dirty water

Federal and state governments have been trying to fix these problems since 1983. They have spent more than $5 billion, but the cleanup devolved into an odd kind of cordial failure. The EPA did not punish states that failed to deliver on promises. And states – which cracked down on sewage plants – shied away from requiring more expensive changes on farms and from urban storm-sewer systems.–WaPo

In recent years the EPA has been going after point source pollution, mess that comes out of a pipe. While our region is embroiled in discussion about the future of its water supply, the local water and sewer authority has budgeted 71% of its money (the rate payers’ money) over the next five years for sewer infrastructure, taking care of old business.

Next up, farmers who ignore fertilizer run-off, let their cows wallow in streams. Next up, municipalities that are cavalier about impervious surface and storm water run-off.
Oh! We can’t fix those things now, times are hard…

“Full implementation of this plan will likely cost billions of new dollars,” Virginia’s plan read. “In these austere times, we cannot guarantee such significant additional funding will be provided by our General Assembly.”

Public meetings are scheduled.
But, breathe easy. Maybe, instead of living up to this old promise, the tea-party/Republicans will resume control, dissolve that pesky EPA.

full house

1840 hours, Albemarle and Charlottesville citizens in sign-up queue to speak at 9/20/10 public hearing about a water supply plan.
The hearing was well attended. Above, Charlottesville Democratic Party co-chair Jim Nix and Albemarle County Supervisor, Ken Boyd (R)
59 people spoke. Following the public hearing, the Council discussed, deliberated and decided.

The Hook reports


quercus alba, CHO airport
Oak trees are used extensively in the landscape because of their longevity, toughness and beauty. They are wind pollinated (allogamous), fertile and highly heterozygous, hybridizing readily where two or more interfertile species occur and have aptly been described as “notorious for their sexual infidelity”.– Clonal Propagation of Quercus Spp. Using a Container Layering Technique, J. Naalamle Amissah and Nina L. Bassuk

Chiclets and civic freedom

We don’t grow up saying that we are going to have to devote some part of our time to our civic duty. We grow up thinking that we are going to…have a job, we are going to have recreation, we are going to have some time to sleep and rest and make a go of it.

We are not taught that there is something missing here. We have to have, not just our own personal freedoms, you know, we have a lot of personal freedoms, you can buy what you want, eat what you want, get the music you want, travel where you want, date who you want, marry who you want, divorce who you want, and get into a five-thousand pound vehicle and go three blocks to the store to buy Chiclets if you want, that is personal freedom, that is not civic freedom.

Civic freedom comes off of a definition of freedom by Marcus Cicero, the ancient Roman lawyer over two-thousand years ago. He defined freedom the best way I’ve ever heard it. He defined freedom as participation in power, and how much do we have by that definition, at the local city hall, state capital, national capital, world trade organization, NAFTA…what kind of participation?

Societies that call themselves democracies, they can (behave?) ninety-eight percent of the time thinking as long as they have personal freedom, and if you don’t demand civic freedom, that is the real test of a democratic society.–Ralph Nader (UVA, 9/13/2010. Terrible acoustics. If you discern missing or incorrectly transcribed words, let me know)

Civic Freedom