SMPD Chief Timothy Jackman tells me identity theft is a real problem in Santa Monica. Nothing can ruin your day like having your credit stolen and used by someone else. Though I must admit, when a crook stole my wife’s credit card I did not report it…because he ended up spending less then she did! She hates when I tell that old joke. Though the Internet is a main source for gleaning information, your garbage is another easy spot. Think about what you are throwing into the trash: bills, credit card statements, and all kinds of delectable information for unsavory types. Perhaps consider a small shredder for the house. Not to give anyone ideas, but I once had a competitor go through the trash of my security company looking for account info. The guy was not too bright, of course, as we had a camera recording him during the whole process. Do not give out your SS#, DOB or main password info to Internet scammers trying to trick you into it. Beware. And review your statements carefully each month.
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Perhaps it is time to limit the amount of time each Santa Monica councilmember gets to speak at the City Council meetings. Some of these guys go on for a long time. Maybe this is all they have going on in their life, but give the rest of us a break – we have families to raise and breakfast to make.
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There is a proposal coming before our state assembly soon that will improve our current term-limit restrictions. The plan will allow a state legislator to serve a full 12 years in office. Might be six terms in the assembly or three terms in the senate, but no more. This will allow elected officials to serve an appropriate time period for getting something done. Currently three terms in the assembly means the final term is a long retirement party. Next important matter will be to put public financing into place so we can get the special interest money calmed down.
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This gag order at the school district is going to cause some real problems with the City Council. SMMUSD entered into a termination agreement with their CFO to leave the employ of the district and put him on a gag order to not discuss anything with anyone unless approved by the District. Huh? Did someone forget to tell them this is a public entity? All their records need to be open for public review. Maybe it was just a standard legalese boilerplate “thing,” BUT if the district’s CFO has something to say about the financial condition of the District he must be free to say it, without editing, political pressure or by prior agreement. I doubt very much the City Council will look favorably at this when it is time for the District to come before them and ask for their yearly stipend. Though I approve of the money, I also say all books must be on the table. And this agreement must be scrapped. Free speech must rule.
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Are humans the cause of Earth’s rising temperatures? Global warming exists, no doubt about it. The Great Global Warming Swindle (find it on YouTube), a British Channel 4 documentary, however, debunks the idea that humans have caused it. It is well-made and contrarian to watch, though some of the participants have later criticized the piece as being one-sided and not a completely accurate representation of their opinions.
Let’s go to their main arguments. They report that it has become virtually a religious dogma that humans cause global warming. To argue against it is political suicide. Any dissent to the idea humans are destroying the planet is quickly squashed and repulsed as being completely ignorant. The film, however, claims that human greenhouse emissions are a tiny fraction of general CO2 dispersals on Earth and that volcanoes, decomposing plant life and emissions from the oceans represent 99 percent of CO2 going into the atmosphere. They say it is like finding your car broken down and you say it is the rock in your tire rather than the busted engine causing the problem.
The filmmakers interview scientists who say that the main reason for global warming is solar activity. It is the sun that is causing the current warming, they claim. And it is the sun that has caused variable weather patterns in Earth’s history. The program postulates the idea that humans are so egocentric that they disregard the simple fact that Earth is living in the Sun’s atmosphere, and that by tracking sunspots and solar activity one can easily trace the climates of the Earth’s history. They go on to say that CO2 emissions follow warming temperatures and not the reverse. As the world heats up so do CO2 emissions. Being British, they prove their varying heating and cooling patterns in Earth’s history by showing drawings from the history of Great Britain with the River Thames frozen over, sight not seen for a hundred years, and also of grapes being grown in the North of Britain during the Middle Ages when the world was far warmer.
But so what? Maybe I can feel better that humans are not the main cause of our planet’s warming, but does it mean we should have high-polluting energy sources? Or gas guzzling automobiles, or inefficient energy grids and inadequate public investments to protect our great cities like New Orleans? Maybe they are right and it is not humans causing global warming – maybe it is just the cyclical nature of our universe – but maybe the idea of it will get our politicians to convert to non-petroleum-based products or stop coal-burning plants that do cause acid rain, or maybe, and I am dreaming here, develop a high-speed rail network instead of spending billions on automobile infrastructure. In the end, I am just glad if all this focus on the Earth forces us to live in a more sustainable fashion and in an Earth-friendly way. The old Great Law of the Iroquois was whatever you do, think about how it will affect the next seven generations: “In every deliberation we must consider the impact on the seventh generation…even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”
After all, we have our children to think about.