One of the more fascinating aspects of running for office is how quickly the mail starts coming.
The first surveys by lobbying groups came the other day.
As a politician I now crave and court support. However I thought that rather than leaving the answers to these questions private, I’d pass them along.
NOTE: On this survey, I did cut out many of the Sierra Club’s leading paragraphs and statistical information. For instance, I didn’t know that “Rhode Island state agencies spent more than $110,000 on bottled water in 2011.”
Answering the Sierra Club’s Survey
Would you support legislation that encourages further investment toward renewable energy projects?
YES. I would encourage solar, wind, geothermal and tidal. Are we talking state dollars invested or tax breaks for investors or what? If the trade-offs are tax breaks then I would like to know how those breaks will pay off. If “government” is required to perpetually subsidize energy, then it becomes a hidden cost and another form of corporate blackmail. In bygone days, governments actually built power plants and ran them. If direct investment means that the State, and therefore the people, own a significant portion of those resources, I have a qualified yes. (I am curious why the windmills at Fields Point are not already turning. )
Reducing Bottled Water Consumption by State Government:
Would you support policies and initiatives to reduce the number of water bottles used by state government as a model for good economic and environmental decision making?
YES. This seems to be an internal matter, and could be handled by the Governor’s office.
Sustainable Funding for RIPTA
Would you support legislation that dedicates a portion of the Transportation Trust Fund to RIPTA in order to cover budget shortfalls and allow for implementation of the Five-Year Strategic Plan?
YES, however by continuing to tie RIPTA funding to the car will only defer the problem. Even at $4 a gallon, the cost of gas is too low.
Would you support legislation to ban all forms of trash incineration, including new staged incineration technologies such as pyrolysis, plasma-arc, and gasification?
UNDECIDED: I am completely against increasing incineration. My assumption regarding your proposal of a complete ban is that it would take the option of the table. It would, however, be simpler to not approve any plans that involve incineration. I would like to think that some day we might find a way to burn trash without additional cost or side effects.
Solid Waste Reduction
Would you support changes in the tip fee structure and increased funding to educational and enforcement programs to encourage more recycling and better waste prevention?
YES. 100% support
Securing Our Water Supply for the Future
Would you support water conservation programs, for instance limiting lawn irrigation to once or twice per week, to preserve the state’s water supplies and make certain enough water is available for priorities including protecting our rivers and ensuring adequate water for economic development?
YES. Personally, I hate mowing the lawn. We planted low-water usage URI seed this year. It looks nice. We watered it a few times and now I keep having to cut it every two weeks. I’m not sure, however that state-level legislation is the best way to achieve lawn reduction. Municipalities may be more effective at making those decisions and enforcing them.
YES But…. We can’t complain when we don’t attract manufacturing jobs. Apple makes its iPads in China for a reason.
Taking Action to Reduce Paper and Packaging Pollution
Would you support legislation to create a producer responsibility program for paper and packaging products?
YES. I am, however, unsure how this would work, given the nature of unregulated interstate commerce in the United States. Again, this seems like a national issue.
My door will be open, as much as possible, but I don’t even know where the office is yet.
That said, I already know many of the people involved in the environmental community. I believe that one of our state’s greatest resources is its natural environment. We must protect and improve that for ourselves and our children — and as a practical business matter. People don’t want to find debris on the beach or breathe soot after a long day at work.
I also believe that we are running out of oil and need to plan for a post oil economy. This means improving local public transportation and also developing a system of food production and distribution that can survive the cost of $10 a gallon gasoline. Reversing suburban sprawl is one step. Rebuilding farm land is another, but we will also creating ways to grow food in urban centers.
I do have a question for the environmental community. What level of pollution is acceptable as a trade-off for industry? Part of living seems to be the generation of waste. Yes, we need to clean up after ourselves, but how are we to pay for this?
I’m open to suggestions.
When buying a car, I purchased a 10 year old automobile that gets 30-40 mpg highway. Whenever possible I bicycle to work. I walk to the library and coffee shop and am usually a member of a CSA program.
Several years ago, I personally installed nearly 20 high efficiency windows in my house. It has cut the cost of heating and more surprisingly cooling significantly. In the summer, I open windows at night and close them in the morning.
Many many years ago a number of friends and I were talking about creating a “sustainable community.” I choose to live in a city because can be among the most sustainable communities.
Over the years, I have also been peripherally involved in projects that include sustainable living, urban gardening and water conservation.
What will be your top three priorities if elected?
- NOTE: I reserve the right to change these! First off, I will have to quickly learn how to leverage the limited power I will have as an independent outsider without resorting to corruption or power politics. Without this, I will be completely ineffective. My goal will be to eliminate the taint of corruption from Rhode Island’s Government by increasing the flow and quality of information and accountability to the public
- Improve education through immediate elimination of high-stakes testing as a method of determining funding and evaluating teachers.
- Begin laying the groundwork for the ever-increasing cost of energy and the effects that it will have on our society.