Today’s Headlines

  • Hilary

    The Sun article on EZ-Pass and congestion contains an important argument in favor of CP technology collecting information (despite privacy concerns). Information is critical for developing ways to reduce traffic and congestion by every means. We need to know where it’s coming from and when (deducing the purpose – daily commuting to work?). Data collection using license plates is done routinely to understand mobility patterns. CP data will reveal finer-grained information — e.g., perhaps revealing that a few vehicles are contributing disproportionately to pollution – circling the block all day. It will show us the kinds of cars – SUV’s vs hybrids. All data collection is an intrusion on our privacy, but it is such a powerful tool for targeting incentives/disincentives that we should accept it as a price to pay. (And perhaps allow those who really want privacy to pay for the privilege and inconvenience to others by paying a surcharge, like an unlisted phone number.) If we are going to use fees to modify behaviour, we need abundant data. From it will flow effective strategies on parking, registration pricing, tolling, traffic management, everything.

    Count me as a convert to data collection. I get it now.

  • steve

    Edwards on SUVs: How clever. Get labor to link its economic fate to continuous war and while they’re salivating over defense $$$’s, make a throwaway exhortation to give up the SUVs. Let’s see if he asks audiences he perceives as middle class to give up their SUVs without offering pie in the sky in return.

  • I wouldn’t criticize Edwards so harshly, not on the basis of this article, anyway. He is not saying we should make more weapons, just that whatever weapons we do make should be made in the US. And it is pretty amazing to hear a presidential candidate saying Americans should give up their SUVs.

    There was another recent case of a politician saying that Americans should consume less. John Dingell (D. Mich) said that he plans to introduce comprehensive climate change legislation this fall that includes an end to tax deductions for McMansions; any house over 3000 square feet would not get a tax deduction for mortgage interest. Dingell explained:

    “In order to address the issue of climate change, we must address the issue of consumption. We do that by making consumption more expensive.'”
    http://www.sfchroniclemarketplace.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/26/REI8RLUB6.DTL

    If mainstream politicians are beginning to address the issue of consumption, that is a move in the right direction.

    On the other hand, Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, recently said:

    “We try to be strategic about doing the things where each unit of effort has the most impact. We’ll encourage companies to make more efficient S.U.V.’s, and we’ll encourage consumers to buy them, “but we do not find lecturing people about personal consumption choices to be effective.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/29/business/media/29adco.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    Edwards looks good by comparison.

  • steve

    Charles, I have looked on his website and I see nothing to disprove my cynicism. Despite much discussion of energy efficiency on his website, there is nothing about SUVs. All the discussion appears focused on electrical suppliers. I have searched his website a few different ways but can’t find anything except generalized statements about global warming to suggest that he views auto emissions as an issue.

    Maybe its a new issue for him and we will see more, but for now the cynic in me says that he is just manipulating. I notice that he told the IAM members in Florida, not Detroit, that they should give up their SUVs. I wonder if there was a recently closed closed military contractor near where he gave the speech.

  • Hilary

    Edwards got the highest environmental rating of all the Democratic candidates from League of Conservation Voters. I fear it is you, Steve, who is the cynic.

  • steve

    Hilary, there is nothing inconsistent in Edwards getting the highest LCV rating and my interpretation of his recent comments in Florida. Let’s wait and see if Edwards raises the SUV issue again, and with what audience, and whether he puts it on his website. And I didn’t call him a cynic, I characterized myself as cynical, so I don’t understand your comment that you fear it is me who is the cynic. I already said that.

  • Hilary

    Oh. Then we agree 🙂

  • Eric

    Never mind Edwards.

    “Gotbaum” makes me think of “Got Milk?” which makes me think about milk cartons which would be a good place to post Betsy Gotbaum’s picture, since she has been completely AWOL as “public advocate” for going on seven years now.

    I would really like to meet some of the people who (twice!) went to the voting booth and thought she’d do a better job for we citizens than Norman Siegel would have. God help us if those same, um, voters, think she’d make a good mayor.

  • Chris H

    Dingell’s proposal is interesting. The flaw I find in it, however, is that it is using a cut off at 3,000 square feet. Instead, it should be on a sliding scale, perhaps from full deduction at 2,500 to no deduction at 3,500. That would make it much more politically palletable and practical.

    Although… I think it would be pretty humorous to see people chopping off pieces of their McMansions in order to get under the 3,000 square foot point 😉

    (BTW, I decided to change to Chris H instead of just Chris because there are more than one of us posting here. Not that people would know the difference at this point)