« A plea to Sanders supporters to remember 2000 and vote for Clinton | Main | Salem City Council trying to sneak through billion dollar Third Bridge »

July 18, 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Brian, your criticism of "environmental activists" in Salem is not really accurate. A number of us worked hard to form a Sustainability Commission a few years ago. Laura Tesler tried to push it through before she retired from the Council. Tom Andersen, her successor, took it on but ran into a brick wall with the conservative council majority and a mayor who would not even support an Urban Tree Commission. Our new Mayor-elect has shown some interest in a Sustainability Commission. You are right in seeing that with three new progressive City Councilors coming in next year, we may finally be able to do something.

Jim, the effort to get a Sustainability Commission was admirable. I'm not aware, though, of any local branches of environmental organizations (like 350.Org) getting behind the effort. Or did they?

Also, I've been to a lot of City Council meetings, and heard a lot of testimony on various issues that have an environmental component. Rarely, if ever, do I remember a local environmental organization (again, like 350.org) weigh in a policy issue like bike lanes/alternative transportation, the importance of preserving trees, the folly of building an unneeded Third Bridge, or such.

I tried to get the local chapter of 350.org involved in querying the City Council, other City of Salem officials, and various community leaders about three key climate change questions. But the local leader wasn't interested in this -- which surprised me, given the effectiveness on the national level of pointing out irrational global warming denialism among elected officials.

So, yes, environmental activists are doing some good things here in Salem. I just feel that local organizations aren't doing much to affect City of Salem policies, and are missing opportunities to bring up the connection between global climate change and how Salem needs to do its part to keep our planet habitable for humans.

Brian, of course you wouldn't know if 350 Salem OR was involved in support for the sustainability commission, or any other Salem issues because you're never there - not at 350 meetings or Salem Sustainability Network meetings. It seems that what you want us to do is get into some smackdown with the mayor and city council so when they smack us back (or more likely ignore us) you can snarl your snark some more. What exactly is the point?

I'm tired of you picking on our 350 chapter here in Salem for not doing what you want done. We have a small core group of people that works hard on a lot of issues. I haven't seen you there. Some of those issues are here in Salem, some statewide and some beyond; what we don't do is butt our heads up against that brick wall that Jim Scheppke talked about over and over again. What exactly would be the point of that? Now that the tide has turned on the city council, we have a chance to make some progress (and that tide turned thanks to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, Jim being one of the hardest working.) As well as continuing to support the sustainability commission effort, I hope we can work on developing a Salem Climate Action Plan
And here's the thing - it takes work, not snark, work - time, effort and commitment. You can rattle off a laundry list of Oregon cities that have programs on climate change. That was easy. I know several climate activists in those cities. I know they didn't get things done with snark. And, even though at times they ran into obstacles or slow-moving bureaucracies, they weren't battling hostile or apathetic city officials. In Eugene, Mayor Kitty Piercy led the charge for sustainability initiatives starting with a year-long fact-finding commission that reached out to literally hundreds of residents and businesses. The Corvallis city administration has a long history of engagement with sustainability and climate change issues both in its own operations and in coalition with community groups. We have a long way to go here in Salem; a lot of work to do; and too few people who get what it takes to organize and mobilize.

To formulate a climate action plan to bring to the city council, 350 Corvallis was instrumental in pulling together a community task force that spent months developing and refining a set of criteria, goals and tasks for each of several topic areas (energy, land use, water, waste mangement, etc.) and more months educating and mobilizing the Corvallis community. (I'll email you some research I did for the Salem Sustainability Network on the history, structure and operations of climate and sustainability initiatives in Corvallis and Eugene. This is what it takes. Not an occasional slap on the wrists of recalcitrant public officials. It takes work and time and commitment.)
When I first moved here in 2011, I googled Sustainable Salem, Try it. I got so excited - there's a whole section of the city website on this - that has not been updated in the five years since I first found it. One of our members came across it more recently and made inquiries to city staff - to no avail.

I am real tired of hearing you carp about what we in 350 Salem OR do not do. Did I mention we have a small core group of committed people who work hard on a lot of things. Did I mention I never see you there? We meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday each month at 7 pm at the Ike Box at Cottage & Chemeketa Streets NE - EXCEPT PLEASE NOTE that the next meeting on Tuesday July 26 will be at 6:30 pm, a fresh air meeting in Bush Park on the SW side near Church and Laffell Streets S. You're welcome to come. Bring a picnic supper, and roll up your sleeves, but leave the snark at home.
Laurie Dougherty, Coordinator 350 Salem OR

Laurie, thanks for sharing your point of view. You and I just disagree on what is "butting heads" and what is standing up for our one and only Planet Earth. That's fine.

I strongly believe that politicians and government officials should be open and upfront about their position on important scientific issues. If Salem's Mayor and City Councilors don't accept the scientific consensus about global warming, citizens need to know this -- because their votes on key environmental issues will reflect what they know, and don't know (or pretend they don't know).

Here's a previous blog post where I mentioned a brief conversation with OSU's Jane Lubchenco:

Since Lubchenco mentioned climate change often in her City Club talk, I wanted to ask her if she could think of any reason why local public officials shouldn't be willing to say whether they agree with the scientific consensus about climate change/global warming.

"No," she told me. Which is the answer I expected, since she'd just said that science isn't political.
Regarding "leave the snark at home." Um, this blog is called Salem Political Snark. Why are you surprised that my posts have some snark in them?

I appreciate everything that the local chapter of 350.org is doing. Keep it up. And when you can, do more. That's all I was trying to say in this post.

lol I like that conservative republican frequent commenter Harry Vanderpool actually tangibly does more to help the environment in Salem by driving around his car full of honeybees than liberal progressive Brian Hines does.

Thank You, Salemander!
Here is a little picture of hauling bees around in a car:
Also your key word, "tangible" carries a lot of weight.
Conservatives live in the real world dealing with the tangible, factual, scientific truths.
NOT the wacky, cockamamie craziness that the ultra, ultra, ultra liberal loons loudly spew.

Here is a picture of my brand new "car" that I will be hauling bees on:

Thank you for the cool beemobile pictures Harry keep up the good bee work!

But in my imagination you will forever be driving around in some hatchback with just a ton of loose bees buzzing around all over inside.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Become a Fan