December 2005 Mineral King Group Newsletter, Sierrra Club


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December 2005 Mineral King Group Newsletter, Sierrra Club

  1. 1. Sierra Club December, 2005 Mineral King NewsMineral King Group – Visalia 559-739-8527 The Year in Review By Kim Loeb, Mineral King Group Chair This has been quite a year for the However, cotton-farming giant J.G. U.S., the San Joaquin Valley, and the local Boswell Co. has announced plans to build Sierra Club Mineral King Group. Katrina, an unincorporated community of more than Rita, and the record number of Atlantic 15,000 people on 36,000 acres it owns in hurricanes may well be a harbinger of Yokohl Valley. This project would clearly things to come due to global warming. be inconsistent with the currently envisioned general plan update, and we At the same time, perfect weather understand that county planners will have a Our Vision for conditions here in the valley gave us a December 6 workshop with the Board of Livable summer with much lower air quality Supervisors to figure out how to address Communities: problems than normal. But with the rising large projects such as that planned by price of natural gas, we may suffer Boswell. particularly poor winter air as more residents burn wood in their fireplaces. Last May, the Group Executive ! Environmental Wood burning is a significant source of Committee held a very successful strategic needs and the particulate matter smog in the valley which planning retreat in Three Rivers. Two availability of kills people every year. excellent facilitators were provided to us public services from national Sierra Club; Ex Comm help set guidelines Visalia and other valley towns and boundaries for members paid their own way. In the spirit experienced unprecedented growth this future growth; of thinking globally and acting locally, we year. Visalia then elected a new came away with the goal of working to councilman who ran on a smart-growth ! Development limit sprawl in our part of the valley and to platform against sprawl despite a record occurs mostly in encourage smart growth. To this end, we amount of money spent by developers to existing urban have been attending county general plan try and defeat him. areas, instead of update planning sessions and will provide Tulare County continues work on input as needed. on open space at its general plan update which will be the the edge of cities; Two of the most important aspects blueprint for growth in the county for the of limiting sprawl and encouraging smart ! Infill develop- next 20 or more years. Prudently, county growth are reduced driving time and ment helps to planners and their technical advisory preservation of open space and farmland. create vibrant committee have been focusing on the Of course, reducing driving time reduces communities, alternative which would focus growth in use of petroleum, which in turn reduces the incorporated urban areas and limit affordable exhaust emissions which can have a sprawl. housing, and good significant impact on valley air quality. schools for Continued on page two... everyone. Highlights: Our Outings Program – 2 Tulare County Planning – 4 National Club Priorities - 6 Book Review: Suburban Nation – 3 Successful Film Series - 5 Ballot & Upcoming Events – 7
  2. 2. Year in Review (continued from page 1) The Group has had many increase member involvement, we are activities this year. Getting out into now meeting at the Baker’s Square nature is important to us all and we had restaurant in Visalia. Come have dinner, some great outings this year. (See article meet some great people, and help steer below.) your local Sierra Club group in the direction you think it should go. Our recent film series has been so successful that we are outgrowing our Please check our group website Visalia venue. We would like to thank at: Tazzaria Coffee and Tea for being great hosts. We recently held a film screening mineralking/ in Hanford at Art Works, which is a great venue, and we plan on having more for our current event calendar. You can Hanford events next year. also sign up for our Mineral King Group News email list at the website. We are looking forward to This is a great way to stay abreast of continuing to expand our events, Group activities and events. activities, and activism next year, but we need your help. The Ex Comm is a small Lastly, please send in your Ex group of dedicated members that make Comm ballot which is in this newsletter. things happen for the Mineral King And remember, please think Group. We usually meet on the fourth twice before lighting up a wood fire. Monday of each month to plan our Check to make sure there are no burn activities and events. All members are restrictions. I hope that you and yours