Friday, July 24, 2015

More Environmental Leadership in Government

In a perfect world for me government staff would constantly be bringing up ideas and programs to reduce pollution, support renewable energy, and promote a more sustainable world. In a little less perfect world I would be surrounded by elected officials that would pursue and push staff for a strong environmental agenda for government and citizens to follow. But in the real world developing strong environmental strategies as a core program simply draws more flies than human acceptance.

I have been driving an electric zero emission Nissan Leaf for 3.5 years now and have saved thousands in gas dollars. Since our electricity comes from mostly nuclear plants and to some degree renewable energy the use of my car puts out no emission where I use it and much smaller amounts globally when compared to all fossil fuel vehicles.

Over the last few years solar power subsides have been available that promotes a return on capital that exceeds the best financial investment returns. Finally, last year our LCFPD staff realized this opportunity and is currently doing their due diligence to install our first active solar electric system. Lake County is being pulled along by the Forest Preserve action and hopefully will follow in 2016 if subsides are still intact.

During the past several discussions with Lake County leaders on strategic policies all environmental initiatives are qualified by "if economically feasible". Do we qualify Economic Opportunities, if economically feasible, health and resilient communities, reduce congestion, transportation, and public safety IF it is Economically Feasible? No, just our value of a sustainable environment is qualified. While myself, Sandy Hart, and a few others fight for Lake County Leaders to stand up and provide a stronger leadership position on sustainability, I hear the rhetoric from our administrator Barry Burton and many fellow board members demonstrate that sustainability is NOT as important as those other core values.

The reason I am calling for more folks to consider running for public office is we need stronger leadership in government not only sustainable in a more efficient and consolidated government, but also one that pushes for environmentally sustainable programs that provide leadership for clean water, air, and retention of more green capital. I hear current Lake County Elected officials speaking about our open green space as prime opportunities for transportation, manufacturing, office space, and residential development instead of supporting existing infrastructure and towns that have empty commercial structures and foreclosures. It is a Classic example of suburban sprawl instead of the great revitalization projects happening in urban areas around the world that promotes more sustainability. Being sustainable is being fiscally conservative. Conservation and sustainable practices will reduce taxation and promote a better life in Lake County. Step up, provide leadership and think about public service.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Don't waste Democracy! Empower Responsive & Effective Leadership

How do we live in a more responsive nation when it comes to our governments ability to treat us fairly and implement policy that supports our families and neighbors lives. Democracy has been a tool not used by enough citizens in our nation and our neighborhoods. Your right to express yourself and promote your thoughts on governance, taxation, and governmental powers needs to be exercised.

Many elections come and go without any real debate or candidates that are required to exchange ideas and policy. While personally having drawn competition in every consolidated and general election I participated in since 1990, we just saw a Mayoral, City Council, and several other local and County races that were unopposed. Bottom line is that people are refusing to participate in our democracy. Many good contributors to our communities will not run for political office.

Current times demand creative thinking and a change in governmental structure to carry us forward. To have a detached and polarized connection to our democracy and government will only allow continued dysfunction and much higher taxes.

Running for local offices such as County Board, City Council, Park District, and School Districts can be done without being tortured by a mass marketing campaign against yourself and family. Running for County wide, State, or Federal office is another matter and does require a sophisticated marketing approach for success, but you can attract professional support at this level if your message is remarkable.

Without independent citizens willing to run for office, we are asking for mediocrity and the existing politico's hand picked replacements to continue on current governmental policy failures. So, step-up and discuss these matters with friends and neighbors. Public service can be rewarding and is a obligation to citizens to have a successful democracy. Waste not, run for office or cultivate a constructive dialog with neighbors to get good candidates to run for office.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Grateful Dead, Memories, & Independence Day

While I am not a deadhead, I did experience a few slices of their history with the band at the UPTOWN theater working for Jam Productions, 1978-81. As a crew member, spotlight operator, and Master Electrician, their shows were not just one night stands of wham bam thank you maam. They came in for several days with their entourage and set up camp. When other bands mostly played one night and maybe treated the crew to some swag (a tee shirt), the Grateful Dead served us Steak with all the trimmings, cold Heineken beer, and overall were very hospitable before each show. It was far more like joining the party then a job. I also remember hearing rumors that they loved playing the Uptown Theater and had conversations to purchase the venue.

Remembering moments onstage and off with fellow members of the stage crew, roadies, staff, and members of the band are priceless and live on in my memories. I can't think back on those times without remembering our fallen Local #2 Brother Mark Shapiro and his insane life on and off the stage, but I must say we had good times and he always put a smile on our faces.

Watching the video from Soldiers Field on the "Fare Thee Well" Tour of the Grateful Dead, it brought me back to the Uptown Theater and thoughts of our independence of spirit and body. While Independence does not usually foster truth, perfection or joy, it does give us the freedom to create our own destiny and make our own choices. Happy 4th of July Everybody... 2015. Wishing all a Joyous Holiday.