Stop the schoolyard bullies in Congress
The most serious economic challenges facing America are the continuing jobs crisis, and climate change, not the deficit or the national debt.
Our priorities should be creating jobs by investing in infrastructure and education, raising wages, reducing inequality and increasing economic security for working people. And we can do it by first ending tax giveaways for Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Ag and the richest 2 percent.
Republicans in Congress want to bully us into believing cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits and other dangerous budget cuts—such as those that would take food aid from hungry children, weaken education, create unnecessary challenges to seniors, threaten food safety and let our bridges and roads crumble—are the only thing we should be talking about.
It’s time to stand up to their bullying. We can’t let them take our economy hostage by threatening to drive it into the ground.
Encinitas right to vote
It seems that many of us in Encinitas were taken by surprise at the overwhelming citizen support of Encinitas Right to Vote Initiative. The fact that over 20 percent of Encinitas voters signed the petition, circulated by unpaid neighborhood volunteers, demonstrates that the people of Encinitas are ready, willing and able to manage zoning changes in their community.
I believe that this outpouring of support for citizen input on development projects is a result of residents seeing intrusive building projects in their neighborhoods and surrounding communities, and realizing that the quality of their community is under siege. There is a growing awareness that constant unsustainable growth, although providing short-term profits to a few actually results in higher long-term costs to communities. The community must bear the burden of increased expenses in maintaining infrastructure as well as increased demand on public services. High-density developments should be required to mitigate these long-term costs to the community.
The next step in the Encinitas Right to Vote Amendment process is review by the Encinitas City Council. The city council can require a special election in order to adopt the amendment, and a special election will now be required because at least 15 percent of voters signed the petition in support of the amendment. Since in fact the number of signatures gathered was almost 50 percent more than what was required for a special election, it seems that the logical action for the city council to take would be to adopt the amendment without forcing a special election. It is clear that Encinitas voters want to have the final say in the growth of their community. It is an opportunity for our popularly elected city council to actually represent the citizens who elected them.
Lane closure won’t work
On Jan. 30, Encinitas City Council will hear an agenda item to review closing a lane, northbound, on North Highway 101 as it relates to Streetscape. Opponents will once again present our case to our “Fresh Start Council;” eliminating a lane, would be a horrible idea!
On July 18, 2012, with little notice, and many on summer break, “lane-diet” was snuck onto the agenda along with a plan for Sharrows from K Street to La Costa. Most support share-the-road signage. But lane closure was bifurcated; Council voted on it, separately, without that issue having gone to the Traffic and Environmental Commissions, as Sharrows installation had.
Traffic going northbound has backed up tremendously on recent mornings with one lane closed, as workers apply the slurry seal. These temporary lane closures would be an excellent opportunity for the City to actually monitor the effects of closing one lane during peak hours.
The number of bicyclists going northbound needs to be quantified and qualified, to see if eliminating a lane for motorists is justified. Also, lane closure wouldn’t balance the needs of elderly and/or disabled motorists or residents who already have significant challenges turning left onto the highway, going northbound.
Eliminating a motorist lane WOULDN’T be traffic calming, quite the contrary. Frustrated drivers would be more likely, when stuck in traffic, to veer into the bicycle lane to escape from gridlock, further endangering any bicyclists blithely riding through an unnecessarily wide 8-foot bicycle lane.
An additional bicycle/pedestrian path is also planned within the railroad right-of-way, northbound, to La Costa, as part of the Bicycle Masterplan Update, which just was approved by the Planning Commission!
Adjacent residents, local commuters, and parents of students at Paul Ecke School, realize increasing levels of cut-through traffic, slower emergency response times, would further endanger, not benefit, us all.
Vegan diet and the Flu epidemic
The flu epidemic has invaded 48 states, overwhelming medical facilities, exhausting vaccine supplies, and killing 29 children and thousands of seniors. Both the problem and solution to this disaster hinge on how we relate to animals raised for food.
Indeed, 61 ercent of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. The more recent, contagious, and deadly viruses among these include Asian, dengue fever, Ebola, H5N1 (bird), HIV, SARS, West Nile, and yellow fever. The pandemic “Spanish” flu of 1918, killed 20-50 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts more pandemics in the future.
Today’s factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host’s immune system, then propagate by contact.
Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own immune system against the flu by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods don’t carry flu viruses, or government-warning labels, are touted by every major health advocacy organization, and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.