Tags >> planning
Jul 29
2010

Wal-Mart, Again

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Rohnert Park , protest , policy , planning , news , government , food , families , economy , current events , corporate responsibiliyt , business

Bruce Robinson

Round Two in the fight over expanding Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park is on the city council agenda tonight, a debate that can be summarized as lower prices for consumers in the short term versus constraints on local economic growth in the long term.

While much of the discussion around the proposal Wal-Mart Expansion has focused on its probable impact on Pacific Market, the neighborhood grocery considered mostly likely to fail if Wal-Mart adds groceries, Ben Boyce of the Accountable Development Coalition notes that Rohnert Park’s discount grocery shoppers already have options nearby.

One of the most compelling arguments against the Wal-Mart application was an economic analysis by SSU professor Robert Eyler that detailed job losses and other negative effects. Boyce notes that it also refuted the claim that increased sales at Wal-Mart would generate additional sales taxes for Rohnert Park.

Denny Rosatti (left), Executive Director of Sonoma County Conservation Action, which also opposes the Wal-Mart application, says it would have to be changed significantly to merit their support instead.

Jul 26
2010

Eco-Tourism in Bolivia

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , tourism , state government , resources , recreation , poverty , planning , nonprofit orgs , land rights , jobs , international , Green , government , environment , employment , economy , conservation , business , activism

Bruce Robinson
A remote Bolivian valley full of rare birds and wildlife is becoming an eco-tourism destination, thanks in part to an assist from a Sebastopol non-profit, the Conservation Strategy Fund.
Doron Amiran of the Sebastopol-based Conservation Strategy Fund explains that while they helped local Bolivian groups successfuly oppose the dam project on the Beni river, they are not necessarily opposed to all dams.

Touring the Bala Valley, where the Amazonia jungle backs up against the eastern foot of the Andes Mountains, Amiran found that accommodations for visitors were comfortable, but basic.


As with most of the projects the Conservation Strategy Funds gets involved with, this Bolivian dam proposal was brought to their attention by local advocates for the people who would be directly affected by it.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifQBCA3_DQk&feature=related 360x240]
Jun 23
2010

Revisiting the Running Fence

Posted by Bruce Robinson in West County , Sonoma County , Sonoma , recreation , politics , planning , ocean , media , land rights , journalism , history , farms , families , events , environment , design , coast , California , art , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Thirty-four years after Christo’s  Running Fence snaked across the North Bay’s coastal landscape into the Pacific, the unique and short-lived artwork is still fondly recalled by most of those who played a part in its creation.

The large and unexpected projects envisioned and executed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude may not fit some conventional definitions of art, says documentary filmmaker Wolfram Hissen, but they certainly strike a chord with a huge number of people.

Some of the friendships that developed during the Running Fence project proved to be deep and enduring, Hissen discovered, despite the broad differences between the artists and the ranchers.

After the Running Fence was taken down, each landowner got to keep the materials that had been part of it. Some used the poles and  hardware in other construction projects, while the thousands of yards of while canvass was generally harder to reuse. One exception ot that was this jacket, made by Amelia Bruhn, and shown at the 33 year anniversary gathering in 2009 that became a substantial part of Wolfram Hissen's new documentary. See the trailer for the film below:

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBVpgN4JAsE 360x240]

In addition to the showing tonight in Occidental, The Running Fence Revisited will also be screened on the evenings of June 24 and 25 at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa.

 

Jun 21
2010

Innovation Hub

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , technology , speaker , Sonoma County , research , planning , nonprofit orgs , jobs , Ideas , Green , go green , gadgets , employment , economy , design , construction , carbon , California , business , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

The Business Cluster at Sonoma Mountain Village, an incubator for green entrepreneurs, is getting a boost from the state's Innovation Hub (iHub) initiative for  new companies intended to become a prime source for new, local jobs.

Sustainability looks beyond energy use and building materials, adds Geof  Syphers. He notes that part of their systemic focus at Sonoma Mountain Village, the former Agilent campus on the southern edge of Rohnert Park,  is on water.

The business cluster at Sonoma Mountain Village was one of the first elements of their 200 acre redevelopment project to get up and running, in part because it could make use of existing buildings there, explains Chief Sustainability Officer Geof Syphers. But he is also looking ahead to the new residential construction that will dramatically transform the site.

One of the eye-catching aspects of the event yesterday was a demonstration module for Pix2o, one of the start-ups in the Business Cluster that Executive Director Michael Newell says is closest to bringing their product to market.

The full roster of Business Cluster members is available here.

 

 

 

 

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