The Future of Water: On the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act

October 19, 2012

When the Clean Water Act was passed by Congress forty years ago under a Republican administration, I was a clueless college undergraduate at Yale. Laws belonged to those serious looking law school students around the corner, perhaps including two I may have passed crossing the quad: Hilary Rodham and Bill Clinton. The environment? It seemed good to me. If I had been questioned, I could have testified, walking with school friends to the banks of the Providence River in Rhode Island to watch the river in flames like the Cuyahoga in Ohio, that triggered the calls for federal clean water standards. Read the rest of this entry »


Blown Away: Big Wind’s Inconvenient Truth

February 11, 2012

(Counterpunch, Feb 10, 2012) The installation of wind turbines too close to houses and personal property is a major headache for the wind power industry, but headache scarcely begins to describe their impact to nearby property owners and neighbors. My property and home are scarcely three quarters of a mile from a three 1.5 megawatt turbine wind farm that went online in November 2009 with blades stretching nearly 400 feet into the air. Read the rest of this entry »

SEIU: Off to the Races, Backwards … the Dismal Politics of South Florida

January 14, 2011

(Counterpunch) The Service Employees International Union gave $20,000 to the political action committee to save long-time Miami Dade county commissioner Natacha Seijas from recall and political oblivion. Seijas is facing the second recall by petition in less that three years. The Hialeah commissioner– it is well known– is the de facto chair of local government in Florida’s most populous county. She has carved out a permanent incumbency in a Cuban American district that seethes with resentment against Fidel Castro but enforces political orthodoxy with the same exact ferocity. Seijas is a battle axe in defense of untouchable fiefdoms: mainly contracts at Miami International Airport, near the end of a $4 billion rebuild that is notable for chronic cost overruns– and zoning for development in farmland and outside the urban development boundary. Read the rest of this entry »

After the Fall: markets without regulation

January 7, 2009

(Counterpunch) We have only a little knowledge how the federal government intervenes in financial markets. What we do know is that since the fall, US Treasury and Federal Reserve policy makers have been flying blind, sailing in uncharted waters: pick whatever metaphor you choose to dissolve the fabrication of markets based on supply and demand, and, free.

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Economic Shock and Awe: earning billions while losing trillions

December 19, 2008

(Counterpunch)  It was inevitable that the shock and awe we glimpsed for the past twenty years in the fast growing regions of the United States through an unsustainable boom in housing and construction would come to grief. It was born of hubris, and it continues through this day. Read the rest of this entry »

The Audacity of Parkland: Florida’s squandered promise

December 17, 2008

(Counterpunch) 50 million barrels of oil are being parked in tankers sitting offshore, lacking buyers. Let’s call it: Parkland. But in Miami, Parkland is a name with another meaning. Parkland is a zoning application to move Miami-Dade’s abused Urban Development Boundary closer to the Everglades.

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The politics of zoning in Florida: Hacking the development code

April 25, 2008

“Yale University economist Robert Shiller, pioneer of the widely watched Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, said there’s a good chance housing prices will fall further than the 30 percent drop in the historic depression of the 1930s.”

Business Week, April 22, 2008

“Some experts are saying that home prices and interest rates have indeed reached their lowest, bottoming out!” Lennar spokesperson in The Miami Herald special advertising section, April 25, 2008, “Homes selling at record pace”

“Seeing rates like 1.95 percent when purchasing a home is something truly extraordinary nowadays!” Century Homebuilders in The Miami Herald special advertising section, April 25, 2008, “Local builder makes history by lowering interest rates to 1948 levels”

“Between the incredible fixed-rate financing starting at 2.88 percent and our prices at historic lows, it’s little wonder why our homes are selling virtually as fast as we can write the contracts!” Lennar spokesperson 

“Initial construction of U.S. homes fell to a 17-year low in March, a much steeper-than-expected drop, according to a government report released Wednesday.”

CNN “Money,” April 16, 2008

The Miami Herald questioned the value of the civics lesson, yesterday, at County Hall where hundreds of young students, residents, taxpayers and the lobbying class spent hours waiting to voice the support they were encouraged to evince, for breaking through the line on a map separating; open space in Miami from suburbia, the Everglades from infrastructure service areas, and the edge of common sense from its antithesis. Read the rest of this entry »