welcome to attend. In an effort to have a great holiday and fabulous new year! Our Outings Program this relaxing day by stopping for dinner By Sharon Meckenstock, Outings Chair at Main Fork Bistro in Three Rivers. Two years ago we resurrected The other outing occurred at the the Mineral King Group outings coast at Montaña de Oro State Park near program. The aim to date has been to Moro Bay. It was August and we hoped launch the program by offering at least for good weather. Well, if we had one scheduled outing every month ordered it ahead of time, the weather beginning in April and running through could not have been better. With almost September of each year. no wind and lots of sunshine, we walked Recalling the first year (2004) the full length along the oceans edge. ,two hikes stand out. The Wildflower The sounds of the birds, the soft Hike on the Muir Grove Trail in Sequoia ocean waves, and the smell of the sea National Park in June with Pam Coz-Hill provided a senses with plenty to as an accompanying botanist lecturer enjoy. (and also an accomplished photographer) In 2005 we decided to do the is memorable. There were 7 of us on six mile hike of The Trail of the that hike, and we truly jelled as a group. Sequoias. Funny thing about that hike. A sunny day with abundant wildflowers, The hiking book points out there is a 500 good company, and the magnificent ft. elevation gain. But it left out that Sequoias standing waiting for us in a anyone hiking that trail could expect to cathedral-like grove soothed our weary make that gain at least twice if not threePage 2 of 8 work-week minds and offered up many times during the hike. Hmmm. moments of joy. We all decided to cap Continued on page 8 ....
  3. 3. Book Review: Suburban NationBy Joanne Dudley, Mineral King Group Secretary I am delighted delegates at the Sierra Club’s Sierra Summit this past September in San Francisco established “the creation of vibrant healthy communities” as the Club’s second highest national priority. If this worthy goal whets your civic appetite as it does mine, I recommend you read Suburban Nation, the Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream (ISBN 0-86547-606-3, North Point Press, 2000). As a lay person with no training/education in urban planning, I found that the authors, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater- As the authors discuss the Zyberk and Jeff Speck, guided me characteristics of livable cities, they through the history of events that cite cities which exemplify those led to the decline of our cities and features. After reading the book, I the capricious waste of our am hungering to see my community agricultural land and our wetlands. grow as a “traditional city” which the While the authors point out authors explain is a community the gross errors of America’s city where people can live, work, shop, planning since World War II, they recreate, and participate in civic also provide the interventions affairs...a place where the car is not needed to re-create already “king.” Suburban Nation is a great established cities as well as read for anyone wanting insights in guidelines needed to promote how to influence the future growth of healthy new cities. our communities. Sierra Club California’s Guide to Building More Livable Communities Recommended Policies: 1. Adopt Urban Growth boundaries. 2. Plan for high-quality in-fill and compact development. 3. Build affordable housing. 4. Require development to pay for public services. 5. Prepare open space and conservation plans. 6. Link land use and transportation decisions. 7. Grow within our means. 8. Adopt state and regional plans. Page 3 of 8
  4. 4. Tulare County Planning Progresses on Crucial Issues By Brian Newton The Tulare County General Plan So I asked, what about Yokohl Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Ranch? When would that be discussed? met on Tuesday, November 7, 2005 to Yokohl Ranch (also known as Boston discuss some crucial issues for all of us. Ranch) is of course the proposed new The purpose of this two-year old town development - to exceed 15,000 committee is to oversee the county’s people - to be built on part of J.G. General Plan update that will determine Boswell’s 36,000 acre property in the the shape and direction of our county for foothills near Badger Hill in Exeter. The the next twenty years. The panel consists answer given was January because it was of over 30 members that represent a wide presented to the Board only recently. range of interests. Though the Sierra Club My question prompted a lively is not represented on the panel, we want discussion about how it would fit into this to be monitoring the General Plan update General Plan update. Some members felt closely. that it ought to be a separate