The challenge from conservatives to the conclusions by scientists that climate change exists and is a direct result of human activity got no less of a challenge from attendees at Thursday’s monthly Government Affairs Forum on Nov. 5.
Two former Arcadia Mayors and a former longtime Los Angeles Times journalist pressed speaker Jim Waterhouse of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby to defend his underlying premise about climate change and/or provide assurances about his proposed solutions, including one in which the government would collect fees from environment violators and then return those fees to taxpayers.
Other reports provided information and updates on a new micro brewery and mixed-use projects coming to town, as well as a major Field of Honor project of 1,000 American flags, among many other reports.
The climate change dialogue made for a far more animated Forum than the norm, but Jim, whose mother was one of the attendees, said he welcomed and appreciated the healthy and spirited exchange.
Jim has been with the Citizen’s Climate Lobby for five years, said during his presentation that 9,963 scientists concede that the climate is changing — global temperatures have been artificially heated (enhanced greenhouse effect) by 1.4 degrees (2-degrees is serious danger point where it must be stopped or else serious consequences to our way of life) — and that humans are causing it. Only one scientist disputes either or both of those conclusions, Jim said, noting that “One degree may not seem like a lot, but it’s the difference between solid ice and liquid water. This is causing ice caps to melt.”
Assuming this was a recognition of a problem, Jim attempted to focus the discussion on solutions, the best of which he said was a carbon fee and dividend (fee on emissions causing the problem – about $100 per ton, starting at $10 per ton, raising $5 per year – 100% refunded to households). This is the fee he said would be returned to taxpayers — and he noted it is not a tax if the government doesn’t keep the money.
Former Mayor Bob Harbicht said the government has seldom been known to return money to taxpayers. Former Mayor Peter Amundson vigorously challenged Jim to prove that climate change is real and that is has been impacted by humans. Former Times reporter Mike Lucas said a recent Wall Street Journal article suggested that there is not enough data to support any conclusions since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has not provided access to its database.
Back to the proposed solutions, Jim said major business corporations support the carbon fee proposal, noting that the U.S. is one of the last countries utilizing this solution (British Columbia Canada emissions going down double-digits since adopting this solution).
A REMI Support Summary indicates the proposed solution would create two million more jobs, reduce emissions 50%, increase household incomes, save lives, and add $1.3 trillion to the GDP.
Jim noted that the fossil fuel industry is getting $699 billion in government subsidies.
Options for solutions, according to Jim:
- Most costly: doing nothing — basic institutions and way of life will be compromised
— Cap & Trade: regulatory – creates artificial market (what we have today in California; permits to people who have historically polluted the most narrow focus; requires enforcement)
— Carbon tax; sin tax – highly effective; can slow GDP, puts drag on economy
— Carbon Fee & Dividend: 100% returned to households; revenue-neutral; grows economy
The potential losers with his proposed solution would be natural gas (Tesla PowerWall battery, etc.; solar power is cheaper than natural gas)
Waterhouse concluded by noting there are 280 chapters of Citizens Climate Lobby with high-profile people such as George Shultz and Don Cheadle on the board. You can join the action team and exercise political power, advocate the best solution, and work with CCL www.tiny.cc/CCL.
Reports from legislators and their representatives:
- Jason Kruckeberg, City of Arcadia Assistant City Manager/Development Services Director, reported 200 people attended the previous night’s forum produced by the City to provide information about residential zoning and how the size of homes is determined and regulated. Another is scheduled for Nov. 12.
Jason also noted that the Arcadia Transit service is being redone/restructured with the introduction of fixed routes to match up to the new Gold Line station and get people more connected to the track, mall, and other popular destinations, as well as to get deeper into neighborhoods. “It’s an exciting project for us,” Jason said.
— a new Mount Lowe Brewing Company micro-brewery is proposed for a location near the Gold Line station in 2016.
— a mixed-use project on First and Duarte on the property of the Arcadia Fitness Center is coming to the Planning Commission Nov. 10, 2015
— a Starbucks is being consider at the corner of Santa Anita Avenue and Live Oak Avenue in the former Walgreens building
— a $1.5 million industrial project on Live Oak is getting an environmental report in December.
- Brian Mejia, representing Supervisor Michael Antonovich, reported that concerns about Rave concerts are being addressed and a financial audit has been ordered. The Supervisor’s recent annual trail ride was another success with 100 riders. He also noted a ribbon-cutting for the Arcadia Mental Health Center on East Live Oak.
- Rainbow Yeung from the Air Quality Management District, said a residential EV charging incentive pilot program coming soon. She noted there were 10 fewer bad air quality days this year — 82 vs 92 last year – due in part to El Nino effect bringing more moisture and two days of rain.
Linda Sells from the Monrovia, Arcadia and Duarte Town Council alerted attendees that instead of the annual Christmas dinner at Pamela Park, this year will feature snow for kids on December 12. But the traditional Thanksgiving dinner will be at 6 p.m. November 19, serving more than 300. The organization, which is still looking for a building to move the popular library, meets the third Wednesday of each month at Pamela Park.
- Former Mayor Bob Harbicht announced plans by the Rotary Club of Arcadia for the first annual Field of Honor displaying 1,000 American flags at L.A. County’s Arcadia Park for nine days and nights (lit at night) before Memorial Day 2016 and coinciding with Supervisor Antonovich’s annual Salute to Veterans. The program allows anyone to honor anyone with the purchase of a $50 flag that will have a laminated card noting the name of the deceased. The opening ceremony would likely be May 20, featuring military bands and fly-overs. Ten Rotary committees are working on the fundraiser project from which one-third of donations will go to a planned new Veterans memorial and two-thirds to Rotary charities. Rotary is looking for corporate sponsors, he said.
- Arcadia resident Donna Lee noted the upcoming holiday open house at the Arboretum November 12-13, and the current exhibit of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage.
- Carol Wong Quan in the office of L.A. County Assessor Jeffrey Prang said her office is anxious to educate property owners on how to save on property taxes. She will be the first speaker at the Government Affairs Forum in 2016, on January 7.
The next Government Affairs Forum on December 3 at 8 a.m. will feature Brad Jensen, director of Public Policy for the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, who will provide a preview of next year’s important ballot measures and give an update on the sale and transfer of Ontario International Airport back to the City of Ontario.
The public is invited at 8 a.m. on the first Thursday of each month to hear informative presentations at the monthly Government Affairs Forum sponsored by Singpoli and led by Chairman Jack Orswell from Orswell & Kasman, Inc. Environmental Assessments & Consulting. The Forums are held at the Chamber office at 388 W. Huntington Drive in Arcadia in the Chamber’s conference room sponsored by Foothill Credit Union. RSVPs to the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce office are appreciated – (626) 447-2159 or info@ArcadiaCaChamber.org.