Thinking About Sandy and Katrina Survival Modes

Russ Steele

Katrina was a August hurricane in the southern part of the US where the weather was quite warm before and after the hurricane. One of the big challenges for those that survived without power was to stay cool.

Sandy on the other hand was a winter hurricane in the norther part of the country, where cool fall weather is quite common. The challenge for the survivors will be to stay warm.

Below is the Unisys GFSX model forecast for the next 48 hours on the 5th.  By Wednesday the 7th it will be even colder, with winds from the north. By Sunday the 11th it is colder yet. It does not start warming until Monday the 12th.  This is going to be real challenge for those without heat and light.

The 1000 mb chart also shows near surface weather conditions. The parameters plotted are 1000 mb temperature in Celsius (in color contours), convergence (black lines, interval=2, shaded > 0), 1000 mb dewpoints in Celsius (colored lines, interval=5, bold orange=20, bold white=15, bold red=0, bold magenta=-15, bold gray=-30) and winds plotted as vectors.

On Thursday the 5th the rain starts with some snow in the higher elevations..

The sea level pressure and precipitation forecast chart includes three parameters: sea level pressure (cyan lines), 1000-500 mb thickness (brown dotted lines, 5100, 5400, 5700 solid lines) and quantitative precipitation (color contours).

If your would like to do your own analysis you can go here:

Life in New York, New Jersey and surrounding region is going to be quite difficult for the survivors, unless the power and lights get turned on real soon now!

ERC Board Meeting Insights

Russ Steele

I attended the ERC Board Meeting this morning have some short notes to share:

  • The ERC Board is looking for a person to serve as Executive Director. Interested persons should send resume to Or, mail resume to Nevada County ERC, 149 Crown Point Court, Suite A, Grass Valley, CA 95949.
  • Brent Smith gave a presentation on the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. He is looking for input to the CEDS, to include projects that will result in economic development and more jobs in Nevada County from 2012 to 2017.  Due date for submissions is third week of November. See SEDCorp Web Site for more details or call 530-823-4703.
  • There was a discussion of the impact that Prop 30 would have on schools. The part of Prop 30 taxes allocated to the schools is less than 40% and will only be used to maintain the status quo, no improvements in the current infrastructure or staff.  I was very disappointed in the answers to a question by the schools representatives in the room. When asked what the relationship was between staff and teacher ratio not one representative could provide a direct answer. Either they did not know, it was an embarrassing answer.  It is a question that needs to be answered. Where will the cuts from come when Prop 30 goes down to defeat? Cut Student services or Cut Administration Staff?
  • Robert Trent, Sierra Commons, announced the return of Tech Talks at the Business Ignitor, and the first Nevada County Hackathon on 1-2 December. Tech Talk details can be found on the web site HERE. and the Hackathon HERE.  If have found the Tech Talks most interesting, especially the questions from the audience and the ensuing discussion.

Firth’s Dog Whistle for No Growth – “Grass Valley needs to grow responsibly.”

Russ Steele

Grass Valley is in economic trouble, which in my opinion is from the lack of development that would attract more business to the community, including some of the name brand stores that people are driving to Auburn and Roseville to shop in. This leakage is forcing Grass Valley to raise taxes.

Jim Firth who claims that “Grass Valley needs to grow responsibly” is running for a seat on the Grass Valley City Council. We have heard this “grow responsibly” manta before, especially from the sustainable growth, Agenda 21, lefties that are now supporting Firth.  Look at where  Grass Valley today is today economically — no growth and no tax revenue.  This is not what Grass Valley needs, but that is Mr Firth’s no-development record:

Jim Firth Opposes Development of Proposed Giants Stadium in 1989,357262

Jim Firth Opposes Development of AT&T Ballpark in 1996

Jim Firth Opposes $400 Million Development in San Francisco

Voters in Grass Valley have a choice. More taxes and no growth or more growth and more tax revenue.  They should choose wisely.

Sale Taxes and Leakage

Russ Steele

The other day I saw a Measure L sign and did not know what it was about. On investigation is it for a sales tax increase in Nevada City that gets dumped into the general fund. I knew that Grass Valley was having a measure N to increase sales tax in the city to produce more general fund revenue.  There was a brief mention of sales taxes by the Board members representing the cities at the last ERC Board meeting, but no discussion of the economic impact and the potential leakage of sales to Placer and Yuba County.

The only mention of leakage was in response to a question posed to Dave Schmall the Union Publisher, about the papers coverage of South County. He responded that The Union would be increase South County coverage in the hope of luring more people to come up the hill to shop rather than going to Auburn.

In retrospect, I am surprised that the ERC Board was not more interested in the economic impact that increases sales taxes might have on the growing business leakage to Placer County, as more people are shopping in the “big box” stores in North Auburn.  Target is just finishing up a major upgrade to come a Super Target — one stop shopping for anything a family could need.  This is in competition with  WalMart which will some become a reality in Auburn.

I have serious doubts that the real money difference between the increased sale tax will make much of a difference to most people’s shopping habits. Most shoppers are more interested in the increased selection in the big box stores, more quality and pricing options to find the right product quality at the right price.

There is more online shopping now than every before.  In the retail industry, 16% of search queries come from mobile web usage. It was only 10% in 2011. Even with Amazon now collecting the CA sales tax, the prices are much lower than at local stores. And, with the price of gas who is willing to drive around looking for just the right product and the right prices, when it can be found on line, and delivered to the door the next day?