document A planning consultant from because of its magnitude. Others said that Berkeley was hired to create a basic it must be included because it would outline that has been presented to the impact the big picture of the future and advisory committee for direction and the plan would therefore have to consider revision. A series of community forums its effect. have also been offered to collect the Someone else asked the same public’s input. All of that data was question of the recently announced collated and synthesized into a Power Earlimart proposal. This huge Point program that was presented to the development would, in short order, Board of Supervisors and again to the possibly double the town’s population. I TAC committee. think that will not be addressed until a Overall, the draft plan so far formal proposal has been submitted. appears to be rational and practical. But Follow the news and subscribe to something was missing. our Mineral King Group News email list to see how this all plays out. Sierra Club hikers brave the rain and snow in Mineral King, October, 2004Page 4 of 8
  5. 5. Our Successful Film Program Draws Crowds!By Cynthia Koval, Programs Chair This year we are happy to have My personal favorite of theintroduced an environmental film three films so far is the unique andseries, a first of sorts for Visalia, and breathtaking film called “Beingjudging from the comments of Caribou,” which was screened inmembers and non-members alike, this Hanford at the Art Works coffeetype of program was long overdue in house October 21. This film,our community. It has been such a produced by the National Film Boardsuccess, that the two showings at the of Canada, goes beyond the greatTazzaria coffee house in Visalia were controversy surrounding the issue offilled to capacity. A third film offered drilling for oil in the Artic, providingin Hanford expanded our outreach to close-up shots of the legendarythat community. migration of the Great Porcupine The theme to date has been the Caribou herd to the herd’s calvingenergy crisis. We began in June in grounds in Alaska’s Arctic NationalVisalia with powerful film, “Oil on Wildlife Refuge. If every member ofIce,” visibly showing the impact oil Congress would view this film, theredevelopment would have on the Arctic would be no contest…the Artic coastalNational Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, plains would remain in the wildlifeand how readily substitutes to our gas- refuge for all time.guzzling ways can be found. Keep posted. Check our Our next film was a screening calendar below for our next film,of “The End of Suburbia”. This is a “Kilowatt Ours.” Meanwhile, if youthough-provoking film depicting how would like to borrow any of theseour society has evolved around the use films for yourself or a group showing,of cheap oil, and how drastically and or if you would like to help in thepainfully everything will change once organizing of the film events, pleasewe come to the turning point in supply give Cynthia a call at (559) 303-1134.(often referred to as “Peak Oil”). Page 5 of 8
  6. 6. National Sierra Club Priorities Reflect Local Group Issues By Carl Pope, National Executive Director, and Harold Wood, Mineral King Group Vice-Chair. In November, the Sierra Club’s All of these resolutions were national Board of Directors approved adopted by the Board with a clear resolutions establishing conservation, understanding that the Sierra Clubs communications and internal priorities major challenge for the next several for the next five years. years is not to influence short-term The three new Conservation environmental policy, but to shape Initiatives are: long term public sentiments and to • Smart Energy Solutions regain power for environmental • Safe Clean Communities values. This is an agenda for • Americas Wild Legacy. rebuilding our influence; we do not expect to see major federal policy 182 Sierra Club entities, shifts in the next few years. including 39 Chapters and 116 The Board also said, “the Groups, were involved the structured single most important goal of this Direction Setting process. Thousands agenda will be to advance a smart, of Sierra Club grass-roots leaders safe, clean energy future in the next participated in this process, including decade.” Promoting new energy your Mineral King Group. The two solutions received three times as many top priorities the national BOD votes in the pre-Summit process as identified were the same ones your any other conservation approach. Mineral King Group Ex Comm The Board adopted seven identified. short-term policy areas of national An unprecedented 765 concern to which the Club will delegates, along with 951 observers, immediately devote its attention and met at the SIERRA SUMMIT in energy for