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Global warming

Some reasons for hope. Plus, Susan Passoni for boston City Council
By EDITORIAL  |  May 9, 2007


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCG) is one of those broad-based, high-minded, internationally representative do-good outfits that drive the Bush White House crazy. That’s probably one of the reasons IPCG enjoys so much prestige both here in the United States and around the world.

A joint enterprise of the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, IPCG has this year issued three reports that define the causes of global warming (humans), the long-term risks (famine, floods, and other catastrophes), and necessary solutions (more-efficient home appliances, buildings, and vehicles).

These conclusions in summary may seem so simple as to be simplistic. But it is precisely because the Bushies have been so politically craven and intellectually dishonest in denying the threat of global warming that these reports are so vitally important. The IPCG’s dense, single-spaced, graph-laden pages constitute a cache of survival tools — tools that will help us and future generations reverse the ecological damage that our industrialized affluence has wrought.

The good news, contained in the most recent report, is that global warming can be reduced and stabilized with existing technology. That’s something that large multinational corporations, such as British Petroleum, Toyota, and Goldman Sachs, realized several years ago and are already committing themselves to — with their eyes on profits for themselves, of course.

Congress, which has been lagging behind the private sector, shows signs of waking up and shaking off its fear that environmental activism equals economic disaster. Thanks to the Democrats regaining control of the House and Senate, legislation that favors developing alternative fuels and harnessing wind power are finally moving forward. (Maybe Senator Edward Kennedy will drop his shortsighted opposition to the Cape Cod wind farm that Governor Deval Patrick supports.)

Even the US Supreme Court has gotten into the act, allowing for government regulation of carbon-dioxide emissions — something Bush, long beholden to energy interests, has perversely opposed.

While these developments are cause for optimism, they are far from reasons to rejoice. Complicated and controversial battles lie ahead. How do we develop a workable energy policy? What role — if any — should nuclear power play in it? How does the already lackluster Detroit-based auto industry retool itself for the future? What sort of ethanol development should Washington favor: the corn-based variety that would enjoy strong political support in the Midwest, or the more efficient, sugar-based variety imported from Brazil? Do the problems in transporting ethanol — let alone the carbon costs of producing it — justify the effort to convert to it? The search for answers will undoubtedly raise questions such as these.

The very idea that we are moving closer to these debates would have been almost impossible to imagine just a year ago. The inconvenient truth of Al Gore’s powerfully executed Academy Award–winning film is becoming a little less inconvenient to recognize and confront. We are moving in the right direction; we are just not moving fast enough.

For Boston City Council
Next Tuesday, citizens in South Boston, the South End, and Chinatown will vote in a special election to pick a replacement for the late district city councilor Jimmy Kelly, an old warhorse of a politician who was as controversial as he was combative.

Tuesday’s choice is between Bill Linehan of South Boston, a 32-year veteran of local politics who works in City Hall, and Susan Passoni of the South End, a financial analyst and a relative newcomer to city politics who had the gumption to take on the all-but-unbeatable and conservative Kelly in the regular municipal election.

Linehan and Passoni are solid candidates. It is to the credit of both that they have defied narrow stereotyping. Nevertheless, each offers different competencies.

Linehan is the candidate of the status quo. His are the politics of personal relationships, and he plays the game of politics as if it were a contact sport; deals are cozy rather than transparent and the score is kept in terms of favors done rather than goals accomplished.

Passoni is the candidate of an emerging Boston. She represents the modern era of city administration: financial expertise, practical solutions over ideological point-making, and willingness to hold city departments accountable at the risk of stepping on toes.

The Phoenix endorses Susan Passoni. We admired her willingness to campaign for a different sort of city politics when the odds were against her. And we hope that her time has come in this special election. Electing Passoni to the Boston City Council would be good for the neighborhoods she would represent and it would be good for the city at large. Susan Passoni is a win-win.

Related: Sweeping up, Straight talk, Youth infusion, More more >
  Topics: The Editorial Page , Bill Linehan, global warming, Susan Passoni,  More more >
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Global warming
Council response. Responses to Council. Stenographic machine output. _ _ _ _ _ From: _ _ _ _ _ Attached please find the City Council's response to your request for information pursuant to GL c4 s7(26); GL c66 s10 through 18. // In your April 24, 2007 request of the City Clerk and stenographer Ellen Fritch, you requested the stenographic machine output for the City Council meeting of either April 11, 2007 or April 4, 2007. As the department that has the contract with the stenographer, I am responding to your request. I have calculated the costs necessary for the copies of the physical output of the stenographer's machine (paper tape). To make a photocopy of the machine output takes approximately one hour of staff time to copy thirty minutes of Council meeting stenographic output. The hourly wage of the lowest paid staff person capable of completing this task is twenty-five dollars per hour. Each meeting lasted approximately three hours, requiring six hours of the staff person's time to make copies of the original stenographic output, at a total cost of $150.00. Additionally, the copies themselves will cost $0.20 cents per page at an estimated 600 pages, totaling $120.00. The check would need to be made out to "City of Boston" and sent to me. Please contact me regarding whether you will want the copies to be made. We will begin processing your request upon receipt of the funds. Sincerely, Ann Hess Braga, Staff Director Boston City Council // Ann.Braga at _ _ _ _ _ a comment by ... _ _ _ _ _ > Are you aware that all the Council meetings and hearings held in > the Ianella Chambers are on video. available on internet? // > It doesn't go back before some date, like last year. yup, the transcript of the stenographic machine output would allow people to extract and comment on the councilors' remarks. Bidding would get competitive more up to date stenographic vendors' services and software. The current stenographic services vendor uses older technology and software. More up to date stenographic technology and software would put closed captioning up for people with hearing loss and put the stenographic output on the council website allowing better opportunity public comments. References // // // _ _ _ _ _ a comment by ... _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ In the alternative, and consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the law, posting this output to the city's website so that folks could choose for themselves what they wanted to download and print would be acceptable. _ _ _ _ _ a comment by ... _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ If the City posted the stenographic output of these machines (and minutes and reports received, etc.) to the city website, the public could have ready access without having to file a request, and they could select the parts in which they were interested. If a hard copy were desired or needed, it could be downloaded and printed out by the person wanting the hard copy. It seems that too many government agencies are still looking for ways to do business under the cloak of darkness and use things like cost and inconvenience to discourage people from asking for information. If the notion that the best disinfectant for government business is sunshine, then organizations like the City of Boston should WANT to make this information available to as many people as possible and not just to those who can afford $270/meeting. _ _ _ _ _ a comment by ... _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ All government documents should be posted to the internet and freely available without requests! There are states that do this already. Our State Supervisor of Public Records, Alan Cote, has already proposed this, and also proposed scanning archives to have all govt docs, state and city, digitized. NO MORE PUBLIC RECORD REQUESTS NECESSARY, NO MORE DISCOURAGEMENT VIA HUGE COPYING AND SEARCHING CHARGES. You might call his office and see what the progress is 617 727-2832
By on 05/10/2007 at 6:34:14

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