Sarah and I drove through Yosemite Sunday morning. We encountered almost no smoke, and a spectacular view of the Rim fire’s southeast face from the Tioga Pass road.
At this morning’s Coffee With The Councilman I met Mel Hollis.
Mel had the coming transition in healthcare high in his thoughts today. It’s been on mine, too. This seems to be where America abandons its legacy approach to health (an individual responsibility) and makes it a societal responsibility. It is a weighty one, as the body of scientific knowledge about manipulating the biology of Homo Sapiens seems an explosive frontier of science, demanding immense resources.
This rapid and expensive expansion of science is largely responsible for the invention of insurance companies – new abilities to diagnose, treat symptoms, and in some cases cure disease are miraculous but financially catastrophic. So companies sprang up and offered to foot the bill, if it happened to you, for a monthly payment. Somehow, receiving the benefit of all this has just been turned into a right. Those who had historically opted out, either by choice or because they didn’t have an income, are now forced in, though they are only going to be forced to pay a little bit of the cost. The rest of their cost will be borne by the rest of us, through a combination of higher insurance premiums, higher government spending or reduced quality of and access to medical care.
Mel points out you can philosophize all you want – that doesn’t change the fact that it’s upon us.
He thinks people who are currently insured don’t have to take action, they just have to wait for decreased paychecks. But for folks who have not been insured, there are major decisions that must be made by the end of the summer. Failure to take action could be very costly. I haven’t investigated Mel’s thoughts any farther than that, as I fall into the first category of people. If you fall into the second, you can reach out to Mel through his website: www.countryfinancial.com/mel.hollis
The Las Vegas City Council has acknowledged problems with the 2009 Energy Code and partially repealed it. Here’s the story in the Las Vegas Review Journal:
Proponents of the bill, including sponsor Ward 2 Councilman Bob Beers, say the exception is necessary because it can cost too much money to bring old buildings up to the latest energy efficiency standards.
I did not express myself well to the reporter, but it’s complicated. Some hold a philosophical opinion that our government has no authority to use its sovereign power to regulate the carbon footprint of private property. If society wants government to go that direction, that’s why our Constitution can be amended. Let’s get on it, they say. Have the debate, have a vote.
But most people, I think, have found that government regulation is a wasteful process. It needs to be used carefully. Any multi-decade collection of US newsweeklies is littered with anecdotes of the benefits of regulation, but it is also littered with those exposing waste or abuse.
Members of this group are pragmatic; they leave the Constitutionality debate to others, more concerned that the government is doing it anyway. So these people focus on how this brand new regulatory process is being implemented.
The folks who created this new area of regulation sold this idea to our elected officials on a promise that in no case would any required investment not result in a direct savings on energy costs such that the cost of the investment would be paid back to the private property owner in less than ten years.
Now, we have several consecutive anecdotes where the mandated “investment” will never be recovered, because it will not result in any actual reduction in energy consumption.
It seemed clear to me, but it is apparently a grayer matter than I think. My motion to exempt buildings built before 2009 from the energy code, as amended by Cm. Coffin to not exempt residences, passed on a 4-3 vote.
I received an email from an energy businesswoman @ energyinspectors.com this weekend:
Comments: Dear Councilman Beers,
You have an upcoming bill 2013-24 to vote on June 19th. I have been to all of the meetings and debates on this bill and I am not sure why we even have this bill up for a vote. It comes down to one business that this bill was created for and was affected. The IECC 2009 code has an exemption clause in the bill that this business could have used. The owner hired bad contractors and AP’s that took him for a ride with his expenses not the IECC 2009 code. The code was not the cause of his excessive expense. Nor did the code make Trivoli put in tinted windows! One other key factor is the fact the you are a partner with this business owner on another project DOWNTOWN so doesn’t it seem odd that he is making a bill for his own use and benefit? There is never a time in any situation where going backwards is in the best interest for anyone. You have the City of Las Vegas striving to be the leader in LEED projects and sustainability to save water and electricity, then you are working this other angle to go backwards? I would hope that you will not support this bill, the bill already has avenues for exemption there isn’t a need for the change. It is time decisions are made for the right reason and for the people of Las Vegas not for your personal benefit. Thank you for your time! Jodie Date: 6/14/2013 10:38:40 AM
I wrote back:
Thanks for writing.
Interesting. I see your points, but from a different perspective.
George Harris won’t benefit from the passage of this ordinance. The “International Energy Code” has already wreaked its full havoc on his investors’ last project downtown. Mandating an investment that will never be returned in energy cost savings is the worst possible outcome for Governance. And it can’t be undone. That damage is done.
Only future projects will be impacted by this change. If a group led by Harris (or Tony Hsieh, or Nevada Legal Services, or you, or whatever downtown property owner you want to name) moves forward with a new project refurbishing an old commercial building, none will benefit more than any other. If everyone benefits, that’s actually the goal of government policy.
I don’t understand how this ordinance would create an inequity in the rental market, either. To renters, the “nut” is the sum of all costs to occupy a commercial space. Consumers consider the sum of rent and energy costs (and a bunch of other costs) as the figure they base their business decisions on. Thus, spaces with higher energy costs carry lower rent, punishing energy wasting property owners. That’s why almost all investors take all reasonable steps to build energy conservative spaces, and did long before this code was adopted.
Sustainability is everyone’s goal here, Ms. Smith. Nobody is interested in wasting energy, willy-nilly. But sustainability must consider livability. And it doesn’t matter if it’s an error within the “International Energy Code” or one with the way we’ve implemented it, that caused the problem. The fix is to pull back, regroup, and figure out what’s broken. To me, that’s not backward. That’s smart.
Some research reported this week supporting that climate warming makes rainfall increase while climate cooling makes a region drier.
A striking pattern emerged: Over long timescales of multiple decades and centuries, all three monsoons behaved similarly. Warm temperatures made the monsoons wetter while cold temperatures dried them out. During an extended cold period known as the Little Ice Age, for instance, the entire Northern Hemisphere appears to have suffered a “superdrought” that lasted from 1350 to 1650, the team found.