Tag Archives: environment

Legislative Whirlwind Part 4: Lettuce & Birds (video)

Lettuce in Yuma

Here we can see miles of fields of Romaine lettuce with crews of migrant workers in the distance. In the foreground are 1000s of discarded outer Romaine lettuce leaves. Workers severely trim lettuce heads down, so they can be sold as “Romaine hearts”. The leaves will be plowed back into the ground for nutrients, but still, the waste was surprise to someone like me who heard “waste not want not” many times while growing up.

During our Yuma Legislative Tour in December, we saw miles and miles of lettuce, cotton, broccoli, seed crops, and more. We got muddy and trudged around the Romaine lettuce fields with migrant workers, and we also toured a cotton gin. (More photos are here on my Facebook page.)

After our first day of touring Yuma’s agricultural areas, we heard multiple presentations at a hosted dinner paid for by different growing/ranching industry groups and served up by 4H and JTED youth. The presentation by Paul Brierley, director of the University of Arizona Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture, stuck out in my mind. He talked about using engineering technology to help growers in the Yuma area. According to the UA website, “The [Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture], based in Yuma, is a public-private partnership (PPP) between the college and the Arizona and California desert agriculture industry, dedicated to addressing ‘on-the-ground’ industry needs through collaboration and research.” The website continues on to say: “More than two dozen industry partners from Yuma and Salinas, California, have invested in the center, together committing more than $1.1 million over the next three years.”

Brierley is an affable engineer who grew up on a large farm. According to Bierley, the primary problem that industry partners wanted the PPP center to tackle was “productivity”. He talked about different ways to boost productivity by using technology. For example, Brierley said that the date palms needed help with pollination. He showed a photo of a migrant worker pollinating date trees using a machine that looked like a leaf blower strapped on his back. This human-assisted pollination worked, but to improve productivity, the UA and Yuma growers began experimenting with drones. They found that drones to be more efficient pollinators than people. Technology to the rescue: mechanical birds. (For some jobs, this is the future: people being replaced by machines.)

Another problem area that had been identified as a hindrance to productivity was birds.

Continue reading

Legislative Whirlwind Part 2: ADEQ Gas Tank Removal in Phoenix

ADEQ

ADEQ removes gas storage tanks from a defunct gas station. One tank is on the truck, while the other is still in the ground.

Did you ever wonder what happens to the storage tanks when a gas station closes? In Arizona, taxpayers often fund removal of the tanks– not the companies that installed them.

When I was  professional photographer, one of my favorite subjects to photograph was industry, because of the sheer scale of the machinery and striking angles of industrial settings. Consequently, I jumped at the chance to watch two massive gas storage tanks being removed from an old, out-of-business gas station. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has a gas tank storage removal program, bankrolled by a special fund set up by the Arizona Legislature.

I think that is great to remove hazardous waste– like old gas storage tanks– and I would support more funding for ADEQ so they could step up the pace on the clean-up. According to ADEQ staff, there are hundreds of defunct gas stations and other industry-related environmental clean-up projects around Arizona that ADEQ is responsible for. Shouldn’t corporations take more responsibility for cleaning up their own environmental messes? Many “Mom-and-Pop” convenience stores/gas stations probably don’t have the funds for gas tank removal and clean-up after they close their doors, but corporate-owned gas stations should be cleaned up by the corporate people who own them, in my humble opinion.

As a Mom, I can’t remember how many times I have said: “You made that mess. You clean it up.”

Legislative Reps. Kirsten Engel, Pamela Powers Hannley (far left) and Kelli Townsend (right) with ADEQ staff (center) and Senator Andrea Dalessandro-- watching gas tank removal on a chilly December morning.

Legislative Reps. Kirsten Engel, Pamela Powers Hannley (far left) and Kelli Townsend (right) with ADEQ staff (center) and Senator Andrea Dalessandro– watching gas tank removal on a chilly December morning.

This is the second blog post in a five-part series on my first few weeks as a representative-elect:

Legislative Whirlwind Begins: Tours & Meetings, Oh, My! (Part 1)

Legislative Whirlwind Part 2: ADEQ Gas Tank Removal in Phoenix

Legislative Whirlwind Part 3: 92,000 Cows

Legislative Whirlwind Part 4: Lettuce & Birds

Legislative Whirlwind Part 5: Migrant Workers

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Since the election, my Powers For The People blog has officially shifted gears from campaigning to educating voters. Think of this as my version of the “Farley Report”– except delivered via a blog instead of email. (I also have an email list, which you can join here.)

If you want to follow my Legislative update blog, click on this image and every blog post will be delivered to your email inbox. (If you are on gmail, you may have to retrieve it from the “promotions” tab the first time.)

Powers For The People

Click on “Follow Powers for the People” on any page of my website to follow my Legislative update blog posts “A View from the Left Side.”

Cross-posted from PowersForThePeople.net.

Paul, honey, we pro-choicers could have told you this 30 years ago

krugman

Paul Krugman’s Monday NYT column is a sharp observation of how the American Right is untethered from evidence on a wide variety of policy issues.

