Getting on the Bus

Belated congratulations to RTC member, fellow blogger, Drupaler, HSU student and advocate for green transportation Aaron Antrim on winning one of the Economic Fuel grand prizes of $25,000 for his already running business of Trillium Transit. Aaron is a great example of someone following his passions and channeling them in to practical solutions.

The technological advances that Aaron is pushing for to improve our environment are great. But I can’t help thinking a great shift in human thinking still has to happen. I live on a bus line. I watch this huge bus go by hour after hour empty or with one person on it. I passed a bus on 101 the other evening. It too was empty. The buses run, but in spite of advances like the ability to buy passes or plan bus trips online the system seems way underused. I admit I never think of using the bus. Will gas need to get to $7/gallon before I start changing how I view transportation? Probably. And it will probably reach $7 sooner than we dare imagine.

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Ironic Recycling

We’ve been doing recycling for several years. I’m pretty happy that itt’s reduced our garbage output by more than half. I go down to the Eureka recycling center every other week. They’ve recently made it simpler and faster by reducing the amount of sorting you have to do considerably.

What’s funny, or sad, depending on my mood, is the number of huge SUVs that roll in to the transfer station to recycle struggling to squeeze in to a parking space in order to unload their few tubs of recycling materials.

I know we can’t all be in perfect alignment with green living precepts, but there is something increasingly egregious about these huge vehicles lumbering around in face of  climate change, raising gas prices and the political and security hazards that dependency on imported oil imposes on us.

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Broadband Forum IV

That could be roman numeral four, but it could also be IV like in intravenous, as in fiber and other wired and unwired pathways for data which our body politic needs so badly to be healthy. OK, I’ve strained the analogy too much. In any case, if you’re interested in the health of the region’s telecommunications infrastructure, marke the date for Broadband Forum IV to be held August 22 21 at Fortuna’s River Lodge.

There should be plenty to discuss as Redwood Coast Connect should have assembled the data they have been gathering and be ready with a presentation. People will be reporting on state efforts to improve broadband services. And I have high hopes that by then at least one solid plan for an alternate fiber route will have been unveiled.

In a time when fuel prices continue to skyrocket, the Internet will become an even more crucial factor in economic and cultural development as more and more of our transactions will need to take place in the global data network.

Open Humboldt Government Project

Got an email from Eureka City Councilmember Jeff Leonard the other day announcing his participation in Open Humboldt Government that Jeff describes as “a new on-line forum designed to increase dialog between local elected officials and the community.” Jeff and a few other local officials are currently participating in this web site which allows office holders to pose issues and allow constituents to voice their opinions on each issue. Currently there are 2 Eureka City Council members, 3 Arcata council members and 2 from Trinidad. No one from Fortuna or County Supervisors are online as yet.

The service is being provided by a company called Peak Democracy. Heraldo over at the Humboldt Herald says they are based in Humboldt, but the whois record for eakdemocracy.com says the domain is owned by VoterHub, LLC based in Berkeley. So, not sure where he got that information.

According to the site, there is not cost to taxpayers for this service. Though participating elected officials pay $10 per month to cover the expenses of running the site. I assume Peak Democracy expects to have lots of officials from all over the country participating in order to make this pay.

It’s a simple concept and could be a valuable tool in gauging public opinion and forming policy. Certainly more efficient that sitting through hours worth of 3 minute rants at meetings.