Ice Age Logic

I was a bit surprised that the “Moment of Reflection” at Wednesday’s City Council meeting did not include reference to the horrible shooting that had occurred in San Bernardino. I would have stood for a moment of reflection to honor those killed or wounded. But, it was the usual Christian prayer, and I remained sitting, doing my crossword. So, kudos to Mayor Sam Abed for mentioning the tragedy, and expressing his empathy for the victims. We’re becoming inured to these mass shootings. It seems unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ignoring of the “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” part of the Second Amendment will be overturned any time soon. Second Amendment fanatics claim that an armed citizenry is necessary to prevent a tyranny. Following that logic to its ultimate end, every citizen would need to be able to have a nuclear weapon, since the possibly tyrannical government has such weapons. Why shouldn’t people have to pass tests and get licenses for guns as they do for the most lethal machines in the country, cars?

Wednesday’s Council meeting was short, and fairly harmonious. Councilwoman Olga Diaz voted no on the Consent Calendar item 5: City Council Member and Mayor Compensation. The ordinance increases City Council Member pay from $1,725.97 a month to $1898.57 a month effective when the members elected in 2016 take office. The others voted for the salary increase.

The Short Form Rent increase application for Greencrest met with no opposition. Councilman Ed Gallo did take the opportunity to ask the manager of the park why there were so many vehicles with expired registrations in the park. The manager said that the park did have restrictions on the number of unused vehicles, and would look into the problem. Gallo then explained to whomever might be listening (which didn’t seem to include the other Council members, or many others) why owners took the time to make the short form applications even though it resulted in very small rent increases. If they didn’t do so, Gallo avowed, and waited for several years, then making an application for a large increase, it would be a problem. Guess Gallo felt it was necessary to explain this obvious point to those of us without his historical perspective.

Item 13: Local Register Designation and Mills Act Contracts for the Property at 423 South Ivy Street, was enthusiastically supported by all the Council. Gallo added his observation that houses that were only 100 years old in California were considered old, whereas in New Jersey, where he grew up, there were homes as old as 250 years. Yes, and in England, people are surprised homes that were only 250 years old were considered venerable in the United States.

But, Gallo really reflected his basic ignorance best when he gave his sub-committee report about North County Transit. He mentioned something about a public opinion strategy, then digressed. He remember in school learning about the ice age. He observed that the world had warmed up after the ice age—was the burning of fossil fuels to blame for that warming? Abed suggested he should go to Paris, and present his views at the current international conference on climate change. Gallo said he would like to go to Paris, but not for that.

Sigh. So, first of all, the earth has experienced five ice ages in its 4.5 + billion year history  We are actually still in an ice age, in an interglacial period. The causes of ice ages are not fully understood, but the current theory about our present ice age, the Quantenary, which began about 3 million years ago, was that it was triggered when the movement of tectonic plates joined the North and South American continents at the Isthmus of Panama, reducing the circulation of warm equatorial ocean currents to the poles. The interglacial periods seem to be related to the slight variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, called the Milankovitch cycles. The current global warming isn’t a response to those cycles, it is a response to the increase of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. The scientific community consensus on this issue is very strong. I trust the judgement of those scientists, not the judgment of political hacks for the fossil fuel industry, and those like Gallo who swallow their propaganda.

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