Holiday Wishes

The state suffered a few environmental turkeys this year. But we still have hope in December.

I just spent a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday in Walnut Creek. It is a great tradition for my family and my brother Jonathan’s to get together at our aunt Ruth and cousin Sherrie’s house. No live invertebrates or endangered species on the menu. Just a typical Thanksgiving of gluttony, family conversations, debates and insults, football, and kids going feral. Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday. (By the way, we did follow Jonathan’s recommendation to go to a pretty tasty Basque place called Wool Growers in Los Banos).

I have a lot to be thankful for. My family is healthy and I am lucky to have a wonderful wife and three kids. And I have one of the best environmental jobs in the state, letting me work with brilliant and dedicated staff, volunteers and board members to protect public health and California’s rivers, beaches and coastal waters.

Before you think I’m going soft in middle age, there are plenty of things I have not been thankful for this year.

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Left Holding the Bag

NB ACC Bag (3) - CROPPEDShocked doesn’t begin to describe what Heal the Bay staff felt Friday when we opened the Coastal Cleanup Day trash bags sent to us by the California Coastal Commission.  Betrayed isn’t quite right either.  Nauseous is more like it.

The plastic trash bags included the logos of some of our biggest opponents in the fight against marine debris: the American Chemistry Council, California Film Extruders and Converters Assn. and other plastics producers.  Coastal Cleanup Day – brought to you by the very polluters that are causing the global marine debris crisis. Continue reading

State of Shame

Legislators missed some obvious revenue opportunities in botched budget negotiations.

Legislators missed some obvious revenue opportunities in botched budget negotiations.

The California Legislature and the Governor recently passed the most devastating budget ever enacted during my lifetime.  The budget will leave state residents less protected from illness, students less educated, and will widen the growing gap between rich and poor in California.  The picture of the Big 5 smiling when they agreed in principle to the budget will forever be etched upon my mind.  This is truly a budget that asks those least able to sacrifice — children, elderly and the poor — to sacrifice the most.  Even though Californians will be sicker and dumber, at least there are no new taxes, right?

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