Of course not. Evidence doesn’t matter for the “debate” over climate policy, where I put scare quotes around “debate” because, given the obvious irrelevance of logic and evidence, it’s not really a debate in any normal sense. And this situation is by no means unique. Indeed, at this point it’s hard to think of a major policy dispute where facts actually do matter; it’s unshakable dogma, across the board. And the real question is why. Continue reading

UPDATED with New Events: Progressives, Mark Your Calendars for April Events!

RonstadtApril3 Update: New events have been added for April 6 and 9.

It’s only April 1, but already there is an impressive line-up of progressive events taking shape this month. In addition to these educational events, there are multiple fund-raisers for candidates, parties, and causes in April.  The list below is not meant to be all-inclusive. (Check out Facebook and the Pima County Democratic Party calendar or the calendar on Blog for Arizona for other events– including multiple opportunities to donate.) The Tucson events included here are all free and are related to one or more Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) core policy issues: economic and social justice, universal healthcare, clean elections, ending corporate personhood, clean environment, or ending the wars.

April 2: Community Vision for the Ronstadt Bus Center

The Tucson Bus Riders Union and the Primavera Foundation are sponsoring a community forum to gather Tucsonans’ ideas on what should be done with the Ronstadt Transit Center on Congress Street. For several years, developers have been eyeing the Ronstadt Center for demolition and relocation out of downtown. If you believe that it is important for a sustainable city to have a bus terminal downtown—near restaurants, retail shops, major employers, and the new street car line—come to this meeting at the Rialto Theater, beginning at 5:30. For more information, call 624-0312 or email busriders@tucsonbusridersunion.com or go to the event’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/events/496939023698809/.

April 3: Solar Energy Efficiency vs the Status Quo

The Tucson Chapter of Drinking Liberally is sponsoring a joint presentation by Bruce Plenk, City of Tucson Solar Energy Coordinator, and Russell Lowes, Sierra Club Rincon Group Energy Chair and Research Director forwww.SafeEnergyAnalyst.org. The DL social hour begins at 6 p.m., with the speakers beginning around 7 p.m. on the patio of The Shanty. For more information, check out DL’s Facebook event http://www.facebook.com/events/104680899727634/.

More events after the jump.

NEW,  April 6: Imperialism and Resistance in Central America

Chuck
Kaufman, coordinator of the Alliance
for Global Justice, will present this talk at the Salt of the Earth Labor
College (SELC). With years of solidarity work with popular movements in Central
America, including recent trips to Honduras,
Kaufman is one of the strongest voices for a change in US foreign
policy. He has been calling for an end to US policies that leave many Central
Americans in poverty. The talk begins at 2 p.m. at SELC, 1902 E. Irene Vista. For more information, check out their website http://saltearthlaborcollege.org/index.php/schedule.

April 7 & 28: Cyclovia Tucson Car-Free Bike Rides

Cyclovia– a community event celebrating cycling and sustainable living– is holding two “car-free” and “care-free” community bike rides this month. On April 7, a downtown loop ride will take participants from downtown through the Armory Park Neighborhood. On April 28, the Cyclovia route will travel through midtown Tucson neighborhoods. Booths, demonstrations, and kids’ activities will dot the routes; both rides will be 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Go to Cyclovia’s websitehttp://www.cycloviatucson.org/ for maps and more information.

April 9: The Privatization of Prisons: History and Effects

Saguaro Eastside Democrats will present Diane Wilson who will discuss the history of prison privatization and the results of this trend in Arizona and nationally. Her information is based on research by the American Friends Service Committee and the PEW Foundation. The meeting will be held at the New Spirit Lutheran Church, 8701 E. Old Spanish Trail; socializing begins at 6:30 p.m., formal program at 7 p.m. For more information, go to the Pima Democratic Party’s calendarhttp://www.pimadems.org/event/sed-the-privatization-of-prisons-history-and-effects/.

NEW, April 9: AFSC JusticePalooza

The
American Friends Service Committee's JusticePalooza will be held at La Cocina
in downtown, beginning at 6 p.m. Please join AFSC and friends for a night of
music, entertainment, and good food and drink. There's no cover, but AFSC
gets 10% of everything you purchase at La Cocina. For more information,
including a list of musical guests, go to their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/events/547114365310197/.

April 11: Stop Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Not long after Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio won re-election in November 2012, a recall began. William James Fisher, Recall Arpaio Campaign Chair, will detail how and why Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are working together to recall Sheriff Joe. The event begins at 6 p.m. at Las Cazuelitas Event Center, 1365 W. Grant Road. For more information about the recall, go to Respect Arizona’s website https://www.recallarpaio.com/.

April 15: Can a Local Bank Protect You from a National Recession?

Democrats of Greater Tucson will present a talk on public banking by Jim Hannley, a registered investment advisor and chair of PDA Tucson’s Economic and Social Justice Issue Organizing Team. DGT meets for lunch at noon at the Dragon View Restaurant, 400 N. Bonita. Buffet lunch is $8.50.