Recently a group of people, most new to our community, started several local groups often including the term “Sustainable” in their name; e.g. Sustainable Pacific Grove. Their main activities seem to concern energy and trash reduction, and shopping / buying local and “green” goods.
They were successful in getting several local mayors to sign a “Mayors Climate Protection Agreement” and getting several local cities to sign onto the “Urban Environmental Accords.”
However, as they admit – neither document has any force of law. Laudable, but not really meaningful in the hard-ball arena of local politics. I wonder whether anything in politics has changed as a result of those agreements.
Sustainable Pacific Grove’s mission is “To make Pacific Grove a model of transition to sustainability through innovative, active, local solutions that enhance community.”
Their goals seem laudable, a bit diluted and ambiguous, but seemingly positive. I do note that there is not a single goal that mentions local ecological or health protection; at best unspecific “plans” as opposed to the strong protection our local environment needs on a regular basis. Oddly, the “Mayors Climate Protection Agreement” they promote has more language about protecting trees than “Sustainable Pacific Grove’s” own goals.
Several recent events make me wonder – Why is one of their Founding Board members fighting local environmental protection ? and what are the real values and goals of Sustainable Pacific Grove ?
1. I’ve attended a meeting of Sustainable Pacific Grove and of the 25 or so attendees they seemed pleasant and earnest.
However, I saw no one there who has ever helped protect our community from the immediate threats on our local environment. Not one person.
Of all the hundreds of local issues I’ve worked on over the last 25+ years, and the thousands of local citizens who have stepped up to help, there was not a single person attending the Sustainable Pacific Grove meeting who had ever played a role in protecting our community from the threats of developers, forest or tree loss, or increased water connections that have damaged our Carmel River habitat.
None, not a single person, not even the leaders.
2. “Reforesting” an Existing Forest – “You Can’t Force Feed a Forest”
One of Sustainable Pacific Grove’s projects is “trying to Re-forest Washington Park.”
Washington Park’s forest is already a fairly healthy and full forest (except for the baseball park the city carved into it). It doesn’t need any more trees.
Washington Park’s existing trees do need protection from the City which regularly tries to cut down the Park’s healthy trees.
(Why is Sustainable Pacific Grove always absent and silent when we are trying to stop the city’s chainsaws ?)
I hope this is not an echo of Pacific Grove’s infamous Eco-Fraud Sandy Koffman who started a group called “Eco-Corps.” They also planted a lot of unnecessary trees in Washington Park (I wonder if anyone can point to a single tree Eco-corp planted that is still living).
3. Tree Protection Removal Advocate
A group of property-rights people are trying to weaken Pacific Grove’s tree protection law. A recent version given to the City Council removed ALL tree protection on private property.
Want to cut a tree down ? No Problem, and No Delay because no permit would be needed anymore. The current requirement to replace trees cut down – it would change to wholly voluntary. Maintaining a tree – voluntary; you can let it die.
To describe this as a radical reduction in tree protection would be accurate.
During public hearings on this, a board member of Sustainable Pacific Grove, Robert Frischmuth, got up to speak. “Good,” I thought, “finally someone from Sustainable Pacific Grove will advocate helping protect our environment.”
What a shock. Frischmuth didn’t advocate protecting trees at all – Frischmuth supported weakening the tree protection !
4. Smartmeter Support
A movement of local people are trying to protect their families and our community from ‘Smart’meters.There are serious concerns about fire and medical safety, health, radiation, and privacy. The more they look into it – the more and bigger the problems get.
Once again the same board member of Sustainable Pacific Grove, Robert Frischmuth, got up to speak. Again he did not disclaim his opinion as independent of Sustainable Pacific Grove.
I was not quite as hopeful this time, but once again I was shocked – Frischmuth advocated support for Smartmeters.
Update: Robert Frischmuth wrote a letter to the editor of the Cedar Street Times that was filled with false and misleading information advocating for and defending “Smart”meters. This is particularly offensive because he claims to have some expertise in the area.
Examples include –
Truth: No, PG&E says the transmissions aren’t encrypted until after the data is uploaded to a neighborhood collecting device.
Because the data is not encrypted this means that burglars can easily read your home personal use data and make an educated guess when you aren’t there.
Worse, someone like Timothy McVeigh could not only turn off your power, but with a bit of research could turn off the power for a whole town.
2. “Radio and TV have been emitting waves for a long time.”
Truth: Misleading. Radio and TV do not transmit just feet from where we live. Smart”meters are already transmitting 24 hours a day from places in Pacific Grove just a foot or so from a bed, an office desk and a shower.
3. “Smart”Meters, statistically, were actually more accurate.”
Truth: Misleading. Statistically, each human has one ovary and one testicle. In non-statistical reality PG&E was forced to admit that some 1,600 “Smart”meters were been found to grossly overcharge (but “only when they got hot” – right.)
Our local KION TV station did a 13 week test with a calibrated “Smart”meter and a conventional meter. They found the “Smart”meter had a systematically higher billing amount than a conventional meter.
I hope these anti-environmental positions by a Sustainable Pacific Grove founding Board member are contrary to the wishes of the rest of the Board of Sustainable Pacific Grove.
They certainly don’t reflect the values of our community or protection of our environment.