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Nov 23
2009

Blue Whale Death

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , technology , research , protest , policy , ocean , news , legislation , government , fish , environment , employment , coast , California , animals

Bruce Robinson

A month after a blue whale was killed by the propellers of a survey ship off the coast near Fort Bragg, some big questions remain, among them, how did this happen, and could it have been prevented?

The crew of the Pacific Star only became aware of their ship’s deadly encounter with the blue whale when its propeller stopped, reports Shelia Semans, the sea floor mapping project manager for the Ocean Protection Council and the Coastal Conservancy. But that moment was quickly fatal for the whale, a conclusion that was confirmed by examinations of its beached body.

 

Steve Sullivan, an outspoken critic of the mapping project, contends the participating ships have failed to comply with applicable regulations governing sonar surveying, because their sponsoring organizations have disregarded those rules.

Sheila Semans counters that the type of sonar used by the navy and other large vessels in commercial shipping lanes is markedly different than the sonar technology used in sea floor mapping in shallow coastal waters.

This video shows the size of the whale carcass, soon after it washed ashore Oct. 20, a little south of Fort Bragg. The rectangular section of skin and blubber that is missing above the tail was removed by scientists studying the dead animal. The fatal wounds are on the underside, not visible to the camera.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU5IpIL-M0s 300x300]

Nov 13
2009

Peace and Justice

Posted by Bruce Robinson in war , Sonoma County , Santa Rosa , rights , protest , politics , peace , nonprofit orgs , news , media , legislation , justice , history , government , families , environment , community , activism

Bruce Robinson

The Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center is celebrating 25 years of activism this weekend, while also preparing to carry on their efforts as long as they are needed.

While much of the energy of the peace center activists was directed toward national concerns, founding member Shirley McGovern recalls that they were also able to respond to local situations in their immediate community, which she found especially gratifying.

As the Peace And Justice Center moves into its next quarter century, Susan Lamont is looking forward to the convergence of activism between environmentalists and social justice advocates.

The Peace and Justice Center will celebrate its first 25 years on Saturday, November 14th at the. Sebastopol Veterans Memorial Building, 282 High Street in Sebastopol. The event begins at 4:30 with wine, appetizers and music during a silent auction featuring art, services, jewelry, food, wine and more. Dinner will take place around 6:15.

The evening will include featured speaker, Medea Benjamin founder of Global Exchange and CodePink The cost with reservations is $35 ; $40 at the door, if room is available.

It is our time as a community to celebrate all the work we have engaged in for 25 years: the journey we have walked with the poor, the wars we have opposed, the solidarity with the marginalized, and the support for the immigrants. It is an opportunity for our peace and justice community to come together to celebrate all our years of growing together and making a difference in our county, our nation and our world.

 

 

 

Nov 10
2009

B.I. Furlough Days

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , politics , policy , news , government , finances , employment , disability , community , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

Today  is a forced day off for some of the most dedicated workers in Sonoma County.

B.I clients are part of the workforce for Sonoma County Transit (below), the City of Healdsburg's Parks and Recreation Department, and mroe than 120 local businesses.

The forced furlough days—which were specified by the state, giving the affected agencies no flexibility in implementing them—are more than a financial hardship for the worker-clients who must stay home or find someplace else to go for the day, observes parent and BI board member Ken Maiolini.

Mary’s Pizza Shack employs teams of BI workers at several locations around Sonoma County. Vince Albano, CEO and Vice President for Mary’s, is trying to soften the effects of the furloughs for those workers, who he says contribute a lot to the workplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 28
2009

Landfill Divestiture

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , Sonoma County , Science , resources , politics , planning , news , Health , garbage , environment , energy , conservation , chemicals , California , budget , air quality , activism

Bruce Robinson

An unpopular plan to privatize the Sonoma County dump has been voted down by county supervisors, rekindling hope that they might still be able to resume operations at the facility, which has been inactive for the past four years.

A sizable crowd was on hand for the meeting Tuesday morning, many of them wearing "Go Green" badges to indicate their opposition to the proposed divestiture deal. Some of them were apparently mobilized by the eight-minute video below, which was posted on YouTube the preceding weekend.

[video:[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye6JY28g86Q ]

“This agreement does not have a constituency,” observed Supervisor Shirlee Zane, after the parade of speakers unanimously denounced the proposal Tuesday morning. Windsor Town Council member Deborah Fudge (right)  faulted the county for much of that, saying that closed door meetings and a process that assumed any outreach would happen after the divestiture was approved, had backfired on the Board.

One of the repeated messages during public comments on the divestiture proposal was that, even if approved by the board of supervisors, it will still be dependent on the full participation of most of the local municipalities. Yet council members from Santa Rosa, Windsor, and Healdsburg  all expressed reservations. Petaluma, which has already opted out and is now shipping their waste to Novato, might still be open to working with the county, suggested Mayor Pam Torliatt. But none of that seemed to inspire a desire for cooperation in Supervisor Paul Kelley.

Also see these previous North Bay Reports on the Sonoma County landfill issue:

The Deal for the Dump  (Oct. 1, 2009)

Landfill Leak (July 7, 2009)

The Landfill's Future (March 31, 2009)

Sonoma County is far from alone is struggling to deal responsibly and locally with its garbage. This video takes a critical look at the situation in neighboring Marin County.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRuvi8Rs0R4 450x450]


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