Monthly Archives: November 2008

The Marina They Deserve?

Last week, in a case involving a proposed coastal Georgia development, the GA Supreme Court voted (5-2) for a narrow interpretation of Georgia’s 38 year old Coastal Marshlands Protection Act.

The central legal issue before the Court was whether development on land adjacent to coastal marsh, rather than just in the marsh itself, is covered by the CMPA.

You can read more background on the case and the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act HERE.  Savannah Morning News coverage is HERE.  Summer Teal Simpson’s excellent piece of journalism about a related case is HERE.  And if all that isn’t enough, check out the Court’s final order HERE.

Reading about the decision in the Savannah Morning News, I was struck by a quote from the CEO of Cumberland Harbor developer, Land Resource.  He said, “We are pleased with the court’s decision and look forward to working with the DNR and Army Corps of Engineers to finalize our permits so the residents of St. Marys and Cumberland Harbour can finally get the marina they deserve.”

The marina they deserve?
The Marina = the largest on the GA coast at approximately 3.5 miles of floating docks

They = people who are able to afford 2nd homes in the area

Deserve = be entitled to, have a right to

I don’t think that I am totally against coastal development,  but putting our unique, productive and irreplaceable coastal marshlands at risk to create more luxury coastal developments for deserving 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. property buyers seems like such a ridiculous proposition -especially given the recent state of our economy.

When, if ever, is coastal development okay?
Would love to hear from readers on this . . .

Two hours, two e-mails, two different mindsets

abc_logo2.jpgIt’s an interesting phenomenon: the tendency that some folks have to forward politically-charged or opinionated e-mails to everyone in their address books, whether individual recipients are known to be receptive to the message or not. Democrats. Republicans. Libertarians. Greens. Whigs. Bucktails. Know Nothings. Free Soilers. Communist Workers. Aren’t we all united by the fact that we’ve been forwarded e-mails that espouse positions to which we are opposed? I know I’m  not the only one.

On Nov. 17, within the span of two hours, I received two very different e-mails expressing displeasure with a certain television network for very different reasons. The timing of the e-mails and the common target of their complaints are telling, I think.

Reason One

Reason Two

We face serious challenges that will require cooperation to confront and overcome. When considering these two e-mails, I’m reminded that we are still very divided when it comes to the issues that push our buttons, or at least what compels us to push the button that says “forward.”

Green Jobs Now

Jobs numbers came out yesterday. The news, unsurprisingly, is not good.   From the
Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics blog, Brian Blackstone writes, “According to the Labor Department, initial jobless claims were their highest since September 2001. The four-week average – which smoothes out weekly volatility – was its highest since March 1991. And continuing claims lasting more than one week were their highest since January 1983. What do those three dates have in common? All came either during or right after the last three NBER recessions.

Things around here aren’t lookin’ too bright either. According to the GA Department of Labor, first-time filings for unemployment insurance claims in metro Savannah surged 62 percent over the past year, with 1,403 workers in Chatham, Effingham and Bryan counties filing claims during October 2008. And of course we must remember that these numbers do not consider the legions of underemployed or people who’ve lost their jobs, but never filed for unemployment benefits.Local lay-offs have hit every sector -particularly construction, manufacturing and retail.  JCB’s recent announcement to layoff 120 at its Savannah plant, signals that we still may have a way to fall before things start to turn around.

Nobody really knows how long this downturn (recession) will last, but  we do know that it will take a lot more than government bailouts to get us going again.  The president-elect has said that he wants to invest in high-tech green industries.  That would be a welcome change, but I don’t think we can afford to wait and see how his campaign promises trickle down to Savannah.  Especially because we already have the assets to get started right away . . . a sampling:

1) Commitments from local government: Step-Up Savannah, Thrive, Healthy Savannah, the MPC 2010 Sustainability Initiative and Chatham County Commission’s resolution to be the greenest county in Georgia

2) Training potential: a worldclass, career oriented art college (architecture, interior design, historic preservation, urban design, industrial design, fibers, fashion, graphic design, etc.), a local YouthBuild program and the only solar installation class offered in Georgia at Savannah Tech -Training is absolutely critical to the creation of green jobs

3) Active NGOs: Savannah Chapter of the US Green Building Council, the Creative Coast Alliance, Savannah Bicycle Campaign, AWOL,  Historic Savannah Foundation, the faith community writ large, Youth for a Cleaner Environment -These groups have either expertise, organizing power, existing complimentary programs or all of the above

High-tech green industries are an excellent long term goal, but let’s start with simpler things that create jobs, benefit the environment, require little capital investment and have a big short-term payoffs for penny-pinching consumers . . . urban agriculture and really unglamorous, but immense energy saving stuff like weatherstripping and insulation come to mind.

Learn a lot more about green collar jobs on the Green for All website . . . and let’s tell our local officials that we are ready for green jobs now.

Jim Powell Campaign Event

Who: Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund
What: Jim Powell Fundraiser from 5:30 – 6:30pm ($50 donation)
Jim Powell Campaign Event from 6:30 – 8pm (free and open to the public)
When: Tuesday November 18th
Where: Cha Bella, 102 E. Broad Street

Why: Jim Powell understands how important energy efficiency and renewable energy are for Georgia’s future, and the Public Service Commission plays a vital role in determining the future of Georgia’s energy supply.  Though Powell won on November 4, no candidate received 50% of the vote, which triggers a runoff election on December 2, 2008 against Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, a former Georgia Public Service Commissioner.

For more information visit www.cleanenergyactionfund.org