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Readers: Anyone working a local issue?

Local food labeling, municipal codes, waste disposal, walkability, HR 676....

Even guerilla gardening!

It would be interesting to hear any of those stories.

Sort of a dry run for something, at least IMNSHO, PB 2.0 might do -- try to reinforce local stuff.

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badger's picture
Submitted by badger on

(and you may regret it). Our neighborhood worked on a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). A CWPP is a plan for mitigating wildfire hazard on private land (and co-ordinating with action on public lands), principally through fuel load reduction - removing brush and down trees, limbing live trees, thinning wooded areas. Under Healthy Forests (not all bad despite what your local environmentalist will tell you) the government will pay 50% of the cost AND your 50% can be made up from in kind stuff - labor, chainsaw gas, tractor and truck hours, etc. (We'll come back to that). There is a sound basis for all of the practices involved based on ecology/fire ecology/experience/archaeology.

So we (neighbors, Forest Service people, local Fire Chief and Fire Commissioners, some state people, BLM) attended meetings from April through August just about every Tuesday night for 2 years. In addition we did a lot of work outside of meetings, including a lot of both self-education and field trips with FS people, visits from state fire people and other stuff.

Finally it came down to submitting grant requests - to keep this shorter, our CWPP area was about 100 sq miles, and three groups submitted requests (not covering the total area) for about $500K total. All were approved (I assume, since there was never any official feedback to tell us that, other than we heard rumors that requests were approved).

As you might imagine, that kind of money draws politicians like shit draws flies. Whether it was changes from the top down in how the grants would be administered or from the bottom up (not sure), the upshot was the county (about the size of Delaware) was going to consolidate the grants (our three plus other CWPP areas withing the county) and prioritize the spending (the county itself had very little participation, basically showing up once to say "rah-rah" and then showing up at the plan signing).

The effect of this was threefold. First, the entire CWPP process was sold as citizen/grassroots effort, defined and prioritized on the ground ultra-locally. Not any more.

Second, any time you're talking politicians and "prioritizing" you're talking --- more meetings. Not only had we already completed two years of meetings and associated work, the meetings now would be scheduled in the county seat (40 miles away) instead of locally, and on early Friday afternoons, not evenings when most people who actually work could attend.

Third, for this to work in our canyon, we would basically have the "able-bodied" rack up lots of hours of labor so that those unable to do the work (and this is hard work done in 80-90-100 degree weather) would be able to afford to hire out the work - our labor hours would pay for half the cost and the grant the other half. Under the new scheme, we have no local control, and no ability to guarantee that our neighbors won't get stuck with half of a $5000 or $10,000 bill they can't afford.

So in terms of PB2.0, some of the issues, it seems to me, are how you acquire and keep grassroots control of the process (counterexample - MoveOn endorsing Obama), if money's involved how to keep the leaches and maggots at bay and actually spend on something useful as intended, and how to bring processes to some kind of closure rather than infinite discussions and meetings (which is all some personality types are interested in).

Some of us have been doing our properties around our homes on an ongoing basis - we even got fire crews asking if they could do the work for us in some cases (another long story) - but our grant money was to treat areas which are away from homes and subsequently neglected. Most of the areas were along county or FS roads and the target was improved evacuation safety and greater firefighter safety and access, as well as reducing fire spread. We sit at the top of a narrow canyon with only one way out (downhill) and if fire comes up that way rapidly we are (quite literally) toast.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

On a local hero, one of my all time most awesomest person I ever met, who does "good".

Yep, PB2.0 should be about exactly that, we have little power to change anything except what we ourselves do and our immediate surroundings. We need to celebrate and encourage local action.

We need to share success stories from the past as well, to show the way to the future.

-----------------------------

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

Submitted by lambert on

... if we can get the local efforts help, things might change.

Instead of sending registered letters or phone calls to Donna B, why not (say) to the local zoning board?

Now, it would take a lot of trust to be able to do this, and not have it revert to a mob (though a mob can be "effective," as we have seen).

Maybe work out a way to give positive results? (Campaign contributions for local or even state campaigns would be something even we could afford on our "beer budget" (which wouldn't be too bad a name. We could call it "The Beer Budget" project...).

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

for me includes trying, and failing (our primary was tue) to get a new dem candidate for drain commish, succeeding in same with treasury for the muni, some elder care in the form of 'meals on wheels' and ad hoc gardening assistance, and improving the subdiv association shared grounds with gardening projects. will be working with the county dem party soon on GOTV (i'm sick of the lameass fundraising work they always are trying to get us to do) and volunteer tutoring when the school season starts back up, which will be soon. i'll also be walking the streets for some ballot issues in the fall here in this state. one looks to be horrible and people need a smiling face at their doors telling them why they should reject it. i keep telling myself i want to work with returning vets, but just haven't had the time.

Submitted by lambert on

I like the moniker "The Beer Budget Project," I must say....

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

Is the inclusive practices project something that you're involved in?

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.