; 2) customer safety first; 3) lifetime job security for its workers; 4) caring partnerships with communities; 5) concern for the environment. A very visible first step toward returning to this successful corporate ethic would be to keep NUMMI open, and show California and the world that the company has reached into its heritage to define its future.

I don’t know, Toyota participated in NUMMI during a time when there was a threat of massive tariffs being applied to cars imported from Japan. The 1981-1994 Voluntary Export Restraint plan of that era was a disaster for American consumers (and, speaking of “narrow, short-term financial goals,” the long-term health of the American automobile industry.) Something like the threat of massive tariffs on Toyota products would be a nice stick for the NUMMI Commission to wave about, but, for whatever reason, Toyota doesn’t seemed to be all that worried about that issue. 

“This is the moment for political leaders in Washington and Sacramento to address the closure. Millions of Californians are hurting in the worst job market in seven decades and are deeply apprehensive about the future. The most immediate, direct, and cost effective jobs program available is to keep NUMMI running.

There’s no question that keeping NUMMI running would benefit California. The question is why Toyota should lose money to finance an American stimulus plan?

“This stimulus plan delivers 25,000 jobs and could save $2.3 billion. The automaker and California would reap a triple bottom-line benefit: Toyota would restore its image and retain a world-class plant; workers and their families would make it through a dark economic winter; and California would get further down the road to economic growth and a green future.

O.K., the Blue Ribbon Commission is traveling home from Nagoya, Japan now.

Perhaps the their trip to Toyota City will prove useful even if the NUMMI factory shuts down on sked this month.

We’ll just have to wait and see what the Commission got.

A Well-Attended Meeting in Support of Community Choice Aggregation at Harvey Milk Club

Friday, March 5th, 2010

This was the scene the other day at the LGBT Center at a Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club meeting in support of Community Choice Aggregation.

Here’s a report from KPIX Channel 5 (if you can handle a commercial beforehand.) 

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, Supervisor David Campos, Carole Migden, Paul Fenn, John Rizzo, Chris Jackson, and Eric Brooks, among others, were all there:

The fight over Proposition 16 is hotting up, certainly.

Milk Club Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Town Hall Tonight at LGBT Center

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club is hosting a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Town Hall tonight at the LGBT Center on the corner of Market and Octavia. CCA is:

“a system adopted into law in the states of Massachusetts, Ohio, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island which allows cities and counties to aggregate the buying power of individual customerswithin a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts. Currently, nearly 1 million Americans receive service from CCAs.”

The special guests will be Assembly Bill 117 (2002) author Carole Migden, District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, District 9 Supervisor David Campos and San Francisco Bay Guardian Executive Editor Tim Redmond.

The whole shebang starts at 6:45 PM: 

STOP the PG$E Power GRAB!

PG&E is spending MILLIONS of YOUR dollars in this June’s election to prevent Local Control and Community Choice regarding electricity rates & renewable energy!

Confused about Community Choice Aggregation & SF Clean Energy Program?

That’s okay! Former State Senator Carole Migden, author of the Community Choice Aggregation legislation, and many others will be at this special Milk Club PAC Forum to help explain these issues and show you how to educate our communities and take DIRECT POLITICAL ACTION!

This event is OPEN to the PUBLIC!

Please invite EVERYONE YOU KNOW to attend this SPECIAL FORUM and STOP PG&E!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 @ 6:45 p.m.
LGBT Community Center
1800 Market Street @ Octavia
4th Floor Ceremonial Room

Special Guests Include:
Former State Senator Carole Migden, San Francisco
Supervisors David Campos & Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco

Featured Presenters:
Paul Fenn, John Rizzo, Chris Jackson and Eric Brooks

Moderators:
MILK Club Political VP Linette Peralta Haynes
SF BAY GUARDIAN Editor-in-Chief Tim Redmond

Convener:
Tom Taylor, Milk Club Environmental Caucus Chair

HISTORY + ACTION = PROGRESS
Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club
Celebrating 35 Years of Progressive Political Action and Fighting for our Communities