Friday, October 15, 2010

Community Input Sought in Boulder's Clean Energy Plan

It’s good to live in a city like Boulder where public officials value transparency of the public process, citizen participation, and reducing carbon emissions.

Boulder has recently embarked on a pioneering process to produce a landmark 2011 Clean Energy Action Plan. The City is seeking input from all stakeholders, including citizens, small business owners, large utility customers, technical experts on renewable energy, and community organizations to shape its Clean Energy Future.
In a public City Council Study Session visioning session on Oct. 12, Mayor Susan Osborne imagined a Boulder 10 years from now that has adopted a clean energy action plan. Osborne likened the City's successful Open Space Program to the City's future clean energy strategy that will "become part of our identify and for which we are known around the world."

To gather stakeholder input about Boulder's Clean Energy Future, the City is hosting a series of public round tables from October 20 through November 10. Called “Boulder Matters,” the meetings are being held throughout Boulder. Organizers say each round table will provide refreshments, offer a raffle, and provide activities for children to make it easier for adults and parents to attend. For example, I just received an email for the Oct. 20 event which will include cider, snacks, and pumpkin painting.

The first two Boulder Matters round tables are:
Weds. Oct. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Fairview High School Cafeteria
Sat. Oct. 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Chautauqua Community House

I'm impressed with the website page for Boulder’s Energy Future where agendas, minutes, and background documents are posted from previous City Council Study Sessions. Also on the website are the city's clean energy goals, a newly-created 5-minute video explaining the City process for the Clean Energy Action Plan and near the bottom of the page a place to sign up for an e-group to receive updates, and to post your comments for public record.

Note that City Council Energy Round tables are open to the public and will continue though December 14. Energy Round tables take place every other Tuesday at 5 pm directly before City Council meetings in the lobby of the downtown Municipal Building. The next one is Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 5-6 pm.

Vote YES on 2B
The key that opens the door to a Boulder whose future electricity is sourced by renewable energy rather than fossil fuels is 2B. (Thanks to solar educator Ken Regelson for the key analogy.) All members of City Council, Boulder County Commissioners Will Toor and Ben Pearlman, plus numerous environmentally-conscious Boulder organizations and businesses support 2B. It is now it is up to us citizens to vote YES on 2B to create a "five year utility occupation tax to replace lost franchise fee revenue" (Source Official Ballot for 2010 Boulder County General Election.)

Passing 2B will enable the City to directly collect the $4.1 million per year Xcel currently obtains through its 3 percent franchise fee on your utility bill. The replacement tax will give Boulder direct control over the money for essential City services – with no change to Xcel’s service to Boulder residents and businesses. Passing 2B will empower Boulder to negotiate a contract that will best meet our City's clean energy goals after the current franchise agreement with Xcel expires December 31, 2010. Background on 2B info can be found at and at the Boulder Energy Future website.

Let's Do It!
Boulder - we have an historic opportunity to choose how much of our energy supply comes from renewables. Vote YES on 2B and participate in "Boulder Matters" because these are important matters and your voice matters!

Friday, October 8, 2010

So How Are You Today?

During challenging times most people are working hard to keep up the facade that things are just fine. Here is a conversation I might have overheard at a local coffee shop.

Alec: Heah Bob how are you doing?

Bob: I am well. Thanks for asking.

Alec: Good to hear. You are looking trimmer these days.

Bob: Yea well I have been eating less.

Alec: Good idea. And I see you are sporting a new hair style.

Bob: Yes my daughter has started cutting hair.

Alec: Really. Isn’t she only 11?

Bob: Sure but we encourage our kids to keep expanding their skill set. Why just the other night we had our 12-year-old make dinner.

Alec: Really and how did that turn out.

Bob: Well she really didn’t understand that large flames would trigger the fire sprinkler system.

Alec: Oh my, that sounds like it didn’t turn out so well.

Bob: The real issue is if our homeowners insurance will pay to have the house rebuilt.

Alec: That is why we have insurance.

Bob: Yea but only if you are current on your payments.

Alec: So it sounds like you skipped the homemade meal.

Bob: Oh it just gave us a good reason to go out to eat.

Alec: Good plan. So where did you go?

Bob: Well the first place we usually go had unexpectedtly gone out of business. So we drove across town to our favorite all-you-can eat place.

Alec: Bet that filled you all up.

Bob: Well our credit card was declined when we got to the cashier. But we were able to snack on the stuff on our trays before we found out.

Alec: So it sounds like things are a little challenging right now.

Bob: Yeah I guess so. Do you happen to have $100 I could borrow?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Recent Chat With Benny Bernanke

On a recent elevator ride I had the opportunity to chat with Benny Bernanke about the current financial situation we find ourselves in.

Zev: So Benny how are you feeling these days?

Benny: Well Zev, to be honest I am a bit overwhelmed.

Zev: Really. What are you most concerned about?

Benny: When I was in grad school at M.I.T and went on to become a tenured professor at Princeton University in the Department of Economics, all we talked about were the best ways to achieve economic growth.

Zev: Well isn't that what we want?

Benny: Of course. But the problem is that no matter what I do, significant growth remains elusive.

Zev: What if we stopped focusing on growth and looked at scenarios that promoted sustainability?

Benny: Huh?

Zev: What if we were to organize our economy around sustainability and quality of life and not around growth at any cost?

Benny: I don't understand?

Zev: I think I see the problem.

The elevator stops and the door slides open.

Benny: This is my floor. Nice chatting with you and have a great day!