Southern California environment news and trends

Lies, damned lies, statistics, and the coast [UPDATED]

Over at LA Observed, Kevin Roderick points out that Jerry Brown is governor because he won the coast. (Official state results here, you can mouse over each county to get results.)


I looked at this and I was reminded of something we had talked about briefly at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute fellowship I did a few years back. And which we talk about all the time now in the context of the South Coast implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act. California's population is densest at the coast. Here's a map from the US Geological Survey, based on 2000 census numbers:

So, I'm guessing it makes sense that you have to win at the coast because that's where the people are.

It's not just California: according to a NOAA report released 5 years ago, 23 of the 25 most densely populated counties in the country were coastal. 53% of Americans lived (in 2003) at the coast - 153 million people, compared with 120 million Americans living at the coast in 1980. But California is really good at it: southern California counties made up 12 percent of that increase - 3.96 million people more moved to the Southland coast since 1980.


Morning greens: High-speed rail concerns, bike plan delays, and more post-election news

The Los Angeles Bicycle Plan gets delayed, thanks to cyclists. After bicycle activists rallied against the adoption of what they called a flawed plan, the City Planning Commission voted to “continue (delay) the bike plan decision until their December 16th meeting, directing staff to work with commissioners to continue to improve the plan,” reports LA Streetsblog.

samocommgarden Cafe GratitudeCurbed LA rounds up the 10 best community gardens in Los Angeles County. Is yours one of them?

Metrolink riders: Check your schedules. All but one Metrolink train schedules will be tweaked starting Monday, reports LAist.

California’s first high-speed rail segment may run through Central Valley, reports LA Times. “The federal government indicated Wednesday that it wants all of its initial funding of the project — about $3 billion — directed to a single segment between Fresno and Merced or Fresno and Bakersfield.”


Elections and the environment: A Green roundup of news and opinions on what's to come

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Environmentalists are celebrating the defeat of Prop 23, which would have suspended California’s landmark global warming law, AB 23. Reports LA Times: “Proposition 23 failed by a stunning 61% to 39%, giving heart to national environmental leaders and signaling the advent of new players in eco-politics: high-tech entrepreneurs, mainly based in Silicon Valley, who see clean energy as an economic investment.”

At Salon’s How the World Works blog, Andrew Leonard opines that the defeat of Prop 23 “affirms the California dream” — with repercussions far beyond the Golden state. “California’s economy is so large that the state can, by itself, make a huge, globally relevant impact on the development of clean and renewable energy technology.” NY Times delves into the fight behind Prop 23, dissecting the strategies that went into defeating the dirty energy proposition.


Morning greens: Bicycle activists oppose L.A. bike plan

We’ll have more coverage of what Tuesday’s elections meant for the environment later today. For now, the latest in other news:

bike lead L.A.’s cycling community isn’t happy with L.A.’s proposed Bicycle Plan. According to LAist, “Much of the disagreement with the plan comes down to three points: a commitment to bike lanes, defining bicycle friendly streets, and updating the Technical Design Manual.” Upset cyclists are urging the Planning Commission to reject the plan at its meeting today, sending it back for a major redraft.

Why is it so important to get LA Beyond Coal? Find out at a Community Cinema Screening of Deep Down, a documentary that follows Beverly May and Terry Ratliff, who grew up on opposite sides of a mountain ridge in Kentucky, who find themselves on the opposite sides of the debate when a mountaintop removal coal mine affects their community’s economy, environment, and health. The screening happens Nov. 8 at 8 pm at The Actors’ Gang at The Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. RSVP on the Axis Mundi website. Cost: Pay what you can at the door.


Morning greens: No Happy Meals for San Francisco kids

Find complete coverage of the 2010 election on KPCC.

happyhummer San Francisco bans Happy Meals. More specifically, the city’s forbidding restaurants to give out free toys with meals that don’t meet certain nutritional guidelines. “Under the ordinance, scheduled to take effect in December 2011, restaurants may include a toy with a meal if the food and drink combined contain fewer than 600 calories, and if less than 35% of the calories come from fat,” LA Times reports.

Health testing of California beaches has been extended for a year, reports LA Now. “The State Water Board voted Tuesday to spend $984,000 in state bond money to continue testing for bacteria at hundreds of beaches through 2011.”

In national news: States and enviro groups support the U.S. EPA’s climate program. NY Times reports “a coalition of 20 states and 13 environmental groups has pledged its support for the agency” and its plans “to begin regulating greenhouse gases from large power plants, factories and other major emissions sources” starting Jan. 2.