Our insurance company, USAA, now has an online shopping mall called Member Shop with reduced prices and in some cases free shipping for members. The stores in the mall include many of the big box stores that are now going on line to compete with Amazon, who keeps expanding the selection options.

The real solution to the brick and mortar leakage is to have our own “big box” stores in Nevada County. If we could stop the leakage and started collecting those tax dollars locally, the cities may not need a tax increase.

I am assuming they will soon be getting revenue check from the state for the Amazon collected sales taxes.

Agenda 21 Comes a Creeping (Update)

Chuck Shea writes:

Just a quick note to let you know that the Supervisors elected to withdraw the MOA after the strong attendance we had stand and speak at the BOS today.

It was a good presentation and after the Supervisors agreed that the MOA was not in the best interests of the People of Nevada County.. 

To all of you that attended….. THANKS!!!!!

Proof that “we the people” can control our destiny when we are willing to stand up and be heard!

Russ Steele

If the citizens of the United States really read Agenda 21, they would say it could never happen an a free county like America. We would not be willing to give up our freedom to a collective, to regional organizations, to non-government organizations that are not accountable to our elected leaders.

Most Agenda 21 promoters recognize this very fact, thus they hide the agenda in little changes, incremental adjustments to our laws and create non-government agencies to implement those changes with MOAs.

Some day historians will sifting through the ashes of what was once the Free West and wonder why did these free people give up their freedom to Agenda 21 organizations. Organizations that our lefty friends claimed were never there. Agenda 21 is not there is flaming red colors, it is hidden in MOAs like the one under consideration by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the 9th of October.

George Rebane writing at Rumination’s has more details in  Agenda21 – Exhibit A on display locally

If your are at all concerned about loosing your freedom to some NGO like the Sierra Business Council, or one of the environmental wacko organizations that populate Nevada City, you better show up at the Board of Supervisors meeting and let your voices be heard.

We need more citizen in put on this issue before the Board of Supervisors signs away our access to the National Forests.

The new Forest Management Plan has a component called  “Restoration.”  Restoration will ban all access to the designated areas and armed Forest Rangers can arrest you and put you in jail if you enter an area marked for restoration.  No not the County jail, the Federal Jail.

Until the BOS sign away your freedom the County Sheriff would have some jurisdiction   We elect our Sheriff and have some influence. Under the MOA he could lose our voting leverage, our freedom of access would be relinquished to a non-elected bureaucrat who only answers to some unelected regional council.

That is how Agenda 21 works. Incremental dismemberment of our freedoms and allocating them to some some NGO controlled collective with a staff trained by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability . If that is what you want stay from the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday and you will get your wish. 

More Economic Trouble in the Valley – Atwater Going Belly Up

Russ Steele

We used to live in the sleepy town of Atwater when stationed at Castle AFB in the late 1960s. We lived next to the watermelon fields and after the harvest was over we would collect the melons left behind.  Ripe watermelon right of the field was the best ever. Agriculture and the Air Force base were the primary economic engines, now the base is gone  and Atwater must depend on agriculture.

The small agricultural town of Atwater, Calif., has declared a fiscal emergency, as it seeks to avoid becoming the fourth municipality in the state this year to file for bankruptcy protection.

Located about 100 miles east of San Francisco, Atwater is grappling with a $3 million budget deficit, declining city revenues and cost overruns for a new wastewater treatment plant.

The town on Wednesday declared the emergency, which under state law allows it to restructure union contracts, including imposing salary reductions and benefit cuts without negotiations. “We’re working hard to balance the budget and avoid bankruptcy,” said Joan Faul, Atwater’s mayor.

You can read the full article HERE. Walter Russell Mead concludes:

How many more California cities will follow Atwater? As David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors, told Bloomberg: “In California, we have a disease, and the disease is spreading. . . . I suspect we’re going to see wholesale warnings and downgrades.”

Our small downs are asking for more taxes, rather can cut spending. With a plethora of tax measures in the ballot, voter with their own economic troubles will most likely reject them all.  Then what?

The Union is in the Cloud

Russ Steele

As I often do, I observed the ERC Board Meeting this morning. The guest speaker was Dave Schmall The Union Publisher, who gave an insightful review the changes at The Union over the last 90 days. They are going digital and The Union is in the Cloud. All 26 of the Swift newspapers are in the Cloud, and are now capable of sharing stories and information.  According to Schmall, the staff has been in training for 1/2 a day, everyday for the last two weeks, on how to use this new Cloud Computing tool.

What is  Cloud Computing you ask?   There’s a good chance you’ve already used some form of cloud computing if you have an e-mail account form Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or Gmail.  Your mail is stored in the cloud and accessed over the Internet.  The e-mail application is running on a remote server farm some where in the world, depending on which e-mail service you are using. The e-mail software is not on your computer but in the cloud.

In cloud computing the software tool are not on local computer, but on huge farms servers running virtual processors over a broadband network.  The desk top computers, laptops and smart phones are just your interface to the virtual servers and the storage devices. The critical link is the broadband network. The Internet allows users to access the Cloud resource from any where their is a network connection.

Cloud computing is highly dependent on broadband networks.  We do not have the most reliable broadband networks in Western Nevada County.  One of the observers at the Board Meeting recounted how her business was down for two week, when both the AT&T and Comcast networks connection to her office went down.  The business depended on network connections, and is installing a dedicated network at a much higher cost.

I am assuming that The Union is using a dedicated network, or as a minimum both of our local broadband connections, one to back up the other.   Cloud commuting is highly dependent on broadband access and at the present time, Western Nevada County is not a hotspot for highly reliable broadband.