the next year or two: September and deliberated the pre- Summit results and provided their own * Promote clean electricity, recommendations and rankings. renewables and efficiency. To our knowledge, this is the * Reduce oil demand -- promote most extensive grass-roots efficient/clean cars and other consultation process any environ- efficiency efforts. mental organization has ever * Stop the coal rush and clean up conducted. existing coal plants and air pollution. While some language changed * Protect wildlife and habitats. and some melding occurred, it is clear * Protect wild and special places. that the rankings determined by * Protect water quality. chapters, groups, national committees * Prevent energy leasing and and particularly Summit delegates production on sensitive lands and were not only respected but ratified as waters. strategically wise.Page 6 of 8
  7. 7. Sierra Club Mineral King Group Executive Committee Ballot – December 2005 There are five vacancies; please vote for no more than five candidates. Return ballot to: P.O. Box 3543, Visalia, CA 93278. Each Club member has one vote, we’ve included two ballots because of the high percentage of joint memberships. Write-ins welcome. Please return your ballot, postmarked on or before December 31, 2005. Voter #1 Voter #2 ! Beverly Garcia ! Beverly Garcia ! Richard Garcia ! Richard Garcia ! Cynthia Koval ! Cynthia Koval ! Kim Loeb ! Kim Loeb ! Brian Newton ! Brian Newton ! ________________(write in) ! ________________(write in)Volunteer Opportunities! The Mineral King Group is your local Sierra Club Group for Tulare County west ofPorterville, and for Kings County. It is governed by an “Executive Committee” see ballot above. But you don’thave to be on the Ex Comm to volunteer! Please contact us if you’d like to help at any level! We are working tomake sure the Tulare County General Plan protects our environment, and to explore and enjoy our local mountains.The Group ExComm meets the fourth Monday of the month. Any member is always welcome to attend. Ballotswill be counted and new officers elected at our next meeting, January 23, 2006. January 30, 2006 - 5:30 p.m. - Dinner and Upcoming Events for Members Ex Comm Meeting at Baker’s Square Restaurant, Mooney Blvd., Visalia, all Dinner Socials in Visalia members welcome. To R.S.V.P., contact Bev at (559) 732-3785 or January - TBA 2006 - We will be having First Aid and CPR training to qualify for January 11, 2006 – 6:00 p.m. leading outings. Contact: Joanne Dudley: - Keo Thip Thai Restaurant, on Murray, 559-733-2078 or in Visalia. February 8, 2006 – 6:00 p.m. January 27, 2006 - 7 p.m. –Film: “Kilowatt - Alejandra’s Mexican Restaurant on Ours.” Learn how you can save hundreds of Main Street, downtown Visalia. dollars annually on energy bills – while helping to combat asthma and global March 8, 2006 – 6:00 p.m. - Joy Luck warming. Free. Tazzaria Coffee House, Chinese, in Save Mart Shopping Center, Visalia. Akers & Walnut, Visalia. Please send us your e-mail address for periodic calendar and news updates from the Mineral King Group. E-mail your request to: Page 7 of 8
  8. 8. Outings (continued from page 2) Sierra Club Mineral There were 7 of us again, and this time in the woods. One never knows what the air was cool towards cold. And to expect, except it will always be a King Group the fog rolled in while we were out on different experience. We had other the hike, quite dense, I might add. But enjoyable hikes last year and this P.O. Box 3543 this only added to the beauty of the year, but the main thing is being out in Visalia, CA 93278 moment. The atmosphere was soft, the wilderness, enjoying those USA and since all one could see were the surroundings, appreciating the beauty Phone: trees and not much beyond, the huge and being grateful for the 559-739-8527 trees became even more impressive as experience of having two National did the three waterfalls we crossed, Parks so close by. Come join us next Newsletter Editor: either under or over. This is what is year! We would love to have you! harold.wood so wonderful about being out of doors LeConte Memorial Lodge Volunteer Opportunities Several of our Group if you have what it takes to volunteer at members volunteered at LeConte LeConte Memorial Lodge for a week during Memorial Lodge in Yosemite last the 2006 season, see this web page: summer! They found it to be a fun experience, enabling Club members to leconte/volunteering.asp welcome visitors from all over the world. CONTACT: If you are interested in finding out Dr. Bonnie J. Gisel, Curator, 209 372-4542; 209 403-6676 leconte.curator@sierraclub.orgWe’re on the Web!See us at: PRESORTED SIERRA CLUB NONPROFIT RATE MINERAL KING GROUP U.S. POSTAGE P.O. Box 3543 PAID Visalia, CA 93278 VISALIA, CA IDEA! Printing